New research is revealing the historical Skolfield family’s connections to slavery. As merchants, shipbuilders and sailors in the 1800s, the Skolfields profited from trading goods like cotton that were produced by enslaved people.
Talk about getting a blast from the past! The folks gathered around the big rectangular table in the kitchen of Connie Johnson’s home on Bailey Island are ignoring the spectacular view of Pond and Ragged islands from the picture window.
This story follows up on the poem “Sinnett’s Store” by Virginia Johnson, published in the March edition. We hope to provide more context to the times and explain the importance of both the store and the nearby Steamboat Wharf to the Bailey Island community through the first half of the 20th century.
My mother, Virginia Johnson, lived in an 1850s home on Lowell’s Cove, Bailey Island, with my father, Linwood, from the 1930s to around 2000. There they raised five children from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Most days, the cemeteries of Harpswell are places of quiet beauty and solitary reflection where “the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep,” to lift a line from “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” penned by Thomas Gray in England back in 1750.