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Bristol Area Lions Rev. Robert Ives and Louds Island 02/14/2019

Posted by DS in club business, meetings.
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02132019

Lions John Janell (left) thanks Rev. Robert “Bobby” Ives for relating the history of Louds Island and his experience living there.

 At the Bristol Area Lions meeting on Monday, Feb. 4, Rev. Robert “Bobby” Ives, related the early history of Louds Island and his experience as a summer minister and resident. 

The three-mile long island was originally named Muscongus Island until it was renamed by a cartographer in Washington D.C. who was a descendant of William Loud. It was also called Samoset’s Island as the Indian Samoset was said to be born there, lived there and is buried there.  Samoset had learned English from the early fishermen and greeted the Pilgrims at Plymouth in 1621.  

Although there were many fishing stations on Matinicus, Monhegan, and Damariscove in the early 1600’s, Muscongus was the first to sustain habitation by European settlers.  Samoset sold Muscongus Island to John Brown and a deed was registered in York County in 1652.    

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Louds Island was a thriving farming and fishing community with two stores. The Carter store had a dance hall on the second floor and later housed the first post office.  A Boston Steamer stopped at Louds Island and provided stock for the stores which served nearby islands and the villages of Bristol as it was easier to go by boat to Louds than take a horse and wagon up to Damariscotta. 

While serving as a teacher and minister on Monhegan, Ives was asked by the Maine Seacoast Mission to serve as a summer minister on Louds Island in 1975.  The original Louds Island church was built in 1913-14, from the lumber of the Malaga Island Schoolhouse after its residents were sadly removed from that island and relocated to the “Pineland Home for the Feebleminded”. 

Lettie Prior came onto the island in 1904 and taught school there until 1941.  She later served as Post Mistress.  Her son Cecil Prior used to row over to deliver and collect the mail at Round Pond. The early school house was closed in 1962 as it had only seven students and the state had ruled that a school must have a minimum of ten students. 

When Ives arrived on the island in 1974 as the summer minister, the church needed to be repainted. He and his late wife Ruth painted it that summer while listening to the Watergate hearings on the radio.  

That summer they became interested in becoming residents of Louds, and approached Edward Poland and Hilda Libby about purchasing property. In 1975, they bought Hilda Libby’s house and four acres., and moved full-time onto the island from 1975-77.  During that time the Ives made a living by lobstering, carpentering, building boats, and serving the Sheepscot Village church each Sunday. 

On Dec. 28, 1976, Ives agreed to help a friend move his gear onto Louds Island in his lobster boat. It was 5 p.m. 10 degrees, snowing with 25-28 mph winds.  As they rounded the south end of Bar Island with the waves hitting them broadside they were pushed off course.  At one point a wave lifted them 6-8 feet high and dropped them on a ledge. It opened a hole in their boat 3 feet in size.  The seas came rushing in, and drowned the engine in 5-6 minutes. Then a wave lifted them and nearly capsized their vessel on top of them, so they abandoned the boat and went into the freezing seas.  Just before Ives went overboard, the words of an old Gospel hymn came to mind “Lord plant my feet on higher ground”. He wasn’t sure whether the good Lord heard him, or whether it was the waves that were out of the south-east, but both men were washed up on the south end of Louds Island beaten, bruised and bloodied, but still alive.

In 1977, he was asked by the Bishop of the United Methodist Church to be the interim minister at the New Harbor and Round Pond Churches. They accepted the invitation, and eventually moved to the mainland. Ruth’s mother was relieved as she was six months pregnant at the time.  

The next meeting of the Bristol Area Lions is the annual Speak Out on Mar.4 at 6 p.m. in the fellowship hall of the New Harbor Methodist Church, catered by Deb’s Bristol Diner. The meal will be veggie lasagna, salad, and garlic bread, followed by cookies and coffee. Student contestants and one family member or friend will be dinner guests sponsored by members of the club. 

Six members of the debate team from Lincoln Academy will speaking on a topic of their choice for approximately five minutes using a minimum of notes. 

To make dinner reservations, please call John Janell at 563-7402.  To learn more about the Bristol Area Lions Club, serving Bristol and South Bristol, call Walt Johansson at 677-2584

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