[MAINE] - BRENTON, Jahleel; and William ELLERY
[Manuscript map of the "Waldo Patent" principally depicting the land between the Muscongus River and Penobscot Bay]
[Newport, R.I. 1767]. Manuscript map in ink and wash, on a single folio sheet, 15¼ x 19 inches. Docketed in manuscript on verso, "Map of Leveretts Patent alias Muscongus." With two manuscript documents, one being pp. on folio sheets, dated at Boston May 19, 1787; the other being pp. on folio sheets, dated at Providence, R.I. on May 30, 1787. Also, with a half-page of manuscript dated Boston, March 28, 1768. All three documents relating to the lands depicted on the map. Map with minor separations along horizontal fold. The half-page document being only the beginning portion of a longer letter, otherwise the manuscripts in near fine condition.
A highly important manuscript map of Colonial Maine.
An attractive eighteenth century manuscript map of Penobscot Bay, Maine, heavily annotated by William Ellery, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Rhode Island, who made claims to some of the lands depicted on the map. The map was drawn by British Rear-Admiral Jahleel Brenton, who commanded the HMS Queen during the Revolution, and whose family lost much of its property as a result of the Revolution.
The map is skillfully rendered, as would be expected of a British naval officer, and is done on a scale of about three miles to the inch. The map depicts the coastline from the Damariscotta River in the southwest to the Penobscot River in the northeast, and shows and names the many islands of the Bay, as well as many inlets, harbors, rivers, ponds, etc. The location of a fort and settlements have also been added.
This information was all added by William Ellery (1727-1820), a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Rhode Island. Ellery explains in a manuscript note in the lower right corner of the map (dated at Newport, Rhode Island in 1767): "This map of Leverett's Patent &c was copied from a copy, by Jahleel Brenton Esq., one of the Proprietors; and presented by his son Samuel Brenton to William Ellery who wrote the References, Names of Places, &c. William Ellery." In the upper left corner of the sheet Ellery has added a long manuscript note explaining the survey and the boundaries of Leverett's Patent, as depicted on the map.
This map and the accompanying manuscript documents were found among William Ellery's papers, and were part of Ellery and his brother Benjamin's attempts to claim lands in Maine that they believed belonged to their family.
"Leverett's Patent," also known as the Waldo Patent or the Muscongus Patent, was issued in 1629 to Thomas Leverett and John Beauchamp. It granted land and trading rights for a thirty-six square mile area along the Penobscot Bay in present-day Maine, between the Muscongus River and Penobscot River. According to the documents present here, Leverett inherited the full patent upon Beauchamp's death, and at his own death divided the grant among his ten children, who then divided the land again amongst the next generation. Around 1720 Gen. Samuel Waldo of Boston acquired a large portion of the patent, and began recruiting immigrants from Germany to settle the area. The letter fragment present here (dated March 28, 1768 and addressed to Benjamin and William Ellery) asserts that the Ellerys have an "undoubted right to a half share" of the Muscongus lands, as a result of a purchase made by their grandfather. The unidentified author of the letter goes on to describe the Waldo heirs as "exceeding difficult to deal with." Also present are two manuscripts, one being a 1787 copy of the original 1629 grant of the Muscongus Patent from the Council of Plymouth, the other being a manuscript deed of sale signed by James Green for a portion of the original patent.
A handsome colonial era manuscript map of the coast of Maine, drawn by a British Rear-Admiral and used by a signer of the Declaration of Independence to defend his family's claims to the land. Significant manuscript maps of this early date are virtually unknown in the market.