The Indentured Servants of Hampton

Hampton's 325th Anniversary, 1638 - 1963

To be "indentured or apprenticed out" became the lot of over 46,000 men, women and children in the New England colonies between 1631, when the policy was introduced into Massachusetts, and 1783 when the Thirteen English colonies broke away from Great Britain to form the United States of America under a Confederate Form of Government.

Most indentures or "Redemptioners" sold their services to the Town or to planters, merchants, and farmers within the town for a period of from usually three, five, seven, nine, or ten years -- after the completion of the indenture, they acquired their "FREEDOM with a grant of land within the community."

Hampton had its own "indentures" who indentured themselves to the Town and Selectmen in return for "Parsonage Land" which they farmed and kept for a certain length of time. This was known as a "land indenture."

A second type of indenture was the "Apprentice Indenture." A young boy would be apprenticed-out to a "skilled craftsman to learn the trade." In this contract, the craftsmen had many more obligations to his indenture and the redemptioner in return has many more obligations to his craftsmen master than in the case of the "Land Indenture."

Translation of the Indenture between the Selectmen and Let. Samuel Prescutt -- 1764.

"This Indenture of Lease and Covenants made this sixth Day of August Anno: Domini: 1764 Between Deacon (Decn) Jonathan Tuck Captain (Captn) Jeremiah marston & Captain Josiah Moulton Gentlemen all of Hampton In the Province of New hampshire on the one part and Let. Samuel Prescutt of Hampton falls in the province aforesaid Gentlemen on the other part witnesseth that the said Jonathan Tuck, Jeremiah marston & Josiah Moulton Do hereby assign Let. and to form Let. unto the Said Samuel Prescutt his Heirs assigns the free and full use and Improvement of one Share of Land being Parsonage Land Belonging to the Town of Hampton Laying In the third west Division Containing Eight acres more or Less Bounded as follows: viz: Northerly on Land of the Sanburns Easterly on land of Prescutts Southerly on Land of Nayson & Blake westerly upon a Highway: During the full term of three years from the tenth Day of march Last past & the said Samuel during said term Shall and may freely Improve the Demised Parsonage Land by mowing or Pasturing of it only he Shall not cutt Down nor Destroy any of the wood or timber that is on said Demised Land only the old wood or timber to Repair the fences he the said Samuel is to Leave the fences in as good Repair as he finds them and the Expiration of Said terms of three years the Said Samuel his Heirs and assigns are to yeild and to Deliver up the Demised premises to the Said Jonathan Jeremiah & Josiah: In Consideration whereof the Said Samuel does hereby Promis to pay to the Said Jonathan Jeremiah and Josiah two Spanish mild Dollars as the yearly Rent and to be paid yearly During Said term of three years: In witness whereof wee have hereunto Sett our hands and Seals the Day and year above written
Witnesses                          Jonathan Tuck
Stephen Heulay                     Jeremiah marston
Joseph Dow                         Josiah Moulton
Samuel Prescutt junior"
Land Indenture
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"This indenture Witnesseth that Deacon Jonathan Tuck, Josiah Moulton & Joseph Dow Yeomen, and Jeremiah Marston Gentlemen, Selectmen of Hampton in the Province of New Hampshire with the assent of Jonthan Moulton, Christopher Toppan. Two of his majesty's Justices of the Peace for said Province have put and bound and by these presents do put and bond Ephraim Drake of Hampton aforesaid who is a poor fatherless child and an object of charity to be an apprentice unto Jonathan Leavitt of Hampton Gentlemen and Anna Leavitt wife of said Jonathan Leavitt to learn the art trade or mystery of a Cordwainer, and with them the said Jonathan and Anna Leavitt after the manner of an apprentice to dwell and serve them from the day of the date hereof for and during a term of three years ten months and thirteen days. Next ensueing the date hereof untill he arrives to the ages of twenty one years according to the law of said Provinse and in the case made and provided, during all which time his said Master and Mistriss honestly and faithfully shall serve their secrets keep close, their lawful command & and everywhere gladly perform and obey damage to his said Master and Mistrisses he shall not willingly do, he shall not waste purloine land or embezzle his said Master and Mistrisses goods, nor suffer the same to be done by others, but as far as in his power shall forthwith discover and make know the same to his said Master and Mistress. Taverns and alehouses he shall not frequent at cards dice or any other unlawful game he shall not play, formication he shall not commit nor matrimony contract durint said term he shall not absent himself from his said Master and Mistresses service at anytime unlawfully but in all things behave himself as a good and honest apprentice, toward his said Master and Mistrefs during said term -- and the said Jonathan Leavitt and Anna Leavitt do hereby covenant grant and agree to and withe the said apprentice in manner and form following that is to say that they will teach their said Apprentice or cause him to be taught by the best means they may or can the art trade or mystery of a Cordwainer and to write & cyper sofar as to keep a tradesmans accounts if the said Apprentice be capable of learning & will find & provide forunto their said Apprentice good and sufficient lodging, victuals & clothing suitable for an Apprentice during said term, and at the end of said term to desmiss their said Apprentice with one good suit of cloaths for Sundays wearing and one suit of cloaths for common wear.

In witnefs wherof the said parties have hereunto interchangeably set their hands and seals this 18th of May Anno Domini 1765 and in the fifth year of His Majestys Reign, George the Third. Sign'd Seal'd & Deliver'd in presence of us John Moulton    Charles Chase"

Apprentice Indenture

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