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Current region Newfoundland and Labrador
Place of origin England

The Baker Family of Random Island[a]

The first two Baker families to settle permanently in the Random Island area were those of[1]

  • James Baker ("James-b1826"[b]) who was born in Heart's Ease Beach[2] (henceforth, "Heart's Ease"[c]) in 1826, and married Johanna Cooper (1835-1902) of Ireland's Eye in 1859[3][4] [see Cooper Family], and
  • John Baker ("John-b1837") who was born in Heart's Ease in 1837[5] and married Sarah Ann Langer of nearby Gooseberry Cove in 1866[5].

Both families settled in the vicinity of Souley's and Wake's Brooks near Snook's Harbour in the 1870s[1], although James and Johanna had previously spent about a decade living in Rider's Harbour and Thoroughfare. There is uncertainty regarding how James-b1826 and John-b1837 were related, even though it has been indicated in a previous summary[1] that they were brothers. In any case, we will consider them to be the "First Generation" of the Baker Family of Random Island.

Pre Random Island

First Generation

Ancestors of James-b1826

While there are instances of Bakers on the Southern Shore (south of St John's) and in Conception and Placentia Bays in the late 1600s and early 1700s, it seems most likely that the earliest Baker ancestor of the Random Island Baker Family to live in Newfoundland was "John-b1730" who, according to the Baker-Merlo Family Tree on Ancestry[6], was born in Trinity in 1730 and married a lady named Grace from there. This is consistent with the Heart's Ease Community History[2] which indicates that James-b1826 was descended from the "John Baker and wife Grace, likely of Trinity, [who] moved to Heart's Ease Beach[c] and became the first permanent settlers in the community [around 1750][d]". John-b1730 and Grace had at least 3 children: "John Jr [b 1750], Elizabeth and Joseph?"[2][6]. John-b1730 died in 1775.

The Baker-Merlo Family Tree[6] indicates that John-b1730's parents were John-b1711 Baker and Susan Dorlin, both born in Suffolk England, and that their other 3 children were born in Suffolk between 1732 and 1745. This suggests that, either John-b1711 and Susan returned to England after the birth of John-b1730, or they were not his parents, or his indicated birthplace is incorrect. Thus, while there is some indication that John-b1730's parents lived in Newfoundland (if he was indeed born there), there is some uncertainty about who they were and whether they lived permanently in Newfoundland prior to his birth.

It seems likely that John-b1730 or his father was the "John Baker, a fisherman of Trinity, 1758" who, in a comprehensive historical review[7]., was identified as the earliest instance of a Baker in Trinity Bay. The above indication[2] that John-b1730 and Grace moved to Heart's Ease "around 1750" suggests that the 1758 Trinity fisherman[7] was John's father. However, the indication in the Baker-Merlo Tree[6] that their 3 children (John-b1750, Joseph and Elizabeth) were born in Trinity between 1750 and 1758 suggests that their move to Heart's Ease may have been gradual or seasonal. Other early instances[7] of Bakers in Trinity Bay include: "John, proprietor and occupier of a fishing room at Scilly Cove (now Winterton), Winter 1800-01", "William, planter of Bird Island Cove (now Elliston), 1823", "Thomas, planter of Hant's Harbour, 1824", and "Joseph of Heart's Ease, 1830", who may have been the son of John-b1730 mentioned earlier.

According to the Heart's Ease Community History[2], John-b1730 and Grace's son John-b1750 first married Elizabeth Rogers and then Mary Piercey (or Peckham[6]), before dying in 1808. He and his two wives had a large number of children, including William-b1791 born in 1786[6] or ca 1791[3]. William-b1791 and wife Anne (b ca 1795) "moved to Hearts Content ca[d] 1815", and had children Robert-b1817, Christian (b 1821) and James-b1826[3]. James-b1826 moved back across the Bay and married Johanna Cooper. They "moved to Rider's Harbour ca 1860 [and then to Thoroughfare] and then to Snook's Harbour ca 1875"[6]. It is unknown whether the latter's move to the Snook's Harbour area influenced the move of Johanna's nephew John Loder (son of her sister Rachel) to Snook's Harbour ca 1877 [see Loder Family], or that of her nephew William Cooper and his wife Emily Smith to Snook's Harbour in 1881 [see Cooper Family].

For future reference, John-b1730 and Grace were the great grandparents of James-b1826.

Ancestors of John-b1837

Less is known about the distant ancestors of John-b1837 who also moved to the Snook's Harbour area in the 1870s. According to the Davies-Churm-Hodgkins-Baker Tree on Ancestry[8], John-b1837 and siblings Robert (b 1838) and Charity (b 1840), all born in Hearts Ease[c], were the children of Robert Baker (1812-1891) and Priscilla Miller (b 1809 in Kerley's Harbour). Robert-b1812 is indicated to have been born in England[7]; however, the Heart's Ease Community History[2] mentions two Robert Bakers descended from John-b1750 (and his wives) who also seem to be possible candidates for Robert-b1812: a son Robert (but this seems unlikely to be him since John-b1750 died in 1808, before Robert-b1812 was supposedly born), and a grandson Robert who was another son of William-b1791 and hence an older brother of James-b1826. The latter scenario would mean that John-b1837 and James-b1826 were indeed brothers as has been proposed[1], such that the birthplace of Robert-b1812 in the Davies-Churm-Hodgkins-Baker Family Tree[8] is misleading and perhaps incorrect.

John-b1837 married Sarah Ann Langer[8], probably of Hearts Ease[2], and they had children James-b1867, Robert-b1868 and John Thomas (b 1873), all born in Heart's Ease[4][8]. Presumably these children moved with them in the 1870s to the Snook's Harbour area. James-b1867 married Jessie Hiscock of Salmon Cove and they settled in Snook's Harbour proper, and John Thomas died in St. John's in 1935[8]. The fate of Robert-b1868 is unknown.

In summary, considering that both James-b1826 and John-1837 (via Heart’s Content) moved from Heart's Ease to the Snook's Harbour area and that all of the Heart's Ease Bakers were probably related in some way (even if distantly), it does not seem inappropriate to refer to all of the Bakers of Snook's Harbour as part of an extended Baker Family. And it may indeed be that James-b1826 and John-b1837 were brothers, but this remains uncertain.

The Heart's Ease Community History[2] also indicates that a grandchild (child of Thomas) of John-b1750 moved to Weybridge in the mid 1800s. Also, several female Bakers who were probably descendants of John-b1730 moved to Random Island, including: Sarah who married John Foster in 1807 and settled in Rider's Harbour, Jane (b 1862) who married Benjamin Martin of Hickman's Harbour, Amelia (b 1869) who married William Hiscock of Hickman's Harbour, and Susannah (b 1880) who married David Martin of Hickman's Harbour.

Random Island Families

First, Second and Third Generations

James-b1826 Baker and Family

James-b1826 and Johanna (nee Cooper) Baker initially lived in Rider's Harbour where they had children[3] (part of the “Second Generation” of the Random Island Baker Family)::

  • Flora who was born in 1860, and
  • John who was born in 1862 and married Mary Ann Jacobs (b 1874) in 1896. John-b1862 and Mary Ann lived in Snook's Harbour and had a son William John (according to the Will[5] of his grandfather James-b1826) who was born ca 1900, a daughter Flora (1909-1991), and perhaps others.

James-b1826 and Johanna then lived in Thoroughfare where they had children[3][4]:

  • Mary Ann who was born in 1864 and married Thomas Coles in 1901 in Halifax;
  • Edward James who was born in 1866 and died in 1887;
  • Elizabeth Selah who was born in 1868, and married Albert Coles of Somerset England in 1901 in Halifax;
  • Rachel who was born in 1871;
  • Susanna who was born in 1872, and married (m) Arthur Bugden (1852-1918) of Trinity; they lived in Lance Cove and then Petley and had children[8]:
    • Eliza (b 1893);
    • Eugene (1894-1974) who married Martha Ivany; they moved to Alaska and had at least 3 children;
    • Flora (1896-1899);
    • Louise (b 1898);
    • Bertha (b 1900);
    • Heman (1900-1967) who married Carrie Bailey; they had at least 2 children (Victoria 1919-1991 who married Lindo Smith, Arther 1927-2003 who married Vera Tucker) in Petley; Heman died in Snook’s Harbour;
    • Fiona (1902-1921) who married Moses Marsh;
    • William (b 1902);
    • Mariam (1902-1921);
    • Amelia (1904-1973) who married George Wiseman;
    • Emily Maude (1906-1992) who married Hubert Wiseman;
    • Llewelyn (1908-1929);
    • George (1910-1994) who married Ivy Smith in Hickman's Harbour;
    • James; and
    • John.
Susanna died in 1954 in Petley, well after Arthur died there in 1918. Their children are part of the "Third Generation" of the Random Island Baker Family.
William & Maud Baker, & son Baxter
William & Maud Baker, & son Baxter
Herbert (Herb) Baker
Herbert (Herb) Baker
  • William-b1878 who was born on 17 Sept 1878 in "Snook’s Arm, Smith Sound" according to baptism records[3], but indicated elsewhere to have been born in Wake's Brook[9] (it may be that "Snook's Arm" refers to "Snook's Harbour"). William-b1878 married Alice Maud Smith (1881-1970) of Wake's Brook in 1902, and died in 1950; they lived in Snook's Harbour proper and had at least 8 children (part of the "Third Generation") there:
    • Allan (ca 1903-1988) who married Louisa Bailey of Trinity East; they lived in Snook’s Harbour and had 2 children who died young;
    • William-b1908 (1908-1983[e]) who married Vercie Ivany (1922-2012) of Georges Brook; they lived in Snook’s Harbour and had 3 children;
    • Kenneth (1909-1979) who married Alice Martha Bowring (1923-2003) of Britannia; they lived in Snook’s Harbour but did not have any children (Martha was a granddaughter of Elias and Maria Hefford of Snook’s Harbour and a daughter Bertha Hefford who married William Bowring of Britannia and then lived there) [see Hefford Family].
    • Herbert (1911-1998) who married Charlotte Clarke (1922-2010) of Britannia; they lived in Snook’s Harbour and had 3 children;
    • Baxter (1913-2008) who married Inez Melvina Doris Pond (1934- ) of Hickman’s Harbour; they lived in Snook’s Harbour and had 3 children;
    • Gladys (ca 1915-1999) who married Jack Keats from the Musgravetown area; they had at least 1 child while living there;
    • Phoebe 1917-2006) who first married Robert Skiffington, and later Leslie Skiffington, both from the Musgravetown area; Phoebe and Robert had at least 3 children; and
    • Marjorie (ca 1919-2015) who had at least 1 son and married Wallace Reid; they lived in Snook's Harbour.

Johanna died in 1902 in Trinity, and James-b1836 in 1915 in Snook's Harbour.

James-b1826, listed in 1896 as a "ferryman"[3], and Johanna were among (if not) the earliest permanent settlers in the Snook's Harbour area, during the 1870s[1]. This timing is consistent with the above birth locations of their children. It is noteworthy that the baptisms of Johanna's great nephews Elkanah (b 1877) and Thomas (b 1879) Loder (sons of her nephew John Loder who also settled in Snook's Harbour in the 1870s [see Loder Family]) were also not recorded in the Trinity Anglican Church (like William-b1878's wasn't), consistent with both families moving to Snook's Harbour around this time and losing contact with the Trinity church. Johanna was the only child of Edward I and Ann Cooper to move to Snook's Harbour, although two of their grandsons also did so later [see Cooper Family].

John-b1837 Baker and Family

John-b1837 and Sarah Ann (nee Langer) Baker initially lived in Heart's Ease but moved to the Souley's and Wake’s Brooks area in the 1870s. They had at least 3 children (part of the "Second Generation"), all born in Heart’s Ease[5][8]:

  • James-b1867 who married Jessie Hiscock (b 1872) of Salmon Cove. They settled in Snook's Harbour proper and had children (part of the “Third Generation”):
    • Robert James (b Oct 1893, d Nov 1893);
    • Arthur (1894-1964) who married Mary Pond of Foster's Point; they lived in Snook’s Harbour and had at least 1 daughter;
    • John Charles (b Sept 1893);
    • Walter (b 1899) who married Nellie Barnes; they lived in Snook's Harbour;
    • Johanna (1901-1985) who married Robert Power of Newfoundland; they moved to Massachusetts where they had 3 children;
    • Caroline (1903-1970) who married Joseph Hodgkins of Nova Scotia; they also moved to Massachusetts where had at least 2 children;
    • Colin (1908-1994) who married Jessie Smith of Trinity North; they lived in Snook's Harbour and had 2 children;
James-b1867 died in 1945 and Jessie in a later year.
  • Robert who was born in 1868; and
  • John Thomas who was born in 1873 and died in St. John's in 1935[8].

With one (William-b1878) of James-b1826's sons and one (James-b1867) of John-b1837’s sons raising their families in Snook’s Harbour, there was a substantial Second Generation of the Random Island Baker Family in Snook's Harbour. Then, with 6 of William-b1878’s children and 3 of James-b1867’s children living in Snook’s Harbour during adulthood, there was (and still is) a large Third Generation of the Baker Family there, as well as a substantial “Fourth Generation”.

Photo Credits

Provided by Barry Cooper


  1. Prepared by John W Loder ( with input from Barry Cooper ( John is a great-great grandson of Rachel Cooper and Silas Loader of Ireland's Eye. He has done extensive research on the ancestry of the Loder and related families of Snook's Harbour. Barry is a great-great grandson of Johanna Cooper (Rachel's sister) and James Baker who were among the earliest settlers in the Snook's Harbour area.
  2. The notation "FirstName-b####", such as "James-b1826", where "b" refers to born and "####" to a specific (or approximate) year, will be used to help track different members of the Baker Family, specially those with the first name of James or John.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Heart's Ease Beach", located near the mouth of Southwest Arm, will be referred to here-on-in as "Heart's Ease". It is distinct from "Little Heart's Ease" about 5 km away.
  4. 4.0 4.1 The [square brackets] within a "quote" here and elsewhere indicate words inserted within the quote based on other information provided by the source. Elsewhere in this summary, the terminology "around year" will be replaced by "ca year" (short for "circa" year), e.g., ca 1750.
  5. William-b1908’s indicated ages in the 1935 and 1945 Newfoundland Censuses suggest that he was born ca 1906 (whereas his headstone indicates 1908). The approximate (ca) birth years for his siblings indicated in the text are based on their ages in these censuses.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Martin, Wilfred B.W. (1990). Random Island Pioneers. St. John's: Creative Publishers. p. 268.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Heart's Ease Beach, Southwest Arm Historical Society,".
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 "Family Search genealogical site". James-1926 is ID #KZHV-5SH, William-b1787 is #LVSZ-Z8L, and William-b1878 is ID#G66X-BL3.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Toope, Eugene (1992). Eye Your Roots' (and more), The Chronicles, Ireland's Eye and Rise's Harbour. Grand Falls – Windsor: E and Eye Enterprises. pp. xi, 221.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "Newfoundland's Grand Banks – Genealogical and historical data for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador".
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 "The Baker-Merlo Family Tree on".
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Seary, E.R.; Kirwin, W (1998). Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland. McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. iv, 574.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 "The Davies-Churm Hodgkins-Baker Tree on".
  9. Corbett, Gloria; Dalton, Arthur (2005). The Smith-Bramleigh Family from Trinity Bay, Newfoundland and Beyond. pp. 400+.