Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: The Gorges and Mason Grants

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In, 1622, a grant was made by the Council of Plymouth to two of its most active members, Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Capt. John Mason, jointly, "of all the lands between the rivers Merrimack and Sagadahock (now the Kennebec), extending back to the great lakes and river of Canada," which grant was called Laconia. The grantees, having admitted several English merchants as associates, under the style of "The Company of Laconia," soon began to make preparation to form settlements on the territory. Early the next spring, they sent out a considerable number of people, well supplied with everything needful for their undertaking, to establish a colony for the purpose of fishing, and of trading with the natives. When the emigrants arrived at the Piscataqua, they separated into two companies, one of which remained at Little Harbor, near the mouth of the river, (the settlement was at Odiorne's Point, in the northeast part of Rye) and the other proceeding about eight miles up the river, settled on a point of land called by the Indians Winnichahannat, (spelled also Wecohannet, etc.) to which they gave the name of Northam, and subsequently, Dover.

In 1629, Mason received from the Council of Plymouth a new patent for all the land "from the middle of Piscataqua river and up the same, the farthest head thereof, and from thence northward, until sixty miles from the mouth of the harbor were finished; also, through Merrimack river, to the farthest head thereof, and so forward up into the land westward, until sixty miles were finished, and from thence to cross over land to the end of sixty miles, accounted from Piscataqua river, together with all the islands within five miles of the coast." The tract was called New Hampshire.

These grants and the expenditure of considerable sums of money by Captain Mason, in forming and subtaining the settlements a few years, were the grounds on which his heirs based their claim to the province, in the prosecution of which, they subjected the inhabitants to an expensive and tedious course of litigation. It has therefore seemed important to take some notice of the grants, although the town of Hampton was settled without any reference to them, and has never, in any way, derived from them the least benefit.

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