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The Siege of Cedar Island 1896

Last Caswell on Cedar Island (Continued)

Clarence Caswell was landed on Smutty Nose, where he was greeted by Rienzl Rand, commonly known at "the Shoals" as "Ganzy" Rand, keeper for Mr. Hoyt.

After he was landed the tug gave the little garrison on Cedar island a salute. One of the men, "Bob" Hodgkins, an ex deputy sheriff of Portsmouth, replied by drawing a revolver from his overcoat pocket and firing three shots. Then the Howell shaped her course for Portsmouth, and left the little armed band on Cedar island alone in their glory, with a snow storm shutting in.


How long a peaceful state of affairs will exist there cannot be conjectured. If E. L. Guptill of Portsmouth, council for Clarence Caswell, carries out a plan he has formed there is likely to be an exciting time at Isles of Shoals.

Mr Guptill informed the Globe reporter today that he intended to send a posse from Kittery to the island before the end of the week, to arrest Mr Stevens and his men for breaking into Clarence Caswell’s house and removing his personal property. Action may also be brought in behalf of Mr Hoyt, for trespass, for putting Caswell’s effects on Smutty Nose island without a permit.

Since Mr Stevens party seized the Island Saturday and carried Clarence Caswell’s effects over to Smutty Nose island the have rendered Caswe;;’s house uninhabitable by removing the windows and doors. One of the men came ashore last night after provisions and he explained that the house "needed an airing."

This messenger to the main land was cut off from making his return this morning by the northeaster that was blowing. And the question of food supply is likely to become a pressing one for the men on the island, unless the weather moderates soon. A stove is also sadly needed, as the one they are using is a ramshackle old thing, incapable of giving out heat.

The food famine was precipitated by an accident that occurred to the party’s meat when they landed on the island Saturday. While the men were busy transporting the evicted Caswell’s personal property across the channel to Smutty Nose, Mr Caswell’s three dogs got at the supply of meat, and as one of the men states, they "scoffed" it. They had ample time to do this, as the men were a long while in getting the Caswell hens across to the other island. The fowls objected to going, and it was necessary to put them into lobster pots for the purpose of transporting them.

Nothing in the way of a quarrel has attracted so much attention here in years as the controversy over Cedar Island.

Portsmouth has talked about nothing else, politics excepted, since Mr Stephens seized the island, and today a spice of excitement was added by the report that the Howell had taken a party of sheriffs and deputies out to take possession of the island by force. The Howell’s passengers were on no more belligerent errand than getting sketches for the Globe.

Interest in the fight is becoming more than local, for the state of Maine is an interested party, and will be called on to defend a title to the island which it gave Oscar and Cedric Laighton a few years ago.

Clarence Caswell was occupying the island as a tenant of the Leightons (sic) when Mr Stevens landed on it in his absence and secured possession.

CONTINUE Cedar Island  1896

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