By John D. Fogg
'Recollections Of A Salt Marsh Farmer'
Edited by Eric N. Small -- 1983
I'll tell first about who owned Common Island. This marsh island was approximately twenty seven and one half acres. When the Hampton Falls Parish was set off from Hampton in 1718, this island became the property of the Church of Hampton Falls. Then in 1768, when Seabrook was set off as a town from Hampton Falls, most of Common Island became the property of the town of Seabrook, not the church. Donald N. Small discovered in the records of the town of Seabrook that Common Island was first mentioned in 1780. There was an article in the town warrant to see how the town would dispose of the thatch and rockweed on Common Island. It was voted to vendue the thatch and rockweed. Then the town meeting voted one year to let the selectmen dispose of it as they saw fit, so they put it up for bids and so it went from 1780 to 1920.
The following excerpts from the town meetings of Seabrook show the amounts that residents would pay for being allowed to cut the thatch and rockweed on Common Island:
1780--Bid off by Daniel Perkins at Seventy five Conantal* Dollars.
1790--Bid off by Thomas Brown for six Pounds and ten Shillings.
1800--Bid off by Jonathan Chase for thirty eight dollars.
1820--Bid off by John Brown for thirty dollars and twenty five cents.
1840--Bid off by Thomas Fowler for twenty five dollars.
1860--Bid off by John T. Philbrick for seventeen dollars and fifty cents.
1860--Bid off by Jacob Beckman for thirty five dollars and fifty cents.
1880--Bid off by John T. Philbrick for seventeen dollars and fifty cents.
1900--Bid off by F. Phineas Beckman for two dollars.
1910--Bid off by F. Phineas Beckman for two dollars and ten cents.
1920--Bid off by Ellsworth Brown for one dollar and ten cents
(*Original spelling in town records}