Founders' Day

Compiled by John M. Holman

Hampton History Volunteer

Lane Memorial Library
Founder's Park
Founders Park on Park Avenue

HAMPTON ..... Let us pause on every October 14th, known as "FOUNDERS DAY", to pay tribute to the settlers of Hampton, at first called "Winnacunnet", who, under the leadership of Rev. Steven Bachiler, came up the tidal river in a shallop, made their homes around "Meeting House Green", now Park Avenue, 364 years ago in 1638.

Many, many years later, another man came to Hampton, and saw fit to bring about the Meeting House Green Memorial Park and the founding of the Meeting House Green Memorial & Historical Association, now known as the Hampton Historical Society in 1925.

His name was Rev. Ira S. Jones and what one sees today in the form of the Memorial Park, the Tuck Memorial Museum, Tuck Athletic Field, and the Hampton Historical Society, was this man's dream.

And it came into reality with the financial assistance of Mr. Edward Tuck, whose descendant, Robert Tuck, was one of the original settlers of Hampton.

Hampton's triangular-shaped park bounded by Landing Road, Park Avenue and Cuss Lane, across from the Tuck Memorial Museum, was dedicated as Meeting House Green Memorial Park on Wednesday, October 14, 1925. It is commonly called Memorial Park or Founders Park.

At the three angles of the Park, larger stones represented the "Daughter Towns" of Hampton, which were Hampton, North Hampton, Seabrook, Hampton Falls, Danville, Sandown, Kensington, Kingston, East Kingston and Rye.

The founding families of Hampton were honored with the emplacement of small stones with metal plaques, and they are as follows:

Tuck, Moulton, Johnson, Dow, Lane, Nudd, Sanborn, Prescott, Towle, Lamprey, Taylor, Dearborn, Garland, Weare, Cole, Locke, Chase, Page, Redman, Blake, Perkins, James, Shaw, Healey, Gookin, Mason, Brown, Knowles, Drake, Marston, Fogg, Tilton, Green, Hobbs, Godfrey, Philbrick, Sleeper, Toppan, Gove, Leavitt, Palmer, Hussey, and Batchelder. (A Dalton family stone was added in October 2006.)


Founders' Park Boulder
In the center of the Park, is a huge twelve-ton boulder with a plaque bearing the inscription:

A LITTLE BAND OF PIONEERS
UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF
REV. STEPHEN BACHILER
OF SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND,
SEEKING A LARGER LIBERTY,
IN OCTOBER 1638,
SETTLED IN THE WILDERNESS
NEAR THIS SPOT
TO PLANT A FREE CHURCH
IN A FREE TOWN.
THEY WERE JOINED IN 1639 BY OTHERS
AND IN THAT YEAR
THE TOWN WAS INCORPORATED.
TO DO HONOR TO
THE FOUNDERS AND FATHERS OF HAMPTON,
TO EXALT THE IDEALS
FOR WHICH THEY STROVE,
AND AS AN INSPIRATION TO POSTERITY,
THIS MEMORIAL IS DEDICATED
OCTOBER 14, 1925.