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Kennebec Historical Items

Contributed by Reverend Henry O. Thayer, of New York.

In 1719 Joseph Heath made a general or outline survey of the Kennebec River in behalf of the Pejepscot Company. He was acquainted with the principal Indians and visited or was perhaps entertained at their fort at Norridgewock.

His plan of that survey, now among papers possessed by the Maine Historical Society, is inscribed:

Brunswick, May 16. 1719, the date when the draft was completed. The fieldwork had been done in the previous month, or in part in the previous year.

On the margin of the plan he wrote:

"Description of the Indian Fort at Norridgewock." Norridgewock Fort is built with round logs 9 feet long, one end set into the ground, is 160 foot square with four Gates but no bastions. Within it are 26 Houses built much after the English manner; the streets are regular; the Fort has a gate to the East, is 30 foot wide. Their church stands 4 perches without the East gate, and the men able to bear armes are about threescore.

The water of the great river and the lesser rivers and Merrymeeting Bay are plotted.

The distance from Sagadahoc, which as the "river runs" is in miles.

To the Hon. Spencer Phips Esqr. Lieut. Gov. .and Commander in Chief for the time being, the Hon. His Majesty's Council & House of Representatives in General Court, Dec. 4, 1751.

The Memorial of Samuel Whitney of Brunswick, Humbly Sheweth: That your Memorialist and his son Samuel with five more of Inhabitants while at work together mowing their hay, on Wednesday ye 24th day of July last about two o'clock in the afternoon were surrounded and surprised by Nineteen Indians and one Frenchman, who were all armed and in an hostile manner did seize upon and by force of arms obliged them to submit their lives into their hands, and one of our said number, viz: Isaac Hinkley in attempting to make his escape was killed in a barbarous manner & scalped. After we were secured by said Indians they destroyed and wounded between 20 & 30 head of cattle belonging to the Inhabitants, some of which were the property of your Memorialist. The said party of Indians were nine of them of Norridgewalk Tribe, one of whom was well known ; the others were Canada Indians; That the Norridgewalk Indians appeared more forward for killing all the Captives but were prevented by the other Indians. Your Memorialist was by them carried to Canada & there sold for 126 livres; and the said Indians when they came to Canada were new cloathed and had new guns given them with plenty of provisions as an encouragement for this exploit: That the Governor of the Penobscot Tribe was present when your Memorialist was sent for to sing a Chorus as is their custom of using their Captives & manifested equal joy with the other Indians that took them; And the Norridgewalk Tribe had removed from Norridgewalk & were now set down on Cansa River near Quebec supposed to be drawn there by the Influence of the French. These things your Memorialist cannot omit observing to ye Honors, and his Redemption was purchased by one Mr. Peter Littlefield, formerly taken captive and now restored among them, to whom your Memorialist stands indebted for said 126 livres being the price of his Liberty, which when he had so far obtained, he applied to ye Governor of Canada for a Pass, who readily granted it, that his return to Boston was by way of Louisbourgh where said Pass was taken from him by the Lord Intendants on some pretense which he could not obtain of him.

Your Memorialist's Son yet remaining in captivity among the Indians with three more that were taken at the same time, and he has a wife & children under difficult circumstances by reason of this misfortune. Your Memorialist having thus represented his unhappy sufferings to this Hon. Court hoping they will in their great goodness provide for the redemption of his son & enable him to answer his obligation to said Mr. Littlefield humbly recommends his case to the compassion of this Honorable Court who was so kind to pay for his ransom; Your Memorialist being in no capacity to answer that charge as thereby he is reduced to great want, or otherwise grant him that relief as in their wisdom and goodness shall seem proper.

Your Memorialist as in duty bound shall ever pray.

Samuel Whitney

1751. Captives taken.
Saml. Whitney
Edmd. Hinkley
Hez Purrington
Gideon Hinkley
Saml. Lombard
Saml. Whitney, Jun.

Hez Purrington
Saml. Whitney

Killed July 24, 1751
Isaac Hinkley


Source: Sprague's Journal of Maine History, Vol. 3 No. 4, Published by John Francis Sprague, Dover, ME, July 1916


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