Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The history of salmon cove west [now champneys west ] is one of a long and very informative journey,it takes us back to the spring of 1675 when under a order from the king of England the Brigatine Mary ,a 100 ton sailing ship was commissioned to navagate to newfoundland,under the command of John Le Cross,a well known fishing admiral.Through research at Memorial University,Maritime Archives and the Rooms[ provincial archives] It was determined and proved that John Le Cross
entered Trinity Bay on the north side and proceeded to the land mark of Horse Chops,then proceeded on to the entrance of Salmon Cove,where his written account goes as follows,*[upon entering the mouth of the harbour we took soundings on the westerd side of the harbour where one stand alone rock lying ajacent to a point running to the south exists,it seems to be the only visible rock protruding from the water the depth of five fathoms was observed,lying to the easterd of this point is a low sloping point of land,this itself assures a safe and sheltered cove.Moving northwards a small island was observed lying no more than a hundred feet eastward of the mainland,here advantaged us to make fast the Brig between the mainland and island.Twas here that we observed an indraft lying to the westrd with only a minute amount of water remains at bottom tides, the low sloping land at waters edge gives us a fair advantage where we can place rooms and plant crops.one can only perceive as to the sheltered safty of one place.Thence northwards of this little island is the bottom of this long shelterd harbour,this here that a river of such is observed,one can only imagine the ease of cutting lungers and timber farther in draft.On either side of the river there is ample amount of water to tie a hundred ships.to the easterd of the island there is a small inlet characterd by steep sloping hill which offer the most ample protection from prevailing winds .water depths can be from 5 to 20 fathoms in depth and one could navagate at anytime within this cove].*
* When reading sir john berrys cenus [1675 to 1681] it provides even more evidence of John Le Cross being here at salmon cove . A quote from this census cleary shows that John le cross had a plantation set up here which consisted of twelve men,three boats ,one stage and some subsistant crop growing and going from the previous quote it is quite clear that it was set up on the westrd side of the harbour.This is clearly that start of the planter fishery and the beginnning of the end of the migratory fishery from Europe.
Unfortunatly John Le Cross left Salmon cove and sat up plantations in Trouty.and eventually the bottom of Trinity bay.It wasnt untill the Queen Anne war[1702-1713] that we see any more evidence of any activity ,during this time a portion of salmon cove west known as Fox Island was garrisoned by the english because of the ever increasing threat of the french who by now had taken Placentia and moving westward, and because of the enactment of captain crowes law earlier that year that stated that inhabitants,fishermen,and servents to repair to winter quarters allotted to them by 1st Oct and be under command of several governors for better security against the enemey.Captain Crowe also said that in the event of threat from the enemey ,that all people take up defenses on either Dildo Island
in the south of Trinity bay or Fox Island farther to the north.
Early census of 1753 shows that there were indeed people living on Fox Island this mainly due to its high defensive point,those names were as follow Jonathon Garrett,Josheph Hiscock,Thos Sprague,Mathew Sprague,William Kearney,from here on through the seven years war there were on times a lot of people living on and maintaining fox island.At times cattle were raised hay was made and fortifications maintained to help support Trinity.During this time ther are numerous mentions in Benjamin Lesters diaries * as to picking up fish and ,maintaining flakes and stages owned by Mr Lester on or near Fox Island and Salmon cove.
during the summer of 1762 there are several mentions of Lester ordering cattle and livestock up from Fox island to give to the french when trinity was under french seige ,it was one of the service sites to help maintain merchants ,livyers,and the trading center of Trinity.
As the seven year war came to an end poeple started to maintain more dwellings, rooms, boats ,and the whole of Salmon cove started to populate again.
through early accounts in diaries ,court records,and census again we are able to see that the whole of Salmon Cove started to spread out from east to west and the population of Fox Island also thinning out to lower lands of Salmon Cove.
By now the migratory fishery has been replaced by a merchant/planter system
and settlements are by now becoming permanent,while the merchants are still holding the majority of property,boats,rooms,everything you needed was provided by the merchant but taken from the fish the fishermen caught.mostly resulting in nothing extra left for the fishermen,YOU WERE BASICALLY OWNED BY THE MERCHANT.
Salmon cove being mainly settled by english settlers from the south of England [somerset][dorset][poole][leamington,hants]and areas scattered,had a strong church of England religious background as is evident in almost all cummunities scattered around the coast
Through the years we have seen three churches here ,the first one built in 1879,
measured 101 feet in length,with chancel and porch,it had a width of 50 feet ,and walls of 20 feet in height,letters was sent out to captains of sealing vessels to have money deducted from all crew members to help pay for the construction of new church.Here is a quote from one of the letters sent out to Captain Francis Ash
from James Ford master builder of the building IN March 1879 it went as follows
*[Dear Sir,the distance from salmon cove west to the church on the east side is about three miles around shore.to [which]we could not attend at all times.we the members of salmon cove west agreed together to build a new one .About 60 men of us convened in 1876 in getting out the frame and we have got on so far with the building as to have it covered and shingled and first floored, the building is one hundred and one feet in length with chancel,porch,by fifty wide ,by twenty high.
We therefore beg respectfully that you will collect from your men for us .In this good and Godly work.
Signed; James Ford ,master of the building].
The second church opened in 1923,again through relentless efforts of the poeple and collection of donations, wage attachments from sealing and fishing vessels, and countless hours of labour donated
it was a big sucess.Unfortunatly in 1962 the church burned down and a hugh loss had occurred.From then on to 1964 services and funerals were held at the old jubalee hall[club hall] and in 1963 work began on the construction of the new church and was completed in the fall of 1964 St Clements was opened again
in November for services.
In summary Salmon Cove west like Salmon Cove East and Arm has played a vital role in the formation of the early migratory fishery,early plantations,planter fishery,thence forth to the merchantile fishery and onwards into the fishery of today,just as we have been impacted in the past with war and declining fisherys and into today with the cod moritorium of 1992 and an ever increasing pressure on all stocks Salmon Cove [now Champneys]has been there through it all and thruogh this research we hope to be able to give people a glimpse into the past and to establish and show them where we came from and how we got to where we are today,this is just a brief over view of what we have covered in our research and we indeed do have a lot of info in our folders and computers that we would love to share with you the public


  1. I am so very pleased to see the story of Champneys west heritage on line.
    It fills my heart with great joy and pride to know that we live in such a beautiful community;a community where people are so proud of there past and are using this to keep the future of this community alive;in such hard economic times.
    I am very proud to call Champneys west home.
    I would like to give Champneys west a 10/10 for community spirit; which is very evident in the many activities sponsored but at the same time keeping the peace and tranqulity of this beautiful little outport of 61 permenate residents.
    We are very lucky to live in such a wonderful spot.

    Wanda pippy

  2. Hi
    Great Site.
    Am thrilled with the fact I can visit online, and feel like I am back at home amongst great friends.
    It is a truly special part of the world, and its where my heart lies
    From a part time resident of Champneys West

    Dawn 16.1.2009

  3. Looks great!! It's good to see the interest in our history is alive and well in Champney's!!
    Keep it goin'!

  4. I have looked and looked for a web site that showed an bit of home. You guys have alos given us history as well. Very nice to see, especially when we are scatterd so far from home.

    Love it

  5. My wife's Mother is from this area. Would like to get a copy of the picture at the top of the page. And to find out any Geneology information. Who can I contact and thank you for the information and pictures provided on this page, Great work.

  6. we have quite a bit of geneology info on hand and would love to here from anybody and help in any way possible you can email me or call 709-464-3675,waynefreeman_45@hotmail.com

  7. Excellent job on the site! Very knowledgable informaion and explains our community very well. Loved watching the slide shows! Very nice!

    Krystal Freeman