"A peaceful atmosphere prevailed on Pilley's Island during its first few years of European settlement. Land, somewhere they could establish a place of their own, brought the first settlers.
Even though Green Bay was a newly prospering region along the northeast coast, the earliest Pilley's Islanders did not expect the local economy to grow as fast as it did.
This small stretch of shoreline was destined to become more important than many could have imagined.
The source of this expansion was the discovery of a commercial body of ore. Not only did this change the face of Pilley's Island for many years, it also propelled this secluded settlement from a small speck on the regional map to one of the province's largest centres complete with Green Bay's first hospital.
In the 1860's, the prospect of minerals (many deposits had been discovered in other parts of Green Bay) attracted attention to Pilley's Island. During this
period Captain Philip Cleary staked a claim at a place on the island called Bumblebee Bight. Although Capt. Cleary did not benefit, his claim would event-ually lead to the export of over 500,000 tons of ore.
Prior to permanent settlement, the island was used for winter woods work and boat building by people who had settled in Green Bay and other parts of Notre Dame Bay. It is likely Pilley's Island took its name from one of these early visitors. The family name Pilley was listed at both Harry's Harbour and Leading Tickles in the 1840's. Another theory asserts that a miner by the name of Pilley, who was exploring for minerals back in 1750, brought news of deposits on the island."
Excerpts from Moments in Time, (Green Bay Economic Development Association 1994).