Noddle Island.


Anecdotes About Samuel Maverick . . .

The island took the name by which is was so long known from William Noddle, designated as "an honest man from Salem" by old writers. It seems that he occupied it previous to 1630, about which time Samuel Maverick, with the alleged help of David Thompson—owner of Thompson island—came into possession. The fee of this property did not rest exclusively in Maverick apparently, for in 1631 an order was passed by the court restraining persons from "putting on Cattell, felling wood or raseing slate" on this island. Like all the islands in the harbor, there appeared to be forests growing upon Noddle's island in former times, and apparently a similar fate befell them all to be bereft of this growth. In 1632 the following order was passed:

"Noe'p'son wt'soever shall shoot att fowle upon Pullen Poynte or Noddle's Ileland, but the sd places shalbe reserved for John Perkins, to take fowle with nets."

The following is a copy of the order passed in favor of Mr. Maverick:

"Noddle's Ileland is granted to Mr. Sam'l Mavack to enjoy to him and his heires for ever. Yielding & payeing yearly att ye Generall Court, to ye Gov'n'r for the time being, either a fatt weather, a fatt hogg, or XLs in money, & shalle give leave to Boston & Charles Towne to fetch woode . . . as theire neede requires, from ye southerne p'ts of sd ilsland."

It appears that the "neede" of Boston and Charlestown required all the wood growing, for when the East Boston Company took possession in 1833 there were but two trees standing on the entire territory.

This island, as well as Breed's island, were very early claimed by Sir William Brereton, and this name did sometimes appear in the connection formerly, as the name of Susanna (his daughter) was likewise applied to Breed's island, but no confirmation of title to either ever resulted.

Noddle's island was "layd to Boston," as it was termed, in 1636. It originally contained about 663 acres, together with the contiguous flats to low water mark. Its nearest approach to Boston proper is by ship channel ferry about 1800 feet . . . .

Samuel Maverick appears to have been a man of considerable importance, exercising great hospitality at his island home, where he often received Governor Winthrop and other notabilities. In 1636 he made a visit to Virginia and stopped there a year. On the return he brought with him 14 heifers and 80 goats, losing 20 of the latter on the voyage. Mt. Wollaston in Quincy was then a portion of Trimount, or Boston, and was used for pasturing cattle, Mr. Maverick being allowed 500 acres for his use.

In 1641 he gave succor at Noddle's island to Thomas Owen and Mrs. Sarah Hale, who had escaped from durance under a charge of illicit conduct. For this offense Maverick was fined £100. It was not presumed that he was aware of the circumstances, so the sum was partially remitted afterwards. In 1645 he made a loan to the town towards fortifying Castle island which the town guaranteed should be refunded "in case said garrison be defeated or demolished, except by adversary power, within three years." John Josselyn, who visited this country in 1638 on a tour of observation,

Paid Maverick a Visit.

He avowed that Maverick was the "only hospitable man in the country, giving entertainments to all comers gratis." Having refreshed himself there by a stay of several days, Josselyn crossed over in a small boat to look at Boston, which he compared to a small village. At night he returned to the island. Some years later he made another visit to the country, and again called on Mr. Maverick, who gave him a warm welcome and kept him until his ship was ready for returning to England.

In one of Josselyn's rambles in the forest which then covered the island he discovered something which he mistook for a fruit similar to a pineapple. "It was plated with scales and as big as the crown of a woman's hat." No sooner had he touched it, however, than out swarmed a cloud of insects which went for him. These hornets stung his face, and made it swell so badly that when he returned to the house his friend would not have known him save for his clothing.

Mr. Maverick was so persecuted later, on account of his religious tenets—Episcopalian—that he gave up his residence. In 1661 Mr. Thomas Clarke was in occupation, though the property had been previously claimed—1652—by John Burch. About 1675 Colonel Shrimpton appeared to have considerable to do with the island. In 1689 Mrs. Mary Hooke of Kittery, Me., made claim to the property, as being daughter of Samuel Maverick, but there is no record that her claim was allowed.

Boston Daily Globe, Jan 6, 1889, p. 20

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