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DAVID THOMSON, THE SCOTTISH FOUNDER OF NEW HAMPSHIRE... A GENTLEMAN, AND A SCHOLAR

by Genevieve Cora Fraser
Massachusetts, USA
Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.

  ".....On December 30, 1622, Sir Ferdinando Gorges' patent for his son Robert Gorges was signed for "all that part of the main land in New-England aforesaid, commonly called or known by the name of Messachusiack, situate, lying and being upon the northeast side of the Bay called or known by the name of Messachuset... together with all the shores and coasts along the sea for ten English miles..." For this privilege, the payment of one hundred and sixty pounds of lawful English money was put into the hands of the Treasurer by Robert Gorges.

  At the close of the Gorges patent is the following, "And lastly know ye, that we the said Council have deputized, authorized and appointed, and in our place and stead have put David Thomson, Gent., or in his absence any other person that shall be their Governor, or other officer unto the said Council, to be our true and lawful attorney and attorneys, and in our name and stead to enter the said lands...and take possession and seisen thereof...for us and in our name to deliver the same unto the said Robert Gorges or his heirs..."

  The top signatures on the document are those of King James' cousin, Ludovic Stuart, aka the Duke of Lennox, and the celebrated art collector Thomas Howard, the Earl of Arundell and Surrey who was married to a Stuart. The document was also signed by the Scotsman, the Marquis of Hamilton; as well as by Sir Robert Mansell, Doctor Barnaby Goach, and William Boles, clerk for the Council.

  David Thomson settled Piscataqua (NH) in the spring of 1623. Based on the testimony of Winslow in Chapter 6 of his "Good Newes from New England," David may have been acting as a sort of Over-Governor for the scattered New England plantations.

"...At the same time Captain Standish being formerly employed by the Governor to buy provisions for the refreshing of the Colony, returned with the same, accompanied with one Mr. David Tomson, a Scotchman, who also that Spring began a Plantation twenty-five leagues northeast from us, near Smiths Isles, at a place called Pascatoquack, where he liketh well..."

  In the autumn of that year, Robert Gorges arrived with a company of Gentlemen, and servants. The ‘Gentlemen’ included Samuel Maverick who became a friend to Thomson (or he may have known him prior to settling in New England). Gorges returned to England early in 1624 and died soon afterwards. By 1625, David established a trading post and home site at Thomson's Island in Boston Harbor, a location within the Massachusetts central to the growing number of settlements. Later, Maverick married David’s widow, Amias, a year or so after his death.

  David also made the acquaintance of the Lord of Misrule, Thomas Morton, the arch-enemy of the Puritan, Miles Standish. Morton is infamous for celebrating May Day at his ‘Merry Mount’ settlement, the site of the 1st keg party in America, which Standish spied upon,...and in contemporary language, ‘busted.’

  In the "New English Cannan," published in 1637 in Holland, Morton states in reference to a discussion on the origin of the Native Americans:

"...Therefore since I have had the approbation of Sir Christophe gardiner Knight an able gentl. that lived amongsts them & of David Thompson a Scottish gentl. that likewise was conversant with those people both Scollers and Travellers that were diligent of taking notice of these things as men of good judgement. And that have bin in those parts any time; besides others of lesse, now I am bold to conclude that the originall of the Natives of New England may be well conjectured to be from the scattered Trojans, after such time as Brutus departed from Latium."

  Sir Ferdinando Gorges was joined in his efforts to colonize the northern portion of the eastern seaboard by the Scottish Knight, Sir William Alexander, who had been tutor to King James' son Prince Henry, and a favorite of the household. Unfortunately, Prince Henry, who was often referred to as ‘James' attractive and popular elder son,’ died on November 6, 1612.

  Following the Prince’s death, Alexander served as Master of  Requests to his Majesty for the realm of Scotland, and as Secretary of State, and as a member of the King's Privy Council. Sir William Alexander also encouraged King James in American colonization efforts. Following the death of King James, his second son Charles I granted the territory of Nova Scotia to Sir William Alexander, aka the Earl of Stirling.

  Toward the end of his life, on July 4, 1637, Sir William Alexander, wrote a joint letter to the Authorities of the Massachusetts Bay Company, in regard to the right of John Thomson's ownership of Thomson's Island. He is joined in the letter by Lord Edward Gorges and Sir Ferdinando Gorges. In the original document, currently owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society, the uppermost signature is "ESterling", beneath it is "EdGorges." The bottom of the document bears the signature of Sir Ferdinando Gorges.

  This document directly links David Thomson to Sir William Alexander. They write "on behalf of the heir John Thompson the sonne of David Thompson sometyme sirvant to the Councille for those affaires." Sir William and Sir Ferdinando believed that John's mother, Amias Thomson Maverick, had allowed for the disposing of her son's rightful property which "his Father had so hardly obtayned."

  The accusation against Amias proved to be unfounded, as proved by John’s ability to reclaim the island. However, according to Aspinwall's Notarial Records, in 1640, his stepfather Samuel Maverick did lend money from John’s estate, but with his approval, to fellow merchant Thomas Fowle, and later to his son Nathaniel Maverick. The funds were later repaid...."

NOTE: I SUSPECT I'VE UNCOVERED WHO THE REAL MR. DAVID THOMSON, GENT. IS, BUT AM DELAYING PUBLICATION OF THE COMPLETE ARTICLE UNTIL I UNRAVEL A BIT MORE OF THE MYSTERY. I'VE GOT LOTS OF CIRCUMSTANCIAL EVIDENCE, BUT AM STILL HUNTING FOR THE SMOKING GUN.

YOUR FELLOW "TOMMIE"

GENEVIEVE
FraserGenevieve@gmail.com

Copyright 2003


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Updated: 16 Jan 2017 12:51 PM