Captain Coubelongue Grave Site is located near the beach at Sou’west (or Southwest) Crouse within the municipal boundaries of the Town of Conche, NL. It is a single gravesite believed to date to 1873. Today the site has been surrounded with low fencing, and a short flight of stairs ascends the grassy bank to a cross at its center. A sign at the site explains its significance. The designation includes that area of fenced land at the site.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Captain Coubelongue Grave Site has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Conche because of its cultural, historic and aesthetic value.
Captain Coubelongue Grave Site’s cultural value lies in the local oral history of the Coubelongue brothers and how the single grave site came to be. According to the story, there were two brothers with the surname Coubelongue in the Conche area in the 1800s. While the younger brother had two seines to catch cod, the older one had only one seine and was very jealous. Nobody knows how the younger brother got two seines and became captain, because it was the norm for an older brother to advance more quickly than younger siblings. Captain Coubelongue, the younger brother, died very suddenly in North East Cape Rouge (now better known as Crouse) in 1873, reportedly at the age of about 33, but instead of burying his body at the cemetery at that place, his body was transported to Sou’west Crouse (now part of the Town of Conche) and buried alone in a single gravesite.
Captain Coubelongue Grave Site has historic value because of its connection to the Conche and Crouse areas as the onetime location of seasonal French fishing stations. The area lies along what is referred to as Newfoundland’s “French Shore” and was a major site of French fishing activities from 1713 to 1904, during which time French fishermen enjoyed treaty rights granted by the British. If the oral history holds true, the man buried at the Coubelongue Gravesite was a nineteenth century French fishing captain around the midpoint of these activities.
Captain Coubelongue Grave Site has aesthetic value because its appearance as a single gravesite marked with a single cross is striking, and the Town of Conche has erected interpretative information and landscaped the site to draw attention to its significance. Rather fittingly, the grave lies at the far end of a cobbled beach that was once used for drying cod.
Source: Town of Conche Regular Council Meeting December 19, 2007.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which represent the cultural, historic and aesthetic values of Captain Coubelongue Grave Site, including:
-location of gravesite;
-the fact that it is a single gravesite, and;
-the presence of a cross at the site.
A wooden cross erected by the French Navy at the Coubelongue Gravesite in 1936 is now held by a local museum. “Coubelongue” may possibly be a variant spelling of “Capelongue.” Captain Coubelongue Trail at Crouse is named after the same Captain Coubelongue associated with the gravesite.
Location and History
Town of Conche
1873 - 1873