Showing posts with label tuck Museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tuck Museum. Show all posts

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Big Breakup of Hampton

Compiled by John M. Holman, Hampton History Volunteer  Atlantic News, Thursday, April 19, 2001 Pictures added courtesy of Univ of Virginia, Hampton Public Library and Tuck Museum

Up to 1677, the towns of Hampton, Exeter, Portsmouth and Dover had been considered a part of Massachusetts and were governed as such, in spite of the protest of Robert Mason, who claimed a prior right to the territory. A decision was finally made in England that neither Massachusetts nor Mason should rule this region and New Hampshire was made a Royal Province, the commission of the new government being received January 1st, 1680. The town henceforth became Hampton, New Hampshire, instead of Hampton, Massachusetts.

Univ of Virginia copy Sir Edmund Andros
Sir Edmund Andros became governor of all New England and ruled with an iron hand. Along with other offenses he forbade the people to assemble in town meeting, except once a year, lest they consult for redress of their wrongs, and none was permitted to leave the country without his consent lest complaints be carried to the King. Relief came with the accession of William and Mary to the throne of England and the seizure and imprisonment of Andros in 1689, although this left New Hampshire without a government.

Delegates were chosen from the various towns to shape a convention, but petty jealousies arose and spoiled the attempt. Some form of government being necessary, a petition addressed to the governing body of Massachusetts, was drawn up at Portsmouth in 1690 asking them to take the province under their care and protection as formerly. Forty people from Hampton were signers and the petition was granted although a majority of the town was opposed, probably due to some conditions of the renewed alliance. The new arrangement was not satisfactory and relations were severed in 1692, and the province again had a government of its own, with the appointments of Governors from the sovereigns in England.
The spirit of the citizens being one of pioneering, several inhabitants of Hampton in 1694 petitioned the Governor and Council for a grant of a township, to be formed principally from the unimproved land in the western part of the town. The petition was granted on August 6, 1694 and the reduction in the area of original Hampton began. The new town was incorporated as Kingstown, and the grant included the present town of Kingston, East Kingston, Danville and Sandown.
The next slice to be removed was the part to be known as Hampton Falls. In 1712, a line, dividing the old and new parish, was established, and a separation made for church and school purposes; only the annual town meeting brought all together. 1718 is generally regarded as the time of its incorporation, and complete separation ensued. The area included the present town of Hampton Falls and Kensington.

Soon after, the third division of the old town seemed apparent, as in 1719 the people living in the north part of the town began to petition for the establishment of a parish of their own. Opposition developed however, and it was not until 1742 full town rights were accorded and North Hampton was allowed to establish its own township. During the time the inhabitants of the North Hill, or North Hampton as it was later to be known, were petitioning for separation from Hampton, several families with a total of 1,800 acres severed all connectioins with Hampton and annexed themselves to Rye.With these portions taken one by one from the original town, the size dropped to its present proportions, from over one hundred square miles to less than thirteen square miles!

Beginning in the 1670’s, Post Road served as the mail route between Portsmouth and Newburyport. In 1753, Deputy Postmaster Benjamin Franklin, using an odometer, measured the routes and installed mileposts. The fee to post mail was based on distance. Over time, some of the posts were replaced. This granite post, engraved P/10N12, is the only one remaining in North Hampton.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Case of the Stolen Turnips

Thanks to Tuck Museum and Cheryl Lassiter

An event in the early life of Hampton

In the latter part of 1670 John Fuller rode up to check on his ‘plantation,’ only to discover that someone had pilfered “about twenty bushels” of his turnip crop. Fuller and his partner in the patch, John Hancock, were appalled. Hancock swore that if they could prove who did it, the “taker of them” would be prosecuted. From the local gossip Hancock had heard that Nathaniel Weare had owned up to taking away part of the turnips, “which if he could prove it he would prosecute the said Weare and make him pay well for them.”
FHL FILM877462 Gove Weare Case 1 1673
Gove’s 1673 Appeal
According to the testimony of John and Martha Cass, now living on the farm they had purchased from Rev. John Wheelwright in 1664, Nathaniel Weare admitted that he had “accidentally” come across Fuller’s turnip patch, and “seeing turnips so late in the year he did take about a bushel and a half.”  If the ground hadn’t been so hard, he said, he “might [have] took a few more.” When John asked Nathaniel if he had had permission to take the turnips, he replied “No,” but his “sister Cox told him that she did suppose he might have some.” And, he said, he had made it right by reimbursing the turnip patch proprietors with a slab of pork.
Given Weare’s prominence as a large landowner in Hampton, the turnip theft may never have seen the inside of a courtroom except for Edward Gove, himself a large landowner, who publicly accused Weare of being a thief. When Gove confronted him with the charge, Weare said, “You fool, you loggerheadedly, boby-headed ass, get you about your business.”
To which Gove replied, “How came I to be your tomfool loggerhead?”
Weare then did what any adult male Puritan in his position would do: he hit Gove with a stick. Apparently sorry for his violent outburst, in an act of contrition he fell upon his knees twice. Gove taunted him by saying, “Get up again like a lubber,” while helping Weare to his feet.
When Gove refused to retract his accusation of thievery, Weare accused him of “reproachful speeches and assaulting carriage.” Nathaniel Clark of Newbury and Henry Palmer met Gove at Henry Roby’s tavern in Hampton to persuade him to come to an out-of-court agreement with Weare. Both Clark and Palmer testified that Gove did not believe Weare had intended theft in the taking of the turnips. Yet Gove refused to drop the matter. Weare had broken the 8th commandment (thou shalt not steal), which was contrary to Law.
“It will be an encouragement to others to go on in such wicked courses, contrary to Christianity and civility,” Gove explained. “For it is easy making an excuse for the theft if after the thing be like to be proved against the person.”  Translation: Weare only confessed because he had been caught.
Two plus years later, on October 8, 1672 and April 8, 1673, the courts at Hampton and Salisbury heard Weare’s case against Gove, including depositions and testimony of several witnesses: Nathaniel Boulter, John Huggins, Caleb Perkins, William Fuller, Sr., John Stevens, and Anthony Stanyan. Gove was also charged with having killed a hawk on the Lord’s day. The jury at Salisbury brought in a verdict of guilty on all counts.
Gove then made his appeal to the Court of Assistants in Boston, saying that ‘Your appellant apprehends himself much disadvantaged” because the jury foreman had remarked that if Gove came to trial he “would warrant I should suffer.” Gove also asserted that he had broken no law in calling Nathaniel Weare a thief…because it had been William Fuller who reported that Weare had taken the turnips from John Fuller’s field. Why then, was it Gove and not Fuller who was charged? In answering his own question he said,”Indeed [it was] better for Fuller to lose his turnips than for he that took them disorderly to lose his friend…as some have said.”
As these things often go with old court documents, the final resolution is unknown. Gove’s appeal did at least make it to the clerk of the Court of Assistants, since the extant case documents are filed with the Suffolk County (Mass) Court Files. Nathaniel Weare was never brought to court for stealing the turnips.
In 1684 Edward Gove was made famous by his attempt–while under the influence of “ardent spirits” and a lack of sleep–at rebellion against the government. Believing it was being run by those who kiss the Pope’s ring, he determined to overthrow the current regime. Riding from Hampton to Exeter with his son and a servant, Gove passed by the house of Nathaniel Weare, now a magistrate. Weare came out and tried to stop Gove from his mission, without success. Gove rode on, had his “rebellion” (mainly riding through the towns shouting like a maniac), and was summarily arrested in Hampton.  He was put on trial and convicted of high treason, the punishment for which was “that he should be drawn to the place of execution, and there be hanged by the neck and cut down alive, and that his entrails be taken out and burnt before his face, and his head cut off, and his body divided into four quarters and his head and quarters disposed of at the king’s pleasure.” Lucky for him, he was sent instead to England to take residence in the Tower of London, and, after three years and some letters acknowledging his acts of stupidity, he was released and allowed to come home.
Nathaniel Weare, whose reputation as a turnip patch plunderer hadn’t impeded his rise to the top of provincial politics, also made a trip to England in 1684. He had been entrusted to carry the petition from the New Hampshire men to the King, asking for relief from Cranfield’s money-grubbing schemes. While he was at it, he purloined the Hampton town records, taking them to Boston to keep them out of the hands of Cranfield.