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Armstrong, Simon
Manuscript Document – Affidavit Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland County, February 2, 1770

Single sheet, measuring 7 x 10 inches, formerly folded in eighths, docketed on verso, signed by Simon Armstrong, and Stephen Longfellow, and William Simonton, justices of the peace of Cumberland County.

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The document reads:

 

“I Simon Armstrong aged sixty nine years testify and say that I lived in the Town of Falmouth before the three year Warr and ever since and I well remember William Roberts late of said Falmouth deceasd and that he had a House and lived in it on Spring Point alias Papooduck Point, before, during and after said three year Warr and was looked up[on as a Substantial man, was chose Constable of the Town and gathered the Taxes and used to attend and vote in Town Meeting without any opposition that I ever heard off

Simon Armstrong

 

Cumberland Co. Cape Elisabeth February 2d 1770 Simon Armstrong above named personally appeared and made Oath to the Truth of the above Deposition by him subscribed taken in perpetuam Rei Memoriam before

Stepn Longfellow

 

William Simonton …”

 

Simon Armstrong was the son of James Armstrong who came from Ireland to Purpooduck on Cape Elizabeth in 1719.

 

William Simonton was born in 1694 and died in 1794. He arrived at Cape Elizabeth from Ireland in 1719 and built a thriving shipping business on a cove which became known as Simonton’s Cove. Simonton’s Cove is in South Portland which was formerly part of Cape Elizabeth.

 

Stephen Longfellow was born in Byfield, Massachusetts in 1723 and died in Gorham, Maine in 1790. He graduated from Harvard in 1742. He was married to Tabatha Bragdon of York, Maine in 1749. He was schoolmaster of Portland (then part of Falmouth) from 1745 until 1760 when he was appointed Clerk of the Court on the Division of the County. He later held several other offices.

 

Spring Point, formerly known by the Indian name Purpooduck, is located in the city of South Portland which was formerly part of Cape Elizabeth.

 

The “three year Warr” referred to in the document, is also known as Father Rale’s War (1722-1725, or Lovewell’s War, Governor Dummer’s War, Greylock’s War, the Three Years War, or the Wabanaki –New England War of 1722-1725. The war, however denominated, was a series of battles between New England and the Wabanaki Confederacy (specifically the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, and Abenaki), who were allied with New France. The eastern theatre of the of the war was fought primarily along the border between New England and Acadia in present day Maine as well as in Nova Scotia; the western theatre was fought in northern Massachusetts and Vermont at the border between Canada (New France) and New England.

The root cause of the conflict on the Maine frontier was over the border between Acadia and New England, which New France defined as the Kennebec River in southern Maine. After the British Conquest of Acadia in 1710, mainland Nova Scotia came under British control, but both present day New Brunswick and virtually all of present day Maine remained contested territory between New England and New France. To secure New France’s claim to the region, it established Catholic missions among the four largest native villages in the region: one on the Kennebec River (Norridgewock); one further north on the Penobscot River (Penobscot), one on the St. John River (Medoctec), and one at Shubenacadie (Saint Anne’s Mission).

Complicating matters further, on the Nova Scotia frontier, the treaty that ended Queen Anne’s War had been signed in Europe and had not involved any member of the Wabanaki Confederacy. While the Abenaki signed the Treaty of Portsmouth (1713), none had been consulted about British ownership of Nova Scotia, and the Mi’kmaq protested through raids on New England fishermen and settlements.

The war began on two fronts as a result of the expansion of New England settlements along the coast of Maine, and at Canso, Nova Scotia. The Newe Englanders were led primarily by Lt. Governor of Massachusetts William Dummer, Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia John Doucett and Captain John Lovewell. The Wabanaki Confederacy and other native tribes were led primarily by Father Sebastien Rale, Chief Gray Lock and Chief Paugus. As a result of the war, Maine fell to the New Englanders with defeat of Father Rale at Norridgewock and the subsequent retreat of the native population from the Kennebc and Penobscot rivers to St. Francis and Becabcour, Quebec. In present day New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the treaty that ended the war marked a significant shift in European relations with the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet. For the first time a European power formally acknowledged that its dominion over Nova Scotia would have to be negotiated with the region’s indigenous inhabitants.