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"The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in 1620. The history of Maine antedates that memorable event. Martin Pring, an English explorer, was on the coast of Maine in 1603. De Monts, a Frenchman, landed with colonists on the island of St. Croix, below Calais, in 1604. Waymouth, with a band of English explorers, was at St. George's Island Harbor and ascended the St. George's river in 1605. Pring was here again in 1606. The Popham colonists established themselves at the mouth of the Kennebec in 1607. There were Jesuit colonists on the Penobscot in 1611 and at Mount Desert in 1613. English fishermen and traders were then on the coast from year to year. Capt. John Smith was at Monhegan in 1614. Long after the landing of the Pilgrims, Maine held an independent position. The grant of the Province of Maine to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain John Mason, by the Great Council of New England, was made in 1622. Christopher Levett secured from the same source in 1623 a grant of six thousand acres in Casco Bay.

In 1629, the Pilgrims at Plymouth secured a grant of land on both sides of the Kennebec, which enabled them to control the Indian trade of the river, and which later, having been sold by them, was known as the "Kennebec Purchase." A grant of land on the north side of the Saco river, including the site of the present city of Saco, was made by the Great Council in 1630 to Thomas Lewis and Richard Bonighton. Also, in the same year, land on the south side of the Saco, including the site of the present city of Biddeford, was granted to John Oldham and Richard Vines. That also was the date of the Muscongus Patent, granting lands at Muscongus to John Beauchamp and Thomas Leverett, a grant later known as the Waldo Patent. The Lygonia Patent, covering a tract of land forty miles square, extending from Cape Porpoise to the Androscoggin River, bears the same date. The Black Point Grant to Thomas Cammock, a nephew of the Earl of Warwick, was made in 1631. So also in the same year a grant of land on the Pejepscot river was made to Richard Bradshaw; another of land on Cape Elizabeth to Robert Trelawny and Moses Goodyear; another on the east side of the Agamenticus river to Ferdinando Gorges, a grandson of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Walter Norton and others; also two thousand acres at Cape Porpoise to John Stratton; also land at Pemaquid to Robert Aldworth and Gyles Elbridge. In 1632, grants of land on the Pejepscot river were made to George Way and Thomas Purchase.

In 1634, in the final division of the Patent for New England by the great Council, number seven, including the territory between the Piscataqua, and the Kennebec, was assigned to Sir Ferdinando Gorges. In 1636, Gorges leased to George Cleeve and Richard Tucker "a neck of land called Machegonne," now Portland. The royal charter of the Province of Maine to Sir Ferdinando Gorges by Charles II, designed to confirm the allotment made to Gorges in the division of the Patent for New England, was granted in 1639. During the decade and more that followed, affairs were in a disturbed state in the province because of the conflict between the King and Parliament. As the power of the royalist party in England weakened, George Cleeve in 1643, in opposition to the Gorges interest, enlisted the aid of Colonel Alexander Rigby in resuscitating the Lygonia Patent of 1630, and received a commission as Deputy President of the Province of Lygonia. Other interests were pressing. In this unsettled state of affairs civil government of necessity languished, and in 1651 the General Court of the Province of Maine appealed to Parliament for protection.

Thus far, in these beginnings of colonization, Maine had maintained an independent position. But at this juncture of affairs the colonists of Massachusetts Bay saw an opportunity to extend their dominion in this direction. The charter of the Bay colony established its northern boundary three miles north of the Merrimac river. This was now interpreted to mean three miles north of the source of the river, and a line drawn east from this point to the sea brought the land covered by the Gorges and Cleeve interests within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. In 1652, the General Court appointed Commissioners to determine the line, but not without protest and opposition on the part of the colonists of Maine who were in sympathy with the above interests. Gradually the Government of Massachusetts was extended northward. Kittery and Gorgeana yielded submission in 1652; Wells, Cape Porpoise and Saco in 1653; and Black Point, Blue Point, Spurwink and Casco in 1658..."

"To this newly acquired territory, Massachusetts gave the name Yorkshire, or County of York. Subsequently, after the overthrow of the Protectorate and the restoration of Charles II, the colonists in the former Province of Maine requested to be placed again under the authority of the King, or of the heir of Sir Ferdinando Gorges. But the General Court of Massachusetts also sent a petition to the King, and matters were allowed to rest until 1664, when the grandson of Gorges obtained an order from the King requiring Massachusetts to restore the Province of Maine to Gorges or his Commissioners. After various efforts on both sides, the territory meanwhile being brought under the jurisdiction of a provincial government independent of Massachusetts and the Gorges interests, the General Court of Massachusetts, March 15, 1678, purchased of Ferdinando Gorges, grandson of Sir Ferdinando, all his interest in the Province of Maine for twelve hundred and fifty pounds sterling. This purchase strengthened the hold of Massachusetts upon its former eastward possessions, and in 1680 the General Court proceeded to reorganize civil administration in Maine with Thomas Danforth as President of the Province. But the charter of Massachusetts was annulled in 1684, and the government of the colony reverted to the crown. Charles 11 died in 1685, and James II appointed Andros Governor of New England. His career was cut short by a revolution in England, which drove James from the throne; and William and Mary, who succeeded James, issued October 7, 1691, a charter, which incorporated, under the title of the "Province of Massachusetts Bay," the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, the Colony of Plymouth, the Province of Maine and the territory of Nova Scotia. In this way the title of Massachusetts to the territory east of the Piscataqua was confirmed, though on account of its remoteness and the distracted state of the country Nova, Scotia was separated from the Province of Massachusetts Bay by the Lords of Trade in 1696, and it was made a royal province in 1713. Maine remained a part of Massachusetts until the separation in 1820."

Source: The Maine Book by Henry E. Dunnack, Librarian of the Maine State Library. Augusta, Maine 1920. Copyright 1920, by Henry E. Dunnack. Pages 42-44.

About the USGenWeb Project

In the spring of 1996, a group of genealogists with mutual interests in Kentucky genealogy got together and discussed ways and means of using the internet for comprehensive geenalogical resources. This resulted in a project to build web sites for every county in Kentucky. This idea quickly spread to other states and by the end of the summer of 1996, the USGenWeb Project was born.

About the MEGenWeb Project

In June 1996, as the Kentucky Project was coming to completion, it was decided to create this page for all states, establishing the USGenWeb Project. Volunteers were found who were willing to coordinate the collection of county pages for a state page. If you would like to contribute your data or create a county page within a given state, please contact the person responsible for maintaining that state's page. If you would like to volunteer in any way to help with this site contact the State Coordinator Tina S. Vickery

USGenWeb ProjectCopyright Notice: All files on this site are copyrighted by their creator and/or contributor. They may be linked to but may not be reproduced on another site without specific permission from the MEGenWeb Project [[email protected]] and/or their contributor. Although public information is not in and of itself copyrightable, the format in which they are presented, the notes and comments, etc., are. It is however, quite permissable to print or save the files to a personal computer for personal use ONLY. Our very special thanks to Holly Timm for the creation of the MEGenWeb Project graphic. The use of the Penny Postcard(s) in the title graphic and other pages within the MEGenWeb Project is used with permission of the Penny Post Cards a USGenWeb Archives Web Site.

State Coordinator ~ Tina S. Vickery
Special thanks to David Colby Young, Maine's previous State Coordinator.

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