This mother, daughter and grandson all drowned on their way to Portland

Mary Stonehouse
Died 1807 at age 62

Greetings from Portland. Sweater weather is here. Every day this month I’m telling a story that bridges the gap between this world, and the next. I’m resurrecting the memory of Portlanders who’ve crossed over to the other side by posting one video each day, relating the tale of one, interesting “permanent Portlander.”

The packet schooner Charles, making its way to Portland on July 12, 1807, struck a ledge off Richmond Island, near the mouth of Portland Harbor. On board were Mary Stonehouse, her daughter Elizabeth and 10-month-old grandson, Robert.

The ship sank and all three were drowned. Stonehouse’s body washed ashore a few days later in Cape Elizabeth.

She was reunited with her family when all three were laid to rest, side-by-side, in the Eastern Cemetery.

Today’s story is brought to you with the help of Spirits Alivethe volunteer group that looks after the Eastern Cemetery and leads guided tours.

Disclaimer: I’m not a historian. I owe everything I know to the dedicated research of those who have come before me. These character sketches are assembled from multiple (often antique) sources and sprinkled with my own conjecture. I’m happy to be set straight or to learn more.

Mary Stonehouse, a widow from Boston, drowned when her packet ship ran aground off Cape Elizabeth in 1807. Also drowned were her daughter and 10-month-old grandson. All three are buried together in Portland's Eastern Cemetery. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Mary Stonehouse, a widow from Boston, drowned when her packet ship ran aground off Cape Elizabeth in 1807. Also drowned were her daughter and 10-month-old grandson. All three are buried together in Portland’s Eastern Cemetery. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Eliza Hayden, 21, and her 10-month-old son, Robert, were drowned in the wreck of the packet ship Charles off Cape Elizabeth in 1807. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Eliza Hayden, 21, and her 10-month-old son, Robert, were drowned in the wreck of the packet ship Charles off Cape Elizabeth in 1807. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

 

Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.