Jan. 30, 1649: The deposed King Charles I, whose forces were defeated in the English Civil War (1642-1651), is executed by beheading in London.

“America Painted to the Life,” a history book written by Ferdinand Gorges, Esq., grandson of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and published in 1659. Image courtesy of the Beinicke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Charles’ death essentially ends the dream of the family of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who died two years earlier, of extending its control from the province of Maine to all of New England. In fact, the opposite happens. During the turmoil surrounding the changing governments in England during the 1650s, Massachusetts authorities gradually seize control of settlements in Maine.

After the restoration of the English monarchy, King William and Queen Mary present a charter in 1691 that makes Massachusetts’ annexation of Maine permanent. Maine remains part of Massachusetts until it achieves statehood in 1820.

Gorges had a claim to Maine originally because the Plymouth Council for New England, acting under the authority of England’s King James I, in 1622 granted the first patent establishing the Province of Maine between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers to Gorges and John Mason. The two founders later split their territory, with Mason taking the section now mostly in New Hampshire, and Gorges retaining the section now in the state of Maine.

Joseph Owen is a retired copy desk chief of the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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