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Panaway - Pisataqua - Gorges

This page is about
the Piscataqua settlement.

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

From "The Deposition of Phinneas Pratt regarding the planting of the Plymouth (1620) and Wessagusett (1622) Colony"

This petition was recently reprinted the Mayflower Descendant, first published in the Massachusetts Historical Society Collections, 4th Ser. 4:479+.

"...9 (?) of our men weare ded wth Famine and on died in the ship before thay Came to the place whear at that Time of yeare ships Came to Fish -- it being in March. At this Time ships began to Fish at ye Islands of Sholes and I haveing Recovered a Little of my . . . th went to my Company near about this Time . . . the first plantation att Pascataqua the . . . thereof was Mr. Dauid Tomson at the time of my arivall (?) att Pascataqua..."

"...Not long after the oferthrow of the first plantation in the bay, Capt. Louit Cam to yer Cuntry. At the Time of his being at Pascataway a Sacham or Sagamor Gaue two of his men, on to Capt. Louit & Another to Mr. Tomson, but on yt was ther said, "How can you trust these Salvagis. Cale the nam f on Watt Tylor, & ye other Jack Straw, after ye names of the two greatest Rebills yt ever weare in Eingland." Watt Tylor said "when he was a boy Capt. Dormer found him upon an Island in great distress."

Chapter 6, Good Newes from WINSLOW’S New England

"...At the same time Captain Standish being formerly employed by the Governor to buy provisions for the refreshing of the Colony, returned with the same, accompanied with one Mr. David Tomson, a Scotchman, who also that Spring began a Plantation twenty-five leagues northeast from us, near Smiths Isles, at a place called Pascatoquack, where he liketh well..."

Contributed by Gen Fraser

Samuel Maverick's Description of New England

... which was written in the year 1660, after the return of Charles II who later appointed him a Royal Commissioner for New England.  The document written by Maverick was probably presented to Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards the Earl of Clarendon, who was then Charles IIs Lord High Chancellor.

"Strawberry Bank.  The Great House & Isle of Shooles.  - 

Within 2 Myles of the Mouth is Strawberry Banke where are many Families, and a Minister & a Meeting House, and to the meeting Houses of Dower & Exceter, most of the people resort.  This Strawberry Banke is part of 6000 acres granted by Patent about ye yeare 1620 or 1621, to Mr. David Thompson, who with the assistance of Mr. Nicholas Sherwill, Mr. Leonard Pomeroy and Mr. Abraham Colmer of Plymouth Merchants, went ower with a Considerable Company of Servants and Built a Strong and Large House, enclosed it with a large and high Palizado and mounted Gunns, and being stored extraordinarily with shot and Ammunition was a Terror to the Indians, who at that time were insulting over the poor and weake and unfurnished Planters of Plymouth.  This house and ffort he built on a Point of Land at the very entrance of Pasccatoway River.  And having granted by Patent all the Island bordering on this land to the Midle of the River, he tooke possession of an Island comonly called the great Island and for the bounds of this side he went up the River to a point called Bloudy Point, and by the sea side about 4 milles he had also power of Government within his owne bounds,  Notwithstanding all this, all is at this day in the power and at the disposall of the Massachusitts.  Two Leagues of lyes the Isle of Shooles one of the best places for ffishing in the land, they have built a Church here and maintaine a Minister."

Contributed by Gen Fraser


Containing an Abstract of New England, Composed in three Books. The first Booke setting forth the originall of the Natives, their Manners and Customes, together with their tractable Nature and Love toward the English
Written by Thomas Morton of Cliffords Inne gent, upon tenne yeares knowledge and eexperiment of the Country. Printed at Amsterdam, 1637

Book 1, Chapter II.

"...Therefore since I have had the approbation of Sir Christophe gardiner Knight an able gentl. that lived amongsts them & of David Thompson a Scottish gentl. that likewise was conversant with those people both Scollers and Travellers that were diligent of taking notice of these things as men of good judgement.  And that have bin in those parts any time; besides others of lesse, now I am bold to conclude that the originall of the Natives of New England may be well conjectured to be from the scattered Trojans, after such time as Brutus departed from Latium."

Thomas Morton also tacked a poem onto the Maypole at MerryMount which Miles Standish spied upon with horror as Morton and his men cavorted in drunken merriment with the Natives.  Some historians think the poem was a satire directed at David, Amias and Samuel:



Rise Oedipeus, and if thou canst unfould,
What meanes Caribdis underneath the mould,  (Possible reference to David having died)
When Scilla sollitary on the ground,           (Scilla = Amias??)
(Sitting in forme of Niobe) was found;
Till Amphitrites Darling did acquaint
Grim Neptune with the Tenor of her plaint,
And caused him send forth Triton with the sound,
Of Trumpet lowd, at which the Seas were found,
So full of Protean formes, that the bold shore,
Presented Scilla a new parramore    (Samuel Maverick??)
So strong as Sampson and so patient,
As Job himselfe, directed thus, by fate,
To comfort Scilla so unfortunate.
I doe profess by Cupids beautious mother,
Heres Scogans choise for Scilla, and none other;
Though Scilla's sick with griefe because no signe,
Can there be found of vertue masculine.
Esculapius (sp?) come, I know right well,
His laboure's lost when you may ring her Knell,
The fatall sisters doome none can withstand,
Nor Cithareas power, who poynts to land,
With proclamations that the first of May,
At Ma-re Mount shall be kept holly day.

Contributed by Gen Fraser



by Raymond W. Stanley, Copyright 1966 by Thompson Academy,

His Plantation Called Pannaway

The site he had chosen as a "fit place to build their houses," was at a prominent point of land, near Little Harbor, by the southern mouth of the Piscataqua River, in what is now Rye, New Hampshire. It was easily defensible against Indian attack and had a fine spring of water on the shore not far from the harbor where his ships were moored. He called his plantation "Pannaway," which was the Indian name for the locality and which now is known as Odiornes Point.

There were three principal buildings erected at Pannaway--the Main House, a Fortification, and a Blacksmith's Shop. In addition there were small structures called habitations which housed the indentured servants, said to be "lustie young fellows." Nearby, on higher ground was Flake Hill. Here were the stages for drying fish.The Main House stood on the crest of a hill, overlooking the sea and the extensive marshland that bordered a tidal stream now called Seavey's Creek. On the east was the open sea and on the north and northwest, the anchorage called Little Harbor, which was in fact an arm of the sea at the lower end of the Piscataqua.

In 1902 some of the original foundation of the house was said to have been visible. Excavations at this historic site uncovered what was apparently the ancient cellar. Pieces of brick, earthenware, clay pipes and other objects were found, all of ancient vintage and relics of the Thompson plantation.

Between Flake Hill and the old Fort is the ancient burial place of the early planters. Still to be seen are the unmarked field stones, locating some forty graves. The fort was made largely of logs and was equipped with embrasures for long cannon, known in those times as "murtherers." Nearby is an old Indian well, said to have been used by the Thompson colonists, and still visible.

Another transcription from the book The Four Thompsons of Boston Harbor, this one about an unexpected visit to Pannaway from Thomas Weston, later infamous as the rowdy rake of Merry Mount.

Recorded Visits by Englishmen at Pannaway

The year 1623 was an important one for David Thompson. It was marked by his arrival at Little Harbor in New England and the work of establishing his plantation. It was also the most notable of the three years they he was seated there by reason of four visits made by Englishmen, all of which were confirmed by definite records.

What appears to have been among the first of these was an unexpected visit by Thomas Weston, promoter of the short-lived settlement at Wessagusset. Landing at Monhegan, he had procured a small shallop and started for Plymouth with two companions aboard. During a storm his craft was driven ashore south of Thompson's plantation. Weston barely escaped drowning, and was taken captive by Indians who robbed him of everything he had, including most of his clothes. By good fortune he made his way to the Thompson settlement where he was furnished with a suit of clothes and a boat in which he made his way to Plymouth.(FYI, the other three Englishmen who are recorded as having visited David and Amyes at Pannaway in 1623 are Phineas Pratt, Captain Christopher Levett, and Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.)

(Phineas Pratt) visited Thompson in 1623, and wrote in his Narrative that it being March he went to "the first plantation at Piscataqua the (head) thereof was Mr. David Thompson." While Pratt was there he recorded the fact that an unnamed Indian Chieftain made a gift of one of his braves to Captain Levett and another to Mr. Thompson. Captain Christopher Levell spent a whole month as a guest of Thompson. He came from England in his ship Yorke Bonaventure with a view to discovering a place of settlement. It was late in the autumn or early winter when he first came and in his interesting narrative, he wrote:

"The first place I set my foot upon in New England was the Isles of Shoulds, being Ilands in the Sea, about two leagues from the Mayne...The next place I came to was Pannaway; where one M. Thompson hath made a Plantation, there I stayed about one month...In the time I stayed with M. Thompson, I surveyed as much as possible I could, the weather being unseasonable and very much snow...There is a great store of fowle of diverse sorts, whereof I fed very plentifully."

In telling what transpired while he was there, Captain Levett wrote:

"At this place I met with the Governor, who...told me that I was joyned with him in Commission as Councellor." This was Robert Gorges, son of Sir Ferdinando, who had been commissioned Governor-General of New England by the Council and Given a patent to an immense tract of land in northeastern Massachusetts.

...Gorges returned to England in the spring; having been discouraged at "not finding the state of things to answer to his quality."


Contributed by Nancy Thomson

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Updated: 16 Jan 2017 12:51 PM