New Hampshire History Timeline

Important Dates, Events, and Milestones in New Hampshire History

Offers a chronological timeline of important dates, events, and milestones in New Hampshire history.

The first people to inhabit the geographic region now known as New Hampshire arrive 10,000 years ago, after glaciers retreat and climates warm. During the thousands of years before European arrival, Native Americans living in the region include the Abenaki and Pennacook tribes. Diseases brought by European explorers and settlers eventually kill 95 percent of the Native Americans in New Hampshire. The remaining tribes flee to Vermont and Canada under pressure from settlers. New Hampshire, one of the original 13 colonies. New Hampshire was the 9th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution--the final state needed to put the document into effect.

17th Century New Hampshire History Timeline

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.

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 New Hampshire History Timeline

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; US 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 New Hampshire History Timeline

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 US 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 US 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 New Hampshire History Timeline

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.

21st Century New Hampshire History Timeline

2002 - August 8 - Bishop Search Begins for Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire; Expected March 7, 2004 installation of IX Bishop of New Hampshire

US History Overview
US History Guide
America's history is not static. It's fluid. It changes, grows, becomes richer, and more complex when any individual interacts with it.