Dolly Island is named after Dolly Nichols, who operated a hand propelled ferry from Meredith Neck to Bear Island. The story of Dolly Island is not complete without the legend of Aunt Dolly Nichols , who lived on the Mansfield property on Bear Island during the first half of the nineteenth century. Dolly Nichols was the daughter of Ensign Robert Bryant who is said to have been one of the first settlers on Bear Island and who took part in the Revolutionary War.
Dolly Bryant married a gentleman by the name of Joseph Nichols and became the mother of two fine boys and one girl.
When at a young age, the boys moved away from the island, the daughter died, and Dolly's husband deserted her, leaving her to make her own livelihood.
Aunt Dolly was a character known far and wide in the Lakes Region for selling hard cider and rum to the fishermen.
Of no less renown were her muscular feats. She often rowed to the Weirs for a barrel of rum, which she would swing upon her shoulder and carry to the boat. Reaching home, she would pull the barrel onto her lap and take a swig. At other times, before leaving the Weirs, she would lift the barrel above her head to drink from it in full view of those on the dock.
Lake Winnipesaukee Bruce Heald Copyright 2001
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