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History

Nestled away on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland, lies the quaint town of Raleigh. With humble beginnings and an arduous struggle for existence, this tiny town of 260 people will surely capture your heart and unleash your sense of adventure.

Raleigh is offering you the chance to experience the heart of outport Newfoundland and Labrador. It is extending to you the opportunity to capture the spirit of our colonizing forefathers, so that you might understand the richness of our heritage, and the pride of our people.

In spite of itís size, Raleigh has a rich history which dates back to French migratory fishermen of the eighteenth century, and possibly to the Basque fishermen before that time. Early English settlement probably dates from the mid 1800"s when fishing crews from the ports of Conception Bay frequented the area.

The first known settlers of Raleigh were the Parmiter family. They were followed by the Taylors, Elliotts and Beaufields. Others came to Raleigh to partake in the summer fishery and then return to their respective home ports for the winter months.

Bertha and Mable BesseyBy the early twentieth century, there were some thirty-three fishing enterprises involved in the fishery. They consisted of families of Besseys, Greens, Pynns, Dawes, Evans and Smiths ó many of whose names are common in Raleigh today.

In addition to the fishery, settlers were also involved in the seal hunt, lumbering and subsistence agriculture. By the early 1950s, the population boasted several hundred people.

Raleigh derived its present name in the early 1900's, when John Elliott, son of Thomas and Martha Elliott, went to New York to work as a minister. At this time, the community was known as Ha Ha Bay.

It is speculated that this name came from the French "haha" (a type of fence that could not be seen until closely approached). This is descriptive of the way in which Burnt Island appears from the sea to be unconnected to the adjacent land.

The name Raleigh is believed to be adopted from Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. During his time in the United States, John Elliott had heard the name Raleigh and had taken a liking to it.

Upon his return home, John and another resident, Harvey Taylor, decided to change the name. They petitioned Thomas Elliott to write a letter to the Colonial Secretary requesting that the community be renamed. In March 1914, the name was officially changed to Raleigh.

Incorporated as a town in 1973, the Raleigh of today has the modern amenities such as water, sewer, paved roads, convenience stores, gift shops, craft producers, cafes, lounge and a provincial park.

With the closure of the cod fishery in 1992, most of its residents have been forced to leave the fishery, except for the few involved in the lobster, crab and shell fish fisheries. Yet, the remnants of a once substantial fishery remain.

The few fishing stages, wharves, trap skiffs, old fishing gear and artifacts serve as reminders that Raleigh was once a busy port on the Northern Peninsula, and its people have evolved from a rich ancestry and unique culture.

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