Frederick T. McGill, who was an island legend in his own right, was the Star Island historian for a number of years. He started a notebook to record things that he and later Vaughn Curators heard over the years. In these pages I found the following story recorded August 16, 1981:
Gertrude Palench (spelling?) of the UCC Laity Weekend tells me that her great grandfather was Captain Jonathan Godfrey, Isles of Shoals lighthouse keeper and the one for whom Godfrey’s Ledge is named. She has documentary evidence that Capt. Jonathan rowed Franklin Pierce during Pierce’s viist to the Shoals before he became President, and Godfrey was offered $50 if he would dump the Democrat overboard. He did not accept the bribe.
On my historical tour of Star Island I stop to talk about all nine islands at the summerhouse- you can see them all from that vantage point, and I mention a little bit about each.
At least once or twice when I mention that White Island was named for Captain Joseph White who was brutally murdered in Salem, MA in 1830 they ask how, and sometimes if it was in conjunction with witches. (folks always think witches when they hear murder and Salem, MA).
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.
Left to Right: Jonathan Hubbard, Nicholas Hubbard, Eliot Hubbard, Nathaniel Hubbard, Celia Hubbard. All direct descendants of Celia Thaxter.
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.
White Island Light where Thomas Laighton came to be the lighthouse keeper in 1839 with his wife Eliza, daughter Celia (4 yrs) and son Oscar (3 months). Laighton would go on to build the Mid-Ocean House of Entertainment on Smuttnose Island and the Appledore House on Appledore Island.