Mark Island Lighthouse, Winter Harbor, Maine
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.
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.
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!