Hampton's Tuck-Leavitt Grist-Mill -- 1815

By John M. Holman, Hampton History Volunteer

Grist Mill

(From "History of Earlier Hampton" by Rev. Roland D. Sawyer, Kensington, NH): "A year or two back, Hampton took action to restore the old Tuck-Leavitt Grist-Mill on the North Shore Road (now High Street).

"(Joseph) Dow, in his (Hampton) history, gives 2 pages (Volume 1, Page 541 & 542) to the history of the same.

"Some years ago, post cards were sold with its picture and it was called "The Old Leavitt Mill", and I have a snapshot made of it in 1945, and used to call there when the Hutchinson family owned the property.

"Dow tells us the mill was started by John Tuck, who, on September 17, 1686 at a Town Meeting, secured the right to put up a grist-mill there.

"The dam flooded the land back of it sufficient to enable people to use the pond for a fulling-mill. That is a pond in which to float cloth made on hand looms till the cloth would shrink and be of much better quality than the un-fulled cloth.

"It thus became, when at a Town Meeting on November 14, 1689, Mr. Tuck was allowed increased use of the stream for this purpose.

"The Nilus Brook, whose water was being used, went dry and the town, at a meeting in November 1709, allowed him to connect with the springs on land of Thomas Sleeper and also other springs. With this added supply, the mills became of much greater value to the people.

"Around 1800, Reuben Lamprey secured the mill but soon sold to Moses Leavitt. Mr. Leavitt ran it thus for a few years, then, in 1815, took the old mill down and built the new one which stood until the fire on August 20, 1961.

"The size of some of the timbers made the present-day interested people think that they must be the original ones put there by John Tuck in 1686.

"This can well be so, but the mill itself gave to the people of the town, much larger use than before Moses Leavitt took it. Thus, in justice to its history, the mill, if it is again restored, should be called the 'TUCK-LEAVITT GRIST-MILL'."

Grist Mill

From Dow's History of Hampton, 1892, Volume I, Page 542, "..... Early in the present century, Tuck's gristmill had come into the possession of Reuben Lamprey, who sold it to Moses Leavitt. In 1815, Mr. Leavitt took down the old mill, which had become dilapidated, and built a new one, which he and his sons operated. Subsequently, Mr. Leavitt gave the mill to his eldest son, Jonathan, whose widow controlled it till her death in 1885."

It is now owned by the Town of Hampton and is not presently in use.