The Cross and Old Woman's Pond


Chart Color Legend

Documented Settlement - Red | Probable Settlement - Blue | Seasonal Settlement - Green


1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 0
8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


On the South Side, west of the Keough property, is the local area known as The Cross. The name - The Cross- is derived from the fact that the early roads from the North Side, Cape Broyle, and Ferryland converged at this point to form an intersection i.e. the crossroads. The Cross sits at the foot of a small pond known as the Old Woman's Pond. Located in a deep valley, settlement near this pond was mainly on the northeast end where the land was relatively level.

Although for well over a hundred years, the Bolands have been the most prevalent family name in this area, the voters lists of the 1840s and 1850s indicate that The Cross and Old Woman's Pond originally had a number of other family names. In this era, the Bolands were still shown living farther to the south east in the area known as the Wren's Nest. The voters lists show that Michael Hearn, son of Thomas Hearn, a pre-1800 settler, was living at The Cross. Michael was born about 1796, probably at Caplin Bay. We can speculate from the baptism records that Michael was, in all liklihood, the grandfather of one of the Boland families. When he died, not having any surviving sons, it is likely that his property at The Cross was divided amongst his Boland grandsons. Although Michael also appears to have had two grandsons in one of the Power families, neither of them are found at Caplin Bay in any later records.

The Sweetlands were a Ferryland business family of Devon, England origin. They had a business at Caplin Bay in the first three decades of the nineteenth century, and built a large Georgian mansion there. This house, which was located at the foot of the Old Woman's Pond, and adjacent to The Cross, was probably built sometime in the second decade of that century. The large and eloquent home, which supposedly had sixteen bedrooms, was occupied by Benjamin Sweetland, who appears to have been the chief proprietor in the enterprise. William Sweetland, his brother, was also involved in the business, although it appears that his family never moved to Newfoundland, but lived in Dartmouth, Devon, England. William had married Priscilla Morry, daughter of Matthew Morry I, who also operated a business at Caplin Bay. Ties between these two families were further strengthened when Matthew Morry I, a widower, married Anne Sweetland, widow and mother of Benjamin and William. She had been twice widowed prior to this marriage. We can only speculate who occupied this house, besides Benjamin Sweetland and his family.

When business waned in the 1830s, Benjamin and William Sweetland left Caplin Bay to take up magisterial positions in Trinity and Bonavista, respectively. Ownership of the house and property is uncertain after this time, but in the late 1860s the house and property was sold by Thomas Graham Morry (grandson of Matthew Morry I) to John Keough, youngest son of Edward Keough of Stone Island. This property stayed in the Keough family for a number of years. An old map of Caplin Bay shows that Patrick Keough, son of John, inherited the old Sweetland house and some of the surrounding property. The same map also shows that Richard Delahunty, who had married John Keough's niece, Maggie, was occupying the remainder of the property. The old Sweetland house, which underwent considerable renovations to down-size it over the years, was eventually sold to Arthur Power after Patrick Keough was killed in a shipboard accident in 1912.

Another name associated with this area was Gorman. Richard Gorman was listed as living at the Old Woman's Pond in the Caplin Bay voters lists of the early 1840s. We can only speculate that this was Richard Gorman of Ferryland, who had held a number of Crown appointments in the early 1800s. We could further speculate that he may have built a "retirement" home near the scenic Old Woman's Pond at Caplin Bay. No Gormans were recorded at Caplin Bay, nor anywhere in Ferryland District, after 1842. Is is not known where the Gorman house was located, but the hill overlooking the north side of the Old Woman's Pond is still remembered for its association with the Gorman surname.

In 1844, the surname Healy surfaced again at Caplin Bay, at Gorman(d)s which was possibly the same property formerly occupied by Richard Gorman. This was not the first time that property in this area had been associated with the Healy surname. In 1814, James Hayley sold the property, just east of Gormans, to William Sweetland. This property probably became the site of the Sweetland mansion. The voters lists show that Edward Healey, who had been living at Ferryland, moved to Caplin Bay about 1843, and occupied property near the Old Woman's Pond. It would also appear that he still held onto his property at Ferryland; his son Andrew inherited it after his death. Edward's son, Jeffrey, stayed at Caplin Bay until the 1880s, but he does not appear to have occupied the same property as his father.

Another family with a long association with The Cross and Old Woman's Pond areas was the Foleys. The voters lists, of the 1840s and 1850s, indicate that Patrick Foley lived at the Old Woman's Pond. An old map from the early 1900s shows that Thomas Foley owned several pieces of property in these areas. Early baptism records indicate that the Foleys had inter-marrried with the Healeys, but by the second decade of the twentieth century, the family name had disappeared from Caplin Bay. At this time, we do not know where the Foley homestead was located. John J. Foley, a son of Thomas, moved to Bristol, CT about 1889. He married Bridget Rossiter, also from Caplin Bay, and raised a large family there.

Two other families, that are shown living in these areas in the early 1840s, were the Maddens and Howleys. Michael Madden is listed as living at the Old Woman's Pond, and Michael Howley was living at the Cross. Nothing is known of their homestead location, or the extent of property that these families owned.

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