Annie Bell Hobbs at Boon Island Light

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Postby island » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:43 pm

In January 1876, 14-year -old Annie Bell Hobbs, the 14-year-old daughter of Assistant Keeper Edwin Hobbs (1874-76), wrote a story about life at Boon Island for "The Nursery", children's magazine. This was her last year on Boon. Her father was appointed keeper of White Island (Isles of Shoals) where he served from 1876 to 1880.
Out at sea, on a rock eight miles from the nearest point of land and about nine miles east of the town of Kittery, is Boon Island, upon which I have been a prisoner, with the privilege of the yard, the past two years.

I will give you a description of the place and its inhabitants. The island is made up of nothing but rocks, without one foot of ground for trees, shrubs, or grass. Now and then sails dot the wide expanse, reminding me that there is a world besides the one I dwell in, all surrounded by water.

The inhabitants of this island consist of eight persons just the number that entered the ark at the time of the flood. There are three men, the three keepers of the light, whose duties are to watch the light all night, to warn the sailors of danger. There are two families of us, and in my father's family are five members. There are but three children in all—my brother Steven Green, three years old; little Mamie White of the other family, a little girl of four years old; and myself, Annie Bell Hodges.

Our colony is so small, and the children so few, that the inhabitants have concluded not to build a schoolhouse. Consequently I have my father and mother for teachers. The whole number of scholars in my school last year was two; my little brother and myself.. The books used were “The Nursery” and “Emerson's Arithmetic”.

After school hours I turn my eyes and thoughts toward the mainland and think how I should like to be there, and enjoy some of those delightful sleigh-rides which I am deprived of while shut out here from the world.

In the summer we have quite a number of visitors, who board at the mainland beaches during the season. They come to see the lighthouse and all it contains; and we are very glad to show them all, though it is quite tiresome to go up into the light a number of times during the day, since it is one hundred and twenty-three feet from the rock on which it stands to the light.

Up there among the clouds, my father and the other keepers have to watch, night after night, through storms as well as pleasant weather, through summer and winter, the year round, from sunset to sunrise; so that the poor sailors may be warned off from danger.

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Postby CHUCKX53 » Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:01 am

What a delightful story !! Was there any more of it ?

This reminded me of the events of 8 years ago...."The Republic Of Boon Island", staged by the ALF...


More, with photos.....


Even Wikipedia makes a mention....

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Postby island » Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:07 am

This is apparently all that Annie wrote about living on Boon Island. I wonder how she viewed later living at White Island. Somewhat better being close to other populated island, but still quite isolated from the mainland.
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