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History of Griquet


 It is believed, by American born historian Samuel Eliot Morison, that  John Cabot (1497)
           started his voyage, in the Matthew, at Dursey Head, Ireland and sailed towards the west.
           When he reached the ice floes in the Straits of Belle Isle he turn towards the south and
            his landing point was Griquet Harbour.

           When Jacques Cartier visited in 1534, the harbours were being used by Breton fishermen
           and had French fishing stations until the mid-nineenth century.  Clay pipes, rusted nails
           can still be  unearthed, espically on Camel Island and Four Ears Island ( My brother found
           a 1729 french coin, while tending his garden ). Another Island  called Griquet Island but
           locally known as Ellis Island have many old buriel mounds.

           The first English settlers at St. Lunaire and Griquet were guardiens, who oversaw the
           French fishing premesis during the winter months, as they were being pilfred by the
           visiting Inuits from Southern Labrador, who came here to hunt. There is a story relating to
           the French fishermen hauling their small boats to neary by Joe,s pond, filling them with
           rocks and sinking them to the bottom, thus when the water froze , they were hidden. Still
           another story about a man clearing a large bolder from the middle of his garden had
           uncovered rusted anchors and chains, another hiding place. The French were not
           allowed to stay in the Petite Nord during the winter months.

           In 1785 the French marines  attacked   sealing crew's, who spent the winter's in St.
           Lunaire,  with drawn swords, cutlasses, pistols, and bayonets, and burned their property.

           The first settlers  arrived around 1849, and my Great-great-grandfather  John Pilgrim was
           born at Carbonear January 27, 1836 . His son Great-grandfather James Pilgrim was born
           at St. Anthony , April 17, 1862 and eventually moved to White Cape Harbour, Griquet
           around 1880.

           By 1872 it was noted that the French  had not been in the Griquet area in some years and
           their old fishing rooms were occupied by English settlers who were migrating from
           Conception Bay and Bonavista Bay.

           The first public building  was a small Church of England school/chapel,  built by the Rev.
           J.J. Curling ( about 1885). Soon there was a Methodist school/church at White Cape
           Harbour.  Grace Quinton/Smith ( representing the Salvation Army) arrived in Griquet in
           1914, and my mother, Minnie Pilgrim/Quinton/Hillier, was the first baby to be baptised in
           the newly erected Barracks , in 1916. The first Pentecostal church was built in 1935. By
           1935 there were about 500 people living at St. Lunaire-Griquet, making it in size second
           only to St.Anthony among the area's  communities. Since then the population has
           decreased with the down turn of the fisheries.
Griquet ~ St. Lunaire