Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Falls River Mills

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Falls River Mills

Green's Gristmill -- now Dodge's

About the 10th of May, 1648, the town "granted unto Abraham Perkins and Henry Green, in consideration of building a watermill in the town of Hampton, at the Falls, twenty acres of upland as near the falls as may be had, and ten acres of salt marsh as convenient as may be had; and five acres of fresh marsh where it may be had; -- two shares of commonage and all the swamp that lay between Henry Green's houselot and his planting lot, that is not yet given out."

About three years later, Green bought out his partners for thirty pounds. On the 19th of April, 1679, at a general town meeting: "Liberty was granted to Henry Green to set up a dam on the ffalls river, above his dam that now is provided that it do not prejudice any town-highway or prticular man's property by flowing their land or ways."

December 16, 1700. At this date Capt. Jacob Green, son of Henry, wishing to take down the old mill and build a new one: -- "The Town grant him the same privilege of the stream that his father first had for his encouragement, to new build the mill, as he shall make appear by evidence. And when the mill is builded, the said Capt. Green is to grind the town's corn brought to him, for the sixteenth part thereof, when there is water to do it.          Nathl Weare Esq., dissents."

This mill is now owned by Mrs. John W. Dodge, -- inherited through several generations, from Nathaniel Hubbard Dodge, who bought it of Gen. Jonathan Moulton. He probably obtained it from Captain Green's heirs.

Weare's Mills

Against the foregoing transaction, Mr. Weare was possibly an interested party; for we find that, at a commoner's meeting, May 8, 1722, there was "granted to Deacon Nathl Weare one acre of Land by his Saw Mill as shall be layd out to ye least damage of ye comoners at ye discretion of Lt. Jonathan Marston & Simon Marston for yt end, being in full satisfaction for his service as comitte in Jennins case."

This mill privilege was farther up the Falls river, and was, without doubt, identical with the Weare's mills of to-day. How far back it dates is not known. The oldest paper now to be found (in possession of Col. John M. Weare, of Seabrook), is a deed, dated June 10, 1757, from Meshech Weare to his nephew Jonathan Weare, of fifteen acres, more or less, of land "where the sawmill stands, which formerly belonged to Nathaniel Weare, Esq." Jonathan gave it by will to John; he, to his two sons, Joseph Hubbard and John, the former of whom rebuilt the mill, before his brother became of age, and took in equity, two-thirds of the property, as his share. This he left to his son Joseph H., Jr., who sold one-half of the whole to Jacob Gove. John Weare and John M. Weare bought it back from Gove's heirs. The property is now owned, five-sixths by Benjamin Frank Weare, son of John, and one-sixth by George A. Weare, son of Joseph H., Jr.

Probably Jonathan Weare built the gristmill, which descended with the other property. It has not been running for some fifteen years.

In Kensington

[Information by Messrs. Joseph W. Brown and Joseph Poor.]

Still farther up the Falls river than Weare's mill, within the pre;sent town of Kensington, are yet to be seen three dams, marking the sites of mills, supposed to have been built as early as 1700. A fulling-mill and Pike's sawmill, one on either side of the stream, were both fed from the lower dam. Next above was Locke's gristmill; and only a little removed, stood Page's sawmill -- the road from Exeter to Amesbury passing between them. These mills are all gone.

Other Kensington Mills

Other mills, probably of the same times, were Fellows' gristmill, in the north, on a small tributary of Exeter driver; and Blake's sawmill in the west, on the "Stumpfield road."

About a quarter of a mile above Fellows' mill, on the present site of Poor's sawmill, there stood a sawmill, which was old, when Mr. Poor's mother, born in 1775, was a child. This was owned in shares, according to the custom of early days.

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