The Hamptons Union Made Debut June 14, 1899 With Volume One

From the 75th Anniversary edition

Hampton Union

July 23, 1975

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The Hamptons Union Made Debut June 14, 1899
With Volume One

Compiled By John M. Holman, Doris Bragg, and Melody Dahl

Charles Francis Adams
CHARLES FRANCIS ADAMS,
founder of The Hamptons Union
Charles Francis Adams founder of The Hamptons Union, was born in Sherborn, Massachusetts on July 10, 1866, the son of Alden and Charlotte (Fales) Adams and died on May 22, 1950 at the age of 83 years.

Before coming to Hampton, Mr. Adams served on the Massachusetts Gypsy Moth Commission from 1897 to 1899. He represented Hampton in the New Hampshire General Court from 1927 to 1939. He was a member of practically every house committee during these many years. Among his other public services, Mr. Adams was special Justice of the Hampton Municipal Court from 1911 to 1936 and served as deputy town clerk for three years. He was town auditor for eight years.

He was a member of the HAMPTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY and served as secretary of the Shore and Beach Preservation and Development Commission.

Coming to Hampton in 1899, he founded "The Hamptons Union" which was "published in the interests of Hampton, North Hampton, Hampton Falls, Rye and Seabrook" and the first edition hit the news stands on June 14, 1899 with Volume 1, Number 1 issue.

In the first issue there were 47 advertisements throughout the paper. A few choice news items from the first edition were as follows: "Two special (trolley) cars brought the Daughters of New Hampshire from Exeter to Hampton Beach, Saturday afternoon about 3 o’clock" . . . "Soldiers’ Memorial Day with Hampton’s Annual Observance, in Memory of its fallen dead was written up, and the Editor of the Hamptons Union (Adams) was an invited guest." . . . "Rev. S.M. McKillipp of Concord, N.H. spoke on the Anti- Saloon League at the Baptist Church on Sunday evening to a full house." . . . "The electric cars through town are well patronized. The road to Newburyport has been opened and is in operation." . . . "There is a field situated on Farm Road that has been advertised for sale with a placard on a pole for several years. If the owner wishes to sell, why doesn’t he patronize some good paper and so find a sale for his property?" . . . "On making a trip through town (Seabrook) Monday afternoon a (trolley) car was stalled twice on account of the giving out of the power. As a thunder shower appeared to the north of us, it was probably due to shutting off the power at the power station in Hampton." . . . "S.D. Perkins, dog constable, is after the delinquent dog owners." (Hampton Falls) . . . The entrance examinations of Hampton Academy will be held at the academy building on Monday, June 19, beginning at 9 o’clock.

Contrary to the custom of previous years there will be no secondary examination." . . . Seabrook: "The line of the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway, now in operation through out town, puts us in a much closer touch with the cities and large places about us than ever before. It also gives this place much easier and cheaper access to the beaches and other resorts than we have ever had in the past. Seabrook is now accommodated by two lines of railroad, The Boston and Maine and the Exeter, Hampton & Amesbury Street Railway."

92 High Street
The Hamptons Union moved to 92 High Street., Hampton, in 1905 under
the ownership of Charles Francis Adams. Shown in the foreground is
little Constance Adams Billings, daughter of the owner and now a
resident of Hampton.
The office of the Hamptons (spelled with an "s" in those early days) Union was located originally in the Shaw Building in Hampton Center and in 1905 moved to 92 High Street (see photo) in what is now "Eileen Ash," a women’s apparel shop. The design of the building remains basically the same as it looked when the presses were rolling off the weekly issues of the Union. In the photo on the lawn can be seen Mr. Adams’ daughter, Constance, now Mrs. Everett Billings of Kittery Point, Maine. Tuck Museum now has in its possession the pane of glass which can be seen in the right hand window with the wording "HAMPTONS UNIONS" painted on it.

The first issue of the Union which came out on June 14, 1899, was supposed to have been published at an earlier date, but the non-arrival of the necessary machinery accounted for the delay. The second and succeeding issues were published on Saturdays Subscriptions were as follows in 1899:

1 year for $1.00; 6 months for 50 cents and 3 months for 25 cents and this was for a weekly newspaper. Individual copies sold for 3 cents at the news- stands as compared to 20 cents today.

Edward Seavey Sr and Jr
Edward S. Seavey Sr.
& Edward S. Seavey Jr.
In 1929 Hampton Union was purchased by Edward S. Seavey who owned a large printing business in Haverhill, Mass., The Telegram Press, from Charles Adams.

Mr. Seavey was a native of Greenland, N.H. and a longtime summer resident of Hampton Beach.

He began his newspaper career with the old Boston Transcript before going into business in Haverhill.

After purchasing The Hampton Union from Charles F. Adams in 1929, Mr. Seavey bought the building at the corner of Exeter Road and Lafayette Road. (now the Goody Cole Room of Lamie’s) which was formerly a general store and moved his machinery to that location.

Mr. Seavey published his first issue of Hampton Union on January 9, 1930 from this building. (Note the slight change in the name of the paper.)

20 Mill Road
For a short time, The Hampton Union was published
in this building at 220 Mill Road, Hampton, which is
the home of Mrs. Dorothy Hunter in 1975.
Later the building was sold to Albert Lamie and The Hampton Union moved to a new building at 20 Mill Road, Hampton in 1932 (now the home of Mrs. Dorothy Hunter).

Mr. Seavey built the new shop on Mill Road on land behind his family residence on the corner of Winnacunnet and Mill Roads

Mr. and Mrs. Seavey had three children, Ruth, Edward and Doris who were in high school and worked in the business especially in the production of Hampton Union. Mr. Seavey started the Hampton Beach Advocate which was distributed in the summer. This paper was later renamed The Beachcomber and is still in existence today.

Hampton Union was published in the Mill Road building until 1938 when Mr. Seavey Sr. retired and sold the business to his son, Edward Jr.

575 Lafayette Road
The Hampton Publishing Company moved its business to 575 Lafayette Road
under the ownership of the Seavey family.
[Photo courtesy of Doris Bragg]

The younger Seavey purchased Hackett’s Garage at 575 Lafayette Road and moved the business to this location (now Fletcher’s Paint Store).

In 1945 Seavey Jr. formed a partnership with his brother-in-law Carl C. Bragg. During the next 18 years two additions were made to the building to accommodate new newspaper presses.

This partnership lasted until the untimely death of Edward Seavey Jr. on June 16, 1963.

The Seavey heirs and Carl Bragg sold the business to Wesley Powell of Hampton Falls in the fall of 1963.

Wesley Powell
Gov. Wesley Powell
Under the ownership of Wesley Powell, former governor of New Hampshire, Hampton Union continued its operation at the Lafayette Road site.

Powell, a controversial political figure in the state, brought The Hampton Union into a new era with his caustic editorials concerning political rivals. His snappy editorial style brought state-wide attention to Hampton Union’s editorial page every Thursday.

Under Powell’s ownership The Hampton Union took on a new look with a switch to offset printing.

In 1968 Powell sold The Hampton Union to well-known Manchester radio announcer and publisher of The Big Town Shopper Norman E. Bailey.

For a short time Bailey moved The Hampton Union office to The Woodbury building in Depot Square in Hampton Center.

Then, in the fall of 1969, Bailey purchased a house on Lafayette Road, Seabrook, next to The Old South Meeting House and moved The Hampton Union office upstairs and his personal residence downstairs. Included in the operation of Bailey Publications was The Hampton Union, a newly created Smart Shopper, circulating in the Newburyport, Mass. area; an expanded version of the Rockingham County Gazette with two editions in the greater Exeter and Derry areas and the summertime publication of The Beachcomber.

Bailey also teamed up with sports writer Gene Gallagher and Jean Lavalle to launch the monthly publication of the New Hampshire Outdoorsman.

In December, 1971, Bailey sold his publishing interests to Dear Publication and Radio Inc., a newspaper publishing company based in Washington, D.C.

Ralph C. Dear, one of the members of the Dear publishing family, was brought in as general manager of the company. Continuing to expand its operation, Dear Publications and The Hampton Union office used up every available space for offices in the Seabrook location, employing as many as 45 people at one time.

Then in January of 1975, The Hampton Union and its associate papers were purchased by Essex County Newspapers of Gloucester, Mass.

Philip S. Weld is the president and Alexander N. Stoddart the publisher of both Essex County Newspapers and Rockingham County Newspapers, the new name under which The Hampton Union and its associated papers are published.

Under the name of Rockingham County Newspapers, it seemed fitting in its 75th anniversary year that The Hampton Union would move back to Hampton where it originated.

A search for office space began and on January 1, 1975 The Hampton Union relocated to 58 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton.

Robert M. Herbert, former editor of The Peabody Mass. Times was brought in as general manager.


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