Hampton's 250th Anniversary Celebration

Return to Table of Contents

HAMPTON'S GREAT DAY -- 1638 - 1888

Newburyport Daily Herald, Vol. 58 - No. 194, Thursday, August 16, 1888

The Town's Completion of 250 Years of Life Duly Observed

A Great Gathering of Sons, Daughters, and Collateral Descendants;
a Fine Procession; a Scholarly Oration; After Dinner Speeches
by Distinguished Individuals; and Incidents of the Day.

Wednesday, August 15, will long be prominent in the annals of Hampton as one of the greatest, if not the greatest day in her history. It commemorated a leading event not only in the life of the town -- the completion of its 250th year, but in the history of New Hampshire as well. Portsmouth, Dover and Exeter are the only settlements which antedate it, the latter by but a few weeks, and none have done more towards making the Granite State and her people what they are today than this charming little town and her sons and daughters born within the ceaseless sound of old ocean as it rolls in upon the rocky and jagged tusks of the Boar (Head).

The ringing of the church bells and the noise of the fire arms by Young America ushered in a beautiful August day, perfect in all its appointments for the great occasion which the town celebrated. People from the surrounding towns and country districts began to arrive at an early hour, and it is safe to say that never before had Hampton seen so many people gathered within her borders. The great number of vehicles of every description was especially noticeable and for a radius of a dozen miles the country must have been very nearly depopulated and the people centered at Hampton. The more formal exercises opened at 10 o'clock with a parade which moved in the following order:

Chief Marshal: Charles Philbrick,
Aids: William E. Lane & Edwin Mason.

Newburyport Cadet Band.
Perkins Post G. A. R. of Hampton.
President of the Day: Hon. Charles M. Lamprey of Hampton.
Orator of the Day: Hon. John J. Bell of Exeter,
Hon. George B. Loring, and Ex-Senator Patterson.
Invited Guests in Carriages.
Citizens of Hampton in Carriages and Barges.

Marshal: George A. Johnson.
Aids: Herman Brown & John Wilcutt, Jr.
Mechanics Brass Band of Hampton Falls.
Rockingham Lodge No. 22, I.O. of O. F., of Hampton
Portsmouth Canton, Uniformed Patriarchs.
Exeter Lodge of Odd Fellows.
Rebekah Degree Lodge, Hampton, in carriages.
Delegations of citizens from Hampton Falls,
Seabrook, South Hampton and Kensington,
offsprings of the old town.
Display by the farms and trades.
School children in carriages.

Marshal: George Clark.
Aids: George Page & Albert Young.
Rye Brass Band
Hampton J.O.U.A.M.
Hampton Knights of Temperance.

The procession in variety and interest was one seldom equalled in a country town and it would have arrested attention in a large city. One of the most noticeably features was the display by the trades. Of course, the one great trade or calling of the town is farming, in its various branches, and this was portrayed in royal shape. Great carts were heaped up with luscious early fruits and vegetables, the milk farms' teams were loaded, and one piece was in the form of a miniature barn, and not so very small either, on top of which was a live cock, while a heifer, her horns ornamented with ribbons, was led behind. A young man also drove a well trained heifer harnessed into a "nobby" village cart. There was an old cannon, which washed out on the beach thirty or forty years ago, and which tradition says belonged to a vessel wrecked near the spot away back in 1722. A tally-ho coach from the Farragut House, Rye Beach, was laden with a gay party. The daughters of Rebekah, in a barge, enlivened the occasions with songs, and the merry school children added much to the completeness of the scene. The florists, nurserymen, truck gardeners and local dealers were all represented. The veterans of the Grand Army, came in for a share of attention, and the Portsmouth Canton of Uniformed Patriarchs won golden opinions for their fine marching and excellent appearance. Where there was so much, it is impossible to specify in detail, but everyone connected with the procession did credit to himself or herself and to the old town as well.

After marching through the principal streets, the parade was dismissed, and the literary exercises were held at the square. After music by the Cadet Band, Hon. Charles M. Lamprey of Hampton, President of the Day, delivered an address of welcome.

Prayer was then offered by Rev. W. E. Bartlett, pastor of the Methodist church, after which, the orator of the day, Hon. John J. Bell of Exeter, a descendant on the maternal side from an early settler, was introduced.

Music by Cadet Band followed and the company then repaired to the big tent near the town house, where Caterer Howard P. Currier of Newburyport had plates laid for 700 guests. After discussing the substantial provided toasts and speeches were in order.

Around the guest table were seated ex-Governor Charles H. Bell, and Orator John J. Bell of Exeter; ex-Senator J. W. Patterson of Hanover; ex-Governor Robie of Gorham, Me.; Hon. John D. Lyman of Exeter; Chief Justice Morton of Massachusetts; Hon. Frank Hackett of Washington; Hon. J. B. Walker, of Concord, N.H.; Hon. George B. Loring of Salem; Judge Thomas Leavitt of Exeter; Hon. Frank B. Sanborn of Concord, Mass.; Col. William H. Hackett, Mayor Geo. E. Hodgdon and Hon. Calvin Page of Portsmouth; Mayor Stott of Lowell; Hon. Joseph Kidder, Manchester, NH; Hon. Daniel Hall, Dover, Col. Peter Sanborn, Hampton, for many years state treasurer; Rev. Edmund F. Slafter, Col. John B. Batchelder and R. W. Shea esq., of Boston; & Rev. Dr. Dalton of Portland.

Judge Lamprey rapped to order and announced the toasts, which were entirely informal but in good taste, Hon. J. W. Patterson responded to "The State of New Hampshire" in a most telling and eloquent manner. Hon. Joseph Kidder of Manchester, N.H., spoke to "Co-operative organization promotive of civilization," especially dealing with Odd Fellowship. The distinguished Weare family, which furnished at the same time a President and Chief Justice of New Hampshire, in one person, was eulogized by Hon. Frank B. Sanborn of Concord, Mass.; Albert G. Lane, Superintendent of Schools for Cook county, Illinois, spoke for the Lane family. Mayor Stott of Lowell eloquently treated of the Grand Army of the Republic. Claudius B. Webster, a son of the distinguished Hampton minister of the early days of the century, answered to the toast eulogizing that name, and read an original poem entitled "The Friends of Seventy Years Ago." Hon. George B. Loring spoke in that witty and brilliant strain for which he is noted, the toast being -- "The Early Farmers of Hampton. They plowed deep, tilled well and thanked God for the harvest." The early relations of Hampton and Exeter was answered by Hon. John D. Lyman of Exeter, Ex-Governor Robie spoke for Maine, and Rev. Dr. Dalton of Portland closed the after dinner speeches.

In the evening there was an informal gathering and speech making at the tent, a display of fireworks followed, and a concert was given by the Newburyport Cadet Band. The celebration was a complete success from beginning to end, and reflect great credit on the committee having it in charge.

Incidents of the Celebration

Among the returned sons of Hampton was Major Adams, son of the celebrated Reformation John Adams. He was formerly a resident of this city, and after serving in the second New Hampshire Regiment, and being wounded at the battle of Williamsburg, he went to the Pacific coast, where he invested largely in land, which has since advanced till he is, at least, above want. He was for awhile in the newspaper business, publishing the Vancouver's Register and then the Columbian of Portland, Ore. He declares that Portland, Oregon, owes its prosperity and present status more to Newburyport people than to emigrants from any other place in the United States. Mr. Adams has published a book of poems in California, and is about publishing a second volume for which Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, one of our greatest poets, is to write an introduction.

Two men born in adjoining homes in Hampton, both of whom left town a quarter of a century ago, met for the first time yesterday since their boyhood.

Boston reporters remarked that they never attended a public celebration where everything was so quiet and orderly; not an intoxicated person was seen on the streets, nor was there the slightest indication of a disturbance of any kind.

The enterprise of the Daily Evening Herald took the good people of the town by surprise. The company had not finished dinner when copies were for sale on the streets and at the tent, containing a report of the day up to the time when the guests went to dinner, including an abstract of the orator's address the words of which were "hardly cold in his mouth." More copies of the Evening Herald were sold in Hampton yesterday than of any other paper on any previous day in its history.

The Herald is especially indebted for courtesies shown, to Mr. O. H. Whittier of the Union House. This popular old hotel, now crowded with summer guests, was the general headquarters, and Mr. Whittier was indefatigable in his attentions to all. The Union House was magnificently decorated from ridge pole to cellar walls on the outside, and the dining hall was elegantly draped with fancy designs.

The handsome horse ridden by Chief Marshal Philbrick attracted much attention, and the rider none the less so.

Never was such a set of fakirs seen in this vicinity as appeared on the grounds at Hampton. Pedlars of every kind of wares, including the balloon man, and the man from Boston, the old English game of "Aunt Sallsy," tossing rings over a lot of canes, a darkey sticking his head through a hole in canvass for a cent a shot; a dollar if you hit him three times, archery, and of course, pink lemonade, ginger pop, etc.

Mr. Webster, who recited the poem at the table was consul at Sheffield, England, under President Grant, who on his tour round the world called on his consul, who took him to the cutlery manufactory of Rogers Brothers. The firm presented Gen. Grant with an elegant gold mounted pocket knife, which he carried round the world. Soon after his arrival home he was on a Southern trip, when the cars went through a bridge over a small stream. He had the knife in his hand and lost it in the creek. Three years after, a boy found it and it came into possession of a New York committee for erecting a monument to some public man. They published the story, and advertised the knife for sale, to the highest bidder. A New York man bid $50 and Mr. Webster bid $100 and took the knife. Mr. Webster had the knife on exhibition at Hampton yesterday, and of course attracted much attention. Without doubt, if it were duly advertised, it might be sold for a cool thousand.

Return to Table of Contents