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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Campobello (part4)

How did this remote island became what it is today? What is the story of history? Let's have a look into the past, long before F.D.R. came to be a guest and summer resident.
The first Europeans settled on the island in 1684. During the English/French struggle over control of North America the rulers changed many times. At times the area was under English rule, then again the French were the masters of the country. 

Following the great triumph of the British over the French after the 7-year-war, a Welsh naval officer, Lieutenant William Owen was named the principal Proprietary of the "Great Outer Island of the Passamaquoddy".
With 38 Lancashire settlers Owen landed on the island in May 21 1770. Partly honouring his former commander Lord William Campbell, partly because of referring to the Island's beauty he named it CAMPO BELLO.
For unknown reasons Owen sailed back to England in 1771 and never returned. His nephew David Owen took over Campobello in 1787. 

By 1835, the next Owen, David Owen's English-born second son Admiral William Fitzwilliam Owen had succeeded to the proprietorship of the island. After living a life of British gentility on Campobello, the Admiral died in 1857. A son-in-law, Captain James Robinson-Owen assumed the Owen name and the proprietorship. He became known as an unsympathetic landlord and tried to sell the island as it continued to be unprofitable. But the hard financial  times that followed the Great American Depression in 1872 made a sale impossible and Sir Robinson-Owen died suddenly in 1874.

The hard times brought a new sort of enterprise to Campobello: Rum-running. Fishing boats from various parts of the coast arrived at Campobello, supposedly for purchasing herring, while they in reality bought imported whiskey and gin from Ireland, Scotland, France and Holland. That kind of business was revived again during the Prohibition Era in the U.S. in the 1920's.

The Owen Era and the Proprietorship ended in 1881, when Cornelia Robinson-Owen sold her rights to the island to a group of American businessmen who had formed the Campobello Company. Their plans were developing the island into a gilded tourist resort for the rich and wealthy. The Owens left the island and sailed for England. 
The remaining ordinary population of Campobello were now witnessing an enormous social change take place on Campobello.

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