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 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)

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

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.'' 

Wheelwright Deed 1629 Authentic?

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

1623 Pomeroy Cove, Dover Point

(COMING SOON)

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

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