Happy Valentines for 77 Years

Emmanuel Joseph, born in the 1790s in St Ubes, Portugal, came to Kennebunkport in 1817 as a cook aboard a ship commanded by Captain Samuel Pope. The locals felt more comfortable calling the foreigner Joseph Manuel, so that became his name. Shortly after his arrival, Joseph encountered the charming teenage local girl, Sarah (Sally) Wildes. He was smitten but Sally was still quite young. After sailing on two more merchant voyages out of Kennebunkport, one with Capt. Pope and another with Capt. Crediford, Joseph asked Sally to be his wife. The couple filed intentions to marry in July 1820. Joseph Manuel manned the lighthouse at the mouth of the Kennebunk River when it was lit on the eastern pier from 1857-1859.

At their 75th Wedding Anniversary party at their home on Turbats Creek Road in 1895, a reporter for the Boston Globe asked Sarah to talk about their courtship. “It warn’t no long courtship, I ken tell yer. The first time I saw him he was with a young man I knew. I was going to Sunday school. I was barefoot and was carrying my shoes and stockings in my hand. He looked at me kinder queer like and laughed. I felt sheepish. The next evening he called at the house and I run and hid. Then he went away [on two voyages] and I didn’t see him for a good while. When he came back I met him and loved him. He asked me to be his wife, and Captain Crediford of Kennebunk, with whom he sailed, gave him a good recommendation, and told me he would make a good husband. On the strength of that I became his wife, and we have always lived happily.

A few months before he died in 1897, a reporter for The Wave interviewed Joseph Manuel about his life and how he came to Kennebunkport. Let me know in the comments if you want to read about his swashbuckling adventures as a prisoner of war, a privateer, a West Indies merchant, and eventually a Kennebunkport fisherman. I will msg you a link. Happy Valentines Day!

Joseph Manuel (or Emmanuel Joseph) & Sarah Wildes 75th Wedding Anniversary party in 1895
A closeup of the lovebirds Joseph Manuel (or Emmanuel Joseph) & Sarah Wildes at their 75th Wedding Anniversary party in 1895.
From 1856 to 1859 a wooden lighthouse perched at the end of the eastern stone pier at the mouth of the Kennebunk River. It was a square wooden structure painted white with a 6th order lens showing a fixed red light mounted 21 feet above high water. The eastern pier lighthouse was illuminated for the first time on the evening of January 1, 1857. It was permanently extinguished two years later because mariners kept confusing it for Goat Island Light in Cape Porpoise. Joseph Manuel manned this lighthouse while it was lit from 1857-1859.

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