Situated 35 km northeast of Saint John, the Town of Hampton is a welcoming community with numerous attractions and stunning natural landscapes. It lies along the Kennebecasis River, a tributary of the St. John River.
While the region was initially inhabited by Indigenous peoples and the French as early as the 1600s, permanent settlement did not occur until the arrival of the Loyalists in 1783.
Kings County, one of the original eight New Brunswick counties, was established on July 4, 1785. It initially comprised four parishes: Westfield, Springfield, Kingston, and Sussex, with Kingston as the Shiretown. The county now encompasses 15 parishes. The Parish of Hampton was established in 1795 from parts of Kingston and Sussex. The origin of the name Hampton is uncertain, but it is believed to have been introduced by pre-Loyalist English settlers.
The Kennebecasis River served as the primary mode of transportation in the region, with roads, a ferry, and a railroad later contributing to its development.
In the early 1800s, shipbuilding prospered in Hampton, but agriculture remained the main industry. The town also hosted a tannery, shingle mill, grist mill, sash and carriage factory, bobbin and spool factory, mill, and two casket makers. Various stores, hotels, a lawyer, a blacksmith, a doctor, and an undertaker could all be found on Front Street.
Five bridges have been constructed over the years, with the first three built between 1836 and 1888. The first steel bridge was erected in 1890, followed by the current one in 1931.
Kingston remained the Shiretown of Kings County until 1870 when the title was transferred to Hampton. A new courthouse was constructed, and the granite blocks of the jail in Kingston were disassembled, transported by oxen and horse over ice and roads, and reassembled in Hampton. The official weights and measures housed in the courthouse are crafted from a special metal and were imported from England in 1854.
The courthouse grounds in Hampton witnessed a celebration of Coronation Day for King George V in 1937. Over 2,000 people gathered to watch a parade and enjoy music, speeches, and prayers. Attendees also listened to the King’s broadcast speech, followed by a ‘Fue de Joie’ fired by the machine gun troop of the 8th Hussars and the National Anthem. In the evening, festivities continued with a band concert featuring community singing, a bonfire, fireworks, and a dance at the Agricultural Hall.
The Village of Hampton holds the distinction of having the first recorded telephone in the province, leased by agents to G. & G. Flewwelling Co. for testing purposes. There was also a line between the mill and the store, with the first central for the New Brunswick Telephone Company located in T. C. Donald’s drug store.
The Kings County Museum, located in the Centennial Building, is operated by the Kings County Historical and Archival Society. It is open to the public and houses an extensive collection of artifacts related to past life in Kings County and elsewhere.
The Confederation Quilt, crafted by Kings County resident Fannie Parlee in 1864, resides in Hampton. Parlee collected silk and velvet pieces from the gowns she made for ladies attending the balls and galas at the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, as well as a print dress worn by an 8-year-old Loyalist girl who arrived in Kings County over 200 years ago. She meticulously pieced together 16 large and four smaller blocks into a variegated crazy quilt, finishing it with a grey ruffle and embroidering the date on the back.
Hampton boasts stunning marsh areas, fertile farmland, and diverse wildlife. The marshes flood in the spring, creating nutrient-rich habitats that support extraordinary wildlife and a variety of vegetation throughout the Province of New Brunswick and Hampton, a haven for nature enthusiasts. Summer brings boaters to the rivers and lakes, while hikers traverse the mountains and trails in clean air. Vivid reds, yellows, and greens adorn the roads and streets, replacing the lupins before winter arrives, when skis, snowmen, and ice skates emerge. Hampton is a truly beautiful community that offers its residents a wide range of services and facilities, enhancing their quality of life.
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