Newspaper Page Text
THE PEOPLE OF OLD YORK, MAINE, WILL THIS WEEK CELEBRATE THE 230 TH ANNIVERSARY OF MS BIRTH
SHE OLD TOWN OF YORK.
ABOUT TO rELEKRATE ITS 250T11
l'.y George P. Plalated, Town Oerk.
Tli. town of York, Me., or "Old York," as its
inhabitants familiarly and proudly style it,
feaches during the present year the -50th anni
ftrsary of its incorporation as a town of the pres
ent name. This age in itself is certainly suffi
cient to cause a devoted people to cherish its
lity and view with pride, ami just pride,
}m\ a record as creditable as it is notable The
; • y of :!.•■ town, however, does not begin
with the inception of the present municipality,
i .: dates back t«i a period but little later than
the year of th«- Puritans' arrival at Plymouth.
Th even! York '' ; "rates on August ."> is the
■ :::: !■> •':,-■ authorities of Massachusetts in
I."._" of th.' charter under which its previous
nee had been that of Georgena, the lust
i ay incorporated on the American continent.
Probably t!;-- first white men to land at Fork
were thos< composing th< expedition of Cap
tain John Smith, who In 1814 < splored the New-
England Coast with a view t.> establishing a
colony In accordance with the wish of the Km*,'.
i: entered Fork Harbor and named the sur
rounding territory Boston. Thus the original
I :. ston was ty miles north of the pres- ;
$nt city, in the shadow <f Mount Agamenticus,
(Ihi h Smith n:n..' i "Snado in Hill."
The town of York was formed from a ;■
c. the vast territory which the Plymouth Coun
cil granted in 1622 to Sir Fen ando Gorges and
<";-.s>tain John Mason. After these iuu men had
NEW-YORK TRIBUNE ILLUSTRATED SUPPLEMENT.
THE OLD JAIL, YORK.
Built In IC3 and still Found.
spent Immense sums of money In futile at
tempts to establish permanent settlements in
their new lands, the grant was divided equally,
\\ J SKA I,
! ■ ■ tnltl
<;.'.■ receiving as his share t hut part which
contains the pr< enl fork County. Later Charles
1 n-v.k-d bis charter ti> the Plymouth Council
M'IXTIRE GARUIROX. YORK.
Built in 1623 and .still in good iires.-rvaiioo.
and granted directly to Gorges the same prop
erty. It was at this time, April 3. 1CO<). that
thi real history of York begins.
MEN WHO WILL. TAKE PROMINENT PARTS IN THE CELEBRATION.
CEORGE F. i .'. !. ,*KP
Secretarj ]■;■>:• itive <
Bir Fernando Gorges enjoyed the favor of his
poverrlgn. and evidently ho made good use of
his advantage, for the graiit of la-id wjis »ccorn
panied by concessions and powers that wer»
hitherto unheard of. <»orges wa ■ jealous of the
success of the Massachusetts t-olony and i^.
tern led to found for himself a State which
would surpass it. Records inform us that Gor
ges made a. careful study of the maps and <ie
sc pt.ons of his property, and finally decided
upon Agamenticus. originally Boston and now
York, as the locality best suited to the require
ments of his new Mat of government The new
s.tlement was governed during the first year
by a board of seven councillors, of which Ed
ward Godfrey was the head. The following
summer, 1640, Sir Fernando Gorges sent another
expedition. An inspection of the new colony
prov 1 very unsatisfactory to Gorges, and he
det< ined upon a new scheme which he car
ried out with great flourish, but with small
Already possessing a charter whi. h accorded
to him greater rights than were ever granted
by sovereign to subject before or since;
Gorges was not satisfied. By his influence at
court he succeeded in having his charter suj>
planted t>y a perfected instrument which pave
him almost dictatorial authority. His new char
ter allowed him to establish a city government,
and to the embryonic metropolis he gave the
narn- of "Gorseana." in perpetuation of his
own. Gorges himself MTU visited his new
possession, it is thought, but sent as h:s personal
representative his nephew, Thomas Gorges.
Inhabitants of the new city were allow* <i to
elect a Mayor, Hoard of Aldermen and Common
Councilmen annually, to erect fortifications, and
to do many other things which made them in all
essential points a free and independent colony.
City offices were numerous, and, although the
settlement numbered some two hundred souls at
this time, there seem to have been nearly
enough to go around. About their only act that
has been recorded is the trial of a woman by
the Mayor's court for the muni-r of her hus-
.'• H.V C. 9TEWART.
band. The culprit was adjudged guilty ar.d ex
ecuted In 1G44.
The city of Gorgeana was destined to a =hort
existence, and a dozen yean after its founda
tJao it went to the wall. All went well so long
as Gorges could look to the King: for assist
ance, but shortly aft-r I(J4-"> his ath occurred
in prison, ben he had been thrown on the as
cendency of Cromwell. The Massachusetts i'.uy
colony sympathized with the Roundhead party,
while Gorgeana remained steadfast in its de
votion to the Royalists. The city charter was
cancelled, Massachusetts took possession and
York was incorporated. The Mayor, Edward
Godfrey, never submitted, and died while strug
gli:;^: to regain his rights.
On the morning ol February 7», 1t»92, the in
habitants of York awoke to tind themselves at
the mercy of a bai of French and Indians. la
the ti rriMe carnage wh> h ensued nearly ai! the
population were killed or taken captive. Tht- few
who escaped had sought refuse in the ©It! jail
and in the trarrisun houses. It is little wonder,
then, that the people of modern York eh- risa
the jail and the Mclntire garrison, which are
still in good preservation. The former was built
in M 53 and the latter in 1G23, or years before
Gorges's ill alaiicd undertaking.
"With the beginning of the eighteenth century
York, having recovered from the terrible effects
of the Indian waim, began to take on a rapid
growth. To accommodate th- stage lin^s to
the Massachusetts and New-Hampshire i vns
it was found necessary to k»Kbji York River.
and, as a result, the present Sewall Bridge * as
built, the first pile bridge constructed in Amer
ica. It was the work of Samu- Sewall. an old
time engineer of great skill and prominence;
York was the county seat, and her jail and court
house did service for the whole State. • "«»m
mercial activity in> rvased, and York's wharves
were busy places in tame days, iit-r m»-n be
came moving spirits in the affairs of Massa
cknsetts, and her iaftnence and assistance at
the time of the Revolution, as well as before
and after the struggle, were in aeci tdaai wili