SETTLEMENT OF BURGEO
When I first began to gather material for this book, it seemed stubborn work. The little heaps were piled here and there making slow and wearisome steps. At last, the time has come to put them together and see what I can make of them. The only records about the early families are those of the church and these were not begun until the year 1840 by the Reverend Martin Blackmore who was in charge of this mission up to 1848.
One of the first settlers was Matthews. He came here as far back as 1796 with his family, from Cape La Hune. He planted himself on Slade's Island, better known the last fifty years as Small's Island. I have been told by members of this family [the Matthews] that there was a Mr. Currie here when Mr. Matthews arrived, living on the west side of the harbour where the John Guy property has been since 1850. West Burgeo, at this time had a few families of Anderson's. Most of them lived on the SandBankss. This, no doubt, was owing to the good soil. I have been informed this family of Anderson's came from Burin.
Within a few years of the coming of Mr. Matthews, it became known that there was a good winter fishery here and a fall catch of large fat herring for which there was a demand in the United States. This winter fishery attracted others to come West. The first of these newcomers were the Colliers, Dicks, and Vatcher's, who came from Lamaline. As far as I can gather this would be in about 1830. These three families married their sons into the Matthews family. There were a goodly number of Matthews daughters for this purpose. The servant men, from England, who came out to serve, either as fishermen's helpers or as workers in various business houses, either found their wives among these early Burgeo settlers or at nearby places.
At this time, 1835, there were living at West Burgeo the following families: John Anderson, Frederick Cox, Thomas Anderson, John B. Cox (merchant), Samuel Cox, Henry Strickland, James Matthews, Augustus Chevalier, Robert Rose, Richard Skeard, George Dicks, George Keeping, Lambert Forward, William Anderson, Jonathan Rose, Thomas Skeard, Francis Read, Robert Harris, James Blumpied, Christopher Dicks, William (Major) Mauger, and William Meade. However, by 1861 many of these families had moved on west to LaPoile and West Point.
These included Fred Cox, Samuel Cox, Robert Rose, Jonathan Rose, Francis Read, Robert Harris, James Blumpied, William Meade, and William (Major) [Mauger]. Frederick Cox was appointed Stipendiary Magistrate for Channel in or about 1875. He died there, say five years later.
The population during the 1850s was increasing fast by immigration from Hermitage Bay. Many of them settled at Hunt's Island and Our Harbour.