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Biographies: The Pejepscot Proprietors

The Original Eight Proprietors

Thomas Hutchinson

Thomas Hutchinson was a wealthy merchant who had interest in Maine lands because of familial ties. His grandfather purchased lands near Saco in 1673 and his father married into land ownership in Maine. Both were councilors in the state.

Hutchinson’s political ties were crucial during the early days of the company. His brother, Edward was a member of the General Court’s Committee of Eastern Claims when the petition for the confirmation of title was originally received, and when it came before the house, Thomas was on the council, along with his father and uncle. Hutchinson sold his share to Colonel Thomas Westbrook in the late 1720’s.

John Wentworth

John Wentworth was Born in Portsmouth New Hampshire, was a Surveyor of the Kings Woods and served as Lieutenant Governor from 1717-1730. His son Benning bought John Ruck’s shares in 1727. Wentworth’s grandson David Jeffries became a member and clerk of the rival Kennebec Purchase Proprietors.

Wentworth's name is mentioned many times in both the Pejepscot and Kennebec Proprietors records. Notably, the Kennebec Proprietors pled with him to be reimbursed for the Crown appropriating large amounts of timber for the Royal Navy, which he seemingly had no interest in helping with.

Adam Winthrop

was the great-grandson of the first Massachusetts governor and arguably one of the most distinguished of the original proprietors. Until elected a Boston delegate to the house of the Representatives in 1714, his interests had centered on his mercantile career, the Artillery Company of Boston, and the town’s militia regiment.

Oliver Noyes

Oliver Noyes (1699-1720) was a physician and merchant by profession. Noyes graduated from Harvard in 1695 and was very active in Boston politics and infrastructure. He served as an officer in the Boston Militia, was selectmen for several years, and represented Boston in the General court 1714-6, 1719, and 1720. Oliver married Anne Belcher, sister of Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher. Oliver’s son Belcher became the clerk of the Pejepscot Proprietors, giving him a tremendous amount of power within the company and New England politics as a whole.

John Ruck

John Ruck was the brother in law of Thomas Hutchinson and the father in law of Benning Wentworth. Like David Jeffries, a big part of his contribution to the company was financial. He was also a member of the executive committee for the proprietorship.

David Jefferies

David Jeffries was a wealthy Boston merchant who emigrated from England to Boston in 1677. Jeffries was adept in business and financial management, and in the years leading up to the Pejepscot Purchase managed a thriving waterfront business which was built on complex systems of credit and personnel management. Much of his waterfront business centered around the representation of London firms in the colonies. Because of his success, Jefferies role in the Pejepscot proprietors was most likely as a banker and investor.

Oliver Noyes, fellow proprietor, married the widow of Jefferies son David and his grandson David III went on to become an integral part of the rival Kennebec Proprietors.

John Watts

John Watts was the only Pejepscot Proprietor that actually seemed interested in living and settling on the company's Maine property. Watts focused his attention on Arrowsic Island and the improvement and fortification of the land. He died in 1717 in Maine. He accomplished the settlement of twenty families on the island.

Stephen Minot

Stephen Minot started from perhaps the most humble beginnings from work as a tailor, then as a Captain in the militia. He was responsible for the upkeep of the Wells-Brunswick road and helped transport soldiers to the Brunswick fort.

Later Proprietors, Heirs and Assignees

Colonel Moses Little

Moses Little was born on May 8, 1724, the son of Moses and Sarah Little of Newbury, Massachusetts. He was the Surveyor of the King's Woods in the 1750s. (See Field Book, he was mentioned in the Field Book included in the collection and have to leave his duties in Minot to tend to a sick child.) Moses was a colonel in the Revolutionary army and fought at Bunker hill and in New York.

Colonel Josiah Little

Josiah Little was the son of Colonel Moses and Abigail Little and born on February 16, 1747. He married Sarah Toppan, the daughter of Edward and Sarah Toppan of Newbury, on March 23, 1770. Josiah went into business with his father, and later took control of his father's real estate.

Josiah lost a hand in an explosion while supervising the blasting of a passage through the rapids in the Adroscoggin river.

Company (Check that HENRY) He remained active in overseeing his property until he was past eighty years old. Josiah was also involved in shipping in Newburyport with his cousin Jacob Little.

Josiah served as a representative to the Massachusetts General Court for twenty-five years & was a Trustee of Bowdoin College, where his son Josiah attended. He died on December 26, 1830 as a result of complications from a broken thigh.

Belcher Noyes

Belcher Noyes was the son of original Proprietor Oliver Noyes and Ann Belcher. While still very young his father died, and he was placed under the guardianship of his uncle Jonathan Belcher, who was an influential Boston merchant and Governor of Massachusetts (1730-1741.) Noyes graduated from Harvard College and also studied medicine after graduation. Once in office, his uncle appointed him to the official expedition to inspect the fortifications to the east.

Noyes owned a mansion in Dock Square, opposite the south side of Faneuil Hall, the Pejepscot lands left to him by his father, as well as other dubious land titles on Roanoke Island in North Carolina and the Bedford Plantation in Connecticut. In Boston, he was elected to the office of scavenger, clerk of the market, and hogreeve (hog constable) several times. He also served as assessor and justice of the peace for Suffolk County and the inferior court.

The greater part of his time, however, was spent as executive officer for the Pejepscot Proprietors. Over his active years within the company he served as its clerk, secretary, treasurer, and collector of taxes. Noyes is responsible for the creation of the majority of proprietor records within the Pejepscot collection.