Porpoise and History

Campobello Island 1817

The Indian encampment at Campobello, used to afford novel and interesting amusement for the boys during the summer evenings in those days when the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Indians was much larger that it is now, and used to come down from Pleasant Point and tent out on that part of the island just opposite “Gun Rock” or half a mile south of Friar’s Head, the location there being partially sheltered by scrub hemlock. Their tents were then the genuine “wigwams” of birch bark and fur and skins, and generally cone shaped, and were lighted in the evenings by a primitive lamp, being sort of a tin teapot filled with porpoise oil and conveyed to the flame through the nose by a cotton rag. The Indians, especially the native women, occupied their evenings drying out porpoise oil from the fish shot by the men during the day or early mornings in the bay opposite Lubec.

For this purpose, large fires were aglow throughout the encampment, presenting a weird appearance with the numerous families of the native women, dancing and amusing themselves about the fires, while here and there the boys would stroll about and trade tobacco trinkets, etc., for spruce gum, baskets, etc. The boys always made themselves agreeable and welcome to the Indians, and in turn were always kindly entertained throughout the encampment of the “Quoddies.”