Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: THE FIRST NORTH DIVISION

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Near the beginning of the year 1670, preliminary measures were adopted for laying out a considerable portion of land, afterward known as The First North Division, embracing all that part of the township lying beyond a line four miles north of the Meeting-house and parallel with the northern boundary of the town. This tract was consequently one mile in breadth, and extended from Exeter to the sea. The town voted, February 22, that it should be laid out and divided according to the shares of the common. The lots were to be numbered, beginning on the west at the line of Exeter--two miles from the Meeting-house in that town--and proceeding downward to the sea.

As the number of shares in the cow common was one hundred forty-seven, it might be supposed that this tract would be laid out into an equal number of lots; but that was not the case. In many instances, two or more shares of the common belonged to the same person, so that, in fact, the number of owners was only seventy-seven; and as it appeared desirable, that the whole of each man's share of this land should be in one lot, it was agreed that the tract should be divided into just as many lots as there were owners of the common; and that the lots--all being of the same length--should vary in width in proportion to the owner's rights in the common severally. It was therefore necessary, that the lots should be drawn for by number, before they were actually laid out; and then it would not be difficult to determine the width of the successive lots, as they were numbered. Some portions of this land were, undoubtedly, far more valuable than others, but in this instance no regard was had to its quality. Before drawing for the lots, it was agreed that they should be taken by the proprietors just as their respective lots should happen to fall.

Ens. John Sanborn, Nathaniel Weare and Peter Johnson were chosen to survey and lay out this Division.

But it is far easier to resolve than to do. The land, here ordered to be laid out, remained unsurveyed during nearly a whole generation. Twenty-four years after this vote, another was passed explanatory of the former, and it was then ordered that the division should be laid out under the direction of those originally chosen for the purpose, except that Peter Johnson being dead, another was chosen in his place. But six years more passed away before the work was completed, and the result placed upon record.

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