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Ferdinando Gorges

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Ferdinando Gorges

Ferdinando Gorges
2nd colonial governor of Maine
In office
1639 – May 24, 1647
Preceded by William Gorges
Succeeded by Thomas Gorges
Personal details
Born July 1565
Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England
Died May 24, 1647
Ashton Phillips, Somerset, England
Spouse(s) Ann Bell (died 1620); 4 children.
Mary Fulford {Mrs Achims (a widow)}
Elizabeth Gorges, {Mrs Courteney (a widow)}
Elizabeth {Lady Smyth (a widow)}
Profession Governor, entrepreneur and founder of the Province of Maine

Sir Ferdinando Gorges (July 1565 – May 24, 1647), the "Father of English Colonization in New World.


  • Biography 1
  • Death 2
  • Personal life 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Sir Ferdinando Gorges was born in July 1565 in Clerkenwell, Middlesex, England, the son of Edward Gorges, Esquire and Lady Cicely Lygon. He was born only a few weeks before his father's death. He is named for his mother's brother, Ferdinando Lygon. Very little documentation exists regarding his early life and education. He was brought up at Nailsea Court at Kenn near Wraxall.[2] He is descended from a Knighton, Isle of Wight, 2nd Baron Gorges, in 1331.

He entered the army at an early age and had obtained the rank of captain at the siege of Sluys in 1587, was a prisoner at Lisle in 1588, wounded at the siege of Paris in 1589 and knighted at the siege of Rouen in 1591.[3] He was rewarded for his services by the post of Governor of the Fort at Plymouth, which he held for many years.[4] In 1601, he became involved in the Essex Conspiracy and later testified against its leader, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex.[5][6]

His interest in colonisation was invoked when Captain

  • Capt. Christopher Levett, mentioned in History of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647 By William Bradford, Massachusetts

External links

  1. ^ John Franklin Jameson, Henry Eldridge Bourne, Robert Livingston Schuyler, The American historical review, Volume 4:P683
  2. ^ University of Toronto Press, and the Royal Military College of Canada, 1953, Preston, Richard Arthur, GORGES OF PLYMOUTH FORT, The Life of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Captain of Plymouth Fort, Governor of New England, and Lord of the Province of Maine, pp. 19–20
  3. ^ New England Historic Genealogical Society (2000). The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Volume 29, 1875. Heritage Books, Inc. pp. 44–47.  
  4. ^ "Sir Ferdinando Gorges Facts". Encyclopedia of World Biography. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "GORGES, Sir Ferdinando (c.1568-1647), of Plymouth, Devon; later of Ashton Phillips, Som.". History of Parliament. The History of Parliament Trust. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Ferdinando Gorges". Son of the South. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Wikisource:Gorges, Ferdinando (DNB00)
  8. ^ "Sir Ferdinando Gorges". Carl Leonard. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  9. ^ "Sir Ferdinando Gorges". Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Grant of His Interest in New Hampshire by Sir Ferdinando Gorges to Captain John Mason". Teaching American History. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "A Grant of the Province of Maine to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and John Mason, esq., 10th of August, 1622". Yale Law School. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Fisher, Carol B. Smith, "Who Really Named Maine", Bangor Daily News, 26 Feb. 2002, pg. A9; Burrage, Henry S., GORGES and The Grant of the Province of Maine 1622 A Tercentenary Memorial, pp. 167–173.
  13. ^ a b "Sir Fernando Gorges". Empire in your backyard. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  14. ^ York Deeds, Maine Historical Society, Maine Genealogical Society, John T. Hull, Portland, 1887
  15. ^ History of Plymouth Plantation, William Bradford, Massachusetts Historical Society, 1912
  16. ^ Portland in the Past, William Goold, 1886
  17. ^ "The Massachusetts Bay Colony's annexation of Maine". Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  18. ^ Univ. of Toronto Press, Royal Military College, Kingston, Ont., 1953, Preston, Richard Arthur, GORGES OF PLYMOUTH FORT.., PP. 344–345
  19. ^ Preston, Richard Arthur, GORGES OF PLYMOUTH FORT, The Life of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Captain of Plymouth Fort, Governor of New England, and Lord of the Province of Maine, Univ. of Toronto Press, and the Royal Military College of Canada, 1953, pg. 345
  20. ^ "About the Maine Senate". Maine Senate. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  21. ^ George Streynsham Master (1900). Collections for a Parochial History of Wraxall. J.W. Arrowsmith, printer. p. 22. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 


  • Fort Gorges

See also

He married four times. His first wife was Ann, daughter of Edward Bell of Helena, Marchioness of Northampton.[13][21]

Personal life

The epilogue to Sir Ferdinando Gorges' story is very brief. Although his grandson eventually accepted a paltry sum after many years of trying to secure the good name of his grandfather, he proceeded to acquire some validity of his grandfather's claims by the Puritans. This sale finally extinguished the interests of the Gorges family in those American lands which Sir Ferdinando had labored to develop as a proprietary province owing to a close relationship to the English Crown. New England was left to follow a very different destiny from that which Sir Ferdinando had devoted so much of his life.[19] It wasn't until 1820 that Maine achieved separate statehood.[20]

Sir Ferdinando Gorges, after being plundered and imprisoned, died on May 24, 1647 in his home in Long Ashton (then known as Ashton-Phillips) and is buried in the All Saint's Churchyard, Long Ashton, Somerset, England. He is buried in the Smyth crypt without markings due the circumstances of the time.[18] His eldest son, John, inherited his Province of Maine, of which Robert, his younger son, had been for such a short time Governor. In May 1677 his grandson, another Ferdinando, finally sold to Massachusetts all rights to Maine for £1,250.


Ferdinando Gorges's son was Privy Council of Charles I. His efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.[17]

America Painted to the Life, book published in London, 1659, by Ferdinando Gorges Esq., grandson of Ferdinando Gorges

[16][15] in 1630.Massachusetts Bay Colony in the John Winthrop's attempt to establish a colony in Maine ultimately failed, and he died aboard ship returning to England after meeting with Governor Levett [14] In 1622, Gorges received a land patent, along with

[9].Phippsburg, Maine, in present-day Popham Colony, he helped fund the failed Plymouth Company In 1607, as a shareholder in the [8] in the United States.Maine along the coast of the present day state of Kennebec River In 1605, he helped sponsor the expedition of Weymouth to the mouth of the [7]

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