Retired Teacher Tells The Ghostly Tales Of Hampton

By Susan Morse

Herald Sunday -- The Hampton Union

Sunday, October 27, 2002

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON - At Halloween, who can resist a good ghost story? Even one that's been floating around town almost as long as the spirit has?

Certainly not Harold Fernald of Hampton, a man who began telling ghost stories to his Winnacunnet High School students more than 30 years ago to scare up some interest in his history class.

There are basically four ghosts in Hampton, Fernald said.

First, there's well-known Goody Cole, who was convicted of being a witch.

Then there's Thorvald the Viking, who is said to have been one of the earliest visitors to Hampton. A rock with Rune markings taken from the Boar's Head area is now on display at the Tuck Museum.

Gen. Jonathan Moulton is said to have sold his soul to the devil to have his boots filled with gold. Moulton, the story goes, cut holes in the soles of his boots so that the gold filled his house.

And then there are those who swear they've seen the ghost of Valentine Marston, a young boy who died in the late 19th century.

Marston was named Valentine for having been born on Feb. 14. In 1890, when he was II, Valentine got a hold of of his father's gun and went outside. The gun went off, wounding him, and he died of lead poisoning on Oct. 12, 1890.

Marston is buried in the High Street cemetery, Fernald said, but his ghost returns to homes once occupied by the extended Marston family.

"His ghost shows up from time to time in Marston houses," Fernald said. Many of the sightings were reported to Fernald in the late 1950s and '60s.

Valentine's older brother, Chester, was a barber in town. "Chester, I saw your brother, young Valentine," Fernald said one customer told Chester Marston. Many people had.

Marston is a "white ghost," according to Fernald. Those who see him experience something good in their lives.

A family from New Jersey moved into a former Marston home on Tide Mill Road. When it came time to move, the family had trouble selling the house. It was nothing to do with the house having a ghost. No one had seen a ghost, yet.

One day, the woman who lived there hung clothes on the line. She reached for a pin from the clothes pin bag and felt a hand in her hand. Looking down, she saw a boy in a sailor suit and hat smiling at her.

"He just smiled and disappeared," Fernald said.

Fernald has a photo of Valentine Marston taken while he was alive. He showed the photo to the Tide Mill Road resident and she confirmed that yes, he was the boy she saw.

Within 48 hours, the house sold.

Harold Fernald is retired chairman of the history department at Winnacunnet High School.

"My specialty is the history of the ghosts of Hampton," he said.

Fernald is also interested in living history. He is a member of a local militia group that does re-enactments.

For Halloween, the Lane Memorial Library has posted on its Web site a complete history of Hampton ghosts. Visit for more information.