My Island Home: Recollections of Verlie Colby Greenleaf of Westport Island

The Westport Island History Committee operates as an official committee of the Town of Westport Island and is dedicated to the pursuit, preservation, and promotion of the Island’s history and cultural heritage. The Westport Island History Committee has participated in Maine Memory Network (MMN) since 2014, and they created this exhibition which was displayed at Maine Historical Society from November 8, 2019 through April 25, 2020.


Verlie Colby, Westport, ca. 1909

Verlie Colby, Westport, ca. 1909

Item Contributed by
Westport Island History Committee

Musicians share a laugh, Westport Island, 1987

Musicians share a laugh, Westport Island, 1987

Item Contributed by
Westport Island History Committee

Verlie Greenleaf (1891-1992) bore witness to over a century of Westport Island's history.

Soon after Verlie's birth, ice destroyed a wooden bridge connecting Westport to the Wiscasset mainland. From her earliest memories, there was no ferry or bridge—only boats to carry people on and off the island. There was no electricity on Westport Island until the 1940s, thus no radios, televisions, telephones or computers. Those changes came during Verlie's 100-year life.

Verlie served as Westport's Treasurer and Tax Collector for 45 years. She began participating in town government in 1931, as a school committee member. Verlie and her husband, Fred Greenleaf (1887-1944), raised three children to adulthood, ran a large market farm, and were integrally involved in the social fabric of the Island.

Verlie donated photographs, personal notes, and sat for an interview in 1987, all part of the Westport Island History Committee’s collection. Her words are included here, providing a first-person account of her life.

"This is Verlie May Colby Greenleaf speaking. I would like to tell you about my childhood and the many changes that have taken place during my lifetime. I was born the 19th of February, 1891 on Westport, formerly Jeremysquam, an island on the coast of Maine, the third child of Charles Ellsworth Colby and Annie May Perkins Colby… As time went on there were six of us, two girls and four boys."
Verlie Greenleaf, 1987