Berwick Historical Society
Early Settlers of Berwick, Maine – (Part 2)
The appearance of these English explorers was the first sign of a changing world. By then, France and England were looking to New England as a rich source of land, fish, timber, and animal furs. In 1629, England’s Council of Plymouth issued a grant of land to the London-based Laconia Company that extended from western New York to the coast of Maine. The Company hoped to colonize northern New England by first establishing year round trading posts and fishing operations on the region’s rivers. Two years later, the Laconia Company established three posts in Rye, Portsmouth, and on the Salmon Falls River, just below its junction with the Great Work’s River in South Berwick or Rollinsford, New Hampshire. The Newichawannock trading house did a brisk trade with the Indians of the Piscataqua River region, exchanging items such as liquor, blankets, hatchets, kettles, coats, shirts, and shoes for beaver pelts and furs and moose, bear, and otter skins. In addition, the English newcomers employed one hundred or more Wabanaki Indians who planted corn and established a vegetable garden on the grounds of the post.