nomians, who were banished from Boston and took refuge in these
plantations, was Captain John Underbill. He had been a
soldier in the Netherlands and was brought over to New
England by Governor Winthrop, to train the people in military
discipline. He served the country in the Pequod war, and was
in such reputation in the town of Boston that they had chosen
him one of their deputies. Coming into conflict with the
Massachusetts authorities, from his sympathy with Wheel-
wright, he came to Dover, where he procured the office of
1638] DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENTS. 4I
governor in place of Burdet. Being settled in his government he
gathered a church at Dover. Rev. Hansard Knollys was chosen
minister, who was not only not orthodox, but an Anabaptist
and an Antinomian, which rendered him very obnoxious to the
Puritans of Boston. They complained to the principal inhabit-
ants on the river of a breach of friendship in advancing Under-
hill, and summoned both Underhill and Knollys to appear before
the court at Boston to answer to charges. The people of Dover
voted Underhill out of office and chose Thomas Roberts in his
place. Rev. Thomas Larkham, a native of Lyme, Dorsetshire,
a minister from Northam, near Barnstable, differed from the
church authorities of Boston, and settled in Dover, where he
drew away the followers of Knollys and caused much trouble,
which terminated in a riot. Underhill siding with Knollys, the
Larkham party called in the intervention of Governor Francis
Williams of the lower settlement, and at a trial Underhill was
found guilty of disorderly conduct and banished from the plan-
tations. Knollys was dismissed from the church and returned
to England, where he died over sixty years later, "a good man
in a good old age." ^ Captain Underhill returned to Boston.
and later went to the Dutch settlement on the Hudson, where
he received important commands in the military service of that
colony. After Knollys' departure, Mr. Larkham, for whom the
township was named Northam, charged with moral obliquity,
hastily left the colony, returning to England, where he died
some thirty years afterwards, "well-known there for a man of
great piety and sincerity."
One of the exiles from Massachusetts was Rev. John Wheel-
wright, a preacher at Braintree, who, having been banished
from Massachusetts on account of his Antinomian principles,
obtained a grant from the Lidians, and settled, in 1638, with
many of his followers, at the falls of Squamscott, giving the
place the name of Exeter. Wheelwright was a friend and fel-
low collegian of Oliver Cromwell ; had been vicar of Bilsby, in
Lincolnshire, England, and brought his family to this country
in 1636. Landing in Boston, the next year he was banished
42 HISTORV OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. [ 1 64O
from the colony. There is a distinct tradition that there
were residents at Exeter before Wheelwright arrived. He
at once gathered a church there, built a meeting-house, a
primitive structure of small dimensions, and became the
minister. He drew up a form of civil government, called
a "combination," which, in a modified form, was signed
by him and thirty-four others in 1640. He remained at
Exeter until the extension of the jurisdiction of Massachusetts
over the settlements of New Hampshire, when he withdrew, with
some of his warmest supporters, to Wells, in Maine. In the
year J638, Rev. Stephen Batchelor, with whom was soon after
associated Timothy Dalton and a party, chiefly from Norfolk, in
England, to the number of fifty-six, made a settlement at Hamp-
ton at a place known to the Indians as Winnicumet. This
was strictly a Massachusetts colony; and although their settle-
ment was objected to by the agents of the Mason estate and
the settlers at Exeter, it was persisted in, and soon after led to
the claim of Massachusetts to jurisdiction over the whole of the
territory of New Hampshire. After the death of Captain
Mason, his widow and executrix sent over Francis Norton as
her attorney to manage the estate. The expense exceeding the
income, she was obliged to relinquish the care of the plantation,
and to let the servants shift for themselves. They shared the
goods and cattle, â Norton driving one hundred head to Boston
and there selling them. Some removed to other parts, but many
remained, claiming their lands and betterments, and formed a
permanent settlement about Strawberry Bank.
At this time there were four distinct governments, including
Kittery, on the Piscataqua river, united by mutual " combinations "
or forms of government. The political revolution in England
deprived the people of hope of receiving the royal attention,
and being divided among themselves, the Massachusetts party,
which had been strengthened by large additions among the new
settlers of Dover, prevailed, and it was resolved by the "more
considerate persons " to treat with Massachusetts about tak-
ing them under their protection. The affair was more than a
year in agitation, but was finally concluded, April 14, 1641, when
1632] DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENTS. 43
Strawberry Bank, and the inhabitants of Hilton's Patent,
or Northam, and Exeter, submitted to the jurisdiction of the
Massachusetts colony. This was greatly desired by the authori-
ties at Boston, for they hoped thus to stretch the limits of
their patent so as to take in a great extent of territory. It
was of advantage to the people of the Piscataqua, for it gave
a strong government, which to them was the same as peace
Exeter at that time was not very orthodox, nor was Dover ;
while the people of Strawberry Bank inclined to the Established
Church of England. So the people demanded and received
several concessions before consummating the union. Captain
Thomas Wiggin seems to have been the most influential man,
in the colony in bringing about the desired end, and was
rewarded by high magisterial authority, under the new order of
things. One of the most important concessions made was that
a representative from the Piscataqua could serve, though he
was not a church member.
Thus was formed a union, under which, for nearly forty years.
New Hampshire submitted to the laws and jurisdiction of Mas-
Of the second governor of the Piscataqua settlements,
Francis Williams, who succeeded Walter Neal and continued
as governor until the union with Massachusetts, little is known
to the writer, save that he became a magistrate, and an associate
justice in Norfolk county, and continued in office until 1645.
The obscurity which surrounds the first settlement of New
Hampshire has been partially cleared up by the researches of
the late John Scribner Jenness. A careful perusal of the fol-
lowing extracts from his " Notes on the First Planting of New
Hampshire and on its Piscataqua Patents," may be of general
interest, especially as the work was privately printed, and had a
very limited circulation :
" Advancing from this starting-point (the settlement of
David Thomson and his company, in 1623, at Pannaway, or
Little Harbor), onl\' a few steps further into the early history of
New Hamiisliire. the student is again shut in bv a dense fog,
44 HISTOKV OK NEW HAMPSHIRE. [1632
through which, for a long time, he is compelled to grope his
uncertain way. Before the year 1632 is passed, he finds him-
self in the midst of a number of patents on the Piscataqua, none
of which can he clearly make out and define. He perceives,
long and bitter contests between those rival patents, the true
ground of which he cannot understand. He discovers that at
last all these contending patentees and planters are in some
way swept into the jurisdiction of Massachusetts Bay, but the
dexterous legerdemain by which the annexation was effected
entirely escapes his detection. In vain does he seek for light in
the pages of the Pilgrim or the Puritan historians. That whole
confraternity, indeed, avowedly look upon the Piscataqua plan-
tations with utter contempt, and waste little or no time upon
the annals of those 'sons of Belial' who haunted about the
lower part of the river." It became the policy of the Bay
Colony, in prosecuting their designs over the Piscataqua, to say
or write as little as possible on the subject, so that in case they
should ever be called to account for their conduct in the matter,
they could not, in any event, be condemned out of their own
The instrument which has been the chief cause of the confu-
sion and obscurity was the patent granted in 1629-30 to
Edward Hilton and his associates â a petty conveyance of a
small tract of land around Dover Neck â covering "all that
part of the river Piscataquack, called or known by the name of
Wecanacohunt or Hilton's Point, with the south side of the
said river, up to the fall of the river, and three miles into the
main land by all the breadth aforesaid." Beginning at Hilton's
Point or Dover Neck, the boundary line ran up along the south-
erly side of the Piscataqua river to the lower, or Quampegan
Falls, a distance of seven or eight miles, and reached back into
the interior country three miles along the entire river frontage.
Formal possession was given to Hilton, July J, 163 1.
Before Hilton's title was perfected, Strawberry Bank had
begun to be settled. No less than sixty men were employed
in the Laconia Company's business on the Piscataqua, and
a plantation had been established at Newichwannock, not
163 1] DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENTS. 45
far from Ouampegan Falls, and on the opposite side of the
river from Hilton's grant.
As the Laconia patent conveyed to the adventurers no por-
tion of Piscataqua river, and as during two years' occupation
they had acquired an accurate knowledge of the region and its
many advantages for traffic and commerce, it was their first
care to procure a grant of the desired region not previously con-
veyed to Edward Hilton. Their grant was dated November 3,
163 1, and embraced all lands east of Great Bay, and five miles
south of Little Harbor, and a width of three miles on the north
and east of the Piscataqua from the sea to Quampegan Falls-
It included the present town of Portsmouth, Newington, Green-
land, Newcastle and Rye. It did not conflict with the Hilton
patent, as it was made by the same grantor, the grand council
for New England.
The charter of Massachusetts Bay passed the seals March 4,
1628-29, thus ante-dating Mason's patent of New Hampshire
as well as both the Piscataqua river grants. If the Massachusetts
construction of their charter should prevail, then all the patents
on the river would be swept away ; the whole of that region
would fall by prior title into their hands and jurisdiction, and
neither Mason nor Hilton could have offered any effectual
This ingenious interpretation of the charter having been hit
upon, there appeared as early as 163 1, upon the banks of the
Piscataqua, one Captain Thomas Wiggin, a stern Puritan, and a
confidential friend of Governor John Winthrop, who spent his
whole after-life in maintaining the title of Massachusetts Bay
Colony, under their great charter of 1628, to the lands about the
As the construction the Bay Colony put upon their charter
would, if enforced, have swept away the entire property of all
the Piscataqua planters, it must have encountered a hot and
determined opposition from the whole river. The Massachu-
setts perceived that the Piscataqua planters were bitterly hostile
to them in political and religious principles, and would on that
account be likely to receive official aid from the old country in
46 HISTORY OF NEW HAMPSllIKE. [164O
case of an open conflict. In these difficulties, the Bay magis-
trates deemed it prudent to break up and confuse, if possible,
the solid front of opposition before making an attack ; and to
that end they resolved to get into their own hands the entire
Accordingly, after concerting the plan with Governor Win-
throp and his assistants. Captain Wiggin, shortly after his quar-
rel with Captain Walter Neal over possession of Bloody Point,
went out to England in 1632, and forming a company of
"honest men," as Winthrop calls them, succeeded, with their
aid, in purchasing from Hilton and his Bristol associates the
entire Hilton patent, at the price of ;^2, 150. The purchasers
were all Puritans and frientls of the Massachusetts colony who
had been "writ unto."
Captain Wiggin, appointed manager for the new company,
returned to New England in 1633, with reinforcements and
supplies, and took immediate steps to submit the territory to
the jurisdiction of Massachusetts ; but Wiggin found it impos-
sible to complete the bargain. Intense hostility against the
design sprang up at once among the original Hilton Point
planters, many of whom were Royalists and Churchmen, who
could not maintain their titles to land before a legal tribunal;
and they set up an independent government among themselves
under the name of a combination. In 1637, they chose George
Burdet, a staunch Churchman, as their governor, in place of
Captain John Underbill, who was chosen governor in 1638,
on account of his supposed opposition to the Massachusetts
claim, was found to be plotting with his ally, Hanserd KnoUys,
to establish that claim. This led to the riot in which Mr.
Larkham led the people against the governor, and was sustained
by Governor Francis Williams of Strawberry Bank. Underbill
and Knollys were both ordered out of the Piscataqua plantations
by a court presided over by Mr. Williams.
But now at last, in 1640, amidst the turmoils and bitter quar-
rels among the inhabitants, Massachusetts saw her long awaited
opportunity to spread her jurisdiction over the Piscataqua.
1640] DISCOVERY AND SETTLEMENTS. 47
Hugh Peters and two others were sent "to understand the minds
of the people, to reconcile some differences between them, and
to prepare them." On his return in 1641, he reported to
Governor Winthrop that the Piscataqua people were "ripe for
our government. They grone for Government and Gospel all
over that side of the Country. Alas! poore bleeding soules."
"The precise methods used in preparing the people for the
Puritan anne.xation have never been fully disclosed. Edward
Hilton's assent was purchased by a covenant. Governor Francis
Williams, of the lower plantation, was secured for the measure,
but the manner is not revealed. The chief inducement, however,
held out to thepopulation at large seems to ha^e been the prom-
ise of the Bay Colony, that they should "enjoy all such lawful
liberties of fishing, planting and felling timber as formerly."
The inhabitants at Strawberry Bank and vicinity at the time of the Union,
1640, were :
Gov. Francis Williams. Jno. Wall. William Berry.
Asst. Ambrose Gibbons.* Robert Puddington. Jno. Pickering.
William Jones. Mathew Cole. Jno. Billing.
Dr. Renald Fernald. Henry Sherburne. Jno. Wolten.
John Crowther. John Lander. Nicholas Row.
Anthony Bracket. Henry Taler. William Palmer.
Michael Chatterton. John Jones.
Among the stewards and servants sent to New Hampshire by Captain
John Mason were :
Thomas Comack. Wm., Wm. Jr., and Hum- James Newt.*
William Raymond. phrey Chadbourne. Francis Mathews.*
George Vaughan. Jeremiah and Thos. Wal- Francis Rand.
Thomas Wannerton. ford. James Johnson.
Henry Jocelyn. Thomas Chatherton. Anthony Ellins.
Francis Norton. John Williams. Henry Baldwin.
Sampson Lane. John Goddard.* Thomas Spencer.
Ralph Goe. Thomas Fernald. Thomas Furrall.
Henry Goe. Thomas Withers. Thomas Herd.
William Cooper. Thomas Canney.* Roger Knight.
Henry LongstatT.* John Symonds. William Seavev.
Hugh James. John Peverly. Joseph Beal.
William Bracket. Thomas Moore. John Ault.*
William Brakin. Alexander Jones. James Wall.
Eight Danes and twentv-two women.
mSTORV OK NEW HAMPSHIRE.
Among the Dover settlers at the time were also :
Thomas Beard. Thomas Johnson.
George Burdet. Hanserd Know les.
Edward Colcott. Thomas Larkham.
John Darn. Thomas Lajton.
William Furber. William Leveridge.
John Hall. James Nute.
John Heard. Hatevil Nutter.
Edward and Wm. Hilton. James Ordway.
At Exeter the signers of the " combination " wer
Rev. John Wheelwright. Chr. Helme.
Fourteen of whom made their mar
At Hampton were early the following settlers :
Rev. Stephen Batchelor. William Fuller.
Mr. Christopher Hussey.
John and Thomas Moul-
Wm. Pom fret.
Thos. and Wm. War-
Lieut. Wm. Hay ward.
UNION WITH MASSACHUSETTS, 1641-1679.
Laws â Courts â Judges â Masonian Claim âDeputies â Magistrates
â Dover â Norfolk County â Town Lines â Roads â -Portsmouth
â Survey of Northern Boundary â Endicott Rock â Market â
Dunstable â Witchcraft â Qitakers â King's Commissioners â Cor-
bet â Masts â Sabbath Laws â Harvard College â Oyster River
^ Indian War â Effect of Union â Church History : Hampton â
Exeter â Dover â Portsmouth â ^Massachusetts Governors â Mag-
istrates and Deputies.
A T the time of the union, the breach between the Puritans
and the EstabHshed Church of England was not so wide as
it was soon destined to become. Most of their early ministers
were regularly ordained and many had been educated at Oxford
or at Cambridge. The differences were not so much in the
creed as in church government and the forms of worship. Even
the ritual had not been entirely discarded. There were at that
time, and for many years after, even until the creation of the
royal province, two parties within the New Hampshire towns,
the Puritan or republican party, and the opposition, made up
of ardent Churchmen, Royalists, Anabaptists, ^ Antinomians,^
Quakers, freethinkers, and free lances.
During the union of these plantations with Massachusetts
they were governed by the general laws of that colony and the
terms of the union were strictly observed. Exeter and Hamp-
ton were at first annexed to the jurisdiction of the courts at
Ipswich, till the establishment of a new county, which was called
^ The Anabaptists denied the validity of infant baptism and believed in immersion.
- The Antinomians believed in " the indwelling of the person of the Holy Ghost in the heart of
the true believers '* and encouraged the women in taking part in religious meetings.
50 HISTORY OF NKW HAMPSHIRE. [164I
Norfolk, and comprehended Salisbury, Haverhill, Hampton,
Exeter, Strawberry Bank and Dover. These towns were then
of such e-xtent as to contain all the lands between the rivers
Merrimack and Piscataqua. The shire town was Salisbury, but
the Piscataqua settlements had always a distinct jurisdiction,
though they were considered as part of this new county. A
court was held in one or the other, sometimes once and some-
times twice in the year, consisting of one or more of the magis-
trates or assistants, and one or more of the commissioners, chosen
by the General Court out of the principal gentlemen of each town.
This was called the Court of Associates, and their power extended
to causes of twenty pounds' value. From them there was an appeal
to the Board of Assistants, in Boston, which, being found incon-
venient, it was, in 1670, ordered to be made to the county court
of Norfolk. Cases under twenty shillings in value were settled in
each town by an inferior court, consisting of three persons.
After some time, the towns had liberty to choose their associate
justices, which was done by the vote of both towns, opened at a
joint meeting of their selectmen, though sometimes they re-
quested the Court to appoint them as before. "That mutual
confidence between rulers and people which springs from the
genius of a republican government is observable in all their
2 The extension of the jurisdiction of Massachusetts over New
Hampshire could not fail of being noticed by the heirs of
Mason ; but the distractions caused by the civil wars in England
were invincible bars to any legal inquiry. The first heir named in
Mason's will dying in infancy, the estate descended after the
death of the executrix to Robert Tufton, who was not of age
till 1650. Joseph Mason came over as agent to look after the
Masonian interests. He found the lands at Newichawannock
occupied by Richard Leader, against whom he brought suit in the
county court of Norfolk ; but a dispute arising, whether the lands
in question were within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, there
was an appeal to the. General Court at Boston, which resulted in
the survey by Jonathan Ince and John Sherman. Two experi-
' Fanner's Helknap, pp. 5J, 54. ' Belknap.
1641] UNION WITH MASSACHUSETTS. 5 1
enced ship masters determined that the parallel of latitude ex-
tended from the outlet of Lake Winiiipiseogee to a point in Casco
Bay, on the coast of Maine, and this line was determined by the
General Court to be their northern boundary, thus including
the most of the territory granted to Mason. They also decided
that a quantity of land proportionable to Mason's disbursements,
with the privilege of the river, should be laid out to his heirs.
The agent made no attempt to recover any other part of the
estate, but returned to England, and the estate was given up
for lost, unless the government of England should interfere.
During the Commonwealth, and the protectorate of Cromwell,
there could be no hope of relief, as the family had always been
attached to the royal cause, and the colony stood high in the favor
of the Parliament and of Cromwell.
At the restoration of Charles II, Robert Tufton, who took
the name of Mason, applied to the King for redress, and the
attorney-general decided that the claim of Mason to the province
of New Hampshire was good and legal. The commissioners
who came over in 1664 were to inquire into this as well as other
matters. The reception of the commissioners resulted in a re-
port to the King unfavorable to the Massachusetts claims.
While in New England they took many affidavits, but made no
determination of the controversy. After the return of the
commissioners, the government took no active measures for the
relief of Mason, who became discouraged and joined with the
heirs of Gorges in proposing an alienation of their respective
rights in the provinces of New Hampshire and Maine to the
crown, but the Dutch war's and other foreign transactions pre-
vented any determination concerning them till the country was
involved in all the horrors of a general war with the natives.
From the annals of New Hampshire, gathered with great
care by the late Rev. Dr. Nathaniel Bouton, from town records,
court records, Massachusetts records, and New York documents,
and published in the first volume of the " Provincial Papers,"
are extracted most of the following items of more or less
The union of the four New Hampshire towns with Massa-
52 HISTORV OF NEW HAMPSHIRE. [1C4I
chusetts was perfected by an act passed by the General Court
held at Boston on the "9th day of the 8th month, 1641." The
preamble having asserted that, according to the Massachusetts
patent, the Piscataqua river was within their jurisdiction and that
a conference had been had with the people living there, who con-
sented to the arrangement, it was ordered that the people " in-