Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Rev. Timothy Dalton / The Second Meeting-house

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Rev. Timothy Dalton

The second minister of the town, as has already been stated, was Rev. Timothy Dalton, born in England about the year 1577, graduated at Cambridge in 1613, and subsequently,--but at what time is uncertain--engaged in the work of the ministry in that country. He came to New England about the year 1637, being led hither, it is believed, by religious motives. On his arrival, he went first to Dedham, Mass., where he was made freeman Sept. 7, 1637, and probably removed to Hampton about a year and a half afterward, for we find that on the 7th of June, 1639, when the plantation was allowed to be a town, he was here as a freeman and also teacher of the church. His houselot was on the southerly side of the meeting-house green, only a few rods from the meeting-house, and this lot, having been afterward sold to the town, was ever after held and occupied as a parsonage till 1871.

Mr. Dalton must have been in good repute with the magistrates, for when about this time, there were disturbances at Dover, which, it was thought, required the interference of the civil power, he was commissioned, together with Mr. Simon Bradstreet, afterward Governor of Massachusetts, and Rev. Hugh Peters, then a minister of Salem, and subsequently a martyr to the cause of civil liberty, to go there and settle those difficulties; and, as Governor Winthrop remarks, "they brought matters to a peaceful end."

At the time of his settlement at Hampton, Mr. Dalton was more than sixty years old. The aged pastor who preceded him, was dismissed, after having shared with him the labors of the ministry for two or three years, and Mr. Dalton was then left alone for the space of about six years, during which time he labored faithfully among his people, "even beyond his ability or strength of nature." At length, through the infirmities of age, or by the failure of his health, he became unable longer to sustain all the cares and perform all the labors incident to the ministerial office in a new settlement, and the town undertook to provide an assistant. Two ministers were associated with him, in succession, the united period of whose labors covers nearly the whole time from the spring of 1647 till his death.

In the early part of his ministry, Mr. Dalton was not paid for his services by a stipulated salary, but he received from the town several grants of land, which were ultimately of considerable value. In 1639, as has been stated, he received 300 acres of land for a farm. This tract was in that part of the town, which is now Hampton Falls, at a place called Sagamore Hill, and embraced a considerable portion of the farms now owned and occupied by the sons of Reuben and Moses Batchelder. A farm, lying in the south part of the town, near Salisbury, was granted to Mr. Dalton's son, Timothy Dalton, Jr., who died soon after, when the farm came into his father's possession, and, on the 21st of January, 1652, was confirmed to him by a vote of the town. This act of the town, however, was based on the following condition: "that Mr. Dalton should free and discharge the town of Hampton from all debts and dues for his ministry till he had a set pay given him by the town." To this Mr. Dalton agreed, and a release was executed accordingly, five days after the confirmation of the last grant. In June, of the same year, this farm was sold to Isaac Perkins.

The records do not show how early Mr. Dalton began to receive a salary, though it appears to have been within a very few years after his settlement. Sometime previous to the first of May, 1645, John Moulton and Abraham Perkins had been appointed to gather up the teacher's rate. The time of their appointment is not recorded, by at the date just named, it appears that this rate was--some of it at least--still unpaid, and these persons were ordered to collect it by way of distress, within one month, or else forfeit 10s. apiece, to forthwith taken by the constable.

In 1647 the town agreed upon a method of raising money for the support of the ministry. Of every £40 to be raised, each master of a family and each single man, working for himself, or taking wages, should pay 5s., the remainder to be raised on all estates equally, according to their value, of whatever they might consist, except corn, which was to be rate-free.

From about this time--whatever might have been his salary before--Mr. Dalton was to receive £40 a year; but another minister having been soon after associated with him, who probably performed nearly al the ministerial labor, he, four years afterward, released the town from the payment of his salary from midsummer, 1647, to midsummer, 1651.

Mr. Dalton's ministry continued till the close of his life, and during the whole time of its continuance he retained the appellation of teacher, which was given him at the time of his settlement, while the three ministers, with whom he was at different times associated, were all styled pastors. He died December 28, 1661, aged eighty-four years. In recording his death, the town clerk styles him "a faithful and painful laborer in God's vineyard."

Mr. Dalton left no children. His wife, Ruth, outlived him several years. She died May 12, 1666, aged eighty-eight years.

The Second Meeting-house

The Meeting-house first built appears to have been regarded from the beginning as only a temporary place of worship, to be succeeded by a better one, as soon as the circumstances of the people would permit. Accordingly, they soon began to agitate the subject of erecting such a building. By vote of the town, the new house was to be forty feet in length, twenty-two in width, and thirteen in height, between joints, with a place for the bell, which was given by the pastor, as before stated.

The agreement with the contractor, Richard Knight, for building this house, was mutually subscribed by the parties on the 14th of September, 1640. Soon afterwards it was determined to defray the expense by voluntary contribution. The house was not wholly finished for several years. In July, 1644, persons were appointed to ask and receive the sums which were to be given towards building it, and, in case any should refuse to pay voluntarily, this committee was required to use all lawful means to compel them. The committee was further instructed to lay out upon the meeting-house, to the best advantage, the money they might raise. When this house was first occupied as a place of worship, is not known, but probably about the 1st of June, 1650--nearly ten years from the time the building was begun.

In 1649, liberty was given to certain persons to build a gallery at the west end of the meeting-house, and these persons, on their part, agreed to build the gallery, provided that the "foremost seat" should be appropriated to them, for their own use, and as their own property.

The meeting-houses first built in this town were without pews. They were constructed simply with seats; and for the purpose of preventing any disorder that might otherwise be occasioned, committees were from time to time appointed, to direct the people what seat each one might occupy. This was called "seating the meeting-house."

As a matter of curiosity, a few specimens of the seating are given: "All the men to sett at the west end and all the women to sett at the east end of the meting house and the devetion to be at the greet poest that is betwin the two windows."


"men seettes--At the table, Rodger Shaw Cristofar Husse John Moulton Philemon dolton Robert Page Willyam Easto Willyam fuller Robert Tuck"


"second seett--hen grene hene dou steu Samborn tho louit wi fifeld Jo merean."


"wemanes seettes in the est end of the south side--Rodger Shaw for a wife John Moultons wife goody Marston goody tuck goody dolton goody page goody ffuller."


"the ferst seett next mistris whelewrit--ould mistris husse her dafter husse goody swaine goody Pebody goody brown mistris stanyen Mary Perkinges."

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