Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MASON, John, founder of New Hampshire, born in Lynn Regis, Norfolk, England; died in London in December, 1635. In 1610 he had charge of a naval expedition that was sent by James I. to subdue a rebellion in the Hebrides. He went to Newfoundland in 1616 as governor, surveyed the island, and published a description of it (Edinburgh, 1620), and a map (London, 1626). In 1617 he explored the New England coast, and on 9 March, 1622, he obtained from the Great council a grant of a tract of land on the sea-coast between Naumkeag and Merrimack rivers, called "Marian&" now the northeast part of Massachusetts. In the following August he secured a patent, jointly with Sir Ferdinando Gorges (q. v.), for a tract on the seacoast between the Merrimack and Sagadahoc rivers called the province of Maine. Early in 1623 he sent a party of emigrants to settle on the west bank of the Piscataqua, the nucleus of the first settlement in that locality. During the war with Spain in 1624-'9 he acted as treasurer and paymaster of the English forces. In November of the latter year he procured from the council for New England a grant of territory on the coast between Merrimack and Piscataqua rivers, which was designated as New Hampshire, and also a patent for a tract embracing Lake Champlain and its vicinity, styled Laconia. In 1630 he despatched additional colonists to the Piscataqua, and the next year formed a partnership with Gorges and others for the purposes of trade and settlement there. In 1632 he became a member of the Great council for New England, and was soon afterward chosen vice-president. About this time he was appointed captain of the South sea castle, a fortress at the entrance of Portsmouth harbor, England. He was judge of the Hampshire courts in 1635, and subsequently a commissioner to visit annually all the forts and castles throughout England. He was then appointed vice-admiral of New England, and was about sailing for this country to assume the duties of the office, when he died. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. Mason's rights in New Hampshire were sold to Governor Samuel Allen in 1691, and proved a fruitful source of litigation to that official and his heirs. In January, 1746, JOHN TUFTON MASON, a descendant, disposed of his rights for £1,500 to twelve gentlemen of Portsmouth, who were known as the "' Masonian Proprietors."
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