Influence on Ruth Moore
Also known as Great Gott Island, Gotts Island is the birthplace of Ruth Moore and served as inspiration for many of her novels. This island community in which she grew up and the geography of her books share many similarities. The economic struggles Moore's characters undergo also reflect the deep frustration that families felt at the prospect of losing their homeland because of financial troubles, an occurrence Moore witnessed growing up on Gotts Island as well. In books such as The Weir and Spoonhandle, Moore chronicles the difficulties of living in a village like Gotts Island, including the struggle to compete with the influx of wealthy "summer people" looking to buy seasonal property.
A weir on Gotts Island.
Gotts Island is located off the southwestern tip of Mount Desert Island and is considered part of the town of Tremont, Maine. Tremont was set off from Mount Desert and incorporated in 1848, under the name of Mansel, from Mount
Mansel, the name given to the island by Winthrop’s company of emigrants to Massachusetts Bay in 1630. It
was the first land Winthrop's company discovered.
The look of Gotts Island has not changed much over the last 100 years. There are no paved roads. There is no electricity, or automobiles. What is missing are the hardworking residents of Great Gott Island. The Moores fished, lobstered, gardened, and raised their children as well as chickens and a cow. Quite often the Moores took in boarders and fed summer vacationers to make ends meet. The days of eking out a living on this small Maine island have just about ended, but one will still find over a dozen folks that support the year round community.