In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

The Plymouth Company (Kennebec Proprietors) records, ca. 1625-1824

The Plymouth Company, also known as the Kennebeck Purchase Company, Kennebec Proprietors, or The Proprietors of the Kennebeck Purchase from the late Colony of New Plymouth, organized in 1749, and was one of several proprietor groups operating in the District of Maine before and after the American Revolution. Conflicting land grants, competing companies (including the Pejepscot Company), and squatters created a dynamic landscape with much at stake as the company laid claim to a roughly 1,500 square mile region on either side of the Kennebec River. The content of this collection pre‐ and post‐dates the period of the company’s operation (1749‐1816). The collection includes bound or once bound volumes of records, cash books, letterbooks and grants; loose papers, correspondence, accounts, claims and other papers; petitions for grants; deeds, bills and receipts; printed grants; votes and witnesses; printed material; indexes; maps and plans and fragments. The Kennebec Proprietors records include extensive information about early land dealings; early contact, interactions, and diplomatic relationships with Wabanaki people; Massachusetts colonial governance; and, international relations, land speculation and Revolution‐era land bounties.

The collection, acquired by MHS from historian Joseph Williamson in 1862, measures 4.5 linear feet and 16 bound volumes. Seventy‐two loose maps accompany the records. Although about 50 select items were digitized in the early 2000s, the resolution and quality of the images are generally very low according to 2019 standards. According to MHS paging statistics, Coll. 60 is the second‐most heavily paged (requested) archival collection of the last ten years. On average, it is paged once every two months and usually for multiple days at a time. While MHS has provided extensive preservation and conservation work for the collection, it is considered at risk due to the heavy use. By digitizing the collections, this project will not only expand use of this vital resource to users unable to physically visit MHS but will also ensure its long‐term preservation by limiting onsite use to the digital surrogates.