The First Sawmill in Sullivan

The First Sawmill in Sullivan

One of the original proprietors of Sullivan was John Bean of York who came with family members before 1760 to settle here. As an original proprietor, he was granted 200 acres, land around Morancy Pond and land at Waukeag Neck (Sorrento). His children were Samuel, who married Elizabeth Johnson, James, who married Lucy Preble, John, who married Miriam Donnell, Joanna, Abigail, who married Daniel Sullivan, and Abitha. 

In 1822, Samuel and James, both in their seventies, signed affidavits as to the persons and history of the mill (Registry of Deeds, Bk. 43, page 319). In James’s affidavit, he states that he “came to Sullivan in the year 1763, and know(s) that the saw mill on Flanders Stream in Sullivan was built in 1766 by (my father) John Bean, Samuel Bean Jabes, Paul and Josiah Simpson, and Daniel Sullivan, proprietors claiming under a grant from the Province of Massachusetts.”

Samuel’s testimony reveals that the mill was rebuilt in 1783, and again in 1799. His property, in 1803, lay to the west of Flanders Stream.. The depositions were taken as requested by Ebenezer Bragdon, James Bragdon, Joshua Dyer, Ephraim Dyer, Stephen Johnson, Benjamin Johnson, John Bragdon and Jotham Bragdon,”… to be preserved in perpetual remembrance of the thing.” 

Reverend William E. Foy

Reverend William E. Foy

Reverend William Ellis Foy(e) was one of the least known yet most significant figures in American religious history to live in Hancock County.

William E. Foy was born a free Black in Belgrade, Maine to Joseph and Elizabeth Foy around 1819. Although Maine was a “free” state and there were few Blacks and enslaved people, Maine still had connections to the slave-trade and existent racism.

Foy married about 1835 and may have had two children with his wife, Ann. The couple moved to Boston. An important figure in the Millerite Movement in the 1830s and 1840s, Foy experienced several visions concerning the second coming of Christ. He recounted his visions and preached the Millerite gospel throughout New England. One audience member, who went on to receive and recount similar visions to those Foy described, was Ellen Hammond—later, Ellen White—a founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

After the predicted second coming of Christ did not occur, Foy stayed in the ministry and became a Free Will Baptist Clergyman in New Bedford, MA. Sometime prior to 1850, his wife, Ann, died.

Foy married Caroline T. Griffin of Gardiner in 1851, and they had two children, Orrin in 1852 and Laura in 1856. Caroline died, leaving Foy with three young children. Foy moved to Burnham, a town in Waldo County. In the 1860 Federal Census, William E. Foy (age 37) was living in Burnham with three children and his mother, Betsy.

Not long after, according to the Island of Mount Desert Register, “Rev. William E. Fay (spelling!), a colored evangelist, organized a Christian Church of 25 members at Otter Creek, Mount Desert. A few years later, Rev. Andrew Gray came to Otter Creek and wrought a great deal of good.”

Rev. William E. Foy moved to Plantation #7, which is just east of the Town of Sullivan and north of Gouldsboro. (Plantation #7 was later annexed to Sullivan in 1895.) He purchased property from William Johnson on the north side of the Public Road and another small plot of land from Isaac Bunker on the south side of the Public Road.

While residing in Plantation #7, William E. Foy built a house for himself and his new wife, Percentia W. Rose, a cook and housekeeper from Portland. Lelia Johnson, a local historian and author of Sullivan and Sorrento Since 1760 (1953) describes “Elder William E. Foy” as an “esteemed and beloved” preacher who held meetings in the local hall and schoolhouses.

Foy is buried in Birch Tree Cemetery on Tunk Lake Road in East Sullivan, just down the road from his home. He is buried next to his daughter Laura (d. 1863) and Percentia (d. December 24, 1908). His son Orrin (d. 1920), a fisherman, lived on an island off Schoodic Point before moving to Milbridge and marrying Bessie Roberts. Orrin and Bessie had many children.

William Foy’s tombstone is inscribed with:

I have fought a good fight,
I have finished my course,
I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up
For me a crown of righteousness.

This summary draws upon genealogy work by Jeanne Edwards and Robert Potter at the Sullivan–Sorrento Historical Society.

For additional reading, see:
“The William Foy Story” by Mark Silk, published in Chebacco: The Magazine of the Mount Desert Island Historical Society, 2019.
The Unknown Prophet, Revised and Updated by Delbert W. Baker.

This portrait is believed to be of Orrin Foy, William Foy’s son.

William E. Foy’s gravestone and Birch Tree Cemetery in East Sullivan.

The Swiss Chalet and the Manor

The Swiss Chalet and the Manor

In 1886, Clyde Hunt and some associates formed the Sullivan Harbor Land Company. They purchased 500 acres of land in Sullivan Harbor, hoping to sell property and make a good profit. In 1887-1888, they had built the Swiss Chalet Restaurant to attract summer people from Bar Harbor to Sullivan. Advertizing brochures contained information on the “Swiss waitresses in costume” and “the flotilla of Venetian sail boats always in readiness for guests.”

Realizing that there also needed to be a lodge for overnight stays, the Land Company built the Manor Inn in 1889, “in the style of an old English Inn.” Some guests were enticed by the promise of excellent hunting and fishing in nearby lakes. In 1894, Gov. H.A. Stearns of Rhode Island, who was staying at the Manor Inn, experienced “unparalled success fishing at Tunk Pond, 95 black bass was the result of his toil” as reported in the Bar Harbor Record of July 18, 1894. 

In 1895, the Sullivan Harbor Land Company was in financial trouble. Dwight Braman took over the mortgage for the buildings and acquired the property by foreclosure. He did have trees cut on his woodlots. Even after his death in 1929, Mrs. Braman continued to summer at the Inn.

In 1937, it was announced that the Inn would no longer be open. Mrs. Braman sold the property in 1951. She died at her home in Newburgh, New York in 1955.

A video of the demolition in 2020 can be seen at https://youtu.be/5SnaTg2Nap4?t=194.