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Quieting the Settlers on the Waldo Patent

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  • RCBrooks
    Waldoboro vicinity land disputes-- I think Ed Kelley, Charles Brack and I all have a slightly different idea in mind when we refer to contested land evidences
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 12, 1999
      Waldoboro vicinity land disputes--

      I think Ed Kelley, Charles Brack and I all have a slightly different
      idea in mind when we refer to contested land evidences in the Waldoboro

      At the risk of: "Open mouth, insert foot!" -- let ME take MY pass at
      'these' land squabbles.

      Most decent Maine history books quickly point out that most of the 17th
      century land grants overlapped someone else's grant. In the 1720s some
      of the heirs of the 'Leverett-Beauchamp(sp?) Grant' a.k.a. the
      'Muscongus Grant' or 'Muscongus Patent' tasked a young Boston lawyer
      named Samuel Waldo to get clear title to their share of this grant.
      Waldo apparently worked on a percenatage or share basis. In the early
      1730s Waldo was successful and for his services recieved a large portion
      of the old grant which became known as 'The Waldo Patent.' I can not
      precisely define the western boundary, particularly as it embraced the
      lands of the Pemaquid Proprietors, but the NE corner was in present day
      downtown Bangor. Waldo's lands also included the islands within three
      miles of the shore.

      Waldo attempted to develop his lands between the two French & Indian
      Wars by recruiting settlers from the Palatine region of present day
      Germany. Jasper Stahl in his two vol. history covers this nicely as do
      later historians. I suspect that these recruits received typical
      'settlers agreements' -- build a house of x by y by z feet stud and
      clear so many acres within such & such a period of time [typically five
      yeas], then for a payment of a specified amount one got clear title to
      the land. I have found where settlers have sold their improvements and
      moved on and the purchaser of the improvements later purchased the land.

      Waldo died while visiting the NE extremity of his lands in June 1759.
      Until the division of his lands into fifths in 1768, land transactions
      were conducted by the heirs acting jointly. After 1768 each heir was an
      independent landowner. His heirs were two sons; Samuel Jr (as eldest
      son he rec'd 2 shares) and Francis; and two daughters, the wives of
      Thomas Flucker (Secretary of State) and Isaac Winslow. There are
      lengthy 'deeds' in both the Lincoln Co & Hancock Co Registry of Deeds
      which explain the Waldo Patent and also the 1768 division of the
      estate. There is a copy at the Maine Historical Society but now I can't
      say whether it is in the Knox collection or in the Waldo collection.

      I do not recall any problems had by the Germans in receiving the deeds
      to the lands there were granted. If 'land problems' were cause to join
      the Loyalist side, then these deeds probably were the deeds in question
      UNLESS lands outside these orginal deeds caused problems. I have some
      recollection that some parties were less that pleased with the land they
      receive. But don't listen to me, read Jasper Stahl's 'History of Old
      Broad Bay and Waldoboro.' Picton Press published an every name index to
      these volumes in 1997. I have not unpacked those books since moving but
      I do have the index readily at hand and will provide the page references
      to anyone who does not have access to the index. Contact me privately.

      Charles Brack's land disputes are rooted in the disputes over ownership
      of the Pemaquid peninsula. In this case a land owner would buy from
      someone thinking he had clear title only to find someone else was suing
      him 'in a plea for ejectment.' These cases were first heard in the
      Lincoln Co. Court of Common Pleas (as the lowest court of the day was
      then called); however, many were appealed to the Provincial circuit
      court called the 'Superior Court of Judicature' (note: bypassed was the
      county 'Supreme Judicial Court,' the upper level county court which
      handled criminal cases, divorces, etc.) The Lincoln county CCP and SJC
      records are in the vault under the Registry of Deeds in Wiscasset;
      however, documents supporting cases appealed seem to have been forwarded
      to the Povincial Superior Court. The Provincial Superior Court records
      are in Massachusetts -- at the turn of the century they were at the
      Suffolk County Courthouse but today I would not be surprised to learn
      that they have been deposited in the Mass Archives. To learn more about
      these cases, see: _Publications of the Colonial Society of
      Massachusett_, vol. 6, "Transactions 1899, 1900" [1904], pp. 11-59. The
      cases I examined were in the early 1760's at Pemaquid Harbor and in 1769
      at Round Pond.

      My guess would be that if any of the second generation Waldoboro Germans
      were involved in these land squabble it was as a direct result of their
      moving over the line into the disputed lands of the Pemaquid

      The Pemaquid Point disputes carried on in the second decade of the 19th
      century. At the Maine Historical Society is a volume entitled something
      like "Lincoln County Land Depostions of 1812" although it is sometimes
      called "Eastern Land Claims" which appears to be the Judge's summary
      volume. This is principally oriented towards defining the heirs of the
      first landowners and doesn't discuss the lots. Some of these
      depositions where discussed in a series of articles in the 'NY
      Genealogical and Biographical Recorder' -- if memory serves -- in vol.
      50 & 51 which were published about 1920.

      "Quieting the Settlers on the Waldo Patent" was actually only one of
      several "quieting the settlers" actions directed by the Mass.
      Legislature following the RevWar. The territory 'occupied' by the
      British at Castine was also 'quieted' as evidenced by deeds recorded at
      Hancock Co Registry of Deeds in Ellsworth.

      "Quieting the Settlers on the Waldo Patent" is actually a misnomer
      because only parts of the former Waldo Patent required 'settling'
      because only the lands of heirs Francis Waldo and Isacc Winslow were
      really at issue as the two orphan daughters of Sam Waldo Jr where
      considered to be patriotic (of course it helped that one had married a
      Boston Judge) and the only heir of Thomas Flucker was the wife of
      Brigadier Henry Knox. Knox had purchased quit claims from his wife's
      Loyalist cousins so his position was 'Hey, you! Get off my land!"
      whereas the settler may have been living there since before April 1775,
      more than 15 years earlier.

      "Quieting the Settlers on the Waldo Patent" pertains ONLY to the lands
      of Henry Knox and the entire situation came to a head in 1797 when the
      'Honourable Commisioners' were appointed. Thereafter each 'squatter'
      was required to file his claim. In Prospect a preprinted form was used
      which read as follows (excluding typos which are mine):

      "WHEREAS the Legislature of this Commonwealth by a resolve passed on the
      ninth day of March last, appointed Nathan Dane, John Sprague and Enoch
      Titcomb, Esquires, Commissioners, they, or the major part of them, to
      settle and declare the terms on which any settler on the lands held
      under the late Brigadier Samuel Waldo (and not heretofore alienated)
      shall be quited in the possession of one hundred acres land, that may
      best include his improvements, and who has not made any agreement in
      writing concerning the lands with Henry Knox, Esquire, Representative of
      the heirs of the said Waldo, as by the same resolve may appear."
      "And whereas, ["before"/"during"/"after" written by hand] the war
      with Great Britain, to wit, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven
      hundred and [year written out] [first settler's name, usually the
      petitioner] a settler on a lot of one hundred acres of land situated in
      [name of town] the bounds whereof shall be ascertained and settled by
      the said Commissioners in their report hereon ; the same lot being part
      of the land held under the said Waldo [when applicable because the land
      had changed hands was entered above a carat "and transferred to
      {petitioner's name}"], a claimant now in posession thereof. NOW in
      pursuance of the said resolve and appointment, we the said Henry Knox,
      representive as aforesaid, and the said [claimant's name] do refer and
      submit to the said commissioners, they, or the major part of them, to
      settle and declare the terms aforesaid on which the said [claimant's
      name] his heirs and assigns shall be quieted in the possession of the
      said lot, holding ourselves, our heirs, executors, administrations and
      assigns respectively, bound by their report in the premises, when made
      into the Secretary's Office of said Commonwealth, as directed by said
      "In witness whereof we hereto set our hands this [day] day of [month]
      in the year of our Lord, on thousand seven hundred and ninty-seven."
      "Signed in presence of,"

      On the right was Knox's signature (or that of his attorney) and the
      signature of the claimant (or his 'mark'). On the left were the
      witnesses signatures.

      In the case of Prospect, the survey book submitted by surveyor Robert
      Houston of Belfast was dated "Belfast Feby 28th 1798."

      The commissioners 'report' also was preprinted:

      "THIS twenty-fourth day of May in the year of our Loard one thousand and
      eight hundred."
      " On the foregoing reference between Henry Knox, Esquire, and
      [settler's name] for quieting the said [settler's name] agreeably to the
      before mentioned resolve ; in the possession of said lot of land,
      bounded as follows [description of 100 acres within a long blank portion
      of form] as by the plan and description signed by [name] Surveyor,
      hereto annexed will appear, reference thereto bein had. We the
      Commissioners before named having met and heard the parties, do settle,
      declare and report the said [settler's name] being quieted in the
      possession of the above bounded premises ; to have and to hold the same
      to him the said [settler's name] his heirs executors or administrators,
      shall, on or before the first day of October, which will be in the year
      of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one, to pay to the said Knox,
      his heirs, executors or administrators, the sum of [______ "dollars"]
      with interest from ["the first day of June next" - all read the same]
      And on the payment of the same, the said Knox, or his heirs shall make,
      or cause to be made to the said [settler's name] his heirs or assigns, a
      deed of the above described premises, whereby he and they may hold the
      same in fee simple forever."

      At the bottom was written "Geven under our hands and Seals" and the
      signatures of at least two but normally all three of the Honorable
      Commissioners. These signatures are not witnessed or dated.

      The price determined by the Commissioners appears to be dependent upon
      some kind of formula as the prices in Prospect ran from $30.00 to
      $120.00. A major factor was when the lot was settled, 'before' was
      around $30, 'during' around $50 and "after" was around $100. The other
      factor obviously was the quality of the land.

      The young men from Waldoboro who moved onto; i.e., 'squatted' on Waldo
      lands, were among those 'quieted' by the Hon'ble Commissioners. But
      remember that this was nearly two decades after the RevWar.

      Bob Brooks, downeast on the coast of Maine.
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