THE  ISLAND'S   RICH  HISTORY  OF  STONE  SLOOPING,  FARMING,  BOAT BUILDING, AND  FISHING  CONTINUES  TO  UNFOLD


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(pronounced "Sha-big")

Until the end of the French and Indian War in 1759, Casco Bay islands were remote and unprotected. Indians wiped out white settlements in the 1670ís. Again in the early 1700ís, white man was erased and Casco Bay was deserted. In the mid 1700ís, a third settlement began and is still on.

During those early years as evidenced by grants and deeds, concurrent claims to and conveyances of Chebeague land were prevalent. In 1650, George Cleeves, founder of Portland, deeded all of Chebeague to Walter Merry of Boston, who changed its name to Merry Island. Indians sold the west end of the island to Nicholas Cole and John Purrington in the mid 1670ís and at about that same time, Robert Thornton deeded the entire island to Josiah Willes. A few years later, Colony of Massachusetts Bay deeded the west end to Richard Wharton while the east end was sold by the sons of Rev. Robert Jordan to Walter Gendall who also bought Indian rights to that same land!



(Click on the Map to enlarge)

The parcel where Sunnyside is now located was sold by Barnewell Johnson to Joshua Jenks from Little Chebeague Island in 1880. Continuing to operate the saltwater farm, Jenks also built a hotel on the parcel. Jenks heirs continue to own the 20 acre peninsula shorefront that carries the familiar and aptly named "Sunnyside."


In the early 1700ís, the Wharton estate deeded the west end to the First Church of Boston, which renamed the island Recompense Island. Soon after, Cole and Purrington sold the same west end to Samuel Boone who later sold it to the First Church of Boston. Finally, in the early 1730ís, titles to the west end for the 650 acres were cleared. The parcel was then sold to Zachariah Chandler. Originally from Duxbury, Massachusetts, he lived in what is now North Yarmouth, Maine, and divided the property among his brothers and brothers-in-law shortly before the American Revolution.

After Gendallís purchase of the east end from both Rev. Jordan and Chief Jebernet, the 809 acre parcel changed hands about every 10 ten years. In 1860, John Waite and his heirs began selling small parcels. Many descendents of these earliest owners have either remained on the island or returned here to their heritage and legacies. So with families consisting of a dozen or more offspring being the norm back then, it isnít unusual today to hear the ever familiar names of Hamilton, Hill, Johnson, Ross, Littlefield, Webber, Ricker, Bennett, Sawyer, Mitchell, Black, Keazer, Hutchinson, and others.

The majority of these hardy islanders were farmers, fishermen, storekeepers, stone sloopers, and clergymen. By the mid 1800ís, farms were going concerns. Much of the island had been cleared and saltwater farms were common.

Chebeagueís rich history spins a tale that melds both common and genteel ways and continues to unfold. Discovered by "summer rusticators" in the late 1800ís, more than 30 hotels and boarding houses were then in operation on this 5 mile by 2 mile island, the largest in Casco Bay. To conveniently serve the many guests in this non-motorized society, who often stayed a month or longer, as many as 6 ferry landings dotted Chebeagueís shore.

Originally part of the west end parcel that Chandler gave to his brother-in-law, Deacon Jonas Mason, a 43 acre saltwater farm facing the ocean and outer Casco Bay islands was purchased by Barnwell Johnson in 1819. It was sold to Joshua Jenks from Little Chebeague Island in 1880. Continuing to operate the farm, Jenks also built a hotel on the parcel. Jenks heirs continue to own the 20 acre peninsula shorefront that still carries the familiar and aptly named "Sunnyside."

Whether itís the lure of the lobster, the fresh salt air or sparkling blue waters, the warm glow of fond memories, or the sense of timelessness and well being, visitors return to Chebeague again and again. It is a very special, almost magical place. And Sunnyside is its unspoiled best.

Experience the Maine coast your way -
at its unspoiled best


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