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History of King's Cove





The old-time King's Cove is gone; what will be its future Its geographical position which caused its pre-eminence as a business centre in the early days may react towards starting it on r prosperous future. King's Cove is the centre for four main roads radiating north, south, east and west. One road leads to Bona. vista and Catalina; one to Trinity; one to Plate Cove, Open Hall and Summenville, and one to Broad Cove, Keels and Tickle Cove A pleasant drive along tree-bordered roads to Catalina, Trinity or Summerville will enable the visitor to connect with the east or west going express three times a week. The coastal steamer calls there every week.

The old glories of King's Cove are gone. "Seventy years ago," wrote an old correspondent, "there were so many schooners and fishing smacks in the harbor that one could walk across their decks almost from one side of the harbor to the other. One could see no more beautiful sight than watch a fleet of twenty fishing boats beating into their stages. All this is gone and nothing ;e. mains of the stages but the whitened posts amongst the landwash boulders."

In the re-organization of industry which everyone hoped will take place after the War is over, it may be confidently expected that King's Cove will take a foremost place. There are two natural resources (outside the fisheries) within reach of King's Cove, -the soil and the forest. Kingscovians may learn a lesson from Finland. Finland is a country nearly a thousand miles north of Newfoundland with the same natural resources as Newfoundland, has a severer climate and yet three-fifths of its people make their living from agriculture. The "tuff-board" sold in St. John's before the war came from Finland. Why cannot King's Cove be the location of wood'-working and beaverboard factories, tanning shoemaking and other factories,? These can all come by proper organization.

King's Cove lost a decided economic advantage, when the branch railway connecting Clarenville with Bonavista, failed to touch the settlement. A petition was signed by the residents asking the Government to have the railway line run through King's Cove; but owing to some apathy on the part of those who had charge of the affair, the petition was not pressed. As King's Cove is the only port of call in that locality for mail steamers, it would be a decided advantage for northern passengers to shorten the sea journey if they could take the rail route to St. John's.

Those who have visited King's Cove retain pleasant memories of their stay there and long to return. Miss Bertille Tobin-the local poetess-has immortalised all the phases of King's Cove scenery. Here is a stanza from one of her poems '`Home Again" "Four years have passed and in their lapsing

      Changes many came to me;
      Viewed I life from many an angle
      Since it's been my lot to see
      King's Cove with its heights and valleys-
      King's Cove with its glorious space
      Of blue water, rippling breaking,
      Lending varied charm and grace."


Although not a native of King's Cove, Miss Bertille Tobin has made her home there for the past 20 years. She came to King's Cove as a young teacher and after a few years teaching, gave up the work and went to live with her uncle-Rev. John Scully- then Parish Priest of the King's Cove Parish. Miss Tobin is a voluminous writer, her poems appearing in nearly all the Newfoundland Press. Below are a few of her best known poems.


      Four years have elapsed, and in their lapsing
      Changes many came to me,
      Viewed I life from many an angle
      Since it's been my lot to see
      King's Cove with its heights and valleys-
      King's Cove with its glorious space
      Of blue water, rippling, breaking,
      Lending varied charm and grace.

      Just this morn watched I the harbor,
      And at entrance there in sight
      Was a sturdy little schooner
      Tacking in with sails' full might.
      She was like some bird which graceful
      Skims upon the water clear,
      First across in one direction,
      Then way changing, in to steer.

      So as I gazed from my window
      Watching the harbor fair,
      Saw I this symbol of courage
      To add to my mem'ries rare:
      So long as the haven's entered
      What matter the storms now past,
      What matter the stress and danger
      Now that home is reached at last!



      The wooded hill brought verdure
      Up to meet the bending sky-
      Great lakes and seas of azure
      And cloud-heaps like mountains high,
      Make up the panorama
      Which roofed an entrancing scene
      As rows of rainbow light lanes
      Made more fair the harbor's sheen.
      For sunset lit the cloudBankss,
      And they in turn cast down
      Reflections of the many hues
      Which glowed like Bems in crown!
      A small craft near wharf anchored
      Seemed a fairy skiff afloat
      On magic seas as colorful
      As ever was Joseph's coat
      The boats upon the squid grounds
      Were wrapt in lambent beauty
      As if mystic spell were cast
      On humble ways of duty.
      Across the shining stretches
      Of the lovely summer sea
      Blue hills on the horizon
      Shone translucently.
      One reads of splendid landscapes,
      And fair seaports far away
      But as the sunset kindles
      On hill and sky and bay
      One feels that Beauty also
      Dwells here in Newfoundland,
      Smiling from each green headland
      And from each wave-washed strand.



      Old houses standing sad and lone,
      What thoughts you can inspire
      Of times when first within you glowed
      The cheery bright hearth fire.

      Once someone builded day by day,
      And as each nail he drove
      He used, as well as strength the while,
      A lot of hope and love

      And when the rooms were all complete,
      Each one so fresh and new,
      Some woman felt her heart beat warm
      As she her home went through.

      The wholesome odor of new wood
      Was perfume sweeter far
      Than ever lay on druggist's shelf
      Enclosed in costly jar.

      Old homes, you've held so many hopes,
      You've seen so much of change-
      But to be left now lone and void
      Must seem of all most strange.

      There are memories in your every board,
      Mem'ries of little feet,
      Which later grew and ran sway,
      A rougher walk to meet!

      There are mem'ries rare in every pane
      Your shaking windows hold
      Of faces that once smiled therefrom,
      Perhaps now 'neath the mold!

      Mem'ries cling thickly round your doors
      Of hands that oft used close,
      Of quickly push them open wide-
      Imagination grows

      Apace at thought of flying feet
      That up and down the stair
      Have passed so many, many times -
      children with sunny hair.

      Have at the foot so often called-
      "Mamma. are you up there?"
      Whilst oft again a little form
      Slid down the banister!

      Old homes, within you, all around,
      Was eager life and motion,
      Your walls, your floors, your every part
      Have held some heart's devotion;

      And sadly now you are bereft
      Of all that you held dear,
      Only the memories remain,
      Your poor lone hearths to cheer!



      For months we walked across the Pond,
      Upon the crystal road
      Which Winter's wand had made for us
      But now 'tis overflowed
      With water from the rushing brook
      Which runs from out the "Steady",
      And all the signs are here to show
      That Mistress Spring is ready

      To change the landscape once again,
      To deck the Earth with green-
      I saw some tiny shoots to-day-
      And more will soon be seen!
      At morn I wake, and hear the birds
      In charming melody
      Pour out their notes upon the air
      From out the yet bare tree.

      Upon the waters of the Pond,
      But lately closed to them,
      The ducks and drakes sedately swim
      As if to say-"Ahem,
      We've got it to ourselves again-
      The human-kind no more
      Can cross on foot this way for now
      The ice has left the shore"

      The rain was pouring yesterday-
      And gladd'ning was the sound,
      'Tis needed now so much to help
      The sun to clear the ground.
      In other lands the flowers grow
      In out-of-doors by now,
      And in the fields the workers till
      The ground with busy plough.

      But still, we love thee, Newfoundland,
      Though Winter lingers long,
      Thou hast thy sons' affection deep
      Of thee fond mem'ries throng
      When forced in other lands to seek
      Their way of living they
      With yearning hearts recall their homes.
      From which they're far away.
      Oh, give me Spring in Newfoundland-
      However fair it be in other lands, or sooner come-
      Home's good enough for me


      THE POND

      I never weary of watching
      The Pond out-lying the gate-
      There's always a difference in the
      Way it looks, early and late
      There's its way of glist'ning like diamond
      Neath the rays of the morning suns
      And its way of shining like silver
      In the moon, when the waters run
      In a fairy, foaming cascade
      From the valley up the glade
      Where the water mill is busy
      All day sawing in the shade.

      And when no moon's a-shining,
      But only twinkling stars,
      The Pond reflects these light gems,
      Which gleam through ether bars.
      Then when the wind's a-blowing,
      The Pond is all a-stir,
      And the little ripples are busy,
      As if the rush they prefer.

      Just from the shore there's a rock that
      Rises the water o'er high-
      And thereon clamber aquatic
      Swimmers their feathers to dry;
      The ducks and drakes preen their plumage-
      Twisting their heads all around,
      Till every feather's inspected,
      And nothing be-marring is found.

      Fair is the Pond in the sunset
      When reflects its waters the sky,
      And shades of sweet changing colors
      Allure with their beauty the eye.
      Then some days is the air laden
      With mist as a gossamer cloud,
      And the rain-drops, dashing, splashing,
      Fleck the Pond from out the shroud.
      Just e'er rain the houses standing
      Near its edge reflected lie
      In the glassy depths so still then
      When no little breezes sigh

      Useful the Pond is in Winter,
      The ice-king bridging it o'er-
      Making a welcome short-cut,
      With less snow than around the Shore.
      Merry the Pond then with laughter
      Of young folks a-glee on their skates,
      To return home with keen, healthy hunger
      For the supper which later awaits.
      So this is the end of my story
      Of the Pond which lies down from the gate,
      Laying no least claim to glory,
      But of service in its own state.


Page transcribed by: Bill Crant June, 2000
Page revised: Sept 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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