Spotlight on St. Jones Within

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

(Click on photos to enlarge)

St. Jones Within looking south

Some people refer to the community as St. Jones, the name on the community road sign, and some as St. Jones Within, which is the name listed on the highway signs. This is a reminder that there was also a community named St. Jones Without, situated on the south side of the Southport peninsula. The older residents who remember its existence are the ones who use the full name. The dropping of the suffix used to cause problems for visitors, who often mistook St. Jones for St. John’s and were quite upset to discover they had to return over the rough gravel road to reach their destination.

Like most of the communities around Southwest Arm, St. Jones Within was settled in the mid-1800s by families from Conception Bay north and Trinity Bay south. Hezekiah Benson from Grates Cove was one of the earliest settlers some time before 1871, when David Benson was also listed as a planter of Random Sound. The Bensons and Kings were well-established by 1884, when the Wesleyan population stood at 71 in 14 families. A total of 36 residents were fishing with 17 boats, 14 nets and 3 traps, but the return was very low, and six men were already mainly occupied in the lumber woods.

Faith United Church

In the 1894 directory of fishermen, 13 families were headed by fishermen, the most common family names being Benson, King and Squires. The situation was identical in 1904, although a few new families had arrived from Random Sound, the Carbonear area and Trinity Bay south. There was a slate quarry at Black Duck Cove owned by Walter Baine Grieve in 1908, and also several lobster factories at nearby Passengers Cove, another settlement abandoned in the 1950s. Also abandoned in the 1961 resettlement program was nearby Loreburn, first known as Lower Cove. Some residents moved to St. Jones Within, while others resettled in Hatchet Cove.

By 1935, the population had risen to 136 in 26 United Church families. Fishing remained the major occupation, with 12 cod traps listed for the community. Cod, herring and caplin were landed to a value of $6,175. Most families were engaged in the inshore fishery, and there are no records of schooners sailing to Labrador in the 1900s. Thirty children were listed as being in school in 1935. There is still an elementary school in St. Jones Within, but Grades 5-12 are bused to Clarenville. The road from Hillview was built 20 years ago, and is being upgraded, partly as a result of increased school-bus traffic.

Relics yesteryear

The 1981 population was listed at 125 in 38 families. King is the most common family name, followed by Meadus and Hillyard, both fairly recent arrivals. Other more established families include one remaining Benson family, four Tuckers and three Robbins. This is the only fishing community on the peninsula with 8 fishermen listed. All the fishermen are members of Meadus families. The community remains strongly United Church and the only church building is Faith United Church.

 

 

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NOTE: See also the community history under Communities.

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Transcribed by Wanda Garrett, April 2018

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

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