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Signature & Seal

Amias.gif (41997 bytes)The signature and seal as printed in Trelawney Papers, Vol III of Maine Historical Society, Second  Series.  Portland, Maine,  1884
(Click Thumbnail image for full size)

They are taken from the letter she wrote to Mr. Robert Trelawney from Nottell's (Noodles) Island in Massachusetts Bay on the 20th of November, 1635.  The letter was received by Trelawney on July 4, 1636.  (Noodles Island is now the site of Logan Airport, Boston)

As for the seal.  It is undoubtedly a merchant's seal.  The 4 formation is typical of the Sterling (Scotland) 17th century merchant's seal.  G probably stands for Grocer or maybe even Gorges...or so I thought until this past week when I was glancing through a book on Masonic symbols of the 18th and 19th centuries.  There was a jug from the 1700s that had a XX on it that was NOT a double X...but rather a crude/simplistic drawing of the compass and square...  G as a Masonic symbol stands for God or Geometry.  (Didn't David Thomson build a stone hall or home later taken over by Captain Mason's men, later called Mason's Hall?)

At the time Amias was writing, the Freemasons were very much alive in Scotland.  In fact, Sir William Alexander, the Earl of Stirling's sons were architects and Masonic leaders.  (Sir William wrote a letter complaining about Amias in 1637 in which he mentions David's hard work and concern that her new husband (Maverick) might deprive young John Thompson of his property.)
Study Amias' XX... Note how she formed it.  There are not two separate Xs, but rather joined.  The Xs may have been formed as /\ and a \/ superimposed.  What do the Tommies think?  Note the ink dot, pressure end-points. 

It is my belief that David Thomson as a scholar and intellectual of his day may have belonged to one of the secret societies as did Sir Francis Bacon and others.

Genevieve Fraser 

More about the seal from Nancy Thomson:

From "The Widow of David Thomson" by Frank W. Hackett of Portsmouth, N. H., printed in the NEHG Register, Vol. 47, Jan. 1893. Hackett corresponded with a historian, R.N.Worth, about Amias' letter, her signature and the seal. At the time, it was not known who Amias had been before her marriage to Samuel. Maverick, so they were trying to figure out who she was...and making some mistakes:

"Her seal is what is called a marchant's mark, and I believe it to be that of Moses Goodyear, who was originally Robert Trelawny's partner in the New England grant of 1631, but who soon after disappears." (When he wrote this, historian R. N. Worth believed Amias was the daughter of Abraham Jennings---WRONG!)

After figuring out that she was Amias Cole, Worth adds: "The seal clearly could not have been hers, or her husband's, though had the G been a C it might have been her father's."

Well, that's not too helpful...
Finally, Frank Hackett summarizes: "As for the seal, one may say after a minute examination that it is by no means certain that the letter is not a "C," after all. Curiously enough the seal that Amias Maverick uses is identical with that adopted by Richard Vines. (See vol. vii., 4th Series, Massachusetts Historical Society Collections). To this identity in the employment of a seal Mr. Baxter has called attention in a note to the Trelawny Papers. It is not beyond the range of possibility that the circumstance of an identical seal, thus used, may lead to some discovery of consequence."

Nancy Thomson 

The documents are direct quotes and should not be taken and used as one's own work without identifying the source.

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Updated: 16 Jan 2017 12:51 PM