Maine Island Community Welcomes First Baby in 93 Years: ‘It’s Exciting’

An island off the coast of Maine is celebrating the birth of a child — the first born there in more than nine decades.

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, 2020.

Azalea is the first baby to be born on Little Cranberry Island since Warren Fernald. The last person actually born on the island was Warren Fernald, in 1927, who was Erin Fernald Gray’s grandfather.

“It’s exciting,” Denise McCormick, Cranberry Isles’ town clerk, told Bangor Daily News of the community’s new addition.

Erin, 40, and Aaron had a backup plan to give birth to their sixth child on Mount Desert Island, the largest coastal island in Maine, 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.”

Her newborn is 8 pounds 9 oz and 21.5 inches long.  Baby Azalea would have been considered an island resident even if she was born on the mainland, according to Bangor Daily News, but for the tight-knit Islesford community, her birth on home turf is extremely significant.

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 kids, claimed they wanted their baby to be born in Islesford because the people there get along so well with one another.

“It’s a tight community,” she said. “I hope someone else has a baby out here.”

“Our new baby is the sixth baby in her family, so she lives in a house full of love.”

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