The Beautiful Place of Pines
Adapted from Information obtained from the
"Hampton Beach Area Chamber of Commerce"
Courtesy: Hampton Beach Area Chamber of Commerce,
"Doc" Noel, President, 2001
Along with a small band of pioneers from Newbury, Massachusetts, Stephen Bachiler came up the Hampton River with the permission of the General Court for a new settlement on October 14, 1638. This was eighteen years after the pilgrims had landed at Plymouth Rock to begin their settlement there.
The original name for Hampton by the Indians was Winnacunnet, which means "beautiful place of pines." At the request of Bachiler, the name was changed in honor of Southampton, England. Bachiler’s group of farmers were granted permission to settle here and establish a township by the General Court of Massachusetts. The town was incorporated in 1639.
The location, near the sea, provided the original settlers great marshes, covered with lush grass, to supply feed for their cattle. These first settlers were farmers harvesting the thick growth of marsh grass covering the flats used for fodder. The soil was favorable after the forest had been cleared, thereby allowing them to support their livestock with corn.
These settlers also used the products of the sea. The Hampton whale boat was known the world over as a strong little craft that could stand up to the fury of the wildest storm. The Congregational church, one of the oldest in the U.S., and the oldest house of worship in continuous existence in NH, was formed by Bachiler’s band of settlers.
Hampton Beach remained an integral part of the Town of Hampton, with the beach area remaining relatively undeveloped until the 1800’s. In 1897, the construction of an electric car line from Exeter to Hampton Beach brought summer travel towards the summer resort of Hampton Beach. The town possesses one of the cleanest beaches in America and provides a full summer program of entertainment and planned activities for adults and children.
Boar’s Head, a bluff of rock jutting our into the sea is one of the attractions at the beach. Boar’s Head has been used as a landmark by sailors for more than three centuries. One historical spot is "Bound Rock," at the confluence of the town boundaries of Hampton, Hampton Falls and Seabrook, found at the south side of Hampton River Bridge. Now protected by an encircling cement wall, the King’s Crown can be seen engraved in the rock. Bound Rock is believed to be one of the earliest boundary markers in the U.S. Only 50 miles from Boston, Hampton Beach is no longer Beautiful Place of Pines, but rather Beautiful Place of Sun, Sand and Surf.