Wabanaki deed to Richard Wharton, 1684

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Wabanaki leaders Wiwurna (Warumbee), Darumkin, Nimbanizett, Neonongansket, WeconDomhegon, and Wihikermett deeded lands in the Merrymeeting Bay, Androscoggin River, and Kennebec River regions to Richard Wharton for settlement in 1684. The deed is often called the "Worumbo" deed. The land in question was formerly owned by Thomas Purchase, a land agent for Ferdinando Gorges.

Deeds like this one read more like treaties rather than land transactions, with some of the negotiations over borders, land use, and jurisdiction included in the written document. Even as they appear to grant Richard Wharton sale of the land, "'ye Sole propriety Benefitt and advantage of ye salmon & sturgeon fishing within ye Bounds & Limits aforesaid…: Wabanaki leaders also insisted on the preservation of their sovereignty and subsistence rights, "Provided Nevertheless [that] nothing in this Deed be Construed to deprive us ye Saggamores Successors or People from Improving our Ancient Planting grounds nor from Hunting in any of s'd Lands being not Inclosed nor from fishing or fowling for our own Provission Soe Long as noe Damage Shall be to ye English fisherys."

Settler colonialists, however, sought to control space, resources, and people not only by occupying land but also by establishing exclusionary private property laws.

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About This Item

  • Title: Wabanaki deed to Richard Wharton, 1684
  • Creation Date: 1684-07-07
  • Subject Date: 1684-07-07
  • Location: ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 30.5 cm x 45.7 cm
  • Local Code: Coll. S-1280 (O.S. Box 20)
  • Object Type: Text

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Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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