Sunday, August 28, 2016

Candelmas Day Massacre

January 25, 1692 was a snowy morning in York, Maine.  Within a few short hours the peaceful village was destroyed.  Thirty, a Jesuit priest, had incited the raid. Along with an estimated 150 members of the Abenaki tribe under the command of officers of New France attacked his hometown of York, Maine. This event during the Second Indian War or King William’s War, became known as the Candelmas Day Massacre.

Just as with the Raid on Salmon Falls in 1690, the town quickly became a bloody shamble. The natives killed about 100 settlers, with 80 hostages taken on a forced walk to Canada, many dying on the way.  Forty of the forty-five homes were burned to the ground.  Many children who saw their family members scalped and killed were taken prisoner. To gain their release, Benjamin Church, the Indian fighter from Plymouth Colony had captured a number of Indian women and children.  Church used his captors to negotiate the release of many of the town's children.  Capt. John Alden, son of the Mayflower passenger, also was instrumental in ransoming the release of other children as well.

York was originally settled around the mouth of the York River. The settlers depended on it for trade and their livelihood. In order to shut it off from use, the natives set fire to all the undefended houses around the river destroying any thought of escape for those settlers.

Once the battle was over, the settlers reassessed their position. They rebuilt the town moving it from the mouth of the river to the higher ground of today's
York Village today
York Village. However, the one item that can not be replaced is
all the church and town records that were kept before 1695. All aspects of the settlers' history and life was destroyed during this raid. With the help of neighboring towns it took the village approximately three years to rebuild and resettle.

Perhaps my Trafton line was more fortunate than others. My 7th great grandfather, Thomas Trafton, survived this attack with one exception. Similar to other families who had lost members, Trafton’s son Charles was captured and taken to Quebec. Charles was baptized as a French Catholic, given a French name and lived in Canada, only returning when his father died.

My Trafton ancestors
Thomas Trafton(1620-1706)m Elizabeth Moore
Zaccheus Trafton(1687-1765)m Annabel Allen
Jotham Trafton(1741-1804)m Abigail Lewis
Jotham Trafton(1777-1849)m Lydia Parson
John Trafton(1811-1906)m Lavina Chadbourne
John Frank Trafton(1848-1919)m Sarah Elizabeth “Lizzie" Dixon
Emma F. Trafton(1866-1921)m George P. Emery
Forrest Bartlett Emery(1894-1961)m Ruth Whitman
Elinor Francena Emery(1924-2004)m Bertram Gerrish

Picture - google images
Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890

Monday, August 22, 2016

Troubles with the Natives - Berwick becomes a town

Berwick suffered greatly in the Indian Wars. For the most part, they had lived in peace with the Natives for over 30 years until the tribes throughout New England came together as the Wabanaki (see map) and worked with New France (Canada). With the exception of King Phillip’s War, the wars were instigated by New France who was trying to curb the colonist expansion northward. Gone was the peace, friendliness and trust. Living with the natives would never be the same.

Peace is broken

Massasoit, the old Great Sachem of the Wampanoags, dies during the winter of 1661/62. Massasoit was a friend to the colonists and helped sustain a peace with the settlers for over 50 years. By July 1662, the colonists accused and arrested Alexander, Massasoit's oldest son and heir, for plotting war. Alexander dies while in custody under suspicious circumstances. Philip, Massasoit’s youngest son and Alexander’s brother, accused the colonists of poisoning him. This gave Philip the reason he needed for planning war. By 1675, King Philip’s War broke out in Plymouth Colony and spread throughout New England.  Philip was killed at Mount Hope in 1676 but fighting continued in the upper regions of New England after Philip's death. Historians feel that King Philip's War literally went down in history as a war without end.

Settlers are targeted

In Berwick, Richard Tozier’s house above Salmon Falls was targeted. 15 people were in the home except Tozier who was in the command of Captain John Wincoll. A brave 18 year old girl held the door shut while the others escaped to the garrison. The Natives, seeing what happened struck down the girl but she survived. The next day the house and barns of Captain Wincoll were burned to the ground. In October of 1675, a band of 100 Natives attacked Richard Tozier’s house again, burning it to the ground. Tozier and his son Thomas were killed. As Lt. Roger Plaisted was in charge of the garrison house, he sent his men out and as the Natives laid in wait, three of his soldiers were killed. The next day Lt. Plaisted along with his son and several others were killed as they went out to gather the bodies in the field from the attack the day before.

War continues

In 1690–1691 during King William's War, sometimes called the Second Indian Wars, the village was burned and abandoned in the Raid on Salmon Falls as well as during Queen Anne’s War 1702-1713. Peace lasted from 1713 to 1722. Lovewell’s War broke out lasting until December 1725. During this time, near Love’s Brook, our ancestor Miles Thompson was killed and his son captured. Another man was attacked at the same location. He survived but lived a miserable life. Because of his injuries, he wore a silver caul and was subject to convulsive fits all his life. By 1720, the town ordered the construction of garrisons or ‘places of refuge’ at specific residences with assignments of neighbors to lodge within the said garrison. 

Berwick becomes a town

Berwick went by several names: originally called Kittery Commons, Kittery North Parish, and later called the Parish of Unity. Parish of Unity was in reference to the ship that transported the Scottish prisoners of war from the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 to the colonies. Many of the Scottish prisoners settled near Berwick in an area near the northern Eliot-York border, which to this day is known as Scotland Bridge.
Kittery signed the petition to fall under the government of Massachusetts 16 November 1652. In 1713, the Massachusetts General Court granted incorporation as Berwick to become the ninth town in Maine. The new town contained land mass for what is known as North and South Berwick today. When referring to all three locations they are sometimes collectively referred to as “the Berwicks”. 

Many of my ancestors living in Berwick within this time period are:

William Chadbourne               John Andrews
Hugh Gunnision                     Alexander Shapleigh
Nicholas Frost                        John Diamond
Humphrey Chadbourne           Thomas Withers
Abraham Conley                     Richard Tozier
Thomas Spencer                     Lt. Roger Plaisted
John Wincoll                           Miles Thompson
Richard Nason                        Anthony Emery
Gowen Wilson                        Various indentured servants from Scotland

Sources include: Old Kittery and her families by Stackpole
Who When Where in King Philip's War by Edward Lodi
The Maine Spencers. A history and genealogy, with mention of many associated families by Wilbur Spencer for King William's War; Queen Anne's War and Lovewell's War.
Wabanaki Map - Commentary: When Indians ruled Maine's seas - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Sunday, August 21, 2016

They came to stay

By the 1500’s, many Europeans had come to this area to fish. They set up temporary fishing villages at the Isles of Shoals and along the banks of the Piscataqua River. The fisherman would stay for the season, bringing items from their country to trade with the Natives. At the end of the season, they always went home.

Later in the 16th century another kind of European came. The explorer, the one that took inventory, checked out the natural resources: the timber, game and other items beneficial to life-sustaining activities of little or in no supply in an overcrowded Europe. When in 1602 Captain Gosnold dropped anchor off the coast of what is now the York area, he came across Indians in a shallop. One of the Natives wore a European coat and trousers, stocking and shoes! By using sign language, the Natives told the explorers that other European fisherman had come to fish and trade in the area previously.

The Native people who lived in the Berwick area were as they say ‘one with nature’. They shared an ecological understanding with those around the coast of New Hampshire and coastal Massachusetts. The river they lived on emptied into the sea. This river we know as the Salmon Falls River but was called by the Natives Newichawannock. Living near the “fall line,” the place where waterfalls and increasing altitude prevent salt water from traveling any further into freshwater rivers. These falls were called Quamphegan. 

The climate at this location also allowed them to relied on agriculture. From the 1300’s to the 1400’s, New England saw corn and squash crops which spread from Middle America. The peoples living in this area were hunters, fisherman and farmers. Because of the different weather climate in the northern and eastern parts of Maine, the growing of corn was unpredictable. The eastern Abenakis had to rely on hunting and fishing, and stealing the corn crops of more fortunate Indians.

Water, water, and more water. This life sustaining supplement attracted permanent settlements. The natives settled into the protective slope of Powderhouse Hill. This was a small oval-shaped hill that created fresh water springs from glaciers left behind 10,000 years ago. Its benefits were a supply of endless drinking water and good resources for successful crops. Since this area was located in the apex of two rivers, today’s Salmon Falls (Newichawannock) and Great Works Rivers and with Great Bay and the ocean just downstream, the fishing was bountiful. So with water to grow crops and drink and rivers to fish in and use as their highway, what else could they need to sustain their existence?

The name Newichawannock today is referring to the Salmon Falls River. This is the river that flows from the mountains through Milton Three Ponds in New Hampshire. The translation is literally means “river with many falls.” The river does indeed have numerous waterfalls all along its length. The waterfalls all along the area were important for the natives to catch salmon and other fish that migrated up the river in the spring.

It’s likely that Newichawannock was the Indian name for the extensive falls between today’s South Berwick village and Salmon Falls village, creating the state line between Maine and New Hampshire near Fogarty’s Restaurant.

The English use of the name Newichawannock appears to be as the name of the area. In Ambrose Gibbons’ letters to his employers in London he refers to this area. Gibbons’ trading post was located at Newichawannock in 1631, somewhere in the vicinity of Leigh’s Mills. Other references in historical documentation as late as 1697 when noting that Major Charles Frost and his friends were returning from the meeting house at Newichawannock when ambushed and killed by hostile natives. Similarly, early settlers living on both sides of the river identified themselves as residing at Newichawannock for much of the 17th century.

Once the earlier explorers reported back to their countries, the reports caught the attention of merchant adventurers. They came to the Seacoast with the intentions of staying. They invested their money, came to the region with their families and their employees and in one case, in 1634, Alexander Shapleigh even brought his dissembled house!

Some set up businesses. In 1631, Ambrose Gibbons, his wife and little daughter, Rebecca, settled among the natives at Newichawannock. Gibbons, who was an employee of the Laconia Company, owned by Mason and Gorges, built a trading post buying furs from the natives.

In 1634, William Chadbourne came to Newichawannock. He was preceded by his son Humphrey, both carpenters who John Mason bought to build a gristmill and a saw mill at Asbenbedick (Great Works) Falls.These mills were located on today’s Brattle Street. In 1643 Humphrey Chadbourne, established himself as a permanent settler. He had built a fine house by 1665, complete with diamond-shaped panes of glass for windows, a rare luxury. Chadbourne made barrels for the Caribbean trade, his mills, turning out lumber and shingles for the growing Boston market demanding those famous New England clapboards.

Source: Old Berwick Historical Society written by Norma Keim 26 November 2012

Town Divisions are Complete

The division of the Piscataqua Plantation or Kittery was complete by the incorporation of Eliot, Lebanon, North and South Berwick. When boundaries change (and how many haven’t?) it is important to be cognizant of the dates for your research comparing them to the time frames for activities of that area.  In New England and most any other area which had a start from scratch scenario for not only boundary changes but location name changes as well, people could have been born, married and died in 3 different counties or even states, yet never moved at all.  

South Berwick

Seal for Town of South Berwick
South Berwick was incorporated in 1814. It is bound by Berwick and North Berwick on the North, Wells on the East, York and Eliot on the South and West by the Salmon Falls River. The early history of Berwick repeats the history of South Berwick. Many of the people who history records as living in Kittery, then Berwick we find now in South Berwick. Near the confluence with the Great Works River, Ambrose Gibbons built the Great House, a palisaded trading post, to exchange goods with the Indians. It was in South Berwick that after William Chadbourne, James Wall and John Goddard sailed to the Colonies in 1634, they wasted no time building the sawmills, gristmills and the first houses. Richard Leader, the manager of the Scottish prisoners in at the Saugus Iron Works and here in the Parish of Unity, rebuilt the saw mill to increase production, handling up to 20 saws.
During the 19th century, various mills were erected at the rivers to utilize the available water power. Quampheagan Falls on the Salmon Falls River became the site of the Portsmouth Manufacturing Company. Established in 1831, the cotton textile mill had 7000 spindles and 216 looms, which by 1868 produced 2 million yards of sheeting per year. The mill closed in 1893, and most of its brick buildings were razed about 1917, but the Greek Revival counting house is now the Old Berwick Historical Society Museum. South Berwick also made woolens, shoes, plows and cultivators, as well as sawn and planed lumber. The town was good for its fruit farming, especially noted for its apple orchards. The village center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.
A local author, Sarah Orne Jewett in 1901 set her historical romance, The Tory Lover at the Hamilton House in South Berwick. The Federal style mansion built about 1785, is now a museum operated by Historic New England. Historic New England also owns the Sarah Orne Jewett House, built in 1774 in South Berwick’s Central Square.

North Berwick

Originally the part of Kittery called Kittery Commons, the area was first settled in 1693 by John Morrell, a Quaker who built a log cabin on Wells Street. Once Berwick was incorporated in 1713, the land mass known today as North Berwick became a part of Berwick. Doughty Falls in the Great Works River provided water power for a saw mill, gristmill and carding mill. After the Revolutionary War, the small mill town grew rapidly. It was set off and incorporated as North Berwick on March 22, 1831. The town was bordered by Lebanon and Sanford on the North, Sanford and Wells to the East, South Berwick on the South and Berwick on the West.
A factory in North Berwick
North Berwick became a railroad hub with the arrival in 1842 of the Portland, Saco & Portsmouth Railroad, and the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1873. The railroad became the main mode of transportation at that time, shipping goods manufactured in the mills.
These goods included lumber, shingles, clapboards, wooden boxes, firewood, bricks, carriages, caskets, clocks, stove and shoe polish, toboggans and sleds. Also railroad cars were loaded with barrels of apples, blocks of ice cut from frozen ponds, granite from quarries, and tins of corn packed at a canning factory. With all this manufacturing, the two biggest North Berwick businesses during the 19th-century made woolens and farm implements.
The wooden mill was destroyed by fire in 1861, but rebuilt in brick in 1862. During the Civil War, the woolen factories in North Berwick produced blankets for the troops. With 40 looms, the factory turned 1,500 yards of flannel daily, in addition to blankets. By 1955, the factory closed. The Greek Revival building was used as the Parrish Shoe factory, and appeared in the 1995 movie, Jumanji. The building is now renovated and used as housing.


Old Grist Mill
Lebanon known as “the New Township at the Head of Berwick" and called by the Indians Towwoh, was granted by the Great and General Court as a Township, April 20, 1733. The Parish was organized June 26, 1765, and approximately 2 years later, the Town was incorporated June 17, 1767.
On April 20, 1733, the Massachusetts General Court granted Towwoh Plantation to 60 colonists, who first settled it in 1743. The township was incorporated on June 17, 1767, renamed Lebanon after the biblical land of Lebanon, becoming Maine's 23rd town. The town swapped and annexed land from 1785 to 1825 with its neighbors, finally setting the boundaries to what they are today. To the North, Lebanon is bordered by Action, the East, Sanford.  The South border is North Berwick and the West the Salmon Falls River which created the state line between Maine and New Hampshire.
The Southeast was good for farming but the Northwest area of Lebanon was populated with pine forests. Hay was the cash crop. The Salmon and Little Rivers were used for water power to run the mills.  Lebanon had several types of mills: saw mills, grist mills, shingle mills, a wool carding mill and a tannery. The Honorable Thomas M. Wentworth, one of the many descendants of the political Wentworth line, represented Lebanon while under Massachusetts rule for many years.  He was a large landholder and a mountain in Lebanon was named in his honor.


Ambush Rock 
Originally called Sturgeon Creek, Eliot was a part of the Piscataqua Plantation in the 1630-40s, it became the North, or Second, Parish of Kittery in 1713 following the incorporation of Berwick. On March 1, 1810, Eliot became a town. Eliot was located on the south extreme of York County. The town bordered on the West by the Piscataqua River, separating Maine from New Hampshire, on the North by South Berwick, the East by York, South by Kittery.
Prior to its incorporation, the Second Parish had been in conflict with Kittery's other parishes since at least 1791 over the choice of ministers with the Parish. In 1791, the parish's minister died. His successor, according to a majority of the inhabitants, was a man of "unfair character" imposed by "a small party" of people. He was rejected.  A new minister was installed in 1792. The internal strife between inhabitants didn't stop there.  This removal prompted the angry faction petition the government to become a separate town.
Eliot had good soil, creating good crops such as hay, corn, vegetables, potatoes and apples.  The settlers realized early that the river was a good power source as around Eliot Neck became the most populous area.
There has always been a question of the reason for the name of the town.  It was either named after Robert Eliot, who was a member of the Provincial Council of New Hampshire, or for the famous Indian preacher, Reverend John Eliot of Boston, a friend of General Andrew P. Fernald, the town agent largely responsible for its separation.

Some stayed, some migrated

Some of the original settlers stayed where they first settled but others moved in hopes of finding a better situation for themselves and their families.  Thomas Spencer, the Chadbourne family and Nathan Lord were permanent settlers.  Thomas Crockett who moved to the lower part of Spruce Creek in Kittery Point, Nicholas Frost and his family moved from Kittery Point to Eliot. The Shapleigh family moved from Kittery Point to Eliot. Others such as Anthony Emery came over from Dover.  Many generations migrated into unincorporated areas such as Wells, Sanford or beyond as they started their families.   

Old Kittery and her families by Stackpole (History of York county, Maine with illustrations of prominent men and pioneers. by W. W. Clayton) [town name]
Images courtesy of Google images

Monday, August 8, 2016

Homes are Established

After the initial settlers came, many others arrived looking for the benefits this area had to offer – good fishing, many came from the Isles of Shoals; abundant wildlife as well as the tall stately pines that England needed for their ships but for some, the most important, a chance to escape the stern ways of the Massachusetts Bay and Plymouth colonies.  By the mid 1600’s houses were being built, land was farmed and people were starting to settle in. 

From the original settlers, Thomas Spencer married Patience, the daughter of William Chadbourne.  Henry Sherbourne married the daughter of Ambrose Gibbons. Reginald Fernald married Joanna.  Thomas Crockett settled on the neck, the southeastern area of Spruce Creek.  Today this area is called Crockett’s Neck.  They were soon joined by others who settled in the Braveboat Harbor area.  This area today is along Route 103 which Kittery Point shares with York. In 1640, the salt marshes were abundant and could be cut for cattle. It has been said the reason it is called Braveboat harbor is because it takes a brave boat to negotiate the channel.  John Andrews and Christopher Mitchell lived at the head of this inlet.  The islands in the harbor, Champernowne, Cutts and Gerrish Islands were populated with large houses by the more well-to-do of the area.  Francis Champernowne inherited a grant given to his father of about 600 acres.  This grant included an island that for the western half, he broke up and sold.  The western half went to Judge Nathaniel Fryer who split it yet again.  One half went to his son-in-law John Hincks and sold the other half to Robert Eliot, who ultimately was deeded in 1709 to his son-in-law and to this day is known as Gerrish Island. The eastern part of the island became Cutts Island, when Robert Cutts bought it from Campernowne’s stepdaughter and her husband. Within the next 50 years my ancestors the founding fathers of Kittery were well established.
Anthony Emery’s son James married Elizabeth Nock as his first wife. They had 7 children and then married Elizabeth Newcomb as his second wife.  John Gerrish, the son of William of Newbury, married Elizabeth Waldron of Dover.  Their children migrated into the Kittery area with Timothy residing on Gerrish Island as well as others throughout the area.  Christopher Adams, Thomas Spinney, John Woodman, John Diamond and many, many others set down roots in this area. After the grants were given by the King and Gorges, many families were so large that the land was split many times throughout the generations.  Many of the great grandsons lived on the land and in the houses that were built by the original settlers.
Oliver Cromwell sent his prisoner’s from the Battle of Dunbar to Unity Parish a section in Berwick.  Many of these Scotsman established homes becoming rooted for generations.  Some of my ancestors were involved in this war – Peter Grant, William Gowan, Alexander Cooper and Richard Leader who was the manager of prisoners at the Saugus Iron Works as well as this group in Berwick.
The Kittery area is rich in history since the early 1600s and as it seems I am much more connected then I would ever have thought.  We will explore my New England ancestors and events that shaped their and our lives as time goes on.

Information gleaned from the Old Berwick Historical Society and Old Kittery and her People by Stackpole.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Early Kittery

Kittery, in the District of Maine, was originally called Plantation of the Piscataqua collectively with all the smaller settlements up through the area to the Berwicks.  By the mid - 1600's the name was changed to Kittery and was set off into 3 Parishes.  The Lower Parish bordered the York town line at Braveboat Harbor in Kittery Point to Kittery Foreside and framed by the Piscataqua River to what is now South Eliot.  The Middle Parish is now the town of Eliot.  The Upper Parish consisted of the Berwicks and Lebanon. As the population grew each town was set off from the "original" Kittery to be their own town.  Until that happened, the early settlers were from Kittery, but geographically they might have been in one of the other towns as the boundaries morphed into today's world.  The original plan for Kittery was devised by Capt. John Mason who envisioned servants working the land as they did in England when the serfs rented land and worked for the manor lord. He sent over people with specific trades such as carpenters to build dwelling houses and mills, yeoman to care for the cattle and other livestock.  The Pied Cow made several trips from Old England to New England bringing many of my ancestors along with much needed provisions and supplies to this area. Names of my ancestors who were stewards and servants sent to the Piscataqua by John Mason are listed here.
Ambrose Gibbons, Steward
Reginald Fernald, Chirurgeon
William Chadbourne and his sons Humphrey and William, jr.
Thomas Spencer
Henry Sherburn

Information gleaned from Old Kittery and Her Families by Stackpole

Kittery and Kittery Quay

The name Kittery goes way back to the early 1600s. The "oldest town in Maine" was settled sometime in the 1620s and was incorporated in 1647. Like almost all towns along the Piscataqua, Kittery was named by English settlers in honor of their homeland. But this town was named, not for another town, but for a manor house.
Manor of  Kittery Court in Devon, England
The honor of naming the town is sometimes given to Alexander Shapleigh who was reportedly born around 1574 at the Manor of Kittery Court in Devon, England. Kittery Court is located in the village of Kingsweare, across the river Dart from the city of Dartmouth. Dartmouth, New Hampshire, of course, and Exeter and Appledore are also local place names borrowed from this region in the county of Devon.
In England the Shapleighs were merchants and a major importer of salt from France. It was a natural step to become involved in the fishing industry in which salted fish were imported from the Atlantic coast of America.
Alexander arrived in the New World in 1635 aboard his ship BENEDICTION that he co-owned with business partner Captain Francis Champernowne, a relative of Sir Walter Scott. Like the Pepperells of Kittery, they also set up a salt fish operation at the Isles of Shoals and exported the popular product to Europe.

Kittery Court (also called Kittery Quay) still survives and is on the list of sites to visit in Kingsweare. That also boasts a medieval castle. Today a car ferry runs from Kingsware to Dartmouth and the sleepy village is a popular tourist spot. Visitors can also take a steam railroad train along the scenic winding coast.

Courtesy of the Portsmouth Herald