In 1623, William and Edward Hilton settled the Cocheco Plantation, adopting its Abenaki name, making Dover the oldest permanent settlement in New Hampshire, and seventh in the United States. One of the colony’s four original townships, it then incluced Durham, Madbury, Newington, Lee, Somersworth, and Rollinsford.
"in a little tyme following (we) settled up- on the River Pascataqua with Mr. Edw. Hilton, who (Edward and William) were the first English settlers there. They had much intercourse with ye Indians by way of trade and mutual giving and receiving; amongst whom was one Tahanto, Sagamore of Penacooke (who) for diverse kindnesses received from your petitioner's father & himself, did freely give unto ye aforesaid Wil- liam Hilton, Seniour & William Hilton, Juniour, six square miles of land lying on ye River Penneconaquegg, being a rivulett running into ye river Penacooke, to ye eastward, etc., etc." (1)
Is the Wheelwright Deed 1629 Authentic? Being a settlement from this early, 1623, is a big deal, and here was debate on whether Hilton’s Point Dover was actually founded as far back as 1623, until this discovery seemed to confirm it:
a discovery in the Court files of Suffolk County of the Petition of William Hilton, sou of the first settler of that name, dated June i, 1660, to the Honored General Court then assembled in Boston, in relation to some lands bought by him and his father of the Pennacook Indians in 1636. In this petition William Hilton says, that "your petitioner's father, William Hilton, came over into New England about the year Anno Dom. 1621, and 3^our petitioner came about one year and a half after, and 771 a little time follozvins; settled ourselves upon the rive?- of Pis- cataqua with Mr. Ed7v. Hilton, -who icere the first English planters there.''
Edward Hilton obtained an important grant in his own name on March 12, 1630 and this solidified its place in history. The grant included present day Dover, Durham, Stratham, and parts of Newington and Greenland. To the natives, it was called Wecanacohunt.
People of interest:
CANNEY, THOMAS, 1600—1678. He was born in England and came to New England in 1631. He was a member of Capt. John Mason's company that commenced the settlement of Strawberry Bank. He came to Dover in 1634, having land in what is now Newington, then called Bloody Point-in-Dover. His farm was on the bank of the Pascataqua River, at the cove called Canney's Cove, the cove taking its name from its ownership of the surrounding land. He sold this land to John Seeley, and Seeley sold it to James Rawlins in 1661. Canney removed to Dover Neck before 1650, and resided there the remainder of his life. The present shipyard in Newington is located on part of Thomas Canney's farm. Probably he never anticipated such a use of his shore line. Mr. Canney was a very active man in business affairs, also he was a stanch supporter of the First Church in the time when the Quaker women gave the Church so much trouble, after 1662. In 1670 Thomas Canney renewed his deed of prop- erty to son Joseph; ''My late dwelling house and land, bounded E. by Fore River; N. by a cove ;W. by ye Great Streete On Dover Neck; S. by land of Joseph Austin. Also a lot on Dover Neck, bounded N. by John Roberts ; W. by a cove; S. by land lately Richard Pinkham's. Also 4 acres on Dover Neck, bounded N. by common. Also 30 acres west of Great Bay, except 3 acres of marsh already laid out to son Thomas. Also 80 acres on the north side of Cochecho Marsh. Also one-eighth of Cochecho Point, bounded (undivided) by Cochecho River, Newichawannoch River and Nechewannick Path from Fresh Creek to St. Albans Cove." Acknowledged 6 October, 1670. Jabez Foye, Hatevil Nutter, Job Clement, Sen., were witnesses.
GIBBONS, AMBROSE, first comes to view as steward of Capt. John Mason at Newichawannock, though it has been asserted that he began a settlement at Cape Ann in 1621. In 1634, land was granted to him at Sanders Point, between Little Harbor and Saga- more Creek. He soon moved to Oyster River, in Dover. He is mentioned as Captain in 1642. He was one of the Selectmen of Dover in 1647 and 1648. He died 11 July, 1656. His wife's name was Rebecca; she died 14 May, 1655. Their only child, Rebecca, m. 13 Nov., 1637, Henry Sherburne. She died 3 June, 1667. He was an honest, capable and faithful steward, and knew better than his employer what the plantation needed. The land that he bought at Oyster River was the farm known as the Robert Burnham farm, of which see an account under Mr. Burnham's name in this book. It may have been the same place where the old cellar now is that he built his house ; probably it was the Gibbons house that Burnham at first lived in. (It is an inter- esting fact, too, that there once lived Capt. John Ma- son's steward who came over in 1631.) His only daugh- ter, Rebecca, m. Henry Sherburne of Portsmouth; to their son, Samuel, grandfather Gibbons gave the farm at Oyster River, and Samuel sold it to Robert Burnham, as elsewhere noted. This is one of the historic farms of Durham.