The Earlier Settlers

Creator(s): Fondation de développement tourisme Bonne Esperance

The earliest settlers of Middle Bay were the Buckles. William Buckle originally came from England in the late 18th century and settled in Newfoundland to trap furs. His son, William Buckle II, moved to Labrador and married Johanna Watts. He left Labrador around 1830 and brought his wife and children to the Middle Bay area to hunt seals. William Buckle II's son John settled in Belles Amours, about 5 kilometres east of Middle Bay, where he made a living fishing cod and seal.

John Buckle and his Frances (Fanny) Kelson became well known along the coast for their openness and hospitality. During the long winter months, their house was the center of entertainment as people arrived in komatiks, wooden sleds pulled by dogs, to attend "the times" held at the Buckles' home. The large Belles Amours establishment had a chapel, which Mr. Buckle opened to clergymen from any denomination that traveled along the coast. On August 27 1856, missionary Mr. Carpenter visited and wrote about John Buckle: "Mr. Buckle I like best of all Buckles. He is jovial, hospitable and intelligent."

Visit the Exhibit: