Cranberry Isles Maine

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Date: 16 Mar 1830
Location: Cranberry Isles, Hancock, Maine, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: One_Place_Studies Maine Hancock_County_Maine
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This profile is part of the Cranberry Isles, Maine One Place Study.

Cranberry Isles Cranberry Isles is a town in Hancock County, incorporated on March 16, 1830 from a portion of the town of Mount Desert. In 1849 it annexed additional land from that town to complete its current area.

Parent Page Hancock County
Cranberry Isles, Maine Category page



Important Dates
Date Event
March 16,1830 by act of the Maine legislature, the two Cranberry Islands, Button's, and Baker's and Bear Islands were set off from Mount Desert, and incorporated into a town by the name of Cranberry Isles. Samuel Hadlock, Enoch Spurling, and Joseph Moore were chosen the first Board of Selectmen.
1849 Annexed additional island(s) from Mount Desert (which one?)

Villages, Locations and Settlements

Villages, Locations
and Settlements
Settler/Namesake/Note Date
Islesford John Stanley at East Cranberry Island 1767
Dead Man Point Sans Stanley at West Cranberry Island 1767
Long Point John Rich at West Cranberry Island 1767
Bunker Head Benjamin Bunker at West Cranberry Island 1763
Spurling Point Benjamin Spurling at West Cranberry Island 1768
The Pool Arron Bunker (1735 - 1821) John Bunker (1730 - abt. 1810) 1763y.
Gilley Beach William Gilley at East Cranberry Island 1774
Maypole Point John Stanley Sr.'s settlement at Little Cranberry included Maypole Point.

Historical Names

Name Note Date
Button's Island aka SUTTONS ISLAND
Lancaster's Island aka SUTTONS ISLAND Joseph Lancaster (abt.1784-1863) 1820

Pioneer Settlers

Pioneer Settler Arrival Year
See Villages, Locations and Settlements
Samuel Hadlock (1770-1854) 1791
John Stanley (1735-1783) 1767
Sans Stanley (1729-abt.1791) 1767
John Rich (abt.1741-aft.1800) 1767
Benjamin Bunker (1710-1818) 1768
Benjamin Spurling (1752-1836) 1768
Enoch Spurling (1789-1839)
William P Gilley (abt.1750-1839) 1774
Isaac Richardson (1770-1796)
Joseph Lancaster (abt.1784-1863)
William Moore (1801-1874)
Joseph Moore (1803-1863)


The state of Maine Lists 8 Islands that are part of Cranberry Isles Maine Islands

ISLANDS Settler/Namesake/Note Date
Bakers Isle William Gilley Jr. (1782-1872) 1812
Bear Island aka Bare Island William Moore 1836
Crow aka Bar Island/Little Bar Island
West Cranberry Island, Great Cranberry Island See Villages, Locations and Settlements
East Cranberry Island, Little Cranberry Island See Villages, Locations and Settlements
Somes Island aka Langleys Island, Greenings IslandPhillip Langley 1788
Sutton Island aka Lancasters IslandJoseph Lancaster
Joseph Moore
Isaac Richardson
1820 (also given as early as1805 without documentation)


Islesford Historical Museum_" ... On permanent exhibit in every corner of the museum are objects—many of them everyday tools of their time—that tell stories of island life: sextant and octants, harpoon gun and ship clocks, store ledgers and weights. ... The island is accessible by mail boat or tour boat from Northeast Harbor or Southwest Harbor. From late May through September, the park offers the ranger-narrated Islesford Historical Cruise, which makes a 45-minute stop at the museum (see schedule of events for dates and times)." NOTED The Museum was closed for renovation in 2020. No current information available, but the 2021 season seems to have been June 27 thru Sept 30. Before visiting, please check the park website to determine its operating status.


Maps (Click an image for details)
1887 Map of Cranberry Isles.
Maps of Cranberry Isles in 1776
Map by Samuel Titcomb
Outline Map of the Cranberry Isles, Maine with Early Settlers
  • Several Historical Maps linked to the right (above).


DR: I failed to put the source for the following text - will provide asap
The earliest settlers on the Cranberry Isles had made no permanent stay. They spent a year or two fishing and cutting staves, and then moved on. The Bunker, Spurling, and Stanley families were the first to establish themselves permanently. Benjamin Spurling, who came from Portsmouth, N. H., in 1768, was, as we have seen, the founder of a large and prosperous family that has for four generations flourished on Great Cranberry. The lot of Aaron Bunker, containing one hundred acres, was laid out by John Peters in 1790. His descendants still occupy the land and are numerous in the community. John Stanley, who died on Great Cranberry in 1790, was the ancestor of many families of the Stanley name on the islands and in Hancock County. His widow's lot of sixty-two acres was at the entrance of the Pool, which is the characteristic feature of Great Cranberry Island.

Button's Island [ Suttons Island ], or Lancaster's Island, as it was originally called, was first settled by Joseph Lancaster, who came from Sullivan, and by Isaac Richardson, son of James Richardson, town clerk of Mount Desert. William and Joseph Moore were also early settlers. Sutton, from whom the island takes its present name, was apparently a squatter, who, it is said, was a sympathizer with the British in the War of 1812 and " moved on " to the Provinces. William Moore kept sheep on Bear Island, and later moved there and was the first keeper of the Bear Island lighthouse. William Gilley settled on Baker's Island in 1812, and he too became the keeper of the lighthouse built in 1828. His descendants still live on the island. The first inhabitants of Little Cranberry were John Stanley, son of the John Stanley [John Stanley Sr. of Little Cranbery, who died 7 May 1783 at Sea] who died on the greater island in 1790 [ERROR NOTED the Stanley who died in 1790, at Great Cranberry, was John Stanley Sr.'s brother Sans Stanley], and Samuel Hadlock [see Samuel Hadlock Jr. who moved to Little Cranberry in 1791], who, as we have already seen, moved from Hadlock's Pond to Little Cranberry . Samuel Hadlock the younger cleared a large tract and engaged successfully in farming, but his first money was gained by a fishing-trip on the Labrador coast. There he dried his fish and then proceeded with them to Spain in a schooner of forty-eight tons, making a successful voyage and very profitable sale of his cargo. He then built a store on the west side of the island at Hadlock's Cove, where he did a good business in general merchandise. He died on the island at the age of eighty-four years in 1854, and his wife Sarah (Manchester) died in 1861 at the advanced age of ninety. Edwin, the youngest son of Samuel Hadlock, succeeded his father in business. He also built and commanded vessels, as had his father before him. The last vessel built at the island was named the Samuel Hadlock and commanded by Edwin for several years. She was a brigantine of 120 tons, and was finally wrecked off Cape Hatteras. The other sons of Samuel Hadlock were also seafaring men, and died or were lost at sea in distant parts of the world. His daughters married and moved away, excepting Abigail, who married Captain Samuel Spurling of Great Cranberry Island. Edwin died on the island in 1875, and his sons William Edwin and Gilbert Theodore then conducted the business on a larger scale. They greatly improved the wharves and buildings, and sent vessels to Labrador, Grand Banks, and other distant fishing grounds. They also engaged in mackerel and herring fishing nearer home.

Colonel William Edwin Hadlock, the oldest son of Edwin Hadlock, was born at Little Cranberry Island in 1834, and was educated in the Winthrop School of Boston and the Classical Institute of Yarmouth, Me. After some years of business life in Portland he returned to the island to engage with his father in the ship stores and fishing business established by his grandfather. He was elected to the legislature of Maine in 1861, and served as a member of the House in the session of 1862, and was then commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the 28th Regiment of Maine Infantry. After a year's service at the front, in which Colonel Hadlock distinguished himself for ability and personal bravery, he was obliged to retire from the army because of impaired health, and again resumed his business at Cranberry Isles. He was twice elected senator from Hancock County, and was chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs in the sessions of 1872 and 1873. In 1876 he was again elected to the House of Representatives. Colonel Hadlock has for many years maintained an influential position in the affairs of his native town, and to his enterprise is largely due the development of the island and village of Islesford.

Gilbert T. Hadlock, another son of Edwin, was one of the builders of the Life Saving Station established at Islesford in 1879, and served as the first keeper. Captain Hadlock held this position for several years, and then resigned to establish a steamboat route among the islands. He holds a medal from the government for heroic service in the saving of life. Captain Franklin Stanley succeeded Captain Hadlock as commander of the Life Saving Station, and with his efficient crew of hardy surfmen has prevented many wrecks and brought much credit to the service. Harvey Denning, the youngest son of Edwin Hadlock, chose the legal profession, and was employed in important cases in Bucksport and Portland, and later in Boston, New York, and Washington. He was a man of marked personality, who died suddenly in Boston, in the height of his power, on the 13th of April, 1897.

The 200 acre cranberry marsh on Great Cranberry Island influenced Governor Bernard in 1762 to name the town, which is composed of this and four additional islands: Islesford, Baker, Bear, and Sutton. Sutton was purchased by Ebenezer Sutton in 1755.

Varney's Gazetteer of the state of Maine has the following:
      Cranberry Isles is a group of islands in Hancock County, lying from 3 to 6 miles south of Mount Desert, and 36 miles from Ellsworth. Their names are Great Cranberry, Little Cranberry, Sutton's, Roberson's and Baker's Islands. They were originally included Mount Desert, but set off and incorporated in 1830. They take their name from a cranberry marsh of 200 acres in extent on the large island. The soil is suitable for potatoes, and there are a few small orchards. Some grade Shorthorns and Ayrshire cattle, and Oxford and Southdown sheep, are found in town. But the tables and occupations of the people are chiefly furnished by the briny deep. In 1876, there were on these islands, according to the enumeration of Colonel Hadlock, thirty-eight establishments for smoking and curing fish. The first English settler within the present limits of the town was John Roberson, who settled upon the island which bears, his name in 1761. The first settlers upon Cranberry Isle are supposed to have been Mr. Bunker and William Foss. The first selectmen were Samuel Hadlock, Enoch Sparling and Joseph Moore. The town furnished 27 men for the Union in the war of the Rebellion, costing per man $232. The Methodists have a church-edifice in the town. The public library contains 578 volumes. The Cranberry isles have_ four schoolhouses, valued at $850. The valuation of real-estate in 1870 was $61,514. In 1880, it was $52,063. The population in 1870 was 350. In the census of 1880 it is 343.

Additional Resources

Web Sites:
  • Historical Society
  • Maine Genealogy Net
  • Family Search
  • WikiPedia
  • Maine Encyclopedia


Photo Gallery (Click an image for details)
The Blue Duck
The Pool
Maypole Point
1899 Shore at Isleford, Maine
1899 View of Mount Desert from Isleford
Fish Point
1899 View of Mount Desert from Isleford Hotel


  • Varney, George J. 1886. Gazetteer of the state of Maine: with numerous illustrations.


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