Hampton Academy & Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association
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65th Anniversary, Historic Souvenir Booklet, 1972
Rev. Josiah Webster
(1772 - 1837)
Rev. Josiah Webster is considered to be "The Father of Hampton Academy." This portrait of Rev. Webster at age 35 was originally published in Dow's "History of Hampton". At age 36 Rev. Webster came to Hampton to become the Congregational minister. Through his efforts and the efforts of others, the school known as Hampton Academy was founded two years later in 1810. As President of the Academy Trustees for 14 years, Rev. Webster provided the strong leadership necessary to establish the school as a viable institution of learning for both boys and girls.
Amos Tuck, in his 1875 autobiography, wrote the following of Rev. Webster: "He was a genial, good man, rather sectarian in his views, however .... He was pleased that I selected his church and was constant in my attendance. I was pleased to hear a man of education in the pulpit, in contrast with the ignorant exhorters to whom I had previously been accustomed to listen, and there sprang up between us a friendship which lasted to the end of his life."
The shaft above marks the graves of Rev. Webster and his wife, Elizabeth. Their graves are in Hampton's Ring Swamp Cemetery (on Park Avenue) and are situated just north of Winnacunnet High School.
BELIEF IS EQUAL TO A
FORCE OF NINETY-NINE
WHO ONLY HAVE INTERESTS"
--John Stuart Mill
(1807 - 1889)
Joseph Dow prepared for college at Hampton Academy in the mid- and late 1820s, graduating from Dartmouth in 1833. A teacher by profession, he taught at a number of academies in northern New England and was Principal of Hampton Academy in 1838-39. But, perhaps, he is best remembered as the author of the definitive history of Hampton: a two-volume, 1100-page treatment from settlement in 1638 to 1892, including a considerable amount of genealogical and biographical material. The history was published posthumously after editing and additions by his daughter, Lucy E. Dow (who was Preceptress at the Academy in 1873). Reprinted in 1970, it remains the only publicly printed history of the Town.(*)
During his lifetime, Mr. Dow researched and published other, less-ambitious historical monographs including a Tuck family genealogy (1877) and a Hampton historical tract upon the occasion of the Town's Bicentennial in 1838 (actually, a 44-page pamphlet of a speech he had delivered). Besides this research, teaching and tutoring, he devoted much of his later years to legal and probate work, being a Justice of the Peace and Quorum in N.H. He also served his native town in various official capacities including Auditor and member of the Superintending School Committee which supervised the various District Schools of the Town.
In 1835, Joseph Dow married Abigail French, daughter of Rev. Jonathan French, D.D., of North Hampton, a Trustee of Hampton Academy who would later serve as Trustees President for nearly 20 years. The Dow's had seven children, the last three of whom died in infancy. The Dow family (except for the first child and only son, Joseph H.) is buried in the High Street Cemetery.
Joseph Dow was a somewhat tragic figure in 19th century Hampton. His distant cousin, Amos Tuck, had this to say about his previous tutor: "Mr. Dow was a superior scholar, both in the classics and in mathematics, and was regarded at Hampton (Academy), and subsequently at college, as a young man of unusual promise. .... Though a man of integrity, and unusual ability in some directions, his life has been a series of disappointments and mortification ...." This was written about 1875, some 15 years before Mr. Dow's death and about 20 years before his monumental "History of Hampton" appeared in print.(*The 1970 reprint as well as a limited number of the original edition were printed as a one-volume tome.)