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THIS volume has been long in preparation, and
ought to be correct, and yet I do not claim that it is
entirely free from errors. Such total exemption can
hardly be expected of a work of the kind. It should
be recollected that the published prospectus did not
promise a history of the town that has been writ-
ten by an abler hand. A writer in the Historical and
Genealogical Register says, " He who gleans history
after William Willis will find a barren field." My
object has been to prepare a volume of reliable local
history, new as nearly as practicable, which should
be entertaining as well as instructive. I have not
especially sought to trace the pedigree of those of
whom I have written. I believe with Shakespeare

" Honors best thrive

When rather from our acts we them derive,
Than our foregoers.''

I have abundant material and memoranda for
further labor in this field of local history, which I
shall continue to prosecute.





1 Capt. Christopher Levett steering his shallop into Hog Island

Roads in 1623 Frontispiece

2 Rev. Robert Jordan's baptismal basin 72

3 Father Rasle's " strong box," 181

4 Bell of the Indian chapel at Norridgewock, Maine, burnt 1722. . .. 181

5 Portrait of Commodore Edward Tyng, by Blackburn 247

6 Silver Vase presented to Commodore Tyng by merchants of

Boston, 1744 248

7 Portrait of the wife of Commodore Tyng, by Blackburn 251

8 Portrait of Elizabeth Ross, at the age of 16, by Copley 253

9 Portrait of Col. William Tyng, by Copley, in gold locket 255

10 Reverse of locket hair and pearls 256

11 Meeting-house of First Parish, 1740 286

12 St. Paul's Church, 1802 314

13 Brig Boxer after she was made a merchantman 490

14 Cumberland court-house, 1785 499

15 Cumberland court-house, 1816 504

16 Portrait of the author 527


CHAPTER I. Page 9.

Captain Christopher Levett's coasting trip. He established a planta-
tion on an island at Casco, and built a house, the first within the present
bounds of Portland, in 1623. Its probable location. Governor Robert
Gorges, Knight, with his ship the Swan, spent the following winter in
the harbor. His chaplain, Rev. William Morrell, wrote a poem descrip-
tive of New England.

CHAPTER II. Page 29.

Spurwink and Richmond's Island. Walter Bagnall. His Treasure.
Richard Bradshaw, Richard Tucker and George Cleeves at Spurwink.
Trelawney and Goodyear' s patent; it did not convey absolute title to
Richmond's Island. John Winter. Raising of corn ; mills for grinding.
The first vessels built in Falmouth. Goats, hogs, and the first neat


Church of England ministers at Richmond's Island. Richard Gibson.
Robert Jordan. Description of Richmond's Island. Fatal shipwreck.

CHAPTER IV. Page 87.

Settlement at New Casco. Arthur Macworth. Gorges' province of
"New Somersetshire." Massachusetts extends its eastern boundary.
Opposition to Massachusetts. Maine's submission. The heir of Gorges
claims Maine. Sale of the province to Massachusetts.

CHAPTER V. Page 109.

Prosperous state of the town at the beginning of the first Indian, or
Philip's war. Fears of the Indians. An Indian killed by a party of
English without cause. Many settlers leave the town. Exposed state of
those remaining. Murder of the Alger brothers at Scarborough, and
attack on the Jordan settlement at Spurwink. The inhabitants of the
Neck either killed or driven from their homes. Witchcraft

CHAPTER VI. Page 131.

Resettlement of the town. Second Indian war. Governor Andros
tries to prevent it. His proclamation. The governor's winter march
with troops to Maine. Subversion of the Andros government. Weak-
ness of Fort Loyal. Major Church and his Plymouth forces sent to
Falmouth. Great battle at Back Cove creek.


CHAPTER VII. Page 157.

New Casco fort It is dismantled. Governor Dudley's Port Royal
expedition. It retreats to Falmouth. Revival of the "Neck." Mayor
Moody's garrison. Reorganization of the town government. Fort built
on the Neck. Colonel Westbrook's expedition to Norridgewock.
Seizure of Father Rasle's papers. Captain Harmon's expedition, and
death of the missionary. His scalp and others carried to Boston. The
Norridgewock relics.


Indian treaties. Governor Shirley's first visit to Falmouth in 1742.
His conference with the Indians here in 1754. The Louisburg expedi-
tion. Principal officers from Maine. Battle at Minas, N. S., and death
of Capt. Stephen Jones of Falmouth. Fear of a visit from D'Anville's
fleet. His intention to winter in the harbor of Falmouth. Fortifications

CHAPTER IX. Page 280.

Population of the different parts of the town at different periods.
State of the Neck in 1759, when Quebec surrendered. Early Ecclesiastical
affairs. Whitefield. Shakers.

CHAPTER X. Page 332.

Falmouth in the Revolution. Resistance to the use of British stamps.
Captain Coulson is forbidden to rig or load his new ship. He obtains aid
from Admiral Graves at Boston. "Thompson's war." Committee of
safety. Loyalists examined. Contribution for the people of Boston
when the port was closed. Admiral Graves sends a squadron to destroy
the town. Fearless reply of the people to Mowatt's threats. The
bombardment Preparation for future defence. Batteries built.
Troops sent to headquarters.

CHAPTER XI. Page 392.

Defenceless state of the Neck after the peace of 1783. Erection of Fort
Sumner. The Oxford army. French mania. Trouble with the Barbary
States. Tribute to them. War with Tripoli. Commodore Treble's
vigorous measures.

CHAPTER XII. Page 420.

Complications with France and England. Embargo act and non-
intercourse. Preparations for the defence of the town. Building of
Forts Preble and Scammell. War of 1812. Enterprise and Boxer.
Portland privateers. Portland made a home port for many private armed
vessels. The town threatened by a British squadron.


Early County buildings. Cemeteries. Light-houses. Wrecks.
Islands. Simonton's Cove. Cushing's Point Markets.






THE first European who discovered, appreciated, and
described the beauties and capabilities of what is now the
city and harbor of Portland and Falmouth was Christopher
Levett. He came here from the Isles of Shoals, where he
landed from England in 1623. His first visit to the main
land was to Piscataqua. From thence he coasted with two
boats and ten or more men to Cape Elizabeth, Casco Bay,
and on to Boothbay. Here he turned back to the western
part of Casco Bay, as the most suitable place he had found
for a permanent plantation, and for the beginning of a city.
He had a grant of six thousand acres of land, to be located
where he might choose east of Piscataqua. Levett's pro-
ject received the approbation of King James.*

*It seems that Levett had decided, before leaving England, to call his

city York. In Sainbury's State Papers, Vol. I., p. 45, is this minute of

the Council. " May 5, 1623. Christopher Levett to be a principal

patentee, and to have a grant of 6000 acres of land." " June 26, 1623.

2 9


Levett built a house, fortified it, and spent the winter
and the next summer in it. He left ten men in his house
while he went to England for his wife, and the people to
form his colony. There is no account of his return. Four
years after (1628) he published in London an account, of
his travels, a description of the coast, and of his settlement
at what is now Portland. His description of its marked
natural features is so minute that there is no mistaking the
rivers and islands of Casco Bay and Portland harbor. The
title to Levett's narrative is " A voyage into New England,
begun in 1623 and ended in 1624, performed by Christopher
Levett, his majesty's Woodward of Somersetshire, and one
of the council of New England. London, 1628." It is
addressed to " the Duke of Buckingham, the Earl of Arun-
del, Earl of Warwick, the Earl of Holderness, and the rest
of the Council of New England." Of this book there is
but one copy of the original edition known to exist in this
country, and that is owned by the New York Historical

As Levett's book relates wholly to the coast of Maine,
and much of it to Casco Bay at a very early period, I shall
make some extracts from it. In his preface Levett says,
" Being but a young schollar though an ancient traveler by
sea." He begins his narrative as follows : " May it please
your Lordships, that whereas you granted your commission
unto Capt. Robert Gorges, Governor of New England, Capt.
Francis West, myself, and the Governor of New Plymouth,

The king judges well of the undertaking in New England, and more
particularly of a design of Christopher Levett, one of the council for
settling that plantation, to build a city and call it York."

* A copy from the book was obtained and printed by the Maine His-
torical Society in their second volume of collections in 1837.


as councillors with him, for the ordering and governing said

This was an attempt to establish a general government
over the New England colonies and scattered plantations,
to restrain the lawless adventurers who were swarming here
for fishing and for traffic with the Indians, which was very
profitable, in which many frauds were practiced, to the dam-
age of those who had a legal right to the trade.

In Sir Ferdinando Gorges "Brief Narration," he says:
" Hereupon my son, Robert Gorges, being newly come out
of the Venetian war was the man they pleased to pitch upon,
being one of the company, who between my Lord Gorges
and myself was speedily sent away into the Bay of Massa-
chusetts, where he arrived about the beginning of August
following, Anno 1623."

The Council of New England on the 30th of December,
1622, "granted to Robert Gorges, youngest son of Sir Fer-
dinando Gorges, Knight, and his heirs," ten miles on the
coast adjoining Massachusetts Bay on the east, and extend-
ing thirty miles into the country.*

Governor Bradford of New Plymouth in his history says :
"He [Governor Gorges] gave us notice of his arrival [at
Cape Cod] by letter, and before we could visit him, sails
for the eastward with the ship he came in, but a storm
arising, they bore into our harbor, are kindly entertained,
and stay fourteen days."

Soon after Governor Gorges went to Piscataqua. Here
Levett met him, having gone there from the Isles of Shoals,
where he says he first landed. Levett says he stayed at
Piscataqua " with Mr. Thompson about one month, in which

* Willis, p. 93. Robert Gorges married a daughter of the Earl of


time I sent for my men from the east, who came over in
divers ships.* At this place I met the Governor (Robert
Gorges), who came thither in a bark he had of Mr. Weston
about twenty days before I arrived in the land. The Gover-
nor then told me that I was joined with him in commission
as a councilor, which being read, I found it was so, and he,
in the presence of three more of the council, administered
unto me an oath."

In pursuing Levett's narrative we shall find it mentioned
incidentally that Governor Gorges either accompanied him
or met him with his ship at Cape Newagen, and at (?/asco Bay.
Levett says : "After the meeting of my men, I went a coast-
ing in two boats with all my company. In the time I staid
with Mr. Thompson I surveyed as much as possible I could,
the weather being unseasonable and very much snow."

He next describes the Piscataqua, the Agamenticus (at
York), and Cape Porpoise. He says: "About four leagues
further east there is another harbor called Sawco, where I
found my other boat. There I stayed five nights, the wind
being contrary, having much rain and snow and continual
fogs. We built a wigwam of poles, and covered it with our
boat sails. The greatest comfort next unto that which was
spiritual was this: we had fowl enough for killing, wood
enough for felling, and good fresh water enough for drink-
ing. We had crane, goose, ducks, and mallard, with other
fowl, both broiled and roasted."

Levett describes the Pool, and says : " In this place there
is a world of fowl." He continues: "This river I am told
by the savages comes from the chrystal hill, as they say, one
hundred miles in the country, yet it is to be seen at the sea-

* Probably some of those of his fathers, the elder Gorges who had
a fishing station at Honhegan.


side, and there is no ship arrives in New England either west
so far as Cape Cod, or to the east so far as Monhegan, but
they see this mountain the first land if the weather is
clear." *

Levett describes the two next rivers east of the Saco
about six miles apart, and says: "There is no coming in for
ship or boat by reason of a sandy breach which lieth along
the shore and makes all one breach." This was evidently
Old Orchard and Spurwink. He next describes Portland
harbor and Casco Bay. "And now in its place I come to
Quack, which I have named York; at this place there fished
divers ships of [from] Weymouth this year. It lieth about
two leagues to the east of Cape Elizabeth. It is a bay or
sound between the main and certain islands which lieth in
the sea about one English mile, and a half. There are four
islands which make one good harbor, f There is very good
fishing and much fowl, and the main as good ground as any
can desire. There I found one river, wherein the savages
say there is much salmon, and other good fish. In this bay
there hath been taken this year four sturgeons J by fisher-

*This seems to favor the point in dispute, that the mountains seen by
Rosier from his anchorage near Monhegan, toward which he and Wey-
mouth steered their course, were the White Mountains.

t These four islands yet " make one good harbor." They are named
"Bang's, Peak's, House and Hog."

Jin Maverick's manuscript Description of New England in 1660, recent-
ly discovered in the British Museum, he mentions the " town of Newbury
on the river ' Meromac.' .... The river is broader than the Thames at
Deptford, and in summer abounds with sturgeon, salmon, and other
fresh water fish. Had we the art of taking and saving the sturgeon it
would prove of very great advantage, the country affording vinegar, and
all other materials to do it withall." In no case before have I seen any
mention of the manner of saving the sturgedh, but supposed it was
with salt, smoke, or both; but this mention of "vinegar" shows what


men who drive only for herrings (for bait), so that it is
likely there may be good stores taken, if there were men fit
for that purpose.* This river I made bold to call by my
own name, Levett's river, being the first to discover it. How
far this river is navigable I can not tell ; I have been but six
miles up it, but on both sides is good ground."

The place described by our explorer, called " Quack," and
named by him " York," was evidently Portland harbor.
The distance which he estimates it to be from the extreme
point of Cape Elizabeth (a name as old as the discovery)
alone would fix its identity. The protection from the sea
described as " four islands," renders it unmistakable. The
name "Quack" was probably the fishermen's contraction of
some longer Indian name. Governor Winthrop invariably
wrote " Pascataquack " as the name of the river Piscataqua,
and Martha's Vineyard was called by the Indians "Capa-

In Rev. Elijah Kellogg's vocabulary of words in the lan-
guage of the Quoddy Indians, written while he was a mis-
sionary in the employ of the society for propagating the gospel
among them, March, 1828, he says the Indian word for red

saved it. It was packed in kegs, and shipped to Spanish markets.
Edmond Mountfort, who leased the sturgeon fishery at ancient Augusta
(Small Point harbor) of the proprietors in 1718, failed in his enterprise,
and had his rent returned. Perhaps this was for the want " of the art,"
or the vinegar mentioned by Maverick. In Captain John Smith's narra-
tive of his voyage to New England, he says he got "some sturgeon, but
it was too tart of the vinegar, which was of my own store."

* The privilege of the sturgeon fishery in some localities afterward
became very valuable. The fish were cut up, cured and shipped to
Spanish markets. There was an extensive business carried on at
Topsham by Thomas Purchase, on the Androscoggin a century later,
and the sturgeon fisher^ at ancient " Augusta," at Cape Small Point,
was leased to Edmond Mountfort, afterward of Falmouth.


is maequack. The steep ledges on the shore of the neck may
have been more stained red by iron than now, which caused
the Indians to call the shores and harbor " Maequack."

Levett evidently ascended Fore river to its source at Cap-
isic and Stroudwater, and to cover his six miles he must
have reckoned from Spring Point (Fort Preble), which is
really its nyuth ; but it has not been known by his name

" In the same bay I found an other river, up which I went three
miles, and found a great fall of water, much bigger than the fall at
London bridge at low water, further a boat cannot go, but above the
fall the water runs smooth again.* Just at this fall of water the
Sagamore, or King, hath a house where I was one day, when there
was two Sagamores more, their wives and children, in all about fifty,
and we were but seven. They bid me welcome, and gave me such
victuals as they had, and I gave them tobacco and aqua-vitae (rum).
After I had spent a little time with them, I departed, and gave them
a small shot, and they gave me an other. And the great Sagamore of
the east country, whom the rest do acknowledge to be chief amongst
them, he gave unto me a beaver skin, which I thankfully received,
and so in great love we parted. On both sides of this river there is

goodly ground In the way between York (Quack) and

Sagadahock lieth "Cascoe" a good harbor, good fishing, good
ground, and much fowl."

Where Quack or York leaves off and " Cascoe " begins is
not easy to determine, evidently some of the near small
harbors of the bay he calls " Cascoe," which, like the star of

*The great fall of water at low tide at London (old) bridge was not
natural. It was caused by the massive piers between the nineteen nar-
row arches which obstructed the current. It had stood six centuries,
and in 1831 a new structure of five arches, and costing ten millions of
dollars, was completed, having occupied seven years in "building. In
the description of the river with its fall, its distance from the bay, any
one familiar with the locality would readily recognize the Presumpscot.


empire, has moved westward and included Quack. Levett
continues :

" For Sagadahock I need say nothing of it, there hath been here-
tofore enough said by others, and I fear too much. But the place is
good. The next place I came to was Cape Manwagan (southwest
part of Boothbay), a place where nine ships fished this year. But I
like it not for a plantation, for I could see little good timber and less
good ground. There I staid four nights in which timl there came
many savages with their wives and children and some of good
account amongst them, as Menawarmet, a Sagamore; Cogawesco the
Sagamore of Cascoe and Quack, now called York; and Somerset, a
Sagamore who has been found very faithful to the English, and hath
saved the lives of many of our nation; some from starving, others
from killing (being killed).* Then I sent for the Sagamores, who
came, and after some compliments they told me that I must be their
cousin and that Captain Gorges was so, which you may imagine I
was not a little proud of to be adopted cousin to so many great kings
at one instant, but willingly accepted it. f And so passed away a

little time very pleasantly When they were ready to depart

they asked me where I meant to settle my plantation. I told them I
had seen many places at the west and intended to go farther to the
east before I could resolve. They said that there was no good place;
and the best time for fishing was then at hand, which made me the
more willing to retire, and rather because Cogawesco, the Sagamore

* This chief is probably the same one who deeded land to John Brown
at Pemaquid two years after under the name of " Capt. John Somerset."
I think it probable that Levett gave him the name. In his title page
to his voyage he represents himself as " His Majesty's Woodward of
Somersetshire," of course Levett was a resident of that county. He
is subsequently several times favorably mentioned by Levett, and after-
wards at Somerset's request named a son of his.

t This is the first mention of Captain Gorges, the Governor-General, in
the journal, since Levett left Piscataqua, but it shows conclusively that
he was, or had recently been there, as he had never been in the country
before, and of course could not have made their acquaintance. Perhaps
he had been in his ship to visit Monhegan, twelve miles off the coast,
where his father had a fishing station.


of Cascoe and Quack, told me if I would sit down at either of these
places, I should be very welcome, and that he and his wife would go
along with me in my boat to see them, which courtesy I had no
reason to refuse, because I had set up my resolution before to settle
my plantation at Quack, which I named York, and was glad of this
opportunity that I had gained the consent of them who, as I con-
ceive, hath a natural right of inheritance as they are the sons of

" The next day the wind came fair, and I sailed to Quack or York,
with the king, queen, and prince, bow and arrows, dog and kettle in
my boat, his noble attendance rowing by us in their canoes.* When
we came to York the masters of the ships came to bid me welcome, f
The woman, or reputed queen, asked me if those men were my
friends. I told her they were. Then she drank to them and told
them they were welcome to her country, and so should all my friends
be at any time. She drank also to her husband and bid him welcome
to her country too, for you must understand that her father was the
Sagamore of this place, and left it to her at his death, having no
more children.

" And thus after many dangers, much labor and great charge, I
have obtained a place of habitation in New England, where I have
built a house, and fortified it in a reasonable good fashion, strong
against such enemies as are those savage people.

" Whilst I stayed in this place I had some little truck, but not
much, by reason of an evil member in the harbor, who being cove-
tous of truck, used the matter so that he got the savages away from
me. And it is no wonder he should abuse me in this sort, for he

* This was the first royal procession borne on the waters of Portland
harbor, which was participated in by Englishmen. The next was at the

embarkation of the Prince of Wales in 1860, who also had " his noble

attendance rowing by," but this was the only similarity to that of the
native royal family.

t Probably one of these was the ship of Governor Gorges, as Levett
mentions his presence here at the time in the interview with the bellig-
erent captain of the trading ship. Another may have been the ship in
which Levett or his men came over. They used the savages kindly, and
gave them meat, drink and tobacco.


hath not spared your Lordships and all the council for New England,
lie said unto the Governor that the Lords had sent men over into
that country to make prey of others.* .... He said he cared not

Online LibraryWilliam GooldPortland in the past; → online text (page 1 of 43)