367 John Higginson to President Wadsworth

    June 6th 1730

    Reverend and Honored Sir

    I received yours of the 11th of May respecting Merricaneag and in obedience thereto have made enquirie as I had opportunitie though I traval East no farther then Wells. What account I can give is thus. The very Day I received Your Letter it happened I had occasion to Draw the Affidavits of Moses Felt of Rumny Marsh Aged about Eighty Years and Isaac Larrabe of Lyn aged about 67 Years respecting possessions in Casco where they have lived att Times from their Minority. Upon enquiry they told Me Merrecaneag was a very Larg Neck of good Land and well Timbered, That formerly there were four Familys settled there Vizt. Two Phippens which were of Salem, One Cole who removed to Wells, and One Pudington258 who removed as I afterwards heard to Salisbury, but they know not what Quantity they Claimed nor whence they Derived their Title. There was also one Potts who had Libertie to make Fish on the point now called Potts’s Neck which is the outmost part of the Neck. But He had no Right as they say to any Land only the Libertie of making Fish, which He did Do for about five Years. Nevertheless many Years after his removeal thence He presumed to sell a Considerable Quantity of Land there to Mr. Benjamin Marston. I am also further informed by others that the Heirs of Phippens, Cole, and Pudington Claim a Considerable part of said Neck and particularly that Coles interest is now upon Sale though the Quantity Claimed was unknown to my informers. On the Day aforesaid I had also occasionally att my office one Collins of Lyn who was a Petitioner for the Late Grant of the Township of Falmouth who told me that He was imployed by Major Moodey259 (who had the Care of said Neck committed to him by President Leverett) to look after said Land and Discover what Trespasses were Committed there and by whom and for that end was frequently there by Day and Night travelling over every part thereof. He says the Land is very Good Generally and that He Discovered a Mine there supposed to be very Rich which He would not shew to those who offered Twenty pound to be Conducted to the place. He supposed it to be a Secret as Yet. But I cannot think with Him Because I have heard by some of Phippens Heirs that Col. Browne Claims part of said Neck and would purchase the Remainder for the sake of the Mine, He haveing alreadie sent home a Considerable Quantity of the Oar for Tryal and att this Juncture imploying a Man to Discover the Quantity, Quality Circumstances and proprietors of said Neck and their Title thereto, of all which shall inform farther when I know more, which I expect when I have a Convenient Opportunitie to Discourse his Emissary, observeing allways your Directions to seem Careless in my Inquiry. When I was att Wells Major Moulton One of the Committe with whom I mett to Transact other affairs told me he was well acquainted with the place, that the Soil was good and the Land well Timbered, That Col. Hutchinson, Minot and others had sold part of it to Col. Westbrook, Samuel Waldo, and Job Lewis for a Thousand Ounces of Silver, That Col. Harmon had been there for three Winters past with a Larg Gang of Hands Getting Timber and that He was allowed therein by Col. Wheelwright. How much He Claims or under whom I kno not. Major Moulton gives a good account of the Soil and Timber, but He and all others are att a Loss about the Quantity. Some say its Twelve Miles others Twenty four from Potts’s neck to Smiths Carrieing Place. Capt. Southwick has laid it Down in his Mariners Chart if I Remember Right about Twelve Miles long and in breadth from two to four Miles. It is now of great value and worth. Looking after the Several Titles may be found in the Records of York County and in the Book of Estern Claims att the Secretaries Office. The Title may be more easily Cleared now then hereafter. It falls within the Township of North Yarmouth or Brunswick I am not Certain which. The Town Claims it and intend to Divide it and possession will go far in Title of those Eastern Lands. If in anything I can be serviceable Please to Command and I shall be readie and willing to Do anything in my power for the interest and service of the Colledge. I purpose God Willing to take a Jorney or Voyage to those parts when the inhabitants are gotten into a better Frame or the Authoritie has set their Affairs Right which I expect will be Done in a Little Time. Please to accept my most Dutifull Regards and present the same as due

    from Your Kinsmand and Servant

    John Higginson

    My Family and all Freinds thro Divine Goodness are Well.

    [Addressed:] To the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Wadsworth President of College in Cambridge.

    [Endorsed:] It was read to the Corporation, June 15, 1730

    Merricaneag Neck Papers. John Higginson (A.B. 1717) was involved in a land dispute in Falmouth, Me.; see Sibley, Sketches (Shipton), vi. 196.