History – North West Brook

Reprinted from Decks Awash, Volume 15, Number 6
November – December 1986
Photographs from MUN Digital Archives

(Click on photos to enlarge)

North West Brook from the Queen’s Cove road.

This community like Ivany’s Cove was settled more for lumbering and closeness to the railway than for fishing. There were, however, 30 fishermen listed in a population of 54 in 1884. Two-thirds of the community were Wesleyans, but both the Church of England and Roman Catholic Church were listed. Fishing was apparently not too successful, and seven households depended on lumbering.

By 1904 seven fishermen were listed—Benson (2), Bailey, Frost (2), and Snelgrove, and nearby Black Brook had six fishermen—Burton, Baker (3), Green and Norris. William Smith, who was born in Island Cove 95 years ago, recalls that his grandfather came over from England and settled in that now abandoned community on the Southport peninsula. William’s father, moved his family to Northwest Brook shortly afterwards.

Zion Pentecostal Tabernacle

Mildred Whalen can remember the first child born in Northwest Brook—Mrs. Julie Hiscock—who was 12 hours old by the time the nurse arrived. Nurses had to come by train from St. John’s to Northern Bight, where they were picked up by horse and buggy. Max Button had the first vehicle, a Model T Ford, and took over the job of transporting the nurse from the train. Groceries came by boat in summer and by train in winter. The railway declined in importance once the road went through. Mildred was also the first person in the community to have a gas washer, but soon there were plenty, she says: “They were just the same as a motor when you started them, and you would know when everyone was washing because you could hear the motors cutting in.”

North West Brook Anglican Church

By 1935, fishing was no longer listed for the community, although a few people still did some fishing for themselves. There were 57 people in 13 United and Church of England families, and 13 children attended the local United Church school. A Church of England church and school were added long after the first Methodist church. Nearby Black Brook had increased to a population of 39 in seven mainly Church of England families. The census listed three fishing rooms, but no landings were reported.

The 1981 population had increased to 246 in 72 families, and a third, Pentecostal, church had been built. The population increase is directly attributable to the proximity of the Trans-Canada Highway and employment in Clarenville. The greatest source of local employment is in heavy equipment operation, both for Goobies Contracting and Rentals in Queens Cove and for the provincial department of transportation.

According to Albert Bailey of Ivany’s Cove, this was always a Methodist, now United Church community. The present church was built on the site of the old one and the Methodist, later United Church school closed this year.

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See also the community history under Communities

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Transcribed by Wanda Garrett

These transcriptions may contain human errors. As always, confirm these as you would any other source material.