Isles of Shoals, New England
These islands, 8 miles from the mouth of Portsmouth harbor, N.H., are seven in number, viz: Hog, Smutty Nose, Star, Duck, White, Malaga, and Londonner islands. Hog contains 350 acres of rock, and its greatest elevation is 57 feet above high water mark. Smutty Nose contains about 250 acres of rock and soil—greatest elevation 45 feet. Star Island contains about 180 acres of rock and soil, and its height is 55 feet. These islands, as a town, are called Gosport. Star and Smutty Nose are inhabited by fishermen, who carry on considerable business in their way, supplying Portsmouth and the neighboring towns with fresh fish, and sending large quantities of cured fish to Boston and other places. The celebrated dun fish are found here, which have heretofore been considered a distinct species of cod. They differ however from the common cod only in the circumstance of their being caught and cured in winter. Star island and Smutty Nose are connected by a sea wall, built at the expense of the government, for the purpose of breaking a strong south east current passing between them, and forming a safe anchorage on the north west side of it. These objects have been attained, and the miniature fleet of Shoalers, riding at anchor in this artificial harbor, is no unpleasant sight. Smutty Nose and Malaga are connected by a sea wall, built at the expense of Mr. Haley, "the King of the Shoals." This wall, 14 rods in length, 13 feet in height, and from 20 to 30 feet in width, effectually secures Haley's inlet and wharf from the easterly storms, although the waves not infrequently break over it in a severe storm. These islands are composed of ledges of gneiss, bearing evidence of their igneous origin, as they are often traversed by veins of quartz, trap, and iron stone.
There are a few spots of dry soil upon them under cultivation. The Shoals are a pleasant resort for water parties, and their delightful bracing air cannot be otherwise than advantageous to those who are in want of pure sea breezes. The present population is about 100.
These islands were discovered by the celebrated John Smith in 1614, and were named by him Smith's Isles. The line between Maine and New Hampshire passes through these islands, leaving the largest on the side of Maine. Upon all of them are chasms in the rocks, having the appearance of being caused by earthquakes. The most remarkable is on Star island (Gosport) in which one Betty Moody secreted herself when the Indians visited the island and took away many female captives; and thence called to this day "Betty Moody's hole." For more than a century previous to the revolution, these islands were populous, containing from 300 to 600 souls. They had a court-house on Haley's island; a meeting-house, first on Hog island, and afterwards on Star island. From 3 to 4 thousand quintals fish were annually caught and cured here, and 7 or 8 schooners, besides numerous boats, were employed in the business. The business has since very greatly decreased.
William Pepperell and a Mr. Gibson, from Topsham, England, were among the first settlers at the Shoals, the former an ancestor of the celebrated Sir William Pepperell.
A woman, of the name of Pulsey, died in Gosport in 1795, aged 90. In her life time she kept two cows. They hay on which they fed in winter, she used to cut in summer, among the rocks, with a knife, with her own hands. Her cows, it was said, were always in good order. They were taken from her, but paid for, by the British, in 1775, and killed, to the no small grief of the old good woman.