The Descendants of Thomas Wasgatt and Margaret Davis: Their Lives and Stories
Determined entrepreneur. Strategic planner. Leader. Visionary. Descriptors of our progenitor Thomas Wasgatt (or Wescott, Westcot, Westcoat, Wesgatt, Westgate, etc.), these words are also applicable to many of Thomas’ numerous descendants who primarily populated the New England coast until the beginning of the 20th century.
When tracing the histories of Thomas’ children, grandchildren, and so on, one quickly finds many physicians, ministers, lawyers and others educated for their life’s work. One also finds the “salt of the earth” – farmers, lumbermen, sailors and those who lived their lives in the great outdoors. Regardless of occupation or position in society, the Wasgatt families are noted for resilience, determination and strength. Captivated by Thomas and the Wasgatt generations which followed, it became clear that their stories need to be told.
Is your family descended from Thomas and Margaret?
The Descendants of Thomas Wasgatt and Margaret Davis: Their Lives and Stories is a work in progress, and you can assist by submitting your family’s genealogy and history, as well as any stories about your ancestors. To contribute your family’s information, click here. Some ideas of things you may wish to send:
- Usual genealogical information (dates of birth, marriage, death, etc.) for your family members descended from Thomas and Margaret (Wasgatt) Davis.
- Where your family lived, and when they moved/migrated, if they traveled to a different part of the U.S.
- What were the occupations of your grandparents? Your great-grandparents?
- Did you have military ancestors who descended from Thomas and Margaret?
- Any other interesting stories or items of interest?
- What type of pets did your family have? (It seems many Wasgatts are quite devoted animal lovers!)
- Photographs of Wasgatt descendants are greatly appreciated as well!
The story begins in 1745…
The timeline of Thomas Westgate begins on 30 June 1745 when he was united in marriage to Margaret Davis by Rev. Jeremiah Wise in the town of Berwick, in what is now known as the county of York, Maine. (New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 82:509). Four years later, Thomas Westgate, Cordwainer of Berwick, is recorded as grantor in the sale of one quarter share of Lot 108 in the town of Rochester, located in what is now known as Strafford County, New Hampshire (New Hampshire Provincial Deeds 82:448-450).
Owned by Thomas’ father, Thomas Westgate, Sr., in partnership with John Gray, Abner Thurstin and James Nook, the lot was situated near Isinglass River as it enters the Cocheco River. It seems likely that Thomas Sr. had envisioned a saw mill at that site, as his son also sought similar locations for his enterprises in years to come.
By 1751, Thomas settled in Phillipstown (now known as the town of Sanford in York County) Maine, where on 8 August 1751 he purchases Lot 16 with a messuage (dwelling house) from John Frost (York Deeds 30:136). A laborer in the aforementioned deed, Thomas had apparently found success as he continued in his pursuit of real estate two months later with the purchase of half of Lot 15 (York Deeds 31:1). In 1745 he also purchased from Robert Miller half of lot #4 (York Deeds 34:116).
Thomas set roots for several years in Phillipstown, as he was a signer on both the 1752 and 1756 documents petitioning the House of Representatives to approve incorporation of the town. The last record of Thomas in Phillipstown was recorded 31 Mar 1759, when he testified about a house inhabited by John Stanyon (York deeds 35:222).
Soldier at Fort Pownall during the French and Indian War
In 1759 at the start of the French and Indian War, Corporal Thomas Wasgatt is found at Fort Pownall, protecting the Penobscot Bay from both the French and Indians (Massachusetts Archives 98:164, 419; 99:188).
About 1761-1762, many families left Fort Pownall, and crossed the river into Township Number 3, also known as Majorbigwaduce or Majabagaduce, which included the current towns of Penobscot, Castine and Brooksville. Several historical accounts place Thomas there in 1761. In 1763 we again see Thomas’ natural leadership abilities, as he he headed the Majabagaduce petition, requesting Governor Francis Bernard grant to him and the other soldiers the land on which they had settled following their service at Fort Pownall.
“Mr. Wasgatt did not come directly to Bar Harbor, as it is generally understood in the family that he first settled at Hermon Pond, west of Bangor, and built a mill the ruins of which were still pointed out forty years ago (1850) as Wasgatt’s mill. The expense of cartage, however, lessened the profits of his mill which he abandoned or sold, and we next hear of him at Grand Menan. In 1770, his daughter, Susannah, married Joseph Googins of Scarborough, and the record of the marriage in that town claims that she was from Grand Menan (sic).”
“That about 30 years ago I bought of Capt. Ebenezer Thorndike a Proprietor’s Rights in the township No. 1, lying & adjoining to the eastward of Union River now called Trenton, & in consequence thereof I settled in said townships and built a Mill there & have continued there and on Mount Desert Island ever since. I also testify that I am knowing to Joseph Barnes now living in said town & to Capt. Thorndike clearing part of the lot where said Barnes now lives & cutting timbor (sic) there for I assisted him & helped get them to my mill.”