In its early days Exploits Island was home to many families of industrious Entrepreneurs but none so prominent in the history of the Village as John Peyton Senior and Junior, as well as the Manuel Family.
John Peyton Senior came to Nl from Christchurch, England, and after a period of time living on Fogo island, he established a successful fishing and fur trading enterprise in the Bay of Exploits. Residing on exploits Island for part of the year, he became infamous for his harsh treatment of the Beothuks during his encounters with them.
In the early 1800s, Peyton Senior brought his son, John jr, to Newfoundland from Christchurch to help him with his enterprise. In the early days of his career with his father and as a shipbuilder on Exploits Island, John Jr also had many encounters with the native Beothuks but he was known to treat them with more respect than Peyton senior. Both Father and son were present at Red Indian Lake in 1819 when the Beothuk chief Nonosbawsut was shot and killed while trying to protect his wife Demasduit from being taken into captivity. Both John senior and junior are buried on Exploits Island.
Following the Peytons came the Manuel family and a branch of seven brothers became the most famous shipbuilders in the province of Newfoundland . Between them all, they are credited for the building of numerous schooners of various tonnages all throughout the Bay of Exploits. Josiah Manuel became the most successful of the brothers, being a successful merchant as well as a shipbuilder. His daughter Mitchie Anne married John Crosbie, later to become Sir John Crosbie as a result of a knighthood from the British government. Together they created a business empire in St John’s and Sir John began a lengthy political career as a member of the house of assembly. Political aspirations continue in the Crosbie family to this very day.