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One of the things I inherited from my great-grandmother, Mildred Scott Hill, was reams of paperwork on the Plaisted family. She and her sisters had done research on the family in order to become members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, an ultimately successful pursuit which was approved in 1926.

Much of the information on the Plaisted family comes from genealogies and local histories which may contain inaccuracies. I regularly receive emails from people who believe my line into England and beyond is in error. I think that is possible. Because the line is inherited, I can't say for sure that it is entirely accurate, especially the part that extends into England. The farther back in history one goes, the more tenuous are the links that can really be made. However, I feel confident in the line that traces me back to my 10th great-grandfather, Lieutenant Roger Plaisted, apparently the first Plaisted to come to the Americas.

Below is some information about Lieutenant Roger Plaisted and southern Maine history taken from sources seen at the end:

The first American Plaisted was Roger Plaisted, who was apparently born at Dunford Mill, near Mildenhall and Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire, England to Roger and Ciecle Plaisted in about 1623/4. He married Olive Coleman of Preshute, Wiltshire on March 23, 1648.

In about 1649, at the age of about 26, Roger left England accompanied by Olive, and their son Roger, the younger. Charles I was executed and Oliver Cromwell became head of Parliament in this year, promoting a new religious freedom for Puritans and stemming the flow of Puritan settlement of New England. For this reason, it is less likely that Roger immigrated to the Americas primarily for religious reasons and more likely that he went in search of adventure or fortune or a combination of the three. Roger would probably have gone by road to Portsmouth, and then traveled to New England in a ship such as as the "Angel Gabriel" or "The James". He would have likely landed at Boston and probably made his way north by small boat to Maine. Roger possibly came over with two brothers: John and Thomas (John appearing in list of taxpayers in Boston 1681, and Thomas a merchant in Salem, Massachusetts in 1690).

About 1654, Roger Plaisted proceeded to Kittery, Maine. Kittery at this time was somewhat sparsely settled, and its major industries were still logging and fishing. Roger was one of the signatories of a petition to Oliver Cromwell from 71 residents of Saco, Cape Corpus, Wells, York and Kittery, asking to be placed under the Government of Massachusetts. This petition was the controversy of the day, with some residents advocating for governance by Massachusetts and some strenuously against the idea. Eventually, Massachusetts did take over the governance of Maine which until then had a separate charter, and Maine was part of Massachusetts until after the Revolutionary War.

On 20 February 1654, Roger Plaisted witnessed a deed for Nason in Berwick, Maine, which was then known as Newichewannock or Quamphegan. There is also a record of a note due him for 42 pounds before September 1656, indicating that he had probably settled in the Berwick area by this time.

Roger Plaisted had an original grant of land when he went to Berwick, meaning he was an early settler of that region. In early New England towns, original settlers were given grants of land which carried responsibilities, but also benefits. The size and quality of the grant often indicated the size of a settler's family and his desirability. In 1659, the town of Berwick granted Roger 100 acres of land at Salmon Falls, on the Nechiwannock River. Roger built a Garrison House on his 1659 grant. He was subsequently granted 264 additional acres by the town.

He was one of the 15 associates of the Province of Maine, from Kittery, and he was a Representative to the General Court from 1663 to 1667. He was a magistrate in the York County Court in 1664, a grand juror in 1667, and he was a Selectman of the Town of Berwick.

About 1660, Roger rented from the Hutchinson family a sawmill known as the Great Works. It subsequently was owned by John Plaisted, his son. In 1707, Ichabod Plaisted, another son, purchased 200 acres adjacent to Roger's Salmon Falls grant. The Plaisted family accumulated a considerable amount of property in the Kittery area.

During this time, the settlers of New England were involved in King Philips War with the local Indian tribes, one of the bloodiest wars in our history. The war is named for Metacom, called King Philip by the New Englanders, who was a sachem in the Wampanoag tribe, one of the tribes who was involved in the war. There had been previous battles between local Indian tribes and Maine settlers, but the unrest during King Philips War was an extended period of conflict primarily attributed now to the spread of white settlements. Specific conflicts tended to occur when there was a theft, murder, or other incident that was blamed on Indians. White settlers retaliated by attacking villages, burning houses and killing inhabitants, even if the Indians in the village had nothing to do with the initial incident. Indians counterattacked, spreading the violence to new white settlements, and destroying many of the fledgling white villages. Many atrocities occurred on both sides of the conflict, with kidnappings, destruction of villages, and wholesale massacres of entire towns being relatively common. King Philip's War is typically considered to end in 1676 with the death of Metacom; however, the strife continued in Maine long after it had ended in other areas of New England and hindered further white settlement of the area, causing white settlers to congregate in southeastern coastal areas.

Roger Plaisted was a Lieutenant in the military forces under the command of Captain Charles Frost during this time period. A few weeks after an Indian attack on South Berwick in which several were killed or kidnapped, the town was surrounded by a large force of Indian attackers. On October 16, 1675, the Indians attacked Kittery with a force of about 100 to 150 men. They burned Richard Tozier's house, where villagers were garrisoned, and killed 4 men. The nearest fortified point to which the settlers could appeal was Dover, about five miles away on the banks of the Piscataqua River which divides Maine from New Hampshire. A messenger was sent on October 16th to Dover with the following letter requesting assistance:

Salmon Falls
Oct. 16, 1675

Mr. Richard Waldern and Lieut. Coffin:

These are to inform you that just now the Indians are engaging us with at least one hundred men, and have slain four of our men already - Richard Tozier, James Barron, Isaac Botts, and Tozier's son - and have burnt Benony Hodsdon's house. Sir, if you have any love of us, and the Country, now show yourself with men to help us, or else we are all in great danger to be slain, unless our God wonderfully appears for our deliverance.

They that cannot fight, let them pray, nought else, but I rest

Yours to serve you
Roger Playstead
George Broughton

Assistance was apparently sent from the town of Eliot, but it did not arrive in time. Roger Plaisted, going to recover the bodies of the dead men, ventured forth from the fort with twenty soldiers, but was attacked by about 100 Indians who had been hiding in the woods. Roger Plaisted was killed, though one man said that the Indians had just wanted to hold him for ransom. Plaisted's eldest son, Roger, and another man were also killed, and Samuel, another of Plaisted's sons, sustained fatal injuries, before the Indians apparently withdrew.

Following the death of Roger Plaisted, his widow, Olive, married John Wincoll. Articles of agreement were signed September 16 1682, between Olive Wincoll, and Roger Plaisted's children: William, James, John, Elisha, Ichabod, Elizabeth, and Mehitable, regarding his estate.

There are two gravestones near the site in Berwick where Roger Plaisted and his son died, with these inscriptions: 'Here lies interred the body of Samuel Plaisted, Esq., who departed this life March 20, 1731-2, aged 36' and 'Near this place lies buried the body of Roger Plaisted who was killed by the Indians, October 16, 1675, age 48, also the body of his son, Mr. Roger Plaisted, Jr., who was killed at the same time.'


References:

  1. Banks, Charles Edward. History of York Maine, Vol I. (Baltimore, MD: Regional Publishing Company. 1931).

  2. Banks, Charles E., Topographical Dictionary of 2885 English Emigrants to New England, 1620-1650 (1937).

  3. Bourne, Russell, The Red King's Rebellion. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 218 - 219.

  4. King, M.F., Lieut. Roger Plaisted of Quamphegon (Kittery) and some of his Descendants. (M.F. King, Portland, Maine, 1904).

  5. Mather, Cotton, "New Assaults from the Indians" and "The Condition of the Captives" in A. T. Vaughan and E. W. Clark, eds. Puritans Among the Indians: Accounts of Captivity and Redemption, 1676 - 1724. (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1981), pp. 142 - 143.

  6. Stackpole, Everett S., Old Kittery and her Families (New England History Press, 1981).

  7. Taylor, Alan. American Colonies: The Settling of North America. (New York: Penguin Books. 2002).