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HISTORY OF SCARBOROUGH.
FIRST SETTLEMENT AND SETTLERS.
EARLY in the seventeenth century the coast of Maine became a favorite resort of English fishermen. Fishing stages, and the huts of fishermen, were at that time frequently erected along the coast between the mouth of the Piscataqua and Monhegan Island. This range of coast had in those days a reputation, quite equal to that of any other place, for affording great quantities of excellent fish. The large number of vessels then engaged in the fisheries along our coast, and the statements of travelers, prove this. Prince asserts that as many as fifty sail of English fishing vessels were employed upon the New Eng. land coast in 1624; of which the greater part were upon the Maine coast. Christopher Levitt, in his “ Voyage into New England begun in 1623 and ended in 1624,” after describing Saco River, and another about six miles to the eastward (Scarborough River) adds; “ There hath been more fish taken within two leagues of this place this year than in any other in the land.”
There were undoubtedly some out of the number of fishermen then resorting to these famous fishing grounds, who did not overlook the advantages for drying their fish by such places as Black Point Neck, and the neighboring Islands; places where they could easily procure the materials for their stages, and fish-houses, and where they could conveniently meet the
Indians and bargain with them for their furs. We have sufficient evidence that other Islands along the coast were early settled upon by those who obtained a livehood by trading with the fisherman and the Indians. Vonhegan Island was early inhabited by men of this class ; and in 1628 Walter Bagnall set
his trading house on Richmond's Island, where he continued until murdered by the natives in 1631 for his unjust dealings with them. It is only by supposing a like settlement with those to have been upon Stratton's Island, that we can explain certain facts connected with the early history of Scarborough. Stratton's Islands lie opposite Black Point, and are within the limits of this town. The larger of them is still called Stratton's Island; the smaller has received within a few years the name Bluff Island.
But thus far it seems only probable that there might have been snch a temporary occupation of that part of Scarborough before the time of the first permanent settlement. There is more satisfactory evidence that Stratton's Island was the part of the town first occupied by any European. In the Patent of Black Point granted to Cammock in 1631 these islands are styled “ Stratton's Islands.” It is evident from this that they were known by that name in England in the year 1631, and so long before, that the name had by that time become sufficiently established, and well known to need no description of the locality. It may be difficult to decide nearly what length of time is required in order to an island's becoming so generally known by the name of its inhabitants; perhaps we can only conjecture respecting the date of the first occupation. Again, the name was not only applied to the islands, but also the adjacent mainland; and that as late as 1641, when Cammock's settlement had been for some years called Black Point. This we learn from Rev. Thomas Jenner's letter to Gov. Winthrop, April 16th 1641, in which he writes: “I have been solicited both from the inhabitants of Stratten': Plantation, and from those of Caskoe
(Falmouth) to be a means to help each of them to a goodly minister; wherefore I do make bold to intreat your worship to do your endeavors to furnish them both.”* Mr. Jenner was at that time settled in Saco, and doubtless in writing of Black Point used the name which he oftenest heard applied to that settlement. There being such fair proof that the islands opposite Scarborough, and belonging to it were severally known as “Stratton's Islands” prior to 1631, and that ten years afterwards the name was in common use as applied to these islands, and also to the neighboring settlement; finding also, as we shall presently how, that one John Stratton was an inhabitant in this vicinity as late as 1643, there is hardly room for doubt that this same Stratton dwelt upon the larger of these islands some years before 1633, and was consequently the first European settler within the limits of this town of whom any record is left.
Little is known concerning John Stratton, though much might properly enough be conjectured respecting his business in life, if we consider his situation on the island, and the character of those with whom he would there be brought in contact. Though there is no good reason for supposing him to have been another “ Great Walt” | on a smaller island, yet we may reasonably suppose that he was engaged in like business with him, only honestly. The following, from the Records of the Commissioners' Court held at Saco, March 25th 1636, is the only notice of the man to be found on the Province records. “It is peticioned per Mr. Ed: Godfrey that an attachment might bee of one Brass Kettell now in the hands of Mr. Ed: Godfrey wch were belonging to Mr. John Straten of a debt due now 3 yeares from Mr. Straten to him, sd Straten the sd Kettle to be answerable to the suit of Mr. Godfrey
Hutchinson's State Papers. † Walter Bagnall of Richmond's Island was commonly known in his day as “ Great Walt.”
against next Court, to show cause for not pament or the
And even this curious record of his name is so fast fading out that the next transcriber of it from the old Record Book will scarcely be able to decipher so much of it as is here given. The most enduring record of this pioneer's name is the little island to which it has been transferred. In the original charter of the town of Wells, given by Thomas Gorges in 1643, mention is made of Stratton as one of the claimants against Sir Ferdinando Gorges of the land included in that charter. At that time Stratton was probably living at Salem, where he was settled in 1637.1 The first legal proprietor within the town was Capt. Thomas Cammock to whom the Council of Plymouth granted fifteen hundred acres between Black Point and Spurwink Rivers.
Cammock was a nephew of the Earl of Warwick, who was at that time one of the most efficient members of the Council. It was without doubt partly owing to the influence of his noble uncle that Cammock was made sole patentee of so valuable a tract of land ; yet it was not altogether on that account; for he had been in the service of the Council two years, and had acquired no slight claim to such a reward of his fidelity. Cammock's Patent bears the date November 1, 1631, which was nearly two years after his arrival in New England. Ile left England early in 1630, and for three years after his arrival in this country was an agent at Piscataqua for Mason and Gorges. In the year 1633 Mason and Gorges granted Cammock a tract of land on the eastern bank of the Piscataqua extending half way to Agamenticus River. This grant was conveyed to him during the same year by Walter Neale acting Governor under Gorges, Mason and their associates. Three years afterwards Cammock conveyed this grant to James Treworthy. On the
+ Felt's Annuals of Salem.
23d of May 1633 delivery of possession was given him by Capt. Neale of the Black Point Patent.* Soon after Cammock's removal to this Patent, he was joined here by his former friend Henry Jocelyn who had also been an agent at Piscataqua. In 1640, immediately after the confirmation of Cammock’s Patent by Gorges himself, Cammock made his will, by which he gave his real and personal estate to his “ well-beloved friend” and companion, Henry Jocelyn, only reserving to himself five hundred acres to be disposed of at his death as he pleased; the remainder of his estate to become Jocelyn's immediately after his own and his wife's decase.† Jocelyn was at this time unmarried, and had resided with Cammock at Black Point since 1635 ; more will be said of him hereafter. Cammock died in the West Indies in September 1643, leaving his wife Margaret in the care of his tried friend Jocelyn, whom she soon afterwards married. Little is to be found relating to Cammock in any of the scanty records of the Province. Doubtless he was of a retiring disposition, not fond of political excitement, else we should hear more of the man whose connection by birth with one of the Lords of the Council, and by service with all of them, would have afforded him opportunities to distinguish himself in the frequent political contests of those days. Some with far less advantages than he possessed became leading men in the Province. He seems to have been contented to enjoy in quiet the beauties of his seaside home, and the company of such friends as the goodwife Margaret, and the brothers Henry and John Jocelyn. It is not known that he took part in the administration of public affairs more than once during his residence at Black Point; then he acted as one of the Commissioners for the Province of New Somersetshire in the year 1636. How long he continued in that office cannot
* For a copy of the original delivery now in the writer's possession see Appendix A.
+ See Appendix B