Chronological History of New Hampshire


7000 - 1000 B.C. - Archaic Period; Native Americans move seasonally around New Hampshire to live, hunt, gather, and fish

1000 B.C. - 1600 A.D. - Woodland Period; Native Americans establish villages and develop trade networks, and ceramic and bow and arrow technology

17th century

1602 - Bartholomew Gosnold explored for English merchants the coast of New England from southern Maine to Buzzards Bay.

1603 - Martin Pring, on a purely trading expedition, followed the same course as Gosnold, but entered several waterways that Gosnold had overshot, including Massachusetts and Cape Cod bays.

1614-1616 - Captain John Smith, who assumed leadership of the colony, spent much of his first two years at Jamestown exploring the bays and
estuaries of the neighboring coast.

1622 -

March - King James I grant region between the Salem and Merrimac rivers, under the name of Mariana; to John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges jointly.

August 10 - King James I grant the region between the Merrimac and Kennebec rivers for 6o m. inland, under the name of the Province of Maine; to David Thomson and associates.

1st known European settlement at Piscataqua was founded by a Scottish Gentleman, Mr. David Thomson.

1623 - Dover, the first permanent settlement, is founded.

1629 - November 7 - John Mason alone, receives a grant of that portion of the Province of Maine which lay between the Merrimac and the Piscataqua, under the name of New Hampshire. Captain John Mason received a grant for land in 1629. He named this land New Hampshire after the English county of Hampshire where he had enjoyed a number of years as a child.

1641 - Massachusetts Colony gains control of New Hampshire

1642 - First school act of Massachusetts; New Hampshire towns included; parents and masters required to teach children reading, citizenship, and religion

1645 - First recorded slave in Portsmouth appears in the records.

1653 - Strawbery Banke petitioned the Massachusetts General Court for permission to change its name to Portsmouth.

1679 - England forms New Hampshire as a separate royal colony

1680 - New Hampshire enacts own first school law requiring schools in all towns of fifty households or more

1690 - The Falkland, a warship, is constructed for the British Navy, creating an industry that remains in Portsmouth until the 1960s.

18th century

1717 - John Wentworth becomes lieutenant governor of New Hampshire.

1719 - First potato planted in the US at Londonderry Common Field (Derry)

1722 - Royal Charter for Nottingham granted by King George

1730 - William Whipple, merchant/judge (Declaration of Independence signer) was born

1734 - The Great Awakening sweeps through New Hampshire

1739 - Decemeber 10 - Ruth Blay becomes the last person executed in Portsmouth for concealing the death of her own illegitimate child.

1741 - Benning Wentworth Becomes New Hampshire Colony Governor

1749 - Gov. Benning Wentworth makes first New Hampshire grant-for town of Bennington

1756 - The New Hampshire Gazette is formed; and was at one time the "oldest newspaper of continuous publication in the United States."

1765 - November 1 - Stamp Act of King George III goes into effect.

1767 - First summer resort in America, the summer home of Royal Governor John Wentworth at Wolfeboro, New Hampshire

1769 - Founding of Dartmouth College.

1770 - Dartmouth College opens at Hanover

1774 -

First state to declare itself independent from England

Patriots from the local area raid Fort William and Mary and steal the gunpowder stored there. (Incident becomes known as the Powder Raid.)

1775 -June 16-17- British troops fire on the revolutionaries at Lexington, Massachusetts

1776 -

July-18 - Declaration of Independence is read on July 18 on the state house's western steps.

The first independent government from England is established

State to adopt a revolutionary constitution

1777 -

January 27, Letter to Benjamin Franklin, John Paul Jones arrived in Paris and readiness of Ranger to sail with squadron.

1778 - First state to hold a constitutional convention

1783 - First state to require that its constitution be referred to the people for approval

1788 - New Hampshire becomes the 9th state; U.S. Constitution is ratified by New Hampshire at a convention in Exeter.

1789 - October 30 - George Washington address crowd in Portsmouth

1795 - Amos Fortune founds the Jaffrey Social Library in Jaffrey, New Hampshire

1796 - October - Public sentiment in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, prevents the return of a fugitive slave to President Washington

19th century

1800 - Portsmouth Navy Yard is established.

1801 - John LangdonPatriot and politician; first President Pro Tempore of the US Senate became Governor of New Hampshire.

1808 - State capital is established in Concord

1809 -

Portsmouth Academy is opened

Fort Consitution explosion during an Independence Day celebration badly damaged the Captain's House and killed 14 people.

1812 - Portsmouth's foreign trade is destroyed as a result of the embargo enacted during the War of 1812.

1813 - Third devastating Fire in Portmouth

1819 - religious toleration act prohibits taxation for church purposes

1822 - Black poet James M. Whitfield is born in Exeter, New Hampshire.

1833 - The first U.S. public library is founded in Peterborough

1835 -

March - Twenty-eight white students and fourteen black students commence classes at the newly established Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire.

August 10, 1835 - White residents of Canaan, New Hampshire, with the help of residents of neighboring towns and "nearly one hundred yoke of oxen," forcibly remove Noyes Academy from its foundation.

1851 - Clipper ship, Typhoon, is built in Portsmouth.

1853 - Franklin Pierce of Hillsboro becomes the 14th U.S. President

1854 - Founding of the New Hampshire State Teachers' Association

1864 -

September 17- USS Franklin, the largest wooden ship to be built at the navy yard in Portland is finished.

June 18 - CSS Alabama sinks in English Channel off French coast in fight with USS Kearsage. Capt. (later Adm.) Raphael Semmes escapes to England.

1869 - First mountain climbing cog railroad (Mt. Washington)

1890 - Lucy Swallow and Delia Brown become the first female students of University of New Hampshire

20th century

1909 - First credit association in the nation chartered (St. Mary's Bank Credit Union)

1913 - The General Court Passes an act to provide for the election of delegates to the National Convention by direct vote of the people. The primary date is set for the third Tuesday in May.

1915 - The primary is moved to the second Tuesday in March to coincide with Town Meeting Day. This made it easier for our rural population who were busy plowing the fields in April and May. I

1916 - New Hampshire holds its first primary. At this point we were not voting directly for the candidates, but for delegates to the National Convention. The primary is taking place one week after Indiana's and on the same day as Minnesota. To register, the candidate needed 100 signatures and $10.

1920 - Minnesota dropped its primary and Indiana changed its primary date to May. New Hampshire then became first in the Nation.

1923 - The University of New Hampshire established

1926 - Elizabeth Virgil is the first African-American woman to graduate from UNew Hampshire

1938 - First aerial passenger tramway in North America (Cannon Mtn)

1939 - May 24, USS SQUALUS (SS-192) Submarine Disaster

1944 - The International monetary Conference is held at Bretton Woods

1945 - WW2 German U-Boats surrender in Portmouth

1952 - Held the First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primary

1963 - Adopted the first legal lottery in the twentieth century United States; the nation's first since 1894

1966 - October 6 - Conservation Law Foundation established

1997- Portsmouth is chosen by Money magazine as the fifth best place in the nation to live.

The Abenaki and Pennacook Indians were living in the area of New Hampshire when Europeans arrived.

The region was first explored by Martin Pring (1603) and Samuel de Champlain (1605). John Smith explored the Isles of Shoals in 1614, naming them Smith's Islands. In 1620 the Council for New England, formerly the Plymouth Company, received a royal grant of land between lat. 40°N and 48°N. One of the Council's leaders, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, formed a partnership with Capt. John Mason and in 1622 obtained rights between the Merrimack and Kennebec rivers, then called the province of Maine. Under an English land grant, Capt. John Smith sent settlers to establish a fishing colony at the mouth of the Piscataqua River, near present-day Rye and Dover, in 1623. By a division Mason took (1629) the area between the Piscataqua and the Merrimack, naming it New Hampshire. Portsmouth was founded by farmers and fishermen in 1630.

Note: The 1st known European settlement in New Hampshire, Piscataqua, was founded in 1622, not by an Englishman as one might presume, but rather by a Scottish Gentleman, Mr. David Thomson. The "plantation" was part of the colonization of Nova Albion (New England) under the Scottish king...James Stuart the VI of Scotland, aka, James 1st of England...the son of the martyred Mary Stewart, Queen of the Scots.

Captain Mason died in 1635, just before his proposed trip to the new country which he never saw. He had invested more than twenty-two thousand pounds in clearing the land, building houses, and preparing for its defense, a considerable fortune for those days. By then Dover and Portsmouth had expanded into Hampton and Exeter, and its income from fishing was increased by that from trade in furs and timber.

Through claims based on a misinterpretation of its charter, Massachusetts annexed S New Hampshire between 1641 and 1643. After a 38-year period of union with Massachusetts, New Hampshire was made a separate royal colony in 1679. However, Massachusetts continued to press land claims until the two colonies finally agreed on the eastern and southern boundaries (1739–41).

Taking the idea from the English government, a community of "towns" was erected, and this became a "royal province" in 1679 with John Cutt as president, with a population intended to be as nearly like England as it could be. The "royal province" continued until 1698 when it came under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts with Joseph Dudley as Governor. Although they were technically independent of each other, the crown habitually appointed a single man to govern both colonies until 1741, when Benning Wentworth was made the first governor of New Hampshire alone.

During that time England's throne had been ruled by William and Mary, Queen Anne, and George I, and New Hampshire was administered by no less than eight lieutenant governors. There had been much unrest in England and as a result, to New Hampshire's advantage, the Scotch settlers of Londonderry in Ireland had in 1719 sent many of their people here to form a "Scotch" colony in the new place they would call our own Londonderry.

Under King George II New Hampshire returned to its provincial status with a governor of its own, Benning Wentworth, who was its chief magistrate from 1741 to 1766.

During the first two decades of Governor Wentworth's term New Hampshire had been beset with Indian troubles. With little aid from England, then at war with its old-time enemy, France, the colonists undertook the sieges of Louisbourg, and helped to reduce Crown Point, and in the conquest of Canada. By the time of the signing of the Peace of Paris in 1762, and the end of the Indian fighting under the Rogers Rangers, the entire north country of New Hampshire was ready to be explored, surveyed, and populated.

Governor Wentworth who, as if in anticipation of this opportunity, seems to have been well prepared for it, had arranged the purchase for the sum of fifteen hundred pounds of the unauthenticated claims of Robert Mason, heir of Captain John Mason. Wentworth and his friends purchased the Mason rights in 1746, laying claim to lands east of the Hudson and thereby provoking a protracted controversy with New York. Although a royal order in 1764 established the Connecticut River as the western boundary of New Hampshire, the dispute flared up again during the American Revolution and was not settled until Vermont became a state.

Governor Wentworth, with all or most of the Masonian Proprietors as his councilors, then proceeded to grant towns to prospective settlers as equally as possible. In addition to the thirty-eight towns already granted, more than a hundred others followed after the year 1761. These towns contained lots available to more than thirty thousand families, many from the older towns in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts, but many from other neighboring states. Some of these towns were located in Vermont, to be released later by a court order, which made the western shore of the Connecticut River the state boundary line.

Benning Wentworth died in 1770. He was succeeded by his nephew who later became Sir John Wentworth, the last of the royal governors. He is perhaps best known because of his purchase of a thirty six mile tract of land on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee where he established an estate known as Kingswood. It afterward become Wolfeborough.

Governor Sir John Wentworth's beneficial acts to the state included the building of roads, including one from Portsmouth to Kingswood; publishing the first accurate state map; organizing the State militia, a member of which was Major Benjamin Thompson of Concord who afterward became known as Count Rumford; his help in founding Dartmouth College; and the building of Wentworth House, now owned by the State. Loyal to the English crown, he embarked for Nova Scotia at the beginning of the Revolution, there to become its lieutenant governor until his death in 1820.

A pre-Revolution event occurring in New Hampshire was the removal in 1774, by a small party of patriots at New Castle, of the powder and guns at Fort William and Mary. Although none of the Revolutionary battles took place on New Hampshire land, hundreds of “minutemen” went to Boston to fight the British. New Hampshire's participation in the Battle of Bunker Hill at which nearly all the troops doing the actual fighting were said to have been from this State; the signing of the Declaration of Independence by New Hampshire's Josiah Bartlett, Matthew Thornton, and William Whipple; General John Stark's victory at the Battle of Bennington; and the success of Captain John Paul Jones at sea.

As leaders in the revolutionary cause, New Hampshire delegates received the honor of being the first to vote for the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 and to establish its own government (Jan., 1776). New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the new Constitution of the United States on June 21, 1788. New Hampshire's northern boundary was fixed in 1842 when the Webster-Ashburton Treaty set the international line between Canada and the United States.

The Democrats remained in political control until their inability to take a united antislavery stand brought about their decline. When Franklin Pierce, New Hampshire's only President of the United States (1853–57), tried to smooth over the slavery quarrel and unite his party, antislavery sentiment was strong enough to alienate many of his followers. During the Civil War, New Hampshire was a strong supporter of the Northern cause and contributed many troops to the Union forces. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard built ships that blockaded Southern ports.

On April 15, 1861, the day following the surrender of Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers for three months service. The next day, New Hampshire Governor Ichabod Goodwin issued a call for one regiment of volunteers. The Civil War lasted four years rather than three months and before it ended in April of 1865, New Hampshire had supplied the Union with eighteen regiments, including two cavalry units, four artillery units and three companies of sharpshooters.

Over 38,943 New Hampshire residents served during the War - approximately 12 percent of the state's population (1860 Census). 32,486 served in New Hampshire units, 3,160 enlisted in the U. S. Navy, and 396 joined African-American regiments. By war's end, 1,934 New Hampshire soldiers and sailors had died from war wounds, 2,407 from disease, and 499 died from undetermined causes.

After the war, the once agricultural state began a period of industrial growth with new businesses and factories. Thousands of immigrants from Canada and Europe came to work in textile, woodworking, and leather industries. Many farmers left to claim free land in the West, creating more of an urban New Hampshire.

New Hampshire gained a measure of international attention in 1905 when Portsmouth Naval Base played host to the signing of the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War, known as the Treaty of Portsmouth.

After the war New Hampshire's economy began to emerge as primarily industrial, and population growth was steady although never spectacular. The production of woolen and cotton goods and the manufacturing of shoes led all other enterprises. The forests were rapidly and ruthlessly exploited, but in 1911 a bill was passed to protect big rivers by creating forest reserves at their headwaters, and since that time numerous conservation measures have been enacted and large tracts of woodland have been placed under state and national ownership.

During World War I, Portsmouth again supplied warships. Leather and shoe manufacturing became the state's leading industry. World War II, required more warships and submarines. Military uniforms were supplied from textile mills and boots from shoe factories.

The Great Depression of the 1930s severely dislocated the state's economy, especially in the one-industry towns. The effort made then to broaden economic activities has been continually intensified. The recent establishment of important new industries such as electronics has successfully counterbalanced the departure to other states of older industries such as textiles.

In 1944, the International Monetary Conference was held in Bretton Woods, to help restore world trade after the war. Representatives from 44 different countries came together and established the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

In the 1950s, the Business Development Corporation and the Industrial Park Authority were established to aid new businesses and attract industry to New Hampshire. Today, few of the businesses in New Hampshire are textile mills or shoe factories. Computer companies and tourism are the growing industry.

In the 1980s, New Hampshire produced many new jobs and had one of the fastest growing economies in the United States. The state benefits from its close proximity to the Boston metropolitan area with its many high-technology firms, but when Massachusetts experiences a recession like that of the late 1980s and early 90s, New Hampshire is similarly affected.

More New Hampshire Firsts, Facts, and Trivia

Of the thirteen original colonies, New Hampshire was the first to declare its independence from Mother England -- a full six months before the Declaration of Independence was signed. 

The highest wind speed recorded at ground level is at Mt. Washington, on April 12, 1934. The winds were three times as fast as those in most hurricanes. 

New Hampshire is the only state that ever played host at the formal conclusion of a foreign war. In 1905, Portsmouth was the scene of the treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War. 

The first potato planted in the United States was at Londonderry Common Field in 1719. 

Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr., the first American to travel in space is from East Derry, New Hampshire. 

In 1833 the first free public library in the United States was established in Peterborough. 

In the town of Warner the last passenger train stopped on November 4, 1955, and the last freight in 1961. Since then the tracks through town were torn up and sold as scrap iron. 

New Hampshire adopted the first legal lottery in the twentieth century United States in 1963. 

Cornish Hill Pottery Company handcrafts functional stoneware decorated in the traditions of Early American and European potters with a method known as "slip trailing". The slip is a creamy mixture of clay and water and is applied to moist, almost hardened pots by hand. The slip contains various colorants, including natural clay colors and metals. 

New Hampshire's present constitution was adopted in 1784; it is the second oldest in the country. 

On December 30, 1828, about 400 mill girls walked out of the Dover Cotton Factory enacting the first women's strike in the United States. The Dover mill girls were forced to give in when the mill owners immediately began advertising for replacement workers. 

Levi Hutchins of Concord invented the first alarm clock in 1787. 

The Irish-born American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens lived and worked in Cornish from 1885 until his death at age 59 in 1907. 

The Mount Washington auto road at Great Glen is New Hampshire's oldest manmade tourist attraction. 

In the fall of 1999, the Town of Newbury officially opened a B&M caboose as a visitor center at Bell Cove, Newbury Harbor. 

Daniel Webster was a politician and statesman, born at Franklin in 1782. He was known in his day as a mighty orator, a reputation preserved in the Stephen Vincent Benet story The Devil and Daniel Webster, in which he beats the original lawyer, Lucifer, in a contract case over a man’s soul. 

New Hampshire’s State House is the oldest state capitol in which a legislature still meets in its original chambers. 

Alexandria was the birthplace of Luther C. Ladd, the first enlisted soldier to lose his life in the Civil War. 

The very first motorized ascent of the Mount Washington auto road was by Feelan O. Stanley, of Stanley Steamer fame, in 1899. 

Dover was settled in 1623. It is the oldest permanent settlement in New Hampshire. 

The karner blue butterfly, lynx, bald eagle, short nose sturgeon, Sunapee trout, Atlantic salmon and dwarf wedge mussel are on the State's endangered species list. 

Founded in 1866 at Durham, the University of New Hampshire serves an undergraduate population of 10,500 students. 

The Enfield Shaker community was one of eighteen villages located from Maine to Kentucky and from Massachusetts to Ohio. 

The quintessential New England community of Wolfeboro is known as "The Oldest Summer Resort in America". 

Augustus Saint-Gaudens from Cornish was the first sculptor to design an American coin. His commission became fraught with difficulties related to Saint-Gaudens’ desire for high relief relative to the demands of mass production and use. 

America's Stonehenge is a 4000 year old megalithic (stone constructed) site located on Mystery Hill in Salem and presently serves as a leisurely, educational tour for the whole family. 

The Pierce Manse in Concord is the home of the only New Hampshire citizen ever elected President. Franklin Pierce was a hero of the war with Mexico and the youngest President elected at that time. 

The Memorial Bell Tower at Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge has four bronze bas-reliefs designed by Norman Rockwell. The bell tower is specifically dedicated to women — military and civilian — who died serving their country. 

The first free public library in the United States was established at Peterborough in 1833. 

The Bavarian-style hamlet of Merrimack is home to the famous eight-horse hitch, and the Clydesdales maintained by the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. 

Cannon Aerial Tramway is the first aerial passenger tramway in North America. It was built in 1938 at Franconia Notch. 

In Holderness Captain Pierre Havre and his canine first mate, Bogie, have built a sailing tour around the locations from the Katherine Hepburn/Henry Fonda movie On Golden Pond. 

The Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in Concord is a state-of-the art planetarium dedicated to the memory of New Hampshire teacher Christa McAuliffe, who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. 

New Hampshire's state motto is "Live Free or Die". The motto comes from a statement written by the Revolutionary General John Stark, hero of the Battle of Bennington. 

As leaders in the revolutionary cause, New Hampshire delegates received the honor of being the first to vote for the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. 

New Hampshire has 10 counties, 13 municipalities, 221 towns and 22 unincorporated places. 

Sarah Josepha Hale author and journalist who wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb" in 1830 is from Newport, New Hampshire. 

The Belknap Mill built at Laconia in 1823 is the oldest unaltered brick knitting mill in America. 

The Blue Ghost of Wolfeboro is the U.S. Mail Boat for Lake Winnipesaukee. It makes a daily 60-mile loop delivering mail to 30 stops at camps and islands around the lake. 

At Stonyfield Farm in Londonderry you can learn how yogurt is made. From cow to incubator to cooler. They give away samples and you can buy some “moo” chandise. 

New Hampshire did not officially adopt a state flag until 1909. Prior to that, New Hampshire had numerous regimental flags to represent the state. The present flag has only been changed once, in 1931 when the state's seal was modified. 

The USS Albacore was a prototype submarine built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and commissioned in 1953. At the time she was the fastest submarine ever designed. 

The first capital city of New Hampshire was in Exeter. 

The granite profile "Old Man of the Mountain" is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the state. The Old Man’s head measures 40 feet from chin to forehead and is made up of five ledges. Nature carved this profile thousands of years ago. The natural sculpture is 1,200 feet above Echo Lake. 

It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make approximately 1 gallon of maple syrup. 

Wallace D. Lovell built the Hampton River Bridge in 1900 called the "mile-long bridge". It was reputed to be the longest wooden bridge in the world. 

Captain John Smith named New Hampshire after the town of Hampshire, England. 

New Hampshire has a changeable climate, with wide variations in daily and seasonal temperatures. The variations are affected by proximity to the ocean, mountains, lakes or rivers. The state enjoys all four seasons. Summers are short and cool; winters are long and cold; fall is glorious with foliage. The weather station on Mount Washington has recorded some of the coldest temperatures and strongest winds in the continental United States. 

New Castle is the smallest town in New Hampshire. It covers .8 square miles, or 512 acres. The town is composed of one large island and several smaller islands, and serves as a scenic residential and recreational community. 

The Pembroke Glass Works produced crown window glass from 1839 until 1850. The process of gathering molten glass on a blowpipe, and blowing the glass into a balloon shape. The blowpipe is removed, a solid "punty" rod is attached and the glass is spun rapidly until a disc is formed. When the glass cools the outer portion beyond the central knob is then cut into panes

New Hampshire Geography

New Hampshire Geography, New Hampshire Facts

New Hampshire is sometimes referred to as the "Mother of Rivers." Five of the great streams of New England originate in its granite hills. The Connecticut River rises in the northern part. The Pemigewasset River starts in the Profile Lake in the Franconia mountains and joins the Winnipesaukee at Franklin to form the Merrimack. The Cocheco and Salmon Falls rivers join at Dover to form the Piscataqua. In addition, two of the principal rivers of Maine, the Androscoggin and the Saco, begin in northern New Hampshire. 

New Hampshire has 1300 lakes or ponds and 40,000 miles of rivers and streams which provide year round fishing and recreation in scenic surroundings, as well as power for the State's many industries. 

The White Mountains are New Hampshire’s best known natural feature. Mount Washington (elevation of 6,288 feet) is the highest mountain east of the Rockies and north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Its privately-owned cog railway was the first mountain climbing railway in the world. 

Although New Hampshire has a coastline of only eighteen miles, the port city of Portsmouth has a large navy ship yard with a long and prosperous history. New Hampshire is heavily forested with an abundance of elm, maple, beech, oak, pine, hemlock and fir trees

© Keith Quinton 2015