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.