Conception Bay Newfoundland
(inc. 1965; Pop. 1976, 750). In use since C.1630 (M.F. Howley: 1888) the name Cupids is a derivation of earlier fomms: Cupers, Coopers, Cuetes, Copers, Cuperts Cove, cited in M.F. Howley (1901); and Cubitts Cove, cited in R.A. Barakat (1973). John Guy qv, cited in G.T. Cell (1969) used the fomm ``Cupperes Cove'' in letters locating the site three leagues (17 km) northeast of Colliers qv settlement. By 1611 a letter from Guy, given in D.W. Prowse (1895) calls it Cupers Cove, and in 1625 the first published map of the area prepared by John Mason qv records it as Cuperts Cove. The actual community was first settled in August, 1610 by John Guy (the first Govemor) and thirty-nine colonists. The settlement was the first colonization venture of the Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London and Bristol. In a letter from John Guy to Master Slaney, Treasurer of the Newfoundland plantation dated May 16, 1611 (in Samuel Purchas: 1905, vol. XIX) Guy reported that the settlement was prospering. The first winter was exceptionally mild and as a result the settlers were able to erect a dwelling, a provision storehouse, a workhouse and a stockade 36.5 m by 27.5 m (120 by 90 ft) armed with three cannon. The group completed six fishing boats and a twelve-ton shallop that winter. Guy also noted two sawpits and a forge operating in the settlement.
By the temms of the original charter of the Company of London and Bristol, John Guy was empowered to administer justice in the Colony to prevent such crimes as theft, vandalism, and encroachment on, or interference with, fishing property. The charter represented the first such attempt at central govemment on the Island of Newfoundland. In 1611 Guy returned to England, leaving his brother, Philip, and William Colston to manage the affairs of the Colony, until his return to Newfoundland.
On July 29, 1612 John Guy in a second letter to Slaney (cited in Purchas: 1905) reported the detrimental effects of Peter Easton's qv pirate fleet on the Newfoundland fishery. Although the Cupids colony was not reported to have been unduly harrassed, John Crout, writing to Sir Percival Willoughby on April 13, 1613, gave fear of pirates as the reason Guy did not establish a second plantation at ``Reneuse'' in 1612. Piracy was at a peak of activity in the Cupids area, with no fewer than three hundred and sixty deserters and a pressed group of over two hundred men taken by Easton for crews in Conception Bay alone.
In October 1612 Guy undertook a voyage of exploration along the coast. On November 7, 1612 the group met with Beothuk qv Indians at Bull Arm. The meeting involved a brief exchange of gifts for furs and is the first documented meeting of English colonists with the Beothuk. The winter of 1612 was relatively harsh and resulted in the deaths of eight settlers and much of the colony's livestock. On March 27, 1613 William Colston recorded the earliest known birth of an English child, when a boy was born to Nicholas Guy and his wife at Cupids. One month later, on April 10, 1613, John Guy returned to England. By 1613 both Guy and the Company of London and Bristol were in conflict over the colony at Cupids. In a letter to Henry Crout on December 27, 1614 Guy criticized the Company for reneging on payment of wages and property grants in the Conception Bay colony. By that time the company had begun to lose interest in the Cupids colony because of its economic dependence and its relative lack of retums to shareholders. By 1616 Captain John Mason qv had replaced Guy as Govemor. During his stay at Cupids, Mason organized coastal expeditions in 1616 and 1617 that were responsible for the first map of Newfoundland, which was first published by William Vaughan qv in 1625. By 1621 Mason had resigned his commission to venture in New England. Most historians assume that Cupids collapsed as a colony soon after this period. Prowse was of the opinion that the colony existed till about 1628, and M.F. Howley (1888) felt that ``the settlement gradually sank into insignificance before the newly rising settlement [Ferryland] in the South.'' In 1973 the first archeological excavation, sponsored by Memorial University of Newfoundland in conjunction with the Historic Resources Division of the Provincial Department of Tourism, was carried out at the Cupids community site. Excavations unearthed by archeologists indicated that a saw pit, a cess pit, two building sites and possibly a palisade and wharf had been used at the community during the period of Guy's residence. R.A. Barakat (1973) detemmined that the site roughly confommed to descriptions given by Guy in correspondence cited by Purchas and others. Barakat further concluded that continuous occupation of the Cupids colony spanned a period of over two hundred years, and, from the distribution of artifacts, summised that settlement pattems were light in the Seventeenth Century, peaking in the early Eighteenth Century and declining thereafter.
In 1836 Cupids was a bustling community of 840 people. As devout followers of John Wesley the community built a school, which had a total enrolment of nine students. Nine years later a second school had been built at the community. In 1845 the population, which now numbered 1143, were engaged in fishing, farming and sheep raising. That year Cupids sent a total of fifteen vessels to the annual seal hunt. By 1869 the population, which had numbered 959 in 1850, were reported as two communities. There were a total of 799 residents at Cupids and 409 at Cupids Southside. Census retums for 1869 also indicate that besides the traditional Wesleyan congregation there were Roman Catholic and Church of England adherents.
At the beginning of the Twentieth Century Cupids had reached a stable level of prosperity with a large population of 760 people. The community continued as a primary fishing settlement with over 200 people employed in the Labrador Fishery alone and by 1911 supported two local saw mills which were responsible for some 9,000 board feet of lumber produced in 1910.
In 1910 tercentennial celebrations were held at Cupids and a monument to John Guy was erected by the Newfoundland Historical Society; a plaque was donated by Rev. William Stacey representing the city of Bristol in England. According to H.F. Shortis (1910) a crowd of three thousand people attended the celebration on August 17, 1910. The four-day event was also the occasion of the Annual Harbour Grace Regatta and a sham battle which was staged on Carbonear Island qv by the officers and crew of H.M.S. Brilliant depicting the successful defense of the island against *Le Moyne d'Iberville qv in 1696. Rev. T.H. James (1910) noted the efforts of the Old Colony Association of Toronto, who commissioned the second largest Union Jack in the British Empire to be flown at Cupids on a 41 m (135 ft) tower for the tercentenary . According to Cyril Robinson (1959) the flag was commissioned in 1908 and made by an ex-Newfoundlander named Parsons living in Toronto. The completed banner was 11 m by 13.7 m (36 x 45 ft) and flew regularly until the collapse of the mast during World War I.
In 1935 the census reported a population of 562. During this period the community retained its inshore fishery, largely abandoning the Labrador fishery and the local lumber industry of the early 1900s. Local gardens continued to produce staple vegetables of cabbage, tumip and potatoes. With increased trends toward urbanization and centralization after Confederation Cupids experienced a decrease in population to 476 persons in 1954.
On April 13, 1965 the community incorporated and with increased facilities as settlement incentive the community reported a population of 750 in 1976. .
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