Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Retrospect

Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents


Here, then, we find the new life of the nation fairly inaugurated; and on the hill-top we rest for a moment, to glance backward over the changes since the Winnacunnet wilderness first resounded with the axe of the pioneer, just a hundred fifty years ago. Strangely enough, though the face of the country is altered beyond recognition, the faces of men and women on every hand are familiar; for the lineaments of Batchelder, Moulton, Page and the rest of 1638 are strongly marked in many of the ancestral homes in 1788. The dusky forms that once glided stealthily through the forests are seen no more. Practically, they ceased to be a factor after the treaty of Paris, in 1763. Civilization has crowded them out.

The forests themselves have crept backward, step by step, at the point of the all-conquering plow. Populous villages and productive farms cover the ancient territory. Hampton-built vessels ply the seas; mill wheels whirr; stability is written everywhere.

Hampton has long since ceased to exert the influence formerly wielded. From her proud position as one-fourth of the province, she has become only one of 167 towns ; but on the other hand, out of her territory have sprung six flourishing towns and parts of three more. The balance may, after all, be in her favor. By the state census ordered in 1786, returns from 138 towns gave a population of 95,801. Kingston was one of those that failed to report. Reckoning her population the same as in 1775, and making no deduction for the district south of the Shapley line, we find the growth of old Hampton in the following figures:

Population of Hampton 864  
Population of Kingston, (census of 1775) 961  
Population of East Kingston 420  
Population of Hawke (Danville) 301  
Population of Sandown   521
Population of Hampton Falls 569  
Population of Kensington 798  
Population of Seabrook   668
Population of North Hampton 659  
Population of Rye   653
    ______ ______
  Totals 4572 1842

How large a number to add to the four and a half thousand out of Sandown, Seabrook and Rye, it is impossible to tell; probably but few from the first; the most thickly settled part of Seabrook; and no inconsiderable population along the beach and on the fertile soil of Rye.

The "silent city," laid out in "the Ring," about 1653, has also become populous, and a new enclosure will soon be needed; while many, who used to walk these streets and bear their part in the affairs of town and province, lie in unmarked graves on battle fields, or beneath the ocean waves.

The province has become the state. The seat of government, first at Portsmouth, on several occasions in Hampton, latterly at Exeter, is now permanently removed to Concord; and, though financial distress is still apparent, the towns have repudiated the paper currency scheme, and, by an honest policy, laid the foundation for future prosperity.

To crown all, the British flag no longer waves over the land; the colonies have burst their fetters, and have become a nation.

Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents