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(Author - James Joseph O'Brien called "Jim Joe" who was one of the local Historians at Cape Broyle.
He was born in 1888 and died in 1985. He was unmarried.



Cape Broyle in the 1840s had one of the most prosperous years Nfld had up to that time in the fishery.   Newfoundland exported over 900,000 quintals of dry fish and over 600,000 seals were taken that year, bringing  great reward to the fishermen.   The population of Nfld at that time was around 160,000 inhabitants.

Taxation was light.  Revenue for 1840 was only 43,863 pounds, expenditure was 39,347 pounds.  Cape Broyle at that time got a share of that prosperity, and many men from Cape Broyle were in the seal fishery during 1840.  During the years 1840 and 1850 some of the fishermen at Cape Broyle were using small boats named whale boats, fully boats and jack boats, those little boats were decked and could sail against the wind.

“O what a joy to watch her float the white whale boat closed hauled or running free”

In the early 1860s a new way of fishing was introduced in Cape Broyle, it was the Western boat and the cod seine.  The western boat period was from 1860 until 1885.  The work of the western boat would be to make two trips to Cape St. Mary’s in the Spring  before the shore fishery would start  and in September would fish on Cape Ballard Banks, about 9 miles from Renews.  Cape Broyle had at one time 5 or 6 western boats, some of those boats gave up fishing and went freighting along the shore.

The cod seine came to Cape Broyle in 1860 and were used until the late 1870s when they were converted to a cod trap, using a cod seine was hard work.  Here is a story of a haul of fish in a cod seine.  The cod seine was owned in Brigus South by a man O’Keefe, he had some men from Cape Broyle as his crew.  It was on a  Saturday, Mr. O’Keefe and his crew were up in Cape Broyle Bay and along the shore all day, but found no fish.  They were returning home to Brigus when down by Brigus Head they saw a school of fish and got the seine out in quick time and were rewarded with a haul of over 100 quintals.  It was late in the evening and only one boat from Brigus was on the fishing ground,  and they put out a signal for help so the boat with 2 men came, they asked those men to go to Brigus and  tell the fishermen to come out with boats enough to bring in 100 quintals.  The boats came out and took in all the fish at one time.  All the men started to split and salt this large catch of fish and when at daylight  on Sunday morning, 3 o’clock, all fish were under salt.  They returned to their home to get a few hours rest before Mass at Brigus at 10 or 11 am as mass was offered at Brigus every Sunday in the 1860s.

The cod seine came to Cape Broyle from Manchester England.  The merchant would get out a cod seine for a crew of men.  One man bought his cod seine himself - cost 100 pounds landed at Cape Broyle.  The cod trap was a better and much easier way to catch fish, it would get the fish for you while you were asleep. 

In the 1870s came the first of the American Banksers to Cape Broyle for bait, they soon increased in numbers and were joined by the Nova Scotia vessels from Lunenburg.  They were a help to the economy of Cape Broyle by buying bait, caplin, squid and ice.  It was said that during the 1890s there were 60 vessels in one day in Cape Broyle taking bait and supplies.  The American vessels were forbidden by an Act of Parliament not to take bait in Nfld in 1904.  The Nova Scotia fleet of vessels increased in numbers after 1904, in 1912 one firm, one merchant at Cape Broyle had 86 vessels in trade on their books, some of those vessels were our own Nfld vessels. 

The sale of ice at first was only around 200 tons, but when trade with the Banksing vessels was at it’s height over 1,200 tons of ice was stored and sold for many years at the price of $4.00 a dory load, in the latter year (the price of a dory load of ice increased  to $9 and $10.00).  The last year that had any great number of vessels were in for bait at Cape Broyle in one day was the 15th July 1929, there were 33 Nova Scotia Banksers.  Those vessels came into Cape Broyle on Saturday evening July 13th and Sunday, July 14th.  The hauling of the caplin bait started at one o’clock on Monday, July 15th, and the last of the vessels went sailing out Cape Broyle narrows for the Grand Bankss at noon on July 15th - the last vessel, a little distance behind the others was named “The Glacier”  in charge of Captain Maurice Zinck.  The first engine to be used at the fishery in Cape Broyle was in the summer of 1912.  It was a 6 1/2 horse power, Norwegian built,  before that date all fishing was done by rowing or sailing boats.

Here is a story that happened the last week in April 1869, whereby 4 men from Cape Broyle were able to attend the funeral of Bishop Mullock.  There was a boat loaded with white ends or whitens as they were called (white ends were sticks of wood that were rinded for two years).  The rinds of the fir trees were used for covering up piles of dry fish and sometimes the roof of the stage would be covered with rinds.  The boat was owned and skippered by Michael Cashin, Uncle of Sir Michael Cashin, she had on board a load of 1000 or over of dry white ends at  5 cents/stick, the freight would amount to $550.00 or more.  The crew of the boat were Skipper Michael Cashin, crew - John Aylward and Isaac Bruff and also a passenger named Edward Kelly, a school teacher, at Cape Broyle for many years.  He was a native of Carbonear.  He was giving up school teaching that year.  The boat arrived in St. John’s in the evening.  Michael Cashin and crew heard of the funeral of Bishop Mullock being held the next day.  They were pleased to arrive in St. John’s and being able to attend the funeral.  Leaving the boat and her load in charge of the watch man they went to the funeral.  Those men often told of it afterwards, claiming that they were the only 4 men from the Southern Shore who were to Bishop Mullock’s funeral.

Cape Broyle had its first chapel or church before the year 1817.  This chapel was in the cemetery just south of where the Cashin burial plot now stands (1972).  It was over 100 feet south of the highroad.  It was there in the year 1849, but was not used as a church for many years before it was taken from the cemetery.  This first chapel was a small one but was nicely built.  The carpenter or overseer of the building was an Irishman named Edward Burgess, the labour cost nothing as all the work was done free at that time.

Cape Broyle was not so long permanently settled before they got the first chapel, as they said there were at that time only 7 priests in Newfoundland, that was in 1815 or 1816.  The first person buried in Cape Broyle cemetery was Ellen Walsh, wife of John Walsh, the first of the Walsh family to come to Cape Broyle in 1785.  Ellen Walsh died 20 February 1847 at the age 86 years.  Her husband John died in 1827, he was buried in Ferryland cemetery.  Ferryland is far ahead of Cape Broyle in regards to having Catholic religion.  When Lord Baltimore came to his colony in Ferryland in 1627 he brought with him 3 priests, Rev. Father Smith, Rev Father Hackett and Rev Father Longville.  There is a record of the first mass offered in North America was at Ferryland on the 27th July 1627.  Those priests said mass every Sunday and performed all the ceremonies of Rome at Ferryland for 2 years until 1629 when Lord Baltimore and his family and 40 colonists left Ferryland.  It was said in the old days that when you were walking through Ferryland you were walking  on Sacred ground.  Cape Broyle was always strong in Catholic faith.  There were no priests with both parents belonging to Cape Broyle but many of her daughters were mothers of priests and here are a few - Mary Joe Walsh, great-grand daughter of John and Ellen Walsh, she married James Devereaux of Ferryland, and Rev Father Devereaux, who died with the “flu” in 1918 was her son.  Catherine Dalton, great-grand daughter of John Dalton and  Mary Grant Dalton , married William Chafe - Rev Father Alphonsus Chafe of the Scarborough Missions is her son.  Mary O’Brien great-grand daughter of John O’Brien and Mary (Kennedy) O’Brien married Gregory Mullowney of Bay Bulls and one of her sons is Very Reverend Francis Mullowney, parish priest at Trepassey.

Theresa Hartery, great-grand daughter of Cornelius  and Catherine (Kelly) Hartery emigrated to America (Chicago).  She married a man named Cousins, her son is a bishop - He is Archbishop Cousins, he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, USA in 1965.  Lucy Tobin, grand daughter of William and Mary (Walsh) O’Brien went to Canada, St. John, New Brunswick.  She married a man named Harris.  She has a son a priest now living in Canada

The second church was built around 1850.  It was just south of the road leading to the presbytery (1972).  The 3rd or old church is now built over and repaired  for a community centre.  The church was opened for worship for the first time at midnight mass in 1895 by Rev Father Vereker. 

The new church built by Rev Father Kennedy had the first sod turned by Patrick O’Brien on May 12th, 1946, the oldest man in Cape Broyle - this church was consecrated and opened on Christmas Eve 1947 by Rev Father Kennedy.

The stone church now at Ferryland in 1972 had the corner stone laid by Bishop Mullock on Trinity Sunday in 1863.

Cape Broyle operated a whale factory for a few years.  Work was started on the building of the factory on September 8, 1902.  It was finished in March 1903.  The first whale was brought to the factory (a  large one) named a selpher back, near 90 feet in length on 17th March 1903.

Year 1903 (first year)             300 Whales

Second Year (1904)                200 Whales

Third Year (1905)                   80  Whales

The factory closed from 1905 - 1910 until 1910 .  It reopened from 1910-1918 when it closed for good.

Cape Broyle also had a railway.  It was a great help to economy of the place during the building and operation of the railroad.  The first sod of the railway was turned by Michael Cashin, Member for Ferryland district, from 1893.  The sod was first turned on 12th May 1911 and on the 3rd day December 1911 the road was opened and the rails were laid to 3 miles inside of Ferryland, when the work on the road closed until the spring 1912.  Late 1912 the road was opened to Trepassey.  The railroad opened for freight and passenger in 1913.  The railroad ran from 1913 until 1931 when it closed and the rails were taken up in November 1933.


The Railroad came to Cape Broyle and Trepassey.  The first railroad to Trepassey, Sir Michael Cashin, Member for Ferryland district, turned the first sod at Waterford Bridge on May 12th, 1911 and the 3rd day December the rails were laid to 4 miles inside Ferryland.  The Nfld Company finished the railroad to Trepassey in 1912, but the railroad was not open for freight or passenger until 1913.  From 1913 until the late 1920s it carried on good but in 1931 the railroad closed for good.  The rails were taken up in 1933.


The first church in Cape Broyle was built before 1816 by Bishop Lambert.  It was small but a nice chapel.  It was in the middle of the cemetery about 100 feet north of the paved highway.  The man that had charge of building was an Irishman named Edward Burgess, no money was charged for the building of the chapel.  At that time everything was free.  This chapel was taken down in the year 1849 but it was not used for a church for many years before that time.  The second church was built in 1850.  This church was built just north of the road going to the presbytery.  It was larger than the first one, had a tower and a bell in the tower.  It was taken down in the year 1894.  The 3rd church (the old church) which is now standing firm and strong, was built in 1872.  The land on which the 3rd church was built was given to Bishop Howley, the church was built by two members of the Grant family, John and Martin.  All the Grant property is now used.  The new school is also on Grant’s land.  The corner stone of the 3rd church was laid by Bishop Howley, May 1895.  All the building material came from New Brunswick all ready to go into use.  The vessel arrived in Cape Broyle in August and work started as soon as possible.  The first Mass offered was Mid-night Mass 1895.  The 3rd church is 76 years old.


The first sod of the new church was turned by Patrick O’Brien on  May 12th, 1946.  The reason why Patrick O’Brien was given the honour of turning the first sod by Rev Father Kennedy was Patrick was the oldest man in Cape Broyle.  He was 87 years.  The new church was blessed and opened on Christmas Eve 1947.



When the Lahey family came to Cape Broyle (William and Mary Ann Lahey) they had two children, Michael and Margaret.  They came to Cape Broyle with the Keough’s gang as it was named.  William and Mary Lahey came in the year 1812.  William lived for a short time on a piece of land where the road is going now near the presbytery. After about 6 months William and Mary Lahey moved and went to live at the river head of the harbour, across the river, of what is now Fairy Pond where they lived the remainder of their lives in a house near where William Hawkins and his family now live in the year 1971. William Lahey was a shoemaker by trade; his people and relatives owned  a business or farm home in Ireland and Mr. William came into some money from the estate, after living at Cape Broyle for many years but owing to trouble and expense of the lawyer  trying to find him he  received 60 pounds.

William and Mary Lahey had a family of one son and one daughter.  The daughter’s name was Margaret and the son’s name was Michael.  Michael married Johannah Furlong, daughter of Richard and Johannah (Doran) Furlong.  The Furlong’s came to Cape Broyle (Fairy Pond) in the year 1815.  They married in the late 1850s.  Michael and Johannah Lahey had a family of one son and one daughter.  Their names were Thomas and Margaret.  Margaret Lahey married a man named Sexton and went to live at Tilton Harbour where she lived until death 70 years ago.  Thomas Lahey married a St. John’s girl by the name of Emily Barnes.  Thomas and Emily (Barnes) Lahey had a family of  three daughters and three sons.  The girls were named Bridget, Ann and Mary.  Ann Lahey married  Peter Walsh.  They had one daughter and have many descendants living in Cape Broyle in the year 1971.

Mary Lahey married Edward Whalen in the year of 1906.  They had 4 children, 3 daughters Amelia, Ann and Mary and one son, Michael, and have many descendants at Cape Broyle in the year 1971.

Thomas and Emily Lahey’s sons  names were James (died when an infant), Michael and Peter.  Michael Lahey married  Margaret Martin in 1910.  They had a large family of sons and daughters: 5 sons, 5 daughters.

Peter Lahey married Anastasia O’Leary.  They had a family of 2 daughters - Dorothy and Bernice. 

Michael Lahey (son of William and Mary Lahey ) after the death of his first wife, married Margaret Martin, the first of the Martins to come to Cape Broyle.  Michael and Margaret (Martin) Lahey had a family of 2 sons and 5 daughters.  Names of the daughters were  Mary, Sarah, Johannah, Catherine and Lucy. Their sons names were William and John.  William Lahey married Margaret Power of Witless Bay.  They have relatives at Cape Broyle and other places.  John Lahey married.  His first wife’s name was Lucy O’Brien.  They had a family of one daughter named Lucy who married a  William Walsh of Calvert.  They have left many descendants in the year of 1971.  John Lahey  afterwards married Mary Walsh and they had 2 daughters and one son.  John Lahey (Captain) was their son..

The Oldridge Family - plus other families mentioned _ Dalton, O’Brien, Finlay, Walsh, Kennedy, Furlong

Charles Oldridge, the first of the Oldridge name to come to Cape Broyle from England,  in the year 1820.  Charles Oldridge was noted for his great strength of body and some of his work now (1971) in Cape Broyle is some of the strong boxes that were used in the fishery.  Charles Oldridge married Mary Dalton in the late 1930s.  She was the daughter of John Dalton and Mary (Grant) Dalton the first of the Daltons to come to Cape Broyle.  Charles Oldridge and Mary (Grant) Oldridge had a family of 1 son and 3 daughters.  The daughters names were Mary, Ann and Alice.  The son’s name was John Oldridge.  Mary Oldridge married Thomas O’Brien.  They had a large family.  John T O’Brien was their descendant.  Mary (Oldridge) O’Brien and Thomas O’Brien have many descendants at Cape Broyle in the year of 1971.  Ann Oldridge married ? from Calvert.  They went to live in Sydney NS.  Charles Oldridge and Mary Oldridge’s daughter Alice had a family of daughters.  They have descendants at Cape Broyle in the year 1971.  Alice Oldridge married a man Finlay from Trepassey by the name of William. They have many descendants living in Trepassey in the year 1971.   Charles and Mary Oldridge’s son, John, married Kathleen Walsh in the early 1870s.  She was the daughter of John Walsh and Catherine (O’Brien) Walsh and the granddaughter of John and Mary (Kennedy) O’Brien.  The first of the O’Briens to come to Cape Broyle from County Waterford, Ireland in the year 1792. 

John and Catherine (Walsh) Oldridge had a family of 3 sons and 3 daughters.  The sons names were: Charles, John and James. Their daughters names were Margaret, Catherine and Mary.  Charles and James were not married.  John  married  Mary Frances O’Brien in the year 1906.  She was the daughter of Patrick O’Brien and Johannah (Furlong) O’Brien.  They had a family of 2 sons: John and Patrick Oldridge.  Patrick died young.  John Oldridge is the only living relative in the year of 1971.

NOTE: Below are the comments by Enid O'Brien, a local Genealogist and Historian.

Document 1.


According to the 1800 Census the founding members of the Walsh family were “Richard” and  Ellen Walsh. 


According to Fred Walsh Walsh they had “6” sons and one dgt.


Document 2


I have no comment on this document  It is basically the same as the handwritten copy.


Document 3

I have no comments on this document.   It wasn’t included in the copy I  have with his original copy.


Document 4

I have no comments on this document.  It is as written in the original handwriting of Jim Joe O’Brien/


Document 5

Other than correct the name of the boat to John and “Maria” the only comment I have is the Courier reported at the time that there was a crew of  “26” and 24 were drown.


Document 6

This account is not given in the original documents that I have.


Document 7

According to another folklore account (Fred Walsh b. 1892)  Re Walsh family there was another Walsh son named Martin.


The Grant family. 

He gives the founder of this family as being George Grant whereas the 1800 census gives the father and mother aa  Richard and Margaret Grant.   They had a son George and a grandson George.  According to Angela  (Kuffe) Dempsey (born in late 1800s) whose grandmother was  Elizabeth Grant (Kueffe, later changed to O’Keefe)  George was an English soldier and his wife was  Mary Murphy, dgt of an Irish school teacher.  This account is confusing.  I believe he knows what  he is talking about but is not expressed well as  there are so many identical names care must be taken as to the generations.   It leaves you with the impression that the Grants had no descendants which is not true.  Thomas Grant married Mary Cashin.  They left Cape Broyle and went to live in St. John’s.  He had a large family some of which died young but he had two sons when he died.


The Coady family

This account differs from the account given by my mother (whose mother was Johannah Coady).  James Coady (born in 1840 was my mother’s grandfather).  She related that her family were descending from James Coady and a girl Ellis from Ferryland.  I could confirm this in the records.  Also, on the Voter’s list for Cape Broyle in 1840  there is only one James Coady.  As her grandfather was born in 1840 it couldn’t possibly be him.  Also, I have in my possession  a land grant when James Coady bought land next to Kearsey’s on the Southside of  Cape Broyle.  This couldn’t be James born in 1840 as he would be only 8 years old??  I believe there was  an Edward married to a Ryan because they were definitely related but Edward was the brother of  James (father of James married to Bridget Boland).



Page transcribed by Enid O' Brien (2001)
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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