History of Shady Cove

First Peoples

The area that would one day be Shady Cove is originally inhabited by a group of the Algonquian Abenaki peoples who's central region is more north in the present location of Canada. They had called this area Siguanikanigan, the land of springs. The Tamakwa, a gen (clan) of the Abenaki settled here. As much as they prospered here, for several centuries, they were never truly satisfied with the region of Macinaw Falls northwest of the city. The Tamakwa feared this to be the area of a local deity/beast. Something they simply called the Sukog, which is similar to their word for snake. By the time Europeans had arrived, the few remaining Tamakwa families were glad to trade away the land of the cove to John Cooper and Richard Wainright. It is the explorers, taking the idea of the land of springs, who gave name to the shoal islands where the school is presently located.


In the early 1630s, under charter of the General Court of Massachusetts, John Cooper and Richard Wainright land in the cove, arriving by way of canoe. Thinking it a prosperous location, they trade with locals to secure land rights for a plantation. This plantation is original called Shady Springs due to a small spring running from the forests northwest of town.

The General Court of Massacusetts gives John and Richard power to 'press men to build there a bound house.' And thus, under indentured servitude, the plantation is began in 1633 and completed in 1636. Reverend Stephen Chamberlain, who arrived with Reverend Bachiler of the Plough Company under charter to form the colony of Lygonia, led a congregation of the Hampton, England church astray from Reveren Bachiler to join with his fellowman John and Richard.

This congregation established the town near the plantation and gave the city its namesake, Shady Cove.

Witch Trials, and of 17th Century

At the end of the 17th Century during the time of witch trials in New England, Shady Cove was not without its own involvement. The thing of note from this time is that only one witch was tried and convicted in this area, unlike Massachusetts as a whole. The witch tried was Annalicia Wainright. Youngest of the Wainrights still inhabiting Shady Springs. Rumored to have consorted with the devil near Machinaw Falls, she was quickly tried by Reverend Abraham Mathis and sentenced to hang. A few folks worried of offspring from her consortium with the devil. This remains the source of the local incarnation of the 'jersey devil' rural legend in the area, but as with all witch trials, nothing supports that Annalicia had such a consortium, or offspring for that matter.

18th Century

At the turn of the century, the church in Shady Cover remained decidedly English in nature, but following the Great Awakening, Protestantism spread and took hold. This had an affect on the township. Shady Springs, now on the last generation of Wainrights to inhabit the location. Even as the church was converting, the only slaves owned in town where at Shady Springs. Seven total at the time. It is unknown what exactly happened but in late 1742, the slaves were liberated and Phineas Wainright was left in ruin. He is said to have hung himself as the ruin was upon him, the plantation to the point of falling to disarray, no other family to care for him.

In the late 18th Century, the shoals is said to have been a locale of pirates. Stephen Decatur, during the time of the American Revolution, as a naval officer of royal service to England. Captain of the HMS Disdain, he was quartered in Shady Cove. He kept watch of the coast, most notable the lighthouses of the archipelago. He won a few battles agains the newly formed Marines of the continental armies and survived through the wars end. Succumbing to America and trying to make a living, he eventually turned coat from new service to become a pirate. Rumors of treasure abound on the archipelago but nothing has been found to date. Every few years the big news in town is another search for the wreck of the HMS Disdain. Tracked by American and English crews for crimes on international waters, the final battle was here agains Captain Barthalemew Jones of the HMS Wayward and Captain Absalom Wain of the american continental navy. Under a storm, they fought for many hour until the Disdain was breached and left to sink.

19th Century

In the period of Antebellum Shady Cove quickly joined the industrial revolution and the growing infrastructure of railways growing over the north east. Initially to support their fishing industry and move the fish further inland, by the 1830s Shady Cove became a destination spot for visitors as well. This lead to the construction of several lodges on the Coral Springs archipelago. Two of the families of African Americans (those released from the Wainrights some 100 years prior) went with the tourist industry at this time to the islands. One of these families prospered, being the sole caretakers of one of the largest lodges on the islands, the Coopers. Their eldest son, Nathan would build/establish the Diamon Shoals lighthouses, the first and longest surviving lighthouse on the archipelago.

Shady Cove supported industrialization of the states and the freedom of slaves. There was no opposition in town, but it became a spot for transportation into Canada. The end of the railroad in some respects, one could transfer to boat at this time and through the civil war, Nathan's Lighthouse serving as another beacon in a way. By the time of the civil war, the native sons of Shady Cove marched south for war, but saw few battles. A few saw combat and some died.

20th Century

At the turn of the century, tourism was still a big industry for Shady Cove. Though there was competition for the growing west following the recent world fairs in the past decade. Shady Cove was still doing good at this time with the islands still in full swing with their tourist lodges. It wasn't until after WWI that this industry saw a down turn Further damaged by the great depression. There were a few public works projects under the era of the New Deal which saw several stone cabins added to the various lodges but they never fully recovered.

By the time of WWII, the town was imply self sufficient, a slight interest in tourism but otherwise left to its own devices. There is a slight increase in tourism in the 60s and 70s, a return to New England and enjoying the quaint fell to many of the smaller seaside towns. Though other cities were a bigger draw.

With the turn of the 21st Century, Shady Cove remains as it has for many decades, quiet and welcoming, warm to tourists and visitors and confident in its own future.

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