Elliott's Cove

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Elliott's Cove
Elliott's Cove
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Location of Elliott's Cove On Random Island
Country Canada
Province Newfoundland and Labrador
 • Total75.59 km2 (29.19 sq mi)
20 m (70 ft)
 • Total535
 • Density7.1/km2 (18/sq mi)
 Includes all of Random West.
Time zoneUTC-3:30 (Newfoundland Time)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-2:30 (Newfoundland Daylight)
Postal code span
Area code(s)709
Highways Route 231
Historical population
Elliott's Cove United Church
DenominationUnited Church
Previous denominationMethodist
Elliott's Cove School
TypeOne Room
GradesK - 8
Building used as a community center for many years after closure, and site now used as a Firehall

Elliott's Cove is a community on Random Sound and the western end of Random Island, approximately due southeast across the Sound from Clarenville. Prior to inhabitants during the past few decades (e.g., in Random Heights) along the Island's main road from the mainland via the Hefferton Causeway (completed in 1952), Elliott's Cove was the first community along that road proceeding in a general eastward direction across the Island. It was also one of the earliest settlements on the western third of Random Island[9].


It is believed[9] that the earliest European visitors to the Elliott's Cove area were residents of Hant's Harbour and other communities on the southeastern side of Trinity Bay who came to the area in the early-to-mid 1800s because of its timber resources and multiple brooks, sometimes overwintering. Further, it has been deemed likely[9] that Elliott's Cove was named after the Elliott family of Hant's Harbour, even though there is no indication of an Elliott settling in the Cove year-round. Rather, the first permanent settlers in Elliott's Cove are believed to have been the Smith family from Hant's Harbour[10] [see Smith Family].

In his remarkable book on Newfoundland published in 1878[11], Phillip Tocque describes Random Sound as "a beautiful lake of water, the shores of which are well adapted for cultivation". In his chapter on Trinity Bay, Tocque includes a verbatim description by Rev Henry Petley, a Missionary for the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel, of Petley's voyage around Random Island in 1859. Petley notes passing the headland Foster's Point, "a dangerous shallow with a rock", on his way from Heart's Content to Shoal Harbour, but does not mention a settlement where Elliott's Cove is located. This is consistent with other accounts[9] that the first permanent settlers arrived in Elliott's Cove in the 1860s.

Another notable aspect of Tocque's and Petley's accounts is their highly complimentary description of John William Tilley who Petley visited in Lower Shoal Harbour. Tilley, often referred to as John "The Scholar"[12], had moved across the Bay from Old Perlican via Hant's Harbour to become the first permanent settler in Shoal Harbour in 1845[13]. Tocque described Tilley as one "who by indomitable energy and perseverance rose from obscurity to eminence as a man of learning, taught himself to read and write at 26 years of age, and was the first to commence brick-making and preserving salmon in tins in Newfoundland". Petley noted "I had no time to visit his saw-mill, or to take a walk into the country to see the large pines…But I saw his farm, a good extent of land for these parts, bearing fine crops of potatoes, oats and grass". Tilley's connection to Elliott's Cove is that his daughter Martha Tilley, born in Hant's Harbour and having married Thomas Smith Sr of there in 1828[14], was the matriarch of the Smith family who settled in Elliott's Cove.

It is believed that Thomas Sr and Martha Smith's son Thomas Jr (1839-1906) and wife Deborah (nee Hopkins) were the first to settle in Elliott's Cove in the 1860s[9] [also Smith Family]. Thomas Jr's parents and most of his 8 siblings moved to Elliott's Cove shortly thereafter. Thomas Jr's older brother William Smith (1836-1925) and wife Lydia (nee Hopkins) and their children became the first settlers in Apsey Brook about 5 km away on the northern side of Random Island in the mid 1870s, and his younger sister Jane Tilley Smith (1851-1937) and husband John Loder (1850-1916) of Ireland's Eye and their two oldest sons became the first settlers in Snook's Harbour proper about 3 km away on the Island's northern side in 1876 or 1877 [see Loder Family]. Thus, all of the descendants of the Smiths of Elliott's Cove and Apsey Brook, and of the Loders of Snook's Harbour are descended from the esteemed John "The Scholar" Tilley.


With the arrival of the multiple Smith siblings and their families, Elliott’s Cove quickly became a sizeable, albeit small, community. A “Way Office” was established there in 1882[15]. In 1884 and 1891 its population was 43[9][14], with 22 aged 20 years of younger in 1891, most of whom were probably born there.

By 1921, the population had increased to 84, over half of whom had the surname Smith, and in 1921 the population was 75, again over half of them with the Smith surname.

Church & School

Elliott's Cove United Church

Elliott's Cove School

Business & Industry


It appears that the rich and accessible timber resources of the area, the multiple brooks and associated sand bars, and the farmable land, together with protection from the open waters of Trinity Bay and the multiple species of fish available in Random Sound, were the primary factors in the early settlement of Elliott's Cove. Thus, the early settler probably logged, fished and farmed for a living.

The 1898 McAlpine’s Business Directory for Random Sound[14] had 5 men in Elliott's Cove listed as fishermen, 2 as lumbermen and 1 as a coaster (7 of them beings Smiths and 1 a Hodder). Not long later, the 1904 McAlpine’s Directory[14] had 14 men listed in Elliott's Cove, all fishermen, 9 of whom were Smiths.

A new industry starting around 1892 and lasting for over a decade in Elliott's Cove was brickmaking, with the Newfoundland Brick and Tile Company operating a steam engine and a scove kiln, and employing 20-37 men[9][16]. There is some uncertainty however regarding the output of the operation since one source[16] indicates over 70,000 produced in a year and another[9] indicates over 700,000 in a year. Unfortunately, the Elliott's Cove plant burned down in 1901 and the company moved its operation to St. John’s about 3 years later[16].

Fortunately, Thomas Sr and Martha Smith's youngest sons Aaron (1855-1943) and Charles (1854-1904) had established another brickmaking operation in the Souley's and Wake's Brooks area near Snook's Harbour in 1895[9]. This brickyard, later run by Aaron's sons Attwood and Norman, continued in operation until 1952, providing important employment to the residents of Elliott's Cove, Snook's Harbour and elsewhere. In 1920, it is reported to have produced 42,500 bricks, with 20 men employed[9].

It is curious that neither the 1898 nor 1904 McAlpine’s Business Directories[14] listed any brickmakers in either Elliott's Cove or Snook's Harbour, although the 1904 Directory for Elliott’s Cove listed the Newfoundland Brick & Tile Co., with a note “(see St. John’s)”. The latter is consistent with the closure of the Elliott’s Cove operation around 1904, while the lack of mention of men working as brickmakers may just reflect their continued fishing and/or a focus of the Directories on traditional activities.


Features, Landmarks, Locations


  1. All of Random West
  2. All of Random West
  3. "Census Profile". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  4. "2016 Canada Census for Random Island West". Statistics Canada.
  5. "2016 Canada Census for Random Island West". Statistics Canada.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Martin, Wilfred B.W. (1990). "Settlements and Early Industries". Random Island Pioneers. Creative Publishers. p. 36. ISBN 0-920021-72-7.
  7. "1935 Newfoundland Census for Elliott's Cove".
  8. "1945 Newfoundland Census for Elliott's Cove".
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 9.9 Martin, W.B.W. (1990). Random Island Pioneers. St. John’s: Creative Publishers Ltd. p. 268.
  10. G. Corbett & A. Dalton Jr. The Smith-Bramleigh Family from Trinity Bay, Newfoundland and Beyond.
  11. Tocque, Philip (1878). Newfoundland As It Was and As It Is in 1877. John B. Magurn, Toronto. p. 511.
  12. "Various family trees on the genealogical website Ancestry".
  13. E.R. Seary and W. Kirwin. Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland (corrected edition, 1998). McGill-Queen’s University Press. p. 698.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "Newfoundland's Grand Banks: Genealogical and Historical Data for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador".
  15. "Elliott's Cove".
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Random Island History" (PDF). Decks Awash. Vol 12, No 2: 4–9. Mar–Apr 1983. {{cite journal}}: |volume= has extra text (help)CS1 maint: date format (link)