Maine’s Grace Darling
The report below appeared in The Republican Journal, Belfast, on June 10, 1897. Though The Republican Journal, and an earlier report in the Rockland Courier Gazette, recorded the name of the teenage girl involved in the 1897 rescue as “Louise,” the 1900 U.S. Census and genealogy records listed her name as “Lucia.”
Lucia E. Gilley was the daughter of Howard M. Gilley, who served as keeper of Negro Island (now Curtis Island) Lighthouse from 1896 to 1909.
New England lighthouse historian Jeremy D’Entremont notes, “The name of the island was changed to Curtis Island in 1934 in memory of Cyrus H.K. Curtis, publisher of the Saturday Evening Post and other publications. He had died in the previous year.”
The June 10, 1897 report in The Republican Journal was entitled, “Maine’s Grace Darling,” and read as follows…
“Louise Gilley, the 14-year-old daughter of the lighthouse keeper on Negro Island, Camden, is the Grace Darling of Maine. On Saturday last two boys, a Webb and Joy boy, were out rowing when the boat capsized. They were little boys and frightened. Their screams brought Miss Gilley to the shore, and without a moment’s hesitation she got into a boat and rowed to their rescue.
“Being unable to get them into the boat without capsizing it she told them to hold on to the sides while she paddled it ashore. Both the boys were saved and much credit is due the young heroine, for without her assistance they would have been drowned. Camden is proud to own such a brave girl as Miss Gilley.”
Earlier in the week, the June 5, 1897 edition of the Rockland Courier Gazette noted, “True heroines live in real life as well as in story books.” And later, “The young lady looks at the matter lightly but it was a brave deed nevertheless.”