George Edward Street.

Mount Desert; a history online

. (page 1 of 23)
Online LibraryGeorge Edward StreetMount Desert; a history → online text (page 1 of 23)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook












vCKje iRiter^itie pre??*, Cambribge


'iRKARY or ;WJ8HF.'siT|
Iwi/ Copies rtowJiv-M

S£P, 1 190!-'

fiO(jyru?(i'. tiiu"

GUo93t '9o^



Published September iqoj



Memoir of Dr. Street, hy Wilbert L. Anderson xi

Editor's Preface, by Samuel A. Eliot , . xvii

I. Saint Croix 1

II. Saint Sauveur 31

III. Pemetic 57

IV. The Tory and Refugee Proprietors . 101
V. Mount Desert Plantation .... 137

VI. Mount Desert Townships .... 183

VII. Mount Desert Churches .... 227

Vni. Social and Industrial Conditions . . 281

IX. The Summer Colonies 321

Bibliographical Notes .... 347

Index 361



Samuel de Champlain .... Frontispiece

Dr. George E. Street ix

Map of Mount Desert 1

Henry IV 6

Due DE Sully 12

Title of De Monts's Commissions .... 14/

Title of Champlain's Book 20

Madame de Guercheville 36 '

Otter Cliff 40

Fernald's Point (from Greening's Island) . .44^

Manchester's Point 66 '

Bear Island 82'

Cadillac's Harbor (from Bear Island) . . 82

SiEUR D'Iberville 86

At Ship Harbor 98 -

Facsimile of a Latin Description .... 114

Plan of Governor Bernard's Town Site . . 118

Facsimile of a De Gregoire Deed .... 134

Somes Sound 144

Seal Cove .- . . . 150

Entrance to Bar Harbor .... 190




At Norwood's Cove ....
Bishop Davis Wasgatt Clark .
Congregational Church, Seal Harbor
Unitarian Church, Bar Harbor
Union Church, Northeast Harbor
Episcopal Church, Northeast Harbor

Eben M. Hamor

First Hotel at Bar Harbor
First Cottage at Bar Harbor
From Sargent's Mountain .
Northeast Harbor ....



For a quarter of a century Dr. Street passed his
summer vacations at Southwest Harbor. With
dehghtful enthusiasm he was wont to speak o£
the beauty of this favored spot, the tonic of its
breezes, the charm of its people, the wealth of its
traditions. Having a genius for acquaintance,
he easily came to know many of the permanent
residents of Mount Desert and the surrounding
islands, and to count among his friends many of
those who return to this popular resort season after
season. His sympathetic and active mind quickly
appropriated whatever was of interest in the place,
and as eagerly gathered up suggestions for local
betterment. One who knew Dr. Street well per-
ceives why and how he organized the Southwest
Village Improvement Society, and for what reason
he was chosen to serve as its president, for he had
an untiring interest in devising plans for public
improvement and for the intellectual and moral
development of communities. It is equally easy to
understand how Dr. Street became the historian of
Mount Desert, for an ancient legend was as dear
to him as schemes of social advancement were
fascinating. His was the enthusiasm to run down
every item of knowledge, to give every man,


whether famous or obscure, his full significance,
and to discern the ideal though dull masses of

The man who preserves the memory of others
ought himself to be known. George Edward
Street was born in Cheshire, Conn., June 18,
1835. His father was Col. Thaddeus Street, a
descendant of the Rev. Nicholas Street, colleague
and successor of the Rev. John Davenport,
founder and minister of New Haven, Conn. On
the side of his mother, Martha Davenport Rey-
nolds, his ancestry was equally distinguished, the
Rev. John Davenport and Governor Roger Wol-
cott being among those from whom descent was
traced. A nature open to culture, inclined toward
public affairs, and adapted to the work of a cler-
gyman, was the heritage of this well-born boy.
The schools and the academy of Cheshire gave him
his preparation for his college course, which he
completed at Yale in 1858. Two years of teaching
in Stonington, Conn., followed. In 1860 he en-
tered Andover Theological Seminary and gradu-
ated three years later. This was the day of great
teachers at Andover, — Stowe, Phelps, Park were
there. In a tribute to Professor Park, Dr. Street
himself wrote : " But for the sickening reports
from the seat of war, our middle year would have
been a succession of delights, as we came into
close range of our great professor in the lecture-
room. As it was, he turned the war into a fertile


source of illustrations of the sublime themes he
handled." Under such influences as these, one
inclined toward patriotism and philanthropy had
an easy choice. Mr. Street served in the Christian
Commission, mainly at Potomac Creek and Stone-
man's Switch, near Fredericksburg, Va., from
February to April, 1863. The chaplaincy of the
Sixty-third Pennsylvania Infantry was offered
him, but an attack of diphtheria prevented his
accepting it.

Mr. Street was ordained, April 6, 1864, as pas-
tor of the Congregational Church in Wiscasset,
Me. Doubtless his interest in the history of the
Maine coast dates from his life in this little sea-
port. After nearly eight years of service there,
he was called to the pastorate of the Second Con-
gregational Church in Exeter, N. H., and was in-
stalled March 30, 1871. This position he held
until December 31, 1899, when broken health
compelled the surrender of the office, whose duties
had been shared for some years by an associate
pastor. He was pastor emeritus of this church
until his death. His long and successful service
and his personal worth were recognized by the
degree of doctor of divinity, conferred by Dart-
mouth College, June 29, 1900. He habitually
attended the important conferences of his denom-
ination. He was ever a strong supporter of mis-
sions at home and abroad, and from October 14,
1897, he served as a corporate member of the


American Board of Commissioners for Foreign
Missions. Many of his memorial and historical
sermons and addresses were published.

The life of Dr. Street was greatly enriched by
his union in marriage with Mary Evarts Ander-
son, who received a fine inheritance of character
and a rare training for her position in the church,
as the daughter of the Rev. Rufus Anderson,
D. D., for more than a third of a century corre-
sponding secretary of the American Board of
Foreign Missions. A son born of this marriage
is in business in Boston, and a daughter is the
wife of the Rev. William W. Ranney of Hart-
ford, Conn. Two daughters died in childhood.
It was the hope of his friends that Dr. Street
would never give up his residence in Exeter, but
he found it necessary to escape the rigorous win-
ters of New Hampshire. Upon the marriage of
his daughter the home, which he had occupied
for brief periods only in the later years, was
broken up. Death came suddenly two months
later; he died of angina pectoris in Hartford,
December 26, 1903. His grave, as is most fitting,
is in Exeter.

The bare chronicle of the life of Dr. Street is
a far too meagre showing, for such a man could
not pass through the ordinary routine of experi-
ence without transforming it. His fine presence
and courtly manner gave him distinction in any
society, and his broad culture and knowledge of


the world, enriched by extensive travel in his own
country and in foreign lands, sustained the im-
pression. His quick sympathy and his deep in-
terest in men of many kinds won a host of friends
among his townsmen and in the world at large.
As a pastor he illustrated the higher ideals of a
spiritual leader, preaching the gospel simply and
earnestly, and training his church in Christian
service and benevolence. At the same time he
had the impulses of a reformer, and again and
again he took his place in front of the battle
line. He was indefatigable in his efforts for tem-
perance, and from him came the incentive that
finally drove the saloons from Exeter. He was
an agitator for parks, and better streets, and
every public improvement. The beautiful house
of worship erected by his parish was his concep-
tion. Phillips Exeter Academy was ever in his
mind, and over many of its students he exerted
a formative influence. Enthusiasm for all good
causes came to him by instinct, but the preaching
passion was strongest in his soul. When failing
health took him from the pulpit, he bore the trial
with Christian resignation, yet he often remarked
that he felt the uprising in his heart of a message
that his physical strength was not competent to
utter. At such times one discerned how hard it
was for this alert and eager mind to accept the
restraint upon its activity.

A period of rest so far restored his health that


he was able to make the preparations for writing
this history of Mount Desert. It gave him plea-
sant employment, concentrated the energy that
could not brook idleness, gratified his love for a
locality that he had adopted with all his heart,
and rounded out his life with fitting labors. May
it keep his memory green in the place where he
spent his holidays ; the community in which he
wrought at his life task has other monuments to
keep the remembrance of him alive.

WiLBERT L. Anderson.


The work of collecting the material for this
book occupied the leisure of a busy and useful
life for a considerable period. Dr. Street pos-
sessed a lively historical interest, and the scenery
and associations of his summer home were greatly
endeared to him. In the vacation intervals, Dr.
Street talked with winsome enthusiasm with the
representatives of the families longest settled on
the island or with summer residents interested
in his project. Happy in the sympathy and aid
of his wife and daughter, he gathered references,
collected photographs, and persuaded his neigh-
bors to open to him their stores of local know-
ledge. In the winter evenings at Exeter or
Hartford the notes and papers thus gathered
were arranged and copied by the united indus-
try of Dr. and Mrs. Street. Dr. Street hoped to
have the book in readiness for the three hun-
dredth anniversary of Champlain's discovery of
the island, which was celebrated in September,
1904, but sickness came upon him and the task
he loved lingered. His cheerful courage looked
eagerly to the day when he could take up the
work anew, but that day never came. The gen-
erous confidence of his family intrusted the


incomplete task to another busy man who shared
Dr. Street's enthusiasm for his summer home,
and the collected material was placed in my
hands in the spring of 1904. It has been pre-
pared for publication with as much promptness
and care as the limited time at my command has
permitted. I have ventured to depart from the
original plan in so far as to make a continuous
historical narrative out of the separate papers,
by different authors, which Dr. Street had col-
lected. The original contributions are thus in-
corporated in the narrative and due acknow-
ledgment is made in the notes of the kind
cooperation of the friends who sent their manu-
scripts to Dr. Street. Some new material has
been added and the book enriched by further
contributions from sources that have only re-
cently been made available. The merits of this
book are due to the initiative, the discriminating
insight, and the patient industry of Dr. Street
and his family and friends.

S. A. E.





p of


of Miles











— 1?^"""°* ::


I 3



Flawless bis heart and tempered to the core
Who, beckoned by the forward-leaning wave,
First left behind him the firm footed shore,
And, urged by every nerve of sail and oar,
Steered for the Unknown.



Do we not too often imagine that there is an
absence of romance in the early history of our
native land ? There is a widespread notion that
the local history of America is commonplace and
prosaic, if not trivial. No mist of distance ob-
scures the harsh outlines, no mirage of tradition
lifts lives and events into importance. Literature
and art and song have enriched the charm of Old
World scenes and themes, until our sense of the
interest and witchery of nearer things has been
dimmed. Do we not need to shift our historical
perspective and to realize that there is a charm
in the records of our own historic past which is
as entrancing as any in the annals of mankind?
The hills and fields and islands of New England
blossom with the sweet flowers of romance as
richly as any meadows of Old World fame.

One cause for our feeling that America has a
prosaic history is that we are wont to begin our
historical observations with the permanent set-
tlements of Europeans on these shores, — with
Jamestown and Plymouth, New Amsterdam and
Salem. We forget the years of discovery and
exploration and futile effort at colonization that
antedate the ultimately successive enterprises. We
make our history the record of merely material


advance, and so the noise of axe and hammer
drowns out the poetry. Is there not always more
romance in brave endeavors that fail than in the
equally brave endeavors that succeed? Shall w^e
not do well to remind ourselves sometimes of the
fortitude and zeal of the pioneers before the Pil-
grims ?

Again, for the most part we inherit a purely
English tradition of American history. We for-
get that the earliest settlements in America were
not English, but Spanish and French, and there
is somehow more poetry about the dashing cour-
tiers of Philip II and Henry of Navarre, about
the black-robed priests and their adventurous
companions, than about our grim Puritan fore-
fathers or about the sturdy traders of New Neth-
erlands. The oldest permanent settlement on our
Atlantic coast, St. Augustine, is Spanish in its
origin, and the two most interesting of the tem-
porary settlements were made, the one by French
Huguenots in Florida, and the other by French
Jesuits in Maine. The ruthless bigotry of Spanish
Catholics exterminated the Huguenots in Florida,
and the violence of English Protestants dispersed
the Jesuits at Mount Desert.

New England was called New France for fifty
years before Captain John Smith gave it its pre-
sent name. Fifteen years before the Mayflower
came to anchor in Plymouth Harbor its waters
had been sounded and its outlines drawn by


Frenchmen seeking a permanent home. The Pil-
grims, had they known of it, might have bought,
ere they sailed, at the little shop o£ Jean Bergon
in the Rue St. Jean de Beauvais, at the sign of
the Winged Horse, in Paris, a chart of Plymouth
Harbor remarkable for its accuracy and skill.
Twenty-five years before John Winthrop and his
company landed on the Peninsula where they
planted Boston, Frenchmen had mapped the bay,
described its features with surprising fidelity, and
named its points and rivers.

It is not within the purpose of this history to
tell of the exploits of the earlier French voyagers,
for they only touched along the New England
shores, and their courses cannot always be accu-
rately traced. As early as 1524 Verrazano passed
along our Atlantic coast from Florida to New-
foundland, and his landfalls in New York Bay, at
Block Island, at Newport, and several other points
can be fairly well identified. He wrote the earliest
description known to exist of the shores of the
United States. But France, torn with wars, her
king a captive, her treasury empty, was in no
mood at that time for transatlantic enterprises,
and the voyage was fruitless of result.

Nor does it fall within my purpose to speak of
the voyages of Jacques Cartier, the discovery of
the St. Lawrence River, and the efforts toward
colonization made by Roberval and La Roche.
These enterprises are but the prelude of the drama


of French colonization in America ; a half cen-
tury of silence rolls between them and the more
persistent attempts of the later heroes. The New-
foundland banks were indeed visited every sum-
mer throughout the sixteenth century by the
hardy Basque and Breton fishermen. The ports of
Dieppe and Honfleur alone sent two hundred sail
of fishing craft annually, and these venturesome
little vessels may at times have felt their way
into the harbors of Cape Breton — a name which
commemorates their visits — or even penetrated
to the gulf of Maine ; but the fishermen left no
record of their adventures.^

The romantic story of the exploration of our
hundred-harbored New Engfland shore beg^ins
when a quaint little vessel, no larger than a fish-
ing smack of to-day, glided one summer morning
in 1604 under the frowning crags of the Grand
Manan and held her way up the river which marks
to-day the boundary of Maine and New Bruns-
wick and which thenceforth has borne the name
of St. Croix. On board this little vessel was an
organized French colony seeking a permanent
home. The best and meanest of France were
crowded on the deck. There were nobles from
the court of Henry IV and thieves from the
Paris prisons; there were Catholic priests and
Huguenot ministers ; there were ruffians who were
flying from justice, and there were young volun-

^ See Winsor's Cartier to Frontenac, p. 79.


teers of high birth and character. What had led
these men to tempt the perils of the uncharted
seas and the unknown wilderness, and what was
the origin and impulse of their enterprise ?

One of the motives which stimulated all the
first adventurers on the American coasts was
doubtless the hope of material gain. To the
inquisitive and credulous minds of the men of
the sixteenth century the New World meant
Eldorado. The Spaniards in the south were cer-
tainly spurred to their daring exploits by the
expectation of finding gold, and their marvelous
success in securing the treasures of the golden
kingdoms of Central America stimulated all that
came after them. Gold mines reported by Indians
are all the time referred to by early voyagers
even on the New England shore. The sanguine
prospectors believed everything they were told,
about the hidden wealth of the regions they had
come to explore, and the shivering poverty of
the naked Indians who were the only inhabit-
ants of the new-found coasts did not undeceive

National rivalry found a place among the
motives that prompted effort. Was the land of
boundless wonder and fertility to be abandoned
to foreigners ? Frenchmen asked themselves if
their English foes were to outdo them in the New
World. Englishmen were eager to disprove the
claim of the Spaniards to the continent by vir-


tue of •'' aparohuient signed by an Italian priest."
Feeling- often van high, and it is well known that
the adventurers of the ditferent nations, though
at peace at home, often came to blows in distant

Next we should recognize the influence of
missionary enthusiasm. Even the Spaniards were
full of desire to convert the Indians, and some of
their most ruthless tyrannies were undertaken in
the name of religion. The priests wei-e always
important figures in the conquering- armies of
the Spanish in Central America. Most of the
French adventurers were full of equal religious
enthusiasm. The story of the Jesuit missions in
Canada is a marvel of devotion and self-forg-et-
fulness. The earliest seal of the Massachusetts
Colony, granted in 1629, shows an Indian, with
the motto "• Come over and help us." The mis-
sionary zeal was in large measure kindled by
the curiosity excited by the Indian captives who
were brought at various times from America to
the older lands. Here were people from beyond
the bounds of Christendom who had never been
baptized, ** naked slaves of the Devil," as one
annalist described them. Christian people every-
where w^ere eager to convert these subjects of
Satan, not merely from philanthropic motives,
but also, as we read, '' to spite the Devil." The
proselyting spirit was sometimes incongruously
mixed up with the hope of commercial gain, as

^x( hitV^ A»ui fii^x* \vtV ^^^ki^uutiit^ kvC <mr ^\>iM<*(W
Bvt^i ih^ oUh'f t»uH\W v(tii« ivi^ IW ^xml tidP

lUAfv^ ^xt' |Ji^^^ ^hnthh) thii^ <?vx«*t Uu<? xxf AiwwK^ W
t^iifwrtni .^ Yi!>rY thiw» with btt\^k^ iu if ht^vt* *wvl

tuu> vxt\ th<» v\>Yi*^v tv> A?4w» v^u*.i u^vi^^tvvr nt'ii^r
u4iYi^"^*t\xr^H\^hi tW u<^Y^^f^\w^^?-<t^?^^^kYt^^:^l i^limit
iut\» tht» IVntHV TH*? ho^H» vvt* anuuv^ii* U^HVU ?s\vw^
^vxrt out iutv> tW nv*h i\uumorx>? of (ho OrUn^t
$ttrYivt\l until li»tx^ iu tho ^vuturY. Tlio vjiluo of
tht> Noxv NWnUl xv»?i duuuit^vl lvt\u\» tlu? ^Wy v^f
th«? lu«.UtN!t, *rh«» lVit\o YViVjt {ilw»Y?!t jw*t bt^hiwvl


the next point. It was a dream that stimulated
discovery but retarded settlement.

No better description of these nobler motives
can be given than that written by one of the
boldest and most skillful of the seventeenth cen-
tury navigators, the godfather of New England,
Captain John Smith. " Who can desire," he
wrote, " more content than to tread and plant
the ground he hath purchased by the hazard of
his life ? If he have but the taste of virtue and
magnanimity, what to such a mind can be more
pleasant than planting and building a foundation
for his posterity, got from the rude earth by
God's blessing and his own industry? If he
have any grain of faith or zeal in religion, what
can he do less hurtful to any or more agreeable
to God than to seek to convert those poor sav-
ages to know Christ ? What so truly suits with
honor as the discovering of things unknown,
erecting towns, peopling countries, informing the
ignorant, reforming things unjust, teaching vir-
tue, and gaining to our mother country a king-
dom to attend her. Then seeing we are not born
for ourselves but each to help others, and our
abilities are much alike at the hour of our birth
and the minute of our death — seeing honor is
our life's ambition and our ambition after death
to have an honorable memory of our life — and
seeing by no means we would be abated of the
dignities and glories of our predecessors, let us


imitate their virtues to be worthily their suc-

All of these motives, save missionary zeal, were
of a nature to appeal to the temperament of
Henry the Fourth of France. The French plans
of colonization found their impulse in the grasp-
ing commercialism, the patriotic pride, the chiv-
alric spirit of that many-sided monarch. The
origins of the St. Croix colony are connected
with some of the chief events of his epoch-mak-
ing reign. Never were the justice and expediency
of a political measure more promptly vindicated
than by the effects which followed the sign-
ing of the Edict of Nantes by Henry on the thir-
teenth of April, 1598. The publication of this
royal decree meant nothing less than the speedy
return of prosperity to France. " In one day,"
says Benoist, " the disasters of forty years were
repaired." The civil wars had left the country
in a deplorable condition. Everywhere the traces
of the long and bitter struggle were to be seen
in ruined villages and dismantled castles, in farms
laid waste, and cities impoverished. Under the
Edict, which secured to the Protestants of France
the enjoyment of their civil and religious rights,
public confidence revived, and trade and manu-
factures began again to flourish.

For these advantages, the kingdom was largely
indebted to the statesmanship of the Huguenot
Due de Sully. It was the good fortune of Henry


the Fourth to have for his trusty counselor a
man of such stanch fidelity and of far-sighted
wisdom. In administering the affairs of the coun-
try Sully's principal concern was for the devel-
opment of its internal resources. He brought a
rigid economy into all the departments of gov-
ernment, he rapidly reduced the enormous debt
which had accumulated during the civil wars;
and at the same time he sought to encourage
agriculture as the most assured means of national
enrichment. By establishing peace and commer-
cial stability at home, he provided the essential
foundation for transatlantic adventure.

Henry shared his minister's views ; but he had

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Online LibraryGeorge Edward StreetMount Desert; a history → online text (page 1 of 23)