Her Houses and Her People, 1780-1970
by Ruth Grant Faller
94 pages, index, bibliography. $15.00. To order:
78 Bellvue Ave.
Melrose, MA 02176
Phone: (681) 979-0983
Whether you are a resident of the island, a summer sojourner or an armchair traveler whose feet have never touched her stories, the story of Monhegan is a fascinating one. Every rock and tree has tales to tell and every house bears witness to the residents and the "rusticators", the fishermen and the summer people who have shaped her future through her past.Mainstay Publications
Throughout New England history, Monhegan has always held an important position for fishermen from the Old World. The first recorded landing we know of was that of Capt. George Weymouth in 1605 and from that a fishing industry was conducted from the Island right up until the French and Indian War in 1676.
Because it was so devastated by the war, there was virtually no resettlement of Monhegan until Benjamin Bickford bought it in 1770. This is where we pick up. He sold the island to Henry Trefethren of Kittery, Me. on Oct.2,1777 for 300 pounds with one house and a barn. There is no indication that Mr. Trefethren ever lived on the island but turned it over to his three children, Sarah, Mary and Henry, who probably arrived on the Island about 1781. Sarah was the only one of the three who was married at the time, but Mary was listed in the marriage records as living on Monhegan when she married Josiah Starling in 1783. The next year Henry married Josiah's sister, Jamima, and the three families enjoyed a communal lifestyle until, with their large growing families and needing to provide space, the three men decided to divide the property up into three more or less equal parts. It is through these three families and their homes that the history of Monhegan and how it has developed begins to come to life.
In the mid eighteen hundreds artists were beginning to come to the Island and in 1888 Sarah Albee opened the first "rooming house" on Monhegan. From these very first "rusticators" and artists the summer colony was established.
A sixty-seven year summer visitor herself, the author helps us get to know "The Island" through the people who knew her first, adding her own personal touch to the editorial sections of the book. Find the house you've always wondered about and imagine the past. Or be inspired to come see this special place for the first time. Monhegan has always been a unique Island and remains so today. It produces a quality of life not found anywhere else. Enjoy it!