Baby That Washed Ashore

Edward Rowe Snow

(as printed in 1945 in Famous Lighthouses of New England)



Infant Washed Ashore

Sole Survivor of Wreck


        Recently, when we visited The Cockolds Light off the coast of Maine, the discussion ran to the tiny infant which washed ashore at nearby Hendricks Head Light.


        A ship had crashed against the ledges near Cockolds, slid off and some hours later was again in trouble offshore from Hendricks Head in a gale.


        Although those on shore near Cuckolds Ledge had noted the craft, how it managed to leave the ledge and had watched as it made its way down the coast, when the storm set in again the snow hid the ship from view.


        Unknown to the shore watchers from Cuckolds area, the craft soon hit another ledge off Hendricks Head and began to go to pieces almost at once.


        Hendricks Head was a half mile away, and the keeper there soon noticed the wreck.  Then the snow came down faster than ever, and the wreck faded from view.


        Aboard the craft, those who could climbed into the rigging, and when a lull in the storm came, the keeper ashore could see the survivors struggling there.


        Then a man was noticed, placing a bundle in the sea.  The keeper called to his wife and told her that something was coming ashore from the wreck.


        The seas hit with overwhelming force, and soon the craft had gone to pieces and could be seen no more.


        As darkness hit the area that stormy day the keeper and his wife built a bonfire to guide anyone who might attempt getting ashore.


        An hour later the keeper went down on shore just in time to sight a bundle tossing in the waves, heading right for the beach.


        Calling to his wife, the keeper fastened a line around his waist, and tossed the other end to his wife.  Then he watched the bundle until it reached the crest of a huge wave.  He took the boathook his wife brought him.


        Striding into the surf, he waited for the billow to hit.  The bundle swept toward him and his boathook shot out and fastened onto the package.


        He hitched the boathook through the bundle's wrappings, and carried the object high above the waves.  He found the package was two feather beds tied together.


        Using his sheath knife, he opened the package and found a box.  In the box a live, active baby was crying her heart out!


        Ten minutes later the baby was inside the home of the keeper.  His wife had taken over, and the baby was warm and cozy.


        The couple, who had recently lost their child, legally adopted the infant some time later.  One wonders if anyone reading this column might be able to help identify the child.  Now necessarily a woman of 70 or more.  We probably shall never know.