Benjamin James (1673 - 1747)

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Birthplace: Hampton Falls, Rockingham, New Hampshire
Death: Died in Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire
Occupation: weaver, constable of Hampton, Constable
Managed by: Catherine "Erin" Spiceland
Last Updated:

About Benjamin James

Benjamin James came to Hampton, NH, in 1690 as an apprentice to the weaver John Stockbridge. In 1702, after serving out his apprenticeship and having learned his trade, Benjamin married Susanna Smith, daughter of John Smith, the tailor. By November 1705, Benjamin had purchased four acres of land from Zechariah Bartlett, also a weaver. The land was located toward the westerly end of the Hampton marshes, called the "Drake Side," in an area that had not yet been settled. According to James family tradition, Benjamin and Susanna built a modest, rectangular, one-story house with a loft in 1707. In 1723, a larger, nine-room house was constructed for them, near the site of the earlier one-story building, which may have become Benjamin's weaving workshop. Over the next three decades, Benjamin added 36 acres of pasture and meadowland to his holdings. By the 1800s, the James farm had expanded to over 100 acres, and included several out-buildings, including sheds, a barn and a milk-house.

By 1722, Benjamin and Susanna James had eight children, all born at Hampton. Benjamin and Susanna, and six successive generations of the James family, lived at the homestead, worked the farm, raised sheep, spun wool, wove fabric, operated sawmills, and participated in town affairs. The James Farm remained in the possession of the James family for seven generations. At the turn of the 20th Century, the farm was still being operated much as it had been throughout its history. However, when Joshua E. James, of the sixth generation, suffered a series of debilitating strokes, the farm began to deteriorate. After his death in 1927, his widow Jennie (Crosby) James, held on to the property until 1931, when the property was sold to the Campbell family.

When Winifred and Gertrude Campbell bought the house, it was in in a somewhat delapidated condition. They installed running water and electricity, and converted a shed and milk-house into a cottage. The land was farmed, but less intensively than before. By 1972, the main house was uninhabited, and only the carriage house was occupied. The Campbell family scattered, and, after the deaths of all but two of Winifred's grandchildren, the remaining family members sold off the house and remaining land.

Realizing the historic value of the site, the James House Association was formed in 1994 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the house. It was able to acquire the house and, ultimately, three acres of the original homestead. The Town of Hampton acquired the other remaining 12 acres. Upon acquiring the property, the James House Association began the task of securing, studying and preserving the property.

The James House is the earliest survivng example in New Hampshire of the "three-post" framing method, which became the standard for two-story center chimney dwellings in the region. All of its original framing remains intact. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Learn more about the James House at http://www.jameshousemuseum.org

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NH Wills 33:208-209:

In the Name of God, Amen. This Tenth day of August, 1744: I, Benjamin James, of Hampton in the Province of New Hampshire in New England, being now Weak in Body...

Imprimes: I Give unto my Son Israel James all my Land that I have in ye Second West Division Where he Now Lives: and one quater Part of my Piece of Salt marsh yt I bought of Jacob Brown: & one quater Part of my Whole Right yt I have in Chichester.

Itaim I Give unto my son Benjamin James all my land that I have in ye West Division: & one quater Part of my whole Right of land yt I have in Chichester

Itaim I give unto my Son [John] James all my Land that I have in ye Parish of Brintwood in ye town of Exeter: & one quater part of my Whole Right of land yt I have in Chichester

Itaim I Give unto my Son Jabez James my Dweling house & Barn & orchard & all my land and medow Ground where my house Stands & my Share of land which lyes in ye Second North Division in Timber Swamp So Called: & one quater Part of my Piece of Salt marsh yt I bought of Jacob Brown: & my Piece of Salt marsh yt I bought of Capt. Joseph Tilton: & my Piece of Salt marsh that I bought of James Leavitt: & one quater Part of my whole Right of land yt I have in Chichester & all my Stock of Catter horses Sheep & Swine & all my husbandry Tools --

Itaim: I Give unto my Daughter Susannah Sanborn Fifteen Pounds in Pasable Bills of Credett of old Tenor and I order my Son Jabez to Pay it to her --

Itaim: I Give unto my Daughter Elizabeth Tow Fifteen Pounds in Pasable Bills of Credett of old Tenor and I order my Son Jabez James to Pay it to her --

Itaim: I Give unto my Daughter mary Lane Fifteen Pounds in Pasable bills of Credett of old Tenor: and I order my Son Jabez James to Pay it to her --

Itaim: I Give unto my Grand Daughter Mary James the Bed yt I lay on: & all ye beding yt Belongs to it and Thirty Pounds in Pasable bills of Credett of old Tenor: and I order my Son Israel James to Pay it to her

Itaim: I Give unto my Grand Daughter RUTH JAMES Thirty Pounds in Pasable bills of Credett of old Tenor: and I order my Son Israel James to Pay it to her

Itaim: I Give unto my three Daughters (viz): Susannah Sanborn Elizabeth Row and mary Lane all my movables in my house that I have not all Redey Disposed of: to be equailly Divided Between them

Lastly my Will & meaning is that What Debts or Dues are owing from me I order my Son Jabez James to Pay them & What Debts are Due to me I order him to Receive them for him Self: And I Doe appoint my two above Named Sons Israel James & Jabez James to be Executors to this my Last Will & Testament & in Confirmation here of I have here unto Set my hand & Seal ye day & year above mentioned in ye Eighteenth year of King George ye Second his Reign over Grate Britain:

/s/ Benjamin James

Signed Sealed & Declared by Benjamin James to be his last Will & Testament in Presence of us

/s/ Samuel Dalton

/s/ Jabez Smith

/s/ John Smith

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•Birth: 15 APR 1673 in of Newbury, Essex Co, Massachusetts, United States

•Death: 5 MAY 1747 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

Father: Edmund James b: in of Newbury, Essex Co, Massachusetts, United States

Mother: Mary Mitchell b: 31 AUG 1649 in Newbury, Essex Co, Massachusetts, United States

Marriage 1 Susanna Smith b: 14 OCT 1682 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

•Married: 23 JUL 1702 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

Children

1. Susanna James b: 22 APR 1703 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

2. Edmund James b: 22 NOV 1704 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

3. Israel James b: 19 SEP 1706 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

4. Benjamin James b: 27 APR 1712 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

5. Elizabeth James b: 10 JUN 1715 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

6. Jabez James b: 18 APR 1717 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

7. John James b: 12 FEB 1720 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

8. Mary James b: 3 MAR 1722 in Hampton, Rockingham Co, New Hampshire, USA

view all 12

Benjamin James's Timeline

1673
April 15, 1673
Hampton Falls, Rockingham, New Hampshire
1702
July 23, 1702
Age 29
Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA
1703
April 22, 1703
Age 30
Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA
1704
November 22, 1704
Age 31
Kensington, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA
1706
September 19, 1706
Age 33
1712
April 27, 1712
Age 39
1715
June 10, 1715
Age 42
Hampton. New Hampshire
1717
April 18, 1717
Age 44
Hampton, New Hampshire
1720
February 12, 1720
Age 46
Northwood, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA
1721
March 3, 1721
Age 47