The Philbrick Garrison House

Return to Table of Contents

Views and Reviews of Old Rockingham

By Roland D. Sawyer

Hampton Union, May 22 & 29, 1952

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

Site of the Philbrick Garrison House
Site of the Philbrick Garrison House in Hampton

Thomas Philbrick was in Watertown, Mass., in 1636, when he is listed as a proprietor. He must have been a man past middle years, for in 1640, his son John, who had married Ann Knapp of Watertown, is in Hampton and receives a grant of land in June of that year.

In January 1646, the father, Thomas sold out at Watertown and came to Hampton with two sons and 4 daughters and his wife Elizabeth.

The oldest of his sons, Sgt. Thomas, age 22, had secured for the family the buildings of William Sanborn and six acres of land for his father; and 16 months later he bought the place from Sanborn and conveyed it to his father.

It remained the Philbrick homestead for eight generations, till 1855, when John A. Philbrick had the original house taken down and the house built that appears in our cut of this article.

Sgt. Thomas, after conveying the property, took up land near Rev. Steven Bachilor’s farm on the south end of the town, now Seabrook and near the old Quaker graveyard. There he and his family became active and prominent people.

John, son of pioneer Thomas was lost at sea with his wife and daughter, on October 20, 1657.

James, another son of the father Thomas, who lived with his father in the Sanborn Garrison house, was drowned at sea with Peter Johnson, his near neighbor, November 16, 1674.

The sons all register as mariners, the property of their father being only six acres.

The original house stood about 30 feet to the left and opposite the house which appears in the cut; (to the left as we walk in from the road.) It is now  [1952] the home of Mrs. Georgia Scott [at 271 Winnacunnet Road.]

The William Sanborn deed of May 17, 1647, describes the land as bounded, easterly (toward the beach) by John Brown’s land; westerly, by land of William Fifield, Alfred J. Leavitt lived on the Fifield place in 1880, while Zaccheus Brown lived on the John Brown land.

The original Sanborn-Philbrick house, the earliest house in town of which we know the exact site where it stood, is described by three local historians: viz. – by Dow in his History of Hampton, page 247. By Mrs. Elizabeth K. Folsom in her book, COLONIAL GARRISONS, page 31.

And by Rev. Joseph Fullonton, author of THE HISTORY OF RAYMOND, and who wrote much in the Exeter News-Letter from around 1840, and who wrote up an account of the house when he made his visit there around 1850.

Fullonton was told the house was built by William Sanborn in 1640 and sold to the Philbrick family in 1647. This agrees with the information possessed by Mr. Dow and Mrs. Folsom.

It was probably on land granted William Sanborn, a grandson of Mr. Bachilor, in the granting of 1640, and which the house was promptly built.

The line of Philbricks who lived there was as follows: (1) Thomas and his son John; (2) James, son of Thomas, who married Ann Roberts of Dover; (3) Capt. James. son of James, who married Hannah Perkins; (4) Deacon Joseph, who married Ann Dearborn; (5) James son of Deacon Joseph, who married 1754, Tabitha Dow; (6) Joseph, who married Jemima Blake; (7) Joseph, son of Joseph, who married 1816, Betsey Palmer; (8) John A Philbrick, who took the old house down and built the new one.

The last named lived here only a little time, Joseph, married 1816 lived there 39 years then moved to a new house on the plains; (see Dow, vol. 2, page 925).

Mr. Fullonton visited the house when Joseph lived there, and he was showed the large Bishop’s Bible: the holes thru which a gun could be thrust on the over-hanging second story outer floor; the old wooden latches with strings attached; and the tremendous size of the timbers, hewed by hand; the loop-holes on all sides of the first floor, with a closing shutter from the inside; the original furniture, made of oak.

Said Mr. Fullonton, the marks of antiquity are such as I had never seen before, and mark the house, as the deeds show, as built by the first little group of settlers, and surely before 1644.

It was a mark of the practical wisdom of Mr. Bachilor, who saw to it that a safe and comfortable home was built for his daughter’s son, whom he had brought to the New World.

The house showed that the first settlement in Hampton was around the corner in the Beach Road, where now stands the great Elm Tree, planted by the Dow family.

Coming up the road from the upper landing, to the Garrison House, crossing over to Meeting House Green, then taking the left road to the lower landing, was the original road of the settlers, and along it, and back from it only a little way, was built all their houses and buildings.
Little by little the roads were extended and new homes built. Both Mrs. Folsom and Mr. Dow speak of the Wingate-Toppan Garrison, a Stockade House, which stood on Lafayette Road, between the present new Catholic Church and the corner.

The house was built and a stockade put around it during the war with Indians, just before 1700, by Col. Joshua Wingate, born Feb. 2, 1679, and just married or to be married.

His daughter, Sarah, later married Dr. Edmund Toppan, and it became Toppan Home that stood till 1900, having stood there 201 years. Years ago there were to be found photographs of the celebrated old house, with its ornamental fence and signs of prosperity. (If anyone still has a photograph, I wish they would pass it in to the Hampton Union, to be printed in these columns).


As I have written, many of the Philbricks were men of the sea. One of them who was a “captain” of a vessel had his vessel taken by the French who were at War with the English.

While coasting about, a heavy storm came up, the French captain, not knowing the locality, became excited and the ship would have been sunk but for Capt. Philbrick. He took charge at the wheel, knowing the coast brought the vessel thru the storm safely.

The French captain wanted to show gratitude, and also wanted to get rid of a prize which his crew, and probably himself, thought the cause of their troubles viz a large Protestant Bible.

So the captain put Capt. Philbrick ashore and gave him the Bible. The Bible had seen rough usage, Capt. Philbrick took it into a London shop and had it recovered and then brought it home to Hampton.

he Bible was 22 inches by 14 and contained 1,200 pages of large type, according to the description by Mr. Fullonton. It was a copy of an edition printed around 1583 for Bishops in the Church of England.

In the Brookfield Association Library of Ministers, in Brookfield, Massachusetts of which I was long librarian, We had a copy of this Bible and we gave it to the  Worcester, Mass. Museum.

We wonder what may have become of the Philbrick copy?

Return to Table of Contents