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Founding of New Hampshire

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  • Anthony Brackett (bef.1613 - 1691)
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  • Governor Thomas Wiggin (1592 - 1666)
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Let's identify (or create) the Geni profiles for the 80 people & the proprietary governors of what became the "Live Free or Die" state. Collaborators, feel free to update the project - and invite more collaborators.


In the beginning was the fisherman. And the fisherman came to New Hampshire to fish. His trip was paid for by English investors who did quite well at first. Then they tried to settle a colony and lost their shirts. New Hampshire's rich proprietor grew poorer. But some NH colonists stayed anyway.

From Early Settlers of New Hampshire PROF EW Sanborn (1877)

No bells, bonfires nor cannon announced the arrival of the little barque which sailed up the "deep waters" of the Piscataquack in 1623, and landed on Odiorne's Point, the founders of a new State. Tradition does not repeat nor history record the name of the ship nor of the captain who commanded it. The Mayflower and the men who landed on Plymouth Rock, in 1620, are as famous in history as Jason and his associates, who sought the Golden Fleece, are in ancient mythology. New England men never weary of eulogies of forefathers' day; and they will, probably, never cease to commemorate the heroism and piety of those forty-two god-fearing men, who signed the first written constitution known to human history.

Still, the Plymouth Colony, by itself, wrought no nobler or better work for mankind than the unnoticed, almost unnamed colonists who founded New Hampshire. Massachusetts Bay settlers, the Puritans, eclipsed the humbler efforts of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. The Pilgrims bore the sufferings of exile, privation and toil; but the Puritans at a later date appropriated the fame and the honor which rose from the laws, government and institutions of Massachusetts. Capt. John Mason, the Proprietor of New Hampshire, sent over fifty Englishmen and twenty-two women, besides eight Danes who were employed in sawing lumber and making potash. This number exceeded that of the Mayflower. It is not probable that all these men and women came in the first ship. Many of them arrived several years after the first company of planters occupied Odiorne's Point. There is no reason to suppose that many women, possibly not one, came in 1623. Some writers suppose that the Hiltons and a few other leading men brought their wives with them. For, ten years after the first settlement, the letters of the proprietor and his agents in London, speak of sending the wives of some of the colonists or of supporting them, at the company's expense, at home.

The very slow progress of the settlements at Cocheco and Strawberry Bank show that the laborers were few; for only three houses had been built, on the Bank in seven years, and only three in ten years, at the upper plantation. If families were united in these labors, six houses would scarcely suffice for eighty persons. Why were these colonists less renowned than the Pilgrims of Plymouth? The previous history of the Pilgrims, their persecutions at home, and their residence in Holland made them famous. Religion occupied the thoughts of all Englishmen. The Pilgrims were exiles for conscience' sake; they suffered for the common liberties and rights of the whole people.

The first settlers at Portsmouth and Dover were adventurers, bold, hardy, and resolute, like all pioneers who go into the wilderness to better their condition. Such is generally the character of emigrants who found new states. Philosophers tell us that from the race, the epoch and the surroundings of a people, their future history may be accurately predicted. Here then is a problem for the prophet's solution. The race is Saxon; the epoch is one of progress; enterprise, discovery and controversy, both vrith the pen and the sword. The surroundings are the wilderness before them and the ocean behind them. The soil is rugged; the climate is severe. Tell me, then, thou boasting seer, what will be the fate of this handful of men, as destitute and helpless as though they had dropped upon the earth from some distant planet. Will, they die of starvation, be devoured by wild beasts or be massacred by savages?

By occupation, they" were fishmongers, farmers and mechanics. "Their several businesses" assigned by their employers, were to fell the trees, till the soil, fish, hunt and mine. Incessant labor in these occupations failed to support them; and the proprietors were obliged to sink their fortunes in the abyss of debt which these plantations opened.

John Mason, who was a man of mark, and would have been distinguished in any age, was financially ruined; but like Phaeton, guiding the chariot of the sun, he fell from great undertakings. Instead of securing coronets and mitres for his posterity he died the victim of disappointed hopes: "No son of his succeeding."

From Brewster's Rambles #2

Although Mason never visited his possessions, he took a deep interest in his Manor, and in 1631 sent about eighty emigrants to locate here and act as stewards, agents, workmen and servants. Among the men were many whose surnames are yet familiar with us:

Neal, Gibbons, Camocks, Raymond, Williams, Vaughan, Warnerton, Jocelyn, Norton and Lane were his stewards; Renald Fernald was the surgeon; there were forty-eight others of various occupations, and twenty-two women.

Among the forty-eight men were the following names; Goe, Cooper, Chadborn, Matthews, Rand, Johnson, Ellins, Baldwin, Spencer, Furrel, Herd, Chatherton, Crowther, Williams, Knight, Sherborn, Goddard, Withers, Canney, Symonds, Peverly, Seavey, Langstaff, Berry, Wall, Walford, Brakin, Moore, Beal, James, Jones, Ault, Newt, and Bracket.