Fishermen from Europe inhabited Damariscove Island before the Pilgrim’s Mayflower arrived. They dried the cod fish they caught and shipped them to Europe, near the shores of Ocean Point Inn today.
In 1622 when the Pilgrims were near starvation in the Plymouth Colony, fish from Damariscove Island prevented a total disaster. The sign as you enter the Town of Boothbay, Maine, has the motto Pelegrinis Cibum Dedimus, Latin for We fed the Pilgrims.
Damariscove Island has an interesting history and is well worth a visit if you have the opportunity. In the 17th century it was part of Damarill’s Isles and Humphrey Damarell owned the islands. Historians think because of the long cove at the southern end of the island, it may have been called Damarell’s Cove before it became Damariscove.
The year of 1675 brought many Indian raids and people wanted to escape to Monhegan. Because of winds not cooperating, many ended up on Damariscove. These people watched the smoke rise from their burning villages and homes.
There was a fierce battle between the British Frigate Boxer and the American vessel Enterprise off the island in 1812. Both captains were killed and the Americans took over the British ship.
The Damariscove Lifesaving Station, established in 1878, is on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1966 most of the island was donated to the Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy transferred ownership to the Boothbay Region Land Trust with the life station and surrounding remaining under private ownership.