STAMPEDE OF THE CHILDREN
The people, as has been said, were in constant fear of an invasion of the British by way of the sea; and, there is little doubt that false alarms were sometimes given. This time the cry, "The regulars are coming!" was made just as the children were dismissed from school. Panic-stricken, they fled, not to their homes, but back towards the country, ---- anywhere, away from the sea and the terrible red-coats. On they sped for three or four miles, as far as the "'Hio meeting House" [A nickname for the new meeting-house at Hampton Falls -- where the Unitarian church now stands. The origin of the term is lost, but it still clung to that locality well into the present century, when Salisbury teamsters, hauling timber thence to Newburyport for ship-building, were accustomed to speak of their trips as "going to 'Hio" (Ohio), and made frequent mention of "'Hio meeting-house."] (as one of them related years afterwards), till overtaken by friends and brought back, with the assurance that it was not, after all, "the regulars," but some fishermen clad in red flannel shirts, that had caused the alarm.
Committees were appointed, to request the presence of Hon. Meshech Weare and Josiah Moulton, Esq., member of the Committee of Safety.
A committee was chosen, to wait on the Committee of Safety, with a petition, setting forth the exposed condition of the seaboard, and praying that a thousand men or more be raised at once, for its defense; and also, that some field pieces, firearms, ammunition and other military stores be sent with all speed. If the Committee of Safety did not feel authorized to act upon this petition, then that body was desired to call together the General Court as soon as possible, for that purpose.
The committee thus chosen at this meeting appear to have acted very promptly, for in the Journal of the Committee of Safety for the Monday following -- this meeting was on Saturday -- is the following entry:
"Recd a petition preferred by the Selectmen & Committee of Hampton, Greenland, &c., &c., to raise a Regiment to be Stationed on the Sea Coast."
Two days later the Committee of Safety "agreed to raise 3 companies, to consist of 80 men each, officers included, for one month, to guard the Sea Coast of this State." They issued their orders to General Folsom accordingly.
At their meeting on the 12th, they "ordered Gen. Folsom to deliver the Selectmen of Hampton two barrels of Gunpowder, & to the Selectmen of North Hampton, one barrel, they to be accountble therefor."