STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.
LANDS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
INCLUDED IN THE
ISSUED SUBSEQUENT TO 1746 BY THE MASONIAN PROPRIETARY.
ARRANGED AND PRESENTED IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER AND COMPRISING ALL FROM A TO M INCLUSIVE, WITH PLANS, BIBLIOGRAPHICAL CITATIONS, AND COMPLETE INDEXES.
TOWN CHARTERS, VOLUME IV
MASONIAN PAPERS, VOLUME I.
ALBERT STILLMAN BATCHELLOR,
EDITOR OF STATE PAPERS.
EDWARD N. PEARSON, PUBLIC PRINTER.
JOINT RESOLUTION relating to the preservation and publication of portions of the early state and provincial records, and other state papers of New Hampshire.
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened;
That His Excellency the Governor be hereby authorized and empowered, with the advice and consent of the Council, to employ some suitable person — and fix his compensation, to be paid out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated — to collect, arrange, transcribe, and superintend the publication of such portions of the early state and provincial records and other state papers of New Hampshire as the Governor may deem proper; and that eight hundred copies of each volume of the same be printed by the state printer, and distributed as follows: namely, one copy to each city and town in the state, one copy to such of the public libraries in the state as the Governor may designate, fifty copies to the New Hampshire Historical Society, and the remainder placed in the custody of the state librarian, who is hereby authorized to exchange the same for similar publications by other states.
Approved August 4, 1881.
In an analysis of the history of New Hampshire nothing is found more important than the Masonian element. John Mason, the first proprietor, may well be regarded as the founder of the state. To him and his successors the undertakings that resulted in state autonomy are fairly attributable. Without the Masonian titular interest in the patents which covered the territory and without the Masonian insistance upon rights of property and government in New Hampshire, pursued amidst a most determined opposition and against serious discouragements, there would have been no separate political province where the foundations of this state were planted in the American wilderness. It is only in the clearer atmosphere of modern historical investigation and tolerance of historical truths that John Mason takes his proper place among the state-makers of the colonial period. His enterprise was certainly among the first efforts for colonization on the Pascataqua.* His associates and representatives effected the settlement of 1623. Through his devoted interest and from his personal resources these small beginnings became a permanent colonial establishment. The death of Mason in 1635 was the most serious calamity which could befall the enterprise which he inaugurated and which bears his name. There is now no longer room for doubt that in his purpose was ample promise of progress and success for the colony. He had encountered varying personal fortunes, but through all the years beginning with the inception of this particular project of English colonization he never faltered in the undertaking at Pascataqua, but held to it as among his most cherished designs. Indeed, until the near approach of his death, his opportunity for the greatest usefulness to the colony had not arrived. "Mason had hitherto," says Charles Wesley Tuttle, "derived no profit from his efforts at colonization. In a letter to Ambrose Gibbons, his old and faithful agent, written in 1634, he says that he had never received a penny for all his outlay on his plantation in the Pascataqua." Mr. Tuttle's narrative further states that "In 1634 Mason was appointed captain of the South Sea Castle, an ancient fortress commanding the entrance to the harbor at Portsmouth, England. This was a very important office. Most of such castles were commanded by noblemen of military skill, and who were well affected to the Sovereign. Mason's
* There is evidence of an early settlement at Dover. This subject has place elsewhere in the State Papers series, and nothing is asserted here in disparagement of the claims made for the Hilton settlement at Dover Point as a fact in the planting of New Hampshire. See Prince Society publication, "Capt. John Mason," 1887, p. 28, note 18. Non nobis tantas componere cites.
old associate, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, had commanded the castle at Plymouth, but had now retired from it. About this time Mason was appointed by the Admiralty to visit annually the Forts and Castles in England, and make a report to the government."
"In June, 1632, Mason was elected a member of the Great Council for New England, composed, as we have seen, of persons of honor and even of blood; and in the November following, became Vice-President of the Council, the Earl of Warwick being then President. The Council often had meetings at Capt. Mason's house in Fenchurch street in London. This elevation shows the high estimation put on Mason by some of the foremost persons in England."
"Early in 1635 the Council for New England became satisfied of its inability to control affairs in New England. It had long had enemies at home as well as here. There was an unwillingness to recognize the powers granted by the Sovereign in the nature of government, and it had no strength to enforce its decrees. The Colony of Massachusetts Bay had become large and powerful, and disregarded all authority, kingly as well as other, as far as they thought it prudent. Complaints against the Council were constantly made to the Privy Council, and they were cited to answer. They determined thereupon to surrender their great Charter to the king, and to divide the whole territory of New England among themselves. Pursuant to this resolve, Mason received a new grant from the Council, dated April 22, 1635, of the lands hitherto granted to him by the Council. This grant embraced all the land between the Naumkeag and Pascataqua rivers, extending threescore miles inland, with the south half of the Isles of Shoals, to be called New Hampshire; also a further grant of ten thousand acres on the west side of the Kennebec river, to be called Masonia. Henry Josselyn and Ambrose Gibbons, both then on the Pascataqua, were authorized to give Mason possession of this new grant."
"On the surrender of the New England Patent in 1635, it was the design of the king to set over that territory a general Governor, and Sir Ferdinando Gorges received the appointment. To complete the vice-regal government, Capt. John Mason was appointed, October 1, Vice-Admiral of New England."
"Mason made every preparation to come to New Hampshire, looking forward to a visit to his plantation, as well as to the charge he had undertaken. In November he was taken ill, and died early in December, 1635, an event that proved disastrous to his interests in New England, which fell, by the terms of his will, to his widow and to his grandson, then not one year old."
John Mason, son of John and Isabella Mason, was born in King's Lynn or Lynn Regis in the western part of the maritime county of Norfolk. He was baptized Dec. 11, 1586. How he passed his years till 1610 his biographers do not relate. He then appears as commander of the king's fleet sent to control the turbulent people of the Hebrides. This squadron consisted of two ships of war and two
pinnaces. Mason fitted out this expedition at his own expense and was occupied in the undertaking fourteen months. It was agreed that he was to be reimbursed, but it does not appear that this was ever done directly from the royal treasury. As early as 1615 he was governor of the plantation of Newfoundland, begun in 1610. Possibly the appointment to this office was in a measure the result of the large debt due him on account of the Hebrides expedition. He remained at this post about six years, and was very efficient in his administration. He made the first English map of the island and wrote a "Brief Discourse of the New-found-land." He also held a royal commission as the king's lieutenant to deal with the pirates then infesting the Newfoundland region. In 1621 he returned to England. It was about this date that he became intimately connected with Sir Ferdinando Gorges. From that time on they were largely and intimately associated in colonial enterprises. March 9, 1621—'22, Mason procured from the Council for New England his grant of Mariana. At home Mason was much occupied in the public-service, particularly in naval operations in the wars in which England was engaged, and in which he held high and responsible offices. Contemporaneously with such occupations he was directing his affairs in the new world with devoted interest. At length, when relieved of the imperative demands of public duties under government at home, he was about to give the colony on the Pascataqua the impetus of his personal presence and direction, but he died before his purpose could be accomplished.
Tuttle says, "Captain Mason had but one child, a daughter, Anne, who married Joseph Tufton, a connection of the noble family of Tufton of Sussex. Three sons and two daughters were born of this marriage, and were the only representatives of Capt. Mason. All except the eldest, who died young, are mentioned in Capt. Mason's will. The history of these grandchildren forms a subject of great interest, three of them being the devisees of Mason's vast estates in New England. The eldest was only seven years old at the time of Mason's death."
"John Tufton, the eldest son, died before he became of age, and his interest passed to his brother, Robert Tufton, who came to New Hampshire in 1680 and was a member of the Provincial Council. He was also of the Council of Dudley and Andros during the union of the New England States. Robert Tufton took the surname of Mason, as required by the will, in order to take the property of his grandfather. He died suddenly at Kingston, N. Y., Sept. 6, 1688, leaving descendants. To the efforts of Robert Mason New Hampshire is indebted for her independent existence for two hundred years."
The death of Mason was regarded at the time, according to the point of view of interested parties. To his friends and associates it was a far-reaching calamity, but to the Puritan element it appeared in a very different light. To them, doubtless, a formidable obstacle in the way of their designs on the Pascataqua plantations was removed.
The lineal descendants of John Mason, given with reference to the passage of the title to the Proprietary in 1746, were as follows:
1. Capt. John Mason, died December, 1635.
2. Anne Mason, daughter, married Joseph Tufton.
3. Robert Tufton, alias Mason, son of Anne, born 1635. Took surname of Mason by terms of his grandfather's will.
4. Robert Tufton Mason, 2d son. He and his elder brother, John, undertook to pass their interest in New Hampshire to Samuel Allen in 1691.
5. John Tufton Mason, son, died in Havana, 1718.
6. Col. John Tufton Mason, son, born in Boston, Mass., April 29, 1713; sold title to lands in New Hampshire to the Masonian Proprietors in 1746, claiming that the transaction with Allen in 1691 conveyed only a life interest.
The various charters to Mason, alone or with associates, are as follows:
March 9, 1621-2, Grant of Mariana.
Aug. 10, 1622, Grant of Province of Maine.
Nov. 7, 1629, Grant of New Hampshire,
Nov. 17, 1629, Grant of Laconia.
Nov. 3, 1631 , Grant of Pescataway.
April 22, 1635, Grant of New Hampshire and Masonia.
Aug. 19, 1635, Confirmation of Grant of New Hampshire and Masonia.
In addition to these charters the Province of New Hampshire, by the same boundaries as described in the grant of April 22, 1635, was leased to John Wollaston April 18, 1635, for a term of three thousand years, and on the 11th of June following Wollaston, transferred his lease to Mason. This instrument states that the lease to Wollaston April 18, was "by & with the consent of the Said Capt John Mason in trust only for the benefit & behoofe of him the Said Capt John Mason his Executors & Assigns."
Much controversy has arisen in regard to these instruments and the titles claimed under them.* In character these contentions were often acrimonious and their consequences far reaching. Other claims to the same soil were interposed, some taking date even in the brief period between 1621 and the death of Mason, and other claims to priority of settlement on the Pascataqua were asserted on important historical authority. As to these questions nothing further than the citation of facts and records, without argument, should be expected in this relation.
The years following the death of John Mason and the period in which Robert Tufton Mason was passing his childhood and youth were times of misfortune and retrogression for the family interests in New Hampshire. In 1641 the New Hampshire towns were gathered into the Massachusetts Bay government, and the course of political affairs gave little promise of a successful revival of Masonian claims or the erection of a separate province for the New Hampshire colony. Robert Tufton
* Capt. John Mason, by Tuttle and Dean, Prince Society, 1887, p. 355.
Mason, however, eventually proved himself to be a man of ability, capable of large influence on the public men and measures of his time. His efforts resulted in a vigorous reassertion of the Masonian rights in New Hampshire and the establishment of the separate provincial government of 1679, in which he stands as a conspicuous central figure. From this date the Masonian affairs were prominent in the annals of the province. The conveyance by the heirs of Robert Tufton Mason to Samuel Allen in 1691 is an episode which interposed a new complication. The later reassertion of the Masonian claim in antagonism to the Allen title is also an important consideration. In this period a minute examination of the progress of Masonian affairs in the province involves the exposition of the principal history of New Hampshire from 1679 to 1739. Reference must be made in this connection to the work of Belknap and the documentary history in the previous volumes of this series, particularly Vol. 19.
The tracing out of the course of the Masonian title to its historical conclusion in New Hampshire has exacted profound investigation for more than two centuries. It is a subject that is inseparably interwoven into the entire narrative of the development of the province and the establishment of a state. See Belknap's History of New Hampshire, chapters 6 to 11; Collections of N. H. Historical Society, Vol. 8, pp. 318 to 325, 380 to 394; N. H. Documents collected by John S. Jenness; N. H. State Papers, Vol. 19; Province Papers, Vols. 1 and 2; History of Rindge, by Ezra S. Stearns, chapter 2; Memoir of Capt. John Mason, by Charles Wesley Tuttle and John Ward Dean, pub. by Prince Society, 1887.
The documents which are the principal resource of the historians of this subject have long been in unsystematic and scattered forms and conditions of preservation and publication. A part of those of a more general character have been before the public for a long period. The existence of others in unlooked for custody or places of record has been made known in recent years. The great body of the Masonian papers in the original form were in the legal custody of the representatives of the associates in the corporation which finally came into possession of the claim by purchase from Col. John Tufton Mason in 1746. These associates successfully assumed and exercised the powers of disposal under that title. The Proprietary consisted of the following named persons:— Theodore Atkinson, who held three shares, Mark Hunking Wentworth, two shares, and Richard Wibird, John Wentworth, George Jaffrey, Nathaniel Meserve, Thomas Packer, Thomas Wallingford, Jotham Odiorne, Joshua Peirce, Samuel Moore, and John Moffatt, one share each. The deed was dated Jan. 30, 1746. In 1749 the proprietors took a second conveyance comprehending all the Masonian grants from Naumkeag to the Pascataqua.
The state publication of Masonian papers now in progress contemplates an arrangement in three printed volumes of the series. The first and second (Vols. 27 and 28 of the series), will contain the town charters or grants issued by the
Proprietary subsequent to the deed of 1746, and all papers found relating thereto. This publication will be in all respects similar to that of the town charters directly from province authority (Vols. 24, 25, and 26), and will be accompanied by similar notes, maps, and indexes. The papers which constitute, explain, and relate to the Masonian title in general will be given in a separate volume. The purpose of the editor is to bring this class of documents together in systematic order, and to place them in one collection where they may be found in a form and arrangement which will facilitate the study of the Masonian element in our early history, making the entire body of authentic documentary material readily accessible to the public. Almost the entire body of papers, including plans, to be published in this and the two succeeding volumes came into the possession of the state from Robert Cutts Peirce, of Portsmouth, in 1891. No donation of equal value and importance to its archives, or more deserving of the appreciation and gratitude of the government and the people, has ever been received by this state.
Such special comments on this collection as may be deemed pertinent in a prefatory note will be reserved for the contemplated Vol. 29, and a treatment of certain facts relating to the administration of the affairs of the Proprietary in the disposal of lands and the erection of townships will constitute a preface to Vol. 28. His Excellency Charles A. Busiel and the honorable Council have constantly given this work practical encouragement, and have rendered to the editor valued coöperation. The Secretary of State, the officers of the State Library, and other custodians of books and documents relating to the subject-matter of these volumes, have supplied every aid by advice and accommodation which could contribute to the successful progress of the work.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
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