Mark Island Lighthouse, Winter Harbor, Maine

winter harbor lighthouse

Mark Island Lighthouse as seen from Schoodic Loop Road, Winter Harbor, Maine in Acadia National Park.

My 3x great grandfather, Frederick Gerrish, was the first lighthouse keeper at the Mark Island Lighthouse in Winter Harbor, Maine when the lighthouse opened in 1856. It was a fitting career for the then 52 year old who had been a mariner all of his life. He lived on the 4 acre island with his family: his wife Susan, sons Frederick, Andrew, George and James, and one daughter Albertina. I am descended from his son Andrew who was named for his grandfather who was murdered in 1834 (see my blog post dated 14 August 2015). By 1860, Andrew’s young wife Flora had joined the family living at the lighthouse. Many who write about the Mark Island light assume that Flora was a daughter of Frederick and his wife. She was in fact, married to Andrew on 18 December 1859.

Photo of Andrew Jackson Gerrish from the Early Families of Gouldsboro, Maine by Muriel Sampson Johnson

Photo of Andrew Jackson Gerrish from the Early Families of Gouldsboro, Maine by Muriel Sampson Johnson

Andrew Jackson Gerrish circa 1917-1918

Andrew Jackson Gerrish circa 1917-1918

Flora (Tracy) Gerrish, wife of Andrew Jackson Gerrish

Flora (Tracy) Gerrish, wife of Andrew Jackson Gerrish

The U.S. Government decommissioned the lighthouse in 1933 and in 1939 it was purchased for $2000.00 by Bernice Richmond and her husband Reginald Robinson as a private residence. Ms. Richmond wrote about living on the island in her 1943 book “Winter Harbor,” a copy of which I was lucky to obtain recently.

Winter Harbor book

The book relates a pretty good account of how difficult life must have been living at the lighthouse (although she only lived there in the summer and was not responsible for keeping the light!).

Built for $4500.00 in 1856, the lighthouse, still a private residence, sold in 2004 for $1.25 million dollars!

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About Deborah Lee Stewart

I try to get photos returned to family members at no charge. Please contact me if you are related to any of the people in the rescued photos that I post. I can be reached at: deborahleestewart@gmail.com

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