Town History

history Norris Point is located on the northern side of Bonne Bay and is named after one of its first settlers, Neddy Norris, who came to the area with his wife and children between 1789 and 1790. The Norris’s apparently disappeared or left the area and consequently there is no official account of their residency.

William and Charlotte Humber from Dorset, England are listed as the first permanent settlers of Norris Point, arriving in 1833. No other families resided in Norris Point until the spring of 1858. At this time, George and Susannah Harding, Matthew and Frances Smith (Harding’s brother and sister-in-law) and other extended family members left Burnt Island and sailed to the coast of Labrador for the summer fishery. Their ship was caught in a heavy gale and they sought shelter at Whales Cove, currently called Wild Cove. Rather than continue to Codroy when the storm subsided two days later, the Hardings and Smiths continued to Norris Point, where they erected temporary living quarters. In the fall they returned to build permanent houses.

Future residents of Norris Point originated from England, Ireland and Scotland and came mainly because of the fall herring fishery and, like the others, found Bonne Bay to be a convenient location from which to access the coastal waters of Labrador. Their primary sources of employment included the lobster fishery; five local lobster factories and a herring fishery had been established in Norris Point. Although fishing was the dominant industry, fur trapping also provided a supplemental source of income.

history2A trading post was erected around 1800 by Joseph Bird, an English merchant. Later, fur trading gained popularity at the post. The local families would exchange fish and fur for supplies, foodstuffs and clothing. The trading post became so popular that labourers, servants and apprentices were brought from southwestern England during the summer to support it.

In the early 1900s a ferry service was established and the population in 1921 had risen to 372, including 241 Church of England residents, 58 Methodist residents and 78 Roman Catholics. Around this time, residents had also begun to engage in the cod and salmon fishery.