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Northeast Harbor: From Rustic to Rusticators

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Manchester Point, Northeast Harbor, ca. 1945

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Manchester Point, Northeast Harbor, ca. 1945 / Great Harbor Maritime Museum

The first family to settle at what is now Northeast Harbor was John Manchester, his wife Comfort, and son John in 1775. The Manchesters came from Machias where the elder John served in the militia. He served in at least three different groups while in the militia, and family lore says he was active in the capture of the British vessel Margaretta. When he arrived at Northeast Harbor, it was called Sand Point because people came there to get sand to be used as an ingredient in mortar for foundations. At some point in his first few years in his new home, after John had gone out hunting and his family had left the house to do some work nearby, a British ship came and anchored off the Manchester house. The British came ashore, drove his cattle and oxen to the shore, killed and butchered the animals, took all the provisions from the house, then smashed the dishes. All that remained after the British left were the clothes on the backs of the Manchesters, John Manchester's musket, their house, and one milk cow that had wandered off into the woods. It must have seemed like a Godsend when they noticed a moose swimming across Somes Sound. Mr. and Mrs. Manchester got into their canoe and Mr. Manchester used his musket to shoot the animal, which would provide a great deal of food to survive the winter when supplemented with shellfish and other plants.

This picture shows Manchester Point, where John Manchester built his original house, in the 1940s. The house on the point is Indian Head, built by Ansel Manchester, great-grandson of the original John Manchester. In the background is Fernald Point, where the Jesuits landed in 1613.


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