Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Land Grants

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At the commencement of the settlement, HOUSE LOTS were granted to the settlers by the committee appointed for that purpose by the General Court. After the right of disposing of the land had been vested in the town, individuals were not allowed to select lands for themselves, where, when, and in what quantities they pleased; nor did the town by vote grant to each freeman indiscriminately the same number of acres. Some of the inhabitants had undoubtedly expended more money and made greater sacrifices than others in effecting the settlement, and they were, therefore, justly entitled to more valuable grants. In the records it is expressly stated that, in granting land, "respect was had partly to estate, partly to charges and partly to other things."

In point of fact, grants were usually made no more frequently, and in no greater quantities than prudence dictated, or necessity required, though the people in making them were guided by their own good sense, and not restricted by any colonial or provincial laws. They seem not to have been disposed to enter into any speculation, nor to have felt that, because the territory of the whole township was upon their hands, they must give themselves no rest till they had disposed of it. "The same number of the people," says Judge Jeremiah Smith, "two centuries later, would have made shipwreck at once. The whole territory would have been granted out in the first year."

December 24, 1639, the town granted to the following persons the number of acres of land denoted by the figures annexed to their names, viz.:

  • Mr. Steven Bachiler, 300 (besides his house lot),
  • Mr. Timothy Dalton, 300
  • Mr. Christopher Hussey, 250
  • John Cross, 250
  • John Moulton, 250
  • William Palmer, 100
  • Philemon Dalton, 100
  • Abraham Perkins 80 (granted Jan 14, 1640)
  • Richard Swaine, 100
  • William Eastow, 100
  • Thomas Moulton, 80
  • Robert Saunderson, 80
  • Thomas Jones, 100
  • William Wakefield, 150
  • James Davis, 80

Three weeks afterwards, January 14, 1640, the town took further action in relation to these grants, and determined the kind of land to be assigned to the several grantees. The vote was as follows:

"It is agreed yt everyone of those prsons shall have the one halfe of his ground--so granted,--in upland, & that on that prte of the Towne wch is next or towards his house lott, if it be there to be had conveniantly & wthout priudice; & if it be not, then every one is to have a share according to the prportions granted, & to have the rest of that halfe in swampy or wood ground, where it may be had; or the other halfe he is to have a third prte in fresh meadow & the rest in salt marsh, or else prte of that rest in salt marsh, & the remayndr thereof in swampy or wood ground; And therein the quality of theirs that have the worser is to be rectifyed wth addition in quantity of the same sort or other."

In June, 1640, grants were made to other individuals as follows:

  • Henry Ambrose (granted in Oct.),
  • Francis Asten,
  • John Brabrook,
  • John Brown,
  • Henry Bright,
  • Widow Bristow,
  • Ambrose Carpenter,
  • Richard Carre,
  • Aquila Chase,
  • Thomas Chase,
  • Arthur Clarke,
  • William Cole,
  • Moses Coxe,
  • Timothy Dalton, jr.,
  • James Davis, jr.,
  • ---- Dow (if he come),
  • John Eldred,
  • William English,
  • William Fifield,
  • Giles Fuller,
  • William Fuller,
  • Samuel Greenfield,
  • Daniel Henrick,
  • Barnabas Horton,
  • William Howard,
  • John Huggins,
  • Widow Mary Hussey,
  • Edmund Johnson,
  • Thomas King,
  • Richard Knight,
  • John Legat,
  • William Marston,
  • Robert Marston,
  • Daniel Morse,
  • Henry Moulton,
  • Jeffery Mingay,
  • Robert Page,
  • -------- Palmer,
  • Widow Judith Parker,
  • Francis Peabody,
  • John Philbrick,
  • Walter Roper (perhaps at this time),
  • John Sanborn,
  • Stephen Sanborn,
  • William Sanborn,
  • William Sargent,
  • John Saunders,
  • Robert Saunderson,
  • Robert Sawyer,
  • Thomas Sleeper,
  • Thomas Smith,
  • Anthony Taylor,
  • Robert Tuck, 100 acres,
  • Francis Wainwright,
  • John Ward (if he come),
  • Thomas Ward,
  • John Wedgwood.

The first lands granted were small tracts for HOUSE LOTS, containing in but a few instances as many as ten acres. In many cases these lots, being from ten to twenty-five or thirty rods in width, lay contiguous to each other, so that when other grants were afterwards made to their owners, they usually consisted of land not adjoining their house-lots, and in some instances lying at a considerable distance from them. From this arrangement it has resulted, that at the present time, the farms in the earliest settled portions of the town, are not situated in one compact body, but lie in several detached lots, and are in consequence less convenient than they might have been under a different arrangement. Only five or six grants, styled FARMS, were made at an early period. These were made to Mr. Steven Bachiler, Mr. Timothy Dalton, Mr. Christopher Hussey, Mr. John Cross and John Brown; and none of them lay in that part of the town where the earliest inhabitants principally lived. A farm was also granted to Mr. John Moulton, but he soon after "resigned it to the freemen." Mr. Bachiler's farm was afterwards owned by Mr. John Wheelwright.

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