In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Mount Desert Island: Shaped by Nature

Early Settlement

Gravestones of John Savage and Sarah Dolliver Savage
Gravestones of John Savage and Sarah Dolliver Savage

Item Contributed by
Northeast Harbor Library

The first generation of Savages on Mount Desert Island included Scottish immigrant John Savage (1756-1816) and his wife Sarah Dolliver (1764-1851). According to family lore, John was a sailor who came to New England from Glasgow, Scotland at the age of 14, landing in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1775 he enlisted as a soldier of the Revolution and lost a thumb in the Battle of Bunker Hill. John and Sarah married in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

The couple made more than one attempt to migrate to Mount Desert Island from Marblehead to establish a homestead. Finally in 1798 they were successful in putting down roots, building a primitive log cabin structure near the East side of Harbor Brook where it outlets into the ocean. There still exist some Savage gravestones on the West side of Harbor Brook at the Gorianksi property, 153 Peabody Drive. However, John and Sarah were first buried in a private family cemetery near the site of the present day Asticou Inn, and later moved with their gravestones along with other family members up the hill to Forest Hill Cemetery, Northeast Harbor Maine – Savages seem to be always on the move, dead or alive!

(Forest Hill Cemetery was created in 1904 by John and Sarah Savage’s grandson, A.C. Savage and his wife, Emily Manchester, according to a plan drawn by neighbor, summer resident, and civil engineer, Joseph H. Curtis of Boston. The Savages granted the cemetery property with a reservation of a 50 foot square Savage family plot under a deed of trust recorded in Book 406, Page 127 of Hancock County Registry of Deeds.)

Captain John Savage II (1801-1868)
Captain John Savage II (1801-1868)

Item Contributed by
Northeast Harbor Library
Northeast Harbor Section of 1807 Map by James and John Peters
Northeast Harbor Section of 1807 Map by James and John Peters

Item Contributed by
Northeast Harbor Library
Climena Roberts Savage (1801-1884)
Climena Roberts Savage (1801-1884)

Item Contributed by
Northeast Harbor Library

John and Sarah’s son, John II (1801-1868), was also a seaman and vessel captain and later on, schooner owner. In 1821, John II married neighbor Climena Roberts (1801-1884).

Climena’s family came from Bath, Maine. Her father William Roberts, a carpenter, settled first in Seal Harbor, and later along the eastern shore of Northeast Harbor. Around 1820 just prior to John II and Climena’s marriage, John II and Climena’s brother William Roberts, Jr. purchased a 105 acre lot, #67, at the head of Northeast Harbor for the sum of $300 from the Estate of William Bingham and split the lot North/South between them. Despite purchasing the lot sometime around 1820, the deeds and clear title for Lot 67 to Roberts and Savage were obtained later on in 1846 from Colonel John Black of Ellsworth, Attorney for the heirs of the William Bingham estate (see Hancock County Registry of Deeds, Book 85, Page 163-164 and Book 81, Page 134-135).