Northern Bight/Hillview

During his geological survey of Trinity Bay in 1839, Joseph Beete Jukes stated on July 10th that they “set off from Fox Harbour in the boat with four hands to examine the inlet called Southwest Arm. We pulled along under the northern shore, visiting a fine looking harbour called by the people Jones`s Harbour. At the mouth of this a breeze sprang up and we hoisted sail and ran along shore. I could see no other moving thing on the broad sound, and the hills and woods around us, but our little boat dancing from wave to wave. Just before we arrived at the head of the arm we caught sight, however, of a heap of chips of wood in a cove on the right hand, which the men said was probably near a winter-house or tilt. We made for it accordingly, and found a path leading in about fifty yards to a very good tilt. The house which we had thus lighted upon had been occupied by a party the preceding winter building a large boat, which was the reason of the pile of chips we saw on the shore, being the place where they had built and launched her. Just before dark I followed a narrow path into the woods, the path came out on a small marsh at the foot of a rocky hill.”

Jukes July 11th entry reads, “Breakfast at daylight and pulled back along the opposite shore. A flat valley ran from our resting place northwards into Random Sound, and had apparently formed at one time a water connection between the sound and Southwest Arm.” He arrived back in Fox Harbour about 3:00 p.m. and he does not mention any other tilting sites. The above description sounds, to many, like the area that later became the community of Hillview and shows how it was an early tilting site before it was settled circa 1868.

An item that attests to the first settlers of Northern Bight (Hillview) was published in The Evening Advocate on April 27, 1921. “Mrs. Jane Benson at Gooseberry Cove Celebrates her 100th Birthday. Dear Sir. Will you please permit space in your valuable paper to insert the following which is about an old lady who is now the ripe old age of 100 years whose name is Mrs. Jane Benson widow of David Benson, Hillview. She was born at Grates Cove in the year of 1821 and was the daughter of George and Mary Cooper. She is the mother of ten children, seven sons and three daughters. She also adopted three others, two girts and one boy namely Mary Benson who married Mr. Ambrose Brewer, Susanna Cooper who married Mr. Thomas Churchill late of Hillview and Eli Frost who died out in Spain in the great war. All her children are dead except her youngest daughter, Lydia who is married to Mr. William Seward Sr. of Gooseberry Cove, Random, with whom she has lived this past 28 years. For 47 years she lived at Grates Cove with her family, then she moved to Northern Bight, now Hillview, and her family was the first inhabitants of the above named place where she lived for 25 years. She was 100 years old on the 15th. March 1921.”

Written records from 1868 to 1900 show at least 21 different family names as living in North Bight / Northern Bight.

Elias and Lucinda (Stoyles) Avery and family settled in Northern Bight circa 1868. Their daughter Mary Ann was born there in 1868. However, the 1872 voters list has him living in Long Beach. Two of Elias grandsons, Abraham and Robert John, sons of James, re-established the Avery name back in Northern Bight circa 1918. They bought the property formally occupied by Archibald Janes.

The 1869 voters list shows James Frost (who by 1873 is listed as a sawmill owner), Matthias Martin and three Stoyles brothers, James, John and Alfred, living at Northern Bight. It is possible that Alfred previously lived here temporarily before permanently settling in Northern Bight. Alfred’s daughter Fanny Jane was born on October 6, 1867 at Northern Bight.

Ambrose Brewer from Grates Cove, although his name does not appear on the voters list, who married Mary Benson, had children born as early as 1871 at Northern Bight.

The Richard Loder listed on the 1873 voters list possibly came from Placentia Bay. He married a Frances Benson and had two children born at Northern Bight in 1888 and 1889. This family did not remain in Northern Bight. The present day Loders are descendants of Joseph Loder and his wife Johannah from Russells Cove who settled in Northern Bight circa 1875. Thomas Stanford from Grates Cove also arrived in Northern Bight during this period.

McAlpine’s Newfoundland Directory 1894-97 lists three Greens, Pleamon, Joseph and Enoch, living at Northern Bight. They could be of the same family. Pleamon and Mary Ann (Stoyles) Green had a daughter born in 1875 at Northern Bight. Joseph and Mary Ann Green had their first child born in 1892 at Northern Bight. The only record for Enoch Green is the death record of his wife Mary Susannah on January 10, 1899 at Northern Bight.

There appears to be two separate Churchills lines in Northern Bight/Hillview. The first line: John and Mary Hannah (Brewer) Churchill had their first child born at Northern Bight in 1881. John’s brother James and his wife Susannah (nee Cooper) had their first child born at Northern Bight in 1886. The second line: William James and Susannah Churchill had their first child born at Northern Bight in 1887. William’s brother Alexander and his wife Rosanna had their first child born at Northern Bight in 1890.

Sylvanus and Louisa (Churchill) Hyde were born in Careless Harbour (Kerley’s Harbour) and settled in Northern Bight circa 1881. The present day Hydes are descendants of this family. James, Sylvanus’ brother, died Northern Bight July 11, 1894. He did not leave any direct descendants.

John and Mary Ann Drodge had three children born in Northern Bight between 1882 and 1896. This family moved elsewhere.

William and Isabella Baker and their family moved from Hearts’ Ease Beach to Northern Bight circa 1884.

John Jackson, Upper Island Cove, who originally had settled at Long Beach, relocated to Northern Bight circa 1888 when he remarried Martha Jane Stoyles of this community.

Robert and Mary Ann (Langor) Dodge and family moved from Hearts’ Ease Beach to Northern Bight. Both Robert and his son James appear in McAlpine’s Newfoundland Directory 1894-97. Eli Dodge, the son of James, resided here for a number of years after the death of his father but he eventually moved on.

Between 1893 and 1900, six new family names were introduced to Northern Bight: Noah and Julia Ann (Drodge) Price arrived from Long Cove (Loreburn). Caroline Price, the oldest daughter of Noah and Julia, married James Duffett. This family name died out after a few years. Albert Howse, Gooseberry Island, Bonavista Bay, married Sarah Priscilla Stoyles, daughter of James Stoyles. Archibald Janes from Grates Gove married Jemimah Stoyles, another daughter of James Stoyles, Archibald died the following year. Joseph Marsh, Deer Harbour, married Mary Jane Hyde, daughter of Sylvanus Hyde. Simeon Seward, Gooseberry Cove, married Phoebe Baker, daughter of William and Isabella Baker. The Seward name no longer existed at Northern Bight after the death of Simeon.

John and Julia Butler had a son John Charles born January 1, 1879 at Northern Bight. This family moved to Nova Scotia.

The Vey family settled in Northern Bight during the early 1900s when William James and Emma Jane (Gosse) Vey and their family arrived from Long Beach. Walter George Critch from Cavendish and Alice Elizabeth (Smith) settled in Northern Bight/Hillview circa 1920.

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