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Determining the Facts

Reading 1: The Hadlocks:
A Seafaring Family of Maine

Samuel Hadlock V, of Ipswich, Massachusetts, moved to Mount Desert Island in 1785 and settled at Manchester Point near Northeast Harbor. His son, Samuel Hadlock VI (1770-1854), moved across the harbor to Little Cranberry Island in 1791, where he acquired a large part of the island property and was instrumental in establishing the waterfront settlement now called Islesford. In 1808 Samuel Hadlock VI built a ships' store, one of the first commercial waterfront buildings in Islesford. By 1850, his son Edwin had built another ships' store, the building now known as the Blue Duck.

In 1807, Samuel Hadlock VI took a cargo of fish caught on the Grand Banks, Newfoundland to Oporto, Portugal, in the 131 ton schooner Ocean. At that time, because of the Napoleonic Wars, foodstuffs in neutral countries were scarce and high-priced. Rather than bring his cargo of fish home to cure as was customary, Hadlock split and dried them on the rocks at Labrador, Newfoundland. He then sailed for Portugal and made his port despite the attempt by British and French warships to stop all American vessels engaged in the trans-Atlantic carrying trade. Hadlock made his way back to Marblehead, Massachusetts after selling his fish and purchasing goods in England to stock the store he was planning to build. The Custom House records at Marblehead state that he paid duties of more than $500 on what he brought back to this country in lemons, salt, etc.

With a portion of the proceeds from this voyage of the Ocean, Hadlock built a store at the head of the present coal wharf on Little Cranberry Island. Here he carried on an extensive business, sometimes leasing the outfit to Symers and Eaton of Boston who traded extensively in fish.

Hadlock built many vessels, some of which were commanded by his sons. All but one of his five sons died or were lost at sea. His oldest son, Samuel, master of the ill-fated Minerva, was lost with all hands "at the ice" in 1829. Elijah, master of the brig Beaver, died on board of yellow fever the year before. Epps, master of the schooner Otter, and his brother Gilbert were lost with all hands in the West Indies in 1831.

In 1848, several years before Samuel Hadlock VI died, the schooner Samuel Hadlock, was built on Little Cranberry Island. The largest vessel constructed in the Mount Desert region, this vessel was commanded by Edwin Hadlock, Samuel Hadlock's only surviving son. Edwin barely escaped a similar fate on a voyage from Tampico, Mexico, to New York in the spring of 1849, which took almost two months. Baffled by head winds and heavy seas, with men growing weaker and weaker and with hope almost gone, Edwin could record in the log, "Still a head wind and heavy seas. On allowance of one quart of water and one pound of bread per man. And so ends the twenty four hours on allowance and no tobacco. Providence doeth what seemed right in His sight."

Questions for Reading 1

1. What were the Hadlocks' occupations?

2. Why was a trip across the Atlantic an arduous affair? Was it worthwhile?

3. Using maps of North America and Europe, try to retrace Samuel Hadlock VI's 1807 voyage by locating the places mentioned.

4. How do you think the Hadlocks' life differed from that of people who settled on the mainland?

5. What might have been the feelings of Edwin Hadlock during his voyage on the Samuel Hadlock? Why was his ship given that name?

6. Using a map of North America, locate the starting point and destination of Edwin Hadlock's voyage. Next, indicate the general region where Epps and Gilbert died on their voyage.

Reading 1 was adapted from Mrs. Seth S. Thornton, Traditions and Records of Southwest Harbor and Somesville: Mount Desert Island, Maine(Auburn, ME: Merrill and Webber Company, 1938).


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