Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: SUIT AGAINST NATHANIEL BOULTER

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At this time, the town determined to commence suits at law against persons who had trespassed upon the commons, either in mowing the meadows, or felling timber, or in any other way, in all cases where legal proof could be obtained. Thomas Marston and William Fifield were chosen to act as attorneys for the town, in such suits. They were particularly instructed to bring a suit or suits against Nathaniel Boulter, at the next court to be holden at Hampton.

In what manner he had trespassed does not appear. The case seems to have gone in his favor, for a few months afterwards, February 4, 1664, the town voted to have it reviewed at the next court to be holden at Salisbury; and William Fifield and John Redman were then appointed to act as agents for the town in the prosecution. Subsequently, the entire management of the case was committed to the latter. Before the trial came on, however, the town agreed, that Boulter should have, in addition to the house lot formerly granted to him, one of the eleven reserved shares of the cow-common.

From a statment made to the county court at Salisbury in 1675, by Henry Dow, the town's attorney in another suit with Boulter, then pending, it appears that this suit was settled in 1666. In the other case, the town denied that Boulter had any just claims, yet for the sake of peace, and to end all differences then existing, or that ever had existed between the parties, consented to an agreement by which a considerable tract of land was conveyed to Boulter.

An unusually large amount of business was transacted at the town meeting on the 23rd of September, 1663. Several important votes have already been mentioned. An order was made that the Great Ox-Common should be fenced with a sufficient four-rail fence, from the bridge near the beach to the pond near Great Boar's Head. The other portions of this common, bordering on the river and ocean, were sufficiently protected without being fenced.

Permission was given to William Fifield "to run his fence right over the island by his meadow at the Little River, provided he did not enclose above half an acre of upland to his own use." The island here mentioned is now known as Fifield's island, an elevated tract containing about sixteen acres and lying in the midst of the salt marsh, on the southerly side of Little river.

This marsh was formerly a fresh meadow, (The land between Little River and the Beach "tords the little Boares-head," in an entry on the Town Records, under date of 20: 5 mo; 1640, is called "freshmd.") as is evident from the large number of stumps and roots of trees still--or till recently--found there. The river ran along southerly, inside of the beach, and, as some suppose, at an early period united with Nilus brook, a tributary of Winnacunnet or Hampton river. At the time of the settlement of the town it flowed into the ocean at Plaice Cove. Afterward a more direct passage having been opened through the sand, the tide flowed in, and the fresh-meadow was gradually converted into saltmarsh.

After the drawing of lots for the land laid out at the New Plantation, the town ordered that the dry-cattle should be kept there the next summer, in charge of herdsmen to be hired by the selectmen then in office. As that section of the township was the unsettled, the selectmen were instructed to build a house for the herdsmen, and a pen for their cattle, and to make such further provision as they might consider needful for their comfort and convenience. Near the close of the year, the town somewhat modified this arrangement. It was then voted that all the dry-cattle, except oxen and young calves, should be pastured there. The order was made for the whole town, and the inhabitants were strictly prohibited from allowing any cattle of this description to go upon the cow-common, under penalty of 2s. a head for all such cattle found there. For the rigid enforcement of this order, Thomas Philbrick, jr., and Henry Dow were chosen and instructed to clear the cow-common of dry cattle and to collect all fines arising from a violation of the foregoing order.

The milch-cows were, the next summer, to be pastured, as formerly, upon the cow-common towards Exeter.

The selectmen were directed to lay out for the use of the herdsmen for the next year, twenty acres of land, which, in the drawing of lots already mentioned, had fallen to John Knowles, but which he had now relinquished to the town in exchange for an equal quantity which he was allowed to choose out of the commons, in any place within three miles of the aforenamed pond. To the lot thus relinquished, the selectmen were allowed to add a "nooke" extending into the pond.

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