Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: JOHN HUGGINS' SUIT

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A little previous to this time, the town had prosecuted John Huggins for felling timber, and fencing in land belonging to the town, and appropriating said land to his own use, without any authority from the town, by gift, grant or sale; and had recovered damages. Afterward, Nathaniel Boulter, as attorney for John Huggins, had brought an action against the town for recovering the land in question. The case was tried at the Salisbury Court, April, 1675, and decided in favor of the plaintiff, giving him the land in controversy, with costs of court. From this decision, the town appealed to the Court of Assistants to be held at Boston, the next September.

Henry Dow, attorney for the town, assigned reasons for the appeal:--That the town conceived their title to the land to be good, as it had been confirmed to the town by the General Court in 1653, and had been set apart as a common forever: That it had been proved by the testimony of John Sanborn, Henry Green and Morris Hobbs, that Huggins had felled timber there, and had fenced in , and builded upon the land, which was about a mile within the common: That it had been shown by the testimony of Anthony Stanyan and John Cass, that he had not only fenced in the land, but had also broken up some of it, thus appropriating it to his own use: That Huggins had been cautioned against meddling with the land.--As Huggins claimed the land by virtue of a conveyance from one Barret, of Wells, to Nathaniel Boulter, and from Boulter to himself, about the year 1660, the town's attorney contended that such a conveyance could not be valid; and asked how Barret, "though he were ensign of Wells," could sell this land to Boulter, seven years after the General Court had confirmed it to Hampton, as that town had not alienated it in the meantime.

The jury had stated that they founded their verdict on possession, and that the town had owned that this land belonged to Huggins, as appeared from the return of Abraham Drake, the marshal. But the attorney for the town contended that Drake, "went aside his work in deputing the town's land to Huggins;" that he had been ordered to put Huggins in possession of a tract of land within his fence, but not the land in controversy, and that he might as well depute all the commons to him as this land; that, in fact, the land of which it had been proved before the jury, that he was in possession, was not the land in question, but another tract, known as the "Wall farm."

This appeal, however, was not prosecuted before the Court of Assistants, but was settled in the course of the summer.

The town appointed Henry Roby, Robert Smith and Morris Hobbs to treat with Nathaniel Boulter, attorney for Huggins, and agree with him about the payment of the execution; and also authorized Henry Dow, who was then marshal, to put John Huggins in possession of the land.

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