History of the Communities of Bay St. George


Local legend has it that the town of Kippens is supposedly named after George Kippen, an English sea captain. Some claim Kippen is a corruption of "Keeping". Some say he landed his ship here; others say he was shipwrecked at the river located at the western end of Kippens. The river, now bearing the name Romaines River, was long known as 'Kippens River'.

There is some information about Captain George Kippen. He was born in 1781 and entered the Royal Navy and served as midshipman aboard the Captain 74 in 1796. During the early 1800's he continued to serve in the Royal Navy, holding the rank of Captain. He died in Scotland in 1826, making him 45 years of age at the time of his death.

French, and later English, fishermen used the area by the 1700s, and Micmac and Montagnais had fished in the area from at least the early 1600s.

Originally a French-speaking settlement, its early inhabitants included both Acadians from Nova Scotia and French sailors who jumped ship to marry local women and settle in the area. The early economy of Kippens was based on fishing and agriculture. This changed in the 1940s with the construction of the Air Force Base at Stephenville, which quickly became the area's largest employer. Today Kippens is a residential town with the majority of its residents employed in nearby towns.

Links of Interest:

Zenzville Park

Source: http://www.canadianencyclopedia.ca



Around 1840 Stephen, son of Hilary Le Blanc and his brother Celestin settled in the area. They both married daughters of Willian Cormier and Isabel Boudreau. Anne Marie married Stephen and Modeste married Celestin. With them came Felix Gallant who was married to Theotime- daughter of Stephen and Anne Marie.

The community was first know as L'ans Savage. Later it was called Indian Head and then Stephenville. Micmac and Montagnais, and Biothuck had fished, camped and lived in the area from at least the early 1500s and earlier. It has been said that Stephenville was named after Stephen Le Blanc. But, others say it was named after Stephen's grandson Stephen Felix (son of Felix Gallant and Theotime Le Blanc).

In 1845 more settlers from Margaree came to Stephenville and area that became an ACADIAN fishing and farming community. Cecime, ( son of Marin Le Blanc ) and his wife Vitaline Aucoin daughter of Raphael Aucoin. In 1847, five other children of Raphael (Raphael Aucoin was the son of Anselme Aucoin and Euphrosine-daughter of Charles Hache) came over: Tassien, Constant, Severin, Isaac, and Exupere(Isaac). Catac and Susanne also acccompanied them. Susanne married Joseph Delaney and settled in St Georges. Tassien married Marguerite, daughter of Stephen Le Blanc. Constant married Marcelline, daughter of Celistin Le Blanc and also settled in what is known today as Stephenville.

Stephenville population 7109 (2001 census), 7764 (1996 census), incorporated 1952, lies at the head of St George's Bay on the southwest coast of Newfoundland. During World War II, the construction of an American air base brought rapid growth, but when the base closed in 1966 the economy suffered. Since 1981 a large paper mill has provided many jobs for the town, which is an important business centre for the surrounding region.

links of Interest:

Cormack Trail

Stephenville Airport

Stephenville Crossing

The name Stephenville Crossing can from the early beginnings of the Newfoundland railway when it served as a junction for people in the area.

Well know in earlier days for the Stephenville Crossing hospital that was opened in the spring of 1937. It was fairly small with only 8 beds, 4 male and 4 female and an isolation ward. The only doctor was Dr. W.B. Coulter and there were two nurses. It grew to 22 beds by 1946 and the staff grew to 9 people. In 1946, the hospital received its first x-ray machine. Along with this new piece of machinery, an operator was hired. In 1955 the staff increased to 2 doctors, 3 nurses, 6 ward aides and a secretary. The hospital had 24 beds and cribs and 8 bassinets serving 13,490 people from St.Georges to the Port au Port Peninsula. A prefabricated building was added to the building in 1959, along with an extension with 14-16 beds and a paediatric ward with 14-16 beds. When the American base in Stephenville closed down in 1966, the millitary hospital was converted to the new regional hospital.

The railway was a major employer for the people of Stephenville Crossing and area in the early days. The construction of the rail line through the area was completed in 1898. Then freight sheds and other infrastructure were built to maintain the rail service. The first small train came in 1905. The Canadian National Railway Station originated around 1945. Then it closed around 1989.

In 1957 the Provincial Government appointed the first Intern council which over-saw the community until the first elected council came into being. Stephenville Crossing became incorporated in 1958. William Hogan was the first mayor of Stephenville crossing until 1965 and Dr. Dermat Murphy was elected mayor.

Mattis Point and Barachois Brook

St. George's and Sandy Point

This picturesque town of approximatley 2,000 people has its origins in the French fishery of the 1600's. Its fine natural harbour attracted the French fishing fleets and eventually settlers to Sandy Point, a small island a few hundred metres offshore. It is believed to have been the first settlement on the West coast of Newfoundland. It was in this area that there was an early mixing of French and Micmac Indian settlers. Their descendants are still here. Sandy Point was the commercial centre of the west coast of Newfoundland during the 1700's and the 1800's. It declined in prominence with the completion of the Trans-island railway in 1897. Most of the island's residents emigrated to St. George's as it was, at the time, a water stop for trains. Town of St George's

Sandy Point Book

In a 1808 Thomas White census the following people were recored in St George's Bay and employed in the fishery: Mr. Messervy, Mr. Pennell, P. Hulan, Mr. Hulan, James Hulan, Clement Renouf , Mr. Swyer, Charles Vincent, Mr. Benoit (from Cape Breton) , Mr. Cormier, George Lafisher, and Mr. Dennis. The community of Sandy Point was the centre of Bay St George for a long time.

Father Alexis Bélanger

Flat Bay

Originally known as Muddy Hole, first settled by

Robinson's and Jefferies


Mi'k Maq Guides

Unfounded rumours have circulated that Mi'k Maq were hired to hunt down and scalp every Beothuk. This was spread by the English and their descendents who do not take responsibility for distroying a people. Although, Mi'k Maq were hired as guides, it was the English settlements that cut off the access to the ocean and surrounding resources that destroyed the Beothuk along with European dieases. The Mi'k Maq had co-existed for centuries and even inter- married long before the "white devil" from Europe came.

Mi'k Miq were used by the English as guides as the following excerpt shows: In 1864, at the invitation of the Newfoundland Government, a man named Murray assumed the directorship of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland, and remained as director until his retirement in 1883. In 1867, James Patrick Howley (1847-1918) of St. John's, was appointed as Murray's assistant. As a direct result of the explorations and surveying of the interior, these two men set the stage for the industrial development of Newfoundland. The agricultural and mineral potential was now clearly and precisely documented for future realization.

In 1865, Murray began to explore the interior of the island, an area as yet not accurately mapped. This meant that he was forced to spend time producing topographical maps before he could proceed to producing detailed geological maps. It was during all this surveying, based on the principle of triangulation, that Murray noticed discrepancies in both the latitude and longitude of the coastal or hydrographic charts being produced by the British Admiralty. Using a chronometer, a device for measuring time, Murray corrected these errors on his maps, especially those dealing with the coastal areas of St. George's Bay and the Humber Arm. An example of this type of work is his Map Showing the Distribution of the Silurian and Carboniferous Formations in St. George's Bay and Geological Explorations in the Years 1865 and 1866. This map was based on detailed topographical surveys conducted by Murray in 1865 and 1866 on the west coast. The immediate result of this survey work was to observe the tremendous agricultural potential of the Codroy River Valley. By correcting the latitude and longitude bearings of the hydrographic charts, Murray guaranteed that future government surveys and the granting of land to settlers could be very precisely related to the new maps of the area. Geologically, the surveys showed the boundaries of the coal formations, the presence of lead on the Port-au-Port Peninsula and gypsum at St. George's.

They took annual expeditions to various parts of the island. Murray and Howley gained their detailed knowledge of the interior from Mi'k Maq guides as they explored and mapped Newfoundland's hitherto unknown areas. The Newfoundland Mi'k Maq, primarily settled in Conne River, Fortune Bay and in Bay St. George, maintained traditional trapping and subsistence hunting patterns in the interior throughout the nineteenth century. Using the various water systems, they developed a series of inland canoe routes that extended from the south coast to the west coast and up to Notre Dame Bay. Their contribution to the mapping of the island's interior is demonstrated by the number of Mi'k Maq place names, such as Meelpaeg Lake, Keagudeck Lake, Mount Sylvester and the Annieopsquotch Mountains, still found on Newfoundland maps.


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