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cessors, as of his Manor of East Greenwich, in the County
of Kent, in free and common vSoccage, yielding and paying-
therefor to the said late King's Majesty, his heirs and Suc-
cessors, the fifth part of the Oar of Gold and Silver, as in


and by the said letters Patents, amongst other privileges
and matters therein contained ; more fully and at large, it
doth and may appear.

And whereas the said Council established at Plimouth in
the County of Devon by the Charter and Deed of Affeofment,
bearing Date the Sixteenth Day of January A. D. one thou-
sand Six hundred and twenty Nine by virtue and authority
of his said late Majesty's Letters Patents, and for & in Con-
sideration that William Bradford, and his Associates, had
for these Nine years lived in New England aforesaid, and
there inhabited and planted a Town called by the name of
New Plimouth, at their own proper Cos is and Charges ; and
seeing that by the special providence of God and their Ex-
traordinary Care and Industry, they had increased their
plantation to near three hundred People and were able to
releive any New Planters or other his Matesty's Subjects
upon that Coast ; granted & assigned unto the said William
Bradford his heirs associates and assigns all that part of New
England — (here follows a description of the tract in and
about New Plymouth) —

And forasmuch as they had no convenient place either of
Trading or fishing within their own precincts, whereby after
so long travel and great Pains so hopeful a plantation might
subsist, as also that they may be encouraged the better to
proceed in so pious a Work which might especially tend to
the Propogation of Religion and the great increase of Trade
to his Majesty's Realms and advancement of the publick

The said Council further granted and assigned unto the
said William Bradford his heirs, associates & assigns All that
Tract of land, or part of New England in America aforesaid,
which lyeth within or between and extendeth itself from the
utmost Limits of Cobbiseconte alias Comasseconte, which
adjoineth to the River of Kennebec, alias Kenebekike,
towards the Western Ocean and a place called the falls of
Neguamkike, in America aforesaid, and the space of fifteen
English Miles on each side of the said River, commonly
called Kenebeck river, and all the said River called Kene-
beck, that lies within the said Limits and Bounds, Eastward,
Westward, Northward or Southward last above mentioned,
and all Lands, Grounds, Soils, Rivers, Waters, Fishings,
situate lying and being, arising happening or accruing in
or within the said Limits and Bounds, or either of them, to-
gether with all Rights and Jurisdictions thereof, the Admi-
ralty Jurisdiction excepted, in as free, large, ample and bene-
ficial manner, to all Intents, Constructions and purposes
whatsoever, as the said Council, by virtue of his Majesty's
Letters Patents might or could grant — To have and to hold


the said Tract and Tracts of land and all & singular the
premises above mentioned to be granted with their and every
of their Appurtenancies to the said William Bradford, his
heirs, associates and assigns forever, yielding and paying
unto our said Sovereign Lord the King, his heirs and Suc-
cessors forever One fifth Part of the Oar of the mines of
Gold and Silver, and one other fifth part thereof to the Pres-
ident and Council which may be had, possessed and obtained
within the precincts aforesaid, for all Services whatsoever,
as in said Charter may more fully appear.

And whereas the said William Bradford and his associates
afterwards assigned over and surrendered up to the late
Colony of New Plimouth, the aforesaid Tract on Kennebeck
River, together with other lands, and the same Colony
afterwards viz : on the Twenty seventh Day of October A.
D. 1661, being seized of the whole Tract aforesaid, on Ken-
nebeck River ; and also the lands on both side the said river
upward to Wessarunscutt, by their Deed of Bargain & Sale
of that Date, for and in Consideration of the sum of four
hundred pounds Sterling, sold all the said lands on said
River, to Antipas Boyes, Edward Tyng, Thomas Brattle &
John Winslow, their and every of their heirs & assigns
forever, as the said Deed, registered in the Records of said
Colony, may more fully appear :

Know Ye, That we the heirs and assigns of the said
Antipas Boyes, Edward Tyng, Thomas Brattle and John
Winslow, of and in all lands on Kennebec River aforesaid
and legal proprietors thereof, at our meeting held at Boston
this eleventh Day of December A. D. 1754 called & regulated
according to Law have voted, granted and assigned to Sil-
vester Gardiner of Boston in the County of Suffolk and
province of Massachusetts Bay in New England Physician,
his heirs and assigns forever, a parcel of land within
our Tract aforesaid, situate, lying and being on the West
side of Kennebeck River, Butted and Bounded as follows,
viz : Beginning twenty Rods North of Cobbisconte River,
and runs Westerly two miles, keeping the same Breadth and
and then runs vSoutherly to the said Cobbiseconte River, and
then runs on said River till it comes to the first Pond on
said River, and then runs on the East Southeasterly side
of said Pond, until it meets with the North Line of Lott
No. 11, commonly called Thomas Hancock Esq. his Lott:
then runs East South East on the North line of said Lott.
until it meets Kennebeck River ; Then runs Northerly up
said Kennebeck River, until it meets the first mentioned
Bounds ; On Condition the said Silvester settles two fam-
ilies on said Tract, within three years, if not prevented
by an Indian War ; This lot granted to said Silvester


lies in a Triangfular Form, and is called Lot AB in the
Company's plan, as thereon delineated, and laid down by-
John North Esq Surveyor.
' — ' — ' In Witness whereof. The Proprietors afore-

fl ^^^^ have caused their Seal to be hereto affixed.
J David Jeffries prop

— v^ Cler.

December 17, 1760, the Kennebec Proprietors granted to
Silvester Gardiner "Lott Number twenty", described as
follows : Beg-inning- Twenty Rods to the Northward of the
north side of the Mouth of Cobbisecontee Stream, where it
empties itself into Kennebeck River, from thence to run a
W. N. W. Course Five Miles, and from the end of Termina-
tion of said five miles, to run a Northerly Course, one Mile,
where it meets with the South Line of Lott Number Twenty
one, and from thence to run an E. S. E. Course for five
Miles, upon said South Line of said Lott Number Twenty
one where it meets with said Kennebeck River, and from
thence to run Southerly upon said Kennebeck River, until it
meets with the first mentioned Boundary : with the same
conditions, except the building of a house, and the same res-
ervations as were contained in the grant to Thomas Hancock.

January 8, 1761, Silvester Gardiner deeded the northerly
half of this lot to Thomas Hancock. The conveyance was
for a nominal price, ten shillings being the consideration
named, and Dr. Gardiner received other lands in exchange.
When Hallowell was incorporated, the center line of No.
Twenty was made its southern boundary. This north half,
therefore, which was afterwards known as the Bowman
Point tract, was never a part of Pittston, but it was annexed
to Gardiner in 1834. It is now in the town of Farmingdale.

April 25, 1762, Thomas Hancock deeded to Jonathan Phil-
brook of Kennebec River, Mariner, a lot from the northeast
corner, measuring 50 poles on the river and 320 poles in
length. Philbrook conveyed the same to Robert Pierpont of
Boston, Feb. 1, 1768, and Pierpont, May 20, 1783, deeded it
to his "kinsman, James Pierpont Fellows, a minor and son
of Gustavus Fellows of Boston."

The remainder of the north half of N. 20 passed by will
from Thomas Hancock to his nephew William Bowman in
1763. The latter, Aug. 29, 1792, deeded to James Springer


of Pittston, shipwright, a lot measuring- twenty rods on the
river and half a mile in length, and the rest, April 2, 1796,
to Peter Grant, trader, and James Parker, physician, both
Of Pittston, and James Springer, Moses Springer, Joseph
Glidden and Hugh Cox, all of Hallowell. Carr Barker made
a survey in 1795 and divided the land within four miles of
the river into smaller lots.

The original grant of No. 20 described it as beginning
"twenty Rods to the Northward of the north side of the
Cobbiseconte Stream". As the Cobbossee has two mouths,
some litigation was necessary before it could be determined
from which one measurements should be made. The south-
erly one was finally decided upon.

February 21, 1764, the Proprietors granted to Silvester
Gardiner a tract described as follows: "Beginning on the
West side of said Kennebec River, Twenty poles to the
Northward of Cobbiseconte Stream, where it empties itself
into said Kennebeck River, from thence running a West
North West Course until it strikes Cobbisconte Stream that
Issues out of Cobbiseconte great Pond, from thence to run
Southerly down said Stream as the said Stream runs, to
Cobbiseconte first Pond, then running along the Northerly
End of said Pond to the vStream which issues out of said
Pond. Then running Northeasterly, as said Stream run-
neth to said Kennebeck River, and from thence twenty Poles
northward of said Stream up said Kennebeck River, and is
bounded Northerly by a Tract of Land formerly granted by
said proprietors to said Silvester Gardiner Esq. and Westerly
by said Cobbiseconte Stream which Issues out of Cobbise-
conte great Pond, and Southerly by Cobbiseconte first pond,
& Easterly by the Stream which Issues out of said Cobbise-
conte first pond which empties itself into said Kennebeck
River, then Northerly Twenty Poles up said Kennebeck
River to the first mentioned Bounds, being Lots Twenty
three G. & Twenty four G. delineated on a plan draughted
by John McKechnie Surveyor Dated November 1762 &
signed by David Jeffries proprietors Clerk."

This deed recites that it is given in consideration of the
grantee's "great Trouble and Expence in bringing forward
settlements on said Kennebeck River." This clause has


been cited as evidence of Dr. Gardiner's special activity in
that direction, but it appears that all of the deeds given to
proprietors under the same allotment contain the same ex-

Another grant was made to Silvester Gardiner November
8, 1769. It recites his purchase of Lot No. 20, his convey-
ance of the northerly half of the same to Thomas Hancock,
and his offer to purchase the land lying between the rear of
the southerly half of said lot and ' 'Cobbiseconte great Pond' ' ,
and then conveys to him a tract "beginning at the West side
of Cobbiseconte Stream on the East End of the North Line
of the ten mile Lot number twenty two where it strikes
Cobbiseconte River, from thence West North West on said
North Line to Cobbiscontee great Pond, then Northerly
up the Easterly side of said Pond until it meets a line
running West North West from the Center of said Lot
Number Twenty, thence to run an East South East Course
on said Line to Cobbiseconte River, then down said River
to the first mentioned Bounds and all the land lying between
said stream and the Rear of the southerly half of said Lot
Number twenty. In consideration of the said Silvester
Gardiners paying for the Use of said Proprietors the sum of
seventy five Pounds lawfull Money."

By these several conveyances the Kennebec Company had
deeded all of Old Pittston lying west of the Kennebec to two
persons. Thomas Hancock had received five square miles,
or 3200 acres, in the southerly part of the town, and the re-
mainder had become the property of Silvester Gardiner.
This part of Dr. Gardiner's possessions is called in his will
his "Cobbiscontee Tract."

The land east of the Kennebec was also divided into five
mile lots, measuring one mile on the river and extending E.
S. E. five miles. They were numbered from north to south,
and the line between Hallowell and Pittston was through the
center of No. 12. The disposition of such of these lots as
fell within the limits of Old Pittston will now be given.
Whenever a grantor is not named, it is to be understood that
the title was derived from the Kennebec Company.

The north half of No. 12 was granted to William Tufts
of Kennebec, Feb. 9, 1763, and William Tufts of Pownal-


borouofh, yeoman, conveyed it to William Vassall of Boston,
gentleman, Feb. 11, 1764.

The south half of No. 12 was gfranted to Silvester Gar-
diner March 14, 1764. July 26, 1764, he deeded to James
Winslow about ninety acres in the northwest corner, de-
scribed as being- about three quarters of a mile above
Cobbisconte Mill, measuring- 320 poles on William Vassall's
south line and 40 poles wide. The same day he deeded to
Joseph Glidden of Gardinerston, shipwright, another lot
of the same dimensions south of Winslow's, and to James
Flagg of Gardinerston, merchant, a lot of the same length
and 50 poles wide next south of Glidden's. The act of in-
corporation of the town Hallowell, 1771, describes the south
line of the part lying east of the Kennebec as "at the north
line of James Winslow's land lying within a thirty two hun-
dred acre lot number 12."

Lot No. 13 was granted to Silvester Gardiner Dec. 11,
1754, by the same vote by which he received Lot A. B. west
of the river. This g-rant is not on record in this county, and
the record here given is from the books of the Kennebec

The north half of No. 14 was'granted to Silvester Gardiner
Oct. 12. 1768, excepting "Fifty Acres being half of the
hundred Acres granted to John Shanney as a settler." The
Shanney lot will be inore particularly described in con-
nection with the south half of this lot. The grants to Sil-
vester just described constitute^what in his will he calls the
Worromontogus Tract.

The south half of No. 14, excepling fifty acres of the
Shanney grant, was granted to James Bowdoin July 5, 1770.
Bowdoin's deed is not onlrecord in this county, but the date
is given in his deed]to Reuben Colburn, dated Jan. 1, 1773,
which conveys to said'aColburn all of said south half, except
"fifty Acres of land, being one half of a hundred Acre Lot
gfranted by the Kennebeck Proprietors to John Shanney the
twelfth day of October, 1763, said hundred acres fronting on
said River and extending^in Width twenty poles on each side
of the Center of said Lott Number fourteen and running-
East South East three hundred and twenty poles." There
is no record of the Shanney grant, nor of any deed running-
from him.


No. 15 was granted Aug:. 12, 1761, to Habijah Weld,
Jonathan Fox, Samuel Fowle and Jonathan Reed. By a
deed of division, dated Oct. 30, 1762, the grantees divided it
into four lots, each eighty rods wide and five miles long.
Jonathan Reed of Woolwich received the northerly lot,
"except that part of the stream called Eastern River which
runs through the same parcel and the mill privileges there-
on." The next went to Habijah Weld of Attleboro, County
of Bristol, "excepting the Brook running through the same
called Negumkee Brook and the mill privileges thereon."
The next lot became the property of Samuel Fowle of
Woburn, County of Middlesex, and the fourth or south lot
of Jonathan Fox, also of Woburn.

In the original grant of No. 15 it is also called the
Neg-umkee Lot. Negumkee is a modification of the name
Nequamkick which was used in the grant of the Plymouth
Council to Gov. Bradford and his associates, and has been
further changed to Nahumkeag, by which name the stream
and pond are now known.

A lot of 100 acres, 50 poles wide and extending E. S. E.
320 poles, from the southwest corner of No. 16, was granted
to David Bailey June 8, 1763. The conditions of the grant
were that the grantee should build a house not less than
twenty feet square and seven feet stud, clear and bring to
fit for tillage five acres of land within three years, live and
dwell on the premises during said term, or in case of death
then his heirs or some person under them, and they or some
person under him or them should dwell thereupon seven
years after the expiration of said three years ; also that he
or they should work on the ministerial lot or in building a
house for the public worship of God two days in a year for
ten years when required and two days in a year on the pub-
lic roads until said land should be erected into a township.

The remainder of No. 16 was granted, April 23, 1783, to
"the heirs and assigns of Paschal Nelson, late of London,
Esq., deceased, and to the heirs of Robert Temple, senior,
Esq., and Mehetabel his wife late of Charlestown in the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, deceased, considered as
heirs or assigns of Sir Thomas Temple, deceased, in right
of whom this grant is made." Robert Temple married
Mehitable jNelson, and it was probably by some family ar-


rang-ement that the grant was made jointly to the Temple
and Nelson heirs. The next conveyance of record was
dated Dec. 13, 1803, when Thomas Lindall Winthrop of
Boston, administrator of the estate of John Nelson, late of
the Island of Granada, deeded it to James Lloyd of Boston,
and the same day Lloyd reconveyed to Winthrop "an
undivided moiety." Both of these deeds contain an ex-
ception of the Bailey lot. Thomas L. Winthrop, was
Robert and Mehitable Temple's son in law, and was the
father of Robert C. Winthrop of Boston.

The lot east of the Kennebec, next south of No. 16, was
called the Diamond Lot. It was of the same dimensions as
the other lots, containing- five square miles. Its name was
probably derived from its shape. A settler's lot of 100 acres
was granted to Nathaniel Bailey of Pownalborough, yeoman,
June 8, 1763. It was on the river, extending 50 poles each
side of the center line and E. S. E. 320 poles. The con-
ditions of the grant were that he should build a house not
less than twenty-five feet square and seven feet stud, clear
and bring to fit for tillage five acres of land within three
years, live on the premises during said 'term, and that he or
his heirs, or some person under them should dwell there for
seven years after the expiration of said three years. The
occupant was also to work on the ministerial lot or in build-
ing a house for the public worship of God two days in a year
for ten years when required, and two days in a year on the
public roads until the lands should be incorporated into a

The remainder of the north half was granted to Robert
Temple, Esq., of Charlestown, May 9, 1764. Of the south
half, eighty acres were granted to Silvester Gardiner June
21, 1769. It was south of the Bailey lot, measuring forty
poles on the river and extending back one mile. Aug. 28,
1756, Gardiner had deeded the same land to Abner Marson
of Pownalborough, labourer, showing that it had been
allotted to Gardiner several years before he received his
grant. All of the south half not included in previous grants
became the property of Silvester Gardiner Aug. 22, 1770.
Each . of the 80-acre grants referred to above reserves
"liberty of passing and repassing in a Creek leading out of
Kennebec River across said Lot."


Lot No. 17, sometimes referred to as the Vassall Lot. was
"Voted, .f^ranted and assigned to Florentius Vassall, Esq.,
of London," Feb, 4. 1756. Nov. 2, 1763, he deeded to
Walter Cane of Kennebeck River a lot of 100 acres from the
center, similar to the other hundred acre lots which have
already been described. This did not prevent him from
giving Robert Twycross a deed of the same land in 1768,
but the Cane deed was the one under which the land passed
to future purchasers. James Flagg as administrator of
Cane's estate sold it to Samuel Goodwin, Jr., of Pownal-
borough, who in turn conveyed part to Samuel Eastman and
part to Jonathan Burnell of Sherburn, Nantucket Island.

The original grant of the Vassell Lot is not on record
in this county. The remaining 3100 acres were sold for
taxes in 1784, and were conveyed by tax deed to Joseph
North of Hallo well. Dec. 27, 1786, they were redeemed by
Richard Vassall of London, Florentius Vassall's son, and
North reconveyed to him. The payment was made by
Samuel Goodwin, and there is on record a long deposition in
which he relates how he tried to get a bill of items from
North, who refused to give it, said that the amount ten-
dered was correct, put the money in his pocket and offered
the deed, which Goodwin was obliged to accept.

Florentius Vassall died in 1778, and by his will his real
estate in America was to go to his son Richard and Richard's
daughter Elizabeth, and then to Elizabeth's male heirs.
Elizabeth had married Sir Godfey Webster, and they had
two sons, Godfrey, who died in 1836, and Henry. While in
Italy, in 1795, she became intimate with Lord Holland, and
her husband obtained a divorce from her and a verdict of
6,000 pounds against her paramour. After the divorce, Lord
Holland married her, and she returned to England to be-
come mistress of Holland House and leader of that illustrious
Holland House Circle whose fame endures even to this day.
To these family complications has been ascribed in part the
neglect of the Kennebec property.

Neglected at any rate it was, and like many tracts be-
longing to absentee owners, it was taken possession of by
"squatters." Henry Webster became a Lieutenant Colonel
in the British Army, and in 1846 an action in his name
against Peter Cooper was entered in the U. S. Circuit Court


at Portland for the recovery of a part of the Pittston prop e rty
A trial resulted in a verdict for the defendant, but the case
was carried to the U. S. Supreme Court, which reversed the
judg-ment and sent the case back for further proceeding's. In
1854 the defendant was defaulted and judg-ment was entered
for the plaintiff, but there is no record of any attempt on his
part to enforce it. Sabine says in his "Loyalists of the
American Revolution", that the suit was prosecuted in the
interest of some persons in Boston who had purchased the
rights of Henry and his mother, and that the litigation was
terminated by the defendant paying: "a small sum for the
land he occupied and each party his own costs." Both of
these statements appear probable.

We have nearly reached the south line of Pittston. Jan.
7, 1764, the Proprietors conveyed to "Martin Hayley of
Kennebeck, Husbandman," a lot of land beginning on the
river at the westerly end of a road eight poles wide "which
Road is the Northern Boundary of the Town of Pownal-
borough," running E. S. E. 390 poles, then N. N. E. 45
poles, then W. N. W. to the river, then southerly to the first
bounds, containing one hundred acres. The consideration
was 40 pounds, and the conveyance was absolute and with-
out conditions. Hanson says that the first English hay cut
in Pittston was raised on this land. The tax deeds of the
Vassall lot make Martin Haley's land its southern boundary.


In 1763 John McKechnie divided a part cf the land belong-
ing to Silvester Gardiner, west of the Kennebec, into ten
acre, eig-ht acre and five acre lots. The latter were south of
the Cobbosseecontee River, and shall first receive our atten-
tion. The McKechnie plan was dated Nov. 14, 1763. I
have not been able to find it or a copy of it, but the five acre
lots were copied into the Solomon Adams plan of 1808. They
were twenty in number, and were numbered from north to
south. The north line of No. 1 was near the north line of
the lot on which the Public Library now stands. These lots
fronted on Kennebec River, and were each twelve rods in
width. From No. 1 to 15 they were seventy rods long, and


the rest sixty-seven rods, the longer ones containing a reser-
vation of forty feet for a road near the river. Lot No. 1, on
the Adams plan, extends to Brunswick Square, now known
as the Common; but as the western bounds of the lots fol-
lowed the bendings of the river, there was a space left be-
tween most of them and what is now Dresden Avenue.

The consideration expressed in the deeds was nominal, five
shillings being usually the amount named, but the grant was
subject to the following conditions: The grantee to build and
maintain a fence wherever his land abutted on that of Dr.
Gardiner, to build a house not less than twenty feet square,

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Online LibraryHenry Sewall WebsterLand titles in old Pittston → online text (page 2 of 5)