Church, Town Seek Founders' Descendants

Hampton 350

1638 -- 1988

Rockingham County Newspaper -- July 8, 1988

Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents
[The following articles are courtesy of
Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

By Paul Wolterbeek,

Staff Reporter

Both the town and the Congregational Church are celebrating respective 350th anniversaries, and have made an effort to locate and include in the festivities descendants of founding families.

Historical Society President James K. Hunt, who has spent 32 months researching and updating Joseph Dow's "History of the Town of Hampton 1638-1892," which includes a genealogy of Hampton names, said his search has turned up descendants in most local towns and as far away as San Rafael, Calif. Many of those descendants will be honored this weekend during Old Home Days — Reunion Days festivities.

Hunt maintains that such a familial representation is essential to the year-long celebration, and is much a part of the "living history" of the town as the Tuck Museum and Hampton's historic homes.

"It is important historically and genealogically," said Hunt. "Some of the families may not have been seen for 20 years and we just don't know what happened to them. We are re-uniting families that might have been lost for several generations . . . people wonder what happened to them."

Hunt added that descendants also can provide the society with "information missing from town history."

Both the Congregational Church and town 350th Anniversary Committee mailed out letters to newspapers statewide in an effort to find founders' descendants. The names run the gamut from the earliest settlers in 1638 to those of the following 100 years.

Both searches are efforts to try to locate and assemble as many descendants as possible of those original families. Descendants will be honored at services and celebrations throughout the summer months.

Though related in that the 350- year span of time is the same, the church and town anniversary celebrations are distinctly different. The Congregational Church service is to honor "350 years of continued worship of Jesus Christ" at the church, according to church member Carol McCarthy.

The town celebration, on the other hand, is to honor founding citizens, most of whom founded the church, according to anniversary organizers. The Congregational Church celebration has termed founding families as those that settled in the area over the first 100 years.

The founding families of 1638 — those who settled the parish with Rev. Stephen Bachiler — included the Hussey, Sanborn, Palmer, Philbrick, Godfrey, Marston, Moulton and Tuck families.

In 1639, the Taylor, Hanson, Leavitt, Brown and Page families settled in town. They were followed in 1640 by the Sleeper, Perkins, Cole and Chase families.

Other families and their years of settlement include: the Hobbs family in 1641; Redman in 1642; Nudd and Green in 1643; Shaw in 1647; Dearborn in 1649; Blake in 1650; Drake in 1651; Garland, Tilton and Dow in 1653; Towle in 1657; Fogg and Knowles in 1658; Lamprey in 1660; Weare in 1662; Locke and Prescott in 1665; Mason in 1684; Lane in 1686; James in 1690; Healey in 1701; Gookin in 1710; and Toppan in 1727.

Hunt said such local people as accountant Charles Tilton and Conservation Commission Chairman Peter Tilton are descendants of early families, as well as others, including Edwin L. Batchelder, Samuel Towle and Phillip Toppan.

Hunt's wife, Virginia, is a descendant of the Towle family.

Aug. 14 will be the Descendants of the First Families Sunday at the Congregational Church and Oct. 16 will be the Founder's Day Service and church open house.

The 350th Anniversary Committee has also mounted a search for descendants; the same ones as the church seeks. But founders' descendants found through the 350th committee search will be recognized during this weekend's Olde Home Days — Reunion Days.

Back to previous section -- Forward to next section -- Return to Table of Contents