Encyclopedia Britiannica 2002 defines a cooper as "one that makes or repairs casks or tubs"

Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador says "coopers or barrelmakers were likely among the earliest craftsmen to arrive in  Newfoundland" and that they accompanied ships here as far back as the Fifteenth Century. It says that in the outports coopers cut their own timber to make the staves and often made their own hoops.  In addition to making 'slack' barrels for fish and 'tight' barrels to hold berries, rum or other wet substances, they also made buckets, churns, dippers, bailers, trawl-net tubs and other products for the home. In St John's, coopers specialized in barrels for fish and rum.

Most  large merchant ships carried their own craftsman, coopers and ship joiners (carpenters). Much of the  food and drink consumed onboard were carried in barrels, and most of  the cargo as well. Barrels required  maintenance since they were  reused and would eventually need repair. When a barrel was finished with being useda barrel it was knocked down, cleaned, stored and prepared for use again later and when needed  the cooper fashioned it into a usable state.

 This is a work in progress and if you see a Captain KENNEDY here that  you may be related to please make an

inquiry so that I can find out further details on the vessel registered to Captain KENNEDY or perhaps where  he

was born or resided.  I believe those Captain Kennedys of Crocker's Cove and Carbonear to all be the ancestors of my

grandmother.   Both my ggggf Captain Nicholas and his wife Julia (married 1831) were both Kennedys and as the

story goes his line was from Wexford and his father put in at Harbor Grace after he was born at sea in 1807 en route

to New Bedford, Massachusetts (they had heard the fishing in the States was good) and Julia's KENNEDY line had

already been in Crocker's Cove, Newfoundland since before 1755.  

      The union of Nicholas and Julia  was not the only Kennedy to Kennedy marriage in Carbonear. During the same

decade, a William Kennedy married an Ellen Kennedy (1820), a John Kennedy married a Mary Kennedy (1828) and a

Terence Kennedy married a Jane (Kenny/Kennedy) in 1818.  It is my own supposition that the Kennedy family which

arrived from Wexford, Ireland in 1807 married into the Crocker's Cove line through more than one union in an effort to

secure land and fishing premises.  All marriages were sanctioned by the Roman Catholic church in Harbor Grace and no

record of Consanguinity has been found to indicate a blood relation between the two families.  I believe that all of the

Captain Kennedys from Carbonear in the above Index are related thru one Kennedy line or the other and ultimately

trace through blood or marriage to the Terence Kennedy whose Crocker's Cove house was razed in 1755 after having

mass said publicly and being married by a Catholic priest. I am less certain of the connection between Crocker's Cove/

Carbonear  Kennedys and the Kennedys of Harbor Maine/Holyrood (Avondale).  Alhough any of the Kennedy to Kennedy

marriages could represent the joining of  Kennedy families between Carbonear and the Avondale area as they all had early

connections as parishioners of the RC Chapel of Harbor Grace.  Information on the earliest Captain Kennedys has been

extracted from the Keith Matthews Name Files of the Maritime History Archives at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

     I have no doubt that there were more Kennedy Master Mariners in Newfoundland than are listed here and that each

Captain Kennedy had Kennedy crew aboard his vessel.  Those Captain Kennedys last listed, William J. and Nicholas J.

Kennedy were brothers and first cousins to my great grandfather John Kennedy.  John's father was Skipper Terrence of the

Flying Mist 1896 and I suspect that vessel as the one on which he may have sailed 4 of his sons to Boston.  Skipper

Terrence's brothers were Captain Nicholas (father of the above Capt.WJK and Capt NJK) and Captain John Kennedy

(of the Bounty and who had sons Nich, WJ, and Stan).  They all worked the Labrador fishery during the second half

of the 19th century but as this livelihood began to wane most of the family was moving from Carbonear to St. John's,

Canada, and also the US.  They were considered the last of Carbonear's Great Sea Captains.  The last of 4 generations

of  Captains (at least that I know for certain) but I suspect their seafaring tradition goes back for many more generations

and spans more than the three hundred years recorded here.    They have thousands of descendants.  Many of whom I feel

certain are most at home when nearest to sea.

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