Leavitt's Tavern -- Now, Hotel Whittier
Lieut. Jonathan Leavitt kept tavern many years, where the hotel in the village now stands. The date of opening is not preserved; but he was married in 1735, and very possibly began, not far from that time. The tavern was continued without interruption, by his son, Thomas Leavitt. He died in 1791, leaving a widow, who still carried it on, till their daughter, Nancy, was married to Josiah Dearborn, about 1803; after which, Mr. Dearborn was for many years, proprietor and landlord. He built the present house, probably about 1816 or '17.
The new house was called JOSIAH DEARBORN'S INN; and in later years, Mr. Dearborn having left his elder son in possession, and gone to blacksmithing, on the adjoining lot, it was designated as Samuel Dearborn's Inn. A short time previous to 1840, Oliver Godfrey and the late Alfred J. Batchelder leased the house, and named it, in honor of the [Eastern] railroad, then in course of construction, the RAIL-ROAD HOUSE. By this name it was known for some years, under different landlords, all leasing of the Dearborns.
In 1859 or 1860, Jared P. Whitcomb bought the premises, repaired, repainted and gave the name UNION HOUSE, by which the hotel has ever since been called, till it was changed to the present name, in 1890.
Mr. Whitcomb was succeeded in the proprietorship by Bean & Whittier, in 1864, -- this firm, by Smith & Whittier; -- and for the past ten or twelve years, Mr. Otis H. Whittier has been sole proprietor. He built a large wing in 1886, and the hotel can now accommodate from eighty to a hundred guests.
The Post Office
As lately as 1811, the nearest post-offices were at Exeter and Portsmouth, the Hampton mail being brought by stage from the latter place. That year or the next, the post-office was established in Hampton, at the house of James Leavitt, Esq., who continued postmaster till 1837, when he was succeeded by Edmund Toppan, Esq., who removed the office to his house. There it remained till his death, in 1849. Edwin B. Lane was the next postmaster; followed successively by John A. Towle, Joseph W. Dow, Charles G. Marston, Jonathan T. Moulton, John C. Perkins, George T. Crane, John M. Akerman, Robert F. Laird, Myron W. Cole.