In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another lighthouse artist

Otis Dow Orchard, a keeper at Cape Roseway for many years, left his autograph on one of the rocks near the lighthouse for future generations to discover and marvel at.
Otis Orchard married an island girl, Ethel Rapp, in 1921. I imagine that her family had invited the young new lightkeeper over for supper as soon as he arrived to take up his duties. Ethel was born on McNutt's Island and grew up here, in that area along the southwest side of the island where several members of the Rapp extended family had houses and farms for generations.

Ethel's mother was Annie Perry Rapp, who was born and grew up in the house we live in now. Ethel's father, George, was born on McNutt's Island, too. Back then, the island was a small but stable community of interlocking families who fished and farmed and walked along the roads and paths that led from house to house. I wonder if in those days they ever imagined how empty the island would later become.

Otis was keeper at Cape Roseway from sometime before he married, in 1921, until the mid 1950s. In a 1950 interview in The Standard, a weekend newspaper supplement, Otis Orchard reminisced about the shipwrecks that had occurred off the island during his tenure, never with loss of life. He told the newspaper reporter that he enjoyed raising cabbage and turnips and potatoes with his wife, and making oil paintings of ships in his spare time.

He also devoted some effort to writing his name on a rock, and so left us a way to remember him, and the world he lived in.

Information about Otis Orchard and Ethel Rapp Orchard can be found in the Vital Statistics section of NSARM, and in the census records. In their 1921 marriage certificate Otis is listed as "engineer," already living on McNutt's Island.

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