Marker #119 Old Landing Road

2 11 2009

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Marker Text:

“This was the first roadway from the ancient landing on Hampton River taken on October 14, 1638, by Rev. Stephen Bachiler and his small band of followers, when they made the first settlement of Hampton, originally named Winnacunnet Plantation. For the next 160 years this area was the center of the Town’s activity. During that period and into the Town’s third century, Landing Road provided access for fishing, salt-marsh haying, mercantile importing and exporting, and transportation needs of a prospering community.”

It’s Located east of US 1, at the corner of Park Avenue and Landing Road at Founders Park, near Winnacunnet High School. Erected in 1977.

#119 

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Founders Park, Hampton. 11/01/09

The story of Rev Bachiler is an interesting one.  By the time he made it here to Hampton in 1638 he was already around 77 years old.  His story begins for us with his arrival in Massachusetts in 1632.  For details of his life before arriving here, the Lane Memorial Library, in Hampton has a terrific treasure trove of information on-line

Bachiler first settled in Lynn MA and headed a church there.  But he, like Reverend Wheelwright the Founder of Exeter, ran into trouble with with the Puritan Church in Massachusetts Bay.

In February, 1636, Bachiler moved to Ipswich, the home of John Winthrop, where he received 50 acres of land, but, apparently discouraged by his troubles at Sagus, gave up the active work of the ministry. This latter fact was mentioned in a letter of the period from a Puritan minister in England, as a result of the reign and bigoted spirit in New England, which deterred many from coming to this country.

Early in 1638, in the winter time, Bachiler tried to form a settlement near Yarmouth on Cape Cod, where his Wing grandchildren lived; and walked there from Ipswich. But, says Winthrop, "He and his company being poor men, gave it over, and others undertook it." In the spring of 1638, he removed to Newbury …

Victor Sanborn, 1898

Now there’s an old man with some good shoes! Walked from Ipswich, near Gloucester all the way to Yarmouth half way down Cape Cod.

It was in September of 1638 that Bachiler and others recieved permission for Massachusetts to establish a settlement at Winnacunnet .  “ The settlers went by shallop and begun the settlement October 14, 1638. (Stackpole, pp 47,48)

The Memorial Boulder, at Founders Park, Dedicated in 1925

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Memorial Boulder, November 2009

It seems that scandal of one sort or another followed Bachiler wherever he went.  In 1641 when Massachusetts swallowed up New Hampshire he was soon booted out of the church, then let back in later.  By 1644 he had been pastor in Exeter, returned to Hampton, finally settling in Strawberry Banke. You can read all the gory charges, machinations and politicking here, here, and here.

In his mid-80s now and hoping to live out his life peacefully at Strawberry Banke, life would throw him another curve-ball by the name of Mary.  In 1647 and probably infirmed, a young woman was assigned to assist him in day to day life.  She turned out to be a gold digger that tricked him into marriage in 1648.

This woman was, of course, much younger than her deluded husband; but her original name and age are unknown. She soon passed over into the jurisdiction of Gorges’ colony, living on her land in Kittery, and used her married name as a cover for vice. In October, 1650, she was arrested on suspicion of adultery with one George Rogers, and a year later the York records show that she was convicted of the offence, and sentenced to receive forty stripes save one at the first town meeting held at Kittery, six weeks after her delivery, and be branded with the letter "A."  F. B. Sanborn – 1900

Could she have been the inspiration for Hester Prynne in Nathanial Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter? The parallels are intriguing.

 

He petitioned for divorce, Gov. Winthrop refused. He returned to England where he died near London in 1656.

I really want to thank the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton again.  Your web site was invaluable for this and markers to come.

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