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Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town

New Hampshire

One of the United States, so named by John Madison, to whom a portion of its territory was granted in 1629, after Hampshire in England, the county from which he emigrated.  It lies between 42°41' and 45°11' north latitude, and 70°40' and 72°28' west longitude from Greenwich, and is bounded north by Canada East, east by Maine, from which it is separated in part by Salmon Fall river; southeast by the Atlantic; south by Massachusetts; and west by Connecticut river, which separates it from Vermont.  Superficial area 9,411 square miles.

Physical Aspects-- Taking into consideration the small extent of surface in this state, it is more varied in its natural features than any other in the Union.  Commencing at the seashore, we find a sandy beach, bordered by extensive salt marshes, which are intersected by numerous creeks.  In the midst of this beach there is a bold promontory, called the "Boar's Head."  For the first 20 or 30 miles from the sea, the country is either level or variegated by rolling swells, fertile valleys and small conical hills.  The remainder of the state is greatly diversified by sloping woodlands, rich intervales, rugged mountains, fruitful valleys, foaming cascades, crystal rivers and silvery lakes, which from their wild and picturesque effect, have distinguished this country as the "Switzerland of America."  The soil is as varied in its character as the surface; a considerable portion is fertile, and it is generally better adapted to grazing then tillage. The "intervale Lands," on the borders of the large rivers, are esteemed as the most valuable, particularly if they are enriched by annual floods.  The uplands, of an uneven surface, and of a warm, moist, stony soil, are regarded as the best for grazing.  The sandy pine plains are the poorest and often are of little or no use, except for growing wood.

Mountains-- The most considerable of these are the White mountains, the Monadnock, Moosehillock, Ossipee, Sunipee, Patuckoway, and Kearsarge.

Rivers, Lakes and Bays-- The principle rivers are, the Connecticut, Merrimack, Androscoggin, Salmon Fall, Piscataqua, Exeter or Swamscot, Saco, Upper and Lower Ammonoosuc, Sugar, Ashuelet, Winnipiseogee, Contoocook, Lamprey, Nashua, Margallaway and Piscataquog.  The chief lakes are the Winnipiseogee, Umbagog, Ossipee, Massabesick, Sunipee, Newfound, and Squam.  There are two "Great bays" in this state; the largest situated at the confluence of Swamscot, Winnicut and Lamprey rivers; the other at the southwest corner of Lake Winnipiseogee.  Merrymeeting bay is situated at the easterly end of the same lake.

Islands-- The only islands worthy of note are the Isles of Shoals, seven in number, off Portsmouth harbor, and numerous islets in Winnipiseogee lake.  Of the latter, Long Cow, and Davis' are the largest, and are in a high state of cultivation.

Climate-- The climate, like that of the states adjacent, is subject to the extremes of heat and cold, but the air is generally salubrious and pure. Along the seaboard, invalids subject to complaints of the lungs generally suffer from the ocean winds.  Morning and evening fires become necessary from September til May.  The streams are generally locked up in ice, and in the open country the snow often abides on the earth from November till April, and in the woods till May or June.

Productive Resources-- The chief products of this state are, horses, mules, horned cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, sugar, butter, cheese, hay, wood, lumber, wheat, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes and Indian corn.  On the mineral resources there are iron, lead, silver, tin, zinc, magnesia, soap-stone, granite, feldspar and mica.

Manufactures-- The principle manufactures of this state are cotton and woolen goods, cast iron, paper, leather, boots and shoes, carriages, furniture, hats, pottery-ware, mechanical and agricultural instruments &c

Railroads and Canals-- There are about 600 miles of railroads in New Hampshire, a large proportion of them radiating from Concord, the political capital of the state, to almost every point of the compass.  The only canals in the state are those for facilitating the navigation of the Merrimack river.

Commerce-- New Hampshire has but the single port of Portsmouth on the Atlantic, and its direct foreign commerce heretofore has been extremely small, amounting in the aggregate to less than $60,000 in 1851; but in increased facilities afforded by the opening of railroad communication between Portsmouth and the interior of the state will materially enlarge its foreign trade.  The shipping owned within the state amounts to about 23,000 tons.

Education-- The principal literary institutions of the state are Dartmouth college at Hanover, attached to which is New Hampshire medical school; and theological seminaries at Gilmanton, Concord and New Hampton.  There are also 70 or 80 academies, and about 3,000 common schools throughout the state.

Government-- The legislative power is vested in a senate, of 12 members, and house of representatives, of about 300 members, and the executive power in a governor and five councilors, all elected by the people, the second Tuesday in March.  The right of suffrage is vested in every male inhabitant, of 21 years, excepting paupers and persons not taxed.  The judiciary power is vested in a superior court, and court of common pleas.  Judges are appointed by the governor and council during good behavior, or until seventy years of age.

Population-- In 1790 was 141,899; in 1800 was 183,762; in 1810 was 214,3601; in 1820 was 244,161; in 1830 was 269,328; in 1840 was 284,574 and in 1850 was 317,964.  Number of slaves in 1790 was 158; in 1800 was 8 and in 1810 was 1.

History-- The first permanent settlements in New Hampshire were made at Little Harbor, Portsmouth and Dover, in 1623.  In 1641, all the colonists of this state placed themselves under the protection of Massachusetts, and formed a part of the county of Norfolk.  In 1679, it was again constituted a separate province by Charles II, and in 1680, the first assembly convened.  In 1690 it reunited with Massachusetts, from which, two years after, it was again separated against the wishes of the people.  In 1695, the two provinces were placed under the jurisdiction of New York, but were reunited in 1702, and thus continued until 1741, when a separate governor was appointed over each, and New Hampshire ever after constituted a distinct government.  During the war of independence the government was conducted by a temporary administration.  The state constitution was established in 1784, which with the amendments of 1792, forms the one at present in force.  In 1788, this state, in convention, adopted the constitution of the United States. 

1850 Counties of  New Hampshire

County Description Area in sq miles Courts held at Pop in 1850
Belknap in easterly part, Lake Winnipisiogee on NE & Pemigewasset river on west. Winnipisiogee river crosses 288 Gilford 17, 721
Carroll eastern boundary, with Squam & Winnipisiogee lakes on west & southwest 550 Ossipee 20,157
Cheshire southwest corner, east side of Connecticut river 442 Keene 28,344
Coos extreme north part, east side of Connecticut river 1600 Lancaster 11,713
Grafton western boundary with Connecticut river on west 1740 Haverhill & Plymouth 41,343
Hillsborough southern boundary, crossed by Merrimack river 1245 Amherst 57,378
Merrimack southern part, crossed by Merrimack river 816 Concord (State Capital) 40,377
Rockingham southeast corner, Atlantic ocean on southeast, Piscataqua river on northeast 695 Portsmouth & Exeter 48,148
Strafford on east boundary, Salmon Falls river on northest 500 Dover 29,314
Sullivan west boundary, on east bank of Connecticut river 530 Newport 19,375

 Concord, NH

Seat of justice of Merrimac Co, and capital of NH, is situated on both sides of Merrimac river, 65 miles NW of Boston and 457 miles from Washington.  Four Substantial bridges connect the principal part of the town with the east side of the river, and the Contoocook flowing through its northwest corner, at its confluence with the Merrimac, forms Dustan island, so named after Mrs. Dustan, famed in heroic Indian history.  Its central position, the well cultivated and productive surrounding region, and the communication by railroad with Boston, Portsmouth, and the interior, contribute to Concord a steady growth and prosperity.  The statehouse, built of white granite, taken from neighboring quarried, is a fine structure in the centre of the town, 126 feet long, 49 feet wide, with projections of four feet on each front, surmounted by a fine cupola.  Here also is the state prison, constructed of the same kind of material.

Population: in 1775 was 1,052; in 1790 was 1,747; in 1800 was 2,052; in 1810 was 2,393; in 1820 was 2,838; in 1830 was 3.727; in 1840 was 4,897; and in 1850 was 8,576

Manchester, NH

City in Hillsborough Co, NH, celebrated for its immense water power, and extensive manufactures, 21 miles south east of Concord, from Washington 461 miles.  Situated on the east bank of Merrimack river, which affords extensive water power for propelling the machinery.  The great chain of railroads leading from Boston and Lowell through Concord, toward Montreal and Vermont, pass through this city, and Amoskeag Falls canal here facilitates navigation between Boston and Concord.  Before the year 1810, this place constituted a part of the town of Derryfield.

Population: in 1810 was 615; in 1820 was 761; in 1830 was 877; in 1840 was 3,235 and in 1850 was 13,932

Portsmouth, NH

City, seat of justice, together with Exeter, of Rockingham Co, NH, occupies a peninsula on the south side of Piscataqua river, three miles from the Atlantic.  It has one of the finest harbors in the world, being completely land locked, defended by several forts, and having from 45 to 53 feet of water at low tide.  The town is built on ground gradually sloping toward the river, presenting a beautiful aspect from the ocean.  It is well built and possesses much wealth, many of the houses being spacious and elegant.  Its public buildings are an ornament to the city, consisting of the court house, churches, banking houses, markets and Athenaeum.  A United States Navy yard, is situated on Continental, or Navy island, on the east side of the river, opposite the town.  Ship building and cotton manufactures employ a large amount of capital.  The Eastern railroad connects the place with Boston and Portland.  Another railroad extends to Concord.

The population in 1810 was 6,934; in 1820 was 7,327; in 1830 was 8,082; in 1840 was 7,887 and in 1850 was 9,738

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