The community of Virgin Arm, (pop. 1991, 539) is located at the head of Friday's Bay, on New World Island. Its name probably originated in the fact that the narrow arm was not settled until the 1870's, although it was used for winter woods work and schooner-building by fishermen from Tizzard's Harbour and Twillingate from the early 1800s.
The first record of settlement at Virgin Arm is from Lovell's Newfoundland Directory (1871), which identifies fisherman John Smith as a resident and notes a population of 10 people. However, Smith appear in the subsequent records, while Virgin Arm was not enumerated separately in the Census until 1901 (pop. 70). Locally, the first settler is said to have been a Curtis, of Snellings Cove, Twillingate. William Curtis was resident by 1876, and by 1882 had been joined by John Hicks and a family named Nicholas, also of Twillingate. At about the turn of the century several other families settled: Burts (from Tizzard's Harbour),Gleesons, Hanns, Ingses and Prices.
As Virgin Arm was quite distant from the best headland fishing grounds, most fishermen were involved in the fisheries on the Labrador and French Shore. The most lucrative small-boat fisheries in the area were for bait fishes and lobster, in both Friday's Bay and Dildo Run. New World Island is only one kilometer wide at the bottom of Virgin Arm and early in the twentieth century there was a tramway built between the two bodies of water for the transportation of fishing boats and lumber.
Virgin Arm had a strong tradition of woods work and, after the decline of the schooner fisheries in the 1920s and 1930s, many people found employment in pulpwood cutting or in supplying local sawmills. The population had grown to 225 by 1945.
In the mid-1960s the completion of a network of roads and causeways connecting the various communities of New World Island with each other and with the mainland saw Virgin Arm South emerging as a service center of the area with such facilities as the New World Island Medical Clinic and a regional high school, Coaker Academy. In addition, several businesses serving New World Island have been located either on Virgin Arm South or along the Road to the Isles leading towards Summerford.
- Harvey Bulgin (1991?),
- William Burt (interview, June 1992),
- Census (1901-1991),
- List of Electors (1889),
- Lovell's Newfoundland Directory (1871),
- McAlpine's Newfoundland Directory (1894),
- Archives (A-7-2/L; VS 8)
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