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Program 9: Rolling Back the Frontier

Ferdinando Gorges : Edwin Churchill Interview

Excerpts from Interview with Edwin Churchill

"The major promoter of Popham [Colony] was Sir Fernando Gorges. Sir Fernando Gorges became interested because in 1605 a man by the name of Weymouth came here and captured 5 Natives and took them back to England. Two of which stayed with Gorges for a year or so. He became totally intrigued with the area and decided to set up a colony there. They came over in 1607. He sent them over and Sir John Popham was the Governor of the colony and Riley Gilbert I believe was second in command, set up the colony. It didn't do too badly. They got to wintertime and they found out how, again how rough it was here and they then complain something happened during the winter to the storehouse burned down. Whether it was done by them inadvertently or by Natives is still something that's up for a lot of discussion and hasn't really been resolved."

"We all know the Massachusetts models of large groups of people, sometimes large numbers from one community moving into an area and settling down. In Maine by and large it was quite different. What you have is that early on Gorges got the land. He then divided it up to some major proprietors. Maybe one or two would come into each of these communities and then people would come up and formed a group, small family groups and sometimes it's only one family. Maybe it's 3, 4, a half a dozen families. But they kind of came in over time

"The settlement of the western area started when Gorges handed out this land to various proprietors in various communities."

"What Sir Fernando Gorges said when he was looking at some of the period going on early, he looked at this and said when the merchants couldn't make double of what they put into it they would go around complaining they were being robbed."

"When looking at the trading, Sir Fernando Gorges was the one who pointed out how really unbeneficial it was for Maine people in that they didn't have the commodities that brought big prices. And some of the merchants both out of Boston and locally would complain vociferously if they didn't make twice what they had put into the item."

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