Anecdote from The Dock
(from a letter by Rupert Batten to me, March 1999)
On the basis of recommendations from two different people, I contacted Mr. Rupert Batten, formerly of the Dock. He comes from a different line of Battens than me. If we have common ancestors, it would probably in the 1700's in Port De Grave. He wrote me back with the following, in his words "anecdotal" information. What is anecdotal to him is like gold to me.
Thank you Mr. Batten
"I used to hear my father mention "AuntTheresa" and that she had a small rural Post Office in her house. I remember her house, it was a typical 1900's Newfoundland home, two story with a flat roof much like my grandfather's and other houses in the area. They were fairly plain on the outside but had nice mouldings, doors and staircases inside. Aunt Theresa's house was purchased by her brother A.A. French for his niece, she lived in it for a short time until her marriage broke up. It was rented a few times, but then was abandoned and allowed to fall into decay. It was demolished in the seventies.
From Bareneed and Port De Grave the Foxtrap area was referred to as "over on the shore". It is said that the early Port De Grave merchants made pastures over there for the grazing of their cattle, sheep and other domestic animals. Gradually people moved there permanently and farmed the good land as well as fished. They probably found that it was a good idea to have something else to rely on if the fishery failed. You are no doubt aware of some of the names in the Foxtrap area such as Batten, Morgan, Dawe, Porter, these were old Port De Grave names.
My ancestors Isaac and Elizabeth Batten of Port De Grave moved to the Dock when they bought a house and land in 1816, they were natives of NFLD. They had two sons Abraham and Isaac and several daughters. Abraham was my ancestor and I suspect his brother Isaac's wife was a French and an ancestor of Aunt Theresa.
Harry Batten owned a fair sized piece of potato ground within the boundaries of the Batten land. As the potato patch had no access to a road or lane, one had to go over the Batten land to work it. To me this indicates someone closely related to the other Battens, probably by marriage.
You did not say whether you were ever in the Dock, if you weren't I will get you a photo of James Batten's headstone. The little cemetary was originally a private burying groung for the Frenchs and the Battens. Later some members of the Hampton family were allowed to be buried there. There may be one or two Newells there also. An old stone erected to Edward French who died in 1829, was manufactured in Devon England where some of the Battens came from. I guess our ancestors wanted to be buried near their property rather than a mile away at the Church of England Cemetary in Bareneed. I keep the trees cut and the boundaries from disappearing.
Down in Bareneed on what is called Dick's Hill lived a family of Battens who had the nickname of Jawsey. Perhaps their ancestors came from the island of Jersey, thus their nickname. There were Battens living in the Dock in the late 1700's they may have been related to your family.
From an old surveyors map __
Samuel Batten - Grant of land 1863
Samuel Batten - 1835 different man?
There were many families of Battens living in the lower part of Bareneed, the Cove and along Dick's Hill. There are none left now.
Some young men arrived in NFLD by way of the press gang. They usually jumped ship in NFLD. and settled here where they contributed to the building up of the communities.
"That part of Bareneed commonly called the Dock" (quote from an old document) was so named as a result of Western boats being built there. They were large two masted boats which predated motors and enabled two or more men to go farther afield to fish.
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