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Port Royal

Port Royal is a small community located on the west side of Long Island, Placentia Bay. It presently consists of around fifteen cabins, populated during the summer by former residents of the town. Once a thriving fishing village, Port Royal was depopulated beginning in the early 1960s as part of the resettlement program. Families that had lived and fished in the area since the mid-19th century suddenly found themselves living in larger, less isolated communities on the island of Newfoundland. After this upheaval, the Port Royal townsite remained vacant for several decades. This changed in 1993 when, inspired by a community reunion, several families from Port Royal decided to go back home and build cabins where their houses once stood.

During its most populated era as a town, Port Royal had between 80 and 100 residents, most of whom were dependent on the local fishery. Despite geographic isolation, these residents did not go without as they benefited from nearby Harbour Buffett -- a commercially successful community located a short walk from Port Royal. Harbour Buffett was home to W.W. Wareham & Sons Ltd. which was an important fish merchant business that serviced not only the Merasheen Islands, but communities along the west coast of the Avalon Peninsula as well. This business operated successfully until 1967 when, like Port Royal, Harbour Buffett was forced to evacuate the island.

The headstone rubbings in this collection are from Port Royal's only cemetery, located on a hill just above the waterfront cabins. This cemetery was put out of use during resettlement and up until the 1993 reunion, went untouched. These days it is being maintained by residents of the cabin community whose ancestors are buried here. In the summer of 2012, the Port Royal Cemetery underwent a restoration project which saw to the cleaning and repair of its 35 headstones. These rubbings were collected after the headstones were brought back to their original appearance.

 

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