Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: The North Line -- Indian Alarm

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Sometime before this, the inhabitants of Strawberry Bank, being desirous of enlarging their territory, presented a petition to the General Court, for a grant of certain lands. The court consented, Oct. 14, 1651, and granted to them all the lands--Squamscott Patent excepted--lying between themselves and Hampton, which had not previously been granted either to towns or persons. It then became important to know exactly how far north Hampton actually extended. The settlement of this question had indeed engaged the attention of the General Court at an earlier date, and at their session in the spring of this year, they had appointed four commissioners for this purpose, any three of whom were empowered to act. The persons appointed were Mr. Samuel Winslow, Mr. William Paine, Mr. Samuel Hall, and Mr. Thomas Bradbury.

The commissioners determined that the north line of Hampton should run from a point five miles north from the Meeting-house, on an east line to the sea; and from the same point with the westerly line till it comes within two miles of the Meeting-house--where it then stood--in Exeter. They made their return accordingly, and the General Court approved it May 26, 1652, provided that it did not intrench on any former grant. The return bears the signature of all the commissioners except Mr. Paine.

But these proceedings did not set the matter at rest--perhaps in consequence of the line not having been fully and satisfactorily run out, agreeably to the return made to the General Court. The people of Hampton found, or at least believed, that encroachments upon their rights had been in that part of their territory. That they might learn the facts, the town sent Sergt William Eastow and John Sanborn, in January, 1654, to view the upland and meadows "about the Little River on this side Strawberry Bank bounds," and to ascertain as far as possible, who were the proprietors and possessors of land there, and of what validity their titles were, and also to learn the design of those who had settled on the town's land, and to report accordingly.

At another meeting, on 27th of February, the town chose Sergt. William Eastow and Thomas Coleman, as their agents, empowering them to go the next day, to the northernmost part of the town towards Strawberry Bank, and forbid any person or persons whom they might find there, from intermeddling with the property or the rights of the town, near and within the boundary line, as determined by the commissioners, and, in part at least, marked out. Measures were also adopted, for having the whole of this line, and also that next to Exeter, run out, so that each of them might be exactly determined and known throughtout.

The next fall, the question in dispute was again brought before the General Court, by a petition, dated October 18, from the town of Portsmouth--a name recently substituted for Strawberry Bank. (When the change of name was made, May 18, 1653, the General Court declared "that the lyne of theire township should reach from the Sea by Hampton lyne to Winacout Riuer leauing the prprietors to their just rights & interests.") In answer to this petition, the court sent out another committee, with authority to examine the matters in difference between the towns of Portsmouth and Hampton, as touching the line between them, and to settle the same in such a way as might be judged by them most meet, upon a full hearing of the parties, and to make return of their doings to the next Court of Election. The committee consisted of Mr. Joseph Jewett, Mr.Thomas Bradbury and John Saunders, the first of whom was authorized to appoint the time and place of the hearing.


In the spring of 1653, it was rumored that some thousands of Indians were collected near the Piscataqua, in consequence of which, the people in all this vicinity were very much affrighted, so that their minds were distracted and diverted from their various employments. To quiet them, Major General Dennison ordered out of Ipswich, Rowley and Newbury, a party of men, to ascertain whether there was any just cause for alarm. The men sent out were engaged in this service from Friday morning till Monday evening of the following week. The alarm seems soon to have subsided.
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