Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: THE MASON CLAIM

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It has already been mentioned that the Council of Plymouth made certain grants to Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Capt. John Mason jointly, in 1622; and to Mason alone, in 1629. Both these grants included the territory embraced in Dover, Strawberry Bank, Exeter and Hampton. The two former places were settled under the auspices of Gorges, Mason, and their associates. Captain Mason appears to have acquired all the rights and interests of his associates in this territory, and by virtue of the grant to him in 1629, he claimed the whole territory as his own. The two settlements made in 1623, and more especially that near the mouth of the Piscataqua, may have been under obligation to him, for the pecuniary and other substantial aid which he furnished; but it admits of doubt whether either Exeter or Hampton derived the least advantage from his interest in New Hampshire. Their settlement was not earlier nor their growth more rapid than if Captain Mason had never lived. On the contrary, these and the other towns were, for a long course of years, perplexed and embarrassed, and subjected to heavy expenses, in consequence of exorbitant claims set up by his heirs and their assigns.

Captain Mason died November 26, 1635; and by his will, after making several legacies, he gave to his grandson, John Tufton, the remainder of his estate in Hew Hampshire, requiring him to take the surname of Mason. He died in infancy; and his brother Robert, likewise called Mason, then became heir to the whole estate, subject, however, to such rights as belonged to Mrs. Anne Mason, the widow of Captain Mason, and executrix of his will. Robert Mason became of age in 1650.

Hampton was settled about three years after the death of Captain Mason; but neither from the executrix of his will nor from her agent was heard any note of remonstrance, although Massachusetts, by the very act of granting the place for settlement, virtually claimed the territory as her own, regardless of the claims of Mason's heirs. But when the towns on the Piscataqua come under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, the heirs of Mason, or their agent, demurred a little; but, at that time, as has been well remarked, "the distractions caused by the civil wars in England, were invincible bars to any legal inquiry." (Belknap's History of New Hampshire, I;86.)

In 1651, Joseph Mason coming over as agent of the executrix and finding some of the lands claimed by her, occupied, brought actions against the occupants in the county court of Norfolk, whence they were referred to the General Court.

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