Hampton, N.H. Granted Charter 325 Years Ago

Hampton's 325th Anniversary, 1638 - 1963

It was 325 years ago (from 1963) that Hampton became incorporated as a town, according to the age-stained town report of 1638 filed in the town offices.

The settlement, originally known by its Indian name, Winnacunnet, was allowed a town charter June 7, 1639, about one year after a band of colonists, headed by Stephen Bachiler, received a grant for a plantation, disclosed the town records.

The Winnacunnet plantation grant came October 7, 1638 following a petition to the General Court in Boston, Mass., and an approval by the Bay State Colony Governor, John Winthrop.

We find the ensuing excerpts from "The History of Hampton," by Joseph Dow:

The Township Grant

"In the autumn of 1638, Winnacunnet remaining still unsettled, and the time allowed to the inhabitants of Newbury (Mass.) for a removal hither having nearly expired, a petition, signed by Steven Bachiler and others, was presented to the General Court, asking leave to settle here. Their prayer was granted. The record stands thus:

"'The Court grants that the petitioners, Mr. Stevens Bachiler, Christo: Hussey, Mary Hussey, vidua. Thom: Cromwell, Samuel Skullard, John Osgood, John Crosse, Samu: Greenfield, John Molton, Tho: Molton, Willi: Estow, Willi: Palmer, Willi Sergant, Richard Swayne, Willi: Sanders, Robrt Tucke, wth diverse others, shall have liberty to begin a plantation at Winnacunnet and Mr. Bradstreete, Mr. Winthrope, Junior and Mrs. Rawson, or some two of them, are to assist in setting out the place of the towne, and apportioning the severall quantity of land to each man, so as nothing shalbee done therein wthout leave from them, or two of them.'

Pursuing Dow's test still further we find:

"In the Spring following the grant for a plantation, the General Court enacted, as follows: dated May 22, 1639.

"'Winnacunnet is alowed to bee a towne, & hath power to choose cunstable & other officers, & make orders for the well ordering of their towne, & to send a deputy to the court; & Christo: Hussey, Willi: Palmer, & Richard Swaine to end all businesses under 20 shs. for this yeare; the laying out of land to bee by those expressed in the former order'"

This may be considered as the incorporation of the town. The date of this act, according to the town records, was the 7th of June, the date given above being the time when the session of the court began. The plantation was then 'in some degree of forwardness;' -- a settlement; and tending to show the correctness of the view that has been taken."

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