One of my all time favorite Isles of Shoals stories is the one about Celia Thaxter’s bear. Fred McGill tells it well. Click on the pages below to open them in a new window, then you can click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading.
We on Star Island have not forgotten the Smuttynose Murders, and there is also evidence that Louis Wagner may have been innocent! I have compiled some of the resources on the Vaughn Website under http://vaughncottage.omeka.net/freelouis
One of the other rumored suspects was Karl Thaxter, Celia Thaxter’s oldest son. She would have been especially motivated to become involved to make sure her son was safe. She wrote a letter about the murder available here, and also wrote A Memorable Murder on Smuttynose about the tragic event.
Just last night Ann Beattie presented Murder on Smuttynose Island at the Historic Star conference on island this week- the theme this year is Mystery & Mayhem! She presented a good case for Louis’ guilt, so perhaps it was him after all.
At the Discover Center there is currently on display the murder ax, shown above, on loan from the collection with a note that says there is definitive proof that Louis was indeed the murderer. There is more information available at Anatomy of an Ax Murder and other books and resources at http://vaughncottage.omeka.net/freelouis so you can decide for yourself!
This week we have 7 direct descendants of Celia Thaxter on island for the All Star II conference. 5 of them made it to Appledore Island for my historical tour yesterday. It is great to have them here, and I wanted to share with you a picture of them in front of the foundation of Celia Thaxter’s cottage, in the recreation of Celia Thaxter’s garden.
Celia Thaxter first came to the islands in 1839. She was 4 years old and was brought by her father Thomas Laighton who had accepted a position as the White Island Lighthouse keeper. We went by White Island on the way to Appledore. It was such a beautiful day.