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  • Writer's pictureMarcia Edwina Herman-Giddens

Maine: That Little Island Again

Four years have passed since I have been on this island or seen my cousin who helped me so much with the writing of the book- especially her memories, input, and help with access to family records. After all, she and I share half of our family genealogy and memories. In recent years, I was coming every summer until family medical issues and the pandemic halted that. The island, which is only connected to land by a mail boat, has a timeless aspect which is one of the reasons I love it. This time I discovered a downside of timelessness- my body is not following that quality. No longer can I hop freely over the boulders that edge the sea or take some of the longer and most demanding hikes. Now, I do these things slowly and with more care.

The other day, Marion and I went to the cottage her parents owned while they were alive. I walked the last bit of the way. The sea that appeared in my view as I went down the little road was sapphire blue with little diamonds sparkling on top. I have been down this road so many times, often with my whole family, over the several decades I have been coming here. Continuing, I rounded the corner where up on a boulder tucked in the proper sort of space are the ashes of my dear Aunt Beth and Uncle Ken, the parents of Cousin Marion.

I give a greeting and thanks to Beth and Ken again for their kindnesses to me as a child and over all the rest of my years until they were gone. There are so many stories from this old Sea Captain's house. Many of them are in the book. As I take this picture of the side view, the first one that captures a glimpse of the sea on the way down the little road, the breeze is swaying the leaves of a large oak tree (large for this island battered as it is by the winter's waves and bitter cold). I notice the leaves are singing to the memory of Beth and Kenneth with a gentle rustling sound. That makes me happy.

A few more steps bring me to a view of the little cove in front of the house. In the eaves of that house is where Marion and I crawled to find various family records which provided so much information to one of the book's chapters. By now, the breeze has picked up into almost a wind and is sweeping my memories around. My mind fills with scenes of various visits with the whole family and the wonderful times here. Even, some with my grandchildren.

I owe a lot to this cousin's family. In addition to all this and to introducing me to the wonder and beauty of Maine islands when I was twelve years old, my cousin and her family have expanded my world over and over. Once again, old family records are the cause of this latest expansion. After wondering for a lifetime, Marion and I have finally learned the history of our great-grandfather's land in Florida which we now know he purchased in 1856. Zaccheus Price was only the third landowner subsequent to a land grant by Spain given to a man named Fernando de la Maza Arredonda who was awarded 289,645 acres on December 22, 1817, in consideration of services to the crown of Spain. The land had formerly been occupied by the Seminole Indians whose history is complex and fraught. The grant was confirmed by the US Supreme Court whose opinion was sought by the Arredonda family regarding the title. This case, United States v. Arredondo, 31 US, was heard during the Court's January term in 1832. By then, the Spanish had been gone from Florida for little more than a decade. An 1848 suit by some Americans asked for partition of the grant lands. After that, Zaccheus was able to purchase a piece of a section. This legal work took place in Micanopy, a town I still visit. If it is recorded somewhere, I have not been able to find it, hence the wonder of the title record we found. It is too late for this new information to be in Unloose My Heart. Maybe more will follow in a different publication? Hmm.



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