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Strawbery Banke remembers Treaty of Portsmouth -- signed 300 years ago July 14

The 1713 Treaty was signed at Ft. Williams & MAry, now Ft. Constitution, in New Castle NH.
The 1713 Treaty was signed at Ft. Williams & MAry, now Ft. Constitution, in New Castle NH.
R Candee Collection

On the actual 300th anniversary of the signing of the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth and thanks to a grant from the Roger R. and Theresa A. Thompson Endowment Fund, Strawbery Banke Museum hosts a special program with guest Colin Calloway on July 14, 2013. Calloway, chair of the Dartmouth College Native American Studies Program presents a talk and book-signing based on his new book, “Pen and Ink Witchcraft: Treaties and Treaty Making in American Indian History.” The talk, under a tent adjacent to the c. 1695 Sherburne House and Garden on the grounds of Strawbery Banke (14 Hancock Street in Portsmouth NH) is free and open to the public. The program begins at 2 pm and includes refreshments and an exchange of gifts echoing events that occurred 300 years ago,

Visitors will be able to view an authentic replica of the Treaty, signed at Fort William and Mary (now Fort Constitution) in nearby New Castle, by English Royal Governor Dudley, members of the NH Council, prominent citizens of Portsmouth and eight Wabanaki delegates who stayed in Portsmouth as the guests of the Royal Governor for three days and signed the Treaty with their iconic totems. The replicas were made available by the Library of Congress in Washington DC and the British Library in London.

The 1713 Treaty of Utrecht ending Queen Anne’s War in Europe attempted to set the French and English boundaries in the New World. It put the English in charge of the coastal regions that are now Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and gave France control of the St. Lawrence River Valley around Quebec. The land in between was Wabanaki territory and both France and England agreed to respect the other’s First Nations allies. The Wabanaki questioned how France and England could be talking about control of their ancestral land. For there to be peace in “the dawnland” a treaty between the English and the Wabanaki was necessary.

The meeting in Portsmouth July 11-14, 1713 was important for the First Nations diplomacy employed, the acknowledgement of a New Hampshire governing Council separate from Massachusetts, and for the impact it had on opening the Portsmouth door to development as a commercial and military hub on the frontier.

Although no Sherburne signed the 1713 Treaty, there are definite connections between the Sherburnes and those who did -- on both "sides."