Jonathan Moulton, an Excerpt from a History of Moultonborough, NH
Town of Moultonborough
By Georgia Drew Merrill
Somersworth, N.H.: New Hampshire Publishing Company, 1971
[Note: The following excerpt is taken from Chapter 31 of the History of Carroll County entitled "Town of Moultonborough", pertaining to the life of Jonathan Moulton of Hampton, NH. The town was named after him.]
Jonathan Moulton,the leading man of the early settlement, was in many ways a remarkable man. Governor William Plumer gives this sketch of him: --
He was born in Hampton of poor parents, and was bound by his father an apprentice to a cabinet-maker. When about twenty years old he purchased his time of his master, and set up as a trader in a small shop in small articles of small value. By unwearied attention to the purchase and sale of these small articles, he became an extensive dealer in English and West India goods. His reputation as a trader and as a man was not good. He was suspected, and not without cause, of various kinds of unfair and dishonorable management to acquire property. He was a man of considerable talents and of insinuating address, and uniformly flattered the vices and folly of mankind. At his own house he was hospitable. He was a prompt, ready man, and transacted business with great dispatch; but those with whom he dealt most suffered the most by him. He was a representative from Hampton several times, and sat in the assembly several times as representative of Moultonborough and towns classed therewith. In 1771 he was colonel of militia, and March 25, 1785, he was appointed brigadier-general of the First Brigade. He was a large proprietor of extensive tracts of new, uncultivated lands, and expended much money in forming settlements and in making and repairing roads in those townships. These things are useful to the state, but his improvements road-making, taxes, lawsuits, and his debts very much embarrassed and perplexed him. In his last years he was unable to pay the demands against him, and after his death the property he left was not sufficient to pay what he owed. For some years previous to his death many suits, both for and against him, were pending in the courts of law. He attempted to corrupt judges, bribe jurors, suborn witnesses, and seduce the counsel of his opponents. There was a period when his influence with courts and jurors was great, and his process fatal to many; but in 1786 he was unable to get justice. Judges and jurors were excited and strongly prejudiced against him, and he knew the fact. In 1786 he was president of a self-created convention which met at Rochester to take measures to procure a law to declare certain property a legal tender for the payment of debts and to emit paper money. In September of that year the Chester convention marched with arms to Exeter, surrounded the house where the legislature was in session, and tried to coerce them to pass such a law. General Moulton strongly encouraged them to persevere; but September 18, 1787, he died at his own house in Hampton.