From The Old World To The New
The research underlying this website has shown that the Morrys (or Moreys, Morys, Mawrys etc., as they were variously known in the past) spent at least the two centuries prior to emigrating to Newfoundland living in Devon, England, and in the South Hams District for the most part.
The South Hams District of Devon, Showing Stoke Gabriel and Dartmouth and Environs
The earliest documentation on the family that can be verified with absolute certainty is found in the Parish records of Stoke Gabriel, a small and charming village just upstream on the River Dart from Dartmouth. The family was intimately connected with the sea through its involvement in maritime trade and shipping and eventually moved to Dartmouth to be nearer to the source of their income. There the family records show up in the Parishes of St. Clements and St. Saviours, though mostly in the latter.
It was from that port, in the mid 1700s, that the Morrys began to develop their business in connection with the Newfoundland fishery. That business grew, and because of this, and because of an economic reversal associated with his business partnership, Matthew Morry (referred to on this site as Matthew Morry I by virtue of the fact that there were a succession of sons and grandsons by that name) began the gradual process of moving business and family to Newfoundland.
One can only imagine how difficult a decision this was to make. While Dartmouth was but a small provincial port, and not by any means an advanced centre of culture, learning or economics, it must have stood out in stark contrast to the bleak and uninviting climate and environment facing them in the New World. Though there had been some degree of continuous settlement in the area of the Southern Shore where they were eventually destined to settle for at least one hundred years prior to that time, it had never amounted to much up until that time due to the laws that deliberately discouraged the construction of year-round establishments.
Contrary to common belief before this research began, the Morrys did not immediately settle in Ferryland, where they have lived for the past century and a half, but rather set up shop initially nearby in Calvert, then known as Caplin Bay. As noted above, there was already land tenure established in the Ferryland area, which was settled from the time of Lord Baltimore’s first Colony (the Colony of Avalon) in the early 1600s. So it would not have been easy to acquire suitable fishing rooms in that harbour at the outset, whereas no land tenure had yet been established in nearby Caplin Bay. In fact Matthew was the first person on record to have done so, by petition to the Governor in 1784. Shortly after that time, in fact just after the death of his first wife, Mary Graham, Matthew moved permanently to Newfoundland with his younger children. Several of his older children were already married and established in England and had no desire to leave that relative comfort for the unknowns of this New-Founde-Land.
An Early Map Showing Ferryland and Caplen [sic] Bay in Relation to One Another
The links under the page title above give some background on the Morry family’s involvement, during the period they spent in Stoke Gabriel, Dartmouth, Caplin Bay and the early days in Ferryland.