Fred Batchelder Belonged With Beach Pioneers
December 4, 1883 - January 1, 1961
"Our Town" By James W. Tucker
Hampton Union, Thursday, January 12, 1961
We include them under the title, "Hampton Beach Pioneers." Numbered in the group ar those men and women who have been mainly responsible for the modern growth and development of our town's famous recreational center. By "modern growth," we mean roughly the period which began right after the opening of the twentieth century -- that epoch marked by the advent of the trolley car, the Hampton Beach Casino and the "Mile Long Wooden Bridge," the pile structure which first spanned the inlet to Hampton Harbor, thereby making our beach directly accessible from the south.
New Spirit of Accord
They were a rugged lot, these beach pioneers -- individualists at the outset who eventually learned the value of cooperation and the need of organization. Tribute to them, as a group and as personalities, has been paid so often in this column that their names need not be repeated now. At the outset, with a very few exceptions, they were not socially acceptable in the provincial-minded Hampton of a half-century ago. They were characterized as "furriners" and treated, for the most part, with suspicion and disdain. Nearly all of them are gone. Many sons and daughters remain to appreciate the spirit of accord and understanding which now marks the happy relationship between "beach" and "town."
A beach pioneer, who was a decided exception to the rank and file of pioneers, insofar as recognized standing in the exclusive genealogies of old Hampton families is concerned, died early on New Year's Day after a long and harrowing illness which he bore with high courage and fortitude. Frederick Russell Batchelder, born in Hampton and educated in Hampton, at Phillips Exeter Academy and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was a descendant of the famous founder, Rev. Stephen Bachiler.
As an engineer of distinction, associated all his life with the N. E. Telephone and Telegraph Company, whatever of provincialism he may have inherited from his progenitors was soon eradicated by reason of his education and his daily opportunity to rub elbows with men of culture and experience. He became broad-minded and liberal, so it was only natural for him thoroughly to understand the position of the average business man who lived in the beach section of Hampton.
Sensed Beach Value
And there was probably another compelling reason which caused Fred Batchelder naturally to side with the beach community. In the stagecoach days, long before the era which we have referred to as "modern," his father and his grandfather before him conducted a hostelry on Great Boar's Head which catered to the carriage trade. These were the faraway days when Hampton was known as "a watering place comparable to Newport." A love of the beach was born in him.
An Engineer's Interest
Modern Sewage System
His help to the beach community in other progressive undertakings, such as planning and zoning, was equally effective and led to his election as a Commissioner of the Hampton Beach Village District or Precinct, as it is generally called. His love of the sea and of boating was the reason for his interest in the Hampton Harbor Yacht Club which he helped to organize and which he served as its first commodore.