Oyster River Plantation

In 1623, English colonists established their fist settlement on Dover Neck and by 1633, settlers began spreading out to the nearby tidal shores of the Shankhassick, the Indian name for “Oyster River.” By 1640 these settlers were in “recognized possession” of the lands and clearing had begun .

When the name “Oyster River Plantation” first became utilized… I do not not for certain… in fact it is a little confusing to me since the settlement of Oyster River keeps being intertwined with “Dover.” However, what we do know is that when the first Towne Rate List was published on October 19, 1648, it included a listing of names of those who resided at Oyster River Plantation at that time. (History of the town of Durham, New Hampshire (Oyster River Plantation), Volume One, Birth and growth of the town, p.9).

What is interesting… and possibly quite relevant… is the fact that the name Matthew GYLES is included in this list. According to a 1648 land deed: On June 24, 1648, Richard CATER (I) assigns his dwelling in Oyster River to his “trusted and welbeloved friende,” Matthew GILES.

The map below shows where this Matthew GILES or GYLES resided which may have once belonged to our progenitor, Richard CATER I.


  1. Dfiocca said:

    Thanks so much for this information. I know I have copies of the deed but don’t remember ever seeing this map before. I believe I’ve been there with Priscilla!

    May 1, 2023
    • I can only imagine what this area must have looked like way back then… but I wonder what it looks like today ?? Is there anyone living nearby that would mind sending us some photos ?? Are there any remnants or clues left of where this place may have been ??

      May 1, 2023

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