The first settlement at Dover was made here at the southernmost point of Dover neck and was called Hilton’s Point after Edward and William Hilton. They were fishmongers from London who, in 1623, established their fishing industry at this scenic site.
Hilton State Park, Dover. Exit’s to the park are on both sides of Rt16 (exit 5). The marker was erected in 1973.
Descendents Memorial, 1955
The next three markers are all interconnected with each other. Some dates are wrong on the markers themselves*, or a bit misleading in some cases. The original History books are murky in their explanations of charters and grants, who gets what where, etc.
What is true: In March of 1621 or 2, John Mason was granted Cape Anne, from Salem, MA to the mouth of the Merrimac river. In August 1622 Sir Frances Gorges, and Captain John Mason were jointly awarded
… a territory to be known as the Province of Maine lying between the Merrimac and Kennebek rivers “to the furthest heads of said Rivers and soe into the land westward”
So there are two land grants to Mason and Georges. Enter David Thompson. In October 1622, the council awarded him his choice of 6000 acres of land an an island of his choice somewhere within the New England grant! What a deal! By December 1622, he was already hiring men and ships.
He arrived in 1623. We’ll talk more about him in another. For now, all you need to know is that brothers Hilton came with him.
Finally we can get to the Marker!
The Hilton bros were merchants from London, and members of the Fishmonger’s Guild. Stop laughing. It still exists today in the UK as “The Worshipful Company of Fishmongers” and they have a coat of arms.
They established, at Hilton State Park on Dover’s point the first permanent settlement. I emphasize, because the next marker makes that claim*.
The had a fish business going there, and everything was going on swimmingly, until a troublemaker from Massachusetts upset the applecart
To their credit, the Hilton’s stayed
From Belknap’s History
"These settlements went on but slowly for several years, but the natives being peaceable and several oiher small beginnings being made along the coast as far as Plymouth, a neighborly intercourse was kept up among them, each following their respective employments of fishing, trading and planting, till the disorderly behaviour of one Morion, at Mount Wollaston in the bay of Massachusetts, caused an alarm among the scattered settlements as far as Pascataqua. This man had, in defiance of the king’s proclamation, made a practice of selling arms and ammunition to the Indians, whom he employed in hunting and fowling for him; so that the English, seeing the Indians armed in the woods, began to be in terror. They also apprehended danger of another kind; for Morton’s plantation was a receptacle for discontented servants whose desertion weakened the settlements, and who, being there without law, were more formidable than the savages themselves. The principal persons of Pascataqua therefore readily united with their neighbors, in making application to the colony of Plymouth, which was of more force than all the rest, to put a stop to this growing mischief; which they happily effected by seizing Morton and sending him prisoner to England.”
This is not surprising. Even today, the troublemakers from Massachusetts are everywhere. Some things never change.
*Corrections are needed to these statements, to be addressed in the next post – Mike