Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: TERRITORY ANNEXED TO RYE

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In the autumn of 1730, the families of Joseph Brown, James Fuller, Joseph Marston, Francis Locke, John Jenness, Richard Jenness and Joseph Philbrick were, with their estates, severed from Hampton and annexed to Rye. The act of the General Court was rather loosely drawn, was susceptible of different constructions, and was, in fact, very differently construed in the two towns interested. In this town, it was held that it transferred to Rye, as the estates of those named in the act, only the land on which they lived and other land of theirs adjoining thereto; while in Rye, it was construed to include all the lands then owned or that might afterward be purchased by them, in whatever part of Hampton they might lie; and that, by the Jennesses and Philbricks mentioned in the act, were intended all persons in Rye bearing those names; and that all the lands owned by them belonged to and were taxable in that town.

In consequence of these different constructions of the act, the same persons and estates were, in some instances, taxed in both towns. In the month of March, 1738, Benjamin Lamprey, Jun. was actually imprisoned by the constable of Rye, for refusing to pay certain taxes assessed by that town, although he lived a considerable distance in upon the second North Division in Hampton, no part of which division had been included in the act referred to.

Previous to the imprisonment of Lamprey, the selectmen of this town had petitioned the governor and the General Court for an explanation of the act. After more than a year's delay an act was passed, November 16, 1738, defining the former act, and describing the line between the two towns. By this explanatory act, the construction of the people of Hampton was confirmed, without any material variation.

About eighteen hundred acres of land, much of it of good quality, and now valuable on account of its location, as well as sits fertility, were thus severed from Hampton -- the tract embracing all the land now included in Rye lying southerly of Jenness' beach in that town, and a considerable quantity on the north side of it. The line thus established was a very irregular or zigzag line, and so it has ever since continued, though altered somewhat in the course of years.

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