Conception Bay Newfoundland
(pop. 1986, 214). A fishing community in Conception Bay, Ship Cove is located on the Port de Grave Peninsula and has sometimes been considered a part of Port de Grave qv. In 1991 the two communities were recorded together (as Port de Grave) in the Census for the first time since 1845. For most of its history Ship Cove has, however, been a larger community than Port de Grave ``proper'', especially if the neighbourhoods known as Pick Eyes and Darrell's Hole (northeast of Ship Cove) are considered parts of Ship Cove, as has most often been the case in the twentieth century. As space for homes and fishing premises around the small cove is limited, many settlements in southern Conception Bay might also be considered ``daughter'' settlements of Ship Cove, while the Dawe and Morgan families had spread from Ship Cove to much of eastern Newfoundland and to Labrador.
Cove, Port De Grave
Ship Cove is among the oldest settlements in Newfoundland, having been settled by the Dawe family as early as 1650. Located on a rocky peninsula projecting well out into Conception Bay, it had virtually unparalleled access to the major fishing grounds of the Bay. In the early 1700s a merchant named Campbell had three plantations in Ship Cove, his premises being acquired by William Pinsent qv in about 1775. William and Elias Picco were among the first recorded settlers in Pick Eyes, in the early 1800s. The population was recorded at 367 in 1857. There were three churches serving the community and one school. Most people were Methodists or members of the Church of England, while a minority were Roman Catholics. Five merchant/traders conducted business from Ship Cove in 1857, when the community was a key centre not only for the local shore fishery, but also for the growing Labrador fishery. Schooner owners in 1864-65 included John Andrews and Isaac and Joseph Daw. Planters in 1871 were William Andrews; Abram, George, Henry C., Jacob and Joseph Daw and Jacob, John, Joseph, Richard, Robert, William and Samuel Morgan. Most of them were owners of Labrador schooners.
The Labrador and shore fisheries employed many people in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and a few also prosecuted the banks fishery. In 1891 there were 432 people in Ship Cove, Darrell's Hole and Pick Eyes, but Ship Cove merchants were among those hit hard by the Bank Crash qv of 1894. The Labrador fishery thereafter declined and had virtually disappeared by 1930. The population of the community declined as many young families left to settle elsewhere, particularly as miners on Bell Island after 1900. But Ship Cove remained a centre of the shore fishery in Conception Bay. While the small-boat fishery in the area declined due to overfishing, improvements in harbour facilities encouraged Ship Cove fishermen to move into longliners. The fishery remained the major local industry up to the early 1990s
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