Plymouth Company

The Occom Circle

Plymouth Company


The Plymouth Company began as one of two competing branches of the proprietary Virginia Company chartered by King James I in 1606 to raise private funds to settle "Virginia," a name that at the time applied to the entire northeast coast of North America. Comprised of merchants from Plymouth, Bristol, and Exeter in England, the Plymouth Company sent settlers to found the short-lived Popham Colony on the coast of present-day Maine in 1606, which was abandoned the following year. In 1607, the rival London Company sent settlers to Jamestown, in present-day Virginia, a colony that struggled but managed to achieve a foothold. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, one of the original leaders of the Plymouth Company, wanted to prevent Puritans from dominating the region and obtained a land grant extending from the Piscataqua River to the Kennebec River, which he gave to friends in England who became known as the Proprietors. In 1640, the Proprietors ceded the patent to the freeman of the New Plymouth Colony, which had been established on the land, and which obtained exclusive land rights from the local Indian sagamores. The first Indian war in 1676 destroyed the colony and in 1753, the Maine General Court formed a new corporation called “The Proprietors of Kennebec Purchase from the late Colony of New Plymouth,” which was shortened to “Plymouth Company,” and lasted until 1818, when it disposed of all its interests in the territory.


”Plymouth Company.” ; Encyclopedia Britannica.; Varney, George J. “History of Kennebec County, Maine.” A Gazetteer of the State of Maine. Boston: B. B. Russell, 1886.