Chart Color Legend
Documented Settlement - Red | Probable Settlement - Blue | Seasonal Settlement - Green
At the southern end of The Beach, the landscape again reverts to hills and cliffs that make up what was, and still is, referred to as the South Side. The South Side, however, is actually made up of a number of locales, with some names that have endured for at least the past two hundred years. In many of the older documents, the boundaries of the area known as the South Side were often applied inconsistently, especially in the surviving voters lists. Sometimes the name South Side was used to identify only the properties situated along the southern shoreline. At other times, the South Side included other areas that, on other occasions, were identified under their local name. Properties farther back from the shoreline were usually identified by other topographical names descriptive of their location, e.g. Road Side, High Road, The Cross, Old Woman's Pond, etc. However, sometimes they too may have been identified collectively under the term South Side.
The South Side was by far the most heavily populated area of Caplin Bay. In addition, land, for the most part, appears to have been sub-divided much earlier than land in other parts of the bay. These land divisions created quite a few individual holdings that were generally smaller in size than properties on the North Side. One factor that may have precipitated this situation was the decline of land acquisitions, and eventual property disposal by principals of Morry and Co. and Sweetland and Co. As business waned, and the Sweetlands left Caplin Bay in the 1830s, we can speculate that their former holdings were either sold, given away, or were surrendered to the Crown. Likewise in the late 1850s. with the deaths of the Matthew Morry II and III, prime land holdings on the South Side were probably relinquished as this company's presence diminished at Caplin Bay. The population of the South Side also appeared to be more transient, with properties changing hands a number of times. This could suggest that a number of these people may have been employees of the fishing businesses in this area. Inter-marriage, and inheritance through marriage, were probably other factors that caused the redistribution of single family holdings over several surnames. An old map of this area (about 1910) also shows small parcels of land, belonging to the same individual, scattered here and there throughout the South Side area.
When the second generation of Keoughs from Stone Island came of age (circa 1860s), they chose to settle at the head of Caplin Bay around a small cove, just southeast of The Beach. The brothers built their fishing premises along the shoreline around this cove, and their new homes a short distance away, along a lane leading to the main road to the North Side. This area, around the lane and cove became known as Keough's Lane and Keough's Cove respectively. Although no deeds or bills of sale have been found to date for the shoreline property, it appears that this area was the site of the earlier fishing enterprise of Sweetland & Co. The Keoughs eventually came to own substantial property in the area, including the property on which stood the large Georgian house, built by the Sweetlands in the early decades of the 1800s.
In the late 1830s, it appears that land along the shoreline, to the east of Keough's Cove, also became available. On the same day in 1838, William Shean and Edward Keefe were granted land there, on opposite sides of a small stream that flowed into Caplin Bay. This property appears to have been mainly for the purpose of building fishing rooms. We don't know if any dwelling houses were built on these properties, however we can speculate that they would not have been too far away. In the voters lists, William Sheehan is listed at Nashes, a reference to the old plantation abandoned by that family in the 1790s. There was also a Patrick and Edward Sheehan living in the adjacent areas of Wren's Nest and at the South Side, but the family structure, and their exact relationship to one another, is not clear. It would appear from the voters lists that the Sheehans may have owned property on both sides of the road to Ferryland. This property extended eastward, and down the slope, towards the shoreline of Caplin Bay.
The survey for Edward Keefe's grant shows that his property totaled more than five acres and stretched along the shoreline for about 900 feet. Although the survey indicates that the land on his south east boundary was ungranted, it is probable that this boundary was close to the old Nash plantation. Other land transactions identify that Matthew Morry had a fishing room in this area, and the survey for Patrick Kavanagh's land grant in 1847, shows that Matthew Morry occupied the property extending along the shoreline to his property north of Deep Cove. Based on the old map of 1910, Patrick's son, Martin Kavanagh, is shown in possession of this land which extended northward to the area eventually known as The Point.
For the most part, the land adjacent to the shoreline on the South Side of Caplin Bay was used for buildings and structures related to the fishing industry. However, not far away, settlers erected homes on the slopes overlooking these fishing premises. Although details of time and location are scanty, it appears that members of the Rossiter family, who may have first settled at Athlone on the North Side, resettled on the South Side in the 1840s. One homestead appears to have been established in the area along the stream mentioned in the Shean and Keefe land grants, possibly to the south west of Edward Keefe's land.
Although the property of Matthew Morry III on the North Side is still remembered as an early Morry homestead, there is very sketchy information on exactly where the two previous Morry generations lived at Caplin Bay. We know, from the Surrogate Court records, that Matthew Morry (the first) was granted property at the Beach in the late 1700s. However, this land was to have been used solely for his fishing enterprise. In an 1836 land transaction, there is mention of a cookroom, which was part of Morry's fishing room. This seems to place the Morry fishing room at, or close to, the old Nash Plantation. However, a bill of sale in 1855, indicates that Matthew Morry did not purchase the Nash Plantation, from Arthur Holdsworth of Dartmouth, Devon, until 1847/1848. This bill of sale mentions that the property, in addition to being shoreline property, also had a dwelling, a garden, and a meadow. It is also possible this area was the location of another Morry homestead in Caplin Bay. The voters list identifies that Matthew Morry (the second) lived in an area known as Rocky Park. Although as merchants, it seems likely that their home would have been a substantial structure, no family or community lore has survived which identifies its location.
From what has been gleaned from various documents, the most likely location of the Nash Plantation is on the shoreline in the area known today as the Point. In an 1828 deed, Benjamin Sweetland bought some property, from Walter Shelley, that was adjoining the Nash Plantation on the South Side. This property was bounded by the properties of John Power and Edward MacNamara, and the road leading to Ferryland. Edward MacNamara's property, in one of the voters list, is referred to by the local name of Helens instead of the South Side. Another family, who lived in this area, and is mentioned as being on the South Side or Nashes/Natches was the (O')Toole family. Since it appears that the Nash Plantation occupied the shoreline, Terrence Toole's homestead was probably back from the cliffs a considerable distance, more than likely in the vicinity of where his grandsons later built their homes.
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© Kevin Reddigan (2002 - 2018)
Page Last Updated: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 02:33:33 PM EST