BROWN AND SHAW CLAIMS AT THE NEW PLANTATION
Another suit was brought against the inhabitants in the right of one Benjamin Shaw, deceased, to recover damages for not laying out a tract of land alleged to have been granted to him within the tract called and known as the New Plantation. The inhabitants being apprehensive that other actions might be brought in the same way, but yet believing that there was no just ground for sustaining them, determined to have the subject thoroughly investigated. In January, 1753, therefore, they chose a committee to consider what defense might be made in all case of claims "against the inhabitants of that which was called Hampton at the time when such grants are said to have been made." For this purpose the committee were to ascertain what grants, rights titles, interest or property in lands had heretofore been made by the town, to any, in satisfaction for grants at the New Plantation. The committee chosen consisted of Samuel Palmer, Esq., Dr. John Weeks and Capt. Ephraim Marston; and the town gave them full power to act according to their discretion, either alone, or in conjunction with any other committee, or committees, that might be chosen by any other legally incorporated parishes or parts of what at an earlier period constituted the town of Hampton. They were also directed "to pursue, prosecute and carry into execution any and all such measures as they should agree in considering necessary for the defense of the inhabitants."
As in this case the cooperation of the inhabitants of the other parishes would be important, the committee now chosen, sought to obtain it by making to them a statement of the case. The following letter was addressed to the selectmen of Hampton Falls:
As you have doubtless heard that a claim founded on the supposed Rights of land in that [tract] called in Hampton the New Plantation, has been revived and prosecuted against the Inhabitants of what is now called the town of Hampton, and as you are sensible the Grant, or what is supposed to be a Grant of Land to those mentioned in the Records relating to that matter, was made by the town as it was in the year 1663, and in that view is a thing of considerable consequence to all those Estates comprehended within those limits, which, if any thing is recovered, must be finally liable to make it good, we can't but judge it prudent for us all to advise and consider what measures to take to answer any such claims, we therefor request you to insert a clause in your warrant for calling the next parish meeting, to choose a committee of three or more of your ablest men (especially as you have some ancient men among you who are acquainted with and knowing of what was formerly done in this matter) to advise with our committee, and resolve upon the best means they are capable of for the general safety herein.
|Hampton, February 8, 1753.
Ephraim Marston, Committee
A copy of the above letter was found among files of town papers some years ago, and no answer from the selectmen of Hampton Falls was filed with it, or has since been found, so that it is uncertain what was the result.
Following the usual course of lawsuits these cases dragged their slow length along, as will be seen farther on.