The History Of Baytona

Most Newfoundland communities had their first settlers much earlier than 1901. It seems Baytona is one of the newest communities on the island. Some settlements may be proud of being old, but problems such as: not being able to trace early settlers, old buildings being run down, etc... are some of the disappointments that exist. Another factor making this community very unique is that after only a short period of time after settlement (1958) the old name was Birchy Bay North was changed to Gayside and then later (1985) the name was changed from Gayside to Baytona.

Across Canada, as well as across the world, areas are growing so fast that nearby towns are combining and renaming the joint places by one name. Here the opposite was done. In the early days more people lived on the Birchy Bay side. When some moved across the bay it was called to the North Side of Birchy Bay or Birchy Bay North. In 1958, however, the name of Birchy Bay North was changed to Gayside. The main reason for this change was because the mail would go Birchy Bay instead of Birchy Bay North. By the time it went back to Lewisporte and came back again a week or more would be passed. The people were upset about this and as a result changed the name to Gayside. Another reason for the name change is because the population was large enough for a name of their own.

Mrs. Violet Lewis who kept a tilt owned by Mr. Henry Combden was the first teacher. That was in 1923. The first person to be buried in Baytona was Selinia Lewis in 1931. The first radio and store was owned by William Lewis in 1936. He also owned the first sawmill in 1942. The first C.N.T. phone was installed at William Jones' house. This was after 5 years of writing and asking about a phone. The government sent out wires, etc., for Mr. George Lewis and the ranger from Lewisporte, Mr. Dwyer, to set up the telephone. (free labour). This all happened on 1947. The road was built in 1959. Before the road, travel was done by foot, horse, passenger boat in the summer or by horse or snowmobile in the winter. Mr. William Lewis owned the first car in Baytona. It was left at Comfort-Cove until the building of the road.

In the early 1960's John Lewis and Nehemiah Pope started a weekly garbage collection. At the end of every month they would collect a dollar from everyone in the community. The community council started in the fall of 1975 and in February, 1976 it was incorporated as a council. From 1975-1991 the mayor of Baytona was John Lewis. The second was Jerden Bennett from 1991-19??.

In 1985, the name was changed from Gayside to Baytona. The reason for this change was the people from other communities would laugh at the name. The younger people were teased and this caused a lot of embarrassment. For this reason the name was changed.

Every settlement starts for some reason. Here, it seems several had winter tilts. Fishing and lumbering were the main attractions. The first settler to move here was Mrs. Jessie Mews in 1901. The next people to move to Baytona were James Lewis, Silas Lewis and Joseph Lewis. William Blake, Frank Blake and William Dove were the next three residents to settle here in 1914. The first baby born was Stella Lewis in 1915. The first horse was owned by Silas Lewis and Sons in 1916. The first amalgamated school was done by volunteer work in 1920. It received a loan of $200.00 from the United School Board. However, due to the war in 1939 this loan was never paid off. The first person that die was Patience Blake in 1922. She was buried in Birchy Bay. The first marriage was Dorothy Blake and Roland Lewis. They were married by Reverend Stanley Tiller in the school.

Source of information:

The text for this section of our page was provided by The Community Council of Baytona.

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