Piscataqua Plantations

A History of the Piscataqua River Region

Category: 1620s

1622 Ferdinando Gorges

(rough draft)

Fernando Gorges is a name largely forgotten in American history, but he is considered “The Father of English Colonization of North America.” His interest specifically in the Piscataqua region was decades in the making. He went on to found Georgiana, which was later named to York, which can be read here: http://piscataquaplantations.com/1623-agamenticus-gorgeana-york/

As we have seen, many reasons contributed to European interest in the East Coast of the New World including natural resources, gold, silver, fish, trade, and the survival of the Virginia Company in Jamestown. They were also competing with the French, Spanish, Portuguese, and other rivals for land and power.

Gorges was from Plymouth, England and became a rich and powerful man. Through military service, he became governor of the Fort at Plymouth. He became aquianted with the three Native Americans who were brought over by George Weymouth, and all the public reports of the New World by the likes of John Smith and many others.

By 1620, Gorges was chief agent for the Council for New England and this work kept him back in England. In 1622, Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason received a large land grant from The Council which they named Laconia. The original boundaries of land granted to them both extended between the Kennebec River south to Merrimack River in Massachusetts. Mason acquired the area between the Piscataqua and south to the Merrimack. Mason’s portion became New Hampshire, and Gorges’s portion, was from the Piscataqua north to the Kenebunk, Maine (1).

In Maine, the present towns of Kittery, the Berwicks, and Eliot were originally part of the Piscataqua Plantation, with initial settlements at Quamphegan Falls, Spruce Creek, Sturgeon Creek and at Kittery Point, which in the 1630’s collectively supported a population of about 200 people. The plantation on the east bank of the Piscataqua River at Sturgeon Creek Village was renamed Kittery in about 1647. (1)

Gorges’s nephew Thomas was said to be perhaps the most significant and influencial, helpful to settlers, and was held in high honor (2). (move this)

Sir Ferdinando Gorges died in 1647 having never visited New England. King Charles I was beheaded, and Puritans under Cromwell gained control of England. During the King’s struggle…Gorges had remained loyal to him. It was perhaps well that he died two years before the king and was spared the grief of seeing puratin control. Gorges had been on the loosing side from the beginning, first in his fishing monopoly, then in his ideas of government, and finally his love for the king. After his death, Gorges’s heirs, being royalists too, were unable to assert their claims in America (9).

He did not leave any direction or inheritance on his lands, and in Gorgeana, an assembly voted to rule independentaly until further notice. Edward Godfrey was voted Governor, and was thus the first person to be voted Governor in what is now the State of Maine (2).

Court cases and disputes between the Bay Colony and Maine continued to 1677 when they finally agreed to Gorges claim, however, purchased the rights for 1250 pounds from his decendants. Game over.

1623 Panaway (Odiorne) Rye

Travel to New England was so common by 1623 that it was decided a government would form in New England, especially to help enforce it’s trading monopolies. (9)

Land was granted by the Council of New England and David Thompson, friend of Fernando Gorges, who built a house in the spring of 1623 at a place known by the Natives as Panaway, also “Little Harbor,” “Great Island.” It was later changed to Odiorne Point named after John Odiorne.

Much is written about this early location. It’s significance is the earliest year-round residence in the Piscataqua region and the State of New Hampshire.

While David Thompson left for the Boston area and passed away shortly after, many prominent men were chosen by Mason and Gorges passed through here. Many became founding fathers of the Piscataqua region: Captain Walter Neal, Thomas Cammock, Henry Jocelyn, and Edward Godfrey, Humphrey Chadbourne, Robert Gorges, Admiral Francis West, and Christopher Levett.

Further reading can be found here:

1623 Cocheco Plantation Dover

Rough draft

In 1623, William and Edward Hilton sailed about 8 miles up the Pisscataqua, north of where David Thomson settled at Odirone, on a neck of land that was called Winnichahannat. They called it Northam.

The settlers later named it the Cocheco Plantation, adopting its Abenaki name, making Dover the oldest permanent settlement in New Hampshire, and seventh in the United States. In 1630, The Council of New England granted the area of the Piscataqua to Edward Hilton and his associates, and contained the towns Dover, Durham, Stratham, and parts of Newington and Greenland. Captain Thomas Wiggins was appointed agent for the grantees of the patent. (17)

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)

(1) https://archive.org/stream/piscataquapionee00pisc/piscataquapionee00pisc_djvu.txt

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. 

1623 Pomeroy Cove, Dover Point


The same year that David Thomson landed at Odiorne Point, Edward and William Hilton landed at Pomeroy Cove, Dover Point

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