Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Rye Mills, On Cedar Swamp Run

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Rye Mills, On Cedar Swamp Run

The original contract, dated May 3, 1695, may still be seen, wherein John Badson, of Newcastle, millwright, agrees with Francis Jenness, Joseph Philbrook, James Stanyan and Thomas Jenness, of Hampton, planters, to build for them a dam and a sawmill, "to go with one saw," on Cedar Swamp run, commonly so called, near said Francis Jenness' house; for which he is to receive twenty shillings a week, in good, lawful money of New England, as follows; ten shillings thereof at the end of each week he works, and the other ten shillings a week "at one whole intire payment, at the now dwelling house of the said Francis Jenness," when the mill is finished and sufficient sawing has been done to amount to the required sum; the above company, to furnish material for building, also "sufficient meat, drink, lodging and Hands" during the building, and pasturing for his horse while he is there at work.

The site of this mill is about eighty rods from the Sea View House, on the Jenness road, so called, and has ever since been occupied for a sawmill, owned wholly or in part in the Jenness family. Cedar swamp commences about a mile northwest of the mill; the run is a brook, flowing through it, in some places not more than four or five feet wide. It takes its rise in the low land near Charles Sleeper's house, at Chesley's Corner, in Rye, and empties into the sea. A half mile above this sawmill, on the same stream, is Brown's gristmill; and about thirty rods below it, was Jenness' gristmill, [See Genealogies -- Jenness (1)] a few years ago changed into a shingle-mill, but now given up.

Anciently, a fourth mill stood about three-quarters of a mile farther up the little stream than Brown's gristmill. It was a sawmill, built at an unknown date,a by a Mr. Leavitt, who, after a short time, sold it and the farm of three hundred acres, on which it stood, to Peter Johnson, of Hampton, who married in 1737, and settled on the farm. [See Genealogies -- Johnson (5), Leavitt (13).] In later times, Nathan Knowles, of Rye, bought the mill, and in 1844 took it down. The land, on which vestiges of the mill and the paths leading to it through the pastures may still be traced, is now owned by the heirs of the late John Garland.

All of these four mills are within the original limits of Hampton, and all, old mills.

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