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In 1626, the government of Plymouth colony established a trading house on Bagaduce Point, at the mouth of the Penobscot, and first gave this name to that river. The Indian name was Penobsceag or Penobscook; the French called it Pentaquevette or Pentagoet.' The Baron de St. Castin, afterward
1 Sul. Hist. of Maine, pp. 36, 38, and His. of Pen. Ind., Mass. Hist. Col., vol. ix, p. 209.
and again in 1741 at Plymouth, Ipswich, and Cambridge. At length Perez Bradford, Esq., was desired to inquire, and with much difficulty he procured it, having been designedly concealed.”
Mr. Deane in a note to “Bradford's History of Plymouth Plantation," p. 107, says, “this charter or patent was granted by the president and council of New England" to John Pierce and his associates," and was in trust for the benefit of the colony. * The original is now at Plymouth, and is probably the oldest document in Massachusetts officially connected with her history.” A copy is published in the Appendix to the “ Popham Memorial Volume,” p. 118.
It is generally assumed that this patent was for the settlement of Plymouth ; but it contains no allusion to that colony, nor is it in trust for it. The language of the charter is, “that whereas the said (John Pierce and his associates have already transported, and undertaken to transport at their cost and charges, themselves and divers persons into New England, and there to erect and build a town, and settle divers inhabitants,” &c. "Now the said president and council, in consideration thereof, have granted, allotted, assigned, and confirmed unto the said John Pierce and his associates, &c., one hundred several acres of ground in New England for every person so transported, or to be transported.
The same land to be taken and chosen by them, their deputies, or assigns, in any place, or places, whatsoever, not already inhabited by any English.” *
And they further grant to them fifteen hundred acres besides, in consideration of said Pierce and associates having undertaken to build churches, hospitals, bridges, &c.
This language has no application to Plymouth : it is the same used in the grant to Aldsworth and Elbridge of a portion of Pemaquid, 1629, and Mr. Welles expressly says in his deposition that Mr. Pierce came over and settled at Broad Bay under his grant, and his posterity continued there above one hundred years,
It does not appear to me that the patent or charter referred to in Weston's letter of July 6, 1621, contained in Bradford's history, is at all identified with that of Pierce, but the fair construction of the language is against it. Weston says, page 107, “We have procured you a charter, the best we could, which is better than your former, and with less limitation.” Now the famed charter to Pierce of June 1, 1621, does not at all answer that description, and I must still consider that the lost document has not yet come to light.]
erected his fort upon the site of the old trading house, and that spot, together with the adjacent territory still perpetuates the name of one of the most persevering enemies that our early colonists had to contend with. In 1632, the French rifled this trading house of property to the value of £500 sterling.
The same government having obtained a patent*on the Kennebec river, erected in 1628, a house for trade up the river, and furnished it with corn and other commodities for summer and winter. 1
About this time, Thomas Purchase settled upon land now included within the limits of Brunswick : the precise year in which he went there we cannot ascertain. In a deed to Richard Wharton, July 7, 1684, from Worumbo and other sagamores, they confirmed to him “lands conveyed to and possessed by Thomas Purchase, deceased, who came to this country near threescore years ago.” Purchase continued to live on the same estate, which he purchased of the Indians, until the first Indian war, and is frequently noticed in the affairs of the province. His widow married John Blaney, of Lynn, and was living in 1683; he left three children, Thomas, Jane, and Elizabeth.3 *
1 Prince, vol. i. p. 62, 2d part.
2 George Way was associated in the patent with Purchase; the grant included land lying on both sides of Pejepscot, on the eastern end of Androscoggin river, on Kennebec river, and Casco bay. Eleazer Way, son and heir of George, conveyed his moiety to R. Wharton, 1683. The patent has long been lost, and is only known to have existed by references in early deeds.
3 York Records.
* ["June 16, 1632. The council for New England grant to George Way and Thomas Purchase, certain lands in New England called the river Bishopscotte, and all that bounds and limits the main land adjoining the river to the extent of two miles.” Sainsbury's Col. Paper, vol. I, p. 152. The river intended is doubtless the Pejepscot, which was that part of the Androscoggin lying between the Kennebec river and Lewiston Falls. In August, 1639, Purchase conveyed to the Massachusetts Company his land at Pejepscot, reserving the portion occupied and improved by him. An abstract of the deed is in Hazard, vol. i, p. 457. For further interesting particulars relating to this title and the settlements at Pejepscot, I refer to Vol. iii., Me. Hist. Col. pp. 311 and 325.]
In 1628, the Massachusetts company procured a charter from the council of Plymouth, and in June sent over Capt. John Endicott and a few associates to take possession of the grant. They arrived in September at Naumkeag (Salem) and laid the foundation of that respectable town and the colony of Massachusetts.
Some time in the course of this year, Walter Bagnall, called Great Walt, established himself upon Richmond’s? Island, within the limits of the ancient town of Falmouth. Winthrop), under 1631, says, he lived alone upon the island three years, and had accumulated about £400, mostly in goods, by his trade with the Indians, whom he had much wronged. He and a companion were killed by an Indian sagamore, called Squidrayset, and his company, Oct. 3, 1631, who burnt his house and plundered his property. Bagnall had been a servant to some one in Massachusetts, but when or with whom he came to this country is not known. $
1 Prince, vol. ii, p. 174. Hazard, vol. I, p. 239.
2 I am not able to determine whether the original name of this island was Richman's or Richmor.d. Winthrop in his first notice of it, calls it Richman's Island. It is afterward in the same work, and by other authors sometimes called Richman's, and sometimes Richmond. In the early records it is often written Richman's, it is so written in a deed from Robert Jordan, its owner, to his son John, in 1677. On the other hand, it has borne its present name for the last century, and that mode of writing it is met with nearly as often in the previous period. A Mr. John Richmond lived in the neighborhood in 1636 and some years afterward; but he does not appear to have had any connection with the island; and Mr. Trelawny, its owner, had a bark called the Richmond, which traded to the island in the year 1639. It may have derived its name from the Duke of Richmond, who was one of the council of Plymouth. The Indian name is entirely lost, it has never been known by any other in our history but one of those before mentioned.
3 Winthrop's J"urnal, vol. i, p. 62. Prince, 2d part, p. 36.
( [In Sainsbury's Colonial papers is this memorandum: "Dec. 2, 1631, Patents to Walter Bagnall for a small island called Richmond, with 1500 acres of land: and for John Stratton for 2000 acres of land south side of Cape Porpus river or creek.”]
Squidrayset, Squidragusset, or Scitterygusset, in each of which modes the name is spelt, was a sachem over a tribe on the Presumpscot river. He subsequently conveyed lands upon the Presumpscot to the English, and a creek near the mouth of that river still bears his name. This occupation by Bagnall is the first attempt to establish a plantation within the limits of Falmouth :* and it seems that he had undisturbed possession there until the time he was murdered. In January, 1633, an expedition fitted out in Massachusetts to intercept a pirate, who was said to have been hovering about Pemaquid, on their return stopped at Richmond's island, and inflicted summary
* [This is an error revealed by recent investigation. In Sainsbury's calendar of state papers vol. I, p. 45, is this minute of Council : "May 5, 1623, Christopher Levett to be a principal patentee & to have a grant of 6000 acres of land." "June 26, 1623. The King judges well of the undertaking in New England & more particularly of a design of Christopher Levett one of the Council for settling that plantation, to build a city there and call it York.” In pursuance of these arrangements, Lovett came over in 1623, touching first at the “Isle of Shoulds," thence to the Piscataqua, from which he sailed eastward along the coast as far as Pemaquid, visiting the various harbors and rivers with a view to select a suitable place to establish his plantation. Ho says, “And now in its place I come to Quack, which I have named York. At this place there fished divers ships of Waymouth this year (1623). It lieth about two leagues to the east of Cape Elizabeth. It is a bay or sound betwixt the main & certain islands which lieth in the sea about one English mile & half. There are four islands which make one good harbor.” There can be no doubt of this location; the islands are what are now called Bangs. House, Hog, and Peaks. He adds, "And thus after many dangers, much labor & great charge, I have obtained a place of habitation in New England, where I have built a house & fortified it in a good reasonable fashion, strong enough against such enemies as are these savage people."
Levett, after making these arrangements, returned to England to bring over his wife and children, leaving ten men in charge of his house and property. But it does not appear that he ever came back. nor what became of the men he left or his property. He gives no account of it in his narrative, although it was not published until 1628. That the settlement was broken up and abandoned, is certain.]
justice upon Black Will, one of the murderers of Bagnall, by hanging him without the forms of law.1*
On the 12th of February 1630, the council of Plymouth made two grants on the Saco river ; each being four miles upon the sea, and extending eight miles into the country. That upon the west side of the river was to John Oldham and Richard Vines? Oldham had lived in the country six years, partly within the Plymouth, and partly within the Massachusetts jurisdiction, and Vines had become acquainted with the country by frequent voyages to it, and spending one winter at the place where his patent was situated. It is mentioned in the deed that the patentees had undertaken to transport fifty persons thither within seven years to plant and inhabit there. This condition was undoubtedly complied with, and Vines, who managed the whole concern, immediately took possession of his grant (June 25, 1630) and entered with zeal and ability upon the means of converting it into a source of profit.
1 Winthrop, vol. I, p. 99.
* [On the 11th of May, 1855, the occupant of Richmond's island, in ploughing a field near the northern shore, turned up a stone pot lying about a foot under the surface near what had been the foundation of buildings. On examination, the pot was found to contain twenty silver coins of the reign of Elizabeth, viz: four one shilling pieces, sixteen sixpences, one groat, and two half-groats ; of the reigo of James I, there were four one shilling pieces, and sixpence, the latter, the only one dated, had the stamp of 1606. There were also twenty.one gold coins, of which ten were sovereigns or units of the reign of James I, and three half-sovereigns, seven sovereigns of the reign of Charles I, and one, a Scottish coin of James as king of Scotland, dated 1602. A full description of this discovery and of the coin, was published in the "State of Maine,” newspaper, May 24, 1855, and another article on the subject soon after in the Massachusetts Historical Collection. A more full account is contained in Me. Historical Collection, vol. vi. p. 127. A gold wedding signet 'ring was also found in the pot, with the initials G. V. in a love knot, inscribed upon it. No clue was given as to the time the deposit was made, and it is only left to conjecture, to form any conclusion on the subject. The latest date on the coin is 1625, and it therefore may be justly inferred that the concealment was made at or about the time of Bagnall's murder in 1631.)
2 York Records.