Hillsborough, frequently spelled Hillsboro, is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 6,011 at the 2010 census. The town is home to Fox State Forest and part of Low State Forest.
The main village of the town, where 1,976 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined as the Hillsborough census-designated place (CDP), and encompasses the central urban area of the town, located along the Contoocook River at the junction of New Hampshire Route 149 with Henniker Street and Main Street. The town also includes the villages of Hillsborough Center, Hillsborough Upper Village, Hillsborough Lower Village, and Emerald Lake Village.
The town was first granted in 1735 by colonial governor of Massachusetts and New Hampshire Jonathan Belcher as "Number Seven," one in a line of nine Massachusetts towns set up as defense barriers against Indian attacks. The towns were renamed after the border between the two provinces was fixed in 1739, placing the towns in New Hampshire. Settled in 1741, the town was granted in 1748 by Governor Benning Wentworth as "Hillsborough," named for Sir Wills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough. It would be incorporated in 1772 by Governor John Wentworth.
Hillsborough was the birthplace in 1804 of Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the United States, and the only president from New Hampshire. The Pierce Homestead was built in 1804 by his father, Benjamin Pierce, a general in the Revolutionary War, and twice governor of New Hampshire. Restored in 1925, the home was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is today a museum owned by the state, and operated by the Hillsborough Historical Society.
Railroad service was supplied to Hillsborough by the Boston and Maine Railroad from 1878 to 1979, when the rails in Hillsborough were torn up. Rail service north to Henniker had ceased in 1942, and Hillsborough became the end point on a line that once stretched in an arc from Nashua to Concord, New Hampshire. The Hillsborough Branch now ends at Bennington; the line from Bennington to Hillsborough is a rail trail.