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Title: McCobb, Samuel to , 1772
CollectionIrish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan. Letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America (1675-1815) [K.A. Miller et al.]
SenderMcCobb, Samuel
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationfarmer, planter
Sender Religionunknown
OriginLobster Cove, Lincoln co., Maine, USA
DestinationBoothbay, Maine, USA
Recipient Genderunknown
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1170
Genrelegal deposition
TranscriptSamuel McCobb, Lobster Cove, Lincoln County, Maine, legal deposition sworn before Thomas Rice and John Stinson, Justices of the Peace, Boothbay, Maine, 23 October 1772

Samuel McCobb aged 64 years testifieth and saith, that in the year 1729 Col. David Dunbar came with a Commission from his most excellent Majesty George the Second, with Instructions to take possession of and to settle with inhabitants, in Behalf of the Crown the Lands lying to the Eastward of Kennebeck River in said Province, that with a Number of Men and Necessaries he arrived at Pemaquid in the said year, and forthwith proceeded to Survey and settle Several Towns around, publickly inviting His Majesty’s Liege Subjects to come and settle thereon, promising them ample Encouragement in the Name of the King his Master. In Consequence of which Encouragement unto this Deponent, with more than forty others, <he> applied to the said Dunbar, and by him were brought to and settled on a certain Neck of Land, bounded on the Sea & lying between the Sheepscutt and Damariscotty Rivers, the which Lands the said Dunbar had laid out in parallel Lotts of twelve Rods broad containing two Acres apiece and ordered the Settlers to cast Lotts for their respective places, which being done the said Dunbar did in the King’s Name and Behalf put them in Possession of Lotts they had respectively drawn, and promised that on Condition of their building an house Eighteen feet long and clearing two Acres within the Space of three years, he would give them an Addition of forty Acres in one, and one hundred in another Division as contiguous to the first two Acres as possible in fee simple for ever, and likewise to add thereto another division devising to each Settler any Number of Acres besides, less than one thousand which he should request. A Number having complied with these Terms, the said Dunbar offered to give them Deeds of said Lands, but the Execution thereof was delayed and in the year 1733 he was removed, to New Hampshire.
The lands being naturally broken and poor, & more especially then in their wild uncultivated State, and the Settlers coming there generally in low Circumstances, and most of them (as being from Britain and Ireland) utterly unacquainted with the Mode of managing Lands in that State, little of the necessaries of Life was raised from the Soil— their whole living depended on cutting firewood and carrying it to Boston and other Towns more than one hundred and fifty miles from them— hence the Settlers lived from the first exposed to the utmost Extremities of Indigence and Distress, and at the same Time in almost continual Alarms from the Savages all around, till in the year 1745 when their Murders and Depredations in their Borders forced them from their Habitations to Seek Shelter in the Westward, where they were Scattered in a strange Country at near 200 miles distance from their homes for four years. In October as soon as the News of peace reached them this deponent with many of his former Neighbours ventured back to their said Settlements where they had scarce finished the Repairs of their wasted Cottages & Improvements when in a year or thereabouts, the Indians, tho’ in a Time of Peace fell on their Neighbourhood, burnt Barns, killed many Cattle, attacked the little Garrisons kept by the People and carried away a Number of Men, Women & Children into Captivity— by this the deponent and his Neighbours were obliged to flee to little Fortresses they had raised for themselves, where they lived and defended themselves, as they might, not daring to look after their Plantations, by which means the little provisions then growing for their Support the next Winter, were chiefly destroyed, whereby when they returned to their places, little better than the Horrors of Famine were in prospect— Many were obliged to live by Clams only which they dug out of the Mud when the Tides were down; thus they subsisted in general till the late War with France broke out, when tho’ their Cries were sent up to the Government for some Protection on this Settlement which they still held in the King’s Behalf, and from which should they be again driven they knew not where to seek a place of abode, yet no defence or Assistance even to a Morsel of Bread was allowed them, but such as they found for themselves, by Garrisons and Guards of their own where their Families lived in continual Terrors and Alarms from the Savages who ranged the Wilderness all around till the late Peace was concluded when their Settlement increased much by new Comers from the Western Parts—
Thus happily rid of French & Indians they were not long suffered to rest,—for three or four oppisite Setts of Claimers (part claiming by Indian Deeds never approved according to Law and part by pretended ancient Occupation & other Pretexts never justified in Law) at diverse Times came among them, demanding the possession of the said Lands or requiring a purchase for them— these imposing on the credulous Simplicity of some of the Inhabitants by fair Promises and terrifying others with Threats of Law Suits for which the poor Settlers were ill provided, so far prevailed that the generality were fain to contract with & buy their Lands from one or another of them, and Some bought of them all successively, and such as have not done So are still harassed by the said Claimers & threatned by each in his Turn with Law Suits, Ejectments if not Imprisonment and Ruin, whilst those of whom they have bought have never done any thing to defend them from competing Claimers, and all have left them to become a prey to whoever comes next. However by the help of God they continued on their said possessions till the year 1764 when desirous of obtaining the Benefit of Order and the Enjoyment of the Gospel they applied to the General Court of this province and were legally incorporated into a Town by the Name of Boothbay, and tho the Generality of them are yet in very low Circumstances, many in Extreme Indigence, and very few able to raise on their farms Provisions to suffice their Families for nine Months in the year, yet in the year 1765 without any help from the Publick, they at their own Cost and Charge erected a Church, in the year 1766 settled a Gospel Minister and still endeavour to support the Gospel amongst them and likewise to contribute their required part towards the defreying the publick Charges of government, & in all other Respects to demean themselves as peaceable and loyal Subjects of his Majesty King George the Third
These Things this deponent testifieth as facts within his own proper Knowledge having had Occasion to be personally present and intimately interested therein and he declareth that this deposition is not given with any injurious Intent towards any person whatsoever
Samuel McCobb