Fox Islands, Maine

On Aug. 20, 1837, Elders Wilford Woodruff and Jonathan Hale arrived at North Haven, one of two major islands in the Fox Islands archipelago near Rockland, Maine. The other major island there is Vinalhaven. Wilford’s new wife, Phebe, traveled east later on and stayed with her parents, who lived in Scarborough, Maine. Over the next year she sometimes served as his companion.

View from Vinalhaven looking toward North Haven. Photo (2019) by Kenneth Mays.

Elder Woodruff described a place on Vinalhaven where he and Elder Hale ascended a high rock for prayer and supplication . A small monument has been placed at the traditional site. Jonathan Hale left for home in October 1837. Elder Woodruff remained and continued to labor until the fall of 1838. He noted in his journal that 103 people joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while he was laboring in the Penobscot Bay area.

Wilford Woodruff prayer site, Vinalhaven. Photo (2019) by Kenneth Mays.

In March 1838, word came that the majority of Latter-day Saints were leaving Kirtland, Ohio, and moving to Missouri. Elder Woodruff was called to be an apostle on July 8, 1836, but he did not learn of that calling for about a month. Several weeks later, he began coordinating the removal of more than 50 converts from the Fox Islands and surrounding area. They eventually joined the main body of Latter-day Saints in Illinois.

There remains today an extant church on North Haven. There is also an old schoolhouse on Vinalhaven. Elder Woodruff preached in both structures.

Extant chapel where Wilford Woodruff preached, North Haven. Photo (2019) by Kenneth Mays.

Ownership Status

The Fox Islands are located off the coast of Maine in Knox County and they are open to the public just as any other part of the state is.

Maps and Directions

As a general rule, a ferry is required to get people and vehicles out to the islands and back. One could also use private watercraft and there is a very small landing strip for certain aircraft. Most people leave from Rockland, ME where commercial ferries are available.

Photos

Interior view of an extant chapel where Wilford Woodruff preached. Photo (2019) by Kenneth Mays.
The shore of Vinalhaven. Photo (2019) by Kenneth Mays.
Extant building in which Wilford Woodruff preached. Photo (2019) by Kenneth Mays.

Articles & Resources

References

Leaves from My Journal,” by Wilford Woodruff, page 47.

Thomas Alexander, “Things in Heaven and in Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet,” 61, 75.

Doctrine and Covenants 118:6.