Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Taylor's River Mills
Taylor's River Mills
The first Sawmill
The first sawmill in the town, of which we have any account, was undertaken by Robert Page. The town granted him liberty to set up his mill at a convenient place on Taylor's river, and for his encouragement, gave him a clump of pines on the North side of Mr. DAlton's farm, and also allowed him to take timber from the commons, to saw at his mill, for his own benefit. Page, in consideration of the favor granted, gave the town a bond, in the sum of one hundred pounds, that he or his assigns would build the mill, and have it in readiness for sawing lumber "by Michaelmas come twelvemonth" (September 29, 1658); and that he would then furnish boards for three shillings per hundred, as fast as he could, taking in payment any merchantable articles at price current; provided, however, that no man should receive more than one thousand feet at a time, "till every man that stands in need shall have the like successively, one after another." This arrangement was confirmed by vote, at a town meeting, held February 26, 1657, and accepted by Robert Page. Not long after, the town by vote, extended the time for the completion of the mill, one yer, on condition that the contractor would give up William Marston, the carpenter he had employed, so that the town might have his services in fitting up a house for Rev. Timothy Dalton, he having sold his homestead to the church and town, for a parsonage. [p. 362.]
This mill was probably on the site occupied, in later years, by Coffin's gristmill, which was burned in 1876.
Removal of Sawmill
At a meeting of the freeholders, NOvember 18, 1700, liberty was given to John Garland to build "a corn gristmill" upon Taylor's river, where the first sawmill was built; on condition of his grinding corn for one-sixteenth part thereof; and that he build no dam to do damage to the sawmill first above.
Sawmill moved back
Mr. Jacob T. Brown says: " The apparent reason for the removal up stream was that a permanent dam could be built and maintained there very much cheaper than at the lower mill, for the reason that the river at this (the upper) place was narrow and the banks bold and strong. The 'mill privilege,' however, not being nearly as good at the upper dam as at the lower, the latter was rebuilt and the upper site abandoned." After the removal, the two mills stood at the same dam -- the sawmill, on the Falls side of the river, where Brown's sawmill now is, and the gristmill, on the town side.
In 1722 Garland had a gristmill at Winnicut, as appears from the return of a committee, appointed to lay out land to men who had lost their lots in the First North Division, the report being made July 9th, of that year. Five acres of land were laid out to Lieut. John Sherburne, "near ye Mill Pond about seven rod from ye Grist Mill and so bounding on said Pond" &c.
In 1701 there was a sawmill on Winnicut river.
Mr. Brown, with whom has become associated his son, under the firm name of J.T. & F.B. Brown, built in place of the old sawmill a new one, eighty-four by twenty-four feet in size, fitted with a Chase turbine wheel, a fifty-four inch inserted chisel-tooth saw, a double-surface planer and matcher, bench saws and all modern appliances of a first class sawmill, which is capable of sawing from eight to ten thousand feet of lumber per day. Mr. Brown says:l "Of old, the mill was sixty feet or more from the bank, and logs, held up by framework, were laid from the bank to the mill. Logs were rolled over these 'stringers,' and lumber carried out by hand over them. The bank, at different times was built out and the stringers shorted, till we, at last, filled in to the mill."