Hatchet Cove

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Eliab Blundon’s home in Hatchet Cove

The origin of the name Hatchet Cove is not known, but folklore has it that on a calm night water lapping against the rocks created a sound much like the chopping of an axe. An interesting story is one about the ‘hatchet man’ – many times, day and night, you could hear the sound of someone chopping wood with an axe, hence Hatchet Cove. Some say the name is in honour of Rev. Henry Hatcher, a Methodist minister who was stationed at Shoal Harbour, and was called Hatcher’s Cove prior to Hatchet Cove. This is unlikely as per Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador which states Rev. Hatcher was stationed at Sound Island – Haystack until 1877 when he was ordained and stationed on the Shoal Harbour charge 1878 – 1879. We find Hatchet Cove listed as a community on the 1873 voters’ list for Trinity Bay.

Prior to the first permanent settlers, Hatchet Cove was settled by winter men, seasonal settlers who came from across Trinity Bay and the Conception Bay areas to reap the rich forest stands of the South West Arm.

The first permanent settlers at Hatchet Cove circa 1869 were Samuel and Elizabeth Parsons and their family from Ochre Pit Cove, Conception Bay and James Brown (1822–1900) and his wife Sarah Ann and their family, who originally relocated from Thoroughfare to Fox Harbour (Southport). James and Sarah Ann had a daughter Mary Ellen born at Hatchet Cove in May 1871. John Bishop (1846–1932), his wife Annie and their family from Bishop’s Cove, Conception Bay, settled at Hatchet Cove circa 1884. Their daughter Rebecca was born at Hatchet Cove on August 12, 1884. William Blundell (1822–1884), born at Lower Island Cove, Conception Bay, who had settled at St. Jones Within, purchased the property owned by Samuel Parsons circa 1880 and set up a water-powered saw mill at the mouth of the brook. William Blundell did not settle at Hatchet Cove but shared this land between his son John Blundell (1851–1931) and stepson Eliab Robbins (1840–1879), who were the ancestors of the Blundell (later Blundon) and Robbins families of Hatchet Cove. John Lambert (circa1842–1895), born at Grates Cove, and his wife Mary Ann and their family settled at Fox Harbour (Southport) before settling at Hatchet Cove circa 1882.

For a brief period of time, James Farrell and his family, originally from Heart’s Ease Beach, along with his son-in-law James Brown, lived at Hatchet Cove. Also, William and Hannah Drover had a son Aaron born at Hatchet Cove on February 13, 1876.

At Hatchet Cove Point, now abandoned, there is Janes Beach which was possibly named after a family of Janes who once settled in the area. Alfred George Cramm (1850–1926), born at Hant’s Harbour, and his wife Bennett settled here about 1892 as their daughter, Jessie Louisa, was born at Hatchet Cove Point in 1892. Jessie Louisa married Elijah Baker (son of Elias and Amelia Ann Baker of Elias’, Ganny Cove Arm, Butter Cove) on April 7, 1914. Jessie and Elijah first lived at Elias’ until around 1918 when they moved their family to Hatchet Cove Point. Their third child, Elias George, was born there in 1922. Elijah’s brother John married Enid, another daughter of Alfred George and Bennett Cramm. They also first lived at Elias’ and moved to Hatchet Cove Point circa 1918. The Bakers lived at Hatchet Cove Point until circa 1935.

The 1870 voters’ list for the South West Arm lists five eligible voters that are associated with Hatchet Cove – Samuel Parsons, Thomas Parsons, Henry Parsons, James Brown and John Brown. The 1873 voters’ list identifies Hatchet Cove with six eligible voters – Samuel Parsons, Thomas Parsons, Henry Parsons, John Parsons, James Brown and John Brown.

Hatchet Cove is not listed in the 1884 voters’ list but is listed in the census for this year. The census records shows a population of 33 which consisted of eight families living in six houses with fishing and lumbering being the main occupations. By 1901, the population had increased to 58 with 13 families living in 12 houses and one vessel engaged in the Labrador fishery.

By 1884, a Methodist school chapel was built and in 1909 the construction of the first Methodist church was started. The Anglican congregation built a school chapel circa 1906.

In 1907, Eleazar Robbins discovered a mineral deposit composed of lead, zinc, silver, and some trace amounts of gold. The mining operation started and shut down after two months because it was not economically feasible. Some years later, the mine reopened under Campbell and Cook who had obtained land grants for the mine. After a six-month period it closed as once again it was determined not to be economically feasible.

In World War I five men enlisted from Hatchet Cove: William George Bishop, Joseph Cramm, James Cramm, Eliab Robbins and Benoni Robbins. All five returned home. World War II saw ten men enlist: Levi George Lambert, Alexander  Lambert, Noah Bishop, Wilbert John Robbins,  Eleazar Robbins, John Kenmore Blundon, Chesley Harrison Pittman, Willis Drover, Norman Cramm and Samuel Cramm. All returned home except Levi George Lambert, who was lost in the sinking of HMS Transylvania, and Willis Drover.

Note: This article is subject to further correction and revision.

NOTE: See also information from Decks Awash, Volume 15, Number 6, November-December 1986