The Town Seal & Flag of Hampton, NH
The Town of Hampton's Official Seal
Prepared by and presented to the Town of Hampton on the eighth day of March 1966 by the Meeting House Green Memorial and Historical Association and American Legion Post #35.
This History has been undertaken with the knowledge that this is not to be considered a complete and final report. It is the intent of the Historical Society and American Legion Post to review and bring this paper up to date as new and related material and information is forthcoming and events develop to warrant changes.
The History and Description of
The Official Seal of the
Town of Hampton, New Hampshire
Mrs. Smith, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Irvin E. Leavitt of Hampton, emphasized scenes truly typical of the Town of Hampton. Hampton Academy with its picturesque steeple, Great Boar's Head and the salt marsh with its haycocks symbolizes the rich historical heritage that once was Hampton.
From the very first, education occupied a prominent place in Town affairs. On the 21st of March 1649, Hampton hired John Legat to teach "both for mayle and femaile to write and read and cast accountes." This was only two years after the first public school in America was created and established. This co-educational school and its former site has been marked by the New Hampshire Historical Commission as an official State Historical Site.
Great Boar's Head at Hampton Beach is one of the famous land marks of the Town and Seacoast Region. This natural land formation appears on many early maps as being much larger and higher than it is at the present time.
Familiar years ago were the Haycocks on the Hampton salt marsh. Salt hay cutting being the oldest industry in Hampton, the salt hay was cut and stacked on groups of posts or "staddles" driven into the ground but high enough to keep the salt hay above the tidewaters. The hay was then taken off the marsh by horse and team or "gundalow". This salt hay was much prized by the early farmers as feed for cattle and garden "mulch".
The Indian name "Winnacunnet", the "Beautiful Place of Pines", was the original name given by the founding fathers to their new settlement.
The rosettes and outline of the seal being taken from the old town Seal of South Hampton, England, incorporates the original home of our early founding settlers.
The dates "SETTLED 1638" and "INCORPORATED 1639" are of greater significance to us when we realize that Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts was settled in 1620.
The Town Seal has appeared on many Town documents, letters and town transportation vehicles to continually remind the viewer of the rich historical heritage of the past.
In 1934, as the result of appropriate legislative action taken by the General Court (Legislative Body) of the State of New Hampshire, all previous Town Charters were revoked. New Charters were drawn by the various Towns throughout New Hampshire with many Communities adopting the same or new Seals and Flags. The Town of Hampton adopts a new Town Seal but does not adopt an official Flag although a flag will be designed and used for many years.
At the suggestion of the Selectmen, the Tercentenary Committee ordered a Town Flag from the Annin Flag Company of New York City. A sketch of this with a description and color of the scenes was sent to the company. The design of the flag was to be the same as the Town Seal designed by Mrs. Hazle Leavitt Smith. The flag was to have an antique white background with a gold border. The design was to be of Royal Blue and Gold.
When the flag was delivered to the town, it was discovered that the New York craftsmen had never seen a marsh with Staddles and Haycocks. The staddles never appeared on the flag at all, the Haycocks had become maple trees, the marsh had become a rolling meadow and Hampton River, a winding country road. The rest of the design was in keeping with the original Seal.
After the Town Tercentenary Celebration, the Selectmen turned the flag over to the American Legion [Post #35] feeling that this organization would continue to carry the flag in parades and make it available for town functions and celebrations.
The History and Description of the
Flag of the Town of Hampton, New Hampshire
The American Legion Post #35 continued to proudly carry the flag and the flag was part of every town parade until 1961.
In 1959, a committee was appointed by the American Legion Post to meet with the Selectmen and obtain permission for the American Legion to obtain a new flag, at all cost to the Legion, to replace the original but unofficial flag. This flag was felt to be too small, the design not too clear and the colors not in keeping with the true idea of the design.
The American Legion Committee made up of Roland W. Paige, Mr. Donald W. Harmon and Mr. Everett W. Mann contacted the Flag Shop in Amesbury, Massachusetts. The Flag Shop agreed to the task. By that next Summer, the Dettra Flag Company of Oaks, Pennsylvania had completed the job and the new flag was delivered to the American Legion Post at a cost of $425.00.
In July of 1960, the Flag was presented to a meeting of the American Legion Post. The Flag was placed on display at the Historical Meeting House Museum that next summer during Old Home Day as well as being carried in the Town parades for the first time that same year (1961).
Mr. Roland W. Paige at the Annual Meeting of the Meeting House Green Memorial and Historical Association in November 1964 presented a Motion that the Historical Society go on record as supporting and co-sponsoring with the American Legion Post #35 an Article to be placed in the Town Warrant at the Town Meeting to be held in March of 1965. This Article would have "the Town adopt the newly designed flag as the official town flag." A second motion put the Society on record as "adopting the color scheme of the newly designed flag" as noted in the following description: (This was also the description read by Mr. Paige at the Town Meeting and unanimously approved by the voters of the Town):
"The flag itself is of light blue, denoting the sea from which the settlers came. The center of the flag is the Seal of the Town of Hampton which was adopted for the 300th Anniversary in 1938. The outer circle is a border of gold followed by a border of black. Next to the letters TOWN OF HAMPTON, N.H. - SETTLED 1638 - INCORPORATED 1639 on a field of dark gold. Next is another border of black.
In the corner of the Seal is the shield of which the upper half is gold and the lower half is silver. In the top part is two red rosettes and one in the center of the bottom part. In the corner and on top the shield is the Hampton Academy with two green pines to the right and one green pine to the left.
At the shield's right is Great Boar's Head of green and brown above an ocean of blue with white sands. To the shield's left is our Hampton River of blue with its marsh of brown and its haycocks of darker brown.
Below the shield is a field of light gray with a scroll of gold and a border of black. Within the scroll is the name "Winnacunnet" in red."
The Historical Society adopted both motions by unanimous vote.
Mr. Paige was instructed by the Society to approach the Town Council, Mr. John Perkins, for advice in writing the Article.
Mr. Paige presented the following Article to the Town in the March 1965 Town Warrant: "ARTICLE 16. On petition of the Meeting House Green Memorial Historical Society and Post #35 The American Legion, signed by Roland W. Paige and eleven other legal voters of the Town of Hampton: To see if the Town will vote to adopt as the official Town Flag, the flag, now in possession of Legion Post #35 The American Legion."
After a motion to adopt the Motion and Article as read was made by Mr. Robert Danelson and seconded by Mrs. Constance Kelly, a general discussion followed.
An amendment by Mr. Roland W. Paige, sponsor of the Article, was made and it read: " . . . and that the history of both the flag and the town seal be kept on file in the Town Office." This motion was seconded by Mrs. Beatrice Perkins. Article 16 was passed as amended.
Although the flag remains the property of Legion Post #35, it is the desire of the Post and its members not only to display the flag at all public town parades but to fly it at appropriate town, civic and public events.
Postscript by Arthur Moody
An excerpt from his letter to the editor in the Atlantic News of Feb 3-9, 2000
"The article, requested by members of the Town's American Revolution Bicentennial Committee, was an outgrowth of the Town's purchase of a set of US-Town ceremonial flags in 1975 for the Bicentennial. The $1200 appropriation was inserted in that year's Federal Revenue Sharing Town meeting article by the Board of Selectmen at the Request of Selectman Ashton Norton.
"The design and Town Seal colorization constitute the official Town Flag, as it is only fitting that the flag owned by the Town be the Official Town Flag. It and the gold-fringed US Flag still adorn the Selectmen's Meeting Room and are used in the formal photo-shoot of the Board of Selectmen for the Town Report, as well as elections, Town Meetings and other town events away from the Town Office Building."