Hampton's Streets Lined With History
1638 -- 1988
Rockingham County Newspaper -- July 8, 1988
Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Taking A Tour Through Hampton's Past
By Kathy Bailey
The modern tourist or local history enthusiast can visit Hampton with much greater ease. His only requirements are a pair of good walking shoes and a reliable car. And, perhaps, Roland Paige.
Paige, 77, is an expert on Hampton history. A native of Newburyport, he moved to Hampton at a young age. He remembers the town as far back as the trolley era, and as acting curator of the Tuck Memorial Museum, he's studied the rest.
He has given up driving, but is willing to ride along with others as he points out Hampton historical sites. History is real to Paige, and he speaks of Stephen Bachiler and Goody Cole as though he's just had tea with them. He is equally at home in modern Hampton, as a shade tree planter, cemetery trustee and Boy Scout volunteer.
'First High Ground'
There's also a legend that Moulton sold his soul to the devil for a boot full of gold. He allegedly cheated the devil by cutting off the sole of the boot, so it was never full. Paige believes Hamptonians created the second legend out of spite, because they were jealous of the prosperous Moulton. He was probably the wealthiest Hampton man of his time, with a store, a real estate operation and several slaves.
Tuck Memorial Museum
Eunice 'Goody' Cole
Founders' Park, across the street, is an attractive common with. stones representing Kingston, Hampton Falls, Rye, Seabrook and North Hampton, all part of the original settlement. Smaller stones represent early families of the town. Paige notes that his family has a stone, marked "Page."
"(The family) added the 'i' later," he says.
The Congregational Church, also on Winnacunnet Road, dates, as an organized body of believers, back to 1638. The present building is its sixth, built in 1843. The church, with a weathervane on its spire, is still used for services. A bell from the fifth Congregational Meeting House (1797-1844) may be seen on the lawn.
Pine Grove Cemetery
It is also the final resting place of Edward Gove, who rebelled against the Colonial governor and cooled his heels in the Tower of London. "His friends got him off," Paige notes, "but he arrived back in the Colonies penniless." For some reason, both Hampton and Seabrook claim Gove as a favorite son, but Hampton has his stone.
The Moulton Homestead, circa 1813, 222 Winnacunnet Road, looks peaceful on a summer day, with its fresh white paint, smooth lawn and clipped hedges. It is presently owned by the McDermott family.
The Godfrey Dearborn House (1648), a short drive along the Exeter Road, is considered the oldest frame house in New Hampshire, and is presently owned by the Alie family.
Norsemen's Rock, at Surfside Park, [it presently is located on Meeting House Green at 40 Park Avenue] Winnacunnet Road, is another interesting rock allegedly dating from 1000 A.D., when Norsemen explored North America.
Old Grist Mill
The Old Grist Mill, at the lower end of
High Street, near North Beach, dates
from 1688, but was remodeled in 1815.
[Staff photo Bill Murphy]
Hampton's famous salt marshes were an attraction for the early settlers, Paige notes. The salt marsh hay was harvested and used to feed animals. There are still "plenty" of salt marshes, Paige says. They can be seen behind most Hampton Beach hotels, and Lafayette Road is dotted with them. A Salt Marsh Conservation Park is located between Tide Mill Creek, Hampton River, and the Boston & Maine road right-of-way. It was established during the town's 325th anniversary celebration, with gifts of salt marsh land from local families.
Paige is also on the Shade Tree Commission for Hampton. He recalls a "grand old elm" from his childhood, so big its branches met those of another elm in the road. "Kids liked to lie under it," Paige remembers.
Passing through a business block, he notes that "this whole area used to be lined with trees." A summer shower peppers the car windows as Paige grows thoughtful, remembering other summers and another Hampton.