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Revised 27 December 2010

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire is one of the thirteen original counties.  Its history, for our purposes, begins in 1603, when one Martin Pring was sent by a group of British merchants to explore the mouth of the Piscataqua River.  In 1605, the French arrived on the scene when they sent Samuel de Champlain sailing along the coast.  Samuel de Champlain discovered the Isles of Shoals.  Later, in 1614, Captain John Smith landed on its shores.  These were the ancestral home of the Abenaki and Pennacook Indians.  Finally, in 1623, the first permanent settlements were established at Rye (latter known as Little Harbor), Dover and Portsmouth. Portsmouth quickly became a center for fishing and trading on the coast.  Shortly thereafter, settlements were made at Exeter and Hampton, said settlements remaining close to the coast or on the river bank near its mouth.  For some time after that, little effort was made to establish new settlements for close to one hundred years.  It is believed that fear of the Native Americans kept the settlers from moving inland.

In 1641, New Hampshire was designated as a part of Massachusetts.  It remained a part of Massachusetts, with brief interruptions until around 1741, when it became a Royal British Province.  It remained a British Province until the Revolutionary war.

A large part of the early New Hampshire settlers came from Massachusetts and Connecticut.  The Connecticut River, which lies along the western boundary of the state was easier to traverse than to traverse the long roads through the forests from the eastern shore.  As a result, many of the river towns are considerably older than those in the interior region.  

It has been stated that New Hampshire and Vermont were stopping places for a few years for one or more generations of families and that people then resumed their trek to the West.  These people often retained their residence in New Hampshire, but that New Hampshire's pioneer records were not well kept.  In some places, all traces of the family presence is all but obliterated, making tracing of those lines difficult, if not impossible.

The earlier years of emigration was made up primarily of those who came from England.  Later, New Hampshire saw new residents from the Scandinavian countries, Greece, Italy and France.  In 1769, Dartmouth College was established at Hanover.  By 1776,  New Hampshire had endured enough of the British and became the first of the colonies to declare independence from England.  In 1778, New Hampshire ratified the U.S. Constitution and New Hampshire became our 9th official state.

Name Date formed Parent County County Seat
Belknap 1840 Strafford, Merrimac Laconia
Carroll 1840 Strafford Ossipee
Cheshire 1769 Original County Keene
Coos 1803 Grafton Lancaster
Grafton 1769 Original County Keene
Hillsboro 1769 Original County Nashua
Merrimack 1823 Rockingham, Hillsboro Concord
Rockingham 1769 Original County Exeter
Strafford 1769 Original County Dover
Sullivan 1827 Cheshire Newport
       

NEW HAMPSHIRE RESEARCH LINKS

NEW HAMPSHIRE GENWEB PROJECT NEW HAMPSHIRE SOCIETY OF GENEALOGISTS
NEW HAMPSHIRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY NEW HAMPSHIRE VITAL STATISTICS