Municipal Affairs: 1900 - 1909

Chapter 12 -- Part 2

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Voted to instruct the selectmen to enforce the liquor laws and provided $200 for this purpose. The selectmen were given back their report on the previous year's liquor activities to make corrections to the amount spent in 1899. The selectmen were also authorized to place an electric light near the town pump and to enforce the bicycle laws.


Voted to exempt from taxes for 10 years any company that opened the shoe factory; voted to appoint "someone" to plead before the Legislature for $1,500 to assist the Town in breakwater construction and repairs; appointed a committee to investigate whether or not the Hampton Beach Improvement Company had broken the terms of its lease (mainly because of the prohibition against selling liquor from any premises on the Town-owned land); and prohibited penny and nickel slot machines. The Town received $73 for pool, billiard, and bowling licenses, and this sum was paid to support the high school.


Voters failed to approve an article asking for the Town to negotiate with the Hampton Water Works Company for water for fire and municipal purposes; voted $48 for an electric light at the town pump but not for a light at the town hall; and voted to instruct the state representative to oppose any bill that would allow the State to take Hampton Beach land.


Accepted the bequest of Mrs. Sarah J. Shaw, builder of the Shaw Block, of $500 to be used for the benefit of the town's "worthy poor." The meeting voted to accept a resolution based on the Supreme Court judgment supporting the Town's ownership of Beach land and instructing the selectmen to remove squatters at White Rocks Island, the piece of land at the mouth of the river. A special town meeting in May voted 157-121 in favor of the sale of liquor in town.


Voted $400 for electric streetlights; voted $500 for repairs to the town hall; and instructed the selectmen to fight the case against Beckman, one of the alleged White Rocks Island squatters, until "they get a decision." Beckman sued the Town for tearing down his house. In a November ballot question, the Town voted against the sale of liquor in town: yes, 118; no, 154.


Elected James W. Swift chief of police. Voted $50 to purchase dishes for the town hall, $150 for electric lights at the Beach for June, July, and August, $150 to wire the town hall, and a sum sufficient to purchase four dozen pole-pruning knives to be loaned to residents for up to three days to cut down browntall-moth nests.


Voted $200 to destroy browntail-moth nests. Voted that the results of the previous year's meeting be published in the town report, a decision that makes study of town affairs much easier. Spent $307 on the Beckman case. At an adjourned town meeting on March 29, voters debated the question of whether recently elected selectman George E. Garland could be a selectman, since he was a government postal worker. It was ruled that Garland could serve as selectman, but he later resigned due to the pressures of his postal work. The Town again voted to permit the sale of liquor.


Voted to allow selectmen to lay out the new roads on Boar's Head. This was necessary because the land on the Head had been sold at auction and divided into house lots. Voted $200 to improve the cemetery by painting the fences, removing arches over driveways, widening the entrances, resetting fallen stones, and retaining the right to decide what plants and shrubs lot owners could plant. Voted to have the town clerk ascertain the method and costs of preserving the old Town records. The Town paid out $162 at the rate of $2 per 1,000 for the destruction of 81,175 browntail-moth nests. At the same time, the voters were refusing to purchase fire apparatus and also were rejecting several warrant articles asking the Town to make a contract with the Hampton Water Works Company to provide hydrants for fire protection. Several Beach residents concerned with fire protection decided to try another approach, and, on June 3, the selectmen accepted a petition from "ten legal voters from the village of Hampton Beach" who requested the selectmen "to fix by suitable boundaries a village district...." On June 7, eight Beach voters unanimously created the Hampton Beach Village District.


The town clerk was voted $240 to preserve the old record books by the "Emery" process. Resolution adopted to instruct the assessors to value spring marshland at not more than $5 per acre and other marsh at $10. Voted that the leasing and care of land east of Ocean Avenue (boulevard) be left to the selectmen. (This was a controversial situation, since all manner of vendors were given access, for a fee or license, to set up shop on the beach, usually opposite the Casino. As time passed, people began to object to the so-called Fakir's Row, and, when the State agreed to build the breakwater in the 1930s, one provision of a deed to the beachfront was the prohibition of the commercial use of the sands that the Town and selectmen had permitted.) A special June town meeting authorized the selectmen to build the Beach sewer. Frank Beckman was paid $980 in settlement of his claim against the Town and Hampton's lawyers were paid $563.


Voted $1,000 for fire apparatus and to establish a fire precinct to include all of the town except the Hampton Beach Precinct. This resulted in the acquisition of the first fire vehicle, a chemical wagon. Voted to form a committee to "take up the protection" of White Island, which was eroding away. Voted to transfer to the Hampton Cemetery Association funds left to the Town in trust for cemetery-lot care and to place the care of the cemeteries under the association. Voted to instruct the selectmen to survey and lay out the lots in the Town-owned lands lying between Winnacunnet Road and the North Hampton line. The library committee, established after Howard G. Lane offered to build and furnish a new facility, reported on the plans that had been drawn, approved by the donor, and sent out for bid. John Brown, age 79, who had been responsible for cemetery work, ringing the bell for funerals, and driving the hearse since 1884, died and was replaced by his son, Edward P. Brown.
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