(Rough draft. Updated Nov 2020)

The settlement at current day South Berwich is considered the oldest permanent settlement in Maine, where Kittery is the first incorporated town and York the first incorporated city.

In May, 1630, the ship 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 Mason/Gorges 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 (12).

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) The advantages of trade, the water power, the forest of pine, and the abundance of salmon and sturgeon determined his choice of this locality for a permanent settlement (12).

This original settlement at “Newichawannock” was built and fortified with a palisade and was used as a “trading post” until it burned and nothing currently remains of this settlement except the site of the old “well” which Ambrose Gibbons dug to accommodate the Newichawsannock settlers.

William Chadbourne, father of Humphrey Chadbourne (Portsmouth) built


GIBBONS, AMBROSE The plantation at Newichawannock (now South 
Berwick) was begun, probably, in 1631. Ambrose Gib- 
bons had charge. Mason and others wrote to him un- 
der date of Nov. 5, 1632, "We praie you to take care of 
our house at Newichawannock, and to look well after 
our vines; also you may take some of our swine and 
goates, which we pray you to preserve." This implies 
that a house had been built sometime before and vines 
planted. Here trade was carried on with the Indians, 
who sometimes came to the number of one hundred. A 
deposition shows that a piece of land was purchased of 
the Indians. It probably lay on both sides of the Little 
Newichawannock River, now called Great Works 
River. July 13, 1633, Gibbons wrote Mason that 
Thomas Warnerton had charge of the house at Pascata- 
qua, or Little Harbor and had with him William 
Cooper, Ralph Gee, Roger Knight and wife, William 
Dermit and one boy. Certainly this was not a large 
colony, but Capt. Walter Neal, Mason's agent in the 
GODDARD, JOHN, 1608-1660. He was one of 
Capt, John Mason's colonists who came over in the ship 
"Pied Cow," and landed in a cove a short distance be- 
low Quamphegan Falls (South Berwick), 13 July, 1634, 
He helped build the saw mill and grist mill at Great 
Works. Mr. Goddard was a carpenter and was under 
contract, with others, to work for Mason five years ; it 
appears he worked only three years, so in April 1653 
Joseph Mason brought an action against Goddard "for 
breach of contract in not keeping the saw mill and a 
corne mill in repayer and worke the full time of five 
years, etc." Goddard had come down river to Dover, 
where he got land on better terms than he could around 
the "Great Works." He had a lot on Dover Neck in 
1648. He was made freeman in 1653, and he is fre- 
quently mentioned in the Dover records. He owned 
land at Oyster River and other parts of the old town ; 
he was famous as a mill builder, being more active in 
business than in politics. His four daughters married 
men who became distinguished in the town and pro-