A History of the Piscataqua River Region

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1622 John Mason

Captain John Mason was a colonizer, merchant and sailor. Born in 1586 in King’s Lynn, England, he won the favor of King James I by helping to reclaim the Hebrides (islands off the west coast of Scottland). In 1615, he was appointed governor of the Cuper’s Cove Colony, Newfoundland, a title which he held until 1621. While back in England, he wrote a book called A Brief Discourse of the Newfoundland (1620), along with the first known English map of the island.

After his governorship in Newfoundland ended, he sought Sir William Alexander about colonizing Nova Scotia. It was at this time that he became aquianted with Ferdinando Gorges for the colonization of a better area further south.

Gorges and Mason study the Charter for the Provice of Maine

In 1622, Mason and Ferdinando Gorges received a land patent called “The Province of Maine” from the Council for New England for the lands between the Merimack and Kennebunk Rivers. In 1629, they split the patent, with Mason taking from the Merrimac to Piscataqua, and Gorges from the Piscataqua to the Kennebenc. Along with other rich merchants, they called themselves the “Ligonia” or Laconia Company, which is mentioned extensively throughout this blog.

In the spring of 1623, the Laconia Company sent David Thomson, Edward Hilton, and his brother William, with several other people, to start a settlement, which was at what is now Odiorne Point.

From inventories from his two main settlements at Hilton (Dover) and Newichewonnock (South Berwick) it seems that Mason provided for his tenants well. They had an abundance of arms, clothing, copper, tools, naval stores and fishing gear, cattle from Europe (the first to live in New England). (17)

A lot happened in 1635. Mason was appointed vice-admiral of New England. In September, Gorges sold to Mason a tract of land on the northeast side of the Piscataqua, from it’s mouth by the ocean to three miles inland, and all the way up to the saw mills at Newichewannock. He was preparing for his first voyage to his colony.

But Captain John Mason passed away November 26th, 1635. He poured vast sums of money into his settlements but received little benefit in return. He willed Mason Hall to his gransdon Robert Tufton, and to John Tufton his estate in New Hampshire, requiring them each to take the name Mason. Though he never visited New England, and his estate was valued at ten thousand pounds. (17)

Mrs Anne Mason, executrix of Mason’s will, appointed Francis Norton her attorney, also with powers to take the management of the estate into his hands.

Mrs. Mason found that little income came back from the colonies and neglected to send much else. Many people left the plantations, and those who remained, kept posession of the buildings and lands, and claimed them of new own.

References

(References are undergoing formatting updates)

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  2. Louis Clinton Hatch, Maine Historical Society, Maine a History Volume 1
  3. Eliot Historical Society, “Eliot History Bicentennial Walking Tour”
  4. Edward C Moody Agamenticus Gorgeana York 1623-1914 York Publishing Company 1907
  5. W Woodford Clayton History of York County, Maine: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches
  6. Ola Elizabeth Winslow Portsmouth, The Life of a Town The Macmillan Company New York 1966
  7. http://www.seacoastnh.com/History/History-Matters/finding-the-first-house-in-new-hampshire/?showall=1
  8. Russell M Lawson Portsmouth, An Old Town by the Sea
  9. Marion Jaques Smith, A History of Maine, From Wilderness to Statehood, 1949, Book Craftsmen Associates Inc, New York
  10. Charles Edward Banks, History of York, Maine, 1931, Boston, Old York Historical Society
  11. http://www.seacoastnh.com/portsmouth-and-dover-still-feuding-over-1623-nh-founding-date/?start=1
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  13. Piscataqua Pioneers
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exeter,_New_Hampshire
  15. https://www.exeterhistory.org/exeter-history/2016/6/24/early-exeter-history-1638-1887
  16. Green Acre on the Piscataqua, Third Edition, BaHai Publishing Trust, 2012
  17. Nathaniel Adams, Annals of Portsmouth
  18. History of York County, Maine. With illustrations and biological sketches of its promiment men and pioneers. W. Woodford Clayton. Philadelphia, Everts & Peck 1880
  19. History of Centennial of the Toan of Eliot, Augustine Cladwell, 1912
  20. Ralph Sylvestor Bartlett, History of York Maine, Reynolds Historical Geneology Collection, 1938
  21. Sherburne F. Cook, “The Significance of Disease in the Extinction of the New England Indians,” Human Biology, vol. 45 no. 3 (September 1973): 489-90
  22. Edward T. O’Donnell, “Of Plague and Pilgrims: How a Devastating Epidemic Shaped the First Thanksgiving.” Web. http://inthepastlane.com.
  23. John Marr & John Cathey, “New Hypothesis for Cause of Epidemic Among Native Americans, New England, 1616-1619,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 16, no. 2 (February 2010).
  24. William Bradford, History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647, Volume 1 (Charleston: Nabu Press, 2010), 220.
  25. Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England, 1500-1643
  26. History of the Town of Durham
  27. https://archive.org/stream/piscataquapionee00pisc/piscataquapionee00pisc_djvu.txt
  28. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/34873656/thomas-wiggin
  29. https://www.dover.nh.gov/government/city-operations/library/history/Heritage-Walking-Tours/1998-heritage-trolley-tour.html
  30. http://earlynewenglandfamilies.blogspot.com/2012/05/morrell-family-of-new-england.html
  31. https://www.geni.com/people/Anthony-Emery-Sr/6000000002923767034
  32. Pickett, Dwane W, “Captain William Hilton and the Founding of Hilton Head Island” 2019 Arcadia Publishing
  33. Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England 1500-1643, 1982
  34. Old Kittery and Her Families

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