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The journey to the Azores and thence westwards to the coast of Maine is uneventful
except for a brush with some Dutch ships near Santa Cruz who demand to see their papers and are within an ace of taking them
as prizes. However, after some beers in Captain Gilbert’s cabin the Dutch captain having some English in his crew and
fearing mutiny thinks better of it and lets Gilbert and Popham continue their journey. So, in early August the English reach
the many islands off the Maine coast, sight Monhegan and others which they name St George’s Islands. On one they find
the cross that Weymouth left two years ago (see 1605 panel). Further on at Sagadahoc another island will be called Parkers
Island after William Parker, honouring the Plymothian who is one of the four Company leaders named in their Charter.
settlers journey on they are amazed at the teeming abundance of fish in the waters. They also will soon discover and relish
the delicious lobsters that are part of the native American coastal dwellers’ diet. The same fishing paradise awaits
them up the inland waterways for on Monday, 17th August, as the English sail up the river at Sagadahoc, the Kennebec, ‘A
most gallant river very brod and of good depth we never had lesse wattr then 3 fetham when we had least and abundance of great
fyshe in yet leaping above the wattr on each syd of us…’
On 18th August the leaders finally make their choice where to settle. It is on the peninsula of the very
mouth of the Kennebeck river on the west side. Next day, the 19th, everyone goes ashore for a religious service given by Richard
Seymour their preacher. After this the Plymouth Company’s patent is read out, followed by the colony’s
laws. Finally George Popham, gentleman, is nominated President and his Assistants sworn in. They are Captain
Raleigh Gilbert, James Davies, Richard Seymour, Captain Richard Davies and Captain Harlow. Everyone is happy and the mood
euphoric as they return to their ships to celebrate and rest before the serious business begins tomorrow, building the fort.
However, tragically, their efforts will all be in vain for, unknown to them, back in England, Sir John Popham is dead.