Monday, July 21, 2014

Rigour mortis in Bay du Nord

After paddling back down the Bay du Nord River we were again on salt water.  We stopped to have a look around the resettled community of Bay du Nord.

Hundreds of isolated communities have been abandoned and the people resettled in larger, accessible towns.  Bay du Nord is the latest such community we visited.

All that is left of the former community of almost 200 people are concrete foundations and rotting wood.

The community had existed since before 1846 because the census of 1921 showed a Mary Farrell born there in that year.

The community crouched on a rocky, steep hillside.  We commented on how hard the struggle for survival must have been in a location that offered little in terms of cultivatable land.

The census of 1921 showed the population was 188 souls living in 39 households.  Some of the more numerous family names included Gould, Farrell, Rose, Davadage, Fitzpatrick, Hilliard and Lundrigan.

The church was usually situated on the most commanding site of the community.  The entire population contributed to the construction which must have siphoned off valuable time and resources needed to survive.

One James Cross had a family of nine children born every two years apart. 

If you look closely you may see the congregation walking up the steps to the church every Sunday morning

In 1935 there were still 189 of them.  The family listed as Davadage in 1921 was then listed as Davidge and James Cross with his wife and nine children had moved out of Bay du Nord.  Possibly necessitated by the demands of providing for such a large family in such a demanding location.

After climbing up the 10 steps parishoners stepped onto a landing before turning left and up two steps and into the church.  Where nourishment may have been slim for the body, spiritual nourishment was well nurtured.

The census for 1945 still listed 194 inhabitants.  I have no idea when the community was resettled but likely in the mid-60's as many of the others were.

I felt a certain amount of reverence for the people who lived here.  It must have taken a great deal of courage fraught with uncertainty.  We were here on a beautiful sunny day.  It would not have looked so inviting in the dead of winter.

We got back in our kayaks to make our way to Parsons Cove and our campsite for the night.

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