Rufus George Frederick Candage

b. 28 July 1826 (Blue Hill, ME)
d. 19 June 1912 (Gleasondale, MA)


The following excerpt, letter, and accompanying notes were supplied August 2007 by Ralph W. Stanley, through Hugh L. Dwelley.

Excerpt from the book, The Descendants of James Candage/Cavendish of Blue Hill, Maine, compiled by Charles S. Candage and Janet Candage Rourke:

Rufus George Frederick Candage was born in Blue Hill 28 July 1826, the son of Samuel Roundy and Phebe Ware/Weir (Parker) Candage, and died in Gleasondale, a part of the town of Stow, MA, 19 June 1912.  He was the seventh child and the sixth son in the family and outlived his last surviving brother by a third of a century.  His boyhood was spent on his father's farm where his opportunities were limited to a few months schooling in the summer and winter and two terms at the Blue Hill Academy.

R.G.F. Candage's father and his mother's second husband, SAMUEL ROUNDY CANDAGE, had been a sailor in his younger days.  His mother's first husband was lost at sea, and his older brothers all took up a life upon the ocean, and it was natural for this son to follow in their footsteps.

R.G.F. Candage went to sea at the age of sixteen on coasting vessels and later captained clipper ships in the India and China trade.  Upon the death of his first wife, Mary Elizabeth Corey, he went ashore, married and raised six children.

R.G.F. Candage's Letter to the Ellsworth American

Ellsworth American, June 11, 1891

I read with much interest in the last issue of your paper your correspondent T's article upon Duck Island light and fog signal.  It reminded me forcibly of the days of my boyhood fifty years ago and the incidents of a two-week's sojourn upon that island in the spring of 1841.  The islands were then owned or claimed by a Mr. Gilley, who, at that time, was the keeper of the light on Baker Island.  Upon the Great Duck Island was a house and barn upon the northern end, which supported a dozen or more head of cattle; the southern half was covered with a forest of stunted spruce and fir trees.  The farm was quite productive in vegetables, hay, butter, cheese, eggs, fowls, etc.  Upon Little Duck Island was a large flock of sheep, cutting their own fodder the year round, and finding shelter from the storms of autumn and winter under the thick and low lying branches of the fir trees, with which the island was covered.  But the poor creatures in spring showed signs of their hard fight against the elements and starvation during the winter; and as I contrasted their lean and thin bodies with the well fed, comfortably-housed and plump bodies of my father's flock, I felt a compassion for them that would have constrained me to become a member of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Society, had such a society then been in existence.

During my two weeks upon the island my time was spent in roaming about its shores, watching the surf as it dashed against the rocks, fishing near its shores with trips to Little Duck Island, and once I visited Baker Island, and the lighthouse upon it, the first I had ever seen.  I listened with a boy's interest to the story Mr. Gilley, the lighthouse keeper, told of the many wild fowls that dashed against the lantern at night, and the numbers he found dead at its base some mornings, killed by striking the iron railing around the lantern; and how they sometimes broke the thick glass by striking it in their rapid flight.  A boy always has an appetite for stories of that kind, and after a long pull in a boat over the waters of old ocean, he has a good appetite for his supper.  I was just in that condition when I was invited to take supper with the light keeper and his family that evening.  They had, among other things, flapjacks on the table, and it seems to me – even after the lapse of half a century, and the good things that have tickled my palate – that I never ate anything in my life that tasted so good as they did.  We visited Bass Harbor and Gott's Island, and made the most of the time at our disposal.

The family then living on Duck Island was that of John Bartlett, consisting of himself, his wife, four daughters and five sons, the youngest an infant of a few weeks old, named for my grandfather.  They were all very kind to me and interested to make my visit to their island a pleasant one, in which they succeeded very well, although at first I felt homesick.  One day a southeast gale with misty rain set in, the sea rose and dashed with great fury against the rocky shores of the island causing a deafening roar and the very foundation to tremble.  This was a new experience to me, and I wandered away alone to the south part of the island, to a secluded spot and seated myself where I could gaze unrestrained upon the surf as it dashed against the rocks and rose in sprays sixty or seventy feet into the air.  These waves, to me, "mountains high", dashed against the rocks with terrible force, moving great stones as big as cart-bodies, causing a deafening roar almost like thunder while the ground upon which I stood trembled and shook beneath my feet.  The waves chased each other in mad succession, towering, leaping and surging against the rock-bound coast, rose high in sprays in the air and fell back into the seething mass below, or were blown by the wind among the trees and upon the land.  Such a scene of awful grandeur I had never before witnessed.  I stood spell-bound watching it.  How long I was there I know not, for I took no note of time; my whole being was absorbed in the awful majesty and sublimity of the picture, which presented itself to me.

After a time I was aroused from my entrancement by shouts and some one calling my name.  They came from the Bartlett boys who had been sent out by their parents to hunt for me.  They having missed me and had become alarmed at my prolonged absence, fearing that I had ventured too near the shore and had been washed away and drowned by the surf.  They burst in upon my meditations; said they had a long search to find me; that the whole family had turned out in great alarm to look for me, and that I must come back to the house at once, which I did.  There was manifest joy in the household as they saw me return with the older boys, alive and well; but I received a lecture from good old Mrs. Bartlett on the wrong course I had taken in going away alone and staying away so long without telling any of the family where I was going.  "You know", said she, "You are under our care, and if anything serious had happened to you. how could I excuse myself to your father and mother for my neglect.  Don't do so again, will you!"  I readily promised not to and I kept my promise to her.

Since then I have traversed the globe many times; have seen many mountainous waves dash against rocky headlands and roar with unbounded fury upon the ocean; but no experience in my life is impressed more vividly upon my memory than that upon Duck Island.

In regard to John Matthews Bartlett and his wife Mary Hale, I do not know her parent's names but I suspect she was a relative of Rufus Candage's mother or father.  Her first child, Caroline Hale, was born out of wedlock in 1823.  After her marriage to John Bartlett in 1826 she had eight more children.  Mary had been at the home of R.G.F. Candage's grandfather, James Candage, at Blue Hill Falls in 1841 while her last child, James Candage Bartlett, was born.  Rufus went for his two-week visit when Mary Bartlett took her new baby back home to Duck Island.

Note: William Gilley, keeper of Baker Island Light, was my great, great, great grandfather.  Elias Bartlett, father of John Matthews Bartlett, was a brother to Christopher, Jr., whose wife was Mary Carter, and also a brother to David Bartlett, whose wife was Joanna Carter.  Two brothers married two sisters.  Both Christopher and David were my great, great, great grandfathers.

Notes compiled by Ralph W. Stanley

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