Samuel Clark "Sammy" Sanford

b. 1852
d. 1933


Sammy Sanford lived in a tiny one-room cabin on Great Cranberry Island near Preble Cove, overlooking the Western Way.  It was an isolated spot with a spectacular view, and it still is.

One day author Rachel Field went berrying in this area and was startled by his sudden appearance.  He told her, "Don't worry.  You're as safe with me as if you was in God's pocket."

That phrase must have stuck in Rachel's mind, for after she learnt the fascinating story of Sammy's grandfather, Captain Samuel Hadlock, Jr., and eventually was given his old daybooks and other mementos by Sammy just before he died, she decided to name her resulting novel God's Pocket.

Sammy's tiny and isolated cabin on Great Cranberry still stands.

click to enlarge

young Sammy

courtesy of Charles Liebow

somewhat older

courtesy of Gordon Shaw

Sammy's cabin

courtesy of Wini Smart

Sammy's view

The Cabin

art courtesy of Bruce Komusin

Three of Sammy's Letters to Professor Sawtelle

In November and December of 1922, and January 1923, Sammy corresponded with Professor William Otis Sawtelle, who had a deep interest in island people and history.  Apparently they were both Masons.

(All three letters courtesy of Hugh Dwelley)

Letter 1
(courtesy of Hugh L. Dwelley)
Envelope Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4


Letter is sent Registered Mail,
postmarked at Cranberry Isles ME, 14 Nov 1922, 9 A.M.
postmarked REC'D at Haverford PA, 16 Nov 1922, 7 A.M.


(As mentioned in second letter,
Sammy never sent it.)
some of the old names
of the ones past and gone. God Bless them.
Well here I am sitting by my
window in my little cabin so called.
I am trying hard to send my
Aunt Abby's picture and my grandmother.
I would like very much to have
Aunties in the "Photo" after it is copied.
My grandmothers I have several.
How did you know I had
one of Aunties? the picture which
you saw in the album that day
you were here was Aunt Lydia
Father Preble's sister. Capt. Tom
Bunker's wife. Goodbye for a
while I am getting dinner just
now. what Pat said when he didn't say
Dinner is over - now where was I
before? Here in the old arm chair
which you sat in when you were
here. How would you like to be here to
day? Think we could find enough to
talk about? John Fred Brackett
is Uncle John's son. John's boy.
the last I knew of him he was living
on Peaks Island. He is a shade
older than I and that is needless [to say]
Sixty years ago. Today I was on
Peaks Island. I knew every-body
there than all the old people are
now gone. -- When you write
to "Damit" Fisher ask her if she
won't send you the "verses or song"
The old Skilling home-stead
Yee gods and Little Fishes, they are
the Best I ever heard. Composed by
the skillings family - and
Auntie Sarah Hadlock could
sing them too.

if any mistakes write me
fully about them

Sincerely & Fraternally yours
Samuel Clark Sanford

P.S. was you acquainted with
"Tolly Jones" in Bangor. if so
is he still living?

N.B. now I am agoing to
wash my dishes.

Letter 2
(courtesy of Hugh L. Dwelley)
Envelope Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Letter is postmarked at Cranberry Isles ME, 7 Dec 1922, 9 A.M.
Cranberry Isles Me
Page one Dec 6 1922

Wm. O. Sawtelle Esq.
Sit lux et lux fuit ["Let there be light
and there was light," a Masonic motto]
Haverford Pa.

Dear Bro. Sawtelle,
Yours Recd Ok. Glad to hear
from you again. I was exceedingly
sorry I missed sending the first Page
of that letter. If I only knew
what it contained I would try and
duplicate it. the sad news came
to me yesterday the death of A.P.
McDonald the missionary man.
Very bad indeed. A man who will
be greatly missed all along the
sea-board. A good man, and a
hard worker for the Cause which

W.O.S.   2)
he was assigned to and every
one he could give a helping hand
to "sick or well, rich or poor" such is life.
Today is a hard cold day. Wind
N.W. and a very fresh one too. It is
now 9:45 am. I am getting dinner.
wish you were here to have some
"fish and potatoes" do you like
that kind of food? How are you
progressing in that History work?
I am sorry about the water
supply and trust before this that
the almighty has favored you with en-
ough to make tea if nothing more.
Yes should like to have a
copy each of the Photos which
I sent you if not too much expense

W.O.S.     3)
and trouble. I am glad
you have a supply of wood
there so if you run short out to
Phila. When you get down to
Cranberry Isles once more you
will know what it is to be
neither naked or clothed, barefooted
or shod; if it is a cold night,
so more it be. After this dinner I am
preparing for my self, Goodbye.
Dinner over. Is there any thing which
I can serve you with from Noah's
Ark up to the present time, if so command
me. I fed 14 birds last winter. This
winter I don't have any although
I keep food in the trees all the time
for them. I trust this nonsense will find
you and your family enjoying all of god's
blessings. A good winter. Merry Xmas, and a
happy new year goodbye.
Sincerely & Frat'y
S. Clark Sanford.
I would like for you when
you get opportunity to do so
go in to Philadelphia to the
Columbia Gramophone Co.
and get them to play to you
on the cylinder machine-
"All Bro. Masons." I don't
know which letter it is or No.
you cannot get it in any other
machine. I think it is a two
minute record. It starts from
Ea up to m.m. It used to be on
the disc record but they discon
tinued it for some purpose. So I can
have it for my machine. have
heard it several times. It covers every thing

Letter 3
(courtesy of Hugh L. Dwelley)
Envelope Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

Letter is postmarked at Cranberry Isles ME, 22 Jan 1923, 9 A.M.
Cranberry Isles Me
Jan 20th 1923
Wm. Otis Sawtelle
Haverford Pa.
Dear Bro. Sawtelle,

From What to What
[apparently a Masonic formula]
of What on What
do you call this winter weather-
don't it take the nerve of a man
to land himself[?] in a snow bank
as we get landed with Both eyes
Blinded so we could not see, where
Johnnie Blake hit us with that
old pig's bladder and hallowed
die there & when we tried to escape
by the ninth entrance of that old
fort How would you liked to
be tried and never denied

those old times again.
we are having one of the worst
winter this way for years. Snow
every place you may look and
more to come. How do you do
this winter? Keep well and warm
of course, I suppose you can
smoke chew or swear - but it
would be against the rules of
the faculty or there Uncles Brother
or grandfather to do so or let it
be done by others[?]. But of course
you can or they can when
they are alone and nobody to
see them. I am still in
my cabin so called. would be
glad to have a chat with you
providing we were on a snow bank and
had to jump down to get on a hill
to meet each other. How square some

people are when they Post.
Are you still in your History
work? Mrs. Georgie Stanley passed
away the 15 last was buried the 17th
she lived abreast the P.O.
There has been two wrecks lately
one on Islesford the other here. Both
with coal aboard. Some have got
all they want I guess. Now don't
ask me to write again unless
you write and tell me so.
S.C. Sanford
P.S. I am enclosing a Poem of the
[???] you can make a copy
and return the original to me

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