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year returned home.? Gibson is called a scholar, by Winthrop.* He made himself obnoxious to the government of Massachusetts by the zeal with which he maintained his religious tenets, and was in some danger of being punished for it; but on making a suitable submission, and “ being about to leave the country" he is excused.
Having mentioned some of the most interesting particulars relating to the early settlement of Richmond's island and Spurwink, the spots first occupied within the territory of Falmouth, we return to follow the fortunes of George Cleeves and Richard Tucker.
Driven from the place which they had selected as the most favorable for their purposes, and where they had made improvements and prepared accommodations, their next care was to provide another convenient situation in the wilderness, where they might hope to enjoy without interruption the common bounties of nature. They selected the Neck, called Machigonne by the natives, now Portland, for their habitation, and erected there in 1632 the first house, and probably cut the first tree that was ever felled upon it, by an European hand.*
1 York Records, Annals of Portsmouth, p. 27. Winthrop, vol. ii, p. 66. In 1640, Gibson brought an action in Gorges' Court against John Bonighton, of Saco, for slander, in saying of him that he was “a base priest, a base knave, a base fellow," and also for a gross slander upon his wife, and recovered a verdict for "six pounds, six shillings, and eight pence, and costs, twelve shillings and six pence, for the use of the court.” York Records.
*[Gibson was educated at Magdalen College, Cambridge, from which he took his degree of A. B., 1636.]
2 This was first called Cleeves' Neck, afterward Munjoy's Neck, by which name it was long known.
*[I have long endeavored to ascertain the meaning of the Indian term Machigonne, without success. The Rev. E. Ballard, of Brunswick, who has paid much attention to Indian dialects, thinks the name was given to the whole Neck, beginning with or near Clay Cove, and that the word means bad clay.' He says that in the dialects of New England Matche means bad; it appears, he says, to
We are induced to fix upon this year as the one in which the first settlement was made upon the Neck, from a number of circumstances which will be briefly adverted to. In Winter's answer to Cleeves's action, before noticed, he says that after possession was given to him of the land granted to Trelawny, in July 1632, he warned Cleeves to leave the premises ; and on his refusing to do it, he repaired to Capt. Walter Neale, who required him to yield up the possession; he then adds, “and soone after, the plaintiff left his said possession to the defendant.” It is very reasonable to suppose that this application to Neale was the immediate consequence of Cleeves and Tucker's refusal to give up the possession, and that the removal which followed “soon after," was not protracted beyond the year; at any rate it must have been done before midsummer of the next year, for Neale then returned to Europe.
Again, Cleeves in another action against Winter in 1640, for disturbing his possession on the Neck, has the following declaration: “ The plaintiff declareth that he now is and hath been for these seven years and upwards, possessed of a tract of land in Casco bay, known first by the name of Machigonne, being a neck of land which was in no man's possession or occupation, and therefore the plaintiff seised on it as his own inheritance by virtue of a royal proclamation of our late sove
be formed from Mat, no, not. The syllable gon is given by Schoolcraft as a primary Algonquin term denoting clay land. He considers the name descriptive of the soil upon and around Clay Cove and other parts of the Neck.
On the contrary, Mr. Porter Bliss, who is conversant with Indian languages, says that Mr. Ballard's interpretation is not correct : that in the Micmac or Algonquin dialect, Mach means great, and Chegun, knee or elbow. and its application is to the promontory on which the Neck or Portland is situated, as a great curve or elbow, sweeping round from the Fore river to Back Cove. He compared it to the name Michigan, which in the Chippewa language, a branch of the Algonquin from the same original, means the great bend or curve which the lake Michigan takes from Huron. When such learned pundits disagree, we do not feel competent to pronounce judgment.]
reign lord King James, of blessed memory, by which he freely gave unto every subject of his, which should transport himself over into this country, upon his own charge, for himself and for every person that he should so transport, one hundred and fifty acres of land ; which proclamation standeth still in force to this day, by which right the plaintiff held and enjoyed it for the
space of four years together, without molestation, interruption, or demand of any; and at the end of the said first four years, the plaintiff, desirous to enlarge his limits in a lawful way, addressed himself to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the proprietor of this Province, and obtained for a sum of money and other considerations a warrantable lease of enlargement, bounded as by relation thereunto had, doth and may appear.”] The lease from Gorges, referred to by Cleeves, was dated January 27, 1637, at which time he says he had been in possession of the Neck four years; this in connection with the possession upward of seven years previous to the trial, will carry us back to the latter part of 1632, or the very first of the year following, and leaves no room to doubt that Cleeves and Tucker entered upon the Neck, immediately on being dispossessed of the land on the Spurwink.
That they were the first that settled here, there can be no doubt; Henry Jocelyn a cotemporary of Cleeves, has left his , testimony of that fact in the following deposition given before Henry Watts, commissioner: “August 18th, 1659. Henry Jocelyn examined, sweareth, that upwards of twenty years, Mr. George Cleeves have been possessed of that tract of land he now liveth on in Casco Bay, and was the first that planted there, and for the said lands had a grant from Sir Ferdinando Gorges, as Sir Ferdinando acknowledged by his letters, which was in controversy afterwards between Mr. Winter, agent for
1 York Records, Appendix No. 3.
Mr. Robert Trelane of Plymouth, merchant, and the said Cleeves, and they came to a trial by law at a court held at Saco, wherein the said Winter was cast, since which time the said Cleeves hath held the said lands without molestation.” 1
Cleeves and Tucker erected their house near where the three story house now stands on the corner of Hancock and Fore Streets, and their corn field extended westerly toward Clay Cove. This location is fixed by a comparison of several documents; the first is the conveyance of the same premises by Cleeves to John Phillips in 1659, in which he gives this description, “all that tract, parcel, or neck in Casco Bay, and now in possession of me, the said George Cleeves, on which my now dwelling house standeth by the meets and bounds herein expressed, that is to say, to begin at the point of land commonly called Machagony, and being north-easterly from my
said house, and so along by the water side from the house southwesterly to the south-west side of my corn field." In 1681, Phillip's daughter, Mary Munjoy, claimed the land, and the government of Massachusetts awarded it to her by the following description," the easterly end of said neck of land whereupon her said husband's house formerly stood, bounded by a strait line from the mouth of a runnet of water on the easterly side, where Mr. Cleeves's house formerly stood, and so on to the old barn on the top of the hill." 3 This “runnet of water” still continues its course, although exceedingly diminished in its size, and discharges itself on the beach as it did two hundred years ago, notwithstanding the numerous and vast changes
1 Jocelyn lived at Black Point, to which he came from Piscataqua about 1635. He was at Piscataqua as agent of Mason and Gorges in 1634, and we find him a member of the court at Saco in 1636.
- 2 York Records.
3 York Records.
which have since taken place in the physical as well as the moral features around it.* These references and others upon record, which it is unnecessary to cite, clearly designate the spot on which the first settlers of Portland pitched their habitation. The situation had advantages of utility and beauty : it was open to the sea by a small but handsome bay, accessible to fishing boats, and near the islands, while it was protected from the north winds by the hill in the rear of it. Here the first settlers cultivated the soil and pursued their traffic with the natives, for a number of years, holding the land by a mere possessory title. Cleeves and Tucker continued partners for many years, the former seems to have managed the land speculations, while the latter carried on the trade : but the
*[The brook which was pursuing its accustomed course to the bay, when the first edition of this work was published, has been diverted from its channel by large public and private improvements. Part of it supplies water to the Grand Trunk Railway Station house, and another part is treasured in Mr. Bethuel Sweetsir's reservoirs from wbich its soft, pure stream is constantly delivered, at a handsome profit, for the use of the shipping in the harbor, and of private families. The following deposition of John Alliset, given in Boston in 1736, confirms the location of Cleeves's house, and states other interesting facts. “John Alliset, aged about eighty years, testifieth and saith, that he formerly lived in Falmouth, in Casco Bay, and that he well knew Mr. George Cleeves, and Mr. George Munjoy, and Mary his wife, with whom he lived eight years, and that there is a certain run of water about twenty rods distant from Fort Point, laying about north from said Fort Point. (Where the station-house now stands.] That he well remembers that Mr. George Cleeves had a house and lived therein ; which house was between the said Fort Point and the said run of water; and that Mr. George Munjoy had a house and lived therein, which was upon the north-easterly side of said run of water; that he also well remembers that there was a meeting-house built on a point of Mr. Munjoy's land bearing about N. E. or easterly from said Munjoy's house.” This point is where the Portland Company's works are.)