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Defending the Island A story of Bar Harbor in 1758   By: (1848-1912)

Defending the Island A story of Bar Harbor in 1758 by James Otis

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Defending the Island.

[Frontispiece: Friend or enemy? (see Chapter III.)]

DEFENDING THE ISLAND A STORY OF BAR HARBOR IN 1758 BY JAMES OTIS

Boston DANA ESTES & COMPANY PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1904 BY DANA ESTES & COMPANY All rights reserved

CONTENTS I. THE ISLAND II. THE FIRST ASSAULT III. A DAY OF SUSPENSE IV. AN ATTACK V. FIRE VI. THE WRECK

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Friend or enemy? (See Chapter III.) Frontispiece "'Indians skulking on the harbor island!'" "The stout hearted girl set about the task" "Susan stood guard at the gateway" "The children had improvised platforms" "Mark saw a canoe put off from the Harbor Island" "'You shall not have the smallest chicken inside this stockade!'" "'Look! Look! A vessel!'" "He returned with a heavy log" "'Do you refuse to surrender?'" "An instant later the entire party was in retreat" "Susan's arm was being rebandaged" "He re├źntered the house with a bucket two thirds full of muddy water" "Again the crash of thunder drowned all sounds" "The next knowledge was that the women were trying to nurse him back to life" "He gazed at the struggling wretches on the bottom of the wreck"

Defending the island.

CHAPTER I

THE ISLAND

In the year of grace 1758 there were two families living on that island which we of to day call Mount Desert; but Champlain named Mons Deserts, because its thirteen high, rugged mountains could be seen from the seaward a distance of twenty leagues, making it the first landmark of the coast for seamen.

It is said, by those gentlemen who write down historical facts for us young people to study, that the "savages were much attached to the island; for in the mountains they hunted bears, wildcats, raccoons, foxes, and fowls; in the marshes and natural meadows, beaver, otter and musquash; and in the waters they took fin and shellfish."

Now in the proper kind of a story there should be nothing which savors of school book study, and yet, before telling how the children of these two families defended the island in 1758, it seems much as if the reader would have a better idea of all that was done, if he or she knew just a few facts concerning those who lived on Mount Desert before Stephen Pemberton and Silas Harding took there their wives and children to build for themselves homes.

It is said, by those who busy themselves with finding out about such things, that in the year 1605 Champlain stopped at the island and named it; but not until four years later did any white people visit the place. Then two Jesuit missionaries, who had been living at Port Royal, under the protection of Monsieur Biencourt, went to Mount Desert with the hope of converting the Indians to Christianity.

How long these good men lived there, no one seems to know; but it is certain that they went back to Port Royal quite soon, because, in the year 1613, a Frenchman, by the name of La Suassaye, the agent of Madame de Guercheville, a very rich and religious lady, visited Port Royal, and persuaded the missionaries to return to Mount Desert, in company with several French colonists.

An Englishman by the name of Argall, who had come across the ocean to drive away the French people from North America, in order to take possession of the country in the name of his king, found the settlers while they were yet living in tents, not having had time to build houses. He robbed them of all their goods, afterward sending them adrift in an open boat, to make certain they wouldn't encroach on the land to which he believed they had no claim.

The French people, after suffering severely, contrived to gain the mainland, however, and before many months had passed returned to Mount Desert, where they formed a settlement, which did not survive the encroachments of the Indians, as is known from the fact that when, in 1704, the great Indian fighter from Massachusetts, Major Benjamin Church, rendezvoused at Mount Desert, before attacking the Baron de Castine on Penobscot Bay, he found no person living there... Continue reading book >>




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