Boothbay Region Historical Sketches, Volume III




Barbara Rumsey, Editor
Published in 2006

This third anthology contains fifty-seven more of the popular “Out of Our Past” columns, first published in the Boothbay Register during the last eighteen years. Each selection highlights facets of this unique, historic region. Subjects range from the ever-fascinating islands and lighthouses to the reality behind local legends, from early nineteenth rascals to characters from the 1950s, from fishing stories to profiles of shipyards and beloved local vessels. The anthology closes with a short section on some pitfalls in dealing with local history.

Some of Boothbay’s more memorable and colorful citizens, from both the remote and the recent past, are profiled in these pages. The dreaded Horn-Decker gang of the early 1800s, a teller of tall tales, several Boothbay Harbor eccentrics of the early 1900s, and memorable characters of East Boothbay and Ocean Point—all come to life. Stories of adventure at sea are covered in the fishing section, and local treasure stories are explained to the extent possible.

Most of the columns were written by local historian Barbara Rumsey, who also edited this as well as the first Sketches and Sketches II. Seven additional local authors, past and present, have brought their special areas of expertise and reminiscences to bear on their chapters: Carl R. “Chip” Griffin, Elizabeth Oakes Smith, David Dash, Flora Hodgdon Bishop, Ruth Newcomb Begin, Alden Stickney and Shirley Race. The authors’ informal styles and strict insistence on accuracy combine to present history in an inviting, readable style.

Maps and Charts

Section I: The Outer Islands
Island Naming
Outer Heron
Cavanor of Ram Island Light
Fisherman’s Island

Section II: Treasure and Shipwrecks
Treasure at Pirate Cove
The Sea Serpent at Boothbay Harbor
The Baby that Washed Ashore
Hendricks Head Light Log
Outer Heron Treasure

Section III: Rascals and Characters
The Horn-Decker Gang
Matilda Hatchard
A Dry State and a Dry Town
That Ugly Old Son-of-a-Gun Clem McCobb
John Henry Lake and Saralize
King Stewart
Sam Woodward Stories
East Boothbay Stories

Section IV: Fishing
Cap’n John Hodgdon Sea Stories
The Jug Story
The Heroism of Wilson Lewis on the Gertie Lewis
Captain John Seavey
Fishing with the Newcombs
Poores on the Water

Section V: Shipyards and Vessels
East Boothbay Boats
The 1890 Elvira J. French Launching
The Elizabeth Howard
The Evolution of Shipbuilders Park
The Medric and the Bowdoin
Marine Railways in Boothbay
The Steamer Enterprise
The Enterprise Leaves Boothbay Harbor
Locally Built Steamboats

Section VI: Pitfalls in Researching Local History
Visible Christians
Grave Matters
Vanished Boothbay Graveyards
A King’s Grant