A fascinating, year-by-year, winner-by-winner portrait, not only of these iconic summertime contests, but of Hampton Beach itself. The book’s stories and historic photos are guaranteed to bring back happy memories to long-time beachgoers, former contestants, their families, and fans, as well as bring delight to those whose own history with the beach is just beginning….

Puritan superstition confronts an indomitable will in this richly researched, ground breaking biography of Goodwife Unise Cole, the woman known as the Witch of Hampton. Unise Cole’s story has great appeal for anyone interested in the history and mystery of the New England witchcraft persecutions and their aftermath. Beginning with her death in 1680, Cole…

“I loved this book! I never knew Hampton was once populated by such daring men and women.” – Peg on Goodreads. “Deeply and impressively researched, this book deftly describes tavern keeping in Hampton, New Hampshire during the 1638-1783 period. Consistently informative and entertaining, the book authentically depicts daily life in the colony.” – 21st Annual…

Party Boss of Hampton

Back in an era when Republicans ruled the political roost in New Hampshire, John Garrison Cutler of Hampton Beach was one of the party’s leading bosses. Born in Exeter in 1833 to free blacks Rufus E. and Anna Cilley Cutler, he began his working life at his father’s Water Street store, later opening a billiards…

A Fundamental Flaw (Part III)

In this final installment, Roby’s checkered career as a justice. Justice of the Court of Sessions New Hampshire received its name with the grant to Captain John Mason on November 7, 1629. Mason poured his own money into improving his grant, but when he died unexpectedly in 1635, his widow informed his tenants that they…

A Fundamental Flaw (Part II)

Roby’s brushes with witchcraft, role as a father in trying circumstances, and a risky confrontation with the church. Brushes with witchcraft            Soon after settling in Hampton, Roby and his family encountered the purported maleficium of their neighbor Unise Cole, with whom they were already acquainted from their days in Exeter. From early on, Cole may…

A Fundamental Flaw (Part I)

Henry Roby of Hampton, New Hampshire stands out as one of the most intriguing minor figures in 17th-century New England. The fragmentary record of his life portrays an industrious colony-builder who demanded respect, but through some fundamental flaw in his character had failed to actually earn it. He abused the power of his position, disregarded…

Winnacunnet Remembered

Winicowett, Winnicummet, Winnacunnet. However you spell it, this Abenaki place name has a skeleton in its wigwam. Although variously translated as “beautiful place of pines,” “pleasant place of pines,” and “beautiful long place,” no one really knows what the word signifies, or—judging by the variant spellings—how it was pronounced by the Native Americans who passed…

Prince of Winnacunnet Road

Anna May Cole was a favorite Hampton Academy teacher. Born in Maine in 1865 and brought to Hampton, New Hampshire as an infant, she lived for much of her life on the Winnacunnet Road homestead of her Page ancestors who had settled in Hampton in 1639. Teaching ran in the family line—her mother Susan Page…

The Enticing of Ann Smith

A TALE OF VVITCHCRAFT IN OLD HAMPTON The consequences of bad mothering are subjects of ancient and enduring interest. The all-consuming and overbearing mother—who is at heart a terrifying hag—is a staple leitmotif of folktales like Beowulf, Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella. One of the finest modern examples is the 2009 animated film…

The Checkered Past of Hampton’s Trolley Tycoon

Wallace D. Lovell of Newton, Massachusetts holds a special place in the history of the development of Hampton Beach. Lauded as an ambitious man with “imagination and vision,” he was the driving force behind the construction of the street railway in 1897, the Casino in 1899, and the wooden ‘mile-long’ Hampton River bridge, which opened…

The Traveling Bowling Alley

Writing in the Hampton Union newspaper in the 1930s, historian Caroline Lamprey Shea informed her readers that the Puritans of Hampton, New Hampshire had kept a bowling green in a field near the lower end of the road to the sea (Winnacunnet Road). Now, Puritans aren’t remembered for their tolerance of games and other time-wasting…

The Dudley Dynasty of Beach Queens

Beauty contests, it seems, have always been with us. The ancient Greeks gave us the story of Hera and her stepdaughters Athena and Aphrodite, three goddesses who wanted to know which of them was the fairest of all. Hera’s husband Zeus wisely refused to get involved, and instead appointed a shepherd prince to settle the…

Carnival Queens & Miss Hampton Beach

Like fried dough, henna tattoos, and trips to the arcade, Beach Queens have long been an important part of the summer rituals at Hampton Beach. What started out as a way to sell raffle tickets with the Queen of the Carnival contest, open to all women, had by the 1940s evolved into the Miss Hampton Beach beauty pageant, for which only young, single women were eligible.