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  Conception Bay Newfoundland 

Conception Bay North

 Conception Bay South

Harbour Grace


(inc. 1971; pop. 1981, 4242). An incorporated agricultural and residential town located south of St. John's, between Kilbride and Bay Bulls qqv, the Goulds, as it is best known, stretches out along both sides of the Bay Bulls Road from the southern edge of Kilbride to the northern edge of the Bay Bulls Big Pond watershed. Further settlement is scattered along various roads, such as Doyles Road and the Petty Harbour Road, which branch off this main route. The town's centre is situated at a crossroads of these roads, and the surrounding land is fairly level except at the eastern edge of the Gould's boundary where the land rises steeply to wooded hills, beyond which lies the sea. These hills, measuring over 215 m (700 ft) above sea level, are part of a ridge which runs along the whole eastern coast of the northeastern section of the Avalon Peninsula. The community is bounded by large ponds and isolated, wooded hills which rise out of the partly wooded, flat land which dominates within Goulds itself. This flat land is covered by arable soils in the north, south and central parts of Goulds. These areas in Goulds mark some of the best agricultural areas on the Avalon Peninsula and in Newfoundland, and have been protected since 1977 by order and regulations of the Department of Forestry and Agriculture. These rich farm lands, situated at the crossroads of major routes near St. John's, and linked to that metropolis, were the main reason for Gould's settlement in the mid Nineteenth Century (Town of Goulds Municipal Plan, 1977).

E.R. Seary (1971, p. 112) cites J.B. Jukes's (1842, p. 44) definition of Goulds, referring to Goulds (Gould's Road qv) in the Mackinsons area, as the definitive explanation of this unusual place name found in only two locations in Newfoundland. Jukes, visiting the valley in which Goulds, Conception Bay was situated, noted a farm called ``The Golds.'' He stated that it was ``so called from a yellow flower which grows abundantly on the banks of some of the brooks'' (Jukes, p. 44). The area which would be named Goulds in the Nineteenth Century (Census, 1857) on the Southern Shore road was as yet unnamed and uninhabited when visited by Jukes in 1839 on his trek to Petty Harbour and Shoal Bay, the site of an early copper mine (Jukes: pp. 27-28).

M.F. Howley (n.d.), writing in the early Twentieth Century, believed the name Goulds to be a derivation of the Irish word Gabhal, pronounced goul, meaning a primitive fork, such as a hay-fork made from the natural branch formation of a forked tree, or from the forked stick which young Irish boys used as a part of slingshots. To support his argument, Howley noted the frequency of the Irish place name Goulds on Goolemor referring to naturally forked land formations such as rivers. The parish priest at Petty Harbour, who also served the Roman Catholic population of Goulds, informed Howley of two local traditions of the nomenclature of Goulds: one, that ``on the banks of one of the Goulds rivers,. .. there used to grow an abundance of wild plants that gave off yellow flowers and blossoms (Mary Gold). .. called 'Goulds' by the people'' and ``Another version is that the boys and young men were wont to assemble in that locality to play a game called Goulds (Goals).''

Howley dismisses Henry LeMessurier's theory that Goulds is an old English place name (Gould's Green, Middlesex) that was ``given by some old Englishman who came from Middlesex with Guy.'' Howley declared that the name of Goulds was not ancient and that the settlement ``is evidently quite modern and grew up subsequently to the making of the road in the early decades of the XIX Century. Before the road was built, the path from Bay Bulls to St. John's ran along the top of the ridge or hill, near the sea coast .... The interior of the country was then altogether uninhabited.''

According to documentary sources (land grants, Census) and oral tradition (D. Cornect: 1978), Goulds was settled between 1850 and 1875 by planters, ships' captains, owners and traders who were originally from such places as Poole, Dartmouth, Devonshire, Greenock, Glasgow, Bristol and the south of Ireland and who came to Goulds after first settling in coastal locations, such as St. John's, Petty Harbour and Harbour Grace. The first census report of Goulds, taken in 1857, reported a thriving settlement of 146 extending from ``Goulds to Bay Bulls Road.'' The population was composed of 123 Newfoundlanders, six Englishmen and seventeen Irishmen. The population was overwhelmingly Roman Catholic and most people were employed in farming at Goulds and fishing, presumably on a small scale and at the nearest cove or harbour, as Goulds itself was ``an agricultural settlement, being one of the few existing in Newfoundland entirely out of sight of the sea'' (Howley, n.d.). The limited fishing activities were carried out at a summer fishing station set up for this purpose at nearby Shoal Bay and at Petty Harbour. The first recorded grant of land was made to a Mr. Charles Frizzell (Town of Goulds Municipal Plan: 1977, p. 3). Lovell's Newfoundland Directory (1871) described Goulds as ``a farming settlement'' and listed Edmund Angel, James Barron, John Bow, Henry Bun, John Dinn, John Fitzpatrick, Lawrence Grant, William Hardly, Patrick Maltery, Patrick Many, James Miller, John Murphy, James Patt, George Rideout, Thomas Ryan and Richard White as resident farmers and fishermen. According to Cornect, the first settlers were likely the Burns, Dooling, Miller and Frizzell families, with settlement tending to be grouped along denominational lines with Irish Roman Catholic families choosing land in Lower Goulds, in the Raymond's River area, and English Protestant families settling land in Upper Goulds. Howley, describing the growth of the settlement (which reached 257 by 1884 and 339 by 1901), stated that ``There is no actual village [at Goulds], but the road is thickly lined on both sides for a distance of over three miles [5 km], with neat farm houses and prosperous looking farms.'' Cornect states that many of the early settlers were from Petty Harbour; these people returned each summer to their old homes in Petty Harbour to conduct a summer fishery while others, approximately thirteen families, maintained summer shacks at Shoal Bay, where they fished for cod and salmon. Incomes were supplemented by winter work supplying St. John's residents with firewood, berries, trout and game. Until the early 1940s Goulds men gained berths in St. John's for the seal hunt. Farm produce consisted of turnips, cabbage and potatoes and dairy products, sold barter-fashion to St.

John's merchants.

Following the Great Depression and World War 11 the pattern of seasonal employment in Goulds and area changed so that Goulds became a residential community, of which the labour force commuted to St. John's for employment with about only five per cent of the labour force occupied in full-time farming by 1971 (Census, 1971). Gould's abundance of suitable residential land, its quick access to city services and the paving and upgrading of the road by the 1950s, contributed to its growth as a ``dormitory'' area of St. John's, and until incorporation in 1971 Goulds was considered to be a part of the St. John's Metropolitan Area, with its development controlled by the St. John's Metropolitan Area Board.

After 1971 the Goulds community council assumed responsibility for government and planning. Under the Urban and Rural Planning Act of 1965 the town was declared a planning area, and after a series of studies, in 1977 certain areas bordering the crossroads and main roads of Goulds were designated residential and commercial land, while existing farm land and considerable areas of uncleared but potentially good farm land were designated for agricultural use. A land freeze prevented development of these lands for any but approved agricultural purposes. Although commercial and small-scale farming had notably declined by the 1960s, approximately six active dairy farms and vegetable farms still existed. One of the Island's largest hog farms was established in the community in the 1970s. The land freeze was intended to protect not only cleared land in agricultural use but also, according to the Muncipal Plan, ``potentially good future farming areas. .. all the more important for being close to St. John's'' (Town of Goulds Municipal Plan: 1977, p. 28).

The population of Goulds rose significantly in the post-World War II era from 329 in 1945 to 19,000 in 1961, mainly from new families establishing residences in Goulds. Previously Goulds had been primarily a Roman Catholic community and church had been attended first in Petty Harbour. By the 1870s, however, a Roman Catholic church was reported in the community, which was replaced in 1944 by the modern St. Kevin's Church which was extensively renovated and expanded by 1980 (Newfoundland Historical Society: Goulds). A Roman Catholic school was established at ``Goolds'' by 1848 (JHA: 1848-1849, App. p. 370) although it was noted in 1858 that ``A school-house is much needed here'' (JHA: 1859, App. pp. 344-345). A school was also reported in the Census of 1884. By 1913 the tiny, picturesque Church of St. Matthew was erected by George Ruby to serve the small Church of England congregation. This church, however, was never consecrated (Newfoundland Historical Society: Goulds). In 1962 the Church of St. Paul was erected to seNe the growing Anglican population, some of them new families to Goulds.

In 1982 Goulds was served by two large new schools, St. Kevin's Roman Catholic All Grace School and All Saints (Integrated) Elementary School, which had replaced smaller, older schools. Goulds in that year was the site of several commercialized recreational facilities, including the Avalon Raceway where horse races are held regularly. The community also boasts a parish hall, a town-council office and fire hall, two shopping plazas and a number of commercial buildings, a well-known fish store and a ceramics studio. Most of the commercial buildings, as well as most of the housing, were built after World War II. See AGRICULTURE.

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