Letter From Dr. Grosvenor, Tide-Mill Is Found

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"Our Town" By James W. Tucker

Hampton Union

Thursday, December 17, 1959

We get letters -- not the volume and type of letters that Perry Como finds in his mailbox -- but many kind and informative letters from folks who read something which interests them in this column and are thoughtful enough to write and tell us about it. We are very grateful for these communications and we likewise appreciate the spoken comment that is often made. People usually are complimentary, but not always. The bitter comes along with the sweet.


We were very glad recently to receive a letter from Lieut. Paul Lessard of the U.S. Marines. Communications from Senator Styles Bridges, Richard Cardinal Cushing and "Neighbor Wes" Powell, our state's chief executive, have also come to hand in the last few weeks. It is always a pleasure to hear from folks here in the Hamptons and particularly from school and town officials. Just the other day we had a kind letter from Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society, who is descended from Hampton's founder, Stephen Bachiler and from the Sanborns of Hampton Falls. We believe that he would not object to the use of his friendly communication in this column.

Dr. Grosvenor Writes

He writes that "Mrs. Hannah B. Colt has very kindly sent Mrs. Grosvenor copies of your two delightful accounts of our visit to Hampton Falls and Hampton, published October 22 and November 12, 1959, in the Hampton Union. We are much complimented that you gave us so much attention in your popular column. You gave me interesting facts about the Sanborns that I did not have.

"I have enjoyed reading your columns and your mention of the visit that my identical twin brother and I made to our Sanborn relatives in Hampton Falls when we were very young.

"I was traveling back and forth from Constantinople, Turkey, so many times in my early youth that I don't recall meeting the famous poet Whittier, but I am glad to take your word that I did have the honor of shaking his hand.

"My grandmother, the daughter of Thayer S. Sanborn (Mrs. Harriet Ward Sanborn Grosvenor), born in Hampton Falls in 1823, married Edwin Prescott Grosvenor, M.D., of Newburyport, Massachusetts in 1843, and four years later, when only 24, she wrote a little book, "My Sister Emily," published by the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, and she continued to write books, published by this Society until her death in 1863, her husband meanwhile having died seven years previously.

"I have a list of about fifteen of her books that were published by the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society. On the chance that you may be interested, I enclosed a list of the copies of her books that I have. It may be she wrote others also. There is no mention in "The History of Hampton Falls" of this brilliant young authoress. From the day she was married she lived in Newburyport.

"I not only found in Hampton Falls the resting place of my great grandfather, Thayer S. Sanborn, but I also found a charming relative, Mrs. Marilla Brown, my third cousin. How very pleased my wife and I were to meet her and to enjoy her company and her recollections of the people of Hampton Falls."

A Welcome Gift

In closing his friendly letter, Dr. Grosvenor states that he is forwarding to us a copy of "America's Wonderlands," prepared by his son, Melville Bell Grosvenor and published by the National Geographic Society, a gift which we shall prize and for which we are very grateful. He also states that the next time he and Mrs. Grosvenor pass through Hampton en route to their summer home in Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, they will stop to say hello. That, of course, would give us much pleasure.

Information Wanted

It may be that someone hereabouts has a book written by Dr. Gilbert Grosvenor's grandmother, Mrs. Harriet W. S. Grosvenor and published by the Massachusetts Sabbath School Society, that he neither has nor knows about. The following list of books, with publication dates, was sent to us by Dr. Grosvenor. We would be glad to have information about additional titles -- information which we will pass along to Dr. Grosvenor.

A Prolific Writer

The books include, My Sister Emily, 1847; A Sabbath in My Early Home, 1850; Unfading Flowers, 1851; The Little Word No: Or, Indecision of Character, 1853; Agnes Thornton: Or, School Duties, 1854; Helen Spencer: Or, Home Duties, 1854; Right and Wrong, 1855; Ellen Dacre: Or, Life at Aunt Hester's 1858; Capt. Russel's Watchword: Or, "I'll Try," 1859; Life's Lessons, 1859; The Old Red House, 1860; The Drunkard's Daughter, 1860; Blind Ethan, A Story for Boys, 1860; Why the Mill Was Stopped, 1861; Climbing the Mountain, 1862 and Noonday: A Life Sketch, 1863.

Life Father, Like Son

Many of the above books were inscribed to Edwin A. Grosvenor, the only son of the authoress and father of Gilbert Grosvenor who has achieved deserved fame throughout the world by reason of his intimate, life-time connection with the National Geographic Society. The father, Edwin Grosvenor, was a distinguished scholar and teacher who died in 1936 at the age of 92. He taught history at Robert College in Constantinople for 23 years, afterwards serving on the faculty at Amherst College in Amherst, Mass.

Neighborly Reception

Dr. Grosvenor has many relatives in the Hamptons whom he has never met, and there are hundreds in these historic communities who hold him in high respect because of his accomplishments for the National Geographic Society and its outstanding magazine. Perhaps sometime when he is passing through our towns on his way to Canada, he and Mrs. Grosvenor would participate in a neighborly reception which could be arranged in his honor by a committee, appointed by the selectmen of Hampton and Hampton Falls. Dr. Grosvenor obviously is proud of his Hampton progenitors. The communities where these forefathers lived, and in some instances were born, have ample reason to be proud of him. It is for this reason that we have the temerity to suggest an occasion where and when this mutual respect could be demonstrated.

Mill Still Stands

For 45 years we have heard about the old Tide-Mill and at low tide have stood at its site to view part of the sturdy stone foundation upon which it had been erected. We assumed that the mill, built at least five years before Deacon Tuck built his grist mill on Nook Lane -- now High Street -- had long ago disappeared -- destroyed by fire or by the ravages of time. Dow's History of Hampton states that the mill was "demolished," and while the dam, the great twenty-foot, undershot water wheel and certain of the gear may have been demolished, we are quite certain that the building -- the mill proper, still stands. However, we doubt if more than a dozen people in all the Hamptons know where the Tide-Mill is now located or how it happened to get to its present site.

Lost Mill and Park

We stood recently in the old mill and marvelled at the details of its sturdy construction. We found it with the help of Arthur W. Brown; through him and William B. Cannon, we have learned something of the history of the old mill since it was moved from its original foundation, probably in 1879 and for our readers we may be able to reconstruct its interesting history through almost 200 years. Perhaps we shall also be able to present the first pictures of Hampton's Tide-Mill -- lost for nearly a century. And with the story of the lost mill, we shall tell the story of how Brown Park was lost to Hampton, facts concerning which Mrs. Marilla P. Brown has agreed to relate to us.
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