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ary 14, 1622, bearing a letter in part as follows:
"LOVING COUSIN, at our arivall at New Plimmouth in New England, we found all our friends and planters in good health......... We are all freeholders, the rent day doth not trouble us,—I desire your friendly care to send my wife and children
So William Hilton came to Plymouth in the fall of 1621. He liked so well that he sent back immediately for his family. Naturally he waited for them; he did not go back to England and re-sail in the "Jonathan" to an experimental, unlocated colony. At Plymouth he waited until his family arrived on the "Anne" in July, 1623, several months after Thomson, without him, landed from the "Jonathan" at Little Harbor-indeed after Thomson had himself visited Plymouth. Hilton was allotted some land at Plymouth in 1623. How long he stayed there is uncertain. After 1627 it is sure he was no longer at Plymouth. The first evidence of his presence at Dover is as late as 1631.
Of course this does not prove that Edward Hilton was not at Dover in 1623. On the other hand the only ground we have to place him there is Hubbard's statement (made fiftyseven years later, without offering any proof) that Edward and William came over with Thomson and set up their fishing-stages at or near Dover. Hubbard was notoriously inaccurate and unreliable. On the face of them, his allegations about the Dover settlement are "probabilities"; his flat statement that Edward and William came with Thomson is provably erroneous as to the latter, and entirely unsupported as to the former. It is to be regretted that some of our historians lacked the documents; while others, having the documents, have not been over-critical in handling them.
Edward Hilton is first located in New England by Bradford's record that in 1628 he paid one pound sterling towards the expenses of ousting This happened probably in the sumThomas Morton from Merrymount. mer; for Bradford says that shortly Enafter that, Endicott came over. dicott arrived the early part of September. If Hilton planted in the spring of 1628 he was in time for this event. Yet he may have come earlier.
Hilton was given a patent on March 12, 1629-30, "for and in consideracon that Edward Hilton & his Associates hath already at his and their owne proper costs and charges transported sundry servants to plant in New England aforesaid at a place there called by the natives Wecanacohunt otherwise Hilton's point lying some two leagues from the mouth of the River Paskataquack in New England aforesaid where they have already built some houses, and planted Corne, And for that he doth further intend by Gods Divine Assistance, to transport more people and cattle." Livery of seizin was given on July 7, 1631, in the presence of William Hilton and others.
This preamble may not at first reading indicate much as to the date of Hilton's planting. Reread it several times, however, in the light of the knowledge that such preambles usually incorporated the most favorable statement of the deserts and good faith of the patentees, and one will be struck with the omission to set forth occupation and cultivation. since 1623. Fortified with such a long-standing colony as the inveterate tradition assigns, Hilton would have had much earlier ground for a patent, and in 1629 far stronger
statement would have been made. "Already," "some houses," "planted Corne," are colorless words to describe a plantation of six years standing; they connote rather, as Jenness points out, a rather young settlement; they point to the assumption of 1627
or 1628, rather than the year of "Pannaway."
And this is where the primary evidence as to Dover leaves us: There is
no proof of any settlement before 1628. In the year 1623, both Levett and Bradford (William Hilton was then at Plymouth) had opportunity to know if Hilton's plantation then existed. Both wrote contemporaneous narratives from which they would hardly have omitted reference to the settlement if existent. Neither mentions it. What primary evidence. there is negatives a settlement Dover as early as 1623. Secondarily, Pratt had opportunity of knowledge; though his silence might be explained by forgetfulness, his declaration that Thomson's was the first settlement has at least a remote value.
For secondary evidence, documented many years later, we have the declaration made in 1654 to the Massachusetts General Court by John Allen, Nicholas Shapleigh and Thomas Lake, who humbly presented "That Mr. Edward Hilton was possessed of this land [in Dover] about the year 1628, which is about 26 years ago." The petitioners were seeking to show title to the land in question, and had every reason to date their claim from the earliest possible year. If in their belief they could have placed the origin back to 1623, would they not have done so? The tendency of those times (as perhaps of others) was always to make the claim at least as broad as the proof would warrant-if not to enlarge it a bit.
There remains for discussion one other important document, a petition by William Hilton, Jr., made to the Massachusetts General Court on
tled our selues vpon the River of Pis-
May 31, 1660. The preamble follows: "Where as your petitioners father William Hilton came ouer into New England about the year Anno: Dom. 1621: & yo' petitioner came about one Yeare & an halfe after, and In a little tyme following set
Let us consider it carefully. First, we must remark that memory plays strange tricks after a lapse of thirtyseven years, which must lead us always to scrutinize any writing based on old memory. Here is a case in point. The petitioner says his father came over "about" 1621. That happens to be the correct year, as shown by the records of Plymouth Colony, but obviously the son did not trust his memory fully enough to give the date with assurance.
There is special reason for as-
The Plymouth Records show that
holdings were conveyed by Hilton, or when the Hiltons left Plymouth; but the grants to them as late as midsummer of 1623, when no further crops could be raised (and they could not be used for grazing, there being no cattle then in the colony) negatives the idea that on the arrival of the "Anne" the Hiltons had any thought of settling on the Piscataqua in a short time, even that William then knew of any definite plan of his brother to plant there. The writer is aware of the fact that the grants of 1623 were for that year only; but they were renewed in fee in 1624, and it is quite possible that when the passengers on the "Anne" received their grants it was foreseen they would soon be made permanent. The internal evidence of the records shows clearly that the grantees of 1624 received the identical lots they had in 1623.
So it is a quite possible inference that the William Hilton family intended to stay in Plymouth for the season of 1624, if not indefinitely; or they may have kept secret their plans and taken the land as a sort of unjust enrichment; or neither assumption may be true. Now we come to a tradition handed down by Hubbard and to be received rather critically. This states that the original trouble with Lyford and Oldham arose from the baptism of a child of William Hilton, unpermissable because the father was not of the Plymouth church. If this be true, the Hiltons were at Plymouth in 1624, for Lyford did not come over until that year. Whatever be the trustworthiness of such a tradition, it is at least consistent with the first of the three infer
ences that William Hilton was still at Plymouth in 1624. If, then, his son was correct in declaring that Edward and William Hilton were the first English planters on the Piscataqua (waiving the question of the priority of Thomson at the smaller mouth of the river, and taking the statement to mean, as it seems to mean, that Edward and William went to the river together), it surely results that neither was at Hilton Point as a planter in 1623. So the secondary evidence leaves us just where the primary evidence did.
We shall therefore next year celebrate with assurance only the planting Little Harbor. But Thomson abandoned his settlement in 1626 or soon after, and in 1630 his house was leased as headquarters for the servants of the Laconia patentees. They in turn abandoned it by 1633. Who thereafter occupied it we do not know. Long ago it fell into ruin, and nothing of it now remains except a few stones guessed to be the foundation of its chimney. There is no clear connection between "Pannaway" and the settlement begun at Strawberry Bank about 1631. So to Dover, whenever planted, belongs the honor of being our oldest plantation with an unbroken history.
That is honor enough. The assigning of the settlement of Dover to the year 1623 has never, since the days of Hubbard, been more than an unnecessary assumption-an assumption glorified by repetition into a wellnigh general belief. One is reminded of the saying of Doctor Johnson: "Many things which are false transmitted from book to book, and gain credit in the world."
Two memorial occasions in the month of May in New Hampshire centered public attention, each for a day, upon the greatest figures in the history of the Granite State, Daniel Webster and John Stark. On Tuesday, the 16th, at Nashua, the markers placed by the state at the beginning of the Daniel Webster Highway, near the border line between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, were dedicated with appropriate ceremonies, including a very interesting address by Judge Charles R. Corning, president of the New Hampshire Historical Society, upon Webster, which we hope to print in full in the next issue of the Granite Monthly.
On Tuesday, May 9, at Manchester, under the auspices of the local Historical Association, due honor was paid to General Stark, of whose death the previous day had been the 100th anniversary. Captain Frank H. Challis presided, the High school pupils furnished music, Mayor George E. Trudel and others. spoke and Governor Albert O. Brown delivered the principal address of the occasion as follows: Mr. President, Ladies and Gentle
New Hampshire may well be called the mother of men. From the earliest times her sons have distinguished themselves on almost every accessible field of human endeavor. In public service they have been conspicuous and in private affairs, prominent. They have found advantage and comfort in comfort in peace and sacrifice and glory in war.
At the breaking out of the Revolution they constituted, from environment, a race of farmers and hunters. They were inured to arms. Indeed, until the end of the Seven Years War they had not for a moment been free from the Indian menace. But with the peace of
1760 many found their occupation gone. It was not for long, however. The war for independence in which they were to bear such a noble part, and chiefly in other states for theirs was not invaded, soon followed.
A list of great names adorns the pages of our early history, both as a province and a state. Bartlett, Whipple and Thornton, signers of the immortal declaration, Weare, Wentworth and Langdon, executives and legislators, and Stark, Sullivan and Cilley, soldiers in the field, may be taken as the representatives of a much larger group. The name of Stark stands at the very top of the list and is most often upon the tongues of men.
If it should seem strange that John Stark, born upon a frontier beset with savages, reared apart from schools and almost entirely deprived of the use of books, was able to acquire a considerable knowledge of military science and to gain admission to the society of such trained men as Howe and Washington, let it be remembered that his father was a native of Scotland and educated at the ancient University of Glasgow. is natural to believe that during the long winter evenings as well as in other periods of enforced leisure, the father imparted to the son something of the learning he was so fortunate as to possess. Moreover there is proof of instruction by the mother. At all events, young Stark learned something of history. Among other things he became familiar with the campaigns of Alexander and of Charles the XII, both of whom he greatly admired.
To the knowledge gained at home he soon added that of the wilderness. As a hunter and trapper in the northern wilds, as a
prisoner of the Indians in Canada. and as a forest ranger for many years, he learned all there was to know.
In the war between England and France his name and his presence were feared all the way from Albany to Quebec. His exploits and escapes were more remarkable even than those of Major Rogers himself. So highly was his opinion regarded that in the campaign 1758 he was summoned by Lord Howe for a conference at headquarters, and the night before Howe fell the two men lay side by side on a bear-skin in the forest and for hours discussed the position of Ticonderoga and the best methods of approach.
It is known to every student that, despite the neglect of historians resident abroad, the battle of Bunker Hill was fought and won, so far as it was won at all, by New Hampshire men. In numbers, in valor, and in everything that makes for efficiency, they were far in the lead in that memorable conflict. As they approached Charlestown Neck their advance was halted by a body of deserters and skulkers who could not be forced into action over that narrow passage, even then swept by the fire of the British fleet. They were requested to advance or give way and let Stark pass. They did the latter. And Colonel Stark led his regiment, which marched slowly and with the precision of veterans, through the disordered mass and then through a rain of grape and canister, to its position on the hill.
In this connection it is fair to remark that not all of the men of the Revolutionary period were heroes. But it is conforting to believe that not one of those who had traveled all the way from their northern homes to engage the enemy wherever he might be found, joined the rabble behind the lines
or united with those faithless soldiers who from another hill looked down upon the battle, without rendering the aid or furnishing the supplies that would have meant victory to the American arms.
Stark's men were opposed by the Welsh fusileers, veteran soldiers with a proud record to maintain. Three times they advanced to the attack. Three times they were swept back with terrible loss. That morning they had numbered 700 strong. The next morning they could muster but 83 men.
Verily "the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he pass'd."
How did the men from Amoskeag fight on that eventful day? Captain John Moor and his small company strewed 96 dead bodies along the Mystic shore, exclusive of the officers, who were removed before the count was made.
When the powder which Sullivan had seized at Fort William and Mary at New Castle, at the time he began the war by the reduction of that fortress, and with which the battle of Bunker Hill was fought, failed, and Prescott was compelled to retreat, it was Stark who protected his rear and then withdrew his own troops in the same good order in which they had come upon the field.
It is true that the glory of Bunker Hill belongs at least to all who participated in the battle, but if it be asked who contributed most of experience, of daring, of military capacity and aptitude, to the the fortunes of that day, the answer must inevitably be, John Stark.
There is no question about Bennington. The credit for that victory, as an achievement of command, belongs wholly to Stark. It was his capital service, and was in itself a supreme accomplishment.