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Our Towns


Dalton, New Hampshire

                                                                                                          

Once a part of Littleton, the town went through several name changes. Starting in 1764 as Chiswick, after the Duke of Devonshire's Castle, in 1770 the name changed to Apthorp, honoring the Apthorp family. Finally in 1784 it was changed to Dalton, for Tristram Dalton, one of New England's foremost colonial merchants. Moses Little & Co. secured a charter for approximately 10,000 acres on January 18, 1770. After Dalton and Tracy purchased 6,000 acres from the Littles', the entire tract of 16,455 acres became incorporated on Nov. 4, 1784 and took its name from Tristam Dalton. Some time later, Dalton offered two 160 acre parcels to anyone who would make a road passable for a one horse wagon between the towns of Haverhill and Lancaster. A man named Moses Blake cleared a road that follows the Connecticut River and is known as Route 135 today. In June of 1754, Capt. Peter Powers, who commanded an expedition to Coos County, commented in his journal about the good growth of timber, abundant brooks, and land which was "as good as ever seen by any of us." Upon arriving at the mouth of the Johns River, the Powers party called it Stark's River in honor of Ensign John Stark who was captured by the Indians there.

Dalton is a relatively small rural community, located along the banks of the Connecticut River directly east of Moore Dam Reservoir. Dalton is abundant with natural resources including the Connecticut and Johns River; Dalton Mountain and Forest Lake.

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Groveton Village/Northumberland, NH

 















The town was first named Stonington in 1761.
It was renamed in honor of Hugh Smithson, first Duke of Northumberland. The Duke’s son, James Smithson, is remembered for leaving a legacy of more than half a million dollars for the founding of the Smithsonian Institution. Thomas Burnside and Daniel Spaulding began the first settlement in 1767, while the town was incorporated in 1779. The remains of Fort Wentworth are here, built by the state militia in 1755 during the French and Indian War.


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Guildhall, Vermont

 
Nobody knows what Wentworth had in mind with this name. There is only one place in the world where it is used, and that is London's Guildhall, the equivalent of a New England town hall. It was built in 1411 destroyed in the great fire of 1666, rebuilt, and destroyed again in World War II. Perhaps, as substantiation, perhaps not, Guildhall's Town Hall is conspicuously called the "Guildhall." Another possibility is a play on the name of the principal grantee and four other family members of the same name, Hall. Many early records spell the name "gilhall" reflecting the Vermonter's tendency to soften or skip entirely the "d" sound in many words.

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Jefferson, New Hampshire              



In 1772 the town was re-granted to Theodore Atkinson, Mark Wentworth and others. Around 1773 the town was settled by Colonel Joseph Whipple, a well-to-do merchant and shipper from Portsmouth. Whipple purchased 25,000 acres of land and presided over the domain. Whipple was an enthusiastic Jeffersonian Democrat and through his efforts the town was named Jefferson in 1796. During the 1800's the Israel River supported the Jefferson economy with saw mills, gristmills and other small industries. Later in the 1900's tourism became an important industry. The town was a favorite place for Thomas Star King to visit. His 1859 book "The White Hills" did a great deal to publicize the area's mountains. Hotels such as the Waumbek and the Mount Adams House enticed city weary vacationers to Jefferson.

The town today attracts tourists to its mountains as well as to its two family attractions Santa's Village and Six Gun City. Jefferson also is home to 43,000 acre, Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge and Mt. Starr King with it's 3,913 foot summit.

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Lancaster, New Hampshire



First granted in 1763, Lancaster was an early settlement on the northern portion of the Connecticut River subject to many Indian troubles. The town was named for Lancaster, Massachusetts, hometown of an early settler. Reverend Joshua Weeks, a grantee of the town, was among the group of explorers who named the mountains in the Presidential Range. Other grantees included Nash and Sawyer, who discovered the "White Mountain Notch" making a shorter route to Portland possible. Lancaster offers a wide variety of recreational outlets including municipal parks, town swimming pool, outdoor tennis courts, cinema, campgrounds, fishing hunting, snowmobile trails, and an outdoor skating rink.

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Lunenburg, Vermont



Lunenburg was named in honor of the victor at Minden and the Seven Years War, Prince Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand of Brunswick-Lunenburg, as part of ongoing but unsuccessful efforts to win favor with George III. The Old Congregational Church is said to be the most photographed church in the US.(though Townshend makes the same claim). The village of Gilman records an American success story that is somewhat unusual in Vermont. Isaac Gilman was born to poverty in a Russian village, came to New York City in the 1880's, and later founded the Gilman Paper Company. At some point he acquired an interest in a company in what was Lunenburg's village of Fitzdale. By 1907 that company was in financial difficulties, whereupon Gilman took it over and converted it to the manufacturing of what was then a new product: Kraft paper. Making a success of the new venture, Gilman settled down in the village and, according to the local story, became a favorite son. It is said that he in turn became so fond of the people that he built two churches, one for Roman Catholics and one for the Protestants, but no synagogue, since he was the only Jew in town. In 1921 the village changed its name to Gilman in his honor.

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Randolph

Randolph, New Hampshire

On July 16, 1824 the NH General Court passed an act incorporating the area formerly know as Durand as the Town of Randolph in honor of the Virginia Orator, John Randolph. The occupational focus of the town began to change in 1850 from farming, lumbering and manufacturing with the coming of the first summer boarders. From the time of the building of the road there had been overnight accommodations for travelers. With the coming of the railroad to Gorham, the White Mountains became a vacation destination for sightseers and mountaineers. Through the work of the local trail builders such as Thaddeus S. Lowe and Laban Watson, Randolph soon became a climbing center. In addition to summer visitors, notably J. Rayner Edmands, Eugene S. Cook, and William H. Peek worked on a network of trails covering much of the Presidential range. A group of influential Randolphians founded the Randolph Mountain Club in order to maintain and expand the trail network, and to later care for what had been private mountain cabins which are now open to the public. Eighty years later the club is still carrying out its mission. It is a much larger group with many members from outside the summer community who also support its aims. However, the Club is still the main focus of summer life in Randolph. Randolph has the largest town forest in the State of New Hampshire.

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Stark, New Hampshire


First granted in 1774, this town was named Percy, in honor of Hugh Smithson, Earl Percy and first Duke of Northumberland. The town retained this name until 1832, when it was renamed Stark in honor of General John Stark, hero of Bunker Hill and the Battle of Bennington. New Hampshire owes its motto, "Live Free or Die," to General Stark. Stark, the first to carry the new thirteen-star American flag into battle, wrote those words in July 1809 in commemoration of the Battle of Bennington .Stratford, incorporated in 1773, it was originally called Woodbury. The town has a long history of ingenuity and creativity? nature lovers, loggers, hunters, storytellers, artists, and teachers have proudly and devotedly called it home, even in hard times. Known for its natural beauty and wild back country ? mountains rich in local lore, wildlife, wandering brooks, and wild flowers ? it has retained a sense of timelessness Through the years, Stratford has quietly and stubbornly retained its scenic beauty, quaint charm, quiet pace, and dedication to individuality. Broken by distinct sections ? the villages of North Stratford and Stratford Hollow, Mapleton Station, Diamond Crossing, "Out East," the Bog, Nash Stream, Center Stratford, and of course, its mountain, Sugar Loaf.

A farming and logging community until the late 1800s, small family farms dotted fields and hillsides. Farmers made their living off sheep, cows, goats, and other animals and raising vegetables for market. Remnants of old farmhouse or barn cellar holes remain. Equally important were mills on small brooks, notorious for live bottoms and rolling rocks. Stave, shingle, saw, and grist mills employed residents then. Brooks and the Connecticut River served as a mean to get products to market, as did the rail.

Today, residents mainly work in surrounding towns, but a spirit of independence and self-reliance linger. Cottage businesses thrive in garages, basements, and back yard shops. Farms turned to puckerbrush, willywackers, and forest; mills grew silent as jobs were outsourced, and the rails slowed to echoing whistles at night. Stratford now relies on tourists following weather and whim.


Stratford, New Hampshire

Stratford, incorporated in 1773, was originally called Woodbury.  The town has a long history of ingenuity and creativity – nature lovers, loggers, hunters, storytellers, artists, and teachers have proudly and devotedly called it home, even in hard times.  Known for its natural beauty and wild back country – mountains rich in local lore, wildlife, wandering brooks, wild flowers – the town has retained a sense of timelessness.  Through the years, Stratford has quietly and stubbornly retained its scenic beauty, quaint charm, quiet pace, and dedication to individuality.

A farming and logging community until the late 1800s, small family farms dotted fields and hillsides and farmers made their living from sheep, cows, goats, and other animals, as well as vegetables raised for market.  Remnants of old farmhouse and barn cellar holes remain.

Equally important were mills on small brooks, notorious for live bottoms and rolling rocks.  Stave, shingle, saw, and grist mills employed residents then.  Brooks and the Connecticut River served as a means to get products to market, as did the railroad.

The railroad is also a key piece of the town’s heritage.  Besides the Connecticut River, rail was the principal means of transporting wood products.  In addition to transporting goods, the railroad conveyed passengers to and from Stratford and served as a vital communications link as it transported mail and housed the telegraph station.

 

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Whitefield, New Hampshire


The last town to be granted under the English provincial government, Whitefield was chartered on July 4, 1774, exactly two years before adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Some believe it was named for George Whitefield, a famous English evangelist, and a friend of William Legge, 2nd Earl of Dartmouth, the patron of Dartmouth College. Others believe the name originated from earlier references to the snowy white fields one would see upon approach through any of the surrounding mountain passages. The chartered name was "Whitefields" but the "s" was dropped on December 1, 1804—the date of incorporation. Early grantees included Jeremy Belknap, historian, and John Langdon, who succeeded John Wentworth as governor.
 
Whitefield has many fine examples of Victorian architecture, including a landmark bandstand built in 1875 on the picturesque common known as King’s Square. With the entrance of the railroad in the 19th century, tourists discovered the town and its cool, clean mountain air. They sought relief from the heat, humidity and pollution of coal-era summers in Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia. Several inns and hotels were built to accommodate their increasing numbers. On a hilltop facing the Presidential Range is the grandest, The Mountain View House, established in 1866. The historic hotel recently underwent an extensive renovation, and is now one of the most luxurious Grand Hotels in New Hampshire.