American History and Genealogy Project


Gott's Island, Maine

It has been thought best to include in this work a notice of the early settlers of Gott's Island, as the people from that island have so often intermarried with the people of Swan's Island, and many of them have changed their residences from the one place to the other that their histories are almost inseparable.

Champlain was the first explorer who makes mention of Gott's Island, which the French then called Petit Plaisants (Little Placentia), by which name this island was called until 1789, when it was purchased by Daniel Gott, since which it has been known as Gott's Island. Champlain, while on this voyage of discovery in September, 1604, made the first map of this coast. On this map we' find the French had given names to many of these islands, either at this time or previous to Champlain's visit. Many of the names given to them by the French have been retained to the present day, e. g.. Isle au Haut, Grand Menan. Petit Menan, Mount Desert (which means "The Isle of the Desert Mountains"), Petit Plaisants and Grand Plaisants (Little and Great Placentia) which mean, when translated, "The Little Beautiful Island" and "The Large Beautiful Island", and Brule-cote, afterwards incorrectly translated into Burnt Coat by which Swan's Island was formerly known. The French from this time had possession of the coast from the Penobscot bay to the St. Croix River. This claim was not conceded, however, by the Massachusetts Bay colony, which was jealous of the encroachment of the French. The French had established trading posts at many places along the coast.

During the spring of 1688 Sir John Andros, of the Massachusetts Bay colony, desiring to determine the number of those stations and the strength of the French occupation, sent a whaleboat down the shore to reconnoiter and check the French advance. They found two French families,

(1) at Penobscot (Castine) Baron Castine, his family and Ranne, his servant;
(2) at Eggemoggin reach Charles St. Robin, his son and daughter, La Fleur and wife;
(3) near Mount Desert, Little Placentia (Gott's Island), he found Lowry, wife and child who were French, and Hinds, wife and four children (English under French protection);
(4) east side of Mount Desert, Winscheag Bay, Cadalac and wife;
(5) at St. Machias, Martell, John Breton, wife and child, of Jersey. Latter, wife and three children;
(6) Passamaquoddy and St. Croix, St. Robin, wife and son Lettrell, John Minus, wife and four children, Lambert, Jolly Clive, his servant, Torza, Lena, his servant.

The above enumeration is found recorded in the Massachusetts historical society, and was made May 11, 1688.

So the first account of a settlement on Gott's Island was this record. How long they had been there, or where they came from, is not known. Traces of where Hinds and Lowry lived are still to be seen, one of which is in Charles Welch's field, and another nearby in Samuel Gott's field. A thorn tree still grows near where each one of these houses was located, which is supposed to have been planted by these families, as they were found growing there when Daniel Gott came to the island in 1789. The thorn tree in Mr. Welch's field is but a few rods from the shore, and the traces of where the house stood are pretty well obliterated. The thorn bush in Mr. Gott's field stands at what is called the fore shore bank. This bank, which is made up mostly of clam shells, has been gradually washed away by the action of the sea, so that only a part of the cellar over which one of these settlers lived is visible; the rest is washed away, and the thorn tree now is partly over the bank.

The Massachusetts Bay colony, in May, 1704, sent out an expedition under Capt. Church against the French and Indians along the coast. The French trading posts were broken up, and many of the settlers were taken prisoners; this may have been the fate of Hinds and Lowry. I do not find any further record of settlers on Little Placentia until some eighty years later, when it became the property of Mr. Gott. It is probable that this island was the temj5orary abode of fishermen during a greater part of the interval between the departure of Hinds and Lowry and the arrival of Mr. Gott; but if such there were, no records of them have been preserved.

The Gott family which first settled at Mount Desert came from Gloucester, Mass. They had very large families, and were a vigorous, hardy race; most of their large families of descendants reached adult age, married, very often, among their own relations, they in turn having large families. So they have spread far and wide, and they and their descendants form a large proportion of the inhabitants in all the towns surrounding their early settlement. They are especially numerous at Mount Desert, Gott's Island, Swan's Island and Deer Isle. On account of their frequently marrying people of their own name, and the frequent repetition of names in the different branches of this family, their genealogy is confusing.

Charles Gott, the ancestor of the Gott family in America, came to this country in 1628, and was of the company that came over with John Endicott, afterwards governor. This company sailed from Weymouth, England, June 20, 1628, and arrived at Salem on Sept. 6, of the same year.

Daniel Gott, of Gloucester, had a large and interesting family. Several of his children came to the towns mentioned above. A part only settled on the island under consideration, but their families are so connected that their record will be given here. Three of his daughters married three brothers, Richardson by name:

(1) Elizabeth married Stephen Richardson, of Gloucester, and settled at West Bass Harbor, over an old cellar in the field back of Jacob Sawyer's present residence;

(2) Margaret married Thomas Richardson, of Gloucester, and settled at East Bass Harbor; over a cellar about half way between the store and present residence of Perry W. Richardson;

(3) Rachel married James Richardson, of Gloucester, and settled at Somesville about the time that Abraham Somes made the first permanent settlement in 1762 or '63. In August, 1763, George Richardson was born, he being the first child born to white parents on Mount Desert.

Another daughter of Daniel Gott, of Gloucester, named Eunice, married Capt. Benjamin Stockbridge, of Gloucester; they had one son, Benjamin, jr., who settled at Deer Isle. After the husband died Mrs. Stockbridge became the wife of Capt. John Thurston, of Gloucester. By this second marriage their children were: Ambrose, who married Polly Gamagy; Amos, who married Mary Gott: Stephen married Mis. Pierce Carter: William married Nancy Foster; John, jr., who married Sarah Foster. All these were born in Gloucester. Then about 1784, Capt. Thurston moved his growing family and his stepson, Benjamin Stockbridge, to Deer Isle, where the following children were born: Solomon, who married Sarah Gott; Lois, who was the wife of a Mr. Hooper; after his death she married Charles Gott, her cousin: Eunice, who was the wife of David Smith, of Swan's Island; Susan, who was the first wife of Charles Gott. So the Thurston and Stockbridge families of Deer Isle were closely related to the Gotts, of Gott's Island. Most of these children's families have been considered more in detail elsewhere in this book.

Daniel Gott, of Gloucester, also had two sons, Daniel, whom we shall notice as the original purchaser of Gott's Island, and William. Peter Gott, whom we have recorded as having settled and reared his family on Swan's Island, was a cousin to this family.

William Gott, a son of Daniel Gott, of Gloucester, married Patience Richardson, and settled at Mason's point (Somesville) about 1776 or 1778. He died soon after, when his widow married Andrew Tarr and settled at Fernald's point (Southwest Harbor). By her first marriage Mrs. Gott's children were: Elial, who was never married; he was killed in a drunken fray in 1790; Rachel, who married a Mr. York; they had no children; after Mr. York's death she became the wife of a Mr. Dean; they^ had one child, Rhoda, who died young. By her second marriage her children were: Comfort, who married Tobias Fernald, of Kittery, Maine; Andrew, jr., married, in 1795, Esther Stanwood; Daniel, who married, in 1799, Tryphosia Hudlock.

(1) Comfort and Tobias Fernald's children were: Daniel, born in 1808, was never married; is living (1894); Eben, born in 1810, married Sophronia Wasgatt. (The above were the parents of Rev. O. H. Fernald.)

(2) Andrew Tarr, jr., married Esther Stanwood. They had one son, also Andrew Tarr, born in 1796.

(3) Daniel Tarr married Tryphosia Hudlock. Their children were; Daniel, Jonathan H., Samuel H., of whom there is no record. Another son, Aaron, walked overboard in his sleep from the steamer "Royal Tar"; Sarah married a Mr. Stephens.

Daniel Gott, a son of Daniel Gott, of Gloucester, first settled at Norwood's Cove, Tremont, sometime previous to the Revolutionary war. His wife was Hannah Norwood. Here, in 1777, their first child was born. Soon after this, Mr. Gott moved to Gott's Island, it receiving its name from him; previous to this time it was called Little Placentia Island. He afterwards bought this island of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, in consideration of the sum of £18. His deed was dated March 25, 1789, and is still in a good state of preservation; it is in the hands of Mr. Gott's descendants; he thus became, as far as we have any record, the first owner of the island. The two Bass Harbor residences of the sisters and the Gott's Island residence were in full view.

These families, after settling here, had hard work to support their families, depending almost solely upon the fishing business, and being so far away from any place where supplies could be obtained. An incident of great trial in the family of the Gotts and Richardsons occurred at Bass Harbor. They were short of provisions. Late in the fall of 1765 (or thereabout) they sent a load of staves to Gloucester to be exchanged for provisions to last them through the winter. When the provisions arrived they were stored at Thomas Richardson's, East Bass Harbor. That night Mr. Richardson and wife, having put their two children, Thomas, jr., and Puah, in bed, they harnessed an ox single and started for Beech Hill by moonlight, following a wood track one mile east, and then along an Indian trail seven or eight miles to Beech Hill and Somesville to notify them that provisions had arrived. On their return near midnight, when at the top of Beech Hill Mountain, they saw a fire in the southwest direction and they knew that their cabin was burning, and their two children probably burned to ashes. Hastening their speed they happily met the children coming to meet them, unharmed. This was a long, sad winter for them. All their families moved to Gott's Island and made all things common; fish, clams and some game helped them through the winter.

Mr. Gott, with his two sons, Charles and David, was drowned by the capsizing of a boat while returning from the fishing grounds, July 7, 1814. Mr. Gott, sr., was near fifty-five years of age. After his death his widow married Peter Gott, of Swan's Island, in the year 1824. Peter then lived at Gott's Island until his second wife's death, when he returned to Swan's Island, and lived with his sons there until his death in 1839.

Daniel and Hannah Gott were the parents of twelve children, all of whom reached adult age, married and had large families of their own. There were ninety-seven grandchildren, of whom eighty-one were married. Of these eight were married the second time. The following were the children, eight sons and four daughters. The daughters were: Hannah, wife of William Appleton, who settled at Tremont: Elizabeth, wife of James Somes, who settled at Beech Hill; Mary, born in 1775, married her cousin, Amos Thurston, and settled at Deer Isle; Sarah, born May 26, 1786, married Solomon Thurston, and settled at Fox Island; she died August 23, 1869. The sons were: Daniel, jr., Nathaniel, Joseph, Benjamin, William, Charles, David and Isaac.

The families of the children of Daniel and Hannah Gott will be further noticed.

I. Daniel Gott, jr., in 1785 married Deborah Richardson, and settled at Beech Hill. They were the parents of nine children as follows: Daniel, who died at the age of twenty-one; Susannah, who married, Dec. 21, 1809, Rufus Wasgatt; Sarah, who married, Nov. 30, 1815, Asa Wasgatt: Nathaniel, who married, in 1814, Jane Dodge; Deborah, who became the second wife of Daniel Ladd; Eliza, who was the first wife of Daniel Ladd; Benjamin, who died unmarried; all the above settled at Beech Hill; Isaac, who married Mrs. Tryphosa Atherton; after her death he married Margaret Richardson and settled at West Ellsworth; Ann, who married Luther Park, and moved out West.

II. Nathaniel Gott was born Feb. 11, 1765. His wife was Betsey Richardson, who was born April 14, 1767. They were married November 28, 1786. He settled on Gott's Island. They were the parents of twelve children, all of whom but one married and reared large families. Mr. Gott died January 27, 1841. His wife died March 15, 1844.

The following were their children, one son and eleven daughters: Asenath, wife of Philip Moore, of Gott's Island; Jane, wife of James Greening, of Southwest Harbor; Lucinda, wife of Thomas Stanley, of Little Cranberry Isle; Esther, wife of Philip Longley, of Southwest Harbor; Clarissa, wife of William Gilley, of Cranberry Isles; after his death she became the wife of David Gates, of the same town; Hannah died unmarried; Deborah was the wife of John Clark, of Beech Hill; Nathaniel, jr., married Huldah Hudlock and settled at Gott's Island; Rhoda, wife of Daniel Hamblen, of Bass Harbor; Betsy, wife of Nicholas Tinker, of Southwest Harbor; Mary wife of Benjamin Richardson, of Somerville; Judith, who was the first wife of Mr. Gates.

III. Hannah Gott was the wife of William Appleton. They settled at Tremont. They were the parents of the following six children: Hannah, wife of a Mr. Davis, of Ohio; Polly, wife of Robert Nichols: Reuben married Jane; after his death she became the wife of Alfred Harper; Charles died unmarried; Sally, wife of William Reed, of Goose Gove, Tremont; Betsy, wife of William Harper, of Tremont.

IV. Elizabeth Gott married James Somes and settled at Beech Hill, where all their children were born. They afterwards moved to Solon, Maine, where they died, Mr. Somes at the age of sixty-eight years and his wife at the age of sixty years. They were the parents of nine children, three sons and six daughters, as follows: Hannah, wife of Stephen Manchester; they settled at Solon; Naomi died in Bangor unmarried; Sarah, wife of Benjamin Merrill, of Solon; Elizabeth married Daniel Durrill, who settled in Los Angeles, Gal.; his widow still resides there; Mary died in infancy; Mary, another child of that name, was the wife of Ezra Averill; they settled at Twin Lake, Mich.; James married Louisa Wright and settled in Dry Greek, Gal.; they are both living; Abram died in Florence, Cal.; Daniel G. married Charlotta L. Thorn and settled in Los Angeles. There are only three of this family now living (1895), Elizabeth, aged eighty-two, James, aged seventy-seven, and Daniel, aged sixty-nine years.

V. Mary Gott married her cousin, Amos Thurston, of Deer Isle. (Mary's mother, Eunice, was a sister of Daniel Gott, of Gott's Island. She married John Thurston, of Gloucester, who settled at Deer Isle in 1784.) Mr. and Mrs. Amos Thurston were the parents of eight children. They owned a large part of the land on which the village of Oceanville is now located. Mrs. Thurston died in 1866, at the advanced age of ninety-one years. For many years before her death she was totally blind. Their children were: Mary, born in 1798, died in 1803; Eunice, born in 1800, married Edward Small, of Deer Isle; Susan, born in 1802, married John Webster Small, of Deer Isle, December 7, 1820; Mr. Small died in 1874, aged seventy-four years; Mrs. Small died in 1889, aged eighty-seven years; Mary, born in 1804, married Nathaniel H. Richardson, of Somesville, in 1826; Ambrose, born in 1806, married Serena Morrill Gott; Amos, born in 1809, married Ann Stinson, of Deer Isle; Elizabeth, born in 1815, married Walter Butler Hamblen; after his death she became the wife of Capt. Jesse Stinson; Hannah Ann, born in 1819, died in 1836.

VI. Joseph Gott married Lydia Barton and settled at Little Gott's (Bar) Island. They were the parents of nine children, viz.: Joseph, jr., married Hannah Carter (a sister of David Gott's wife); Lydia was the wife of William Hopkins; Ruth was the wife of Francis Gilley, of Orland; Daniel married Lydia Benson; after her death he married Cornelia Dodge; Joanna was the wife of Daniel Robinson, of Southwest Harbor; James married Hulda Dawes; Martha was the wife of Earl Lane; Hannah was the second wife of Earl Lane; Robert married Rebecca Robinson, after her death he married a Mrs. Ober.

VII Benjamin Gott married, in 1796, Lydia Morgan, and settled at Bass Harbor. They were the parents of nine children as follows: Lydia, born in 1797, married Robert Mitchell, of Placentia; Benjamin died unmarried; Joseph married Martha Gott and settled at Goose Cove; Susan married Josiah Leach; David married Susan Kelley, and lived at Goose Cove; John, born in 1812, married Nancy T. Gott, who was born in 1819; Ezra was lost at sea; Ellen married and lived in Boston; Elizabeth married John Dawes; after his death she became the wife of a Mr. Hodgdon.

VII. William Gott was born Oct. 17, 1777. He married Susannah Milliken Nov. 3, 1806, and settled at Gott's Island. They were the parents of live children. Mr. Gott died Feb. 17, 1856; his wife died June 6, 1856. Their children were: William, who married Mary Smith; Samuel, who married Hannah Richardson and settled at Gott's Island; Daniel, who died unmarried; Salome, who was the wife of Abram Morrison; Phoebe, who was the wife of Daniel Jordan, of Orland; Susan, who was the wife of Daniel Rich, of Bass Harbor.

IX. Charles Gott was born in 177 1; married Susan Thurston; after her death, which occurred in 1808, at the age of twenty-seven years, he married Mrs. Lois Hooper, a sister of his first wife. Mr. Gott was drowned, together with his father and brother David, Juh' 7, 1814, at the age of forty-three years. His widow moved to Sedgwick where she reared her family. There were eight children, as follows: Susanna, born 1798, died 1817; Lois T., born in 1800, was the wife of David Walker; she died in 1886; Nancy F., born in 1802, was the wife of John Thurston, of South Deer Isle; Amos T., born in 1805, married Joanna Gott, a daughter of David Gott; after her death he married Mrs. Margaret M. (Douglass) Gott, widow of Solomon Gott; Charles jr., born in 1807, married Alice Carter, of Sedgwick. The children by his second wife were: Solomon T., born in 1810, married Margaret Douglass; Eunice T., born in 1812, married Joseph Herrick, of Sedgwick; Hannah, born in 1813, was the wife of Daniel Douglass.

X. David Gott married Joanna Carter and settled on Gott's Island. He was drowned, as stated in the last notice, July 7, 1814. His widow moved to Bluehill, where she reared her family of four children. They were: Abigail, wife of Moses Friend, of Sedgwick; Joanna, wife of Amos Thurston Gott: Hannah married in 1832 Preston Preble; Mrs. Preble is still living in Sedgwick at the age of eighty-three years (1895); David, jr., died in infancy.

XI. Sarah Gott born in 1786 married Solomon Thurston. They were the parents of nine children. Mr. Thurston died in 1854, aged seventy-one years; his wife died August 23, 1869. Their children were: Sarah, born in 1809, was the wife of Enos Cooper, of Rockport; Solomon, born in 1811, married Mary Annis; after her death he married Calista Calderwood; Martha was the wife of Jesse Thayer, of West Deer Isle; Hannah was the wife of James Witherspoon, of North Haven; Sophronia was the wife of William Harrison Smith; John married Lizzie Grindle, of North Haven; Daniel was lost at sea in 1848; Mary Ann married, in 1832, J. W. Ingraham; William married Abbie Wright, of Rockland.

XII. Isaac Gott married his cousin, Mary Thurston, and settled at Bass Harbor. They were the parents of eight children, as follows: Mary, wife of John Verrill; Isaac, who married Betsy Thurston, of Deer Isle; Serena was the wife of Ambrose Thurston, of Deer Isle; James, who married Martha Small, of Deer Isle; after her death he married Eliza Webster, of Goose Cove; Hannah was the wife of Sullivan Webster; Mary was the wife of John Gott; Lydia died unmarried; Almira T. was the wife of Ambrose Thurston, of Tremont.


Source: A History of Swan's Island, Maine, by H.W. Small, MD, Ellsworth Me, Hancock County Publishing Company, Printers, 1808



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