The Planters at Winnisimmet

Hutchinson, writing of 1626, says, "I find mention made of planters at Winisimet about the same time, who probably removed there from some of the other plantations." But who these planters were, when or whence they came, or of their manner of life we know nothing.

In 1624 Captain John Smith explored the coast of New England, looked into Boston harbor, and named the Charles. Probably for more than a century before this, fishermen from Europe had found their way hither, repaired their vessels, and traded with the natives. But the first permanent settlement in Boston harbor was at Winnisimmet, perhaps in 1624, certainly not later than 1625, when and where was "fortified" the oldest permanent house within the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

This was Samuel Maverick's Palisade house. The date of its fortification is given by himself. In A Briefe Discription of New England, about 1660, he says, "Two miles Sowth from Rumney Marsh on the North side of Mistick River is Winnisime which though but a few houses on it, yet deserves to be mencond One house yet standing there which is the Antientest house in the Massachusetts Government, a house which in the yeare 1625 I fortified with a Pillazado and fflankers and gunnes both belowe and above them which awed the Indians who at that time had a mind to Cutt off the English, They once faced it but receiveing a repulse never attempted it more although (as now they confesse) they repented it when about 2 yeares after they saw so many English come over."

But whence or with whom Maverick came, or of his parentage, we know nothing. Those of his name lived in Devonshire, about forty miles from Exeter, and of these was the Rev. John Maverick, who came over in 1630, and settled in Dorchester, where he died in 1636. It has been said, but with little reason, that he was the father of Samuel Maverick. At one time it seemed probable that Maverick, Blackstone, and Walford were of Gorges' Company, which settled on Weston's deserted plantation at Weymouth; but Maverick came a year later.

Samuel Maverick, born about 1602, was twenty-two years old when he came to America in 1624. Neither the family name of his wife Amias, nor the time or place of their marriage is known. Their children were Nathaniel, Mary, and Samuel. There was an Elias Maverick here in 1630, who became the owner of that part of Winnisimmet not included in Samuel Maverick's deed to Richard Bellingham in 1634/5; and a Moses Maverick at Marblehead, 1635, who paid rent for Noddle's Island in 1636, having charge of it during Samuel Maverick's absence in Virginia; and, as already said, an Antipas Maverick at Kittery, Maine, where lived Mary Hooke, Samuel Maverick's daughter.

Among the earliest grants by the Great Council for New England was that to Robert Gorges, youngest son of Sir Ferdinando, December 30, 1622, described as "all that Part of the Main Land in New-England . . . situate, lying and being upon the North-East side of the Bay, called or knowne by the Name of Massachuset, . . . together with all the Shoars and Coasts along the Sea, for ten English Miles, in a streight Line towards the North-East, accounting one thousand, seven hundred and sixty yards to the Mile, and thirty English Miles (after the same rate) unto the Main Land through all the Breadth aforesaid, together with all the Islets and Islands, lying within three Miles of any Part of the said Lands. . . ." These bounds, from the Charles on the south ten miles north towards Salem and thirty miles into the country, included Charlestown (and the modern towns set off from her), Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, and East Boston, but not necessarily Boston.

A government was formed for this territory, and in 1624 Robert Gorges came over as lieutenant-general and governor, with a suite of officers, to set up his court. But Winnisimmet, the most eligible place within his grant, was not its chosen seat. On the other side of the bay, at Wessagusset, now Weymouth, Thomas Weston's deserted plantation, outside the limits of his grant, Gorges made his settlement, September, 1623. It did not prosper, and the next year Gorges, disappointed and in failing health, returned to England with a part of his company, leaving his affairs with an agent.

It has been said that some of those whom Gorges left at Wessagusset made settlements in the bay, as Blackstone's at Boston, Walford's at Charlestown, and Samuel Maverick's at Winnisimmet. Frothingham thinks it not improbable that the planters at Winnisimmet, of whom Hutchinson speaks, were of the Gorges' colony; and Lewis writes that Gorges, who "came over in 1623, took possession of his lands, and probably commenced a settlement at Winnisimet, which was also included in his grant." Thornton also says that "Gorges had attempted to establish a colony within the bounds of his patent, which he had taken possession of in person, but was not successful." These statements, though not improbable, rest on no disclosed authority.

Robert Gorges' lands, it is said, descended to his brother John, who, in January, 1628/9, conveyed to Sir William Brereton "all the land in breadth lying from the east side of Charles river to the easterly part of the cape called Nahant, and all the lands lying in length twenty miles [Gorges' grant ran ten miles to the northeast and thirty miles inland] northeast into the main land, from the mouth of the said Charles river, lying also in length twenty miles into the main land from the said Cape Nahant. Also two islands lying next unto the shore between Nahant and Charles river, the bigger called 'Brereton,' and the lesser 'Susanna'"—later known as Noddle's Island and Hog Island. John Gorges, probably in 1628, leased a portion of this territory to John Oldham (murdered by the Connecticut Pequots in 1636) and John Dorrell. But the title of John Gorges was disregarded in the Massachusetts Bay Charter from the King of March 4, 1628/9.

Both the deed and lease of John Gorges included old Chelsea, and the Company recognized some equitable interest, if not a legal title, in the settlers near Gorges' tract. There is no known deed of Winnisimmet to Samuel Maverick and John Blackleach, yet their possession of it was not disturbed and their deed to Richard Bellingham in 1635 was recognized as valid by Boston in 1640.


[All that is known of Samuel Maverick leads to the inference that he had some connection with the Gorges settlement. A young man of about twenty-two, of ability and education, given the title of "Mr." in the early records and grants, and possessed in 1630, at least, of some property, Samuel Maverick seems to have belonged to the Gorges group. About the time Rev. Mr. Morell returned to England, and Blackstone removed to Boston, he fortified a house at "Winnisime," which lay within the limits of the grant to Captain Robert Gorges, and, according to Johnson's Wonder Working Providence, he was assisted in so doing by David Thompson, who had been chosen by the Council for New England as their agent or attorney to take possession of the land in the name of the Council and deliver possession to Captain Robert Gorges. Possibly Captain Gorges, who came over in September, 1623, and spent the first winter at Weston's deserted plantation, outside his grant, finding there some huts already standing, on his return to England, in 1624, left directions with David Thompson, as his agent, to confirm the possession of the land by effecting a settlement within his grant, and that Winnisimmet was chosen for the purpose as good farming land with a southern aspect; it was also easily defensible, being surrounded by river, sea, and marshes, and possessing a valuable spring of fresh water not far from the shore on the southern slope of the hill. Also it "overlooked the anchorage ground of the inner harbor," and the outlet of the Mystic River,—as Blackstone's house did the outlet of the Charles,—and thus might prove a coign of vantage from which to control the trade of the bay.

That David Thompson dwelt with his family on Thompson's Island cannot be positively asserted. According to the Court record, the son claimed, in 1648, that his father, in 1626, "did erect the forme of a habitat" there; if so, it was unsubstantial and, apparently, had disappeared before the coming of Winthrop in 1630. It was forgotten by William Blackstone in 1650, though he remembered the island well, mentioning that it alone of the islands in the by possessed a natural harbor, and that the settlers about the bay kept their hogs there,—doubtless during the planting season. Thompson possessed, according to Maverick, "a Strong and Large House" enclosed "with a large and high Palizado and mounted Gunns" at the mouth of the Piscataqua. A statement made by Hubbard is of interest in this connection, for Samuel Maverick, who married Thompson's widow, did obtain in Noddle's Island (East Boston) and the Chelsea peninsula land which tallies with that which Hubbard mentions, and assuming that Thompson, accompanied by Maverick, came to the Bay under the directions of Captain Robert Gorges or the Council for New England, the statement is in accord with all existing knowledge of the matter and would tend to place Thompson with Maverick at Winnisimmet. As Hubbard had sources of information not open to investigators of the present day, his statements are worthy of careful consideration though he was not a "critical historian" of the modern type. He wrote that David Thompson removed to Massachusetts Bay a year (?) after his settlement at Piscataqua. "There he possessed himself of a fruitful island, and a very desirable neck of land, since confirmed to him or his heirs by the Court of the Massachusetts, upon the surrender of all his other interest in New England, to which yet he could pretend no other title, than a promise, or a gift to be conferred on him, in a letter by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, or some other member of the Council of Plymouth." Probably if Captain Robert Gorges or the Council for New England wished to induce David Thompson to leave his house at Piscataqua and six thousand acres of land with the "power of Government" therein, it would have been necessary to offer some greater inducements than Thompson's Island. As a trading station it was doubtless valuable, but as a place of residence during the many months of a New England winter, unattractive. The discovery recently made that Samuel Maverick married Thompson's widow and hence, on the arrival of the Massachusetts Bay colonists in 1630, controlled his claims, affords a clue to the explanation of what has previously seemed mysterious,—his extraordinarily large possessions and influential position. Noddle's Island alone contained twenty times as many acres as were allotted to Blackstone. Thomas Walford, at Charlestown, does not seem to have been treated with consideration.

In connection with Hubbard's statement, with its suggestion as to the liberality of Massachusetts, it is of interest to note that Noddle's Island was granted to Maverick at the time when Sir Christopher Gardiner was intriguing against the Massachusetts Bay Company in England. Sir Christopher appeared in Bristol August 15, 1632, and immediately began to make trouble for the colonists, as appears in letters from Thomas Wiggin to "Master Downinge" and Sir John Cooke, dated August 31 and November 19. Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Captain Mason took the opportunity presented by these complaints, and those of Thomas Morton and Philip Ratcliffe, to petition the King against the Massachusetts Bay Government. The matter was considered by the Privy Council January 19, 1632/3, when the authority of the Government at Boston was confirmed. The result of the case before the Council was known in Massachusetts in May, 1633. In the meantime the Governor and Assistants, who met April 3, had granted to Maverick Noddle's Island, and to Blackstone fifty acres of land in Boston; and in July "the governour and assistants sent an answer to the petition of Sir Christopher Gardiner, and withal a certificate from the old planters concerning the carriage of affairs, etc." The following year, in April, 1634, when grants of land were made by the General Court to the leading men of the colony, John Oldham received five hundred acres. The grant to Maverick in April, 1633, was a perpetual lease at a nominal rent. The General Court, at the July session of 1631, had given the Governor and Assistants power to lease the islands in the bay; hence, apparently, the form of the grant.

Almost the whole of modern Chelsea, about one thousand acres, traces its title back to three men,—Samuel Maverick, Elias Maverick, and John Blackleach. There was a difference of but two years in the ages of Samuel and Elias Maverick, and Elias was in Massachusetts as early as the summer of 1630, the time of the coming of Winthrop, and the keeping of written records. Yet he owned at Winnisimmet only one hundred acres. William Blackstone, a bachelor, received but fifty. According to the general regulations of the Company, a settler could claim fifty acres for each member of his household. The most probable explanation for the exceptionally large holdings of Samuel Maverick in Chelsea and East Boston is that through his marriage with Mrs. Thompson there became united under his control the claims of a settlement which followed in the wake of Captain Robert Gorges' visit to New England. Winnisimmet was evidently prosperous before it was sold by Samuel Maverick and John Blackleach in February, 1634/4. The vote of May, 1634, directing Winnisimmet to join itself either to Charlestown or to Boston mentions "howses" there. The first ferry across the harbor was kept by a resident there,—Thomas Williams alias Harris, who was recognized by the General Court as ferryman at the May session of 1631. The tax assessed on Winnisimmet in July, 1631, two years after the settlement of Charlestown and one year after the coming of Winthrop, was one-sixth that of Charlestown, Boston, or Roxbury. The first two levies were to meet the expenses of the colony. Further evidence on this point is given by the "Winthrop Map," about 1633. There Winnisimmet, Weaguscus (Weymouth), and Agawam (Ipswich) are represented by three houses; Salem, Saugus, Charlestown, New town (Cambridge), Dorchester by four houses; Watertown by five houses; Boston by a fort, a windmill, and five houses; Roxbury by eight houses. Single houses are also represented,—Ten Hills, Mr. Cradock's at Medford, and Mr. Humphrey's at Saugus. No house is pictured on Noddle's Island, which is there represented as a well wooded isle,—a reminder of the fact that during Maverick's ownership the inhabitants of Boston were permitted to cut wood there.

The grant of Agamenticus, in December, 1631, seems further evidence of a connection between Gorges and Maverick. At the instigation of Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Norton, and with the assistance of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, a grant of land was made December 2, 1631, to "Ferdinando Gorges, sonn and heire of John Gorges of London" (elder brother and heir to the lands and claims of Captain Robert Gorges); to several men by the name of Norton in England; to Robert Rainsford, the younger, of London; and to eight men of New England, among whom was Samuel Maverick Esq. Wm Jeffryes gent and John Busley gent, both almost beyond a doubt members of Robert Gorges' Company, were among the eight New Englanders. Lieutenant-Colonel Walter Norton is found, as Mr. Walter Norton, among "Those who wish to be freemen," in October, 1630, and was admitted, the following May, as Captain Walter Norton; he settled at Agamenticus before 1634. Ralphe Glover Mercht, dwelling here in 1630, but died before July, 1633, without having taken the freeman's oath. The other grantees in New England were Thomas Graves, engineer, Tho. Coppyn Esq and Joell Woolsey gent. Of the latter two nothing is known; their names were omitted at the confirmation of the grant, March 2, 1631/2. It is not improbable that a number of the old planters, in the main a remnant of the Gorges settlement, united to secure this grant, and that it was made in 1631 by the Council for New England to the heir of Captain Robert Gorges, and to them as a compensation for the injury to his and their interest caused by the grant to the Massachusetts Bay Company. John Gorges, it is known, had laid claim to the territory. He had ignored the grant to Sir Henry Rosewell and his associates of March 19, 1627/8, and signed a deed to Sir William Brereton in January, 1628/9, a deed declared by the Massachusetts Bay Company invalid, February 10, 1629/30. Although Maverick's name is in the list of those who wished to be freemen in October, 1630, he did not take the oath until October, 1632, after the grant of Agamenticus. Note also the visit of the bark Warwick, presumably the bark of that name fitted out by Gorges, to Winnisimmet, March 19 to April 9, 1632.

In this connection, considering the question of a possible relationship between Samuel Maverick and Rev. John Maverick, it may be worthy of note that the latter with his followers chose for their settlement Dorchester, which lay incontestably beyond the limits of the grant to Captain Robert Gorges. If the southern bound of his patent was a line due west from the end of Pullen Point, the Boston peninsula lay north of this, Dorchester did not. When Sir Ferdinando Gorges was intriguing against the Colony in England in 1634, the Dorchester people and the congregation of Rev. Thomas Hooker, which settled first at Mount Wollaston but was ordered by the General Court to remove to New town, began to agitate a removal to Connecticut. The Endicott and Winthrop colonists were anxious to establish settlements within the grant to Captain Gorges, in order to hold the territory against him.

Possibly, Maverick came to America with Captain Christopher Levett, who arrived at David Thompson's house at Piscataqua in the winter or early spring of 1623/4. Captain Levett found there Captain Robert Gorges,—who had arrived twenty days before in a little ship of Weston's that he had seized at Plymouth,—and learned that he had been appointed a member of Captain Gorges' Council. Levett staid at David Thompson's a month, complaining that the snow interfered with his surveys, and then, in two open boats, coasted with his men along the Maine shore in snow and fog as far as Sagadahock, seeking a place to establish a settlement. If Maverick was of this party, it would explain his entry under the heading Sagadahock quoted above. Levett, it is to be observed, bestowed especial praise upon Agamenticus, of which place Maverick was one of the grantees. Captain Levett left some of his men in New England, intending to return, but was unable to do so. Compare with Maverick's Briefe Discription, Captain Levett's A Voyage into New England.

J. P. Baxter, in his volume on Christopher Levett, printed by the Gorges Society, states, on the authority of Frank W. Hackett, that Maverick married the widow of David Thompson, and that her father was William Cole of Plymouth, England. The following facts confirm this statement. Among the notarial records of William Aspinwall are copies of an indenture, dated April 1, 1615, between "Wm Cole of Plymouth in the County of Devon Shipwright" and "David Thompson of Plymouth aforesaid Apothecary & Ems his now wife" and "daughter of the said Wm"; also of a receipt, dated January 3, 1625/6, for money paid Cole by his "daughter Amies Thomson," for which he was to account to her husband, David Thomson. These papers were brought to Aspinwall, May 26, 1648, "by the said Amies or Emes." Mrs. Amias Maverick, in her letter of November 20, 1635, speaks of her "ffatherles children." This letter is addressed to Mr. Robert Trelawny, merchant at Plymouth, England, where the father of the writer seems to have been then living. December 25, 1643, John Thompson, who regained Thompson's Island as son and heir of David Thompson, assigned a bill to "my ffather mr Samuell Maverick."]

Samuel Maverick's Palisade House

Of Samuel Maverick at Winnisimmet between 1625 and the coming of the Puritans to Salem in 1628 we know little; nothing of Blackstone at Boston, or of Thompson in connection with the island of his name in the bay. They were young men; Thompson was probably married in England. They were Episcopalians, neighbors, and, with Thomas Walford at Charlestown, apparently sole possessors of the lands in the upper bay. At Winnisimmet, in 1625, Samuel Maverick "fortified" his Palisade House—"The Antientest house in the Massachusetts Government." In this house he entertained Governor Winthrop and his party of exploration when they came up from Salem into Boston Bay, June 17, 1630; and here, August 16, 1631, some of Maverick's friends,—among whom was Edward Gibbons (his neighbor up the Charles, in what is now Somerville) afterwards a noted man,—fell under the displeasure of the Court of Assistants and were fined "for abuseing themselues disorderly with drinkeing to much stronge drinke aboard the Frendshipp, & at Mr Mauacke his howse at Winettsemt." It was while Maverick was living in this house, as Winthrop records, December 5, 1633, that "John Sagamore died of the small pox, and almost all his people; (above thirty buried by Mr. Maverick of Winesemett in one day.) . . . Among others, Mr. Maverick of Winesemett is worthy of perpetual remembrance. Himself, his wife, and servants, went daily to them, ministered to their necessities, and buried their dead, and took home many of their children."

The precise site of Samuel Maverick's Palisade House is not now determinable. Wood's Map of 1633 places Winnisimmet at the confluence of Mystic and Island End rivers, on the estate not included in the Maverick-Blackleach deed to Richard Bellingham of February 27, 1634/5. Remains of an ancient ferry-way, recently existing near the United States pier on the old Samuel Maverick estate, indicate that the Winnisimmet Ferry of 1631, granted to him in 1634, had its northern landing westerly of Chelsea Bridge, not far from the supposed site of his house. Nothing now marks more precisely its site unless, possibly, some old elms.

Here Samuel Maverick lived from 1625 until the erection of a house at Noddle's Island. On this island, which the Court granted him on certain conditions, April 1, 1633, his wife is found, November 20, 1635, during her husband's absence in Virginia. From this time his history belongs to East Boston.

The life and character of the first permanent settler of Winnisimmet, and one of the earliest in Massachusetts Bay, are of interest and, after 1634, fairly well known. But his pursuits, as those of Blackstone, Walford, and Thompson, while sole occupants of the upper bay, are mainly conjectural. From known facts, however, we may infer that Maverick traded for furs with the Indians and also with sporadic settlers and fishermen along the coast; he seems to have chosen his residence with reference to such trade, for which it was especially favorable. He was surrounded by Indians, and once incurred their hostility, but finally gained their friendship. At the mouth of the Mystic, and not far from that of the Charles,—rivers rising in the most populous seats of the Indians,—he was near the point which they passed in going to Revere Beach, where lately existing shell heaps indicated their presence in great numbers. In 1630 he owned a pinnace which, with Winthrop and Dudley, he sent to Narrangansett for corn. Though living in New England, Maverick retained his English connection,—for about 1630 he, "Sr Ferdinando Gorges, Mr Godfrey, Alderman ffoote of Bristol" and others were grantees of York in Maine, and of lands adjacent, on which "at great Cost and Charges wee setled many families."

Maverick's conduct and writings evince a strong and disciplined mind. He rendered essential services to Winthrop's company when sorely needed; and his hospitality, courteous bearing, and human acts were remembered years later, even when ecclesiastical animosities had arrayed the colonists into hostile parties, in one of which he was conspicuous. Though, as he said of himself, as well as of some others, he was in "no way dissonant from yet best Reformation in England, and desireing alsoe to have a body of Lawes to be Established and published to prevent Arbitrary Tiranny," yet they were deprived of English immunities, subjected to oppressive fines, imprisonment, and indignities, which excuse any resentment afterwards shown towards the government which inflicted them. He died between October 15, 1669, and May 15, 1676.

The later history of Samuel Maverick's estate at Winnisimmet not included in the Maverick-Blackleach deed to Bellingham, and now belonging to the United States, is as follows: "Upward of twenty yeares" before 1662, Samuel Maverick sold twenty acres to William Stitson by deed only known as recited in the latter's conveyance of the same to Elias Maverick in 1662. There is no known conveyance of the remaining hundred acres, but as they were occupied by Elias Maverick, and disposed of by his will, his title is unquestionable.

William Stitson, from 1632, lived in Charlestown, where he was of the church, March 22, 1633, and deacon from October, 1659, until his death,—thirty-one years and five months, as is inscribed on his gravestone. He was a freeman June 11, 1633, of the Artillery Company 1648, and representative 1667-1671. His wife Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Harris, died February 16, 1670, aged ninety-three; and he married the widow of Captain Francis Norton August, 1670. His will is dated April 12, 1688, and he died April 11, 1691, in his ninety-first year. Though chiefly resident of Charlestown, I have given some particulars of his life, because he probably lived at one time at Winnisimmet, on the Samuel Maverick estate, a part of which he certainly owned. In 1631 Thomas Harris kept the ferry between Winnisimmet, Charlestown, and Boston. As has been said, Stitson married his widow, and continued the ferry. He had acquired an interest in it before 1635, when he sold it to Richard Bellingham, owner of the reversion. His allotment at Pullen Point was January 8, 1637/8, on what grounds unless he was then a citizen of Boston, it is difficult to conceive. Besides, in Oliver's adjoining allotment, he is called "William Stidson of Wynesemitt:" Nor is his name found among the inhabitants of Charlestown, January, 1634/5. He may have been then living at Winnisimmet, though November 30, 1640, he was styled as of Charlestown.

Elias Maverick, born about 1604, died September 8, 1684, aged eighty. Probably he was a brother of Samuel Maverick, and possibly came over with him in 1624. Found at Winnisimmet in 1630, he was admitted to the Charlestown church February 9, 1632/3, and took the Freeman's oath the following June. In 1635 or earlier, it would seem, he married Anne Harris, daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth. She joined the same church October, 1639, and died at Reading September 7, 1697, aged eighty-four. Her gravestone is at Reading. He was of the Artillery Company, 1654. He was buried at Charlestown, where his gravestone was lately, but not now, to be seen. Wyman gives him no estate in Charlestown, nor does it appear that he ever lived there. For the most of his adult life he lived where he died, on the westerly part of the Maverick estate (now belonging to the United States). Winnisimmet Ferry, starting from his grounds, touched at Charlestown, where he found his most convenient church relations. That he was a legal resident of Boston January 8, 1637/8, is clear from his allotment at Pullen Point. He owned twenty acres at Hog Island. At his death, in 1684, he owned that part of Winnisimmet not included in the Maverick-Blackleach deed of 1635 to Richard Bellingham. By the deed from Stitson to him, April 8, 1662, it appears that he then owned the westerly part of this estate. But there is no recorded conveyance from Samuel to Elias Maverick; and the conjecture is that at some time before 1642 title was by deed unrecorded.

The children of Elias Maverick, presumably born at Winnisimmet, were, according to Wyman, (1) John, born 3, baptised 27 (12 mo.) 1635/6. (2) Abigail, Aug. 10 (14) 1637; m. Matthew Clark. (3) Elizabeth, 2 (4) 1639; m. John Johnson. (4) Sarah, 20 (12) 1640/1; m. [Samuel] Walton. Elias 17 (1) 1643/4. (6) Peter, of Boston. (Mary) Jane, m. Aaron Way.jnr of Winnisimmet. (8) Ruth, m. Francis Smith, son of Lieut. John Smith of Winnisimmet, 1679. (9) Paul, b. June 10, 1657. (10) Rebecca, Jan 1, 1659/60; m. [George] Thomas. Elias Maverick's estate at Winnisimmet remained in possession of his heirs until 1709, when it passed to John Brintnall, who for fifteen years had been lessee of the ferry and keeper of the adjacent inn. As early as 1740, probably much earlier, the Maverick estate had been divided into two farms by a line running from the Mystic River northerly over the hill; and between 1740 and 1753 both farms were sold by John Brintnall to his son Benjamin. In 1769 Benjamin sold the westerly farm, and in 1772 the easterly, to Jonathan Green.

January 31, 1791, Green sold his estate to Aaron Dexter for £900. It then consisted of a hundred and sixteen acres, on which were two dwelling-houses, four barns, and out-houses; "Reserving nevertheless out of the Premises" an acre and a half of "Marsh Land where a Dam or Dike now is, from said Island River to the Upland of the Premises;—And also saving and reserving twelve feet in wedth on each side of the said Dam all the way from the said Island End River to said Upland, Adjoining to said Acre and an half of Marsh."

Dr. Dexter sold to Richard Williams, Samuel Chittenden, and others several lots on the westerly side of Broadway, from Beacon Street southerly; and for $18,000 the remainder (one hundred fifteen acres) to the United States, September 22, 1823, confirmed December 4, 1826. The Naval Hospital was erected in 1835, and the Marine Hospital in 1857.

Maverick's Place of Residence

Who "Mr. Maverick of Winesemmet" was, and the site of his Palisade House, have troubled historians. Edward Johnson's Wonder-Working Providence says: "On the North side of Charles River, they [Winthrop's company in 1630] landed neare a small Island, called Noddells Island, where one Mr. Samuel Mavereck then living, a man of a very loving a curteous behaviour, very ready to entertaine strangers, yet an enemy to the Reformation in hand, being strong for the Lordly Prlaticall power, on this Island he had built a small Fort with the helpe of one Mr. David Tompson, placing therein foure Murtherers to protect him from the Indians"; but see Samuel Maverick's Palisade House, by Mellen Chamberlain. The question was settle by Maverick himself. [In order to reconcile the statement of Johnson that the fort was built by Maverick on Noddle's Island (East Boston), and Maverick's own statement, that in 1660 it was still standing at Winnisimmet (Chelsea), it has been suggested that the term Winnisimmet included the island (East Boston) as well as the mainland (Chelsea). There is no warrant for such an assumption. When Maverick became a resident of the island, he called himself Samuel Maverick of Noddle's Island, and his wife, in November, 1635, nine months after the sale of Winnisimmet to Richard Bellingham, dated her letter from "Nottells Iland in Massachusetts Bay." Before 1635, the reference is always to Winnisimmet in connection with Mr. Maverick; after 1635, to Noddle's Island.

It seems certain that Samuel Maverick was living at Winnisimmet when the colonists arrived in 1630. Winthrop wrote, under date of December 24, 1630, that three of his servants were driven by the wind upon Noddle's Island and forced to spend the night there without fire or food; this would not have been the case if Samuel Maverick had been living then on the island instead of at Winnisimmet. In July, 1631, Noddle's, Thompson's, and other islands were placed in the hands of the Governor and Assistants, "to be lett & disposed of by them to helpe towards publique charges, & that noe pson wtsoeur shall make any vse or benefitt of any of the said ilelands, by putting on cattell, felling wood, raiseing slate, &c, without leaue from the Gounr & Assistants for the time being"; and in April, 1632, the latter gave to John Perkins the exclusive right to shoot or trap fowls on Noddle's Island. This action would not have been taken if Samuel Maverick had been living there. An especial grant was necessary to insure Noddle's Island to Samuel Maverick, and this was not made until April, 1633. In the meantime Winnisimmet was already in his possession, confirmed to him, presumably, by the officers of the Company under its regulations as to "old planters." Samuel Maverick was living on Noddle's Island when Edward Johnson settled at Charlestown in 1636; this may account for the statement in the Wonder-Working Providence.

As to Winthrop, Johnson says he landed "neare a small Island,"—presumably at Mr. Maverick's, as he was entertained by him. Although the natural inference from the passage quoted is that Maverick was then living on the island, Johnson may not have intended to convey the idea. Presumably Samuel Maverick's residence on Noddle's Island dates from the year 1635; it could not have been earlier than the summer of 1633. Note also in this connection that the Winthrop map, about 1633, pictures "Nottles Island" as wooded, and places no house thereon, while a group of houses appears at Winnisimmet.

The following order by the General Court which met March 4, 1634/5, is of interest in this connection: "It is ordered, that Mr Samll Mafiacke shall, before the last of Decembr nexte, remove his habitacon, for himself & his ffamily, to Boston, &, in the meane tyme, shall not giue intertainemt to any strangers for longer tyme then one night, without leaue from some Assistant; & all this to be done vnder the penalty of cl. Considering Maverick's reputation for hospitality (Josselyn writes "Mr Samuel Maverick . . . the only hospitable man in all the Country, giving entertainment to all Comers gratis"), and the fact that the ferry on the road to Lynn had its landing on his grounds, that he had easy access to the shipping in the harbor, and owned ships himself, it is not surprising that he became an object of suspicion to the colonial and town authorities at a time when the charter seemed in danger, the arrival of Sir Ferdinando Gorges as general Governor of New England was feared, and the colony was being fortified to resist him.

In the years 1634 and 1635 there was a strong movement in England for the abrogation of the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the appointment of a royal governor,—a movement in which Sir Ferdinando Gorges and the Council for New England participated. In February, 1633/4, an order was issued to Mr. Cradock to bring the patent of the Massachusetts Bay Company before the Council. April 28, 1634, a commission was issued by the King to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and nine others, giving them powers to control over all New England, including the right to remove governors and revoke letters patent "surreptitiously" obtained or "hurtful" to the "prerogative royall." Three days later a commission for a general governor of New England was issued, Sir Ferdinando Gorges being the governor chosen. A ship was building to carry the governor to New England. In September, 1634, Winthrop recorded that warnings from friends in England—to the effect that ships and soldiers were preparing "to compel us, by force, to receive a new governour, and the discipline of the church of England, and the laws of the commissioners,—occasioned the magistrates and deputies to hasten our fortifications"; a statement amply substantiated by the records of the General Court for the session beginning in September, 1634. At this same Court, as it happened, Winnisimmet was placed under the jurisdiction of Boston.

In January, 1634/5, the ministers of the Massachusetts Colony, convened at the call of the Governor and Assistants, advised resistance to the rumoured governor "if we were able." The same Court which ordered Maverick to remove his habitation to Boston appointed a Board of War with extensive powers, including the right of life and death over "any that they shall judge to be enemyes to the comonwealth," and to order out troops in case of war; ordered that an oath of fidelity should be taken by all men over sixteen years of age; appointed a beacon on Sentry Hill and a watchman from April to October; decreed that the fort at Castle Island should be fully finished, ordnance mounted and the like before any other fortification should be proceeded with; and forbade any one to visit a ship without leave from an Assistant until it had lain at anchor twenty-four hours, and made it "apparent yt shee is a ffriend," under pain of confiscation of all his estate.

With such an excitement brewing, the town and colonial authorities, not unnaturally, looked with suspicion on Mr. Maverick, because of his early relations with Sir Ferdinando Gorges. Apparently he found his six months' experience under the jurisdiction of Boston unpleasant, and decided to sell his lands at Winnisimmet. Noddle's Island was not placed under the jurisdiction of Boston until March 9, 1636/7. In the meantime the Massachusetts Bay Government could, at this crisis, scarcely tolerate a man of doubtful loyalty in a place so accessible to the ships in the harbor as Noddle's Island. At least Maverick did convey to Richard Bellingham the lands at Winnisimmet, February 25, 1634/5, and the General Court, which met a week later, ordered him to remove his habitation to Boston. It is interesting to note that Blackstone, about this time, left Boston and settled in Cumberland, Rhode Island, within the limits assigned to Lord Gorges in the division of land among themselves by the Council for New England. Also the General Court which ordered Maverick to remove to Boston expressed a desire that Mr. Allerton should remove from Marble Harbour, and ordered him to appear at the next General Court, at which time, in May, 1635, it was recorded that Mr. Allerton had given his housing at Marble Head to his son-in-law, Moses Maverick, who also managed, apparently, the estate of Samuel Maverick during the latter's absence in Virginia the following winter, as he then paid to the General Court the rent for Noddle's Island.

But the danger passed. A few weeks after the order directing Maverick to remove his habitation to Boston, that is, on June 16, 1635, Winthrop recorded that it was certified by "a letter from the Lord Say, and report of divers passengers," that the "great ship to send over the general governour . . . being launched, fell in sunder in the midst." Two months later, August 17, 1635, a ship arrived, bringing word that as it lay near Bristol, on May 27, Sir Ferdinando Gorges came on board, asked if there were passengers bound for Massachusetts, and assured the Rev. Daniel Maud of "his good will to the people there in the Bay, and promised that, if he ever came there, he would be a true friend unto them." Inasmuch as the Council for New England was still seeking the revocation of the charter of the Colony, such promises were of somewhat dubious value, but the destruction of the ship which should have brought him was a certain boon. The General Court, which met September 3, 1635, voted, "The order that enioyned Mr Samll Mafiacke to remove his habitacon to Boston before the last of Decembr nexte is repealed." It also rescinded the order as to visiting ships in the harbor. In November, Mrs. Amias Maverick was living on Noddle's Island, as she dated a letter there on November the 20th.

It is interesting to note, however, that Samuel Maverick went that autumn to Virginia and remained there for nearly a year, not returning until August 3, 1636. Boston was apparently willing to welcome his return, as, under date of April, 1636, Winthrop wrote there was some thought of sending the "Blessing" to Virginia "for Mr. Maverick and his corn." Certainly by the summer of 1636 all danger from Sir Ferdinando Gorges had passed. George Vaughan wrote from London in April that he had no encouragement as to New England, that "they were quite could in that matter, Mr. Mason being ded and Sr Ferdinando minding only his one divityon."

Samuel Maverick and Dixy Bull

One of Maverick's pinnaces was taken by Dixy Bull, the noted pirate, against whom an expedition was fitted out, and for which another of his pinnaces was chosen. The cost was "Paid by a bill from Mr. Samuel Maverick, being husband and merchant of the pinnace, for a month's wages, to Elias Maverick, £2. Paid for victuals upon his account £2 5s." Samuel Maverick had been one of the grantees of Agamenticus in December, 1631. When the patent was confirmed in March, 1632, some names were dropped and four were added,—"Seth Bull, Cittizen and Skinner of London, Dixie Bull, Matthew Bradley of London, Gent, and John Bull, Son of the said Seth." Immediately thereafter, apparently, a ship was sent forth commanded by Dixie Bull; but it was seized by the French, if the report which came to Winthrop may be trusted, and Bull turned pirate. Possibly this explains Winthrop's record in December, 1632, that the pirates, besides promising future good behavior, "had given another pinnace in exchange for that of Mr. Maverick, and as much beaver and otter as it was worth more." A few months later, however, Maverick's pinnace was sent out "to take Dixie Bull." Winthrop reported that "after she had been forth two months, she came home, having not found him. After, we heard he was gone to the French." Clap said: "These Men fled Eastward, and Bull himself got into England; but God destroyed this wretched Man."

Governor Dudley wrote to the Countess of Lincoln: "About the end of October this year, 1630, I joined with the Governor and Mr. Maverecke in sending out our pinnace to the Narragansetts, to trade for corn to supply our wants; but after the pinnace had doubled Cape Cod, she put into the next harbour she found, and there meeting with Indians, who showed their willingness to truck, she made her voyage there, and brought us a hundred bushels of corn, at about four shillings a bushel, which helped us somewhat." March 14, 1632, "The bark Warwick arrived at Natascott, having been at Pascataquack and at Salem to sell corn, which she brought from Virginia"; March 19, "she came to Winysemett"; and on April 9, "the bark Warwick, and Mr. Maverick's pinnace, went out towards Virginia." August 3, 1636, "Samuel Maverick, who had been in Virginia near twelve months, now returned with two pinnaces, and brought some fourteen heifers, and about eighty goats, (having lost above twenty goats by the way). One of his pinnaces was about forty tons, of cedar, built at Barbathes, and brought to Virginia by Capt. Powell, who there dying, she was sold for a small matter."

Maverick’s Descendants

[Matthew Clark, who married Abigail Maverick, June 4, 1655, lived first at Winnisimmet, where a daughter, Abigail, was born June 17, 1656; later at Marblehead. John Johnson, who married Elizabeth, October 15, 1656, was of Charlestown and Haverhill; she died March 22, 1673/4. Peter Maverick and John Maverick (who married Catharine Skipper, April 9, 1656) lived in Boston. The latter was described in deeds as a shipwright, owned a house at the North End of the town, and died before 1680. James, Elias, Jr., and Paul Maverick lived at Winnisimmet. These are the names on such tax lists as have been preserved: 1674, Elias Maverick and Elias Maverick, Jr.; 1681, the same, also Paul Maverick; 1687 and 1688, Widow Maverick and Elias Maverick; 1692, Elias and Paul Maverick; 1695, Paul Maverick; 1702, Paul Maverick and John Pratt. In 1687, the Widow Maverick was taxed for one poll, two horses, two oxen, six cattle, twenty sheep, and two swine; Elias, for one poll, two horses, nine sheep, and one swine. His housing was valued at three-fifths that of the western farmhouse. In 1702, John Pratt was taxed for one negro man, two cows, twelve sheep, and three horses; Paul Maverick, for three cows, twenty sheep, and one horse. As “Sea bookes and Instruments” and over a tun of logwood appear in the inventory of the estate of James Maverick, taken in 1671 by two of the neighbors at Winnisimmet, and as Elias Maverick, Jr., was described in legal documents as a “ship-wright,” it would seem that the family utilized their frontage on the sea and Island End River in addition to cultivating their farm.

Elias Maverick, Jr., married Margaret Sherwood December 8, 1669. She was admitted to the Charlestown church August 8, 1675. The children recorded to them are: Elias, born November 4, 1670; Margaret, married John Pratt, July 29, 1691; Elizabeth.

According to Wyman, all three were baptized August 22, 1675. Abigail, baptized September 24, 1676; Samuel baptized August 14, 1687. Elias Maverick died before November 2, 1696, as on that date his son-in-law, John Pratt, was appointed administrator of his estate, and five months later, guardian of his son Samuel. In September, 1697, three children were living,—Margaret Pratt, Abigail Maverick, and Samuel Maverick.

In 1678, Elias Maverick, Sr., conveyed to his son Elias and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten, the house in which the son then dwelt, with the land which Elias, the father, bought of William Stitson. In January, 1695/6, Elias Maverick gave twenty acres of land near this house by deed of gift to his son-in-law, John Pratt, of Boston, inn-holder. In the tax list of 1695, both Elias Maverick, Sr., and John Pratt appear in division number one (the North End) of Boston, yet the inventory of the estate of Elias Maverick was taken by men of Winnisimmet. John Pratt was host of the well-known Salutation Inn, near the landing-place of Winnisimmet Ferry in Boston. Thence he removed, early in the autumn of 1697, “to Winnysimtt into his owne House standing night ye fferry, there—where-into he hath removed his wines beare and other necessaryes for ye accommodation of man & horse.” He petitioned the Suffolk “Court of Quarter Sessions for the Peace,” October 5, 1697, for permission to continue at Winisimmet his vocation as innkeeper. He increased his lands by purchase, and February 8, 1708/9, with his wife Margaret, conveyed to John Brintnall, for £400, forty-five acres, including the easterly homestead with twenty-six acres. He was then described as of Salem, innholder.

Paul Maverick married Jemimah Smith, daughter of Lieut. John Smith of the adjoining Ferry Farm on the Bellingham estate. He owned the covenant at Charlestown, September 11, 1681. His children were: Moses, born February 8, 1680/81, baptized September 11, 1681, died January 28, 1685; Jotham, baptized October 28, 1683; John baptized, aged one year, August 14, 1687. Paul Maverick received by the will of his father twenty-five acres, and acquired, by payment of legacies to his sisters, the western farmhouse and fifteen additional acres. March 1, 1708/9, he conveyed to his son, John Maverick, joiner, the westerly homestead with forty acres, the consideration being £300. June 17, the latter conveyed the same to John Brintnall (his uncle) for £440. In June, 1709, Jemimah Maverick applied, in the name of her husband, Paul Maverick, for a license to sell strong drink as an innholder from “Mr. Hillier’s House in Middle Street,” Boston, it having been previously a licensed house. She stated that her husband was absent at sea and that she wished the business to retrieve losses in his estate. At the January term of the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, in 1709-10, Jemimah Maverick was fined for selling strong drink without license. Later she married Henry Richman, of Boston.

James, son of Peter Maverick, received from his grandfather Elias fifteen acres of the farm at Winnisimmet. From a deposition taken in 1718, and recorded at the Suffolk Registry, it is learned that he was a ferryman, and lived at Winnisimmet, where two children were born to him and his wife Hester,—Martha, born April 17, 1693, and James, born, the deposition states, October 2, 1699. Presumably the latter date is a mistake of the copyist, as James Maverick must have been twenty-one years of age when he joined in the conveyance to Brintnall, November 1, 1715. July 16, 1703, Hester Mavrick of Lynn, widow of James Mavrick late of Boston, presented a petition to the Governor and Council for permission to sell a part of her husband’s estate, the half “of a Small Plot of Ground” with “a little old house on it” on Wing Lane in Boston. She said that her “husband did about Eight years Since go out of this Port in a Voyage bound or London, & was then taken by the ffrench, & Since not heard of by any of his Relations, he Left me two Children a boy & a girl, with uery Small matters to Support & maintain them.” The house was not sold until 1728. August 7, 1705, the widow married Benjamin Whitney, and November 1, 1715, Benjamin and Esther Whitney of Framingham, and her children James and Martha Maverick, conveyed to John Brintnall fifteen acres lying between the lands conveyed to Brintnall by John Pratt and by the son of Paul Maverick; the consideration was £50, and there was no mention of buildings. Later Martha Maverick married Thomas Bellows of Southboro.]

Mellen Chamberlain, A Documentary History of Chelsea, 1908

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