From the community

Angel Gabriel had rocky arrival at Pemaquid in 1635

Posted Aug. 08, 2012, at 9:13 a.m.

Was there, indeed, a plaque listing the passengers of the Angel Gabriel dedicated on Aug. 8, 1965, at Pemaquid Point? I don’t remember seeing one in the 1980s on my first trip to the Pemaquid Lighthouse. I asked volunteers at the lighthouse’s Fishermen’s Museum recently when my husband and I were there, and they didn’t know of one.

What I did find were boulders with plaques honoring the Blaisdell Family and the Cogswell Family, both represented on the 240-ton galleon, when it crashed on the rocks at Pemaquid during a terrible storm, probably a hurricane, on Aug. 15, 1635.

Passenger John Bailey Sr. is my ancestor through my Bennett-Cummings line, and John Tuttle through my Moore-Leighton line.

It was the story of the Angel Gabriel which inspired me to purchase an 1899 copy of “Ten Years at Pemaquid” by J. Henry McPartland.

McPartland quotes from records: “A fellow passenger … on the Angel Gabriel was Bailey, who came over to this country with the view of settling here, but left his wife in the old country, until he could first make himself a little acquainted with the new country, and provide a suitable place for his family. Though he escaped from the wreck unhurt, his mind was deeply affected by his narrow escape, and he wrote to his wife such a doleful account of the storm and shipwreck, that she never could be persuaded to undertake the voyage, even to join her husband. And he was too timid to risk himself again on the stormy Atlantic, they remained separate the rest of their lives.”

Unfortunately, in 1635 there were no meteorologists with lots of records to show that hurricanes don’t come to Maine very often. Bailey settled in Newbury, Mass., and I think he should have gone back to get his wife.

Pemaquid is a beautiful place to visit this time of year. And here is a probable passenger list from 1635:

- Capt. Robert Andrews, ship’s master.

- John Bailey Sr., John Bailey Jr.

- Henry Beck.

- Deacon John Burnham, Robert Burnham, Thomas Burnham.

- Ralph Blaisdell, Mrs. Elizabeth Blaisdell, Henry Blaisdell.

- John Cogswell, Elizabeth (Thompson) Cogswell, Mary, William, John, Hannah, Abigail, Edward, Sarah, Elizabeth.

- William Furber.

- Samuel Haines.

- William Hook.

- Henry Simpson.

- John Tuttle.

Among those who have been fascinated by the Angel Gabriel is Dr. Warren Riess, a marine scientist and historian who in 2001 wrote the story of his search of many years, “Angel Gabriel: the Elusive English Galleon.”

It’s a most interesting book and definitely part of the heritage I will pass on to my children and grandchildren.

I have Saturday, Sept. 22, marked “MGS” on my calendar to remind me that I’m going to the state meeting of the Maine Genealogical Society at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer. This area has proved to be a popular location for the annual event, which drew more than 130 people to last year’s gathering in Bangor.

I can’t wait to attend “Family Stories: Did It Really Happen That Way?” Ted Steele will give this keynote talk, including examples of how we sometimes stumble over conflicting evidence, secondary sources and misidentification.

MGS also will offer a choice of talks during breakout sessions:

10:45 a.m.

• “Using a Library Effectively,” with Ted Steele.

• “Using Tax Records in Genealogy: How Taxes Can Be a Good Thing,” with Carol McCoy.

2:15 p.m.

• “Genealogy and the Law,” with Helen Shaw, certified genealogist.

• “Genealogical Holdings of the Maine State Library,” with Emily Schroeder.

3:30 p.m.

• “Using Gazetteers and Maps in Your Genealogical Research,” with Ted Steele.

• “Maine Horse Soldiers in the Civil War,” with Steve Burke.

There also will be vendors and exhibitors, as well as a query board offering the opportunity to post a question — and perhaps meet a cousin.

The cost for the conference is $40 for Maine Genealogical Society members, $50 for nonmembers. Add $15 for the cost of the luncheon. Include your society membership number, mark down which break-out sessions you plan to attend, and mail your check to Maine Genealogical Society, c/o Celeste Hyer, 69 Loop Road, Otisfield 04270-6456.

You also may get information on Maine Genealogical Society and print off a registration form at maineroots.org.

Not currently a member of Maine Genealogical Society? Include $25 for U.S. membership to get the conference discount and pay only $40 to attend. Membership will bring you four quarterly issues of The Maine Genealogist a year, four newsletters, and discount prices on society publications such as vital records books and volumes of Maine Families in 1790.

A wonderful opportunity is open to all when the Penobscot County Genealogical Society holds its next “meeting” as a field trip at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Family History Center, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, corner of Grandview Avenue and Essex Street, Bangor.

Come enjoy a presentation on all the offerings of the LDS Family History Center, from its website to books and microfilm available to rent for a small fee through the national library in Salt Lake City. I have used Family History Centers many times over the past 30 years and find the volunteers to be knowledgable and tremendously helpful. Yes, I said books. The Family History Center in Bangor has its own library with actual books.

There is ample parking, and the first-floor library is accessible to all at no charge. If you haven’t used LDS resources online, check them out at http://www.familysearch.org.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402, or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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