On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire ratified the Constitution of the United States and was admitted as the ninth state in the United States. It is part of the New England region of the northeastern United States. The state 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 and northwest. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by land area and the 10th least populous of the 50 states. The name New Hampshire was first given in 1629 to the territory between the Merrimack and Piscataqua rivers on the eastern coast of North America, and was named after the county of Hampshire in southern England by Captain John Mason, its first named proprietor.
New Hampshire’s major regions are the Great North Woods, the White Mountains, the Lakes Region, the Seacoast, the Merrimack Valley, the Monadnock Region, and the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area. It has the shortest ocean coastline of any U.S. coastal state, with a length of 18 miles (29 km), sometimes measured as only 13 miles (21 km). New Hampshire was home to the rock formation called the Old Man of the Mountain, a face-like profile in Franconia Notch, until the formation disintegrated in May 2003.
In January 1776, New Hampshire became the first of the British North American colonies to establish a government independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain’s authority, and it was the first to establish its own state constitution. Six months later, it became one of the original 13 states that founded the United States of America, and on June 21, 1788, it was the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, bringing that document into effect.
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. The New Hampshire primary is the first primary in the U.S. presidential election cycle. Its license plates carry the state motto, “Live Free or Die”. The state’s nickname, “The Granite State”, refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries.
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, rock musician Ronnie James Dio, author Dan Brown, actor Adam Sandler, inventor Dean Kamen, comedians Sarah Silverman and Seth Meyers, restaurateurs Richard and Maurice McDonald, and President of the United States 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 Mountains range in New Hampshire spans the north-central portion of the state, with 6,288-foot (1,917 m) Mount Washington the tallest in the northeastern U.S. — site of the second-highest wind speed ever recorded — and other mountains like Mount Madison and Mount Adams surrounding it. With hurricane-force winds every third day on average, over 100 recorded deaths among visitors, and conspicuous krumholtz (dwarf, matted trees much like a carpet of bonsai trees), the climate on the upper reaches of Mount Washington has inspired the weather observatory on the peak to claim that the area has the “World’s Worst Weather”. The White Mountain National Forest links the Vermont and Maine portions of the Appalachian Trail.
In the flatter southwest corner of New Hampshire, the landmark Mount Monadnock has given its name to a class of earth-forms — a monadnock — signifying, in geomorphology, any isolated resistant peak rising from a less resistant eroded plain.
Major rivers include the 110-mile (177 km) Merrimack River, which bisects the lower half of the state north–south and ends up in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Its tributaries include the Contoocook River, Pemigewasset River, and Winnipesaukee River. The 410-mile (660 km) Connecticut River, which starts at New Hampshire’s Connecticut Lakes and flows south to Connecticut, defines the western border with Vermont. The state border is not in the center of that river, as is usually the case, but at the low-water mark on the Vermont side; meaning that the entire river along the Vermont border (save for areas where the water level has been raised by a dam) lies within New Hampshire. Only one town — Pittsburg — shares a land border with the state of Vermont. The “northwesternmost headwaters” of the Connecticut also define the Canada–U.S. border.
The Piscataqua River and its several tributaries form the state’s only significant ocean port where they flow into the Atlantic at Portsmouth. The Salmon Falls River and the Piscataqua define the southern portion of the border with Maine. The Piscataqua River boundary was the subject of a border dispute between New Hampshire and Maine in 2001, with New Hampshire claiming dominion over several islands (primarily Seavey’s Island) that include the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the case in 2002, leaving ownership of the island with Maine. New Hampshire still claims sovereignty of the base, however.
The largest of New Hampshire’s lakes is Lake Winnipesaukee, which covers 71 square miles (184 km²) in the east-central part of New Hampshire. Umbagog Lake along the Maine border, approximately 12.3 square miles (31.9 km²), is a distant second. Squam Lake is the second largest lake entirely in New Hampshire.
Hampton Beach is a popular local summer destination. About 7 miles (11 km) offshore are the Isles of Shoals, nine small islands (four of which are in New Hampshire) known as the site of a 19th-century art colony founded by poet Celia Thaxter, and the alleged location of one of the buried treasures of the pirate Blackbeard.
New Hampshire is the state with the highest percentage of timberland area in the country. It is in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests biome. Much of the state, in particular the White Mountains, is covered by the conifers and northern hardwoods of the New England-Acadian forests. The southeast corner of the state and parts of the Connecticut River along the Vermont border are covered by the mixed oaks of the Northeastern coastal forests.
The northern third of the state is locally referred to as the “north country” or “north of the notches,” in reference to White Mountain passes that channel traffic. It contains less than 5% of the state’s population, suffers relatively high poverty, and is steadily losing population as the logging and paper industries decline. However, the tourist industry, in particular visitors who go to northern New Hampshire to ski, snowboard, hike and mountain bike, has helped offset economic losses from mill closures.
Various Algonquin-speaking Abenaki tribes, largely divided between the Androscoggin and Pennacook nations, inhabited the area that is now northeastern New England before European settlement. The Abenaki lived in sometimes-large village of longhouses. Depending on the season, they would either remain near their villages to fish, gather plants, engage in sugaring, and trade or fight with their neighbors, or head to nearby fowling and hunting grounds. Despite the similar language, they had a very different culture and religion from other Algonquin peoples. Later, they also farmed tobacco and the “three sisters”: corn, beans, and squash.
English and French explorers including Samuel de Champlain and John Smith visited the New Hampshire seacoast in 1600–1605. Land grants were issued in 1622 to John Mason and Sir Ferdinando Gorges for the territory between the Merrimack and Sagadahoc (Kennebec) rivers, roughly encompassing present-day New Hampshire and western Maine. New Hampshire was first settled by Europeans at Odiorne’s Point in Rye (near Portsmouth) by a group of fishermen from England under David Thompson in 1623, just three years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Early historians believed the first native-born New Hampshirite, John Thompson, was born there.
Fisherman David Thompson had been sent by Mason, to be followed a few years later by Edward and William Hilton. They led an expedition to Hilton’s Point in the vicinity of present-day Dover, which they called Northam. Settlers from Pannaway, moving to the Portsmouth region later and combining with an expedition of the new Laconia Company (formed 1629) under Captain Neal, called their new settlement Strawbery Banke.
These settlers were mostly intending to profit from the local fisheries. Mason and Gorges, neither of whom ever came to New England, divided their claims along the Piscataqua River in 1629. Mason took the territory between the Piscataqua and Merrimack, and called it “New Hampshire”, after the English county of Hampshire. Mason died in 1635 without ever seeing the colony he founded.
Conflicts between holders of grants issued by Mason and Gorges concerning their boundaries eventually led to a need for more active management. In 1630, Captain Walter Neale was sent as chief agent and governor of the lower settlements on the Piscataqua (including Strawbery Banke, present-day Portsmouth), and in 1631 Captain Thomas Wiggin was sent to govern the upper settlements, comprising modern-day Dover, Durham and Stratham.
After Mason died, the colonists and employees of Mason appropriated many of his holdings to themselves. Exeter was founded in 1638 by John Wheelwright, after he had been banished from the neighboring Massachusetts Bay Colony for defending the teachings of Anne Hutchinson, his sister-in-law. In the absence of granting authority from anyone associated with the Masons, Wheelwright’s party purchased the land from local Indians. His party included William Wentworth, whose descendants came to play a major role in colonial history. Around the same time, others unhappy with the strict Puritan rule in Massachusetts settled in Dover, while Puritans from Massachusetts settled what eventually became Hampton.
Because of a general lack of government, the New Hampshire settlements sought the protection of their larger neighbor to the south, the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1641, they collectively agreed to be governed from Massachusetts, provided the towns retained self-rule, and that Congregational Church membership was not required for their voters (as it was in Massachusetts). The settlements formed part of that colony until 1679, sending representatives to the Massachusetts legislature in Boston. Mason’s heirs were in the meantime active in England, seeking to regain control of their territory, and Massachusetts was coming under increasing scrutiny by King Charles II. In 1679 Charles issued a charter establishing the Province of New Hampshire, with John Cutt as its first president.
In January 1680 Cutt took office, ending Massachusetts governance. However, Cutt and his successor, Richard Waldron, were strongly opposed to the Mason heirs and their claims. Consequently, Charles issued a second charter in 1682 with Edward Cranfield as governor. Cranfield strongly supported the Mason heirs, making so many local enemies in the process that he was recalled in 1685. In 1686, the territory was brought into the Dominion of New England, an attempt to unify all of the New England colonies into a single government. The New Hampshire towns did not suffer as much under the rule of Sir Edmund Andros as did Massachusetts. After word of the Glorious Revolution reached Boston, Massachusetts authorities conspired to have Andros arrested and sent back to England. This left the New Hampshire towns without any colonial administration, just as King William’s War erupted around them. Subjected to significant French and Indian raids, they appealed to Massachusetts Governor Simon Bradstreet, who oversaw them until William III and Mary II issued new, separate charters in 1691 for both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Samuel Allen, a businessman who had acquired the Mason claims, was appointed the first governor under the 1691 charter. He was equally unsuccessful in pursuing the Mason land claims, and was replaced in 1699 by the Earl of Bellomont. Bellomont was the first in a series of governors who ruled both New Hampshire and the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Until 1741 the governorships were shared, with the governor spending most of his time in Massachusetts. As a result, the lieutenant governors held significant power. The dual governorship became problematic in part because of territorial claims between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since the southern border of the original Mason grant was the Merrimack River, and the Massachusetts charter specified a boundary three miles north of the same river, the claims conflicted, and were eventually brought to the king’s attention. In 1741, King George II decreed what is now the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and separated the governorships, issuing a commission to Benning Wentworth as New Hampshire governor.
Wentworth broadly interpreted New Hampshire’s territorial claims, believing that territories west of the Connecticut River belonged to New Hampshire. In a scheme that was effective at lining his own pockets, he sold land grants in this territory for relatively low prices, but required parts of the grants to be allocated to himself. These grants brought New Hampshire into conflict with the Province of New York, the other claimant to the territory. King George III in 1764 ruled in New York’s favor, setting off a struggle between the holders of the New Hampshire Grants and New York authorities that eventually resulted in the formation of the state of Vermont. The controversy also resulted in the replacement of Wentworth by his nephew John, who would be the last royal governor of the province.
The province’s geography placed it on the northern frontier between British North America and New France, and it was for many years subjected to native claims, especially in the central and northern portions of its territory. Its communities were frequently attacked during King William’s War and Queen Anne’s War, and then again in the 1720s during Dummer’s War. Because of these wars, the Indian population in the northern parts of the province declined but settlements only slowly expanded into the province’s interior. By the 1740s, most of the native population had either been killed or driven out of the province’s territory. The province was partitioned into counties in 1769, later than the other twelve colonies that revolted against the British Empire.
New Hampshire was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule during the American Revolution. As tensions increased before the American Revolutionary War, Lord North’s ministry became concerned that the profusion of arms in New England would lead to bloodshed. On October 19, 1774, King George III issued a confidential Order in Council forbidding the export of arms and powder to America. Word of the order reached operatives in New England’s patriot movement.
The port at Boston had been closed in punishment for the Boston Tea Party, and the Portsmouth Committee of Correspondence kept in close contact with friends of liberty in Boston. Tensions in Massachusetts nearly erupted into violence in the fall of 1774 when redcoats seized provincial gunpowder during the so-called Powder Alarm. Upon learning of the Order in Council, patriots feared that the British military would make another attempt to seize colonial stores. Patriots in Rhode Island moved munitions from the fort at Newport inland for safekeeping without incident. In Massachusetts, rumors flew that troops from Boston were headed to reinforce Fort William and Mary and seize its powder and arms. The fort, originally known as “The Castle”, was situated on the island of New Castle, New Hampshire, at the mouth of the Piscataqua River estuary. It was renamed Fort William and Mary circa 1692, after the accession of the monarchs William III and Mary II to the British throne.
On December 13, 1774, four months before his more famous ride in Massachusetts, Paul Revere rode to Portsmouth to sound the alarm. On the morning of December 14, Patriots from the town of New Castle unsuccessfully attempted to take the gunpowder at Fort William and Mary by trickery. Meanwhile, John Langdon made his way through Portsmouth with a drummer, collecting a crowd to descend on the fort. Several hundred men responded to his call, setting out for the Castle by way of the Piscataqua River. Only one provincial officer, Captain John Cochran, and five provincial soldiers were stationed at Fort William and Mary. Despite the odds against them, they refused to capitulate to Patriot demands. When Langdon’s men rushed the fort, the defenders opened fire with three cannons and a volley of musket shot. Patriots stormed the walls and Cochran’s men engaged in hand-to-hand fighting before being subdued by an overwhelming number of raiders. Langdon’s volunteers not only broke open the powder house and absconded with about 100 barrels of gunpowder but, to three cheers, hauled down the fort’s huge British flag. Several injuries but no deaths occurred in the engagement, and Cochran and his men were released after about an hour and a half of confinement.
The next day, additional rebel forces arrived in Portsmouth from across the colony, as well as from Maine. Led by John Sullivan, the rebels returned to the fort late on the night of December 15, overran the post without gunfire and removed muskets, military supplies and 16 cannons marked as the property of the King. British authorities declared the raids — for which Sullivan later received a stipend from the Continental Congress — high treason. The rain on Fort William and Mary was the only battle fought in New Hampshire. Although there were apparently no casualties, these were among the first shots in the American Revolutionary period, occurring approximately five months before the battles of Lexington and Concord.
In response to a call for aid from Boston by British Governor John Wentworth, the armed hydrographic survey sloop Canceaux arrived to keep the peace in New Hampshire on December 17, followed by the twenty-gun frigate Scarborough on December 19, with numerous Royal Marines aboard. The Governor and his family were driven from their home in Portsmouth in the summer of 1775 and forced to take refuge in the fort, guarded by the guns of British warships. Britain finally gave up on the colony of New Hampshire in order to focus attention on the military situation in Massachusetts and abandoned the fort, removing its remaining equipment to Boston along with Governor Wentworth.
The supplies captured by Patriots in December 1774 were later used by New Hampshire’s forces against the British military, including in the Siege of Boston. Conversely, supplies (including numerous cannon) left in the fort by Patriots following the raids were subsequently put to use by the British forces. After the British abandoned the fort in the Revolution, the Patriots probably renamed it Fort Hancock.
The Massachusetts Provincial Congress called upon the other New England colonies for assistance in raising an army. In response, on May 22, 1775, the New Hampshire Provincial Congress voted to raise a volunteer force to join the patriot army at Boston. New Hampshire raised three regiments for the Continental Army, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd New Hampshire regiments. New Hampshire Militia units were called up to fight at the Battle of Bunker Hill, Battle of Bennington, Saratoga Campaign and the Battle of Rhode Island. John Paul Jones’ ship the Sloop-of-war USS Ranger and the frigate USS Raleigh were built in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, along with other naval ships for the Continental Navy and privateers to hunt down British merchant shipping.
On January 5, 1776, New Hampshire became the first European colony to set up an independent government and the first to establish a constitution, but the latter explicitly stated “we never sought to throw off our dependence on Great Britain”, meaning that it was not the first to actually declare its independence (that distinction instead belongs to Rhode Island). The United States Constitution was ratified by New Hampshire on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to do so. Concord was named the state capital in 1808.
Following the Revolution, Fort Hancock was called Castle Fort or Fort Castle. The state gave Fort Point, on which the fort stood, to the federal government in 1791. In 1800, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was established upriver on Fernald’s Island (now part of Seavey’s Island), and the fort was rebuilt under the Second System of U.S. fortifications. Walls were doubled in height and new brick buildings added. Work was completed in 1808 and the defense renamed Fort Constitution. On July 4, 1809, an accidental explosion marred Independence Day celebrations at the fort, killing a number of soldiers and civilians. The Secretary of War’s report on fortifications for December 1811 describes Fort Constitution as “an enclosed irregular work of masonry, mounting 36 heavy guns… (with) brick barracks for two companies…” During the War of 1812 the fort was manned and expanded, Walbach Tower, a Martello tower with a single 32-pounder cannon, being built in 1814.
In the 1830s, New Hampshire saw a major news story: the founding of the Republic of Indian Stream on its northern border with Canada over the unresolved post-revolutionary war border issue. It existed from July 9, 1832, to August 5, 1835. Described as “Indian Stream Territory, so-called” by the United States census-taker in 1830, the area was named for Indian Stream, a small watercourse. It had an organized elected government and constitution and served about three hundred citizens. The area was first settled by Europeans under a land grant, not from the King of Great Britain, but from the St. Francis Indian chief, called King Philip by his white neighbors, after the King Philip who had led many successful raids on New England settlements during the 1670s.
This grant was sold to one land-speculation company, while a second group of Indians from the same tribe made representations to another company of Europeans that their chief had been deposed and that they were empowered to issue a grant to the second company. Following the Revolutionary War, both companies surveyed the territories and issued their own land grants to settlers, which frequently overlapped one another. After the War of 1812, when both companies were in financial straits, they merged and reconciled all land claims.
The establishment of Indian Stream as an independent nation was, essentially, the result of the ambiguous boundary between the United States and the British Province of Quebec as defined in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. There were three possible interpretations of where “the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River” might be. As a result, the area (in and around the three tributaries that fed into the head of the Connecticut River) was not definitively under the jurisdiction of either the United States or Lower Canada (which the eastern part of Quebec became in 1791).
The relevant text from the treaty reads:
“… (westward) along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River; thence down along the middle of that river to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; from thence by a line due west on said latitude …”
The Republic encompassed the northern reaches of what is now the state of New Hampshire, including the four Connecticut Lakes. While the British claimed the southeasternmost branch (the chain of Connecticut Lakes), the U.S. claimed the border as we know it today (i.e., Hall’s Stream, to the west, which is, arguably, the “northwesternmost headwater” of the Connecticut). Both sides sent in tax-collectors and debt-collecting sheriffs. The double taxation angered the population, and the Republic was formed to put an end to the issue until such time as the United States and Great Britain could reach a settlement on the boundary line. Some of the citizenry considered Indian Stream to be part of the U.S. but not a part of New Hampshire. The Indian Stream assembly declared independence on July 9, 1832, and produced a constitution.
The Constitution of Indian Stream states in “Part Second – Form of Government”:
“The people inhabiting the Territory formerly called Indian Stream Territory do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a body politic by the name of Indian Stream and in that capacity to exercise all the powers of a free, sovereign and independent state, so far as it relates to our own internal Government till such time as we can ascertain to what government we properly belong.”
The independence declaration did not cause the sheriff of Coos County to cease his involvement in affairs, with later events leading to an impending invasion by New Hampshire. On July 30, 1835, this sheriff asked for the militia. Two companies of infantry from the towns around Colebrook met at Stewartstown, ready to march into the disputed territory. The sheriff preceded them and, on August 4, met with between 30 and 40 members of the assembly, to whom he issued an ultimatum. Threatened with forcible occupation, most of the gathered assembly capitulated and relented to being annexed by New Hampshire. The Republic ceased to operate independently the next day when five leaders of Indian Stream wrote to a Canadian official in Sherbrooke, Lower Canada, that, with a response to their petition for protection by the British not having occurred in time, Indian Stream had agreed to annexation by New Hampshire. One of the “Streamers”, Richard I. Blanchard, agreed to serve as a deputy sheriff of Coos County. The militia stayed in Stewartstown and dispersed to their homes on August 6.
The annexation of Indian Stream by New Hampshire did not resolve the land dispute. Local British officials took a dim view of the annexation. An incident soon tested the situation. In October 1835, Blanchard led a small party to arrest John Tyler for an unpaid hardware-store debt. After the arrest, Tyler was freed on the road back to Coos County by a group of his neighbors. In reporting the incident to the British magistrate, Tyler falsely stated under oath that the location of his arrest was Drayton, Lower Canada. The magistrate then issued a warrant for Blanchard’s arrest, which was carried out by a deputy and a few members of the Canadian faction of Streamers, who returned with Blanchard toward the magistrate’s house in Lower Canada.
Along the way, a group of Streamers stopped them in the road, rescued Blanchard and returned with their freed comrade to Indian Stream. The deputy’s party continued on to the magistrate’s house. Several hours later, there was a commotion in the road nearby from a posse of armed Streamers, emboldened by liquor, bent on making an impression. The invading posse shot the deputy through the thigh and then captured the hobbled magistrate with a blow of a saber to his scalp during a struggle. They returned to Canaan, Vermont, with the bleeding magistrate as prisoner, where local leaders treated his wound and released him immediately. In the aftermath, a detachment of fifty New Hampshire militia, including troops and officers, occupied the territory from mid-November until February 18, 1836. On April 2, 1836, a resolution “that New Hampshire has a right to exercise an unconditional control over the territory of Indian Stream” was approved by the citizens of Indian Stream.
This international incident caused a diplomatic crisis. The British ambassador to the United States protested to President Andrew Jackson and the Secretary of State. Both governments, appalled at the idea of war over a matter so trivial as a hardware-store debt, determined to take measures so that matters did not escalate, and an uneasy peace endured in the years preceding the conclusion of a treaty settling the border.
In July 1837, Lord Palmerston in London dismissed all charges in the British judiciary system arising from the incident and reiterated the British position that the territory was part of Canada. The area was still described as Indian Stream at the time of the U.S. census taken on June 1, 1840, when the local population totaled 315. Upon petition by the residents, the area was incorporated as the town of Pittsburg in 1840.
In 1842, the land dispute was definitively resolved by the Webster–Ashburton Treaty, and the land was assigned to New Hampshire. The 1845 Lewis Robinson Map of New Hampshire based on the latest authorities, shows the boundary north of the town of Clarksville but just south of modern-day Pittsburg.
Abolitionists from Dartmouth College founded the experimental, interracial Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire in 1835. Rural opponents of the school eventually dragged the school away with oxen before lighting it ablaze to protest integrated education, within months of the school’s founding.
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. Abolitionist sentiment was a strong undercurrent in the state, with significant support given the Free Soil Party of John P. Hale. However the conservative Jacksonian Democrats usually maintained control, under the leadership of editor Isaac Hill. In 1856, the new Republican Party headed by Amos Tuck produced a political revolution.
After Abraham Lincoln gave speeches in March 1860, he was well regarded. However, the radical wing of the Republican Party increasingly took control. As early as January 1861, top officials were secretly meeting with Governor John A. Andrew of Massachusetts to coordinate plans in case the war came. Plans were made to rush militia units to Washington in an emergency.
New Hampshire fielded 31,650 enlisted men and 836 officers during the American Civil War; of these, 1,803 enlisted men and 131 officers were killed or wounded. The state provided eighteen volunteer infantry regiments (thirteen of which were raised in 1861 in response to Lincoln’s call to arms), three rifle regiments (who served in the 1st United States Sharpshooters and 2nd United States Sharpshooters), one cavalry battalion (the 1st New Hampshire Volunteer Cavalry, which was attached to the 1st New England Volunteer Cavalry), and two artillery units (the 1st New Hampshire Light Battery and 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery), as well as additional men for the Navy and Marine Corps.
Among the most celebrated of New Hampshire’s units was the 5th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel Edward Ephraim Cross. Called the “Fighting Fifth” in newspaper accounts, the regiment was considered among the Union’s best both during the war (Major General Winfield Scott called the regiment “refined gold” in 1863) and by historians afterward. The Civil War veteran and early Civil War historian William F. Fox determined that this regiment had the highest number of battle-related deaths of any Union regiment. The 20th-century historian Bruce Catton said that the Fifth New Hampshire was “one of the best combat units in the army” and that Cross was “an uncommonly talented regimental commander.”
During the Civil War, Fort Constitution was projected to be rebuilt as a three-tiered granite fortress under the Third System of U.S. fortifications. However, advances in weaponry, particularly armored, steam-powered warships with heavy rifled guns, rendered the masonry design obsolete before it was finished. The fort’s construction was abandoned in 1867 with the Second System fort largely intact and two walls from the Third System built around parts of it. At some point in the Civil War era, four 100-pounder (6.4 inch, 163 mm) Parrott rifles were mounted at the fort, and remained there at least through late 1903.
Between 1884 and 1903, New Hampshire attracted many immigrants. French Canadian migration to the state was significant, and at the turn of the century, French Canadians represented 16 percent of the state’s population, and one-fourth the population of Manchester. Polish immigration to the state was also significant; there were about 850 Polish Americans in Manchester in 1902.
After the American entry into World War I in early 1917, many guns were removed from coast defenses for potential service on the Western Front. Both 8-inch guns of Fort Constitution’s Battery Farnsworth were removed for use as railway artillery in October 1917 and were not returned to the fort. In 1920, a mine casemate was built next to Battery Farnsworth to replace a similar facility at Fort Stark.
The textile industry in New Hampshire was hit hard by the Depression and growing competition from southern mills. The closing of the Amoskeag Mills in 1935 was a major blow to Manchester, as was the closing of the former Nashua Manufacturing Company mill in Nashua in 1949 and the bankruptcy of the Brown Company paper mill in Berlin in the 1940s, which led to new ownership.
In World War II, the 3-inch guns at Fort Constitution’s Battery Hackleman were sent to a new battery of the same name at Fort H. G. Wright on Fisher’s Island, New York. They were replaced by two 3-inch (76 mm) M1902 guns from Battery Hays at nearby Fort Stark. In 1940-1944, the Harbor Defenses of Portsmouth were garrisoned by the 22nd Coast Artillery Regiment. Also, a mine observation station was built atop Battery Farnsworth. Battery Hackleman was disarmed by 1948 and the fort was turned over to the Coast Guard. Battery Hackleman was demolished, but Battery Farnsworth can still be seen. Given back to the state in 1961, Fort Constitution State Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and is today open to the public.
The post-World War II decades have seen New Hampshire increase its economic and cultural links with the greater Boston, Massachusetts, region. This reflects a national trend, in which improved highway networks have helped metropolitan areas expand into formerly rural areas or small nearby cities.
The replacement of the Nashua textile mill with defense electronics contractor Sanders Associates in 1952 and the arrival of minicomputer giant Digital Equipment Corporation in the early 1970s helped lead the way toward southern New Hampshire’s role as a high-tech adjunct of the Route 128 corridor.
Starting in 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).
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that New Hampshire’s total state product in 2014 was $66 billion, ranking 40th in the United States. Median household income in 2008 was $49,467, the seventh highest in the country. Its agricultural outputs are dairy products, nursery stock, cattle, apples and eggs. Its industrial outputs are machinery, electric equipment, rubber and plastic products and tourism.
The state has no general sales tax and no personal state income tax (the state does tax, at a 5 percent rate, income from dividends and interest), and the legislature has exercised fiscal restraint. Efforts to diversify the state’s general economy have been ongoing. New Hampshire’s lack of a broad-based tax system has resulted in the state’s local communities having some of the nation’s highest property taxes. However, the state’s overall tax burden is relatively low; in 2010 New Hampshire ranked 44th highest among states in combined average state and local tax burden.
As of February 2010, the state’s unemployment rate was 7.1%. By October 2010, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4%. According to a 2013 study by Phoenix Marketing International, New Hampshire had the eighth-highest number of millionaires per capita in the United States, with a ratio of 6.48 percent. In 2013, New Hampshire also had the nation’s lowest poverty rate at just 8.7% of all residents according to the Census Bureau.
In the spring, New Hampshire’s many sap houses hold sugaring-off open houses. In summer and early autumn, New Hampshire is home to many county fairs, the largest being the Hopkinton State Fair, in Contoocook. New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is home to many summer camps, especially around Lake Winnipesaukee, and is a popular tourist destination. The Peterborough Players have performed every summer in Peterborough, New Hampshire since 1933. The Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth, New Hampshire, founded in 1931, is one of the longest-running professional summer theaters in the United States.
In September, New Hampshire is host to the New Hampshire Highland Games. New Hampshire has also registered an official tartan with the proper authorities in Scotland, used to make kilts worn by the Lincoln Police Department while its officers serve during the games. The fall foliage peaks in mid-October. In the winter, New Hampshire’s ski areas and snowmobile trails attract visitors from a wide area. After the lakes freeze over, they become dotted with ice fishing ice houses, known locally as bobhouses. Funspot, the world’s largest video arcade (now termed a museum), is located in Laconia.
The United States Post Office Department issued Scott #1068 — a 3-cent green stamp — at the celebration commemorating the sesquicentennial of the discovery of New Hampshire’s landmark, “The Old Man of the Mountain,” through the Franconia, New Hampshire, post office on June 21, 1955.
The stamp’s central design features the profile view of the “Old Man of the Mountain” as seen from Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Across the top of the stamp appears the wording 3¢ US POSTAGE in dark Gothic, in one line. To the left and below the center of the design is the wording THE OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAINS in dark Gothic, arranged in three lines, and across the bottom in whiteface Gothic is the wording NEW HAMPSHIRE, below which is the state motto, LIVE FREE OR DIE. The stamp was printed by the rotary process, electric-eye perforated 10½ x 11, and issued in panes of fifty. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 125,944,400 copies of the stamp.
The Old Man of the Mountain, also known as the Great Stone Face or the Profile, was a series of five granite cliff ledges on Cannon Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, that appeared to be the jagged profile of a face when viewed from the north. The rock formation was 1,200 feet (370 m) above Profile Lake, and measured 40 feet (12 m) tall and 25 feet (7.6 m) wide. The site is located in the town of Franconia. The first recorded mention of the Old Man was in 1805. It collapsed on May 3, 2003.
Franconia Notch is a U-shaped valley that was shaped by glaciers. The Old Man formation was probably formed from freezing and thawing of water in cracks of the granite bedrock sometime after the retreat of glaciers 12,000 years ago. The formation was first noted in the records of a Franconia surveying team around 1805. Francis Whitcomb and Luke Brooks, part of the surveying team, were the first two to record observing the Old Man. The official state history says several groups of surveyors were working in the Franconia Notch area at the time and claimed credit for the discovery.
The Old Man first became famous largely because of statesman Daniel Webster, a New Hampshire native, who once wrote: “Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades; shoemakers hang out a gigantic shoe; jewelers a monster watch, and the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but up in the Mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”
The writer Nathaniel Hawthorne used the Old Man as inspiration for his short story “The Great Stone Face”, published in 1850, in which he described the formation as “a work of Nature in her mood of majestic playfulness”.
The profile has been New Hampshire’s state emblem since 1945. It was put on the state’s license plate, state route signs, and on the reverse of New Hampshire’s Statehood Quarter, which is popularly promoted as the only U.S. coin with a profile on both sides. Before the collapse, it could be seen from special viewing areas along Interstate 93 in Franconia Notch State Park, approximately 80 miles (130 km) north of the state’s capital, Concord.
Freezing and thawing opened fissures in the Old Man’s “forehead”. By the 1920s, the crack was wide enough to be mended with chains, and in 1957 the state legislature passed a $25,000 appropriation for a more elaborate weatherproofing, using 20 tons of fast-drying cement, plastic covering, and steel rods and turnbuckles, plus a concrete gutter to divert runoff from above. A team from the state highway and park divisions maintained the patchwork each summer.
Nevertheless, the formation collapsed to the ground between midnight and 2 a.m., May 3, 2003. Dismay over the collapse was so great that people left flowers at the base of the cliffs in tribute.
Early after the collapse, many New Hampshire citizens considered replacement with a replica. That idea was rejected by an official task force in 2003 headed by former Governor Steve Merrill.
In 2004, the state legislature considered, but did not accept, a proposal to change New Hampshire’s state flag to include the profile.
On the first anniversary of the collapse in May 2004, the Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund (OMMLF) began operating coin-operated viewfinders near the base of the cliff. When looking through them up at the cliff of Cannon Mountain one can see a “before” and “after” of how the Old Man of the Mountain used to appear.
Seven years after the collapse, on June 24, 2010, the OMMLF, now the Friends of the Old Man of the Mountain, broke ground for the first phase of the state-sanctioned “Old Man of the Mountain Memorial” on a walkway along Profile Lake below Cannon Cliff. It consists of a viewing platform with “Steel Profilers”, which, when aligned with the Cannon Cliff above, create what the profile looked like up on the cliff overlooking the Franconia Notch. The project was overseen by Friends of the Old Man of the Mountain/Franconia Notch, a committee that succeeded the Old Man of the Mountain Revitalization Task Force. The Legacy Fund is a private 501(c)(3) corporation with representatives from various state agencies and several private nonprofits.
In 2013, the board called a halt to further fundraising. They announced their intention to spend what was left on minor improvements and dissolve the board.