Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: NORTH HILL PARISH

Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents


The petition was so far granted, that the North Hill people were discharged from the ministerial and school taxes of the old town of Hampton, so long as they should support an orthodox minister, and a reading and writing school master among themselves; but they were required to pay their proportion of the grant made by the town to Madam Dorothy Gookin, and all other town and province charges, ministerial and school taxes excepted. The act conferred authority to call meetings, choose officers, assess and collect taxes, and to do whatever might be necessary for accomplishing the object in view. It was approved by the Governor, November 17, 1738.

The first meeting of the new parish, under this act, was called by Daniel Sanborn, and was held at their meeting-house on the 21st of December. John Dearborn was chosen moderator; John Wedgwood, clerk; Benjamin Hobbs, John Godfrey and Jonathan Thomas, assessors; Job Chapman, collector; and Daniel Sanborn and Jeremiah Dearborn were chosen a committee to agree with Mr. Nathaniel Gookin, to preach in the North Hill meeting-house for three months.

At a parish meeting, March 20, 1739, having agreed to receive as a member, Mr. Joseph Dearborn, it was voted to be at the charge according to every one's ability. when a proper season should present, to have him poll from Greenland to the society at North Hill.

Mr. Gookin, who had been supplying the pulpit, appears to have closed his labors at this time. A committee was chosen to settle with him and to procure a minister for one year; Benjamin Hobbs and Joseph Dearborn were appointed a committee to ask advice of neighboring clergymen about settling a minister; £100 were raised to support the ministry and a school; and Daniel Sanborn was elected schoolmaster for the parish.

The meeting-house, though built several years before, still remained unfinished. It was now voted to give liberty to certain individuals to build a flight of stars and to lay the gallery floors at their own cost and charge. These improvements seem not to have been made at this time, but at a later period and in a different manner.

May 8, 1739, the society voted to settle a minister within one year. Preparatory to this, they greed to observe the 24th of May as a day of fasting and prayer. A committee was chosen to secure the attendance of five ministers; and another committee of four men, to consult with the ministers when assembled, to obtain their advice in the choice of a scholar to settle in the work of the ministry. Of this assemblage, and the advice given, there is no record. It is evident, however, that the attention of the people was soon turned towards Mr. Nathaniel Gookin himself, as a candidate for settlement, and on the 12th of the next month, negotiations were opened.

The society voted that so long as Mr. Gookin should continue with them in the work of the ministry, they would give for his support £110 a year for the first two years, and then add thereto £5 a year until it should amount to £140, which should thenceforth be his stated salary, but that one-third of this should be paid in provisions at such prices as should be agreed upon at the next meeting. They also voted that, if necessity should require and their ability admit, they would make further additions. Among the supplies;lies specified, the people agreed annually to furnish a sufficient quantity of firewood, and procure a convenient parsonage of at least ten acres of land, and fence the same, and build upon it a suitable house and barn for Mr. Gookin's use. At an adjourned meeting, June 25th, it was voted that they should look upon Mr. Gookin as in the work of the ministry, and so entitled to the salary, though he should be taken from the public service of the Sabbath by bodily indisposition. The prices of provisions to be furnished as a part of the salary were fixed as follows: Indian corn at 7s. per bushel; wheat, 10s. and barley, 6s; beef, 6d. per pound; port, 8d.

It was agreed at the same meeting, to raise a tax of £19 to defray the expense of completing two flights of stars in the meeting-house and of laying the east and south parts of the gallery floors; making the "fore-seats" around the gallery; and placing six pillars under the girts. A committee of three was appointed to superintend the work. Mr. Gookin, on the 28th of July, gave the parish the following answer:

You having invited me to settle with you in the work of the ministry, I would certify you that I cannot suppose the salary you offer is sufficient to support a family. But seeing that, according to your present circumstances, it is a generous offer, and manifests your good disposition, honorably to support the gospel ministry among you, I depend upon it that you will lay out yourselves to the utmost, to keep my family from want, and will, as your abilities increase, make further additions to the salary. I accept your invitation, demanding of you, as you will answer it at the great day, that you give diligent heed to the truths I shall bring you from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and practice according to them; also that you be continually earnest at the throne of grace for me, that I may be a faithful and successful laborer in the Gospel among you.

I am yours to serve in the Gospel of Christ,
Nathl Gookin."

Previous to this time, no church had been formed in connection with the new parish. Now it appears to have been arranged that a church should be formed and the pastor inducted into office at the same time. Preparatory to this, a considerable number of members of the first church, living within the new parish, asked of the church, September 23d, a dismission, in order to their being united in a church state at North Hill.[Chap. XXII] Displeased with the whole proceeding, and probably piqued that the new parish had been established, notwithstanding their remonstrances, the church refused. The next month, a second application for dismission was equally unsuccessful. A council was convened on the 30th of October, when some communications passed between that body and the old church, which, however, still adhered to its former votes. The council then proceeded to organize a church and ordain the candidates without the concurrence of the old church. These transactions were on the 31st of October.

The next onward step for the new parish followed as a natural sequence. They had now grown strong and able to conduct their own affairs; and they aspired to the full privileges of a township. Accordingly, in the summer of 1742, a petition to the effect was presented to the General Court. Opposition by the people of Hampton had now largely given way; and the freeholders chose two of their number "to appeare at ye General Court at there next setting in ye behalfe of ye Town to answare in ye affaire of ye pititioners of north hill. That we are willing that those parsons ye pititioners which are desirous to belong to the parish at North hill should with their Estates belong there." The parish itself, however, was not unanimous; for, while the case was pending, a counter petition, signed by forty-seven persons was presented, "agst the Return for a Line &c. & yt if ye Line be settled yt they may be Pol'd off to the old Town." Five days later, November 25, the following petition was also presented: [Prov. Pap. IX: 359.]

"The Humble petition of us the Subscribers Most Humbly sheweth -- that the houses and habitations of your petitioners are in the northeastly part of the town of Hampton at or near Littel Bores Head near Lettel River or near the Sea and that we live most as near upon a Line to the meeting house at the town as to that at North hill and that it is much easier for us to go to Meeting at the town than to North Hill by reason of the Goodness of the way to the town and there not being any way for us to go to meeting at north hill nor ever like to be unless we travil much farther than to go to the meeting house at the town.

Your petitioners Humbly pray that your Excellency and Honours would be pleased to take this petition into consideration and in your grate Goodness exempt us from paying to the support of the ministry at North hill and that we may still remain -- and be taxed to the support of the ministry and the other Publick charges of the town as we used to be and your pititioners as in duty bound shall ever pray.

  John Batchelder Mosies1 Lampre
  Thomas Hains Obadiah Marston
  Jeremiah Page Stephen Brown"
    1[Probably should be Mories (Morris).]
Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents