Witless Bay - Newfoundland and Labrador

Route 10
Coordinates: 47.2776° N, 52.8307° W

Folklore states that one of the original European inhabitants of the area was a Captain Whittle and his family from Dorsetshire, England. The area was originally named after them, Whittle's Bay. Upon the death of Captain Whittle, his widow and her children decided to return to England. Hence, the remaining settlers referred to Whittle's Bay as Whittle less Bay and eventually, Witless Bay.

First settlers were migratory West Country fishermen from England. In the latter part of the 1700s, large numbers of Irish began settling in the area.

Interesting Facts
  • 1675, the population of Whittlless Bay is 34.
  • 1700s, Irish fishing servants begin arriving in the area and quickly start to outnumber the English
  • 1755, as Roman Catholicism is still outlawed in Newfoundland, priests disguised as fishermen, minister to the spiritual needs of the community.
  • 1836, the first official census of Newfoundland puts the population at 542, of which 540 were Roman Catholic.
  • 1845, Roman Catholic Church opens.
  • 1860, the Presentation Sisters open a convent and a school for girls.
  • 1871, population reaches 928.
  • 1960s, people are re-settled from Gallows Cove at the southern headland of Witless Bay to the community of Witless Bay.
  • 1986, Witless Bay is incorporated.

Genealogy Information

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