Chart Color Legend
Documented Settlement - Red | Probable Settlement - Blue | Seasonal Settlement - Green
The early settlement known as Stone Island is not actually on an island, but is more precisely the northeastern headland of Caplin Bay. There were no resident settlers identified there in the Ferryland Census of 1800, however, generally five founding families, (Wade, Swain, Keough, Sullivan and Meaney) are referred to as the Stone Island settlers.
In local oral tradition, the Wade family (William) is said to have been the first of the Stone Island settlers. The Wades settled on the southwest side of the river, flowing from Stone Island Pond, into a small cove that still bears their family name. Robert Swain, who may have been from Co. Wexford, was probably the next settler at Stone Island. He settled across the river, on the north-east side, opposite the Wade property. Robert's first child, Elizabeth (Eliza), was born there about 1817. In 1838, Eliza married Joseph Sullivan of Co. Wexford, Ireland and they settled on property adjacent to her father.
Edward Keough, also from Co. Wexford, Ireland settled at Stone Island and started a family there in the early 1830s. He settled on land west of, and adjacent to, the Wade property. Edward's headstone states that he came to Newfoundland about 1816, but it is not known where he lived prior to settling at Stone Island. James Meaney, likely from Ferryland, married and settled at Stone Island about 1839. His property, on the southwest side of Stone Island Pond, was located adjacent to the Wade and Keough properties.
Although living at Stone Island placed these families closer to the prime fishing grounds and goods and services at Ferryland, it was a difficult place to land fish and to find adequate shelter for their fishing boats. The area was open to the fierce storms blowing in off the North Atlantic and their fishing boats and premises were very vulnerable to these storms. In addition, in early spring the heavy Arctic ice, grinding its way south along the coastline, destroyed anything left unsecured and within its reach at high tide.
As the next generation came of age, the settlement trend was to move westward, towards the head of the bay, where homes and fishing premises were more sheltered from the ravages of storms and ice floes. The Wade family stayed at Stone Island, maybe because Johnny Wade (son of William) spent most of his time farming rather that fishing. His daughter, Kitty, who was the last of the Wades, was also the last person to move from Stone Island. She died at Calvert in 1934.
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© Kevin Reddigan (2002 - 2018)
Page Last Updated: Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 02:33:33 PM EST