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Preface Pages 5—12

Introduction Pages 13 — 42

John Mason's Royal Charter . . Pages 20 — 39

Grant from Gorges to Mason . . . Pages 39 — 42

Register's Certificate .... Page 43

Errata Page 44

York Deeds Folios 1 — 195

Index ........ Pages 1 — 150

I. Grantors Pages 2 — 57

II. Grantees Pages 58—113

III. Other Persons .... Pages 114—125

IV. Places Pages 126—133

V. General Pages 134—150




The second volume in the York registry of deeds is marked, on
a fly leaf at the beginning, " The Second Book of Records." Like
the first, it is worn and battered and has been supplanted, for ac-
tive service, by a copy. Samuel Tri])p, register, certifies the copy
as transcribed by him in 1870. The binding of the original record
is shattered, but fortunately only one folio, 106, is missing. The
number 171 was accidentally omitted in marking the folios, and
the absence of 60 and 61 is to be ex|)lained, perhaps, in the same
way. The marginal notes indicating the grantors and grantees,
and an index covering three pages, are in the handwriting of Jo-
seph Hammond, register from 1695 to 1710.

Edward Rishworth opened the new book Feb. 12, 1666. He
had accei)ted a commission from John Archdale, the representa-
tive of Ferdinando Gorges, the younger, in 1664, and in Novem-
ber of that year had joined with Archdale and other ofticers of
the Gorges government in a missive addressed to the governor
of Massachusetts and his assistants, requiring them to surrender
their pretensions to authority within the province of Maine. The
county organization had been dissolved. The general court which
met at Boston in May, 1665, ordered a county court to be held at
York as usual, in July. As there was no resident magistrate act-
ing in the name of Massachusetts, Ezekiel Knight of Wells was
appointed to that oflice. If Edward Rishworth should neglect
his duty as county recorder, he was directed to turn over the
books and papers to Peter Weare of York, who was to take his
place. ^ But in June the king's commissioners for New England
arrived in Maine and organized a new government under his maj-
esty's immediate protection. The affairs of the province were
committed to eleven justices of the peace appointed by the com-
missioners. Henry Jocelyn of Black Point was the chief justice,^
and in his absence Robert Jordan of Richmond's island was to

' 1 Williamson's Maine, 415.

-See W. M. Sargent's article on .locelyn, 40 N. E. Hist, and Gen. Register, 292.

{] Preface.

preside. Rishworth was one of these officers and continued to
serve as recorder. When tlie Massachusetts magistrates arrived
to hold the county court in July, they learned at Piscataqua that
the militia had been called out to hinder their proceedings by
force if necessary, and with this intelligence they returned to

The new magistracy had been in power for nearly eight months
when Rishworth opened his "second book of records." The sys-
tem of administration was excellent. The province was divided
by the Kennebunk river into two judicial districts. Courts of
common pleas were held in each district three times a year, and
courts of quarter sessions four times. Appeals were reserved at
first to the commissioners for New England, but in November,
1666, the justices were authorized to choose three of their own
number to sit as a court of chancery and hear and detennine any
appeals which might be taken according to the custom of England.'
A general assembly in which the towns were represented by dep-
uties, met annually in Saco.

The last assembly was held in May, 1668. The royal commis-
sioners had been recalled. Two of them had returned to England.
Colonel Nicolls remained in New York asgovernor of the Ameri-
can territories of the duke of York, and Samuel Maverick also
resided there, " in the Broad Way." The general court of Mas-
sachusetts assembled in May, and instructed the secretary of the
colony to issue warrants to the Yorkshire towns, directing them
to send in their votes for county officers to a court to be held at
York on the first Tuesday of July. Assistants John Leverett and
Edward Tyng and Deputies Richard Waldron of Dover and
Robert Pike of Salisbury were commissioned to keep the court.
Governor Nicolls, hearing of these proceedings, interposed a sol-
emn protest, but he had no longer any authority to intei-fere and
his objections were disregarded.

The Massachusetts commissioners arrived at York, with a mili-
tary escort, on Monday, July 6, and opened their court the next
day. The justices to whom the government of the province had
been entrusted, presented their commission, issued in the king's
name and approved by him,- but their opposition was overcome,
as a Massachusetts historian explains, "partly by friendly rea-

'Infra, fol. 194. "^'Z Sainsbury's Calendar of Colonial Papers, 1171.

Preface. 7

soiling and partly by a harmless show of force."i When the votes
were counted, it was found that Edward Kishworth had been
chosen recorder, but his election was overruled and Peter Weare
was appointed in his stead." Weare was also elected county
treasurer, and Ezekiel Knight was chosen an associate, or county

Peter Weare was born in 1618,* and was about 22 years old
when he arrived in Maine and acquired, in common with Basil
Parker, a house ami lot, probably at Piscataqua. The grant ap-
pears to have been made by John Willcox, agent for Sir Ferdi-
nando Gorges, and afterward confirmed by Thomas Gorges. In
May, 104:3, We;ire and Parker both witnessed the conveyance of
the Newichewannock tract by the sagamore Roles to Humphrey
Chadbourne. In July of the same year, Governor Gorges granted
to Weare a point called the Gurnet's ISTose, on the southwest
branch of Agamenticus river. In 1644 Weare bought a houselot
on the east side of the river, and in 1646 received a town grant of
marsh on the northwest branch. But in 1651, he sold all these
scattered tracts and acquired the estate on the north side of Cape
Neddick river where he finally settled. He also owned twenty
acres on Little river. With other citizens of Gorgeana, afterward
Yoi-k, he took the oath of fidelity to Massachusetts in 1652 and
became a freemin of the Bay colony. After this date his pro-
motion was rapid. In 1656 he was elected a selectman of the
town, in 1659 an associate, and in 1660, though still residing in
York, a deputy for Kittery to the general court at Boston. In.
1661, and frequently afterward, he was a town commissioner, or
trial justice. In 1662 he was a selectman again, and in 1663 town
clerk. In 1665 he again represented Kittery in the general court,
and his testimony concerning the source of the Merrimac, taken
in Boston in May, was forwarded to the king by Governor Bel-
linghaiu to support the claim of Massachusetts to jurisdiction not
merely three miles beyond the river, but to a parallel of latitude
three miles north of the head of the river, including the province
of Maine as far as the Clapboard islands in Casco bay.^ A thor-

1 2 Palfrey's Xew England (abridgment), 82.

2 I have seen this statement on a fragment of a leaf among the Court Records at Alfred.
"Weare (2 York Court Records, 72) simply reports, "Peter Weare chosen Recorder & Co.

'In October following, the general court at Boston appointed Bryan Pendleton, Richard
Waldron, John Cutt. Elias Stileman and Charles Frost special magistrates, to see that the
peo pie of Yorkshire were ' religiously goverued." Infra, fol. 56.

* See his deposition, infra, fol. 180. ^2 Colonial Papers, 1001.

8 Preface.

ough partisan of the Massachusetts government, Weare dropped
out of sight during the administration of the justices appointed
by the commissioners for New England ; but in 1668 he had his
reward. His records sliow that lie was poorly qualified for the
office to which he was then appointed. In an age when spelling
was largely a matter of personal choice, his orthography was lam-
entable; and his handwriting was worse than his spelling. The
labor of writing was so irksome to him that he frequently em-
ployed Rishworth to make the records to which he affixed hia
clumsy signature. In 1669 Rishworth was again elected record-
er, and again the court set aside the election and appointed Weare,
who was also chosen an associate and reelected as county treas-.
urer.^ But in 1670 Rishworth was sent as deputy from York to
the general court and was admitted to his seat in May, on sub-
mitting an apology, in writing, for his imprudence in accepting
commissions from Gorges and from the king's commissioners. Be-
ing thus restored to favor, he was again elected recorder by the
populnr vote in July, and this third election was allowed to stand.^
Weare continued to hold the office of county treasurer until 1676,
when he was directed to square his accounts. He was also town
clerk and selectman in 1674, and selectman again in 1677. His
name is mentioned for the last time in 1680, He was then 62
years old, and probably died not long afterward. He began to be
called Peter Weare, senior, about 1673. His eldest son, Peter,
was a carpenter, and removed to Boston, Other children were
Elias, Joseph, Hopewell, Sarah and Elizabeth,^

After Weare's retii'ement Rishworth was regularly reelected
recorder for many years. His last entry in the second book of
deeds is dated June 27, 1676, The records in this volume show a
rapid extension of land titles and settlements into the interior and
along the sea coast. The Newichewannock tract in Kittery had
become a separate parish, known as Unity parish, in 1667. The
tract four miles square, above Wells and Cape Porpoise, now Ly-
man, had received the name Coxhall in 1670, The Mousam mills
had been built by Henry Sayword in 1673, on Cape Porpoise riv-

'2 York Court Records, 82: " Mr. Edward Rishworth was chosen Recorder for this
county. Not accepting thereof, this Court hath appointed Peter Weare Recorder for thii
county for the ensuing year."

2 2 York Court Records, 87.

3 See for Weare's biography the index references to his name in this and the preceding
volume of York Deeds, 3 York Deeds, 9, 1.3, Savage's Gen. Dictionary of New Kugland s,
vv, Weare and Wyer, and 4 Maine Hist, and Geu. Recorder, 143.

Preface. 9

er, now Mousam river. Major William Phillips was selling wild
lands on the south side of Saco river up to the Little Ossipee ; and
beyond that boundary, Francis Small, an Indian trader, was ac-
quiiing land titles. Thomas Stevens had secured in 1673 an ex-
tensive Indian grant in Wescustogo, afterward North Yarmouth.
Other Indian deeds are here recorded, on which rest titles in
Phipsburg, Bath and Bowdoinham. The commissioners for New
England had appointed justices of the peace to govern the duke
of York's territory east of the Kennebec, and a book of records
was opened at Damariscotta in 1665, but documents from Dam-
ariscove, Pemaquid, Jeremysquam and Wiscasset nevertheless
found their way to the York registry.^

It appears that after the government of Maine had been com-
mitted to Justice Jocelyn and his associates, in 1665, the authori-
ties at Boston prohibited the sale of arms and ammunition to the
people here.2 It is recorded also that in 1676 the general court
of Massachusetts levied a war tax of ninepence in the pound (37^
mills) on property in York county and on the profits of trades-
men and mechanics, in addition to a poll tax of two and sixpence.^
This is the oppressive tax of which 121 inhabitants of Maine
complained to the king in 1678, asking him to restore the provin-
cial government established by his commissioners.* But they
were too late. Gorges had already sold his province to the agent
of Massachusetts.

Ferdinando Gorges, it seems, Adsited New England in 1674. In
August of that year he witnessed Nathaniel Fryer's conveyance of
Champernon's island at Piscataqua to Thomas Deane of Bos-
ton.^ Isaac Addington of Boston also witnessed the deed. He
was then 29 years old, a surgeon by profession, but was afterward
for many years secretary of the new province of Massachusetts
Bay, chartered by William and Mary in 1691. It was in 1674
that the project of buying the Gorges claim was seriously taken
in hand by Governor Leverett, who was so eager for it that he of-
fered to be personally responsible for £500 of the purchase mon-
ey.® The bargain was concluded in 1677.

' See besides the places named in this paragraph, Hollis and Dayton in the general index.
» Infra, fol. 194. s Infra, fol. 191. Compare 3 Palfrey's New England, 230 u.

* 1 Maine Hist. Coll. 400. Williamson (1 Maine, 448 n.) estimates this tax at £157, lOs.,
but the petitioners complain that the three towns spared by the Indians, York, Wells and
Kittery, were required to pay more than £3000.

» Infra, fol. 158. « 3 Palfrey's New England, 312 n.

10 Preface.

The original proprietor of Maine says, in his Brief Narration of
Undertakings for the Advincementof Plantations in America, that
he divided the province in 1639 into "eight bailiwicks or coun-
ties," and eight deputies to the general assembly were to be " elect-
ed by the freeholders of the several counties."^ The names of
two of these counties have now been recovered. In several con-
veyances recorded in the first book of deeds, Thomas Gorges
mentions " Wells in the county of Somerset"; and in the second
book, Edward Godfrey twice describes himself as "of Gorgeanain
the county of Devon."^ It appears that the eight counties included
the plantations at Piscataqua, Agamenticus, Wells, Cape Porpoise,
Saco, Black Point, Casco and Wescustogo or Pejepscot, and ex-
tended inland to the limit of the patent, 120 miles from the coast.
The Mason claim to the province of New Hampshire is also ex-
hibited in this volume, so far as Robert Mason chose to press it
in 1664. In October, 1666, the Maine justices sent Roger Phiisted
to New York with dispatches for Governor Nicolls. The messen-
ger was five weeks in making the journey, and longer in return-
ing. The dispatches touched upon various topics, and for one
thing notified the governor that the timber and especially the
masts on the Mason property were like to be cut and carried away,
unless the trespassers should be restrained, and recommended Nich-
olas Shapleigh of Kittery for agent to protect the premises. The
governor sent back ten documents to be recorded. 1. A certified
copy of an indenture from the New England council, April 22,
1635, conveying the lands of New Hampshire to Ca})tain John
Mason. 2. A certified copy of a grant by the council to Mason,
on the same day, of the same lands, Avith authority to establish
courts and govern the province. 3. A copy of the complaint of
Robert Mason and others to King Charles II, alleging that the
Massachusetts colony had deprived them of their lands and other
property in New England "by strong hand and menaces." 4. The
king's answer, Nov. 17, 1660, referring the complaint for exami-
nation to certain lords and gentlemen. 5. The report of the
referees, finding that the Massachusetts people had in fact invaded
and encroached upon the j^lantations and inheritances of the pe-
titioners and other British subjects. 6. The petition of Robert
Mason and another, asking the king to refer the matter to the
further examination of the newly appointed commissioners for

1 2 Brief Narration, c. 3, 4. » Infra, fol. 176, 177.

Preface. 11

New England. 7. Robert Mason's letter, May 4, 1664, to Colonel
Nicolls, one of the commissioners, enclosing, 8. A letter of attor-
ney authorizing Nicolls to let any New Hampshire lands at his
discretion, to collect the rents, and to appoint other attorneys un-
der him at pleasure. 9. A letter of attorney from Nicolls to
Nicholas Shapleigli, authorizing him to take care of the estate and
especially to prevent the cutting of masts and other timber with-
out license. 10. An abstract of Robert Mason's title, derived
from his grandfather, John Mason. Rishworth was a week in
copying these papers, which fill ten folios in the record book.i

At my request, Mr. Sai-gent undertook to prepare a sketch of
the history of the Mason claim, to accompany and illustrate these
documents. While engaged upon this work he was fortunate
enough to hear of an important manuscript in the possession of
Mr. Moses A. Safford of Kittery, who kindly allowed him to ex-
amine the book. It is a beautifully written and well preserved
folio of 84 pages, containing a complete collection of the proofs
of John Mason's title to property in New England. Most of the
documents are certified by Richard Chamberlain, secretary of the
province of New Hampshire, in the year 1683. Chamberlain was
secretary from 1680 to 1686, and was a warm friend of Robert
Mason, who in 1683 recovered thirty or forty judgments in New
Hampshire against the principal landholders there. The inference
is irresistible, that the Safford manuscript was offered as evidence
of Mason's title at these trials. The judgments, however, were
of little use to the proprietor. Nobody would take a lease of the
property awarded to him, and as soon as the officers were out of
sight the evicted tenants returned to their homes. Mason died in
1688, and three years later his sons sold their New England inher-
itance to a London merchant named Samuel Allen. John Usher,
who had married one of Allen's daughters, was interested in the
fruitless litigation which followed, and the Safford manuscript has
been preserved in the Usher family for nearly two hundred years.

When Mr, Sargent came to examine this volume, he made a sur-
prising discovery. There have been occasional references to a
royal charter confirming John Mason's right to New Hampshire
and conferring upon him powers of jurisdiction there. Robert
Mason, in his petition to Charles II, claimed under a patent grant-
ed by his majesty's royal fathei*,^ and the lords and gentlemen to

I Infra, f ol. 14-23. « Infra, f ol. 17, 18.

12 Preface.

whom tlie petition was referred, reported that John Mason had
letters patent under the great seal of England, granted by King
Charles I. But the patent, if it ever existed, disappeared and
could not be found. John Mason's will was made Nov. 26, 1635'
and he died not long afterward. Sir Ferdinando Gorges is re-
ported as saying in 1636, that Mason, if he had lived, would have
taken a patent from the king. The historians of New Hampshire
have generally accepted this statement, though it does not come
from Gorges directly but at second hand through George Vaughan.
And now, after two hundred and fifty years, Mr. Sargent found
in the Safford manuscript a copy of the missing charter, granted
Aug. 19, 1635, the only copy which is known to have survived to
these days, authenticated by Secretary Chamberlain and preserved
among other well known muniments of the Mason title.

In the introduction which follows this preface, Mr. Sargent
prints the Mason charter by permission from Mr. Safford, and
gives excellent reasons for regarding it as genuine. In the same
manuscript, Mr. Sargent found a hitherto unjDublished grant, Sept.
17, 1635, from Gorges to Mason, conveying a tract three miles
wide on the eastern side of Newichewannock river, from the
entrance of the river to its source. This grant belongs to the
record of Maine land titles, and is printed in Mr. Sargent's intro-
duction. Copies of both documents have been sent to Mr. John
Ward Dean for his monograph on Captain John Mason, soon to be
published by the Prince Society.

The manner in which the records at Alfred have been tran-
scribed and jjrinted, is described in the preface to the first book,
where will also be found an explanation of the contractions in
the text.

H. W. Richardson.


The series of documents printed on folios 14 to 23 in this vol-
ume, is of remarkable historical importance, and worthy of some
space by way of explication.

Colonel Richard Nicolls was appointed by King Charles II one
of the royal commissioners for New England, in 1664. He took
up his residence in New York, where he resided for four years.
By the power, recorded folios 19 and 20, Colonel Nicolls was ap-
pointed general attorney for Robert Mason, the grandson and heir
of Captain John Mason, the patentee of the province of New
Hampshire. Finding his place of residence so remote as to pre-
clude that personal supervision requisite for the " raanageing & pres-
ervation of the sayd estate," availing himself of the power of
substitution. Colonel Nicolls delegated his power to Major Nicho-
las Shapleigh, who had been recommended to him as a fit person
by the Justices of Maine.^ These documents were placed upon
record in the province of Maine by Major Shapleigh to evince his

From a perusal of the deed and patent from the Council of New
England to his grandfather, and from the statement of his title,^it
is apparent that Robert Mason, at this time, rested his claim to
the lands and to the quit-rents he expected to derive from the
large number of settlers upon them, mainly upon the grants of 22
April, 1635 ; that he was more intent upon revenues than govern-
ment, and although there are some suggestions as to acts of au-
thority in his rather loose letter to Colonel Nicolls, in his practical
power no such delegation of authority is attempted, but cold cash
and regular rentals are aimed at.

These grants were embodied in the deed poll and the indenture,
folios 14 — 15 and 15 — 17. Without entering upon a discussion of
their technical differences, it is to be noticed that the second as-
sumed to assign Jura regalia and was to be upon the tenure of
personal fealty and attendance.

1 See f ol. 195. » Jenness's New Hampshire Documents, 52. ' Folios 21—23.

14 Introduction.

That Mason ever had any other foundation for liis claim besides
the above and the previous grants from tlie Council of New Eng-
land, of 9 March, 1621, and 7 Nov. 1629, has been vehemently
denied by his opponents. The arguments adduced by such oppo-
nents against the existence of any royal confirmation of the above
grants, or charter such as was granted by King Charles I in 1639
to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, of the province of Maine, are substan-
tially the following:

1. The letter of George Vaughan to Ambrose Gibbons, dated
London, 10 April, 1636, wherein he writes: " Mr. Mason being
ded and S'' Ferdinando [Gorges] minding only his one divityon.
He teles me he is a geting a pattente for it from the king from Pas-
cataqua to Sagadehocke, and that betwene Meremacke and Pis-
cataqua he left for Mr. Mason, who if hee had lived would a tooke
a pattent for that also.''^

2. The fact that none of Mason's heirs ever attempted to assume
government over the province by virtue of any royal confirmation
of the above grants.

3. That Robert Mason did not produce in evidence any charter
to the Lords Chief Justices in 1677, or before the King in Council
in 1691.

4. Repetition of Belknap's mis-quotation of the Lords Chief
Justices; he in his text making them report that Mason had "no
right of government within the soil he claimed."'^

5. That the Lords of Trade in a report to the King in 1753
say, "It is alleged that tliis last grant to Mason was ratified and
confirmed by the crown by charter dated Aug. 19, 1635, with full
power of civil jurisdiction and government, but no such charter as
this appears upon record. "^

To answer fully such allegations, with citations of all references
pertinent, would protract argument beyond the limits of the space
available for these memoires pour servir ; but a few suggestions
are offered with the purpose of inviting discussion and the hope
that others will be drawn out.

Tlie alleged letter of Vaughan is open to suspicion : it is not
improbable that it is an ingenious forgery, penned by the same
crafty hand that wrote the bogus Wheelwright Indian deed,* ia-

1 1 Belknap's History of New Hampsliire, appendix xi.

2 1 Bemnap, 168. « 1 Belknap, 25 n.

* See Savage's exposition of this fraud in his notes to Winthrop's History, 486.

Inteoductiox. 15

stigated by Mason's unscrupulous opponents. i Or, if it is con-
ceded to be a genuine letter, Vaughan was one of the stewards
whose interests, jiersonal ami family,^ caused him to readily enter
the opposition to his late enijjloyer's lieirs, and such interested tes-

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