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of New England
Prior to 1700
THE COOMBS OF MAINE
Allister COOMBS – of New Meadows, ME – 1665
The next Coombs that we find in Maine is Allister Coombs who acquired land on the west side of the New Meadows River, a salt water arm of the sea which runs up west of the town of Bath in what is today Brunswick, ME.
The first settler on this land at Pejepscot (the area along the New Meadows River) was Thomas Purchase, a member of the former group known as the “Dorchester Merchants.” It is not known when Purchase first came to New England, but it was around the year of the 1630. The year has been estimated based on a deposition of John Cousins who stated that “Mr. Purchase took his first possession in the year One thousand Six hundred & twenty–eight, & hath made improvement of sm ever since, until he as well as many others were forced out of their Interests by the late Indian Wars, till which time the said Mr Thos. Purchase hath ever peaceably enjoyed the premises without molestation. And ye Depont. did always understand & it was generally so taken by us as the Inhabitants of Casco Bay that Mr. Purchase had a Patent right for his Interest by him so long & peaceably possessed, & further saith not.”16 About 1654 Purchase acquired from the Indians extensive additions to his land at Pejepscot.
Another of Allister Coombs fellow pioneers was Alexander Thwaiths who came over on the Hopewell, in 1635, then aged twenty. Alexander was convicted of selling a pistol and powder to the Indians in 1637, and the court ordered him to be whipped. He seems to have left Watertown, MA abruptly, for in 1640 Rev. Peter Bulkly was authorized by the court to take charge of Alexander Thwaites corn, to be returned to him if he returned.17
We next find Alexander Thwaits east of the Kennebec in 1665. The York Deeds make it plain that he owned land in what is now the city of Bath, ME, bounded on the south by the Winnegance River.
The map on the following page was prepared by William Carey Coombs to show the estimated land holdings of the early settlers at New Meadows:
Source: The Story of Anthony Coombs and his Descendants, by William Carey Coombs, Addison C. Getchell & Son, Boston, MA, 1913, page 25.
There is no known support for William Carey Coombs claim at the bottom of the map that “Alester Coombs and Thomas Stephens came together; probably with Gutch in 1660”
Subsequent land owners in the area that had been claimed by Purchase included Christopher Lawson in 1649, Alexander Thwait in 1660, Rev. Robert Gutch in 1660, Thomas Stevens, and Allister Coombs.
Allister Coombs is first noted in the New Meadows area as an abutter south of Thomas Stevens in 1665, according to Noyes, Libby, & Davis, Genealogical Dictionary, page 161; however, a copy of that deed has not been located.
On 8 Sep 1665, Allister is listed as a signer of an oath of allegiance to King Charles of England.
“A list of those persons on the Western side of the Kennebecke River who acknowledged their submission & obedience to our Soveraigne Lord King Charles the second by takeing the oath of allegiance & supreamacy the 8,th day of September, 1665. In the 17,th yeare of our Soveraigne Lord King Charles the secund.18
Mr. Edmund Patishall
Mr. Edward Pryar
Mr. John Rugg
It is extremely interesting that not only Allister Coombs was listed as a resident of the area, but so is Thomas Coombs. Our information about Thomas is as sketchy as our knowledge of Allister, but see above for what is available.
On 19 January 1673 Allister “Comby” witnessed the following deed between Thomas Stephens and “Robine Hoode” and other Indians:
This Indenture made the 19,th day of January: 1673: between Robine Hoode Derumquen, & Abomhammon, Weroumby Werumby & Roben, Sagamors, on ye one party; Witnesseth, that wee Robine Hoode, Derumquen Abomhamen, Werumby & Roben, for & in consideration of certen pay, to us in hand payd before the sealing & delivering of these presents, with which pay wee do acknowledge ourselves fully satisfyd & payd, to our content, thereof & euery part there of, doe acquit, exonerate, & discharge the sayd Thomas Stephens, his heyres executors, & assignes for ever, by these presents haue given granted, bargained & sould & confirme unto the sayd Thomas Stephens his heyres & assig,s for ever, all that prcell or tract from ye first falls pumgustucke or called p the English Westcasdogoe in Cascoe bay from ye aforesd falls to ye head of the river euery branch & cricke there unto belonging, & in breadth two miles at each side of the river, with all the lands marsh as profetts, woods under woods tymber trees, of what sorts soever with all priviledges of fishing & fowling, hunting haukeing, with all other priviledges of what sort or nature soever, is or may bee contained in the aforesaid bounds, or any part or prcell there of/to have & to hould, all & singular theaforesayd premises hereby granted bargained & sould, with every of their members, apprtenances whatsoever, unto the onely uss & behoofe of Thomas Stephens, his heyres & assignes for ever, hee or they paijng one good eare of Indian corne yearly upon the five & twentieth day of March, if it bee lawfully demanded as an acknowledgmt, hereby imptying our selves our heyres of & from any clayme, & interest to the afore mentioned prmisses, or any part or prcell there of: and wee Roben Hoode Derumquene, Abamhaman, Werumby, & Roben for our selves, & by these aforenamed premises, before granted & bargand & sould with all the appurtenances there unto belonging, to the onely usse & behoofs of Thomas Stephens, & his heytes & assignes foe ever, against us or heyres or assignes, & all & evert prson lawfully clameing from us unver us, & them or any of them, shall and will warrant & for ever defend by these presents, & in witness of the treuth here of, wee Robin Hoode, Derumquen, Abhamamon, Werumby & Robine, have hereunto sett our hands & seals this nineteenth day of January, one thousand six hundred seaventy three/19
|Signed sealed & delivered|
In the psence of us/
Roben Hoode his marke
|Thomas Gyles||Derumquen his marke|
|Allister Comby||Abumhaman his marke|
|The marke of Daniell||The marke of Werumby|
|The marke of Wedasawasan||The marke of Robine|
|The marke of Mis Joana|
It is curious to note that an unknown “Mis Joana” also witnessed this deed. The names of the wives of Thomas Stephens (Margaret, widow of Thomas Watkins) and Thomas Gyles (Margaret, who was killed by Indians in 1689) are known. Allister Coombs wifes name is unknown. Based on the sequence of the signers, Mis Joana may have been an Indian.
Before 3 July 1675, Allister had acquired lands along the New Meadows River. His holdings are listed on that date in another deed between Thomas Stephens and Robin Hoode and other Indians:
“…the land of Thomas Stephens now in possession, east, and to Alister Coombs his land south. And from the head of Alister Coombs his marsh westerly to a certain path commonly called the Carrying path to the Carrying place, and from the sd upon a straight line to a certain Island commonly called Stave narrows; and to Pejepscot river north, and to the aforesd lands of Thomas Stephens easterly.”20
According to the Pejepscot Papers, Settlement of Titles, the following individuals are known to have been settled in the early 1670s, certainly prior to 1700, within the limits of what was afterwards called the Pejepscot purchase: “at Middle Bay, John Cleaves; on Whites Island, Nicholas White; at Mair Point, James Carter, Thomas Haynes, Andrew and George Phippeny; at Maquoit Bay, John Swaine, Thomas Kimball, of Charleston, who settled on Hoeg Island in 1658, John Sears, Thomas Wharton, Samuel Libby, who subsequently resided in Scarborough, Henry Webb, Edward Creet (or Creek), and Robert Jordan; on Smoking Fish Point, Christopher Lawson, an Antinomian; at or near New Meadows, in 1675, was Allister Coombs.”23
Apparently, Allister had neither a grant from the King nor an Indian deed to his lands, but rather he held them by right of occupation of unclaimed land, referred to as “squatter sovereignty.” Therefore, when subsequent generations of the Coombs family applied to the Pejepscot Company to validate their claims to Allisters land, these claims were denied.
“In 1676, the settlers in the New Meadows region were all obliged to flee due to the outbreak of Indian hostilities. The Indians, emboldened by their success, sought trophies for the tomahawk and scalping–knife in every direction, at the door of every plantation throughout the Province of Maine.”24
These are the only known records of Allister Coombs ten years (1665–1675) along the New Meadows River. It is presumed that when the King Philips War began in September 1675, Allister was either killed by the Indians or, like Thomas Purchase, he was driven off his lands and is not heard from again.
Because four of Anthony Coombs children and two grandchildren moved back to the New Meadows River area of Maine in the 1730s and settled on the exact same land that had been claimed by Allister COOMBS in 1665, it is almost certain that Anthony Coombs was a son of Allister Coombs.
- York Deeds, 4-16, as contained in Pioneer On Maine Rivers, page243.
- Mass Bay Colony Records, Volume 1, pages 195, 296.
- Maine Provence & Court Records, Courts at Sagadahoc, Vol. 1, page 243.
- York Deeds, Book 2, Folio 191.
- York Deeds, Book 9, Folio 254.
- Pejepscot Papers, Volume 7, page 473, as copied in 1715 from the Book of Eastern Claims.
- York Deeds, Book 9, Folio 256.
- History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine, by George Augustus Wheeler and Henry Warren Wheeler, Brunswick, ME: Curtis Memorial Library, based on the Mudge edition of 1878, Chapter 2, pages 14-15.
- History of Brunswick, Topsham, and Harpswell, Maine, by George Augustus Wheeler, based on Mudge edition, 1878, Chapter 3, page 6.
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