Swans Island

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 26 Mar 1897 [unknown]
Location: Swans Island, Hancock, Maine, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: One_Place_Studies Maine Hancock_County_Maine
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This profile is part of the Swans Island, Maine One Place Study.

Parent Page: Hancock County

Swans Islandis a town in Hancock County, incorporated on March 26, 1897 from Swan's Island Plantation. Swans Island was earlier known as Burnt Coat Island or Burle-cote Island and was purchased by James Swan in 1786. The purchase included 23 islands
Click here for Swan's Island, Maine

Important Dates
Date Event
July 7, 1786 James Swan (1754-1830) Burnt Coat Island purchase
March 26, 1897 Swan's Island incorporated from Swan's Island Plantation
1901 Added Calf Island and West Black Island from Long Island Plantation


Villages, Locations and Settlements

Villages, Locations
and Settlements
Swan's Island
Burnt Coat Harbor 1791 "King" David Smith, 1st permanent settler
Hockamock Head 1793 Moses Staples, 2nd permanent settler
Stanley Point
Burncoat Harbor.
Harbor View.

Historical Names

Pioneer Settlers

Pioneer Settler Arrival Year
Adams, John 1840
Babbidge, Courtney before 1814
Barbour, Solomon 1843
Benson, Jephtha
Billings, Enoch 1826
Bridges, Moses 1847
Carpenter, Richard
Clark, Samuel C.
Thomas Jefferson Colomy (abt.1805-1884)
Isreal Conary (abt.1794-1879) 1820
Cook, John
Davis, William 1798
Dunbar, Thomas
Fife, William
Finney, John
Peter Gott (1755 - 1839) 1814
Hardy, Silas
Herrick, Kimball 1839
Abraham Holbrook (abt.1808-) 1836
Joyce, James 1806
Kempton, Seth
Kempton, Samuel
Kempton, Zachariah 1821
Kench, Thomas 1777
Kent, Samuel
Kiff, Alexander 1841
Hardy Lane (1821-1886) 1835
Oliver Lane (1822-1902) 1835
Lennan, Bryant, Rev.
Robert Mitchell (1790-aft.1861) 1821
Elias Morey Jr (1790-1867)
Nutter, Alexander
Nutter, William
Prince, Joseph (1756 - 1803)28 Oct 1790 - 29 June1795 (Owned & Resided at Swan's Island)
Jacob Somes Reed (1803-1888)
Remick, Joseph
Rich, John 1798
Sadler, Thomas
Sadler, Moses
Smith, "King" David (1760 - 1840) 1791
Sprague, James T. 1820 from Union, Maine
Stanley, William (1789 - 1851) 1814
Staples, Moses 1793
Stewart, Gushing
Benjamin Stinson (1788-1867)
Stockbridge, John 1816
Col. James Swan(1754 - 1830) Non-Resident Proprietor
Swan, James KeadieNon-Resident Proprietor
Toothaker, Joseph
Torrey, Levi 1814
Joshua S. Trask (1808-1851) 1825
Valentine, John

Early Settlement dated February 28, 1798 : "... to David Smith, Joshua Grindle and Moses Staples one hundred acres of land each; to John Rich, William Davis, David Bickmore, Isaac Sawyer, and Knowlton thirty acres each, all to be taken on the Great Island ; and to Samuel Emerson sixty acres on Marshall's Island, and to any other fisherman, who owns his fishing boat and who may settle on the Great Island, ten acres...." "'A history of Swan's Island,Maine


The state of Maine lists more than 40 Islands that are part of Swans Island Maine Islands

Islands Settler/Namesake/Note
Burnt Coat Island Brûle Côte or Swans Island
John's Island
Hatt Island
Harbor IslandThomas Kench about 1777
Marshal's Island
Little Marshal Island
Loud Island
Pond Island
Calf Island aka Opechee Island
Eastern Calf Island



Varney's Gazetteer of the state of Maine has the following:
      Swans's Island Plantation, in Hancock County, is situated south-west of Mount Desert Island and east of Deer Isle, being about equally distant from each. It has communication with Tremont, on Mount Desert, by boat. The soil is very rocky, but potatoes and hay yield fair crops. The rock is granite and a gray rock containing gold and silver ore. A mining company has recently erected a crushing mill. Fish-barrels, oil-cloths and boats are the principal manufactures.
      The Methodists and Baptists each have a society and preaching on the island. There arc five public schoolhouses, valued with other school property, at $1,200. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $27,805. In 1880 it was $49,856 The rate of taxation in 1880 was 3£ per cent. The number of polls in 1880 was 130.

Small's HISTORY OF SWAN’S ISLAND ' has the following:
      In order to get the required number of settlers, Swan sent out to the surrounding towns that he would give one hundred acres of land to any settler who would bring his family, build a house, cultivate the land, and that, at the end of seven years, he would give him a deed, free of expense, for the land which he had so improved. Quite a number of families came from Deer Isle, Sedgwick, Mount Desert and other places. There was a great demand for laborers. Many found employment at the mills. A large number chopped logs in the forest, others with ox teams drew them to the mill where they were manufactured into lumber. Many coasters from other places came to take the lumber to market, and Old Harbor took on a lively aspect.

THIS AGREEMENT made this twenty-fifth day of February, A. D. 1785, between the Committee appointed by a Resolve of the General Court of the twenty-eighth of October, A. D. 1783, on the subject of unappropriated Lands in the County of Lincoln, in behalf of this Commonwealth, of the one part, and James Swan, of Dorchester, in the County of Suffolk, Esq., of the other part. [page 17] Also see attached Image: Burnt Coat Division of Islands, with Naskeg n upper left corner of Map.

1785 LAND GRANT to COL. EDY, JAMES SWAN & OTHERS, on this MAP, See Naskeg aka Naskeg Point as boundary in Swans Purchase of off shore Islands within three miles of any part of the said Burnt Coat Island.



  • Varney, George J. 1886. Gazetteer of the state of Maine: with numerous illustrations.
  • Wasson, Samuel. 1878. A survey of Hancock County, Maine. Augusta [Me.]: Sprague, Owen & Nash, printers.

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