New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest, and the 9th least populous of the 50 United States.
In January 1776 it became the first of the British North American colonies to establish a government independent of Great Britain's authority, although it did not declare its independence at the time. Six months later, it became one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America, and in June 1788 it was the ninth state to ratify the United States Constitution, bringing that document into effect. New Hampshire was the first U.S. state to have its own state constitution.
It is known internationally for the New Hampshire primary, the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city in the state. It has no general sales tax, nor is personal income (other than interest and dividends) taxed at either the state or local level.
Among prominent individuals from New Hampshire are founding father Nicholas Gilman, Senator Daniel Webster, Revolutionary War hero John Stark, editor Horace Greeley, founder of the Christian Science religion Mary Baker Eddy, poet Robert Frost, astronaut Alan Shepard, and author Dan Brown. Additionally, actor Adam Sandler grew up, but was not born in, the state. New Hampshire has produced one president: Franklin Pierce.
With some of the largest ski mountains on the East Coast, New Hampshire's major recreational attractions include skiing, snowmobiling, and other winter sports, hiking and mountaineering, observing the fall foliage, summer cottages along many lakes and the seacoast, motor sports at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and Motorcycle Week, a popular motorcycle rally held in Weirs Beach near Laconia in June. The White Mountain National Forest links the Vermont and Maine portions of the Appalachian Trail, and boasts the Mount Washington Auto Road, where visitors may drive to the top of Mount Washington.
Various Algonquian (Abenaki and Pennacook) tribes inhabited the area prior to European settlement. English and French explorers visited New Hampshire in 1600–1605, and English fishermen settled at Odiorne's Point in present-day Rye in 1623. The first permanent settlement was at Hilton's Point (present-day Dover). By 1631, the Upper Plantation comprised modern-day Dover, Durham and Stratham; in 1679, it became the "Royal Province." Father Rale's War was fought between the colonists and the Wabanaki Confederacy throughout New Hampshire.
New Hampshire was one of the thirteen colonies that rebelled against British rule during the American Revolution. By the time of the American Revolution, New Hampshire was a divided province. The economic and social life of the Seacoast revolved around sawmills, shipyards, merchant's warehouses, and established village and town centers. Wealthy merchants built substantial homes, furnished them with the finest luxuries, and invested their capital in trade and land speculation. At the other end of the social scale, there developed a permanent class of day laborers, mariners, indentured servants and even slaves.
The only battle fought in New Hampshire was the raid on Fort William and Mary, December 14, 1774, in Portsmouth Harbor, which netted the rebellion sizable quantities of gunpowder, small arms and cannon. (General Sullivan, leader of the raid, described it as, "remainder of the powder, the small arms, bayonets, and cartouche-boxes, together with the cannon and ordnance stores") over the course of two nights. This raid was preceded by a warning to local patriots the previous day, by Paul Revere on December 13, 1774, that the fort was to be reinforced by troops sailing from Boston. According to unverified accounts, the gunpowder was later used at the Battle of Bunker Hill, transported there by Major Demerit, who was one of several New Hampshire patriots who stored the powder in their homes until it was transported elsewhere for use in revolutionary activities.
New Hampshire was a Jacksonian stronghold; the state sent Franklin Pierce to the White House in the election of 1852. Industrialization took the form of numerous textile mills, which in turn attracted large flows of immigrants from Quebec (the "French Canadians") and Ireland. The northern parts of the state produced lumber and the mountains provided tourist attractions. After 1960, the textile industry collapsed, but the economy rebounded as a center of high technology and a service provider.
Since 1952, New Hampshire gained national and international attention for its presidential primary held early in every presidential election year. It immediately became the most important testing grounds for candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations. The media gave New Hampshire (and Iowa) about half of all the attention paid to all states in the primary process, magnifying the state's decision powers (and spurring repeated efforts by out-of-state politicians to change the rules.)
Note: New Hampshire was one of the 13 original States. It has had essentially its present boundaries ever since 1790, although an area at the northern tip of the State was in dispute with Canada until 1842. Census coverage included virtually all of New Hampshire from 1790 on.
Births, Marriages, and Deaths
FamilySearch.org has a variety of collections available for free online:
Outstanding guide to New Hampshire family history and genealogy (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, wills, deeds, county records, archives, Bible records, cemeteries, churches, censuses, directories, immigration lists, naturalizations, maps, history, newspapers, and societies.