The Drama of Winnacunnet
1638 - HAMPTON TERCENTENARY - 1938
THE TOWN OF HAMPTON PRESENTS
An Historical Pageant-Spectacle.
Batchelder's Field -- Exeter Road -- August 23rd - 24th -- 1938.
[The Pageant was actually held at Tuck Athletic Field -- ed.]
8:45 P.M. Admission 50c. Children under 12 years of age 25c -- Reserved seats 50c additional. No tax.
Written by Eloise Lane Smith -- Staged by John B. Rogers Producing Co., Fostoria, Ohio.
The synopsis of scenes presented herewith has been prepared by the John B. Rogers Producing Co.
The pageant committee wishes to thank Edwin L. Batchelder for the use of his grounds.
The Drama of Winnacunnet
"Voice of the Tide"
I am the Tide
And speak through surging breaking waves
To bid you welcome, gentlefolk,
Who come to celebrate the day,
Three hundred years ago, when white
Men came for conscience's sake
To build a church and found a town.
I welcomed them with food from sea
And salty marsh; and welcome you.
They played their part upon the stage
Of Winnacunnet's by-gone days,
And made the Hampton that you know.
Here Time, turned backward in its flight,
Reviews the past of settlers bold,
Who braved an unmarked wilderness
With souls as restless as Myself,
Who brought them to my friendly shores
In search of liberty and peace.
So pause, good friends, and give a thought
To them, three centuries ago,
In whose affairs I played a part
And led them on to fortune, which
Is yours; for Hampton is their gift.
--Eloise Lane Smith
EPISODE I. -- ARRIVAL OF SETTLERSScene 1. -- Indian Feast
Synopsis: Centuries ago, before our far removed ancestors came seeking new homes, our state was covered with dense woods and thick, wild undergrowth. Here the Indians made their home. Let us turn back the hands of time and look in on a tribe gathered for a clam feast. Seated around campfires, the Redskins eat the delicacies as fast as baked and when their hunger is appeased, their Chief summons them to a ceremonial dance, a ritual of thanks to the god who has taken care of their wants so bountifully.
The dance over, they all leave, excepting a chief who teaches one of the young boys the use of the bow and arrow. In the midst of their practice, an Indian runner bursts upon them with exciting news and the three run for shelter behind trees.
Scene 2. -- Settlement of Winncunnet
Synopsis: Now the reason is clear why the Indians left so hurriedly. Palefaces have come.
It is a strange procession of human beings and animals, headed by Stephen Bachiler, who in spite of his 77 years, is a commanding figure. He carries a Bible and two of his grandsons carry a crate in which is a bell -- a bell they have brought from England to hang on their meeting house. The smoldering embers of the Indians' fire attract these people, and they stop to warm themselves. The three Sanborn boys are sent out to find the Bound House built a couple of years before in Winnacunnet, for their grandfather has decided upon this site for settlement.
While they are gone, the English flag is nailed to a tree nearby, and the bell uncrated, and when the boys return -- unsuccessful in their search -- Stephen Bachiler orders the construction of the Meeting House, while others begin shelters for themselves and their families.
Scene 3. -- Father Bachiler's Departure
Synopsis: Seventeen years have passed. The Meeting House, crude though it may be, is a reality -- and also serves as Town Hall and School.
Suddenly the bell is rung and there is great excitement. A group of new settlers from England, led by Timothy Dalton arrives. Stephen Bachiler welcomes them and in his speech, tells them that the name of the town shall be changed to Hampton. Old friendships are renewed, and the newcomers taken into the Meeting House to get land grants.
Meditating upon it, Father Bachiler -- "now a bent man of 94" -- makes his decision to return to England, bids the people of his little settlement farewell, and with one of his grandsons -- Stephen Sanborn -- leaves.
EPISODE II. -- 17TH CENTURY CRIME AND PUNISHMENTScene 1. Persecution of Quakers
Synopsis: Sunday church service is just over, and people are on their way home. A man on horseback dashes in and reads to the settlers laws against Quakers. William Marston -- pointed to derisively as a Quaker -- is taken to the stocks by the constable and the two books he is carrying are snatched from him and burned.
The people are admonished to whip three Quaker women who are being brought from Dover. No sooner has the bearer of all this news dashed off, than a cart, to which are tied the three quaker women, appears. The settlers follow the orders given by the horseman and whip the women unmercifully, as the cart proceeds toward Boston, half dragging the luckless victims.
Scene 2. -- Witchcraft Delusion
Synopsis: Our ancestors sought freedom of worship for themselves, but their demands on others were as unbending and as strict as those from which they had fled.
So we see them turning in hatred and fear against an old woman whom they look upon as a witch. She is Eunice -- Goody -- Cole. After some consultation, however, it is decided to give her food and fuel and a hut in which to live, though by their superstition, she is finally taken off to Boston jail.
We see Edward Gove, a property owner of no small means, resisting the order of Governor Cranfield to surrender, along with others, his material possessions -- only to be thrown into a cart, his legs chained, and carried off to prison at Portsmouth, from where word later comes that he is to be sent to the Tower of London, hung and quartered.
Scene 3. -- Return of Edward Gove
Synopsis: These people, so terrified of witches, were happy to be rid of Goody Cole, but their happiness was not to last, for she was -- in time -- returned to them, a bent, old woman. With mingled feelings they comment upon the order of the Court in finding Goody not legally guilty of being a witch, though suspicious of being a consort of the devil.
As the constable releases her chained wrists and she is returned to her old hut, Edward Gove arrives. Everyone rushes to him, his wife greets him fondly, hardly able to believe her eyes. They all learn that through Nathaniel Weare's efforts, Edward has been reprieved and has come home to stay, bringing with him his pardon.
Episode III -- EVENTS AT THE GENERAL MOULTON HOUSEScene 1. -- 18th Century Life
Synopsis: To Colonel Jonathan Moulton and his wife, a son has been born, and the Colonel, while trying to decide upon a name for his heir, toasts his health with Col. Christopher Toppan. He orders a barrel of wine brought up that the slaves may toast his new son. He orders the fattest ox on his land to be decorated and taken to the Governor, when he decides upon the name of Benning -- after the Royal Governor, Benning Wentworth of Portsmouth. He orders the passengers of the stagecoach that stops at his store to be wined. He is a happy man -- the world has been good to him and God has given him a son.
To add further to his happiness, word comes of the surrender of the French and Indians. The Governor, himself, stops on his way from Portsmouth, for he has seen Moulton's slaves with the ox meant for him -- and wishes to repay the Colonel in some way. After some hesitance, Moulton expresses a desire for a "small gore of land" next to his township of Moultonborough It is granted -- the health of the King is drunk and the Governor goes on his way, leaving the Colonel the richest landowner in the province for the "small gore of land" granted him is a whole town which he plans to name New Hampton.
Not always, however, did the Colonel fare so well, for in 1769, his elaborate mansion and store were destroyed by fire.
Scene 2. --The Revolution
Synopsis: Men stand in front of the Moulton house, discussing the mounting grievances against the British King. In the midst of their discussion, Paul Revere comes on horseback with news that the British will no longer export arms to the colonies. They must get their military stores by capturing British supplies already here. Men of the militia must be ready to seize Fort William and Mary. As Paul Reavere leaves, he gives a letter to Colonel Moulton which is from Artimas Ward saying he expects the enemy to attack that night, and to be ready.
A messenger, who brings word that Colonel Moulton is wanted at Col. Weare's to confer with General Washington about the defense of the northern colonies, also brings a new union flag. A flag of 13 red and white strips, to replace the King's colors. The old flag is hauled down. The new one raised.
The resolution of the Continental Congress, to oppose the British, is read and signed. The men leave to bring back all available supplies, and it is not long until all sorts of contributions are pouring in.
Scene 3. -- The Farewell Ball
Synopsis: This is a lovely garden party for Nancy, daughter of Jonathan Moulton, who is soon to leave for her new home, with her husband, John Marston. Musicians play soft music, Distinguished and famous guests arrive, mingling with the towspeople of Hampton. Nancy greets them alone in her silks and laces, for her husband has gone to Newbury on business.
The minuet is danced, and after it is over, Nancy leaves to dress for her journey. When her husband, John Marston comes for her, Nancy's father gives him the flag flying from the flag pole -- a treasured possession made by Betsy Ross and brought to the Colonel from Philadelphia.
Then Nancy comes, bids her father goodbye, and rides off to Moultonborough with her husband.
That evening, the Colonel is found dead, and his restless spirit stalking through the old house, will not be stilled.
Episode IV. -- 19TH CENTURY DAYS IN HAMPTONScene 1. -- The 250th Celebration ( August 15, 1888).
Synopsis: August 15, 1888. Hampton is celebrating her 250th Anniversary. It is a great day. There is a platform for the speakers and one for the band. A flag of 38 stars flies from the flag pole. People come from far and near, in all kinds of vehicles, and dress. There are speeches, followed by dancing to the beautiful "Blue Danube," and Mr. C. Lamprey brings the Celebration to a fitting close by asking --
And all cheer and clap and wave their handkerchiefs as the shout goes -- "Hurrah for 1938."
Episode V. -- FINALE PROCESSION -- 300 YEARS IN REVIEWSynopsis: A panorama, or parade, of characters of the Pageant-Spectacle, across the stage -- "followed by a 1938 model of an automobile in which ride members of the General Committee and the last minister of the church that is older than the town itself."
Voice of Time
And I am Time,
Who was before the Tide, and shall
Be when the race of man is done.
A bit of my more recent past
Has lived again in pageantry
By scenes from chapters that are closed.
Forbear to hold too harsh a view
Of ways that may seem quaint and crude.
Remember that the players here,
On My Tercentenary stage,
Were persons like yourselves. They hoped
And dreamed that peace might be their lot,
And for this goal they worked and fought,
And left you Hampton. Time and Tide
Move on, and generations pass.
The forwasrd-flowing tide of time
Bears all along. You play your part,
And I alone shall know how well
The past and present age compare
In useful and heroic deeds,
Or what the future years may bring.
But I shall judge for I am Time,
And only Time is Judge of all.
--Eloise Lane Smith
Trumpet Solo -- Taps