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Click for 1873 large format maps

Map courtesy of Peter Randall Publishing
©1997 Peter Randall

The nine islands and rocky ledges making up the Isles of Shoals were divided between the provinces, now states of New Hampshire (NH) and Maine (ME) during the mid 1600s by their British owners Frederick Gorges and John Mason. Cyber visitors can click from each island to its description below. MAP

Likely named for its migrant visiting birds. Today owned by Star Island Corporation and used as a wildlife refuge. Earlier this century the island and ledges were a restricted zone used by the government as bombing targets. Duck is about one-seventh of a mile long and equally wide. Surrounded by Jimmie's Ledge, Shag Rock, Eastern Rocks, Mingo Rock and closest to Old Henry Ledge. Site of shipwrecks. MAP

Originally Hog Island, the largest of the Isles. This was the most populated European settlement in the 1600s due to a freshwater spring. Appledore became a township in 1661 and named for a town in Devonshire. When Maine taxes were assessed, the population of 40 families dismantled their homes and moved to Star Island in the province of New Hampshire. The township was dissolved in 1682 and the island uninhabited until the mid 1800s when the Laightons established their tourist hotel. That hotel is gone and tourists currently stay on Star, also owned by the Star Island Corporation. Appledore is the site of poet Celia Thaxter's cottage, her garden (still maintained, and the cemetery of her family. It is currently the operating station of the Marine Shoals Laboratory of Cornell University in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire. Thanks to the writings of Celia, there are dozens of points of interest, also the site of 17th century boys academy and the first new world home of Sir William Pepperrell. Half a mile long by a half mile wide. MAP

Not much more than a pile of rocks, likely named by Spanish sailors. It was connected to Smuttynose by the Haley's Breakwater in the 1820s. Capt., Samuel Haley reported built it when he sold four bars of silver found on the island, rumored to be pirate treasure. The 300 x 500 foot island is privately owned. MAP

Name may come from the image of a black "smutch" on the nose or profile of the island. A long narrow island famous as the site of Blackbeard's honeymoon, the shipwreck of the Spanish ship Sagunto in 1813 and the murder of two girls in 1873 popularized in the recent bestseller "The Weight of Water." The oldest house in Maine, the Haley House is now on the label of a locally brewed beer. Also called Haley's Island, the family's cemetery is still visible here. Half a mile long by one-eighth of a mile wide. MAP

Got its name apparently from a few scrappy cedar trees spotted there by explorer John Smith in the early 1600s. Populated today by lobstermen and their families descended from early Shoaler fisherman. Connected by a government breakwater to Smuttynose and Star. Small circular island about one-seventh of a mile in diameter. Cedar Island Ledge is nearby. MAP

Known originally as Gosport, the long surviving fishing village of the famous "Shoalers." The name is assigned to sailors who imagined the shape of the island as the points of a shining star. Today the only island served by ferry service and accessible to tourists. The conference center is managed by the Star Island Corporation in association with the Universalist Unitarian Church office in Boston, MA. The corporation purchased Star in 1916 for $16,000 and purchased most of Appledore in 1924. Sites include the location of Fort Star rebuild a number of times from 1653 for protection from Indians, many stone cottages and a stone chapel, John Smith's monument, Betty Moody's Cove, the Maine Gardens and much more. The obelisk monument to Rev. Tucke who "civilized" the Shoalers in the 18th century is the state's tallest tombstone. Star is also a nesting sanctuary for Herring and Green Black-backed gulls. One third mile long by one-third mile wide. MAP

Derived from the original name Londoner's Island and named for the local belief that it was the original base of the London Company during earliest colonial days. Once owned by Oscar Laighton, Celia Thaxter's brother, the island and its one home are still privately owned. Celia wrote of a ship wreck there in which only one crew member survived. Lunging is among the sites rumored to still hold Blackbeard's buried treasure. Actually two small islands each one-seventh mile in diameter connected by a bar of boulders called a "tombolo." Near Square Rock and Halfway Rock. MAP

Named for an early Shoaler. Connected to White Island, but can only be crossed at low tide. Nicknamed the "cow pasture." Covers about four acres. MAP

Named for "Shoaler" Capt. Joseph White, born in 1750 and murdered in Salem, MA in 1830. Site of one of only two lighthouses on the NH coast. Lighthouse station established in 1789. Writer Celia Thaxter lived here in the 1840s until she was 12 when her father was lighthouse keeper. She later wrote about her experience on White Island in her books and poems including "Among the Isles of Shoals, published in 1873. Current lighthouse built in 1859 and automated in 1987, now solar powered. Lighthouse tower is 58 feet high and 82 feet above sea level. White is one-tenth of a mile long with 30 foot cliffs on one side and connects to Seavey's by a "tombola" visible at low tide. White Ledge is nearby. MAP

©1997 All rights reserved

- Ten Miles Out, by Lyman V. Rutledge, 1984
- The Isles of Shoals: A Visual History, by John Bardwell, 1989
- Geology of the Isles of Shoals, by Katherine Fowler-Billings, 1959

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Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801

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