Mitcham, A. 1989. Island Keepers, Dangerous Islands and Determined Men — Two brothers and their lives on Scatarie and Sable Islands. Lancelot Press, Hantsport, Nova Scotia. 183 pages.

Note (ZL): This book provides an account of the careers of brothers James Richard Dodd and Philip Sherwood Dodd. The latter served as superintendent of Sable Island during 1855-1873, and this period is covered in Chapter Five (pages 57-113). The author notes that James and Philip Dodd were born to wealth and privilege in 19th century Cape Breton, and prior to their island careers, both had “seen their share of excitement”. James had been captured in the War of 1812 and given up for dead; Philip had pursued and seized American vessels fishing illegally in waters off Nova Scotian, “only to see many of his arrests thrown out of court for political reasons”.

Excerpt, page 72:
“Philip himself had been dead set against building on sand. His earliest recollections from countless Sunday services at St. George’s had conditioned him not even to entertain the notion. The Biblical injunction to build on rock, not sand, had long since settled into his subconscious. Besides, what Cape Bretoner, born and bred in such a dominantly rocky natural environment, would have considered building on sand? If he had, he would have been almost as hard-pressed to find a sufficient stretch of it along the Atlantic coast as his predecessors at Canso or Halifax.

That the Biblical injunction made good sense had been proved time and time again on this island. Apart from McKenna’s recent buildings which, Philip had to admit, continued to stand firm, most of the houses, barns and sheds from his other predecessors’ reigns stood on splayed beams, had collapsed, had been buried by the shifting sands, or had been carried away as readily as children’s beach castles when powerful tides and currents ate into the land.”