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On the 15th of March, 1769, town-meeting day, occurred the most destructive fire with which the town had ever been visited. The following account of it is taken from the Boston Chronicle of March 20, where it appeared as a communication from Portsmouth, under date of March 17.

"Last Wednesday morning, about 4 o'clock, the large mansion of Col. Jonathan Moulton of Hampton, together with two stores contiguous, was wholly consumed by fire. This melancholy accident, it is supposed, was occasioned by a beam taking fire under the hearth in his parlor. The flames had got to so great a height before the discovery, that it was with great difficulty the family escaped with their lives. Col. Moulton saved no other clothing than a cloak, & a gentleman who happened occasionally to lodge at the Colonel's was obliged to jump out of the chamber window. When he was first called upon he did not know the occasion and had put on most of his clothes before the smoke apprised him of his danger. There were between 15 & 20 souls in his house, who through the good providence of God, were all saved unhurt. All the furniture, which was very good and valuable, was wholly consumed, but the shop-goods, books, bonds, notes and other papers, which were in the stores, were happily saved. The loss is estimated at £3000 sterling."

Colonel Moulton subsequently built the large mansion house now owned by Mrs. Elizabeth F. Mace, locating it about forty rods farther south than the one destroyed. The old road leading to "Drake side," left the "main country road" near the former house. After the erection of the new house Colonel Moulton opened from it a new road through his own land to meet the Drake side road -- probably a little beyond where the Eastern Railroad now crosses the highway. Some of the inhabitants, wishing to have this new way made a public road, caused an article to be put into the warrant for a town meeting, April 8, 1771, to see whether the town would exchange with Colonel Moulton, the old road for the new. At that meeting the selectmen were authorized to "lay out said new road," and to "shut up and give to said Moulton the old road in lieu of the new one .... in case said Moulton shall give his obligation always to give free liberty for the inhabitants of said town to pass and repass with their cattle and sleds through said Moulton's land where the old road leads from the country road to Drake side road, or nigh by it, during the winter season while there is sufficient snow for sledding." The selectmen accordingly laid out the road and made their return to the town clerk on the 19th of the same month.

The Journal of the House of Representatives, under date, April 3, 1771, contains the entry: Colo Jona Moulton of Hampton, allowed for money burnt with his house, £5."

On Sunday, August 22, 1773, there was a heavy shower of rain, accompanied with much thunder and lightning. The lightning struck eight trees within a short distance of Capt. Henry Elkins' house [Philip Towle's MS.]

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