THE PEJEPSCOT PURCHASE,
AND PRIOR SETTLEMENTS,
THE earliest voyage of discovery made to the immediate vicinity of the Androscoggin River was possibly that of Captain George Weymouth, in the spring of 1605. He is supposed to have come up to the falls.1 That it was the Sagacdahoc River, and not the St. George's or the Penobscot, which Weymouth visited, has not, however, been fully settled.
[1607.] He was followed in the year 1607 by Captain George Popham, who arrived near Monhegan, July 31, in two vessels, the " Gift of God " and the " Mary and John," carrying one hundred and twenty planters. From Monhegan they went to Cape Small Point, and built a fort. on Atkins Bay. This fortification was named Fort Saint George. Though the place was abandoned the next summer, it was intended to be a permanent settlement, and was occupied sufficiently long to establish its claim to be called the first English settlement on the New England coast.
[1620.] In the year 1620 a charter was granted by King James I to forty " noblemen, knights, and gentlemen," constituting them a body corporate, called the Council of Plymouth. Their territorial limits extended from the fortieth to the forty-eighth parallel of latitude, and from sea to sea.
The Council of Plymouth, in addition to the grant to the Plymouth Company of New England, granted patents in the Province of Maine to the Kennebec (or New Plymouth) Company, the Muscongus (or Waldo) Company, and to the Pemaquid Company.
[1632.] They also, June 16, 1632,2 granted a patent to Thomas Purchase and George Way. By some this patent is thought to have emanated directly from King James. 3 The patent itself was lost, 4 and no record of it has been found. It is known to have existed from the frequent references to it in old deeds and other documents. 5
1. McKeen, Maine Historical Collections, 5. p. 335.
2. Willis, History of Portland, p. 64.
3. Pejepscot Records, Statement of Title.
4 Very likely when Purchase's house was burned.
5. "A Pattent for a Plantation att Pechipscot, is recorded in the Cattalogue of such Pattentes as I know granted for making Plantacons in New England," No. 16, Vol 2, Colonial Records, in the Public Record Office, London. (See Maine Historical Collections, Memorial Volume, p. 124)
The Thomas Purchase above named was undoubtedly the first individual to settle in this region of the Androscoggin. He came about the year 1628, before the issue of the patent, therefore, and located himself somewhere within the limits of the present town of Brunswick. Whereabouts he established his house is a matter of doubt. The question is discussed at some length in the Pejepscot Records.1 Abram Whitney, who lived at Little River in 1796, Samuel Wilson, Symonds Baker, a Mr. Tebbetts, and Andrew Dunning all testified, about 1796, that according to common report, prevalent during their childhood, Thomas Purchase lived at the TenMile Falls (Little River), and that they had seen there an old chimney and a cellar, which the aged people called Purchase's cellar. John Moulton, Gideon Hinkley, and Richard Knowles testified in 1794, Thomas Thompson and James Hunter, of Topsham, in 1795, to the effect that they had been told by their parents and other aged people that Purchase formerly lived at New Meadows River, at a place afterwards known as " Stevens's Carrying-Place." A great many others testify, on one side or the other, and a certain number of them to the effect .that his residence was at the
Pejepscot Falls. 2
The opinion has been expressed by some that Purchase, on first settling down as a trader with the Indians, dwelt at what was subsequently known as Stevens's Carrying-Place, and that when the English settled in somewhat near proximity to him, he, in order to monopolize, as much as possible, the trade with the natives, moved up to the Pejepscot Falls, and subsequently to the Ten-Mile Falls. Since it is known, however, that he very early went into the fishing business, it would seem quite as probable that he first settled at the falls, and afterwards, when too old to carry on the fishing business, took a farm at New Meadows. There is, probably, no reasonable basis for the supposition, entertained by some, that there were three individuals of the same name, situated near each other. 3
Nothing has been found to show that George Way was ever settled in this vicinity. At the time the patent was issued Way lived in Dorchester, England ; and though his widow and sons afterwards resided in Hartford, Conn., it is not known, with certainty, that he himself ever came over to this country.
1 Statement of Title.
2 There are said to be nearly one hundred depositions in the Pejepscot Records, in reference to the residence of Thomas Purchase.
3. See Sketch of Purchase in Part III.
The grant to Purchase and Way was not very extensive. It is defined as "certain lands in New England called the river Bishopscotte, and all that bounds and limits the main land adjoining the river to the extent of two miles" only. 1 The river called Bishopscotte is undoubtedly that portion of the Androscoggin known as the Pejepscot. The old patents were apt to be indefinite, and oftentimes conflicted with one another, but this grant seems unusually definite as to its width, and tallies well with the following indenture, between Thomas Purchase and Governor Winthrop :
" This indenture, made the 22th day of the 5th M°, @ 1639, betweene Thomas Purchas, of Pagiscott, gentleman, of the one parte, and John Winthrope, Esq : Governor of the Massachusets, on the behalfe of himselfe, the Governor & Company of the Massachusets, on the other parte, witnesseth, that the said Thomas, for divers good causes & considerations him thereunto moveing, hath given & granted, & by these prsents doth give & grant, vnto the said John Winthrope & his successors, the Governor & Company. of the Massachusets, forever, all that tract of land at Pagiscott aforesaid, vpon both sides of the ryver Androscoggin, being four miles square towards the sea, wth all liberties & priviledges therevnto belonging, so as they may plant the same wth an Inglish colony when they shall see fit, and shall have as full power to exercise jurisdiction there as they have in the Massachusets : provided, that the interest & possession of such lands as the said Thomas now vseth, or shall make vse of, for his owne stock, & improvement wthin seaven yeares next ensuing the date hereof, shall bee & remaine to the said Thomas & his heires & assignees forever vnder the iuriSdiction aforesaid ; and as well the said Thomas himselfe, & his family, & his heires & assignes, as all other the inhabitants vpon said lands, are forever to bee under the due ptection of the said Governor & Company, by order of the Generall Court, as other inhabitants of the same jurisdiction are : This grant by approbation of the said Generall Court to bee recorded and exemplified vnder the comon seale, or otherwise to be voyde -In witnes whereof the parties above said have herevnto interchangably set their hands & seales the day & yeare first above written.
Signed, sealed & deliv'ed in the presence of
AMOS RICHARDSON. 2
It is generally considered that this deed gives the right of jurisdiction only, and not the right to the soil. The " four miles square towards the sea " can only refer to the direction towards Casco Bay, which is only about four miles distant. Up to this time Purchase was, probably, the only settler within the limits of what constitutes the present towns of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell.
[1657.] There was about this time considerable uncertainty as to what government had jurisdiction over this region. It was determined, in the year 1657, by an action brought for the purpose, by the widow Elizabeth Way against Purchase. 1 The matter was referred to the General Court of Massachusetts. In the legislature there was a difference of opinion on the subject, and that body appointed Mountjoy to run the easterly line of Massachusetts. He did so, and it was found that it extended to the mouth of the Sagadahock. 2
[1669 to 1676.] About the year 1669 Thomas Gyles settled at Pleasant Point, on Merrymeeting Bay, in what is now Topsham. He purchased a tract of land two miles long and one mile broad, on the left bank of the Pejepscot, of Thomas Watkins, one of the residents on the Kennebec, and also of the Indian sachem, Darumkin. 3 His brother James settled near him, 4 as did also James Thomas and Samuel York, who, July 20, 1670, bought of Robinhood and Daniels all the tract of land between Gyles's lot and Terramugus 5 Cove. 6
In 1675 Thomas Purchase added to the land granted by the Council of Plymouth, a large tract on the river; which he had bought of the Indians. 7 July 3d of this year, Thomas Stevens, who had previously owned land in North Yarmouth, settled at New Meadows, and bought a tract of land on the New Meadows River, of three Indian sagamores, Robinhood, Eramket Daniels, and Manessumet. 8 He had previously bought land of Thomas Purchase. 9
The land purchased of the above-mentioned sagamores was "a certain piece or parcel of land adjoining to Pejepscot River, butted and bounded as follows : To the land of Thomas Stephens, now in possession, east, and to Alister Coombs, his land, south, and from the head of Alister Coombs, his marsh, westerly, to a certain path,
1. Massachusetts Bay Colony's Records, Vol. 4, Part 1, p. 334.
2. McKeen, MSS. Lecture.
3. York County Records, 10, p. 82.
4 Gyles Memorial, p. 103, et seq.
5. This cove, named for an Indian chief, is between the flour mill of Purinton, Beaumont, & Co., on the "Granny Hole " stream, and the Topsham end of the railroad bridge.
6. Maine Historical Collection, 3, p. 315, et seq.
7. Williamson. Hubbard.
8. York County Records, 9, p. 254.
9. Maine Historical Collection, 3, p. 315.
called the carrying path, or carrying place, and from said path upon a strait line to a certain island, commonly called the Stave Island, standing at the lower end of Pejepscot Narrows, and to Pejepscot River north, and to the aforesaid land of Thomas Stephens easterly, to hold in fee with general warranty." 1>
June 30, 1676, Stevens sold the above-described piece of land to Lancellot Pierce, who resided there for " some time." What became of him is not known, but as William Pierce, of Milton, in 1715, claimed this land as heir of Lancellot Pierce, 2 it is probable that the latter moved to Milton or that vicinity, and died there. Stevens probably lived on the land which he bought of Purchase.
In 1672 Nicholas Cole and John Purrington bought of Sagettawon and Robin Hood, Indian sagamores, "all the Land Lying & Being between the Two Carrying Places Upon Merriconeag Neck Beginning at the head of, the Westermost Branch of Wiggen Cove so directly over to Wester Bay to the Bight, and so up along the neck from side to Side untill they come to the Uppermost Carrying place at the head of the Wester Bay at the Meadow which George Phipping has formerly mowed, so over to the head of the crick that Comes in from the Easter Bay"; also " That whole Tract of Meadow which they have formerly possessed Upon the Great Island lying and being at the head of the Cove against the Little Cove on Great Jebege Island " The deed was witnessed by Thomas Stevens and his wife, Margaret. 3 It is probable that Purrington himself did not occupy this land. If he did, he afterwards moved to Arundel. 4
Nicholas Shapleigh, of Kittery, had, about the year 1659, though the exact date is unknown, purchased and caused to be settled Merriconeag (Harpswell) Neck and the island of Sebascodegan. The purchase was made of the Indians, and the price paid for the deed was " a considerable sum of wampumpeag, several guns, and a parcel of tobacco." 5 There is no special reason for supposing, however, that Shapleigh actually settled there himself.
[1683.] This land of Purchase and Way, and of Nicholas Shapleigh, all came into the hands of Richard Wharton, a Boston merchant. July 4, 1683, John Shapleigh, the heir of Nicholas, sold to Richard Wharton "all that tract or neck of land called Merryconeg in Casco Bay, Province of Maine, and is bounded at head or upper end, with the plains of Pejepscot or lands late belonging to or claimed by Mr.
1. Pejepscot Papers, Statement of Title.
2. Pejepscot Papers.
3. Pejepscot Papers.
5. Pejepscot Records.
Purchase, and on all other sides or parts is incompassed and bounded with and by the salt water ; and. also all that the aforesaid island called Sebasco, alias Sequasco-diggin." 1
October 10, 1683, Eleazer Way, of Hartford, son and heir of George Way, the partner of Thomas Purchase, sold to Richard Wharton, for £100, "one moiety or half part, or whatever share or proportion, be the same more or less, he the sd Eliazer Way, now hath, may, might, should, or in anywise ought to have or claim, of, in or to a certain tract or parcel of land commonly called and known by name of Pejepscot, situate, lying, and being within the Province of Maine in New England aforesaid," together with one half of all lands, uplands, meadows, etc., belonging to the same, " which said tract of land and premises for the space of forty years, or thereabouts, before the late war with the Indians, was in the actual possession and improvement of Mr. Thomas Purchase, and was actually given by patent from the Council of Plymouth within said Kingdom of England, to the said George Way, and Thomas Purchase, deceased." 2
October 25, 1683, John Blaney, of Lynn, and Elizabeth, his wife, the former widow of Thomas Purchase, of Pejepscot, deceased, and the administratrix of his estate, testified " that said Eliazer Way had sold his [Purchase's] moity to sd Wharton in sd Patent by the consent of the children of sd Purchase for their support and settlement for £150," reserving seven lots which were secured to the children by articles in the deed. The portion sold was, " All that moiety, half deal and remaining share, whatsoever the same is.or may be, of the said lands late belonging to the sd Thomas Purchase by virtue of the said patent or any other right in partnership with the said George or Eliazer Way, and all the right and title, propriety and interest which the said Thomas Purchase died seized of, or that he might, should, or ought to have had in the said Province of Maine." The children of Purchase signified their consent to the sale on the deed itself. 3
It will be seen, from the above extracts, that at this time Wharton owned the whole of what is now the town of Harpswell, -except a few islands, - the greater portion of Brunswick, and a tract on the river in what is now the town of Topsham.
 On July 7, 1684 Worumbo and five other Indian sagamores signed and delivered to Wharton the following deed : -
" To ALL People to whom these presents shall come, Know Yee that whereas near three score years since M` Thomas Purchase deceas'd
1. Pejepscot Papers, Statement of Title.
came into this Countrey as wee have been informed and did as well by Power or Patent derived from the King of England as by consent contract & agreement with Sagamores & Proprietors of all the Lands lying on the Easterly Side of Casco Bay & on, the both sides of Androscoggen River & Kennebeck River, enter upon & take possession of all the Lands lying four Miles Westward from the uppermost Falls in Sd Androscoggan River to Maquoit in Casco Bay & in the Lands on the other side Androscoggan River from above sd Falls down to Pejepscot and Merrymeeting Bay to be bounded by a South West & North East Line to run from the upper part of sd Falls to Kennebeck River & all the Lands from Maquoit to Pejepscot & to hold the same Breadth where the Land will bear it down to a place called Atkins his Bay near to Sagadahock or the Westerly side of Kennebeck River & all the Islands in the Sd Kennebeck River & Land between the said Atkins his Bay & Small Point Harbour the Lands & Rivers & Pond interjacent containing in breadth about three English Miles more or less, And whereas we are well assured that Maj' Nicholas Shapleigh in his lifetime was both by purchase from the Indian Sagamores our Ancestors and consent of Mr. Gorges Commissioner possessed & dyed Seized of the remainder of all the Lands lying & adjoining upon the Maine & all the Islands between the said Small Point Harbour & Maquoit afores'd & particularly of a Neck of Land Merryconege & an Island called Sebasco Diggin. And whereas the Relicts & Heirs of said Mr Purchase and Majr Nicholas Shapleigh have reserved accommodations for their several Families sold all the remainder of the aforesaid Lands & Islands to Richard Wharton of Boston Mercht, And for asmuch as the said Mr. Purchase did personally possess improve & inhabit at Pejepscot aforesd near the Centre or Middle of all the Lands aforesd for near fifty years before the Late unhappy War, And Whereas the sd Richard Wharton hath desired an enlargement upon and between the sd Androscoggen & Kennebec Rivers & to encourage the Said Richard Wharton to settle an English Town & promote the Salmon and Sturgeon Fishing by which we promise our Selves great Supplyes & Relief. Therefore & for other good causes & consideration, & especially for & in consideration of a Valuable Sum received from the Sd Wharton in Merchandize. Wee Warumbee, Darumkine, Wihikermet, Wedon-Domhegon, Neonongasset, & Nimbanewet Chief Sagamores of all the aforesaid and other Rivers & Land Adjacent have in conformation of the said Richard Whartons Title & Propriety fully freely and absolutely given granted ratify ed & confirmed to him the said Richard Wharton all the aforesd Lands from the uppermost part of
ANDROSCOGGAN FALLS FOUR MILES Westward & so down to MAQUOIT & by Said, River of Pejepscot & from the other side of Androscoggan Falls all the Land from the Falls to Pejepscot & Merrymeeting Bay to Kenebeck & towards the Wilderness to be bounded by a SOUTH WEST & NORTH EAST LINE to extend from the upper part of the said Androscoggan UPPERMOST FALLS to the said River of KENEBECK & all the Land from Maquoit to Pejepscot & to run & hold the same Breadth Where the Land will bear it unto ATKINS his BAY in Kenebeck River & SMALL POINT HARBOUR in Casco Bay and all ISLANDS in Kenebeck & Pejepscot Rivers & Merrymeeting Bay & within the aforesd Bounds. Especially the aforesaid Neck of Land called MERRYCONEGE & Island called SEBASCO DEGGIN Together with all Rivers Rivulets Brooks Ponds Pools Waters Watercourses. All wood Trees of Timber or other Trees & all Mines Mineralls & Quarries and especially the Sole & absolute use & benefit of Salmon and Sturgeon Fishing in all the Rivers Rivulets or Bays aforesd & in all Rivers Brooks Creeks or Ponds within any of the Bounds aforesaid. And also Wee the Said Sagamores have upon the considerations aforesaid given granted bargained & sold enfeoffed & confirmed & do by these presents give grant bargain sell aliene enfecooffe & confirm to him the said Richard Wharton all the Land lying FIVE MILES ABOVE the uppermost of the said Androscoggan Falls in Breadth & Length holding the same Breadth from Androscoggan Falls to Kenebeck River & to be bounded by the aforesd South West and North East Line & a parcell of Land at Five Miles Distance to run from Androscoggan to Kennebeck River as aforesd Together with all the Profits Priviledges Commodities Benefits & Advantages & particularly the Sole Propriety Benefit & Advantage of the Salmon & Sturgeon Fishing within the Bounds & Limits aforesaid To have & to hold to him the said Richard Wharton his heirs & assignes for ever all the aforenamed Lands Priveledges & Premises with all benefits rights appurtenances or advantages that now do or hereafter shall or may belong unto any part or parcell of the Premises fully freely & absolutely acquitted & discharged from all former & other gifts grants bargains sales mortgages & Incumbrances whatsoever, And Wee the said Warumbee Derumkine Wihiketmet Wedon-Domhegon, Neonongasset & Numbenewet do covenant & grant to & with the said Richard Wharton that we have in our selves good right & full power thus to confirm & convey the premises & that we our heirs and successors shall & will warrant & defend the said Richard Wharton his heirs & assignes for ever in the peaceable enjoyment of the Premises & every part thereof against all and every person or persons that may
legally claim any right Title Interest or Propriety in the Premises by from or under us the abovenamed Sagamores or any of our Ancestors or Predecessors, Provided nevertheless that nothing in this Deed be construed to deprive us the Sd' Sagamores our Successors or People from improving our antient planting grounds nor from hunting in any of the said Land being not inclosed nor from fishing for our own provision so long as no Damage shall be to the English Fishery, Provided also that nothing herein contained shall prejudice any of the. English Inhabitants or Planters being at present actually possessed of any of the Premises & legally deriving right from Sd Mr. Purchase &c or Ancestors. In witness hereof we the aforenamed Sagamores well understanding the Purport hereof do set to our hands & Seales at Pejepscot the seventh Day of July in the thirty fifth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King Charles the Second One Thousand Six hundred eighty four.
|Sealed and Delivered In presence of
|THE MARK OF WARUMBEE||
|THE MARK OF DARUMKINE||
|THE MARK OF WIHIKERMET||
|THE MARK OF WEDON DOMHEGON||
|THE MARK OF NEHONONGASSET||
|THE MARK OF NUMBENEWET||
Upon this deed was the following indorsement : -
" Upon the day of date of the within written deed the several Sagamores whose names are subscribed thereto & inserted therein did at the Fort at Pejepscot deliver quiet and peaceable possession of the premises with livery and seizen to Mr. John Blaney and wife in their own right as she is administratrix of the estate of Thomas Purchase dec'd and in the right of his children. Also the Sd Mr. Blaney Attorney to Mr. Eleasar Way did the same day deliver quiet. & peaceable possession, with Livery & Seizen of the Premises to Mr. Richard Wharton, the Quantity of Seven hundred Acres of Land being excepted according to a Former Agreement." This was signed by Henry Waters and John Parker, and sworn to July 19, 1684, before
Edward Tyng, justice of the peace. On July 21 following, Warumbee, for himself and the other sagamores who sealed and delivered the foregoing deed, acknowledged it to be his and their free and voluntary act, before the same justice. James Andrews, on July 21, 1684, and John Parker, July 9, 1684, two of the subscribing witnesses, made oath before the same justice, that they saw this deed signed, sealed, and delivered.
John Parker furthermore swore, at the same time, and before the. same justice, that he saw possession given, together with livery and seizin of the premises, in presence of the several witnesses before named, and further stated that upon the eleventh day of July, he with Henry Waters was present and saw Worumbo deliver possession and livery and seizin "by a turf and twig and a little water taken by himself off the land and out of the main river above Androscoggin Falls, to Richard Wharton in full compliance with the conveyance of the premises within granted and confirmed."
This deed, with the several proofs thereof and possession given thereon, were recorded in the Province (York) records, July 26, 1684.1
Wharton found his deed encumbered by prior deeds, one of which was an Indian deed, dated 1659, to John Parker, the consideration for which was " one Beaver skin received and the yearly rent of one bushel of corn and a quart of liquor, to be paid on or before the 25th of December." 2 It is probable that this was the same tract of land (Sebascodegan) which Wharton, in behalf of his son William, sold to John Parker on July 20, 1684.3
The fort referred to in this Worumbo deed was not, as will be noticed by the date, the one built by Governor Andross in 1689, nor Fort George, which was built still later.
In this connection, it is proper to speak of the claim of the Eaton family to the territory now comprising the town of Brunswick. According to tradition, Jacob Eaton came here from Salisbury, Massachusetts, about 1680, or earlier, with one Michael Malcom, as a trader and trapper with the Indians. They are said to have bought this tract of land of the Indians, and the family believe, and it bas been thought by members of the legal profession, that there was a valid claim. There are no deeds in possession of the family, and none were found in the York County records to substantiate this claim. It is very probable, however, that there was such a purchase from the Indians, and that this was one of the " prior claims " referred to as com-
1. Pejepscot Records.
3. York County Records, 4, p. 19.
plicating Wharton's deed. Unfortunately for the family, however, a deed from the Indians would not be valid if there was at any time a grant from the throne of England covering the same territory. Such a grant Purchase and Way undoubtedly had, and as this land came legally into the possession of Wharton, and as, at a later day, the claim of the Pejepscot proprietors was acknowledged to be valid by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there can be no question that, whatever claim the Eatons may have once had, it is now irrecoverably lost. The case would be no better if the Eaton claim should be proved to have been derived from the Kennebec or Plymouth Company.
[1691.] About the year 1691, one Nicholas Cole, who had previously settled on Harpswell Neck under a title derived from the Indians, set up his claim to possession under an old title of Harvard College. It seems that on February 7, 1682, the General Court of Massachusetts granted " Merriconeag Neck with 1,000 acres of land adjacent," to the President and Fellows of Harvard College.1 The same year the same Court also granted to Richard Wharton 1,000 acres of land "in the Province of Mayne, either upon any free Island or place upon the Mayne." 2 The college afterwards became anxious to secure the grant which had been made in 1682, and applied to the legislature for its confirmation ; the decision was, however, in favor of the Pejepscot proprietors, into whose possession the property had come. The college obtained permission to review the case, but were again defeated. 3
Notwithstanding these decisions, the General Court, on May 7, 1684, granted "to the Honoured Deputy, Governour Thomas Danforth, Esq., President of the Province of Maine, and to Sumner Nowell, Esq., for their great Pains and good Service, done by order of this Court, in the expedition in several Journeys to Casco, for which no Recompense hath been made them, an Island called Shebiscodego, in Casco Bay, in the Province of Maine, Provided they take the said Island in full satisfaction for all service done, referring to the Settlement of the Province of Maine to this day." 4
OTHER EARLY SETTLERS.
[1653.] In 1653 the General Court of New Plymouth appointed Thomas Prince a commissioner to institute a civil government in this portion of the Province of Maine. A meeting of the inhabitants was notified by Prince, to be held at the house of Thomas Ashley.
1. Attested Copy of Court Record in Pejepscot Papers.
3. McKean, MSS. Lecture.
4 Attested copy of Court Record in Pejepscot Papers.
at Merrymeeting Bay, in what is now called Dresden,1 on May 25, 1654.
At this meeting "Thomas Purchase of Pejepscot" was chosen "Assistant to the Government," and John Ashley, constable. Prince, also, at this meeting, administered the oath of allegiance to sixteen men. 2 The residence of these men was, for the most part, on the east bank of the Kennebec and on the Sagadahoc. Alexander Thwait, one of the number, was settled, according to McKeen, on the part of Merrymeeting Bay opposite Fulton's Point, 3 and if this was the case, he and Richard Collicutt, who lived near him soon after, must have, been Mr. Purchase's nearest neighbors. Sewall, 4 however, locates Thwait at Winnegance.
[1658.] Thomas Haynes is thought to have settled this year at Maquoit, 5 where he retained land as late as 1678. His wife's name was Joyce. 6
[1672.] Richard Potts was settled as early as 1672,7 and probably a year or two earlier, 8 on what was known as New Damariscove Island. In 1673 he owned and lived upon the point which still bears his name, at the extremity of Harpswell Neck. 9
The following individuals are known to have been settled about this time, certainly prior to 1700,' within the limits of what was afterwards called the Pejepscot purchase : at Middle Bay, John Cleaves ; on White's Island, Nicholas White; at Mair Point, James Carter, Thomas Haynes, Andrew and George Phippeny ; at Maquoit Bay, John Swaine, Thomas Kimball, of Charleston, who settled on Hoeg Island in I658, 10 John Sears11, Thomas Wharton, Samuel Libby," who subsequently resided in Scarborough., Henry Webb, Edward Creet (or Creek), 12 and Robert Jordan; on Smoking Fish Point, 13 Christopher Lawson, an Antinomian ; at or near New Meadows, in 1675, was
Alister Coombs. 14
The island of Sebascodegan was settled as early as 1639 by Francis Small and his wife Elizabeth, whose child was the first born on the island, of English parents. He was from Kittery, 15 and was a
1. McKeen, MSS. Lecture.
2. Maine Historical Collections, 5, p. 194.
3. McKeen, MSS. Lecture.
4. Ancient Dominions of Maine, p. 131.
5. Willis, History of Portland, p. 98.
6. York County Registry of Deeds, 4, p. 20.
7. Pejepscot Papers.
8. York County Records, 2, p. 366.
9. York County Records, 10, p. 89.
10. York County Records, 2, p. 90.
11. York County Records, various references.
12. York Records, 4. p. 20. Land adjoined Thomas Haines's.
13. What is called Ireland, McKeen.
14. Pejepscot Papers, Statement of Title.
15. McKeen, Harpswell Banner, Oct., 1832.
tenant under Colonel Shapleigh. The latter also owned Merriconeag Neck. The neck at this time had a number of settlers upon it who were all driven off by the Indians at the commencement of King Philip's War in 1675.1 In 1683 Shapleigh, finding his property almost worthless on account of the Indian troubles, sold the neck and island to Richard Wharton, of Boston.
After Wharton's purchase of Sebascodegan, the Indians continued possession of the island, for the purpose of catching fish, seal, and porpoise. This prevented any further settlements there for some
[1689.] In the year 1689 that portion of the Pejepscot tract adjacent to Brunswick, known as the "Gore," which formerly belonged to the town of Yarmouth, but is now a part of Freeport, began to be settled. Eight or ten families who had been driven from Eleutheria, one of the West India Islands, by the Spaniards, and who were dependent on Boston for support, came thither for a home. 3 The Gore was a triangular strip of land left between the southwestern boundary of Brunswick and the northeastern line of Yarmouth.
[1702.] In 1702 Benjamin Marston received possession by deed, of Thomas Potts, of Dover, New Hampshire, son of Richard Potts, of the estate at Potts's Point and the island near by, which was previously owned by Potts. 4 He is thought to have made a settlement there.
Among the Pejepscot Papers is the following memorandum, which, though in part a repetition of what has already been given, is inserted on account of the more particular information it conveys about certain matters. No date or authorship is given to the paper, but there is no doubt that it was made about the year 1714, by one of the Pejepscot proprietors.
"AN ACC'T OF THE EASTERN PARTS AND OF THE SEVERAL SETTLEMENTS THAT HAVE EVER BEEN MADE ON THE LANDS FORMERLY PURCHASED BY MR. WHARTON AND NOW 5 BOUGHT
BY EIGHT OF US.
" The narrow carrying place that parts Casco Bay from Merrymeeting Bay, settled by Stevens, who has a son now at New Haven married to Parkers' daughter.
" Settlements on the Eastern side of Small Point Neck.
" Next to above sd Stevens, at the upper Whigby, or Wiskege, by Lawson owned by Ephraim Savage.
1. McKeen, Harpswell Banner, Oct., 1832.
2. McKeen, Ibid.
3. McKeen, " Gleanings " in Brunswick Telegraph, 1859.
4. York County Records, 10, p. 88.
5. The Pejepscot Company was formed in. 1714.
" William Rogers about 2 leagues lower.
" Thomas Watkins about a mile lower.
" Mr. Gooch, the minister, about a mile lower down the river.
" John Filman about a mile lower.
"Capt. Reynolds about a mile lower.
" John Layton at the neck just above Winegance.
" Mary Webber about 2 mile lower - her son goes now with Captain Bracket.
" William Baker about a mile lower.
" Sylvanus Davis, now suppose Nelson.
" Thomas Humphreys.
" John Verin.
""Samuel N ewcomb.
" William Cock and John Cock within half a mile.
" Robert Edmunds, said to be claimed now by Sr Charles Hobby.
" James Mudge within a quarter of a mile.
" Thomas Atkins, said to have bo't the whole neck down to Small
Point of Indians and to have sold their interest to the other inhabitants.
Some of his heirs supposed to be now living at Roxbury or
" Ambrose Hunniwell the lowest settlement on that side, about 4 mile short of Small Point. Hunniwell that works for Captain Belcher, one of that family.
"On the western side of that neck only Drake who settled at
Small Point harbour -lived there but a little while.
" On Merriconege Neck only 2 settlements.
" Richard Potts who lived at the lower end.
" John Damarell about 3 miles above him.
" But one settlement at, Mair Point by John Phippany.
" But one settlement at Maquoit by Robert 1 Haines.
" Settlements between Pejepscot & Swan Island on the north side
of Merrymeeting Bay.
" Samuel York about 4 or 5 mile down from the Falls on the Eastern side. Living now at Squam, Cape Ann, he supposed the likeliest man to inform how far Merriconege Neck or Shapleys Island have been possessed or improved.
" James Thomas 1/2 a mile below. He and his heirs supposed to be wholly extinct.
1. Possibly Thomas is meant.
" Williams j a mile farther-only a man & his wife - had no children - supposed to be extinct.
" James Giles about 4 miles up Muddy River.
" Thomas Giles at Point on south side of Muddy River mouth. Of these families Gyles of Winnissemet Ferry and Giles the Interpreter now live at Salisbury.
" Thomas Watkins at Shildrake Point, between Muddy River and Cathance.
" Alexander Browne east side of mouth of Cathance River.
" Dependence Collicut at point of Abegedasset River claims that
point - no settlement between sd Collicut & Swan Island.
" One settlement at Swan Island by Collicut, Alexander Brown and
Humphrey Davis, by turns - "
Samuel White, in 1714, produced the testimony of George Phippen and wife that his grandfather, Nicholas White, was settled at the upper end of Mair Point about forty-four years previously, and that Phippen and his wife were for several years the nearest neighbors. Two other testimonies, of persons living "on Pulpit Island or New Damariscove," were given to the same effect. The names of these two witnesses are not recorded.1
ORIGIN OF THE PEJEPSCOT COMPANY.
[1693.] Richard Wharton, who had become possessed of the greater portion of the lands already mentioned, having died in England, administration de bonis non on his estate was granted Dec. 30, 1693, to Ephraim Savage, of Boston.
[1697.] On Oct. 26, 1697, the Superior Court at Boston authorized and empowered Savage to sell Wharton's estate in order to liquidate his debts. 2
[1714.] On Nov. 5, 1714, Savage, acting in accordance with the authority above mentioned, sold the whole of the above tract of land to Thomas Hutchinson, Adam Winthrop, John Watts, David Jeffries, Stephen Minot, Oliver Noyes, and John Ruck, of Boston, Massachusetts, and John Wentworth, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for the sum of £140, to hold in fee as tenants in common. The conveyance was acknowledged the next day and was recorded in the York records on the nineteenth of the following November. 3
These " tenants in common" constituted the original company of the Pejepscot proprietors. On Oct. 20, 1714, the General Court of
1. Pejepscot Papers.
2. Pejepscot Records.
3.Pejepscot Papers, Statement of Title.
Massachusetts passed a resolution that it was for the public interest that some townships be laid out and settled in the eastern country, and John Wheelwright and others were appointed a committee to receive the claims of all persons claiming lands there.
[1715.] On the 18th of February, 1715, the Pejepscot proprietors made certain proposals to the above-mentioned committee : -
1. That the General Court should give confirmation to their purchase, in order that they might " be better able to encourage substantial farmers to remove with their stock from England."
2. For the encouragement of a fishing town at Small Point.
3. That whenever twelve or more persons offered themselves for any new settlement, they should be " covered" 1 with such a force and for such a time as the General Court should deem necessary.
4. That those settling in the limits of the Pejepscot tract should, for the first seven years, have some assistance from the public towards the maintenance of a ministry, and should be exempted from the payment of any Province tax.
The proprietors agreed that, if the General Court would consent to the foregoing proposals, they would, on their part, agree to enter into the following arrangements : -
1. To lay out three or, if the land would admit, four plats or towns, and have them surveyed and platted that same summer, at their own cost.
2. " In seven years, if peace continues with the Indians," they would settle ° each of said towns with fifty families or more, in a defensive manner, having already offers of very considerable numbers, both in this country and from England." And in order thereto they were willing to grant them such house-lots, in fee, and such accommodations in regard to their lands, as might induce them to settle there.
3. That they would lay out* a convenient portion of land in each town, for °the subsistence of the first minister, the ministry, and a school."
4. " Being desirous that the people might not live like heathen, without the worship of God, as had been too frequent in new settlements," they engaged, for the more speedy procuring of a minister, and to make it easier for the inhabitants at their first settling down, that as soon as there should be twenty householders in each of the towns, who would provide a frame for, and raise a meeting-house
1 i. e., protected.
they would, at their own expense, furnish glass, lead, nails, iron work, and other materials, and finish the meeting-house for them, and pay towards the maintenance of an "orthodox gospel minister" in each town, the sum of £40 per annum, for five years. These proposals to the committee received the signature of all the proprietors.1
On the twenty-seventh of the following May, the committee reported favorably on these proposals, and the General Court, on the tenth of June, passed resolutions in accordance therewith. Thus this company became undoubted legal owners of the territory they had purchased.
STATEMENT OF THE TITLE.
The Pejepscot tract, in consequence of the varied mode of its acquisition and the uncertainty of its true bounds, became the subject of a lengthy and severe controversy between the proprietors and several other claimants, - more particularly the Kennebec Company, - which lasted until about 1814. In order to understand this controversy, as well as the decision arrived at, it becomes necessary to state the several questions involved, and to make some explanatory remarks.
It is not, however, necessary to reproduce the exact points urged by the opponents of the Pejepscot Company. The questions to be considered are evidently as follows : -
1. In regard to the validity of the original titles to the land.
2. In regard to the extent of these titles.
3. In regard to the validity of the subsequent sales and conveyances.
4. In regard to the jurisdiction.
In regard to the first, it is proper to state that the original claims to all lands in this section could only originate in one of three ways first, by grant from the King of England, direct or indirect ; secondly, by purchase from the Indians ; thirdly, by right of occupation of unclaimed land, in other words, by the right of " squatter sovereignty."
The validity of the claims to land obtained in these three ways may be considered as strong in the order given. The right in virtue of a grant emanating from the government holding possession of the country has ever been considered indubitable, unless conflicting with some prior grant from the same source. The right in virtue of a grant from the Indians is more than doubtful, though it may, we presume, sometimes have been deemed valid in those cases where no other grant
1. Pejepscot Records
existed, 1 and where there had been no prior sale by parties representing the same tribe, and the right either of those selling, or of the tribe they claimed to represent, was not contested. The right by virtue of occupation simply, is valid after the lapse of a certain number of years, determined by legal enactments.
In applying these principles to the different grants of the Pejepscot lands, it will be seen at once that the grant by the council of Plymouth to Purchase and Way was perfectly valid, unless it conflicted with a previous grant, by the same council, to the Kennebec Company. The evidence that a grant was issued to Purchase and Way was virtually proved. The deed of land bought by Purchase of the Indians, if any such there was, would only serve to strengthen his other claim.
The title to the lands, purchased of the Indians by Thomas, York, Gyles, and Stevens, should be considered valid, except as to any portion which might overlap the territory belonging either to Purchase and Way or to the Kennebec Company. The purchase of lands from the Indians by Nicholas Shapleigh was valid, there being no prior grant. That of Wharton from Worumbo, etc., was equally valid for the same reason, except where it conflicted with the other grants. The ground assumed by the Kennebec Company was that they owned, by virtue of their charter, all the land up and down the Kennebec River for fifteen miles upon each side, and that consequently some of the before-specified titles, being later, were null and void. They also claimed that the Pejepscot Company had not located their lands in accordance with the Worumbo deed.
The question, in regard to the boundaries of the lands granted, is the most important. The descriptions used in the old conveyances were often very indefinite: The bounds, said to have been given in the patent to Purchase and Way, are, however, sufficiently explicit as to one direction, and Purchase's deed to Massachusetts gives the bounds in the other direction. The territory granted in the sale to Nicholas Shapleigh is also clearly defined, being bounded by Purchase's possessions and by the sea. The point of the long dispute lay in the description given in the Worumbo deed. This deed included all the lands before granted. Did it include more? It could not include more on the south and east, but it undoubtedly did on the west and north.
The description reads : -
" All the aforesaid lands from the uppermost part of Androscoggin
1. Maine Historical Collections, 2, p. 273. Kent's Commentaries 3, p. 385. Wheaton's International Law (Dana), p. 40, note.
falls four miles westward and so down to Maquoit," and on the other side of the river from the same falls to the Kennebec, on a line running southwest and northeast
The principal question to be decided is as to what falls were meant. Were such terms to be used in a deed at the present day, there would be but little doubt that a point above all the falls in the river was intended. At the time of the deed, however, the river was not so well known as now, and serious doubts might justly be entertained as to whether the falls at Lewiston, Lisbon, or Brunswick were intended. If the Lewiston Falls were meant, the territory would consist of about 500,000 acres, 1 whereas if the falls at Brunswick were meant, the extent of territory embraced by the deed would not be one quarter so large. The opponents of the Pejepscot Company claimed that the Brunswick Falls were the ones intended. The proprietors, however, took the ground, doubtless correct, that the river below Brunswick was called the Pejepscot by both Indians and settlers, and that the lower falls were uniformly described, at that date, as the Pejepscot Falls, and consequently, that the falls referred to were those at Lewiston. The proprietors, however, came to a settlement with the Plymouth (or Kennebec) Company, on February 20, 1758, and released to them all the lands to the northward of a line drawn through the mouth of the Cathance River, and running west-northwest to the west-side line of the Plymouth claim. 2
This settlement, however, proved unsatisfactory, and, June 17, 1766, the southern line of Bowdoinham and the Kennebec River were fixed upon and agreed to by the contending parties, 3 and on the 8th of March, 1787, the legislature of Massachusetts passed a resolution to the effect that the Twenty Mile or Lewiston Falls should be considered the uppermost falls referred to in the Worumbo deed. 4
The difficulties do not seem to have terminated even then ; for in the year 1800, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, acting on the report of referees, made substantially the same decision that had been made by the legislature, 5 adding, however, certain stipulations in regard to the assignment of lots to settlers. The proprietors for a long time refused to abide by the terms of the decision, and the controversy was not finally settled until 1814. 6
The claims of individual settlers under other titles were disposed of by confirmatory grants from the Pejepscot Company, unless their titles
1. Vide Douglass Summary, 1748.
2. Lincoln County Registry of Deeds, 1, p. 21.
3. Pejepscot Records.
4. Pejepscot Papers, Statement of Title.
5. Pejepscot Records.
6. Williamson, History of Maine. 2, p. 585.
were proved to be illegal and void, or to have lapsed. The territorial limits of the company, at the time of the final decision of the controversy with the Plymouth Company, embraced the present towns of Danville, Lewiston, Greene, a part of Lisbon, a part of Leeds, a part of Poland and Minot, Durham, Bowdoin, Topsham, Brunswick, and Harpswell. The territory, as previously claimed by the company, would have included Bowdoinham and Richmond in addition.
In regard to the validity of the conveyance by Wharton's administrator to the proprietors, there can, of course, be no doubt. There is also no doubt as to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts after Independence was declared. As to prior governments, it is only necessary to say, that although the jurisdiction over this part of the present State of Maine was claimed at different periods by different rulers, and went under the several names of the Province of Laconia 1 (1622), the Province of Lygonia (1630), the Province of Maine (Gorges-1639), and the Massachusetts Colony (1651-1677), yet the transfer of jurisdiction by, Purchase to the latter gave her the strongest claim to the Pejepscot tract, though the fairness of her title to the Province of Maine is still a mooted question.
At this early date, however, the jurisdiction was merely nominal, there being but little actual enforcement of the laws in this portion of the Province.
1. The grant of the Province of Laconia was rather indefinite, but as it included the lands " betwixt ye lines of West and North West conceived to pass or lead upwards from ye rivers of Sagadehock & Merrimack in ye country of New England afores'd," it must have included all of Maine west of the Kennebec, and consequently included the Pejepscot tract.