Ernest Abbott Beloved Island Caretaker


50 Years Since the Death of Ernest H. Abbott

Those of a certain age will recall the name Ernest Abbott and what this special man meant to generations of Gilford Islanders.  Some of you may even remember a Saturday in August 1959 when islanders from across Gilford and beyond gathered on the Main Dock of Birch Island to celebrate "Ernest Abbott Day."

After realizing that 50 years had passed since his death on September 7, 1964,  some islanders have reflected privately on their recollections of "Ernie" and how life on the islands have changed since his passing.

For those of you who knew "Ernie" or who remember stories told by your parents and grandparents, the GIA has opened a special forum on our website to allow everyone to share their recollections.  Do you have pictures from the 1959 party?  Do you have photos of "Ernie" driving your family from Glendale out to your camp?  Tell your stories on the forum and email us your pictures to add to the site. 

To get you started we have transcribed an article from the Laconia Evening Citizen (August 25, 1959) that describes the 1959 party held on Birch Island to honor this special man.  

  Page One  -- "Grateful Big Lake Islanders Observe Ernest Abbott Day"
                              By Francis O'Brien

   Ernest Abbott had his day Aug. 22 and the big doings, took place on Birch Island, Lake Winnipesaukee.  Every day is Ernie's day according to the folks who live on the following islands, Birch, Jolly, Steamboat, Kinneho, Crescent, Mark, East Bear, Dollar, Fish, Breezy, Six Mile, Eagle, Whortleberry, Camp and Meredith Neck mainland and to show their appreciation they got together Saturday and gave the biggest wingding of a surprise party that was ever thrown on Birch Island.

   The guest of honor is still so surprised that at this writing he still is wondering what happened.  This surprise was in the form of an ice cream social with more than 162 islanders gathered together to honor this fine man.

Takes Ice Cream

   The committee called Ernie at the Glendale Dock and told him to bring out enough ice cream to feed around 200 people, so Ernie just thought it was another one of his chores and proceeded to get the ice cream.  After procuring the same he started out to get to Birch Island but as he neared some of the other islands he noticed that folks were calling to him to stop and pick them up.  As he gets many odd requests he just carried on and ended on Birch with a load of people and ice cream.  No one gave the secret away and lo and behold when he hit the beach on Birch they all let go with "Surprise" but old Ernie just kept unloading his boat and thought it was for one of the guests he brought.

   He finally got up on the island and they crowded around him and told him it was Ernest Abbott Day and his retort was typical, "Gosh, why?"  After the official welcome and other tributes he was presented with a baca lounge chair, 21 inch TV set and 200 of Ivy Baker Priest's green notes.

Appreciation Text

   The gift of an appreciation certificate that was in an attractive frame brought tears to his eyes as he wording on it was as follows:  "Ernest Abbott, guardian through summer and winter of our island properties, navigator of that limitless boat: 'The Limit' transporting family and goods between mainland and isle, exemplar of these New England virtues of humor, integrity and ingenuity, beloved friend for more than three decades of the men, women and children of our island communities whose acts of kindness devoted concern for our welfare and self effacing service have contributed universally to the happinesses of our summer days on Lake Winnipesaukee."

   Signed at the bottom of this appreciation certificate were the names of the committee.  John Ripley Forbes, Reginald Brown, John Lyman, Mrs. Arthur W. Tucker, Mrs Edgar Caffall, Wallace Holmes, Miss Ruth True, Leslie Woodcock and Clarence Shedd.

   A fine tribute was paid to a fine man and Ernie will be 71 years come December and 50 of those years were spent with love, devotion and service to his island friends.

   Mr. Abbott lives alone in a comfortable cottage on the shore of Lake Paugus off the Weirs Blvd. and keeps an eye on cottages in that neighborhood as well as on the islands."

News & Events JUN 19th

Dinner Cruise On the Mount Washingtown

Join fellow islanders for a lobster fest dinner and evening cruise on the Mount Washington on Friday, July 20, 2018.   It should be a lot of fun and everyone is welcome - islanders, mainlanders, company children etc.  Cost is $50 per adult and $40 per child 12 and under.  Payment deadline is June 26, 2018.   Call Jim MacBride for information at 603 817-3385 and mail checks to Heidi Kephart, Treasurer, 296 Old Lake Shore Road, Gilford, NH 03249.  Boarding at the Wiers at 6:15.

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