Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: THE JENNESS DISPUTE

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The measures adopted on several occasions at an earlier period for preventing encroachments on the commons, by portions of them being fenced in, and in other ways, having been found ineffectual, the commoners again met, May 10, 1720, to consider the subject and determine upon some other course to be taken with the trespassers. They agreed that three men should be chosen, who, or any two of whom, should prosecute offenders according to law. They were not, however, to be hasty in commencing prosecutions. Upon complaint being made, they were to give notice to individuals complained of, to show their bounds according to the return of the laying out of their land, and then, if it should appear that a trespass had really been committed, to prosecute the offenders without delay. The selectmen for the time being were authorized to draw upon the town clerk, for money of the commoners deposited with him, to meet expenses incurred by the committee, in carrying on any suits that might be commenced by them. In case the money deposited with the town clerk should not be sufficient to meet their wants, a meeting of the commoners was to be called, to instruct the committee what further should be done. The men selected for this purpose were Mr. Nathaniel Weare, Capt. Jabez Dow, and Lieut. Jonathan Marston. This action of the commoners was nearly unanimous, only four persons dissenting, viz.: Thomas Marston, Simon Dow, Richard Jenness and John Jenness.

The principal ground of complaint appears to have been in relation to the course taken by the two men last named. They lived in the extreme northeasterly part of the town, near the Piscataqua line and not far from the seashore, and claimed and had fenced in more land than the commoners considered them entitled to. That a settlement with them might be made peaceably, the committee met with them early in the next month, when it was mutually agreed to submit the case to arbitration; and at a meeting of the commoners on the 27th of June they ratified the doings of their committee, and voted to abide by the award of the arbitrators, whatever it might be.

The arbitrators agreed upon were John Plaisted, George Jaffrey, Joseph Hammond, Henry Somerby and Joshua Moody. The parties in controversy gave bonds to each other to abide by their award. After a two days' hearing and a careful examination of all the evidences, and papers relating to the premises, they made their award August 31: The said John and Richard Jenness, and their heirs and assigns were forever to hold unmolested, all the land that they had fenced in, on the south side of a certain brook running from Cedar Swamp; and they were to quitclaim all right to any other land in the North Division, on either side of the brook, than that which was then fenced in; and all controversies, lawsuits and differences, relating thereto, were thenceforth to be at an end.

"Memorandum. The Principal Considerations upon wch ye bounds is Confirmed to Jennis according to ye fence is that it appears to us that Jennises Lot was laid out in ye year 1675 upon a South Southwest line whereas it ought to have been on a West Southwest line."

  [Signed by all the arbitrators.]
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