When a young man by the name of James Coffey, from Waterford, Ireland first travelled to the Cape Shore, he became the first person to settle in Angel’s Cove. It was during the 19th century and he had come to work for the Sweetman Company, a large fishery firm based in Placentia.
The Sweetman Company was eager to provide the food for their workers. Previously, the company had purchased the food from Britain, which was a far more expensive arrangement than if they could supply it themselves. And so, initially, newcomers such as James Coffey were farming. While this was the primary source of employment for many of the young immigrants, by around 1874, their mode of employ would change—land to sea. The men eventually shifted their attention to fishing and by 1891, the nine fishermen who were residing in Angel’s Cove had landed 345 quintals of cod worth $1,472 (Decks Awash, Volume 19, No. 3).
By the time 1898 arrived, James Coffey had died, leaving his widow Catherine (McAlpine’s Directory 1898). Over the years, they had been joined by David, Patrick, Jeremiah, James (likely James Senior’s son), William, and Michael. The daughter of James and Catherine, Ellen had married James Follet of Clattice Harbour. Their four sons and three daughters also lived in Angel’s Cove.
Life proceeded apace into the next century and with the arrival of 1935, 74 people in 13 families were making a home for themselves in Angel’s Cove. But over time, more and more people moved away, no doubt seeking opportunities in places such as St. John’s. And nowadays, there are only a few year-round residents, some of whom are related to the original Coffeys who settled the community over a century ago. Angel’s Cove is yet another small community on the Cape Shore with strong ties to a rich past.