Monhegan Mail Boat

February on the Mailboat

Image by Angela Ianicelli


The May Archer

photo provided by the Monhegan Museum

The mailboat inevitably became the passenger ferry as well and in 1907, Captain Isaac E. Archibald used his 80 foot steamer, The May Archer to transport building supplies for the Island Inn, a new wharf was built by the next year and freight, mail and passenger service from Thomaston to Monhegan to Boothbay and back via Monhegan followed.

The Schooner, Effort

Image provided by the Monhegan Museum

Captain Humphrey delivered the mail first from Port Clyde 2x per week , then in 1884 from Boothbay. First from his sloop, the Goldsmith Maid and then from 1888 from his schooner, Effort. Captain George F. Brackett took over the Effort in the 1890s. In the book, An Eye for the Coast the story is that sometime in the 1800s a gasoline engine was installed and that a guest invited onboard to admire the new device, lit his pipe and dropped his match in the bilge, igniting fumes. The Effort’s last appearance in the List of Merchant Vessels in 1907 suggests that modernization, the explosion and subsequent retirement occurred around 1907.

Captain William S. Humphrey

image provided by Monhegan Museum

Mail Service was first established as early as 1858, the postmaster was Moses Starling who made weekly trips to Port Clyde and delivered the mail from his kitchen table, James Trefethren succeeded him but the post office was apparently closed in the 1870’s and not reopened until 1883. Captain William S. Humphrey ran the mail from 1883 through the 1890’s.