Barrow Harbour

BARROW HARBOUR, by Janet Miller Pitt, Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador

(pop. 1935, 4). Abandoned settlement on the southeastem tip of the Eastport Peninsula, Bonavista Bay. According to Captain Russell in his “Accompt of the Enghsh Inhabitants of Newfoundland” (CO. 1:38 cited in J.J. Mannion: 1977), two bye-boatkeepers used Barrow Harbour as a summer fishing station in 1676. In 1762 B. Lester and Company of Poole, Dorset established a winter base for furring, sealing and salmon fishing at Barrow Harbour. During the Napoleonic Wars, 1796 to 1814, Barrow Harbour was used as a refuge for ships because it could be easily defended against French naval attack. Its main use, however, was a supply and trading depot for fishermen in Greenspond, King’s Cove and vicinity. Salt was also stored during this time at Barrow Harbour, and temporary ship maintenance was carried out there. Barrow Harbour was used mainly as a summer fishing station from 1800 to 1820. The first permanent settlement at Barrow Harbour began c.1826 when two brothers-in-law. Wells and Powell, moved their families from Bonavista. In 1831 the King family settled in Barrow Harbour from Old Perlican, and in 1837 the Matchems settled from Sturminster Newton, Dorset. The economy of Barrow Harbour was based on the cod and seal fisheries with some supplementary agriculture, and by the 1860s Barrow Harbour was one of the most prosperous and successful settlements in Bonavista Bay. From c.l885 to c.l921 fishermen from Barrow Harbour sent a vessel to the Labrador fishery.
The community maintained close economic ties with Salvage although as a Methodist community it shared churches and schools with Happy Adventure, the closest community with a sizeable Methodist congregation. These close ties with larger communities probably account for the lack of growth in Barrow Harbour’s population between 1901 (fourteen people) and 1921 (twenty people) as families moved to Salvage and Happy Adventure. The first road on the Eastport Peninsula connecting Sandy Point and Salvage bypassed Barrow Harbour and only a footpath and the sea connected the people of Barrow Harbour with other communities. The final census report, of 1935, lists one family. This family, named Hapgood, moved to Happy Adventure between 1935 and 1945, ending the settlement of one of Bonavista Bay’s oldest communities. J.J. Mannion (1977), Fred Brown (interview, Nov. 1980), Census (1891-1935). JEMP (Janet Miller Jan Miller Pitt Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador)


Get the latest information on Greenspond Historical Society news, projects, funding, volunteer opportunities, and more!