Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Dr. Hall Jackson / Financial Affairs

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Dr. Hall Jackson

On the 28th of September, 1797, occurred in Portsmouth the sudden death of an eminent son of Hampton, Dr. Hall Jackson. His father, Dr. Clement Jackson, a native of that part of Portsmouth, now Greenland, came to Hampton, and settled on the original John Sanborn estate, now known as the Alvin Emery place. He married, in 1731, Sarah, daughter of Thomas Leavitt, and resided here many years, but eventually removed to Portsmouth. Of his seven children born in Hampton, Hall, the eldest son, was the third. The seventh was born in 1747, so that Hall, though probably young, could not have been less than eight years old at the time of their removal, as he was born November 11, 1739. He studied medicine with his father, and afterward went to London, to attend lectures in the hospitals there and perfect himself in surgery. On his return to Portsmouth, he soon acquired a large practice and became famous, both as physician and surgeon. He was especially skillful in the treatment of small-pox and the malignant throat distemper, which, in those early days of their ravages, had baffled ordinary skill. No important surgical operation was performed in this region without consulting Dr. Jackson. Harvard College conferred upon him the degree of M.D., and the Massachusetts Medical Society made him an honorary member. At the time of his death, he was Grand Master of the order of Free Masons in New Hampshire.

For some cause, on which our records are silent, Dr. Jackson, in 1771, brought a suit against the town of Hampton. February 3, 1772, Capt. Josiah Moulton and Capt. Jeremiah Marston were chosen agents, to defend the town in the case. Soon after, however, the agents were authorized to settle with the Doctor, on such terms as they might think proper.

During the Revolutionary war, Dr. Jackson was not only a true patriot as army surgeon, but a facile workman in various departments. The Congress at Exeter desired him to procure some suitable person to mount some field pieces on his return to Portsmouth. Failing to find any one, he employed himself, from sunrise to sunset every day for some time in mounting brass field pieces. Again, he devoted himself to laying out fortifications at Kittery and New Castle, in making cartridges, cannisters and Port fires for the field pieces, and in attending to the "innumerable complaints of the soldiers in regard to their health." He raised a company of artillery and exercised them in the use of brass field ordnance; and he wrote Colonel Lee: "Could it be thought advisable for us to leave the seaports, I should long before this have been with you at the head of a company as good as ever twanged a bow, inferior in military discipline to none…….You well know that the art military has been my hobby-horse for a long time past."

After the war, Dr. Jackson devoted himself to his profession. His death was caused by the upsetting of his carriage, while making professional visits. Several ribs were fractured; fever resulted; and thus terminated a brilliant career.

The beginning of the nineteenth century saw the country plunged in grief for the recent loss of its Father. There was not a corner so obscure that the shadow did not darken and sadden it; and if no record remains of any public demonstration in this town, we are none the less sure that the loyal hearts of our people mourned their personal loss, the universal loss. Thenceforth, the name of Washington was set among the stars.

The same month that Washington died, the home of Samuel Palmer was gladdened by the birth of his son, Jonathan. The next spring the happy event was celebrated by the planting of a willow tree, which grew, and to-day stretches wide branches over the home where Jonathan Palmer's great grandchildren are being reared.

The winter of 1801-2, till near its close, was unusually mild; but in the latter part of February, 1802, there occurred one of the most remarkable and long-continued snow storms, known for twenty years. Into the midst of the ecclesiastical strife, then disturbing the peace of our town, was thrown this war of the elements, like a frown upon the face of Nature.

Financial Affairs

The town accounts seem to have gotten into a tangle; for, at the annual town meeting in 1803, five auditors were chosen to examine the selectmen's accounts for "four years back," while the selectmen were chosen to examine the town treasurer's "back accompts." The next year it was voted, "to make an addition to the old committee for examining selectmen's accounts;" and Joseph Towle, Josiah Shaw, John Dearborn and John Dow were chosen. It was also voted, "to raise no sum of money until the selectmen's accounts are settled for the last year."

The invested funds of the town were discussed at both these meetings, and subsequently. In 1803, voted, "That Major Benjamin Shaw be impowered to receive of Mr. Gardner, Commissioner of Loans for the state of New Hampshire, the dividend of interest and principal of the stock standing in the name of the town of Hampton, on the book of the said Commissioner, that is now due, or that may become due hereafter, until this order be revoked." In 1804, voted, "That all the two per cents, which are already received, and the interest due thereon, which belong equally between the town and the Congregational Society, be let out by the selectmen, and that two bondsman be required for all money loaned, and that interest be paid yearly." Voted, "To choose a committee, to see if the town will adopt any method with regard to the two per cents which have been received at the Loan Office by the town of Hampton, and interest due thereon, that may make it more productive than the present mode of loaning the money." Major Shaw, Elisha S. Moulton and James Moulton were chosen. Their report, which is not on record, was rejected, the vote being so close that a poll was demanded, when there were found to be forty-two nays to forty-one yeas. In 1816, voted, "That the treasurer be authorized to receive the treasury notes that may be offered him at the Loan Office, that are now due, or to become due the present year." And again, in 1817, the treasurer was instructed "to receive the dividend of interest and principal, due from the Loan Office, and the interest due from the Exeter bank the present year."

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