Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Canal to Salisbury / Nudd's Salt Works

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Canal to Salisbury

Under date, 1791, Dr. Belknap says: "Within this present year a canal has been cut through the marshes, which opens an inland navigation from Hampton, through Salisbury, into Merrimac river, for about eight miles. By this passage, loaded boats may be conducted with the utmost ease and safety.

This canal opens a passage from the Blackwater river, which leads to Walton's tide mill, in Seabrook, inside of Plum beach, to the Merrimac. At high water, it was formerly quite available for fishing boats, and forty years ago, was still much used. Winter fishermen, four to a whale-boat, were in the habit of going to Ipswich for bait. When the water outside was rough, they would enter Hampton river, row through the canal to the Merrimac, thence, inside of Plum island to Ipswich river, dig during two low tides, a good digger often securing ten bushels in a tide, fill the boat, from seventy to a hundred bushels, and return.

When the plank road to Salisbury beach was built, the canal was spanned by a small bridge. By degrees, it was abandoned, and is now so filled and overgrown with thatch, as to be available only for very small boats.

Nudd's Salt Works

In the year 1827 Mr. David Nudd engaged in a new enterprise. Some of his vessels had long been employed in fishing voyages to Labrador, the Grand Banks and other resorts, as well as in the mackerel and other fisheries off our own shores. When large fares were taken, a considerable outlay of cash was required, to buy the salt for curing the fish, especially when, as was sometimes the case, a heavy duty was imposed on salt imported. With plenty of salt in the ocean, right at hand, such an outlay seemed needless. Along the Massachusetts coast were several manufactories that had proved successful, and Mr. Nudd decided to try the experiment here. Accordingly, he employed an expert, to test the comparative saltness of the water in the ocean at the seashore, and in the river at the Landing. This was done by boiling a like quantity of water from each place, under like circumstances, till it was entirely evaporated, then accurately weighing the salt obtained from each. The result, strange to say, was in favor of the Landing. There the works were built, therefore, covering two acres of ground, the water conveyed through a trench, and pumped by a windmill into the vats. The enterprise became successful, on an annual product of twelve hundred bushels, more or less. In 1840, however, the works were taken up, salt having become too cheap to manufacture longer at a profit.

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