American History and Genealogy Project


Purchase of Burnt Coat Group of Islands

The following is the agreement, deed and receipt of payment for the Burnt Coat group of islands, between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and James Swan. These interesting documents, which show what islands were included in the original purchase, were found in the Lincoln County records, in which county this group of islands was then included.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

This Agreement made this twenty-fifth day of February, A. D. 1785, between the Committee appointed by a Resolve of the General Court of the twenty-eighth of October, A. D. 1783, on the subject of un-appropriated Lands in the County of Lincoln, in behalf of this Commonwealth, of the one part, and James Swan, of Dorchester, in the County of Suffolk, Esq., of the other part.

Witnesseth, that the said Committee do agree to sell and convey to the said James Swan, to hold in fe, a certain Island commonly known by the name of Burnt Coat Island, in the said County of Lincoln, and all the Islands, the center thereof are within three miles of any part of the said Burnt Coat Island, and a good Deed thereof to be given to the said James Swan as soon as the same Islands can be conveniently surveyed and a return thereof had. And the said James Swan agrees on his part to pay on the nineteenth Day of March next, the sum of nineteen hundred and twenty Pounds in the consolidated securities of this Commonwealth to said committee, to the Use of said Commonwealth, and the further sum of three shillings in the said securities per Acre for every Acre that shall be found to be contained in the said Islands over and above the number of twelve thousand eight hundred acres (to be paid for by the first said Payment) on an accurate survey thereof in one year from this date. Any Islands the whole thereof is a barren rock, to be excepted, but no allowance to be made for any Bogs, Ponds, or waste Lands, and on the delivery of said Deed to give satisfactory securities for the said last mentioned Payment. In witness thereof the parties aforesaid set their hands the day and year first above mentioned.

S. Phillips, Jr.,
Nathan Dane,
James Swan,
Samuel Page,


March, 19, 1785. Received of James Swan, Esq., the first within mentioned sum of Nineteen hundred and twenty Pounds.
Nathan Dane.

January 19, 1786. Received of the hon'ble Samuel Phillips, Esqr., the above sum, which was overpaid on the within Lands purchased of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, say one hundred and twenty Pounds.
James Swan.


Know All Men By These Presents, That We, Samuel Phillips, Jun., Nathaniel Wells and John Brooks, Esquires, a committee appointed by two Resolves of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts of the 28th of October, 1783 and 30th of November, r785, on the subject of un-appropriated Lands in the County of Lincoln, and by those and other Resolves of said Court, empowered to sell and convey the un-appropriated Lands of the said Commonwealth in said County, for and in consideration of the sum of one thousand four hundred and forty-three Pounds, nine shillings, in the consolidated securities of said Commonwealth, to us paid by James Swan, of Boston, in the County of Suffolk and Commonwealth aforesaid, Esquires, have given, granted, bargained, sold and conveyed and by these presents in behalf of the said Commonwealth do give, grant, bargain, sell and convey unto the said James Swan, his Heirs and assigns, the following Islands lying and being in the County of Lincoln and Commonwealth aforesaid, and situated southerly and south eastly of a Point of main Land known by the name of Naskig Point, being the south eastly Point of N IV Township between the Penobscot River and Union River granted by the General Court of the late Province of Massachusetts Bay, to David Marsh and others, on the second Day of March, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-two, and south westly of the Island called Mount Desert, viz.:

Barnt Coat or Burnt Coal Island, containing five thousand eight hundred and seventy-five acres;
Island P, sixteen Acres;
Island I, six acres 57 Rods;
Island K five acres, 136 Rods;
John's Island twenty Acres, 10 Rods;
Island N, twenty-three Acres, 64 Rods;
Island B, four Acres;
Hatt Island, twenty Acres;
Harbor Island, one hundred forty-four Acres, 16 Rods;
Marshal's Island, eight hundred forty-three Acres, 80 Rods;
Little Marshal Island, forty-two Acres, 40 Rods;
Island W, ten Acres;
Island A, twenty-one Acres;
Island C, forty-four Acres, 60 Rods;
Island D, sixteen Acres;
Island F, twenty Acres;
Island G, thirty-three Acres;
Loud Island, one thousand one hundred thirty-two Acres, 130 Rods;
Pond Island, two hundred and seven Acres;
Island U, seventeen Acres, 100 Rods;
Island V, three Acres;
Westly Calf Island, two hundred fifty-six Acres, 140 Rods;
Eastern Calf Island, one hundred sixty-two Acres, 80 Rods;

All of which Islands belong to and comprise the Division of Islands called Burnt Coat division, surveyed for the Commonwealth, aforesaid, Anno Domini, 1785, according to a Plan thereof, returned into the aforesaid committee's office by Rufus Putnam and entered in the Plan Book, page 118, in which Plan the several Islands aforesaid, with their Magnitudes, Bearings and distances from each other, as well as from Naskig Point are laid down, which Division of Islands are separated from other Islands and bounded as follows, viz.:

Southerly by the Atlantic Ocean; Westley by Jerico Bay, which separates them from Isle of Holt and Deer Island Division, Northerly by a line drawn due East from the southern extreme of Naskig Point into Placentia Bay, which Bay divides them from the Great Placentia Islands, and other islands lying Southerly of Mount Desert. Also two other Islands lying Easterly of Placentia Bay, aforesaid, surveyed and included in Mount Desert Division of Islands, entered in the aforesaid Plan Book, Page 132, viz.: Great Placentia Island containing four hundred forty-seven Acres, 155 Rods; and is Scituate North eastly of said Burnt Coat Island about three hundred and seventy rods, and Black Island, containing two hundred ninety-two Acres, 55 Rods, lying southerly of Great Placentia Island and distance there from about two hundred and forty Rods. Both of these as well as all the other Islands before described being within three miles of some part or other of the great Island first mentioned.

The before described Islands containing in the Whole, Nine thousand, six hundred twenty-three acres and three rods by Measure, according to the several Plans of the same in the aforesaid Committee's office, Together with the rights Members Profits Privileges and Appurtenances whatsoever, thereunto belonging, or in any wise appertaining. To have and to hold the said bargained and granted Premises with the Appurtenances unto him, the said Swan, his Heirs and Assigns to his and their proper Use, and behoove forever. And the said Committee, in behalf of said Commonwealth covenant and agree with said Swan, his Heirs and Assigns, that at the Time of ensealing thereof the said Commonwealth of Massachusetts is seized and possessed of said granted Premises in fee, and that they, the said Samuel Phillips, Junr., Nathaniel Wells, and John Brooks, have good Right in their said Capacities and in behalf of said Commonwealth to sell and convey the same in manner aforesaid, the Premises being free of all Encumbrances, and that the said Commonwealth shall warrant and defend the same granted Premises, to the said James Swan, his Heirs and Assigns forever against the lawful claims and Demands of all Persons.

In witness whereof the said Committee hereto, set their hands and seals this seventh Day of July, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six.
Samuel Phillips, Junr. [seal]
Nath'l Wells. [seal]
J. Brooks. [seal]

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of
Leonard Jarvis.
Geo. R. Minot.

Suffolk ss. July 7, 1786.

Then the within named Samuel Phillips, Junr., Nath'l Wells and John Brooks personally appeared and acknowledged the before written Instrument by each of them signed to be their free Act and Deed, before me.

Stephen Metcalf, Justice of the Peace.

Source: A History of Swan's Island, Maine, by H.W. Small, MD, Ellsworth Me, Hancock County Publishing Company, Printers, 1808


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