The Gundalow

By John D. Fogg

'Recollections Of A Salt Marsh Farmer'

Edited by Eric N. Small -- 1983

Section 9

In the early days the gundalows were in great demand in the late summer and early fall, getting the thatch grass cut and off to a spreading ground the same day or the tide would take it away. The thatch marsh grass was so low that every tide would flood the ground. The farmers also used the gundalow to boat some of their stacks of hay put up in the August and September seasons.

There were docks in the towns of Hampton Falls and Seabrook for the unloading of the gundalows. There were four gundalows at the Hampton Falls Depot Dock at one time. Years later, it was down to two and in the picture you will see the old gundalow on the dock which belonged to David F. Batchelder and was used many a time to take the sunday school down river on a picnic to the beach -- down with the tide and hack the same way about six hours later.

There were many more of those docks in Seabrook the Rocks Dock on the Brown's River, Newell Brown's Dock on Hunt's Island South Creek, the Farm Lane Dock and the Walton Road Dock. All these landings had gundalows docked at these places.

The gundalows were used also as a ferry if your marsh was across the river from where you were camping. You could rent one of these boats for fifty cents per day. You could also rent the spreading grounds which were used to dry the thatch. This thatch grass would dry better near the marsh than at the home fields.