Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: The Society of Friends

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The Society of Friends

[See Treatment of Quakers, Chap. II.]

[Sketch by the late Oliver Eaton, Esq., of Seabrook]

At the Salisbury Court, 14: 2mo: 1674, thirteen persons, all belonging to Hampton, "were convicted before this court for ye breach of ye law called Quakers meeting, and were all admonished & so upon paying ye fees of ye court are discharged for ye prsent.[Records of Norfolk County Courts.]

The earliest record of the Friends' Society in Hampton, now Seabrook, begins in the year 1701. Their first "Meeting" was established, however, about 1699; and their "Quarterly Meeting," as early as 1697, perhaps earlier. At a meeting held at Hampton, in 1701, the Quakers[A name first given to this sect by their enemies about 1650, and afterwards quite generally adopted.] decided to build a meeting-house. The sum of sixty-six pounds, four shillings was raised, mostly by subscription, to defray the expenses, one man paying thirty pounds.[Quaker Records.]

Thereupon, Thomas Chase, of Hampton, in consideration of love and good-will, conveyed to Joseph Chase, Abraham Green, John Stanyan and Joseph Dow, Sen., all of Hampton, aforesaid, in the name and behalf of all those christian people, called Quakers, living in Hampton, aforesaid, a certain tract of land, situated in the bounds of Hampton, aforesaid, "to Seat a Meeting-house thereon." The deed was dated 2lst 6 mo: 1701.[Rock. Co. Rec.] And here, on these premises, in the autumn of the same year, the society built their meeting-house, which still exists, in a good state of preservation, though removed to another locality and for another purpose, in 1888. The frame, as originally constructed, was twenty-six and one half feet wide, thirty-two feet long, and eight feet stud.

In this little house, all of the order from Hampton, Salisbury and Amesbury, held their weekly and monthly meetings, -- the weekly meetings for about four years, until the Friends' meeting-house, at Amesbury was built, in 1705; and the monthly meetings for about nine years, until May 18, 1710, when a monthly meeting was held at Amesbury. From that date, for more than sixty years, it was held alternately at Amesbury and Hampton (Hampton Falls, 1719 -- Seabrook, 1768).

The first marriage recorded among this society of Friends took place in 1705, at the house of Thomas Barnard, where a meeting was held for the occasion. The parties were John Peaslee and Mary Martin. This marriage record was signed by forty-seven witnesses.

In 1701, John Collins, Henry Dow, Jeremiah Dow and Joseph Dow, Jr., members of the Quaker Society, were living in that part of Seabrook, over which the town of Salisbury then exercised the right of jurisdiction and taxation. "And this year, Isaac Morrill, Jr., constable for the year 1700, took from Jeremiah Dow a quart pot, a pair of fire-tongs, a tray and a cake of tallow, to satisfy the Hireling Minister, Caleb Cushing, for preaching." The same day he took a gun from Richard Smith, "to pay the priest for preaching in Salisbury." After a few years the Quakers were exempted from paying a minister's rate.

In 1705, the Quakers in the vicinity of Amesbury desiring a house of worship, the Hampton monthly meeting chose a committee of two, to look out a location suitable for the purpose.

In 1710, the Friends' monthly meeting received five books, sent from England.

At a commoner's meeting in Hampton, February 19, 1711, Joseph Chase and John Stanyan, "that have a considerable right in the land granted for a parsonage," requesting that the people called Quakers might have some satisfaction, it was voted that their request be granted, and that twelve acres of land be laid out to them. "Pursuant to which, we the lotlayers of the said town, whose names are underwritten have laid out the said grant this 11 day of May, 1711." Then follows a description of the land, "to the eastward of the Falls river." Signed by Samuel Dow and Jonathan Moulton, Lotlayers.

At the Friends' monthly meeting at Amesbury, in November, 1721, a communication from the quarterly meeting was read, asking their opinion in regard to wearing wigs. At the next monthly meeting, at Hampton, the following conclusion was reached: "The matter above mentioned consuming ye Wearing of Wiggs was Discorsed & It was concluded by this meeting yt ye Wearing of Extravegent Superflues Wiggs Is all to Gather Contreary to truth."

In 1728, a collection was taken by the Friends towards repairing the Boston meeting-house; for which the Hampton Friends contributed five pounds, ten shillings.

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