363 History of the Grants at Merricaneag


    At a general court at Boston Feb. 7 1682/3 said Court granted to Harvard College Merricaneag Neak of Land and a 1000 Acres adjacent lying in the Province of Main.

    In the year 1684 the general court granted to Capt. Joshua Scottow (in satisfaction for two hundred and odd pounds, by him expended in the Indian Wars) 500 Acres of Land in the Province of Main, to be laid out in any free place, which Grant was confirmed to said Scottow by the General Court May 27, 1685, and was laid out on Merricaneag Neck by Edward Tyng and Sylvanus Davis, of which they made return under their hands April 6, 1686. This abovesaid 500 Acres Mr. Scottow sold to Samuel Sewal Esq. of Boston March 29 1690.—Note, this Land was not laid out according to the meaning of the Grant, for that says, in any free place, which Merricaneag then was not, being granted by the general Court to the College the year before. It’s probable, Mr. Tyng and Mr. Davis did not know of this Grant to the College, when they laid out the 500 Acres on Merricaneag Neck which then was not a free place and that the general Court did not remember their grant to the College, when they 1685 confirmed said 500 Acres to Mr. Scottow. Note further, the General Court granted to John Endicot Esq. May 6, 1657 a thousand Acres of land to be laid out in some place not prejudicing former Grants in lieu of £75 by him and his wife in the general Adventure; this Land or Right was afterwards sold, 1658, to Mr. John Hull; and in answer to this Grant Nov. 8, 1693, a thousand Acres of Land were laid out by the General Courts order on Merricaneag Neck, to Samuel Sewal Esq. and Hannah his wife, Daughter and Heir of the aforesaid John Hull. This Grant by the general Court has the Province seal to it. I suppose ’twas through inadvertency and want of due Recollection, that the General Court granted this 1000 Acres on Merricaneag to Samuel Sewal Esq.; for when said Sewal came to understand, that Merricaneag had formerly been granted to the College; he informed the General Court of it, which Court in Dec. 1695 granted to Mr. Sewal (in lieu of the 1000 Acres at Merricaneag) five hundred Acres at Pennicook, and were ready to grant 500 Acres more in some free place unto him. So that here is at least an Implicit confirmation of Merricaneag to the College by the General Court (a dozen years after the first Grant) in that they gave Mr. Sewal the like number of Acres elsewhere, for that 1000 Acres which through mistake they had granted to him on Merricaneag. Samuel Sewal Esq. and Hannah his Wife, on April 24, 1696 did in writing plainly release and quitclaim to the President and Fellows of Harvard College the aforesaid conveyance of 500 Acres from general Court, on Merricaneag Neck. These Releases, quitclaims, or resignations were acknowledged by said Sewal and his Wife, before Justice Bromfield, on said April 24th 1696, and are in the hand of the College Treasurer.

    [Note in margin, page 1:] Mr. Scottows deed to Judge Sewal was recorded Apr. 10, 1690 in Suffolk Records of deeds; and Dec. 3, 1691, in the Records of deeds in Province of Main.

    [Endorsed:] Capt. Sewal’s Release to the College; the General Court grant him (1695) Lands elsewhere in lieu of 1000 Acres at Merricaneag.

    Merricaneag Neck Papers. This “history” of the Merricaneag Grant dates from 1730, when the Corporation, urged on by the Overseers, began to make inquiries into their right to the area. It had not been followed up, or even bounded, and various persons were claiming ownership by right of purchase. Lawsuits ensued, and in the end The College’s ownership was disallowed. Subsequent documents relate to these matters; certain routine items, or ones in very poor condition, have not been copied. A history of the area is: George A. and Henry W. Wheeler, History of Brunswick, Topham, and Harpswell, Maine … (Boston, 1878).