George's Top Matches
About George Cleeve (Cleave), Esq.
George Cleeve (ca. 1586- after 1666) was an early settler and "founder of Portland, Maine"; Deputy President of the Province of Lygonia from 1643 until the final submission of its Maine towns to Massachusetts authority in 1658.
"From the start Cleeve, a litigious and foul-mouthed man often in conflict with the nascent local administration, appears to have imposed his powerful personality upon the early history of Maine. By 1637 he was already attempting, without success, to persuade Governor Winthrop in Boston to establish a new government with himself in charge; and in due course he was to prove a provocation to the Gorges interest in particular, the weakness of which during the Civil War period he was to ruthlessly exploit." "In depth" George Cleeve (c. 1586-c. 1666), vintner of the Sextry and of the Pheasant, Mardol Head.
George was a vintner, together with one Thomas Lewis, in Shrewsbury, England. George came over in 1630 from Plymouth, Devonshire, England, and settled first at Spurwink, Maine. He was ejected from this land by another settler in 1632, in a dispute lasting many years, and went on to become one of the first settlers of Falmouth, now Portland. He was involved in many notorious land transactions, together with one Richard Tucker, for many years, causing great disturbance among the early inhabitants, one of whom said he was, "a firebrand of dissension and hath set the whole Province together by the ears," in a letter to Governor John Winthrop. In 1636 he and Tucker purchased, for £100, 1500 acres in Casco and Hogg Island in Casco Bay. He returned to England several times. He was a Massachusetts representative later in life, and even this election involved dispute.
His career was both contentious and litigious, engaged in frequent land disputes and vying with Gorges' Province of Maine for jurisdiction over the area north of Cape Porpoise. He is known to have convened provincial courts at Casco in 1644 and Black Point in 1648. Under Massachusetts governance of the area, he was Commissioner for Falmouth (from 1658)and Representative to the General Court, 1663-1664. He died sometime after November 1666, last known record of his life.
He married Joan Price 7 September 1618; daughter Elizabeth married in 1637 Michael Mitton, from whom there are numerous descendants.
- Noyes, Libby, Davis, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (Genealogical Publishing Company reprint, 1996)
- James Phinney Baxter, George Cleeve of Casco Bay (Gorges Society, 1885)
- W. Williamson, "History of Maine", Volume I
- Robert C. Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, bio. entry.
- George Cleeve of Casco Bay, 1630-1667: with collateral Documents, by James Phinney Baxter, A.M., (South Windham, ME: Alice Mitchell Branson Auspices of George Cleeve Association, 1991). This is a reprint of the original, and was issued only to members of the George Cleeve Association.
Founder of Portland, Maine
Accomplishments: First settler on Portland Peninsula in 1632. Began farming and lumbering and expanded into land speculation. His importance grew as he acquired large land holdings and greater influence. Cleeve was responsible for bringing more settlers into what was then called Falmouth Neck. He became a judge, the head of Maine's colonial Supreme Court, and president of the province. His final years were marked by poverty and illness.