Excerpts from Randall's History of Hampton 1888 - 1988

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Excerpts from Randall's History of Hampton, N.H. 1888 - 1988

Compiled by John & Connie Holman -- June 8, 2002

The highlight of Carnival Week was a historical pageant (with 150 actors) based on Edward Gove's Rebellion in 1683, starring youthful Bill Elliot as Gove. The colonial man, upset with Royal Governor Edward Cranfield, and perhaps spurred on by drinking spirits, led a one-day rebellion that resulted in his quick capture. Found guilty of treason, Gove was sentenced to be "hanged by the neck and cut down while alive, and that his entrails be taken out and burned before his face, and his head cut off, and his body divided into four quarters and his head and quarters be disposed of at the king's pleasure." This gruesome sentence was not carried out. Instead, Gove was sent to the Tower of London for three years. He was then pardoned and returned to New Hampshire. The pageant was written by the Reverend Edgar Warren, who stipulated that it "be performed in a dignified and impressive manner and that he need not be paid for it but he does reserve movie rights." Mary F. Blanchet directed Warren's pageant, which was held for six nights under large tents on the sand in front of "A" Street.

Beach fun continued into September with Carnival Week. The Merrimack Valley Archery Association held a tournament, and swimming races included a one-mile swim from Boar's Head to the center. Carnival Week events included the queen contest, awarding of the raffle auto, a stage show, and fireworks. William Elliot won second prize in the final radio broadcast talent show. Weekly contests had been held all summer and all the weekly winners competed in the final program. The weekly amateur shows were held on Mondays, the nights when the band played in Depot Square. The Community Church hosted its annual civic night. In December, William Dow paid off his election bet by walking backward across the Mile Bridge, and, perhaps exhausted by the busy summer, some 125 Hampton people were wintering in St. Petersburg, Florida. Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. Towle were spending their sixteenth winter there. While the practice of spending the winter in Florida may seem to be a contemporary idea, the Exeter News-Letter reported as long ago as February 1889 that Sam Taylor and his sister Annie of Brides Hill were soon to leave for Florida, where they would remain for the rest of the winter and spring.


The end of the 1937 season was celebrated as Bill Elliot Week, with the "Singing Cop" as the master of ceremonies for musical events and concerts throughout the week. This was a busy year for Elliot, as he appeared on coast-to-coast radio shows, on Major Bowes's amateur radio program, and sang to a special session of the Legislature. The vocals of Hampton's Bill Elliot were heard frequently with the Beach bands. He won his first Beach Amateur Night contest at 16 in 1921, and he began to appear regularly with Hal McDonnell about 1927, continuing until the mid-1950s. About the time he began regular performances, he was a full-time policeman, and later served as a special officer. Since he often sang while wearing his uniform, coming from directing traffic in front of the Casino straight to the bandstand, he became known as the "Singing Cop." For many years, the Dineens would invite him to sing a vocal or two with some of the big bands that appeared in the Casino. Hampton residents often tuned in to hear Elliot as he performed for regional and national radio shows. Equally at home on the baseball field, Elliot was a regular and often the leading hitter on Hampton teams.


The year 1954 also saw the beginning of another Beach institution: Wimpy, a papier-mache replica of the hamburger-eating pal of cartoon character Popeye. Built by Howard (Woody) Woodward and placed on a bench outside his coffee shop at the Hotel Cavalier (the original Cutler's Cafe building), the life-size dummy contained a speaker through which Woody spoke to, and often startled, adults and tickled children. Off the beach, vacationers were treated to the first performances of the Hampton Ski Gulls, America's first ocean-based water-ski club. Beverly Brindamour, Phil Toppan and his daughter Wanda, Ken Tobey, and Jay Kelley were among the local people who performed with the club. One Sunday exhibition featured Bill Elliot, fully dressed in a business suit, who responded to a dare from onlookers. Some people said he would then become known as the "Skiing Cop."


There were a number of changes at the Beach for the 1966 season. In June, Bill Elliot resigned as executive secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, a position he had held for the previous 12 years. Long one of the best-known individuals at the Beach, he first won a talent show there in 1925 and almost constantly thereafter was before the public eye. Surfing also became popular at this time. In response to the surfers, who had been banned from the beach, a two-block section of North Beach, between 14th and 16th streets, was reserved for their use.


In 1933, William Elliot, soon to become famous as "the Singing Cop," made his first appearance with the department, earning $9.50 for part-time duty. Hampton also had a "Preaching Cop" in 1943 when the Reverend Lloyd M. Perrigo, pastor of the First Baptist Church for three years, resigned his pastorate the night after his ordination and joined the force full time. He had been a summer police office the previous year.


Hampton United Methodist Church

According to a history published in 1882 and believed to have been written by Reverend Jacob Franklin Spalding, carver of the wooden dove still atop the church steeple, Methodism was introduced into Hampton in 1835. The history of the early years of the church is related in Joseph Dow's History of the Town of Hampton.

In 1848, when Reverend Henry Nutter was pastor, a building lot was secured at the corner of Ann's Lane and Lafayette Road and a church was dedicated in November of that year. It cost $1,200 and served as a place of worship until the fall of 1881, when it was moved to its present location closer to the center of Hampton. It was remodeled and repaired at a cost of $3,100 and rededicated on January 5, 1882. In 1926, a kitchen and two classrooms were added and a new pipe organ was installed.

The Methodist Sunday School commenced in May 1837, when Reverend Mr. Fuller called the people together and spoke to them about the importance of the study of God's Word. Some 20 or more came forward and divided themselves into classes, with Jonathan Towle as superintendent. During the pastorate of Reverend Norman T. Allers, 1954-61, membership of the church increased, and the rapid growth of the Sunday School necessitated two sessions. In January 1957, a planning committee was established with Elton Smith as chairman.

Wayne Elliot headed the building committee that was established in January 1958. Other members were Mrs. Grace Burnham, Gladys Carter, Harry Carter, Philip Crane, William Elliot, Mrs. Robert Hockenhull, Samuel Nelson, Jr., John Perkins, Elton Smith, Richard Stebbins, Philip Walker, Richard Worth, John M. Holman and Reverend Norman Allers. The building-fund Program of Progress was successfully conducted in July and August of that year, and on September 7, 1958, Irving Marston, oldest member of the church, turned the first shovelful of earth in a groundbreaking ceremony.

The $44,000 church expansion was completed under the supervision of Harry Carter. The two new wings contained increased seating capacity for worship, a utility room, enlarged fellowship hall and kitchen, church parlor with fireplace, choir robing room, nine Sunday School classrooms, and office space. Consecration services were held on June 21, 1959, with Bishop John Wesley Lord as speaker.

A memorable 110th anniversary celebration was held on October 13, 1946. Governor Charles M. Dale and Representative Chester E. Merrow were present. Reverend Richard H. L. Vanaman, pastor, conducted the service, assisted by the clergy of other Hampton churches. William I. Elliot was chairman of the anniversary committee. That Sunday morning there was a broadcast over WHEB, with Elliot as an announcer. The male chorus of Hampton Academy and High School sang, under the direction of Mrs. Esther Coombs. [John Holman, a senior at the high school was a member of the chorus who sang at WHEB.] On the previous Saturday night, a gala anniversary supper was organized by the Women's Society of Christian Service and the Wesleyan Service Guild. There was also a memorial service for deceased members and former pastors.

The 135th New Hampshire Annual Conference of the Methodist Church was held at Hampton from May 20 to 24, 1964, with Bishop James K. Matthews presiding and more than 100 clergy and lay delegates from New Hampshire in attendance. In preparation for the conference, the sanctuary was refurbished by the men of the church, who volunteered their efforts. Committees, under the direction of Ruth Stone and Marguerite Fiske, served breakfast, four suppers, and two coffee hours each day, and also provided housing.

During the pastorate of Reverend Herbert N. Lovemore, the sanctuary was filled to over-flowing for worship services, requiring extra chairs in the center aisle. He was popular as a speaker in the community, and the Lovemore scholarship was established in his memory. He often said he felt his ministry was to the unchurched and nontraditional.

On February 2, 1986, during the pastorate of Reverend C. Edward Claus, the 150th anniversary of the Hampton United Methodist Church was celebrated, with Dr. Harrell F. Beck of Boston Theological School as guest preacher. On April 13, a homecoming celebration was held with a potluck supper and an historical sketch presented by many members and guests.

The original stained-glass windows in the sanctuary were given in memory of the "Willing Workers," Warren Lane, Oliver Towle, Thomas Chase, Simon Fogg and family, and deceased members of the Sunday School. On Sunday, May 15, 1987, a special service of rededication of refurbished windows was conducted by District Superintendent Philip Crane, a former lay member of the Hampton church. These windows were dedicated to the memory of George K Conner, Simon Fogg, Harry J. Trees, Eva Batchelder, Jack Ford, and deceased Sunday School members.

No church history would be complete without a tribute to the Sunday School teachers and superintendents who faithfully serve each week to provide Christian education to the children, youth, and adults. Sunday School superintendents include Jonathan Towle, George W. Lane, H. B. Beede, Harry Carter, Gladys Carter (who served from 1935 to 1973), Barbara Donaldson, John and Connie Holman, and Richard and Joanne Eddinger. Miss Carter was also recording steward for the church from 1938 to 1986.

Replacing a small reed organ, a Tellers-Kent pipe organ was given in 1926 by Mrs. Mabel Blake in memory of her daughter, Laura Blake Cannon. An electronic organ was purchased in 1968. In 1986, an Emmons Howard pipe organ, built around 1900 and formerly used in a church in Lee, Massachusetts, was purchased. Donations and fund-raisers, under the direction of Sheryl Niswender, made possible the installation of the organ in the Hampton church. A recital featuring the refurbished organ was held as part of Hampton's 350th anniversary celebration in 1988.

The Ladies' Sewing Circle, formed in 1849, and the Women's Foreign Missionary Society, organized in 1885, eventually became United Methodist Women. The women of the church have worked tirelessly to support church, community, and mission projects with bean suppers, rummage sales, and the annual fair, beginning with the Ladies' Harvest Supper in 1912.

--Marianne H. Jewell


Ministers
1893 -- 1985

G. H. Clark
William A. Prosser
David Webster Downs
John N. Bradford
Charles Monroe Tibbetts
Joseph Leander Felt
Herbert Francis Quimby
Wesley Jerome Wilkins
Charles Eugene Clough
Roscoe Sanderson
Roger Everett Thompson
Robert Storer Barker
William Magwood
Norman Jason Langmaid
Walter Raymond Pierce
Calvin Warburton
Jack Boozer
Harold B. Ieir
Richard H. L. Vanaman
Jack Boozer
Calvin J. Sutherlin
John M. Harnish (June15)
John G. Strain (August 1)
Norman T. Allers
Manning E. Van Nostrand III
Edward A. Milley
Franklin P. Frye
Herbert N. Lovemore (June 15)
Joseph B. Holliday
C. Edward Claus
Carroll C. Moore
1893
1894
1896
1898
1904
1906
1909
1910
1912
1915
1916
1922
1929
1932
1936
1938
1942
1944
1946
1948
1950
1952
1952
1954
1961
1967
1972
1972
1982
1985
1995-
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