Francis Small, Sr. (1625 - 1713) MP

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Nicknames: "Smalle", "Smalley"
Birthplace: Bideford, Devon, England
Death: Died in Truro, Barnstable County, Province of Massachusetts
Occupation: came to Amer. in 1632, a fisherman of Casco Bay, one of the founders of Kittery, ME, Fisherman, indian trader, Fur Trader
Managed by: Thomas Edward Shirley
Last Updated:

About Francis Small, Sr.

Left Bideford, county Devon, England around 1635 with his father, Edward Small/Smale/Smalley.

Francis Small, who may be regarded as the ancestor of the Small family of Maine, may have been the son of Edward Small, but of this we have no proof. He came to America about 1632. He was baptized in England, October 6, 1625. He may have been named for Captain Francis Champernown, whose father, Arthur Champernown, was owner of large grants of land in Maine and New Hampshire. Francis Champernown died in 1687, aged seventy-three. He had no children of his own, so willed his large estates to his wife (who was the widow of Robert Cutt) and to her children. He also gave to Elizabeth Small, "my servant maid, in behalf of what I formerly promised her," thirty acres of land at Spruce Creek; also ten pounds in cattle and ten pounds in goods. Elizabeth Small may have been a sister of Francis. She was the wife of Thomas Hooper, of York, when she sold this piece of land to Henry Barter, of Kittery, March 5, 1697-98.

Francis Small was an enterprising trader and landowner residing primarily in Kittery, Maine. He made the first recorded land purchase in what is now Maine, and proceeded to amass so much that he was called "the great landholder." He possessed the largest number of acres of anyone who ever lived in Maine. He was living in Dover, New Hampshire, in 1648, with his wife Elizabeth. In 1657 he was a resident of Falmouth, Maine. The earliest Indian deed of land in Falmouth was made July 27, 1657, by Scitterygussett, to Francis Small. It reads thus: "Bee it knowne unto all men by these presents, that I Scitterygussett of Casco Bay Sagamore, do hereby grant, sell &c all that upland and Marshes at Capissicke, Lying up along the Northerne side of the river unto the head thereof & so to reach & extend unto ye river side of Ammecungan." Francis Small bound himself "yearly to pay unto ye said Scitterygussett Sagamore, during his life, one Trading coate for Capussicke & one Gallone of Lyquors for Ammomingan." May 10, 1658, Francis Small assigned one-half of this land to John Phillips, of Boston. July 13, 1658, the "Inhabitants of Black Poynt, Bleu Point, Spurwink and Cascoe Bay owned themselves subject to the Government of Mass. Bay in N. E." Francis Small headed this list, and was one of the few whose names were written without a mark. November 2, 1658, he sold to Isaac Walker, of Boston, "the plantation lately bought of Richard Martyn, called Martyn's Point, over against Clapboard Island." He had a grant of one hundred acres of land in that part of Kittery called Newichawannock, also two hundred and two acres on eastern side of the Piscataqua river. (See deed to his son Daniel Small, of Truro, Mass., dated October 31, 1712.)

In the year 1659, Francis Small "was employed by Major Nicholas Shapleigh to purchase a certain great Ysland called Sebascoe Diggin, lying against a Necke of land called Merriconeag." He built a house there "by order of Major Shapleigh and possessed the Ysland in his behalf." "This was called Small's Island." May 10, 1683, Francis Small, senior, aged about fiftysix, and his wife Eliza'beth. aged about fortynine, testified to the above facts. They had one child born there, which was the "first white child of English parents" born in that part of Maine.

Small was again attorney for Falmouth in 1663. He was living in Kittery in 1668, but he had a house and trading camp where the village of Cornish now is. This was doubtless the first house built in that town or in any part of the Ossipee lands. "In the summer of 1668, Francis Small sold goods to the Newichawannoch tribe of Indians on credit, to be paid for in furs in the autumn; but when the time of payment drew near the red men deemed it easier to kill Small than to pay him, and they decided to fire his house and shoot him when he came out to escape the flames. Captain Sunday, the chief of the tribe, was friendly to Small, and told him what the Indians were to do, and advised him to flee for his life. Small thought the tale a cunningly devised fable to frighten him away in order to avoid payment; but when night came, thinking it wise to be on the side of safety, he secreted himself in some pines on the hill near by, and watched through the long November night. With the coming of the dawn, a flame of fire shot up from the burning house, whereupon Small took flight and paused not until he reached his home in Kittery. Chief Sunday followed Small to Kittery, and there made good the loss, by selling to him the entire Ossipee tract of land. The deed was dated November 28, 1668. The signature of Captain Sunday was a turtle. It conveyed to Francis Small "my great tract of land at Osobe containing twenty miles square and lying between the two rivers of great Osobe, and Little Ossipee, so called, and being the same land where the said Francis Small's trading house now stands, and from the river Meehewonock near Humphrey Chadbourne's logging camp, and to extend Northerly and Easterly to Saco river." The consideration was "two large Indian blankets, Two gallons Rum, Two pounds powder, four pounds of Muscet Balls, and twenty string of Indian beads, with several other articles." This deed is still in existence, and was recorded in 1773, when one hundred and five years old. Francis Small conveyed one undivided half of the Ossipee lands to Major Nicholas Shapleigh; and the other half to his son Samuel, April 30, 1711. These lands were divided between the heirs of Francis Small and Nicholas Shapleigh, about 1781. It is now incorporated in the towns of Limington, Limerick, Cornish, Parsonsfield and Newfield. Cornish was first named Francisborough.

Francis Small was viewed as a venturesome, fearless, alert, somewhat given to "speaking his mind" and resourceful man. He might be called the forerunner of the "typical Yankee". He possessed the largest number of acres of any person who ever lived in Maine. Sometimes mentioned as a Planter and a fisherman but mostly an Indian trader. Although he didn't speak the Indian language he did spend long periods living among them at his trading camps. He was sometimes employed to negotiate with the Indians. He sold his lands at the time of Indian unrest and moved to Cape Cod, MA.

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Francis Small, Sr.'s Timeline

1625
October 6, 1625
Bideford, Devon, England
October 6, 1625
Bideford, Devonshire, England, Great Britain
October 6, 1625
Bidford, Devonshire, England
1625
Bideford, Devon, England
1652
1652
Age 27
Falmouth, Cumberland, Maine, USA
1652
Age 27
Kittery, York County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
1654
1654
Age 29
Provincetown, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States
1654
Age 29
Falmouth, York County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
1656
1656
Age 31
Falmouth, York County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
1665
1665
Age 40
York, York, Maine, United States