Maine Island Community Welcomes First Baby in 93 Years: 'It's Exciting'
A small island off the coast of Maine is celebrating its first birth in nearly a century.
Aaron Gray and Erin Fernald Gray welcomed their sixth child, daughter Azalea Belle Gray, at their home in Islesford, Maine, also known as Little Cranberry Island, on Sept. 26, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Azalea is the first baby to be born on Little Cranberry Island since Warren Fernald, Erin’s grandfather and a lifelong lobsterman. He was reportedly born in July 1927 and died in 2005 at the age of 77.
"It’s exciting,” Denise McCormick, Cranberry Isles’ town clerk, told Bangor Daily News of the community's new addition.
According to outlet, the 2010 census showed that around 101 people inhabited the town of Cranberry Isles, home to a collection of five islands — including Islesford — off Maine’s coast. By 2018, the population had increased to 142 residents.
In 2019, 23 students were enrolled in the town's two K-8 schools, up from an average of 16 students during the eight years prior, McCormick told the outlet.
Erin, 40, said that she and Aaron had a contingency plan to welcome their sixth child on Maine's largest coastal island, Mount Desert Island, where Erin gave birth to three of their five other children. The two others were born at a mainland hospital.
While the couple traveled to their home in Northeast Harbor last month in case Hurricane Teddy made it too difficult for them to make the trip to MDI, Erin did not go into labor, and so they traveled back to Little Cranberry Island, the Bangor Daily News reported.
"I don’t think I would have done that if it were January,” she said. “But the logistics worked out just fine.”
Soon after the couple welcomed their new bundle of joy, they realized the island's last birth was Azalea's great-grandfather.
“That is the last one all the old people can remember having heard of,” Erin said.
The Grays, who homeschool their children, said they wanted their baby born in Islesford due to the town's residents having such close-knit relationships with one another.
"It’s a tight community,” she said. “I hope someone else has a baby out here.”