Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: HIGH TIDE; THE MEADOW POND CREATED
HIGH TIDE; THE MEADOW POND CREATED
The importance of establishing the date will be seen by the results in Hampton; for the tradition about this wonderful tide and its ravages is substantially as follows:
Inside of the banks of sand which lay along the shore, and served as barriers against encroachments of the ocean, was a large tract of low, swampy land, extending southward from Nut Island, a mile or more. This tract, known as Huckleberry Flats, was dotted over with hassocks, on which grew huckleberry bushes and alders. The spaces between the hassocks were usually wet, though covered with grass, whose numberless roots closely intertwined, together with grass, whose numberless roots closely intertwined, together with the grass itself, formed a sort of mat, resting on the soft mud beneath, on which a man might walk, though the grassy mat trembled at every step taken. Through this tract flowed a large brook, or rivulet, called Nilus. [Charles M. Lamprey, Esq., who owns land in this tract of meadow, has found stumps of trees, deeply embedded in the mud, furnishing proof that the land was once wooded.]
At the time of the storm, the hassocks, filled with the roots of the bushes, the spaces between them, with their net-work of grass-roots, and the mud and water beneath, were firmly frozen to a considerable depth. The severity of the storm and the extraordinary height of the tide gave such force to the waves, that they swept away the sandbanks on the shore, and the whole of the tract described and hundreds of acres of salt-marshes were inundated. The surging waters soon found a way under the thick, hard-frozen crust on the flats, and raising and breaking up a large portion of it, bore the fragments along with the current, over the marshes, til they found a resting place, or were swept into the ocean.
When the storm had ceased and flood subsided, a large part of the swampy tract that has been described had become a POND, covering several acres. Into this pond, the brook Nilus flowed; but southerly of the pond, where it had run nearer the seashore, passing below the end of the causeway, as sit now is, and the road to Great Boar's Head, about thirty or forty rods, and then turning to the west into the marshes, where traces of the "old river" are still seen, the brook had been filled up with debris, so that an outlet was made by digging a wide ditch from the pound to the river below. This outlet is called the Eel-ditch.
About the first of March, a boat with three men and a boy -- their names not given -- coming from the Piscataqua river to Hampton, was driven off to sea, and one of the men perished with the cold. The others succeeded in reaching the land on the third day, running their boat ashore upon our beach. The boat was lost. Those on board saved their lives, but were all of them much frozen. [Boston Gazette, March 9, 1724.]