The First Permanent
Settlement in Maine
EVERETT S. STACKPOLE
It is only closest to home that many Americans find sentiment, and impractical those proposals to save individual sights and sounds have come down to us through the centuries. Among suave but shallow closed-committee decision makers, such suggestions may be considered uninformed and even traitorous impediments to progress. It is for these reasons, at least, those with sensitivity to perceive the spiritual values or economic wisdom in conserving our heritage should make the most of preparations for the impending one hundred fiftieth anniversary of our statehood, an devise ways to make our inheritance more secure, our surrounding and our lives more beautiful and meaningful than ever they have been before.
Nearly fifty years ago, historian, Everett Stackpole, intensely pre occupied with the impressive, romantic contributions one small community in Old Berwick had made to the founding of this state, sought wider awareness and futilely urged informed protection of the tangibles of that struggle. Today, near the rocky gorge where the first American mill was erected, refuse and abandoned factories muffle the roar of the falls and conceal that exciting, turbulent view down river; and during this decade there has been more grievous, indiscriminate land use in the First Permanent Settlement than in the previous four combined.
Though ominous, these conditions are not all irreversible, nor the enchantment of this historic area hopelessly impaired. From the forest floor near a charming, tranquil cove one can, even now, envision those first cattle shipped to this continent eagerly wade ashore. Clearly evident, still, is the virgin American attempt at commercial vineyards. Above the confluence of Asbenbedick's (or the Great Works) fresh flowing stream with a stealthy finger of tide rising from Portsmouth is the site of New England's earliest grist mill to be powered by water. Nearby, the home of Maine's first permanent settler miraculously awaits the perspicacious skill of the restorer and the preservation of its pastoral setting from imminent, undesirable encroachment.
One cannot read the erudite study which follows and continue sensitive to the part this ancient settlement must play if projected sesquicentennial celebrations are to be invested with meaning. Yet its current perilous position, neighbor to one of the nation's Fastest growing counties, finally makes imperative statewide concern lest its special character and unique significance be irretrievably lost. After the torturous partings and the brutal ocean crossing, here is our beginning. We should always be able to return to the beginning, in search for the sense of our way.
Burton W.F. Trafton, Jr.
Old Fields South Berwick, Maine
May 1st. 1968
THE FIRST PERMANENT SETTLEMENT IN MAINE
In May, 1630, the barke Warwick found its way up the Piscataqua and Newichawannock rivers. On board were Ambrose Gibbons, Roger Knight and probably Thomas Spencer. Their wives came the following year. It is reasonable to assume that there were a few other servants of Capt. John Mason in this first ship's company. Anchor was cast at the foot of Little Johns Falls, where even at low tide the water is deep. The neighboring shore on the eastern side of the Newichawannock river soon came to be called the Lower Landing, or Pipe Stave Landing. The adventurers came to plant a colony, to carry on trade with the Indians and to obtain lumber. They meant also to explore a large region, hoping to find various mines.
The leader, Ambrose Gibbons, must have been somewhat acquainted with the river and his landing place. He was not sailing in the dark to a wholly unknown destination. Probably he had been there before and consulted with Sagamore Rowles at Quamphegan, giving some presents for a piece of land on which to establish a trading post. As early as 1621 the Council of New England at old Plymouth, Devonshire authorized Ambrose Gibbons to deliver to Capt. Mason possession of Cape Anne. For eight years he had been Mason’s factor at Cape Anne, where he built houses, brought cattle and set up the trade of fishery. In 1630 "the Massachusetts Colony violently seized upon that part the Province . . . "and turned the servants and tenants of John Mason out of their possessions." (N.H. Prov. Papers, XVII, 534), Gibbons had time and opportunity to learn all the coasts and rivers in Masons patents. The advantages of trade, the water powers the forest of pine, and the abundance of salmon and sturgeon determined his choice of this locality for a permanent settlement.
On an elevation of land a short distance north of the mouth of Asbenbedick River, now known as Great Works River, Gibbons built his house. He calls it the Great House at Newichawannock, and it was large enough to accommodate 10 persons ordinarily. The house must have been buiIt of hewn logs. A storehouse and barn were built and a well was dug within two years. All were inclosed within a palisade. The house stood three or four rods south of the house built by Isaac B. Yeaton and now owned and occupied by Perley Varilk and Dean Varney. A slight depression indicates an old cellar and some very large elm trees stand a little east of it. East of the road is a steep declivity sloping down to the water, an along this declivity stretch for a furlong or so artificial terraces as plainly seen as if they had been made recent, Midway of the terraces and opposite the site of the Great House is the well dug by Ambrose Gibbons about 1632 and dug out by Mr. Varney in 1925. Here was the "Vineyard" and the name has spread itself all over the many acres lowland on the north side of Great Works River between the upper and the lower falls, much of which is now overflowed in consequence of the new dam erected at the lower fall. The site chosen for the Great House was ideal and logical. The view down the main river is uninterrupted for a mile. The mills were near by. The wigwams of Sagamore Rowls’s indians were a short distance north. Cleared land, where Indians had planted corn, was bought, probably both north and south of the Asbenbedick River.
It has been argued by one person, and only one, that the Great House at Newichawannock was built on the west side of the river in New Hampshire. This notion may have arisen from a misprint in the seventeenth volume of New Hampshire, State Papers, page 487, where in the division of property owned by the nine associates of the Laconia Company "Northwest" should be Northeast. It is a clerical or typographical error, as the context shows, for the land divided was on the northeast of the river. Also a Short View of Mrs. Mason's Case has the following:
There was a division made of the said associates of the Land lyeing North-East from Pascataway and that Capt. Masons Lott fell at Newichawannock and contains fifteen miles in Length and three in breadth.-That the said servants of Capt Mason refused to give any accompt of the said Materialls and other goods of the said Capt Mason of great Value which they have seized on to their own use, vizt Mr. Roger Knight, Mr. Ambros Gibbons one Chadburn and his sonnes, Wall, Goddard & others.-Coll. of Maine Hist. Society, Vol. IV. p. 94, 95. Cf. N. H. Prov. Papers, I, 88.
In the year 1668 a report was made concerning the division of property, in which it is said "ye greatt house & land to ye west of ye River [at Portsmouth] to lie in common", to C. John Mason & Mr. Cotton to begin 1/4 of a mile below ye ffalls up ye River Newichawannock 15 miles." The falls meant may be Little Johns Falls, which begin at the mouth of the Asbenbedick River and form at low tide a succession of rapids down nearly to Pipe Stave Landing, or they may mean the lower falls on the Asbenbedick River, where later Chadburne and Spencer built their mill. See Coll. of Maine Historical Society, Second Series. Vol. IV, p. 320.
In the division of lands among the nine associates it is evident that nothing could be included nor excepted that did not belong to them all in common. Now their patent on the Hampshire side extended up only to Hilton's patent, and line of division between them and Hilton was the middle of the river Piscataqua as it flows out of Great Bay and joins the Newichawannock River. Up in what is now Rollinsford they had no property to divide. Hence "the House at Newichawannock with the land thereunto belonging" could not have been on the New Hampshire side, but over in the vicinity of Great Works, where tradition has always placed it, and where the well and vineyard and cellar of Ambrose Gibbons may be plainly seen.
In a deed from Thomas Canney to his son-in-law Henry Hobbs, dated July 12, 1661, the grant to Thomas Canney in 1656 was bounded "southeast partly by Nechewanick River and partly by a certain parcell of Land yt was sometime possessed by Capt. Masons agent." A confirmation of the grant to Thomas Canney was made in 1661 and contains most the precise words of this deed. This might lead to the hasty conclusion that here Ambrose Gibbons built the Great House at Newichawannock. Instead here was the fish weir of Sagamore Rowls, with adjacent land for planting. Rowls conditionally relinquished his right to it in favor of Humphery Chadbourne, May 8, 1646, confirming a "Bargain of Saile" previously made, "my Right of the Ware at the Fales of the great River of Newichawannock known by the Name o Little John's Fales." Here all the servants of Capt. John Mason obtained fish by a former verbal agreement with Sagamore Rowls, called a "Bargain of Saile."' In 1702 Samuel Canney sold these three acres to the father of Ichabod Plaisted and he confirmed the sale by a deed to said Ichabod in 1722. The three acres were at a place called Hobbs Hole, a deep place in the river, into which Thomas Wallingford launched his ships. Wallingford bought the land of Plaisted, more land of Thomas Hobbs and still more of John Stackpole in 1737, till he owned all the present field between the Sligo Road and the river. When Wallingford's widow lived here the cove where the fish weir and the shipyard had been was called "Madam's Cove". All this belongs more properly to the history of Sligo and Vicinity, which I hope to publish. See N. H. Prov. Deeds VI, 172 and Dover's Old Book of records, p. 81 and York Deeds, 1, 6.
In 1634 there was an important development of the colony. Carpenters and millwrights were sent over from England to build a sawmill and a "stamping mill" at the upper falls. This was the first grist-mill in New England to run by water, though Boston had a wind-mill to grind corn, and Piscataqua sent a small shipload there to be ground, James Wall was one of the carpenters and he made a deposition the 21st of the third month, 1652.
The Deponent sayeth that aboute the year 1634 he with his partners William Chadbourne and John Goddard came over to New England upon the accompt of Captaine John Mason of London, and also for themselves, and were landed at Newichawannock upon certaine lands there which Mr Goisslem [Henry Jocelyn] Captaine Mason's agente brought them unto, with the ladinge of some goodes, and there they did builde up at the fall there (called by the Indian name Asbenbedick) for the use of Captaine Mason and ourselves one sawe mill and one stampinge mill for corne wch we did keep the space of three or foure years next after, and further this deponent saith, he built one house upon the same lands, and so did William Chadbourne an other & gave it to his sonne in law Thomas Spencer who now lives in it; and this deponent also saith that we had peaceable and quiete possession of that land for the use of Captaine Mason afforesaid and that the said agente did buy some planted ground of some of the Indians which they had planted upon the saide land, and that Captaine Mason's agente's servants did break up and clear certain lands there and planted corne upon it and all this is to his best remembrance. [Mass. Archives, Vol.. III, p. 444, reproduced in my Hist. of Old Kittery and Her Families, pp. 23-4].
The following deposition locates precisely the mills built by the carpenters sent over in 1634:
The deposition of Jeames Johnson, aged 50 years, or thereabouts; this deponent saith, that upon the steep fall beyond Thomas Spencer's house, there stood part of a Mill Wch was said to be Capt Mason's 16 years since, to the best of my remembrance & farther saith not.
Taken before me the last day of May,,, 1652.
This last deposition seems to be that of a casual observer rather than that of a continuous resident of the place. If in 1636 there was only "part of a mill," perhaps the mills were never finished till Richard Leader took possession of them in 1651, for Capt. Mason died in 1635, and his agent and servants, unpaid, were not likely to continue Masons enterprises. At that time there was very little corn to be "stamped" except that raised by the Indians, and they knew how to cook it without the use of a gristmill.
Ambrose Gibbons settled at Saunders Point in 1634 and later in what is now known as Durham, New Hampshire Henry Jocelyn succeeded him as agent at Newichawannock and remained tilI 1638, when he was succeeded by Francis Norton of Charlestown, Mass., attorney and agent for the widow of Capt. John Mason. Norton at once disposed of cattle, the servants driving them with other cattle from Strawberry Bank and Odiorne's Point to Boston and selling them there and along the route. The servants of Capt. john Mason helped themselves to his land and personal property. and probably the furnishings of the mills went to Humphery Chadbourne and his brother-in-law, Thomas Spencer, these two a few years later had a mill at the lower fall and in 1654 Thomas Spencer gave to his son-in-law, Daniel Goodwin one-half of his half of that mill. Chadbourne and Spencer received grants of timberland and of pine trees from the town of Kittery. This mill at the lower fall is mentioned in 1709 as "Chadburn his mill." In more recent times it has been known as Yeaton's Mill. In 1922 the old sawmill, gristmilll and mill for grinding plaster were demolished, a lofty dam and bridge were constructed and a power plant was built for the generation of electricity.
Who were the servants of Capt. John Mason and the first settlers of South Berwick? A list of Mason's servants was published in Adams Annals of Portsmouth in 1823 without mentioning his source of information. The same list was published in 1848 by the New England Historical and Genealogical Register as the copy of an old document, its origin not stated. It has been thought reliable for many years. A study of the list awakens doubts. In my History of New Hampshire I said "This list was probably made some years after their coming and from memory and was used connection with a lawsuit," . . . "The accuracy of the list may be distrusted." (p. 17 and 23 of Vol. 1.) In his address before the Piscataqua Pioneers, in 1922, Charles Thornton Libby showed that the list is spurious. "Probably it was made up to use in the suit against Humphrey Spencer in 1704." The list contains fifty names.
I have searched all the early records of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts and I can not find any other mention of William Raymond. Henry Gee. Henry Baldwin, Thomas Furral, Thomas Hurd, John Williams, Thomas Moor, Joseph Beal, Hugh James, and William Bracket. They probably existed only in the imagination of the person who made up the list, There was a John Raymond, purser of the Pied Cow, named in early correspondence of Ambrose Gibbons. There was a Ralph Gee, who had charge of Mason's cattle at Odiorne's Point. Hubbard, the historian, says that one Cooper of Piscataqua was drowned in December, 1633. A tradition has floated down that Alexander Cooper of the Parish of Unity, now South Berwick, aided in landing the cows at Cow Cove in 1634, but at that time he was probably an infant in Scotland, afterward captured by Oliver Cromwell at the battle of Dunbar. His family should be carefully distinguished from that of "Phillip Cooper the Walloon," who had a grant of land in York, in 1673. Henry Baldwin is perhaps a misreading for Henry Odiorne. The Odiorne family does not reach so far back as Capt. John Mason's time, and there was no Henry even among the earliest of the Odiorne family in New Hampshire. No such surname as Furral is found in the early records. There was more than one John Heard among the first settlers of old Kittery and Dover, but no Thomas Hurd is found. Thomas Moor was probably invented as the ancestor of the various Moores, blacksmith and fishermen, who appeared a generation later. In trying to trace back the several Beal families of New Hampshire and Maine I have made a long and minute search for Joseph Beal, and I have found him only in this fabricated list. I believe that he originated in imposture. Hugh James and William Bracket might have been meant for William James of Kittery, 1650, and Anthony Bracket of Strawberry Bank, 1640.
Moreover, some appear in the list who certainly were not sent over as servants by Capt. John Mason, Francis Norton was an inhabitant of Charlestown, Mass., in 1637 and was employed the year following by widow Ann Mason as her agent. Sampson Lane was a mariner, master of the ship Neptune, who appeared in Portsmouth some years after the death of Mason. Thomas Furnold, or Fernald, was born in 1633 and so was a mere infant when Capt. John Mason died. Thomas Walford was the first settler of Charlestown, Mass., whence he removed to Portsmouth, and Jeremiah Walford was his son, too young to have been one of Mason's servants. William Brookin does not appear in Portsmouth till 1657. He married Mary, daughter of Thomas Walford, and she lived till 1720, so that he was probably very young, in 1635. William Seavey deposed in 1676, aged 75, that he came as a fisherman to the Isles of Shoals "about a year before Capt. Neale went from this country for England," that is, in 1632. Thomas Withers we can hardly believe to have been a servant of Mason, since Ferdinando Gorges gave him twelve hundred acres of land in Kittery. He became a Commissioner and Deputy to the General Court. These facts lead some to suppose that he was related to Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Thomas Canney bought land in Dover of Capt. Thomas Wiggin, in
1634, pointing rather to the opinion that he came over with Wiggin about 1630. John Symonds came in 1634 and was in the employ of John Winter at Richmonds Island in 1636. There are grave doubts, about several others. Thus we can easily whittle away about half of the list of the spurious list and reduce the known servants of Capt. John Mason to a small number.
How about the "eight Danes"? It has been supposed that these came over to care for the cows imported from Denmark. Let us see. Gibbons reported to Mason less than a month after the cows landed, "You have heare at the Great House 9 cowes, 1 bull, 4 calves of the last yeare, and 9 of this yeare,"… "as good as your ordinary cattle in England." Supposing that as many cattle had been sent to Pascataway, or Odiorne's Point, and as many more to Strawberry Bank, three men were enough to care for the herd. What were the eight Danes doing? And why send to Denmark for cows when just as good Stock could be found in England? Not s single Danish surname has been found in the early records of Maine and New Hampshire. We conclude that in reality no Danes were sent here by Capt. John Mason, and those cows, perhaps of Danish breed, were shipped from some port in Southern England. They were landed at "Cow Cove," on the old Warren farm, about half a mile below Pipe Stave Landing, as tradition says.
Where is the historical evidence that eight Danes sent over? It is not found in any correspondence between Mason and Gibbons. It seems to rest solely in the asserted deposition of Francis Small and is found in the Provincial Papers of New Hampshire, Vol. 1, p. 45.
Francis Small, of Piscattaway, in New England planter aged sixty-five years, maketh oath, that he hath lived in New England upwards of fifty years; that be very well knew plantations Capt. Mason had caused to be made at Piscattaway, Strawberry Bank,, and Newichwannock, and was well acquainted with all the servants imployed by Capt. Mason, upon the said plantations, some whereof are yet living; and that there was a great deal of stock at each of those plantations. And this deponent doth very well remember that Capt, Mason sent into this country eight Danes to build mills, to saw timber, and tend them, and to make potashes; and that the first saw-mill and corn-mill in New England was erected at Capt. Mason’s Plantation, at Newichawannock, upwards of fifty year where was also a large house with all convenience of outhouses and well fortified with store of arms; that about forty years since the said house and buildings were burnt to the ground, but by what means this deponent doth not know; that about the same time this deponent was employed by Capt. Francis Norton (who then at Capt Mason's house at Piscattaway, called the great house) to drive about one hundred head of cattle towards Boston, and the said Capt. Norton did go with the cattle; that such cattle were then usually sold at five and twenty pound the head, money of England. And the said Norton did settle himself at Charlestown, near Boston, and wholly left Capt. Mason's plantation, upon which the other servants shared the residue of the goods and stock among them, which were left in that and the other plantations, and possessed themselves of the houses and land,. And this deponent doth verily believe that from the cattle sent hither by Capt. Mason most of the cattle, in the provinces of New Hampshire and Maine have been raised, for this deponent doth not remember or heard that any one person else did bring over any. That Thomas Warnerton, a servant to Capt. Mason and lived in a fair house, at Strawberry Bank about the year 1644, did carry quantities of goods and arms belonging unto Capt. Mason's plantation, and sold them to the French that did inhabit at Port Royal, where the said Thomas Warnerton was slain. That sometime after one Sampson Lane came over from England with power, as he pretended, to look after and take care of the aforesaid plantations, and did settle himself in the great house at Strawberry Bank, and made additions tbereunto, where he continued about three years, and then returned for England, upon whose departure John and Richard Cutts got into possession of the aforesaid house and lands at Strawberry Bank, but by what right this deponent never heard; and have sold several small tracts, upon which many houses are now built and possessed by the relatives of the said Cutts.
Sworn before me, the 8th September, 1685.
R. CHAMBERLAIN, Justice Peace.
According to Small Genealogy, Vol. I, this disposition of Frances Small appears in an action of Mason’s Heirs Vs. Waldron began in 1683 and was "tried in Her Majesties Court, August 1707, as the case of Thos. Allen Esq. Vs. Richard Waldron Esq.." Frances Small was Baptized at St. Mary’s Church, Bideford, England, 6 Oct. 1725 as son of Edward Small. If this was the same person who made the above disposition, then he could not guess his own age nearer than five years. Probably someone else made the guess.
The deposition itself shows that by Piscattaway is meant the place later known as Odiorne's Point. Francis Small never lived there. In 1648 he was taxed at Dover. A little later he lived at Casco Bay. He bought Sebascodegan Island for Nicholas Shapleigh. Deeds show that he was a fisherman and Indian trader. At the date of the asserted deposition he was living in that part of Kittery that is now Eliot, near Sturgeon Creek. Afterward he went to Truro, Mass., and is said to have died there. A deposition made 3 April, 1685, the same year as the deposition above cited, says he was "aged fivety six yeares or yrabouts (York Deeds IV, II), and still another deposition made 10 May, 1683 says "aged about fifty six years," and still another deposition made 16 June, 1677, says he was "aged fivety years or yrabouts. (York Deeds III, 128 and 16)", Thus two depositions fix his birth in the year 1627 and one deposition in the year 1629, "or thereabouts." He was, then, aged from nine to eleven years in 1638, when he helped to drive one hundred cattle to Boston. It is true that the asserted deposition declares that he drove them about the year 1645, but there is abundance of evidence that the cattle were driven away by Capt. Norton some years before that date. John Willcox, Who helped to drive those Cattle, had sold his belongings at Newichawannock to Peter Weare and Basil Parker before 1640, and Major Robert Pike as we shall see, declared that his wife, before marriage (he married Sarah Sanders, 3 April, 1641), bought three of the cows of Mr. Gee. Francis Norton had settled in Charlestown before 1642. Masons servants at Newichawannock threw up their contract and left the place in 1638,
as James Wall declared. There is every reason to conclude that Norton, appointed agent of widow Ann Mason in 1638, at once sold the stock and abandoned the place. How, then could Francis Small, a boy nine or eleven years old, have been so "well acquainted with all the servants imployed by Capt. Mason," including the eight Danes, whom nobody else seem to have known anything about? The deposition says that the eight Danes came over to "build mills to saw timber, and tend them, and to make potashes," but James Wall deposed he and John Goddard and William Chadbourne were sent, in 1634 expressly to build the mills. Where were the eight Danes? They were probably making the "potashes," which nobody else ever heard of but this fictitious Francis Small, a very small boy when the Danes are said to have come over.
The deposition states that the house at Newichawannock was burned to the ground about the year 1645. There is no other evidence of such an event. An inventory of the property at Great Works, made in 1669, includes "a broaken dwelling house ready to fall, & a barne much out of repayre as well as "the broaken Mill." The house and barn might been those built by James Wall and sold by John Willcox to Peter Weare and Basil Parker before 1640 and to Richard Leader in 1652. The inventory was probably made when Thomas Doughty went into bankruptcy (York Deeds II. 69).
The depositions of Nathaniel Boulter and John Redman of Hampton were meant to support that of Francis Small. They say that they settled in Hampton in 1642 and that in 1645 they "did see a drove of one hundred head of great cattle, or thereabouts, that came from off Capt. Mason's at Piscattaway, and drove through the town of Hampton towards Boston by Capt. Norton and others, the servants of Capt. Mason or his heirs … very large beasts of a yellowish colour, and said to brought by Capt. Mason from Denmark. (N.H. Prov. Papers, I. 46.)" Neither of these deponents was living in Hampton in 1638, and Boulter was then only thirteen years of age according to this deposition. They say that "soon after Capt. Norton's going to Boston to inhabit the Massachusetts government did lay claim to the whole province of New Hampshire," but that was in 1641, so that the deposition contradicts itself.
The deposition of George Walron is more self-consistent and is attested by Walter Barefoot, while the others were attested by Richard Chamberlain. Both were strong partizans of the heirs of Capt. John Mason, and all of these depositions seem to have been made up to support some case in court, about the same time as the traditional list of Mason's servants was fabricated. All the contents of these four depositions were based upon hearsay reports and imagination.
The deposition attributed to Francis Small states that the deponent knew not by what right John and Richard Cutts got into possession of the great house at Strawberry Bank. The first volume of the published Suffolk Deeds acquaints us with their rights. Thomas Warnerton, agent of Mason, sold, 26 April, 1644, to Robert Saltonstall and David Yale, the Great House and his share of land, by the same right that John Willcox sold a house and land at Newichawannock. Robert Saltonstall sold the same, 3 August, 1646, to David Sellick, soapboiler and merchant of Boston. Sellick conveyed it to Sampson Lane, master of the ship Neptune of Dartmouth. Richard Leader bought it of Lane, 3 April, 1652, for Lb.180, with a great quantity of land. Leader sold the same to John and Richard Cutts, 1 October, 1655. The last transfer is recorded in N. H. Prov. Deeds, VI, 63, 64. Thus about all the land in the present city of Portsmouth is owned on the basis of the original right of conquest and illegal seizure.
How about the twenty-two women said to have been sent over by Mason? The only women mentioned in the early correspondence were the wives of Ambrose Gibbons and Roger Knight and one other wife unnamed. This may well have been the wife of Thomas Spencer. She was Patience, sister of Humphrey Chadbourne. A deposition shows that Spencer was born in 1596 and that he came into this country in 1630 (N.H. State Papers, XVII, 522). Probably his wife and one or two children came the following year. Not many wives came over, and Gibbons asks Capt. John Mason to send a good husband with his wife to tend the cattle and to make butter and cheese, adding that "Maides are soon gone in this country." Twenty-two women is a gross
exaggeration built upon fancy.
If, then, we have to chop off and shave down the traditional list of Capt. John Mason's servants, on the other hand we have to add some names to the list. Gibbons in his correspondence name Thomas Crockett, Thomas Clarke or Thomas Blake, William Dermit, who was with Walter Neal at Strawberry Bank, Charles Knill, or Neal, and Stephen Kiddar, or Teddar. The last signed the Dover Combination of 641 Thomas Crockett settled in Lower Kittery and his descendents are numerous.
One other name must be added to the list. "Wras Thomas Brookes & Peter Wyre were possessed of a parcell of ground & a house & a cleared lott together with the grant of Tenn acres of Marsh from Mr. Gorge [Gorges) by virtue of a writeing from one Joll Willcocke & another from Mr. Tho: Gorge, as by the said writeings more at large appeareth, Now these prsents testifyeth, I Jon Allcocke of Agamenticus, the executor of the last will & testament of the sd Tho: Brooks alias Basill Parker, have bargained and sould unto Rich: Leader his heyers or assignes all the said house and ground together with said Marsh." The price paid was fourteen pounds sterling, and the deed is dated "the last day of December 1652." The town of Kittery had made a grant of 400 acres to Richard Leader and the cleared land and house were within the limits of the grant. So to avoid all controversy Leader bought the claim of the parties named in the deed. The land and house were probably a little south of the bridge at Great Works and on the westerly side of the road. That land is called "Parkers Field" in several early deeds. The ten acres of Marsh also is mentioned in more than one deed as "Parkers Marsh." It was right in the middle of the 200 acres afterward granted to Thomas Spencer, and "Sluts Corner Brook" drained it into the Asbenbedick (York Deeds I. 30).
Thomas Spencer appears nowhere else than at Newichawannock, or Great Works. He probably came from the vicinity of Winchcombe, Gloucestershire, where his father-in-law, William Chadbourne, married Helen Towneley, .May 8, 1610. An earlier Spencer is found in the list of marriages of that place and a Thomas Spencer bought land there in 1624. In the correspondence of Ambrose Gibbons he names Thomas Clarke as one of the servants of Mason at the Great at House at Newichawannock. In settlement of accounts the same person is called Thomas Blake. Neither of these names is found again in the early records of Maine and of New Hampshire. Thomas Spencer may have had different names, as did Basil Parker. In an inventory of goods is found an item. "One great iron kittle, I received not. Thomas Spencer must answer." The last four words should take the place of the word "illegible" as printed. The date is July 1634.
New Hampshire Prov. Papers, Volume 1, p 93. The Court records of York County show that March 8, 1636, William Scadlock had an action "for debt against Thomas Spencer of Piscataqua." At this early date both sides of the rivers Piscataqua and Newichaiwannock, as far north as there was any settlement, were called Piscataqua, and that name is used for Great Works as late as February 14, 1655, when Richard Leader "sould unto Mr. Jon Beex of London, Merchant, one fourth part of his saw Mill at Piscataqua in New England (York Deeds I . 74.).
At the court held in Saco. June 25, 1640, among those of Piscataqua who were absent was Thomas Spencer. William Chadbourne built a house and gave it to his son-in-law, Thomas Spencer, soon after the former's arrival in 1634. This may have been upon the ten acres assigned to William Chadbourne by the terms of his contract with Capt. John Mason. The house was not a large one. The inventory of Spencer's estate mentions an "upper chamber," a "lower chamber," a "leanto," and a "hall". The last seems to have been kitchen, dining-room and living-room, judging from its contents named in the inventory. It has been remodeled and enlarged and is still standing where the road from Great Works to Pipe Stave Landing intersects the road from Eliot to South Berwick, in the southwest angle. The stone work of the cellar and the hewn oak floor-timbers attest its age. It is the oldest house in Maine and was occupied by the first permanent settler in Maine. It ought surely to be preserved as a landmark of colonial history.
The Spencer garrison was built before 1675, when it successfully resisted an attack by Indians. It stood on the site of William A. H. Goodwin's house, called "Old Fields," and was large enough to shelter one hundred persons. A house was built on the same site and was sold, July 24, 1740, with adjoining land, by William Spencer to Ichabod Goodwin. That house was replaced by the present one in 1797, said to be quite like the former one. The old well of the garrison is under the present veranda, on the easterly side of the house.
In May 1652 there was "Granted & Lotted out by ye Townsmen for Kittery unto Thomas Spencer his heirs or assigns forever a Tract of Land bounded as followeth. Beginning at a tree marked near unto Mr Bassill Parkers field & so runs up to a little round swamp where there are trees marked & from those trees upon ye lines southeast and by east & back into thee woods till two hundred acres be accomplished and it is bounded on the southeast side with several marked trees & so to run upon ye same line southeast & by east."
May 24, 1652, there were laid Out to Thomas Spencer 200, acres, "by Bassill Parkers," including "all ye Meadow he formerly improved." Thirty acres more were granted to him in 1654, "about Sluts Corner." See records of Kittery.
John Willcox gave his name to Willcox Pond, a mile ( so southeasterly from Great Works. It is called so repeatedly in early deeds. Later it is Will:Cocks Pond, " then "William Cocks Pond," then "Coxis Pond" and finally "Cox Pond, by which name it is now known. A deposition made 29 May, 1704, by Major Robert Pike of Salisbury, Mass., aged 88 years, testifies concerning the occupants of Mason's house at Odiorne's Point and that "the Defendent bought of one Willcott [John Willcox] one of Capt. Mason's servants, one heifer for which he paid eighteen pounds, and that his wife before her marriage bought of the other servants three of said Mason's cows and paid seventy-five pounds for them to Mr. Gee [Ralph Gee, servant of Mason at Odiorne's Point] that there was then a stock of neat cattle belonging to Mason, which said Norton carried away and further saith not" (N. H. Prov. Papers II. 531). Here it comes out clearly that John Willcox was one of the servants of Capt. John Mason. A man of the same name appears at Hartford, Conn., in 1639, and he married Anna, daughter of John Hall. Willcox Pond is named in a grant to Daniel Goodwin of land adjoining it, 15 July, 1656. Let us adopt the old name of the pond and thus commemorate one of the earliest settlers of South Berwick. Was his house the one that James Wall built and did Richard Leader live in it for a short time? There is an old well on his land, but whether he or Hon. John Hill dug it is not determined.
We want to know more about Basil Parker, who affixed his name to Parker's Field and Parker's Marsh. Edward Colcord, assignee of Basill Parker, alias Thomas Brooks, sued the Shrewsbury merchants for a debt due to him. Parker as wages from Capt. Thomas Wiggin, agent for said merchants. The verdict was for the plaintiff in the sum of seven pounds and ten shillings. This was in 1650 (Records and Files of the Quarterly Court of Essex County, Vol. I. P.190). He came over, then in the employ of Capt. Thomas Wiggin and when John Willcox left Great Works in 1638, Parker and Peter Weare Moved into the vacated house. At the court held in Saco in 1640 Peter Weare was present as an inhabitant of Piscataqua and Thomas Brookes is named in the records of the court among the absent inhabitants of Piscataqua. He dropped the name Thomas Brooks and took that of Basil Parker soon after, for both Peter Weare and Basil Parker witnessed a deed of land from Sagamore Rowles to Humphrey Chadbourne, 10 May
1643. The other witnesses were James Rawlen and Thomas Spencer (York Deeds I. 6.). Basil Parker removed to York before 1646, where he was then a Councilor. He became Recorder of deeds in 1647 and died between June and October 1651. He may have assumed the name of Thomas Brooks for a while in order to get safely out of England and have dropped it when disguise was no longer advisable. He was evidently a man of some scholarship and ability and came into prominence as an official. Let us remember Parker's Field and Parker's Marsh.
Peter Weare, born in 1618, came to New England in 1638 and appears to have settled at once at Great Works. He often traveled the country with some of the natives to the head or the Merrimac River, in Lake Winnepesaukee, during the twenty seven years before he gave his testimony in 1665 (See Mass. Colonial Records, IV. Part II,. Page 243 and also Coll. of Maine Historical Society, 2nd Series, IV. 228). Peter Weare moved to York about 1643 and married Mary, daughter of John Gooch. He bought twenty acres near Cape Neddick in 1644. He, too, became Recorder of deeds in York County and a prominent man in the early history of York. Weare seems to have been a hunter and trapper during the five years that he lived at Newichawannock, traveling with Indians over a wide range of country. Basil Parker may have been a farmer, for why should he clear a field and own a marsh, except it were to provide hay for his cattle? Both must have been men of some education and they lived a bold and adventurous life, undaunted by Indians and wild beasts.
James Wall, William Chadbourne and John Goddard came under a contract with Capt. John Mason to set up a saw mill and a "water corne mill," and to keep the same in repair and use five years. They were also to build houses, to have the use of ten acres of land and of some cattle, goats and swine, and at the end of five years to have forty acres of land on lease. In 1653 Joseph Mason sued John Goddard, in Norfolk County Court, for breach of contract and won his case. The Jury found for the plaintiff Lb. 100, as was specified in the contract. It looks as though John Goddard did not stay and build a house at Newichawannock, as Wall and Chadbourne did. No one of them stayed five years because of the breaking up of the plantation in consequence of the death of Mason. Goddard settled in the southwest part of what was later Durham, N. H., and Wall signed the Exeter Combination of 1639, afterward living in Hampton, N. H. Whether William Chadbourne senior remained with his son Humphrey at Newichawannock , or went to Boston with his son William; or returned to England, does not appear. He signed the submission of Kittery to Massachusetts in 1652.
After Capt. Francis Norton drove away the cattle in 1638 the Great House may have been occupied by Humphrey Chadbourne. Tradition says that he built a house on the road leading from Great Works to the Upper Landing, on the grant of land made to him by the town for the use of his mill. Richard Nason is mentioned in 1645 in the court records of New Hampshire. He had a grant of 200 acres next south of Thomas Spencer. He is not named among the men of Piscataqua in 1640. The fact that he had so large a grant, equal to that of Thomas Spencer, and his election to the office of selectman in 1654, favor the supposition that he was a man of importance. Perhaps he had been one of Thomas Wiggin's company. He reared a large family, and his surname has spread widely. From the year 1638 to the year 1651 the only persons that appear on records as living at what is now called Great Works were the families of Humphrey Chadbourne, Thomas Spencer and Richard Nason and the two who kept bachelors' hall together, viz., Basil Parker and Peter Weare. There were four houses and decaying mills. During this time a new mill was begun at the lower fall of the Little Newichawannock or Asbenbedick River.
In 1651 the town of Kittery granted to Richard Leader four hundred acres lying about one quarter of a mile on each side of the Little Newichawannock River, including the abandoned mills of Capt. John Mason's heirs. On the south side the grant stretched southeast by east in a straight line from near the lower falls to Faggot Bridge, or Fagotty Bridge, over Slut's Corner Brook. Thence it followed the brook in a northeasterly direction to the Asbenbedick River. "Fagotty Bridge" was probably so called because it was made of logs covered with brush, or faggots, and dirt. The following is of interest.
The deposition of Henry Right aged Seventy Years and Upwards testifieth & saith that he well remembers for above fifty five Years, that ye bridge called & known by ye name of Fagotty bridge was made over the brook called Sluts corner brook in the highway which led formerly to York from Newichawannock alias Berwick, and in the now way from Berwick to Wells & that there was no other bridge known by that name as I know of on the said brook for above fifty five years agone, & that it was Counted Mr Hutchinson Land to sd bridge on ye abovesaid brook which Land is now in the hand of John Plaisted Esq. or his son Capt Elisha Plaisted & further saith not. Sworn in perpetuam rei memoriam, before
County of York in York ABRAHAM. PRERLE Quoru
July ye 11th 1719 LEWIS BANE Unus
(York Deeds, IX, 267.)
The Deposition of Henry Wright upwards of seventy Years of Age testifieth & saith that the Bounds of the Lands formerly reputed to be Mr Eliakim Hutchinsons of Boston & was in the Posssion of Mr Roger Plalisted & one Thomas Douty was bounded as follooweth viz by the lands of Thomas Spencer & so extended from said Thos Spencers Land to faggotty Bridge & so down the Brook to the Great Works River & so continued
Down the River to the afortsd Thomas Spencers Iand which sd land is on the Southwardly Side of sd River bounded by Humphry Chadbourn on the Northerly Side of sd River to a white Oak Tree it being a Corner Tree & running from thence to John Lambs Landing Place being by the above sd River & from thence down the River to above sd Chadbournes Bounds & so to the above sd Oak Tree & the sd Plaisted improved severall Pieces of Meadow in Berwick viz a certain Piece of Meadow known by the name of Whites Marsh & a certain Piece of Meadow at Humphreys Pond all
Which premises as afore sd has been improved by Mowing or by fencing Planting & Building on the same & quietly possessed & improved by the afore sd Eliakim Hutchinson & Persons under him never disturbed for sixty Years last past that I ever heard of but by John Usher Esq. about three Years ago which Land lie in the now Town of Berwick in the County of York.
Suffolk ss Boston 21st July The Mark of Henry x Wright
1720. (York Deeds, XII, 67.)
Daniel Goodwin made a deposition to the same effect, and five years later, i. e., October 21, 1725, we find the following:
The Deposition of Daniel Goodwin aged seventy Years & Gilbert Warren aged about sixty nine years or thereabouts; Testifieth & saith that he very well remembers for above fifty Years past That the place called John Lambs Landing Place where he burn Coal was in Nichawannock alias Barwick upon the Great Works River on the North Side a mile or something more from Col. John Plaisted Mills & is about thirty Rods to the Eastward of a Brook of Water that runs into the above sd River & is to the Westward of a Cove & is about half way up the Reach comonly called by the name of Abrams Falls & there stands a great Red Oak Tree at the mouth of the above sd Cove on the Western Side of sd Cove & there stands at the above sd Landing Place a Clump of Bass Trees about a rod & a half from the above sd River & a white Oak Tree about half way between the above sd Bunch of Bass Trees & the River; which Place was called & known by the afore Sd name for upward of fifty Years past as above sd & there was never any other Place called by that Name as I ever knew or heard of
GILBERT x WARREN mark .
(York Deeds, X11, 68.)
Walter Allen testified to the same effect and in a separate deposition declared that the "year King Charles the Second was restored to the Crown of England he came into the Country" (i.e., 1660) and that Roger Plaisted was then in possession of the mill. The deposition was made April 20, 99 1720 and Allen was then aged about seventy-seven years. Hannah Hobbs (widow of Henry Hobbs of "Sligo," in Dover, and daughter of Thomas Canney) deposed, April 18, 1720, aged seventy-nine years, that after Roger Plaisted died his sons managed the mill, and then one Thomas Doubty, and after him William Spencer and Walter Allen (York Deeds XIV. 2). Martha Lord, aged about seventy-seven years, testified, September 19, 1717, that "She very well remembers Mr Tuckers living at Great Works after Mr Richard Leader Left ye place which was upwards of Sixty years ago." James Emery, aged eighty-seven years, September 26, 1717, that the "bridge called & Known by ye Name, of fagoty Bridge was in ye brook Neare where John Thompsons house Now Standeth in ye road which formerly Led to York in ye Now road to Wells from Berwick." John, Nason, aged seventy-seven years, September 19, 1717, Testfied that " Mr Richard Leader lived in ye Now town of Berwick at a place called ye Great Works & had a dwelling house there & a sawmill on ye falls called Assabumbedock falls (York Deeds VIII. 236, 237)." The rectified boundary of the grant to Leader on the north side of the river may be seen in York Deeds, III, 92. It began six rods below the Great Works falls and ended at John Lambs Landing place, where hee burned CharCoales." Thus all the low land called "the Vineyard" belonged to Humphrey Chadbourne. John Lamb had a grant of 20 acres in 1655, "by William Love's Bridge." Love had his grant in 1659.
According to a deposition found in the New York Genealogical Record, Richard Leader. merchant of Boston was aged forty-one. 8 August, 1650. He came from Ireland in 1645 and for a time had charge of the Lynn Iron Works, where many Scotchmen were employed, who had been captured by Cromwell at the battle of Dunbar, 3 September, 1650. Leader was brother-in-law to Richard Cutt of Portsmouth. This Relationship probably drew him first to Kittery. He saw the opportunity to do a lumbering business at the mill of Capt. John Mason, vacated and in ruins, and so got a grant of about four hundred acres from the town in 1651. Five additional grants of swamp and lumber land were made to him a little later. A deposition says that he lived at Great Works, and he may have lived in the house he bought of Basil Parker and Peter Weare. It is certain that Richard Leader bought the Great House at Portsmouth and his family probably lived there, for he had two daughters, one of whom, Elizabeth, married John Hole, or Howell, of lower Kittery and was killed by Indians, 4 May, 1705, "a gentlewoman of good extract and education." as Penhallow says. The other daughter of Leader, Ann married Samuel Clarke of Portsmouth and died in 1723, leaving several children. Richard Leader had a brother George, Who lived at Newichawannock some years
After the death of Richard.
There can be doubt that Richard Leader brought With him to Newichawannock a number of Scotchmen to aid in building and running his sawmill. Scots were also employed by Valentine Hill at Oyster River, and probably also at Sturgeon creek at Quamphegan and at Salmon Falls. A court record declares that Leader built houses on Capt. John Mason’s land, probably dwellings for his employees. He was opposed to the submission to the government of Massachusetts and some of the inhabitants accused him of the desire and purposes to get the upper hand in government over them. He is said to have set up a gang of nineteen saws (some modestly put the number less) and in consequence that place got the name of Great Works and the river took the same
Name both retaining it to the present time. About 1655 Leader sold all his belongings at Great Works to John Beex and Richard Hutchinson of London, Colonel William Beale
And Capt. Thomas Alderne. He is said to have died at Barbadoes, and Robert Jordan was appointed to administer his estate 1661. His sons-in-law, John Hole and Samuel
Clarke, were made administrators of his estate in 1668, according to New Hampshire Probate Records. The mill and lands at Great Works were soon in the possession of Eliakim Hutchinson of Boston, who took from the town a confirmation of former grants to Leader and from Robert Tufton Mason, grandson of Capt. John Mason, in 1687, a formal deed, to avoid all litigation, "excepting pine trees of four and twenty inches Deamiter fitting to make masts for ye Kings Ships." In the deed reference is made to a draught or plat of the lands, made by Capt. John Wincoll in 1682. The price paid to
Mason was fifty pounds. There was also an annual quit rent of forty shillings, if demanded, and three thousand foot of boards for every hundred thousand foot sawn. A fifth part of the gold and silver ore was reserved (York Deeds IV. 153). This deed is the
Only acknowledgement of the rights of Capt. John Mason's heirs found in the York Deeds.
While Leader was operating at Great Woks he had for neighbors in similar business Humphrey Chadbourne, . Thomas Spencer and Daniel Goodwin at the mouth of the Asbenedick and Thomas Broughton, who owned in the mills of Quamphegan and Salmon Falls. John Lovering was the earliest manager of the mill at Quamphegan, where the bridge is now to Rollingsford. He came from Ipswich and was drowned in 1668 Capt. John Wincoll was also interested in the mills at Salmon Falls. He was brother-in-law to Thomas Broughton and came to Newichawannock before 1652. He
Became prominent as a surveyor, public official and military man.
When Leader left Great Works, in 1655, his Scotch employees or apprentices, received grants of land from the town. The following had grants in 1656, James Warren (who deposed, 13 Sept., 1701, aged eighty years, that he had lived in upper Kittery "near fiftie years." He came, then in 1651, the same year as Leader), John Taylor, and Alexander Maxwell. Their grants were just below Nason's along the main river. A little further down the river lived John Neal and Daniel Ferguson. Neal deposed in 1700 that he had lived in the upper part of Kittery "upwards of forty years." Maxwell was flogged in court in 1654 "for his grosse offence in his exorbitant and abusive carages towards his master, Mr George Leader." Neal married Joan, daughter of Andrew Searle, and Searle had a shop within Neal's garrison. Peter Grant, who had been one of the Scots at the Lynn Iron Works, bought land of James Emery in 1659. William Furbish moved into upper Kittery about the same time from Oyster River. Over in "Sligo," in what is now Rollinsford, lived as early as 1656, Henry Magoun, James Grant and Henry Hobbs, Scotchmen, who probably worked for Thomas Broughton at the Quamphegan mill. Above Salmon Falls in 1662 lived John Key, James Barry, John Reed, and another James Grant. Alexander Cooper, called "Sander Copper" in Court records. Was settled in upper Kittery in 1662. Micurn McIntyre had a grant here the same year, on which John Reed lived. John Ross and David Hamilton are found a little later, as well as George Gray and Nyven Agnew, or Agneau.
Richard Leader seems to have been in partnership with Mr. David Selleck in gathering up and transporting to New England men, women and children, especially young women, who were refugees and wanderers because of Cromwell's invasion of Ireland. Shiploads were brought over in 1652 and 1654. They carne in the ship Goodfellow. (Suffolk Deeds, II, 197-8, and Prendergast's Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland, pp. 238-9.)
That Richard Leader went to Barbadoes, probably in the employ of Thomas Broughton, whose acquaintance he must have made at Newichawannock. appears from York Deeds, X, 113, where is mentioned Broughton's "Interest and share in all that parcel of land Containing by estimation Two and Twenty Acres of land more or Less and ye Saltworks thereupon Scittuate and being in ye Barbadoes and now or late in ye Tenure or Occupation of one Richard Leader or his Assigns." Dated 11 Dec. 1658.
In fact so many Scotchmen swarmed into upper Kittery that it acquired the name of the "Parish of Unity," since most of these Scotchmen had sent from London to Boston in the ship Unity. Others settled in the adjoining town and formed the "Scotland Parish" of York.
From foregoing evidence it appears that after the mill at Great Works got into the possession of Eliakim Hutchinson of Boston, Richard Tucker had charge for a short time. Then Roger Plaisted managed the mill for a time and also William Spencer and Walter Allen. About 1665 Hutchinson rented the mill to Thomas Doughty, and James Grant of York, Peter Grant and John Taylor became Doughty's bondsmen. The bond was dated 1 June, 1665. The court in Boston decreed the forfeiture of the bond. Meanwhile Doughty had left Great Works for Saco. He had been one of Capt. Valentine Hill's seven Scots at Oyster River, where he was admitted to citizenship in 1658. He married, 24 June, 1669, Elizabeth Bulie. He built a gristmill near Swan Pond and lived there twenty years. In consequence of the Indian raid of 1689 he removed to Malden, Mass., where he died about 1705, aged seventy-five. He left three sons and four daughters, and many descendants are scattered throughout Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Doughty stamped his name upon Doughty's Falls at North Berwick,
Mentioned in a deed as early as 1709. The name is still retained.
In 1699 Eliakim Hutchinson conveyed to John Plaisted all his lands and mill at Great Works, and within a few days Plaisted conveyed one third of the same to John Hill. The latter was son of Roger and Mary (Cross) Hill of Saco, and he married Mary, daughter of Major Charles Frost. The mill remained long in the possession of the Plaisted and Hill families. John Hill is said to have built a house on the opposite side of the road from what is now known as the Hill Garrison House, and the well by the roadside may have belonged to that house. In this immediate vicinity must have lived John Willcox, Peter Weave and Basil Parker, and perhaps Richard Leader.
William Spencer received by deed and inheritance the part of the Spencer farm along the river and in the vicinity of the dwelling house. May 20, 1684. William Spencer conveyed to brother-in-law, Ephraim Joy, carpenter, three and one quarter acres a part of the land that William received by his father’s will, "on the north side of the house lot of my late deceased father afore sd & is about forty pooles in length & about thirteen pooles in breadth & bounded on the North with ye Land called Parkers field & on the West & South with the rest of own Land & on the East high way leading to Mr Hutchinsons Saw Mill (York Deeds IV, 11.)." November 2, 1696 Ephrim Joy assigned this deed of sale to James Stackpole Senr for fifteen pounds, (York Deeds IV, 104.)", Every year from 1693 to 1699, James Stackpole was licensed to sell beere, Cyder, rum, provision victuals, horsemeat and lodging. In 1696 his license was "to keep a house of Entertainment at his now dwelling house" He married Margaret, daughter of James Warren probably as early as 1675 and since 1680 had lived just across the river from Chadbourne's mill, in what is now Rollingsford N. H. He probably built the house in 1696, which he sold "for a sum of money" to the Rev. John Wade, 22 November 1699, "a certain parcell of Land Scituate in sd Bawick Meeting house which I bought of Ephraim Joy decd containing three acres and a quarter be it more or less being forty Rod in Length and thirteen Rod in breadth bounded on the south east by the way going from the great work to the River Northeast by Mr. John Plaisteds land sometimes called Parkers field Northwest by the Burying place in ye Land of Humphrey Spencer, heir to William Spencer Decesd, Southwest by Land of sd Spencer or the Countrey Road, with all the housing trees fences & privileges pertaining thereto (York Deeds, VI, 61.)." This left a piece of land between the south side of the house lot and the road, and so, 16 September, 1700, Humphrey Spencer, for two pounds and nine shillings, conveyed to Mr John Wade "a piece of Upland Scituated in sd Barwick bounded Eastwardly by sd Wades Land bought of James Stagpole Southwardly by ye way leading toward ye great
Works (soe called) and on ye Westward most side by the Country Road it being a Triangle, containing by Measure Eighty five Pearches (York Deeds VI, 69.)."
The Rev. John Wade died 13 November, 1703, and his widow Elizabeth Wade, conveyed, 13 June, 1707, to Jeremiah Wise, clerk, of Berwick, for 140 pounds, "a certain track or parcel of land, containing four acres be it more less, with the dwelling house standing thereon Scituate lying and beginning in the sd town of Barwick near to the Meeting house, bounded on the South east by the way going to the Great works Northeast by Mr John Hills formerly Mr John Painted land commonly called Parkers field Northwest by the burying place in the land of Humphrey Spencer Southwest by ye land of Humphrey Spencer or the common road which leads to Quamphegan Together with all other houses Edifices buildings Barnes Stables orchards Gardens Yards backsides easements lands Meadows feedings pastures woods Underwood’s ways, passages profits commodities Advantages Hereditaments and Appurtnances whatsoever(York Deeds VII, 80)." The whole deed is a curious one for its multiplicity of verbiage, meant to evade all possible tricks of wily interpreters of law and showing that in the administration of law the main foe to be guarded against was the lawyers themselves.
One Hundred and fifty acres for ministry land were laid out 19 July, 1669, "on ye north side of the way which goes toward Wells," east of "Sluts Corner Brook(Old Kittery and Her Families, p. 196, taken from Town Records, Vol. I. p. 23)." These lands joined on the east the grant to Richard Leader. The lands were to poor and too far away for a parsonage. Twelve acres lying between the road to Wells and that to Great Works a triangular piece, were early set aside for "Meeting house land." This land was exchanged by William Hutchinson for one hundred acres granted by the town of Kittery and was held by the town "for ye accomodation of the Ministrey(York Deeds III, 132)." South of this piece of land and on the opposite side of the road to Wells, Eliakim Hutchinson conveyed, 28 August, 1683, to Daniel Goodwin, eleven and three quarters acres of upland and being next Adjoyning to Humphrey Spencers land whereon formerly he lived & his dwelling house standeth," bounded "ninety pooles South East & by East being next into ye land of Humfrey Spencer & Eighty pooles East next Adjoyning to the Common high way, & South fourty eight pooles next to the said Eliakine Hutchinsons(York Deeds III, 136.)."
July 5, 1684, Eliakim Hutchinson of Boston conveyed to John Emerson of Berwick, alias Newichwannock "a certain percell of Land Containing Ten Acres Adjoining to ye land next to ye meeting house Land, part of it butting up on ye highway Leading to ye Sawmill & six acres next Daniel Goodwins Land Northerly & ye Land of sd Hutchinson Southerly and ye highway Easterly." April 10, 1708. John Emerson of Salem. Clergyman, and his wife Sarah Emerson assigned this deed to James Grant of Berwick (York Deeds IX, 50.)." The selectmen of the Parish of Berwick made a written agreement with Eliakim Hutchinson to maintain John Emerson or some other in the ministry for ten continuous years, 18 September, 1684(York Deeds IV, 23.). February 13, 1718/9, James Grant and wife Rachel, mortgaged this land to certain Commissioners, "Six Acres of Land Near ye Meeting house in sd town lying on ye South side of ye highway that leads to Wells, bounded on ye West by Daniel Goodwins
land on ye South by Thomas Goodwins land on ye East by Capt. John Hills land on ye North by ye highway that leads to Wells & is twenty one pole East by South & is forty Seven poles & a half pole in length on the West side & fifty four pole in Length on ye East side, & four acres more lying on ye North side sd highway ye bounds and courses according to ye six Acres aforesd (York Deeds, IX, 144.)." In 1724 James Grant conveyed all these ten acres to Joseph Jellison by two separate deeds. The four acres north of the road were bounded "southerly on the highway leading from Berwick to Wells Easterly on ye land of Capt John Hill deced Westerly on the Ministry Land adjoining to the Meeting house & Northerly on ye way leading to the Great Works (York Deeds XIII, 41.)."
In the deed from Eliakim Hutchinson to John Plaisted mention is made again of "twelve acres for ye Accommodation of the Meeting house and ministry in ye upper part of ye Town of Kittery (York Deeds VI, 112)," We have seen that James Stacpole, John Wade and Jeremiah Wise lived "near ye Meeting house." We now that their house stood near the easterly end of their lot, where very large elm trees, called "Wise's Gateway," and
A slight depression, as of a filled-in cellar, mark the place of their ordinary and parsonage. The first church stood probably on the opposite side of the road leading to Great Works, About where the school house now (1926) stands.
From 1742 to 1748 there was much controversy in Berwick concerning the location of a proposed new meeting house. Some wanted to build it a mile and a half further north, and the town so voted. Several petitions about the matter were sent to the General Court at Boston. The people who wanted the new church to remain on the ministry lands as of old contributed Lb. 4000 and built a new meeting house very near the old one. In a petition they say that they "have been at the Expence of Building a new Meeting house in Berwick on the Ministry Land where two Meeting houses have been before this built and the only place where the Public worship of God has been carried on ever since any Public worship has been performed in this place, which is now about four score years (Collections of Maine Historical Society, Vol. XI. P. 409.)." This petition is dated 5 September, 1748, and it takes us back to 1668. In another petition, the same month, they say that the old Meeting house "stands upon ye Ministry Lands in the place where a former Meeting house stood & ye public worship carried on ever since the Inhabitants ever had a place for public worship, which now about Eighty or Ninty years." Thus we are taken back to between 1658 and 1868. The first date seems to be nearer the historical truth, for the Parish of Unity was presented at court 12 October, 1669, for not having a Minister "these five or six years." This takes us back to 1663, when they seem to have had a Minister and probably a meeting house (Old Kittery and her Families, p. 195). The above citation also informs us that the first meeting house stood where the second one did. and not in Humphrey Spencers burial ground. as some have conjectured. John Bready had contributed twenty shillings toward "seating the meeteing house" before 1681 (York Deeds, V. 14.) In 1701 the first meeting house was found "not worth repairing and a new one was dedicated, 4 June, 1702. This Iasted till about 1748, when a new and much larger one was built on higher ground, before the old one was demolished. Indeed the town repaired the old one in opposition to the aforesaid petitioners and Commissioners finally decided that the new one should be the place of worship and a few years later, about 1755, another parish was formed and a meeting house erected at Blackberry Hill. A sketch of the third church at Great Works was made by George W. Frost, and Goodwin at "Old Fields" has a copy of it. The sketch also shows the house now standing that was the parsonage the Rev. John Thompson, 1783-1828, also the school house. The abandoned meeting house was burned after 1845.
The earliest schools were kept in private houses and migrated from house to house. Land for the first public school that we read about was given to the town of Berwick by
Baker Nason, 4 August, 1726, "for the Encouragement of the Settling of a School at the lower End of the town." The lot was forty feet square and a school house was already on it. It was situated on the main road to Kittery, bounded easterly by the road and on the other three sides by Nason's land. (York Deeds, XIII. 75.)
John Bradstreet was the first teacher of whom there is any record. He is called "Clothier" in a deed 7 January, 1714, when he bought of Mary, widow of Humphrey Spencer, an acre and a half of land lying between the road and Great Works River. He witnessed very many deeds and perhaps he wrote them. He seems to have disappeared from Berwick about the 1727 (York Deeds, VIII, 75.)."
North and south of Pipe Stave Landing were ship-yards long before the Revolutionary War, while on the west side of the main river, Plaisted, Wallingford, Hobbs and Garvin also were building small vessels. Some affirm that there was more shipbuilding just below Little Johns Falls than at Portsmouth. Benjamin Nason sold to William More, 1 January, 1727, six acres, "beginning at ye Mouth of the Little Brook at the ship Yard at the Lower End of Pipe Stave Point (York Deeds, XII. 227.)." On this land William More, or Moore, had a store and probably built the first house on the spot where is now the Hamilton house. This first house, tradition says, was better than the present one. It was burned. William Moore kept buying small pieces of the Nason farm till he owned about all of the westerly end that lay along the river. David Moore, ship builder was probably son of William Moore and is mentioned by Schoolmaster Tate in his Journal, "Thursday Oct ye 10 1771 Mr. David Moore of Berwick launched a ship of 220 tons Burthin." And again, "Friday Oct. 15 1773 Mr. Woodbery Langdon launched a new ship. Built by Mr. David Moore, Master Builder Joseph Field, Mr. Moore remaining in exile." There was a Susannah Moore, perhaps sister of David Moore, who married, 14 February, 1760 Capt. William Rogers and had seven children recorded by Tate. (The first William Moore married 16 January, 1723, Ann, daughter of Daniel and Amy Thompson Goodwin and later may have married Abigail Wise). William Rogers built a large house "situated between the Hamilton House and the corner in the lane, not far from the latter." He moved to Shapleigh and Joshua Haven of Portsmouth lived in the house Rogers had buiIt. Afterward this house was carried to Portsmouth in gundalows "and the ceilings were not cracked nor the beautiful paper injured," as truthful tradition says.