History of Vinalhaven, Maine
A Gazetteer of the
State of Maine

By Geo. J. Varney
Published by B. B. Russell, 57 Cornhill,
Boston 1886

Vinalhaven, in Knox County, lies at the entrance of Penobscot Bay. With North Haven, formerly included, the area of the town was 16,527 acres. It was what was known in the early history of New England as South Fox Island, taking its name from a number of silver-gray foxes seen there. On account of its safe and convenient harbors it was a place of much resort for the early voyagers. There was, however, no permanent settlement until 1765, and even then the inhabitants did not enjoy undisturbed quiet. During the Revolution the British at Castine impressed many of the islanders, forcing them to labor on the fortifications in that place. Many also fled frm the island, ieaving their houses to be reduced to ashes by the soldiers who plundered them. On the conclusien of peace the inhabitants returned; and 72 of the number purchased the whole island from Massachusetts, for the sum of £246.

Vinalhaven has a bold shore; yet running in between projecting bluffs, are good harbors on every side. One of the best of these is Carver's Harbor, in the southern extremity of the island, where also is the principal village. The island is 15 miles east of Rockland. The surface is very broken, so that not more than one-third of the area is suitable for cultivation. The soil is gravelly. The crops are principally grain and potatoes. Isle au Haut and Baron mountains are the highest eminences, being nearly 400 feet in height. The ponds are named Folly, Round, Otter, Cedar, Mills and Branch. There are several excellent tide-powers on the island, which have, at one time or another, been improved. The manufactures are meal, flour, lumber, canned lobsters, horse-nets, harnesses, boots and shoes. Large quantities of granite arc quarried here, and the Bodwell Granite Company has a polishing-mill for this material. The rock of the island is chiefly a blue and gray granite.

Vinalhaven was incorporated in 1789; being named in honor of John Vinal, Esq., of Boston, who had aided the inhabitants in securing titles to their lands. The Fox Islanders, it is said, were early "noted for their humanity and benevolence to strangers."

There is a Union church in Vinalhaven; but the Free Baptists are the principal society. The number of public schoolhouses in the town is twelve. The value of school property is estimated at $7,500. The valuation of estates in 1870 was $264,960. In 1880 it was $470,514. The rate of taxation in the latter year was 25 mills on the dollar. The population in 1870 was 1,851. In 1880 it was 2,855.

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