There are seven volumes labeled as Southern District (Deeds) 1825 -1888. Although most of the documents in these volumes are land deeds, land grants, mortgages, etc., there are some in the form of a will defining how land should be divided after the demise of its owner. These volumes are indexed alphabetically, with cross-referencing of both parties involved in the transaction.
The volumes are presently housed at the Registry of Deeds, 59 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John's, under the administration of the Commercial Registrations Division of the Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. They are accessible to the general public and may be searched free of charge. Photocopies may be obtained for a small fee per page.
Southern District Deeds 1825 - 1888.
Documented land transactions at, or pertaining to residents of, Caplin Bay.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 1 - Page 47 - Richard Reddigan to Andrew Morrison.
In Sept 1827, Martin "Readigan" was listed as one of "the principal, but poor Inhabitants" of Aquaforte who signed a petition against increased duties on imported articles. On November 21, 1827, the St. John's newspaper, The Newfoundlander, reported the sudden death of a man they identified as Martin "Reardigan" belonging to Caplin Bay. He dropped dead ("visitation of God") while buying molasses at the stores of James Stewart and Co. on Water Street, St. John's. About three weeks later, on December 12, 1827, Richard "Reddigan" of Caplin Bay sold off a piece of property at Brewen Cove, on the south side of Aquaforte, to Andrew Morrison, a surgeon at Ferryland. These events, while recording three variations of the same surname, strongly support the Aquaforte/Caplin Bay connection of this family. Although no specific information is mentioned in this deed, it appears that Richard Reddigan may have been in a fishing partnership at Aquaforte with the Martin Readigan/Reardigan, mentioned in the two previous events of 1827. Although initially thought that Martin and Richard were father and son respectively, later records indicate that they were actually cousins, however the exact kinship structure has not be determined.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 1 - Page 81 - Walter Shelley to Benjamin Sweetland.
Transcript of an 1828 Bill of Sale in which Walter Shelly, formerly of Capelin Bay but now of St. John's, sold his plantation to Benjamin Sweetland, merchant at Caplin Bay. The property is described as being on the south west side of Capelin Bay and the boundaries given help define the approximate location of other settlers, and past settlers, of that era. It appears from old court records that Walter Shelley may have lived at Ferryland first, then moved to Caplin Bay, and finally to St. John's. In one court record, he is identified as being a former resident of Portlaw, Co. Waterford, Ireland.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 1 - Page 175 - Ewen Stabb Deputy Sheriff to Elizabeth Finn.
Transcript of a judgement against John O'Brien of Caplin Bay. According to the Ferryland Supreme Court Records, on November 4, 1830, Elizabeth Finn sued John O'Brien to obtain payment for an outstanding debt. John O'Brien lost the case, and the court issued a Writ of Fieri Facias commanding the Deputy Sheriff to sell off sufficient property, owned by O'Brien, to settle the outstanding debt.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 1 - Page 180 - Ewen Stabb to Robert Carter. (Transcription courtesy of Christopher Morry.)
According to this 1830 deed, Patrick Congdon (sic) had recently lost a case in Ferryland court; the details of which are unknown at this time. In order to satisfy this judgement, Deputy Sheriff Ewen Stabb was authorized by the court to sell Patrick's entire plantation at Caplin Bay, which he did for the sum of £17. The purchaser of the property was Robert Carter of Ferryland, and although he let Patrick and family stay on as tenants, his Journal entries show that he was still collecting rent from Patrick's family in 1845. This is the same property that is still owned by the Condon family, but to date no record has been found to indicate how, and when, they regained full ownership of this property.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 1 - Page 299 - James Walsh Senr to James Walsh Junr
Transcript of an 1831 Deed of Gift in which James Walsh, Sr. of Caplin Bay gives his son James Walsh, Jr. all of his land and possessions. However, for reasons unexplained, James Walsh, Jr. eventually rejected the Deed of Gift, and the deed was cancelled in its entirety in 1832, restoring full ownership of the property to James Walsh, Sr.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 1 - Page 395 - James Welsh to James Stuart
Transcript of an 1833 mortgage agreement between James Walsh, Sr. of Caplin Bay and James Stuart of Rennie, Stuart and Co. of St. John's, Newfoundland. James mortgaged his plantation on the North Side of Caplin Bay for £60. The mortgage was to be repaid at the rate of £16 for the first year and £6 per year after that, until the remaining amount was paid in full.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 2 - Page 5 - Crown Land Grant to Benjamin Sweetland
(Crown Land Grant # 443.)
This is the transcript of Crown Land Grant # 443 granted to Benjamin Sweetland of Caplin Bay in 1832. It is interesting to note that this is one of the grants from the volumes that are shown by Crown Lands as having been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. The grant is written on a three page pre-printed form, complete with the Royal Coat of Arms near the top. The land survey is attached on the fourth page. The grant shows that the land is being leased to Benjamin Sweetland at the rate of six pence per acre/per year. The land survey gives very few points of reference, but the southern boundary shows part of a pond (The Old Woman's Pond?) and a partial boundary with land already owned by Sweetland. This was a substantial piece of land, totalling over 27 acres. It is mentioned on 1N2-143 of the Cadastral Maps, but the location of the land could not be plotted because of insufficient survey information.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 2 - Page 132 - Crown Land Grant to William Shean
(Crown Land Grant # 238.)
This is the transcript of Crown Land Grant # 238 granted to William Shean of Caplin Bay in 1838. This is also one of the grants from the volumes that are shown by Crown Lands as having been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. The grant is written on a three page pre-printed form, complete with the Royal Coat of Arms near the top. The land survey is at the bottom of the third page. The grant is different financially than the one previously granted to Benjamin Sweetland, which was leased at the rate of six pence per acre/per year. In this instance the land was granted "free", with William Shean paying only the fees of £1. 0. 0. The land survey and a detailed description, on a fourth page, indicate that the property is along the south side of Caplin Bay, on the southeast side of a stream flowing into the bay. The property is plotted on 1N2-143 of the Cadastral Maps incorrectly under the name of W. Shears. The location of the land may also be in question since there were several streams flowing into the bay in this area.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 2 - Page 136 - Crown Land Grant to Edward Keef(e)
(Crown Land Grant # 240.)
This is the transcript of Crown Land Grant # 240 granted to Edward Keef(e), fisherman, of Ferryland in 1838. The grant was approved on the same day as the one for William Shean. The land survey is at the bottom of the third page, and again the land was "free" with Edward Keef(e) paying only the fees of £1. 0. 0. The land survey shows Edwards property on the opposite side of the same stream that is a boundary of William Shean's grant. The property, which was considerably larger than the Shean property, is also plotted on 1N2-143 of the Cadastral Maps. As mentioned with William Shean's property, the location of the land may be in question. The Cadastral plotting appears to place it further to the northwest that it may have actually been. This speculation is based on evidence that the old Nash plantation may have been occupied by Matthew Morry & Co. The Cadastral Map location shows the northwest boundry of Edward keefe's grant stretching beyond the area where this plantation is believed to have been.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 2 - Page 319 - Crown Land Grant to Patrick Kavannah
(Crown Land Grant # 610.)
This is the transcript of Crown Land Grant # 610 granted to Patrick Kavannah, Farmer, of Caplin Bay in 1847. This is also one of the grants from the volumes that are shown by Crown Lands as having been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1892. The grant is written on a three page pre-printed form, complete with the Royal Coat of Arms near the top. The land survey is at the bottom of the third page. This grant is different from some of the previous grants in that the overall cost was only five shillings and survey fees, etc. were not levied. The land survey and description indicate that the property is on the western side of Caplin Bay, on the south side of Deep Cove River. The property's location is plotted correctly on 1N2-143 of the Cadastral Maps, however, it is incorrectly identified as Grant 110. Interestingly, the survey shows that the property to the "northward", along the shore of Caplin Bay is in the possession of Matthew Morry. This again raises the question as to where the old Nash plantation may have been located.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 3 - Page 3 - Matthew Morry to Timothy Browne & o'r
This is the transcript of an 1836 Indenture or Bill of Sale which shows that Matthew Morry, Jr. sold two pieces of property on the South Side of Caplin Bay, to Timothy Browne and Benjamin Sweetland, for 10 pounds. The properties are identified as previously being part of the Gregory Plantation, but now occupied by Matthew Whelan, his wife Margaret, and their children. The interesting part of this deed is that the sale is conditional. The deed states that the property must be retained "in Trust" for the exclusive use of the Margaret Whalen and/or her children. There is no mention of whether or not the land is leased or rented to the Whelans. Another interesting thing is the names of the two new owners. Benjamin Sweetland, was a Protestant merchant, born at Ferryland, but of Devon, England descent. His business, at this time, was based at Caplin Bay. Timothy Browne, although listed as a clerk, may have actually been the Irish Roman Catholic parish priest of Ferryland! Shortly after this purchase, Benjamin Sweetland left for Trinity to take up a position there as magistrate. Father Browne left Newfoundland in 1841, after a dispute with Bishop Fleming. Based on the description of the location of the properties, they appear to have been occupied by the Whelan/Whalen family well into the twentieth century.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 3 - Page 238 - Matthew Morry to Patrick Cain
This is the transcript of the sale of property by Matthew Morry to Patrick Cain in 1843. The land, located on the south side of Caplin Bay, had previously belonged to William Broderick, who was then deceased. Although this document states that the property was occupied by Patrick Cain prior to the sale, Patrick's name never appeared in the voters list at Caplin Bay, before or after the sale.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 3 - Page 240 - William Sweetland to Elizabeth Carter
This is the 1843 transcript of an indenture for the sale of the estate of Henry Sweetland and Ann Morry, parents of William Sweetland, formerly of Ferryland and Caplin Bay, but then residing in Bonavista. Henry Sweetland died at Ferryland about 1797, and some years later his widow, Ann, married Matthew Morry (first generation) of Devon and Caplin Bay. Ann Morry died at Caplin Bay in 1838, two years after the death of Matthew Morry. It is stated in this document that the property is being sold to Elizabeth Carter of Exeter, England to satisfy a judgment in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland against the Sweetland estate, i.e. the land and premises located on the " Downs" in Ferryland. The details and circumstances surrounding this case are unknown at the present time.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 3 - Page 274 - James Walsh to Richd Reddigan
Transcript of an 1844 Deed of Gift in which James Walsh, (Senior) of Caplin Bay gave Richard Reddigan "the younger"all his property and possessions. This document contains at least two subtle clues to probable Reddigan family connections. The presence of John Mullally, as a witness to the deed, points again to the connection with the Aquaforte Readigans. John Mullally and Mary Readigan, both of Co. Kilkenny, were married at Aquaforte on November 11, 1825. John Mullally, in all liklihood, was Richard Reddigan's uncle. The second inferred kinship is that of Richard Reddigan, the younger, to the now elderly James and Ellen Walsh. Reddigan family lore has always told of a family connection to the Evoy family. James Walsh's wife Ellen (Nelly) had been married to Michael Evoy before she married James Walsh. She had two sons and four daughters from her first marriage. She remarried (James Walsh) about 1799 and eventually the family moved to Caplin Bay. It is believed that one of Nelly's daughters married Richard Reddigan (from Aquaforte & Co. Kilkenny) and settled on the property ajoining the Walsh property. This deed strongly supports research that indicates that Nelly (Evoy) Walsh was the grandmother of Richard Reddigan (the younger). Although this Deed of Gift was never revoked, the property stayed within the Walsh family. Richard Reddigan eventually married Jane Johnston, but they had no children. They moved to Bristol, CT in 1891, but eventually returned to Newfoundland, where both of them died, Richard at age 95 and Jane at age 90.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 3 - Page 279 - John Rossiter to Thomas Lackey
In the earliest voters lists for Caplin Bay (1840 & 1842), John Rossiter is shown living on the north Side of Caplin Bay in the area known as Athlone. In November of 1842, John sold his house and garden to Thomas Lackey. Thomas is mentioned in other documents as a shoemaker, living at Ferryland, throughout the 1840s and 1850s. Some wording in this Bill of Sale, and absence from the voters lists of 1844, give the impression that the Rossiters may have left Caplin Bay for a short period of time. We don't know why Thomas Lackey bought this property since he never seems to have lived there. No record has been found to indicate that Lackey sold this property, but by 1844, Matthew Morry Jr. (third generation), was shown living in the area known as Athlone. However, there is no evidence that his property included the land previously owned by John Rossiter.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 5 - Page 67 - Thos G. Morry to John Kough
In the second decade of the nineteenth century, William and Benjamin Sweetland, from Ferryland, bought considerable land on the south side of Caplin Bay and established a fishing business there. A large Georgian house was built at the east end of the Old Woman's Pond, several hundred yards from their shoreline fishing enterprise. We can speculate that after its initial construction both William and Benjamin lived in this house. However, it appears that William's stay may have be seasonal since his family were all born in England. We don't know if they ever moved to Caplin Bay, unless they did so after the death of William's wife, Priscilla, at Devon in 1820. Benjamin Sweetland did not marry until December 1827, but it appears that he and his family lived in the house for a number of years. Sometime in the later half of the 1830s, both Benjamin and William left Caplin Bay to take up positions as magistrates at Trinity and Bonavista respectively. Nothing is known of who occupied the house after that and, it was not until December 1872 that the house and property were sold. It was bought by John Keough, youngest son of Edward Keough, one of the Stone Island settlers. The seller was Thomas Graham Morry, who had been born at Caplin Bay in 1812, but at the time of the sale is believed to have been an accountant living in St. John's. It is not clear if Morry owned the property, or if he was acting on behalf of one of the previous owners.
- Southern District 1825 - 1888, Volume 6 - Page 180 - Ellen Condon Admnx to James Clancey & o'rs
Transcript of an 1883 Bill of Sale for property on the North Side of Caplin Bay. The land was being sold by Ellen Condon, widow of Kyran Condon, to James, Thomas, and Patrick Clancey. Ellen sold the property to the Clanceys for 80 dollars, 20 dollars (£5) of which was paid up front. A Newfoundland pound was the equivalent to $4.00 at that time. The remaining amount had to be paid on or before January 2, 1885. Kyran Condon was lost at sea on, or about, January 6, 1883 on a voyage to Oporto, Portugal. His widow, Ellen, and their nine children lived in St. John's. Since Kyran had died without a will, Ellen had to first petition the Supreme Court of Newfoundland to grant her Letters of Administration before she could proceed to settle his estate.