other islands


By Hugh L. Dwelley, 1999

Lists taken from the tomb stones at each of the Islesford cemeteries follow.  They are valid and complete only until the dates shown on each list.  For more details about the cemeteries, read the narrative below.

Stanley/Hadlock Cemetery (5-20-1974)
Stanley/Gilley Cemetery (11-4-1973)
Sandbeach Cemetery (8-15-1994)
Sawtelle Cemetery Plot (7-1-1999) by Robert R. Pyle
Catholic Cemetery (7-17-1999) by Mary Taylor
Rhees Cottage Plot (grave of Helen Rhees Ham) - included in combined list, below

All Islesford combined

Download "All Islesford combined" as a comma-separated text database file
  file name: combined_lci.csv
  file size: about 20 kb

Islesford's first permanent settler, John Standley (11/19/1735 - 5/7/1793), is buried near where he is thought to have lived on Maypole Point. His wife, Marguerite (LaCraw) [aka LaCroix --BK] Standley, may or may not be buried with him.  Marguerite lived her last years with daughter Margaret Dolliver in Southwest Harbor.

The stone on John Standley's grave is of black slate and rather unique.  It was placed there by a descendant, Belver Williston.  In 1919, Vincent Bowditch recorded in his Journal:

On the way [to visit friends at the Maypole Cottage] we met Mr. Williston who called our attention to the new slate headstone made in the fashion which he had had made to replace the one put up many years ago to mark the burial place of his ancestor John Standley the former stone having been broken up by vandal fishermen years before.  There it stands now on a lonely cairn seen through the fog in solitary silence & as one approaches he reads on the stone:

To the Memory of
John Standley
who died
aged 47 years
"May Guardian Angels
watch over the Sleeper"

What changes since John Standley first came [1762] to this lonely island in the sea!  He was buried in the only cleared spot of the island somewhere near the present stone which stands on a lonely mound on the marshes.

Note: John's descendants dropped the "d" from their name.


The first cemetery on Islesford is the Stanley/Hadlock cemetery located on what was then Stanley land in the northwest portion of the island.  The first burial there was of Phoebe (Rich) Stanley on January 23rd, 1830.  She was the wife of John Stanley 2nd, eldest son of the original settler, who would be buried beside her in 1847.  Also in 1831, one William P. Blunt, of whom little is known, was buried in the Stanley cemetery.  The third burial, also in 1831, was of twenty-year-old Mrs. Lucinda Gott identified on Thomas Stanley's stone as "his consort."

This cemetery became the burying spot for the Hadlocks following Sam Hadlock's purchase of the western end of Little Cranberry Island from the estate of John Standley in 1803.  The first Hadlock to be buried there was Sam himself in 1854.  Stanleys also continued to be buried there until as late as 1935 when Epps Stanley's wife Belinda was buried beside him.  One stone in this cemetery is for John Forham "Lost at Sea."  Two or three others, apparently crewmen who died on Hadlock vessels, are buried there as well.  Several Spurlings are also buried in this cemetery.

list of persons interred at Stanley/Hadlock Cemetery


This cemetery is located by the Main Road very near the center of the island.  It occupies a plot of land beside the old Stanley-owned Islesford Hotel that was torn down in 1920.  It is in this area that the Gilleys - children of Sam Gilley and grandchildren of William of Baker Island - purchased lots from the Stanleys and built their Islesford homes.

The first burial is that of John Stanley 3rd (1789-1864).  His wife Margaret (Stanley) Stanley was buried beside him in 1874.  The first Gilley buried here was Sam's wife Emily (Stanley) Gilley in 1893.  Samuel was buried beside her in 1906.  Following Sam's death, Vincent Bowditch wrote:

There are changes (inevitable) on the dear little island.  Good old Mr. Sam Gilley ("Grandpa Gilley') after a short illness died in the spring...  The old man planted his potatoes and beans, took cold and then seemed to fade away fully conscious that his time had come: "I have been living a long time on borrowed time Doctor," he once said to me & he repeated it to his granddaughter Maude apparently telling her she must have the old house now, that she had "slaved" for him long enough & had been a good girl.  Poor Maude, a sad outlook for her.  She has had her sad romance apparently in life & feels sad and lonely now that her good old guardian has gone.  I shall miss the old man's cheery greeting..."

Fernalds, Spurlings, Youngs and others are buried in this cemetery as well.

list of persons interred at Stanley/Gilley Cemetery


This is Islesford's newest cemetery.  It is located inland of the boat houses on the Sandbeach Road not far from John Standley's burying place.  An August 1913 entry in Vincent Bowditch's Islesford Journal reads:

Aug. 4. No. East storm in the morning, cleared in the afternoon so May, Nina & I walked up past the Life Saving Station & back past Marsh Head getting quite wet.  They are cutting the woods on the way down badly and having planned a burying ground over to the left of the road to the station they find it too rocky so have transferred it to the Sand Beach.  Yesterday I met Jim Sprague loaded with digging implements, ropes & etc. & upon asking him if he was going home had said "No, I am going to dig up Black & take him down to the other burying ground.  They made a fuss about his being put in the Stanley ground near the hotel, so I am going to move him", - all said in his short matter-of-fact speech.  Black died not long ago, the father of Ed Black who married Ethel Stanley.

It appears then that this cemetery was to have been located on the left on what is now called Lobster Boulevard.  Instead, it was located at the Sandbeach.  Both were Hadlock properties.  Charles Black was the first burial when Jim Sprague moved him there in 1913.  No single family has more than two or three plots in this cemetery and only a few of them (Fernald, Spurling, Phippen, Spofford) are old Island families.  It is the only cemetery where lots can be purchased in 1999.

list of persons interred at Sandbeach Cemetery


There were none of the Catholic persuasion living or dying on Islesford before Fred Morse came to the island and married Irish maid Mary Smyth in 1907.  In 1909 Fred and Mary took over the old Stanley store and began raising a family.  In subsequent years there have been additional Catholics in both the winter and summer populations.  The Chapel of Our Lady Star of the Sea was built in 1942 and a small cemetery was located a way behind it at the end of what is known as Morse's Field.  It is very near the Stanley/Gilley cemetery.  The first burial there was of Fred Morse in 1929.  Most recently, Irene (Morse) Bartlett was buried there beside her husband Frank in 1998.

list of persons interred at Catholic Cemetery by Mary Taylor


[From an email recv'd from Hugh Dwelley on 11 May 2000]
There is another grave on Islesford that I think we have not included.  Helen Rhees Ham is buried on her own property at the back of the Rhees cottage.
[I've included her in All Islesford combined listing and comma-separated database file. --BK]


Other documents published by the Islesford Historical Society which may be of interest to genealogists include the following:

PIONEER SETTLERS OF THE CRANBERRY ISLANDS - The Gilleys of Baker Island and Islesford @ $6 ea



The ISLESFORD JOURNALS OF DR. VINCENT Y. BOWDITCH may not be of special interest to genealogists except in providing numerous anecdotes about residents of the Cranberry Islands between 1894 and 1928.  Four vols. @ $6 per vol.

Each of the above may be purchased from the Islesford Historical Society using this order form.  Postage is included in the price for each item.

Other documents that are in the archives of the Islesford Historical Society and that may be of interest to genealogists include the following:

  1. Description: Bunker Family: "Record in Cranberry Isles of Births and Deaths"

    5.5" x 12" ruled vertical composition book.  Binding in poor condition.  Only the first seven pages written on in a bold clear script.  Front cover inscribed:

    SMC Many good wishes.
    Chas E. Stanley
    Cranberry Isles, Maine
    August 16, 1903

    Found in a trunk in the attic of the former Spofford House now owned by Hathaway.  Begins with a record of Benaiah Bunker's Family.  Benaiah was born on July 14, 1783.  Probably a grandson of the Ben Bunker who settled on Great Cranberry island in about 1760??

  2. Description: DESCENDANTS OF BENJAMIN SPURLING 1752-1837

    Notes: Prepared for Marion Spurling by Katie Fernald from records at the Islesford Museum.


    Notes: Copied from material at the Bangor Library.  Pages 12 & 13 and pages 96 and 129 were not copied and are missing from this set.

    Vol. XII, Nos. 1 & 2.

    Notes: These volumes include THE GILLEY FAMILY OF MOUNT DESERT by William Otis Sawtelle in two installments.

  5. Description: Booklet: Notes on the NORWOOD FAMILY
    By William Otis Sawtelle (2 copies)

  6. Description: Booklet - Daniel Gott, Mount Desert Pioneer
    His Ancestors and Descendents By William Otis Sawtelle

  7. Description: GENEALOGY OF THE STANLEY FAMILY of Cranberry Isles, Maine.  In blue 3-ring binder.

    Notes: Genealogical and cemetery data and correspondence compiled by Francis Stanley - mostly in 1973/74.

  8. Description: Inventory of Sutton Island Cemetery In Manila folder.

    Notes: Inventory conducted by Allen Fisher and Hugh Dwelley in July 1993.

  9. Description: Copies of Records of Marriages submitted to the State by Cranberry Isles Town Clerks between 1841 & 1891 with a few years missing.  Also copies of Assessor's, Treasurer's and Agricultural statistics returns for years 1864, 65, & 66.  Also 1844 and 1846 notes from William P. Preble one of them mentioning his family's illness with small pox.

  10. Description: CRANBERRY ISLES BIRTHS & DEATHS: A 155-page pen and ink listing titled Records in Cranberry Isles of Births and Deaths.  There are one or two births recorded before 1770 and a few deaths, recorded in a different hand, after 1890.  Index prepared by Hugh Dwelley in October, 1994.

    Notes: Irene Bartlett advises that Frank Bartlett found this list in a barn on Sutton Island.  Irene took it to the Maine State Archives and they copied it some years ago.  Irene has the original and one copy.  The list doesn't include the very earliest Stanleys and Bunkers.  The list doesn't appear to be an official record that was kept over time.  Rather it appears to be a list that someone interested in genealogy prepared late in the 1800s.  The recorder was someone very knowledgeable of the people of the islands, perhaps, a retired selectman or town clerk.  Someone made a few entries (in a different hand) after the original recorder stopped doing so.  We have the original copy plus two copies that we have made and bound in brown covers with an index.


    Notes: The entries on this document appear to have been copied from the "Sutton Island" list which is ACQ # 0098 above.  However, some data has been left out and other data added.  We have the original copy plus two copies that we have made and bound in red covers with an index.

  12. Description: A Genealogy of the MAYO Family

    Source: Through Joy Sprague from Jean Mayo-Lakatos of 77 School Street, Naugatuck, Conn. 06770

    Condition: Good - A copy of a fresh type-script

    Notes: One of the Mayo families was among the early settlers on Mount Desert.  On pg. 2 it says that Wilson M. Mayo, born at Eden [(Bar Harbor] in 1845, "In later years, worked for Colonel W.E. Hadlock on Little Cranberry as a gardener and farmer.  His son George Mayo was born at the Hadlock farm house in Cranberry Isles on June 6, 1876.  The early pioneering families of Mount Desert are also mentioned on page 7.  Pages 23 and 24 are "The Town of Cranberry Isles" drafted by Ted Spurling.  The paper also has some very good material on early living conditions in England and in the New England colonies.

  13. Description: THE STANLEYS OF THE CRANBERRY ISLANDS - GENEALOGICAL NOTES BY WILLIAM OTIS SAWTELLE, with an Introduction and index prepared by Hugh L. Dwelley.

    Vol. 1 (452 pgs): Stanleys of Little Cranberry Island
    Vol. 2 (214 pgs): Stanleys of Great Cranberry Island
    Vol. 3 (240 pgs): Stanleys of Mount Desert Island
    Vol. 4 (137 pgs): Stanleys of Swans Island

    Notes: These four volumes contain copies of Stanley Family notes made by Professor Sawtelle.  Mr. Dwelley has prepared covers and a thorough index for each volume.

  14. Description: The Bunker Cemetery, Great Cranberry Island, Maine.  Notes: Compiled by Richard Cox and Bruce Komusin 1995 & 1997.

  15. Description: The Preble Cove Cemetery, Great Cranberry Island, Maine.  Notes: Compiled by Bruce Komusin, August 1994.

Return to Genealogy
Return to Little Cranberry Island
Return home___