15 Intriguing Details About New Hampshire

Were you aware that one of America’s earliest known serial killers was born in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire, often referred to as “The Granite State” or “The White Mountain State,” became the 9th state to join the United States on June 21, 1788.

It has a population of 1,359,711 people (as of 2019), making it the 41st most populous state. Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine are neighboring states of New Hampshire.

With 9,349 square miles (24,214 square kilometers) of land and water, it is the 7th smallest state.

The capital city of New Hampshire is Concord, located to the southwest of the state.

Those are some quick facts about the Granite State, but let’s delve into some more interesting ones!

New Hampshire has been inhabited for over 11,000 years!

The region now known as New Hampshire was first settled by the Paleo-Indians, who were intrepid hunter-gatherers that populated most of the Americas between 13 to 10,000 BC.

Prior to the European colonization of North America, many different tribes resided in the area.

Despite cultural similarities and different dialects of the same language, the Abenaki language, some of the early tribes that predate European settlement included the Ossipee, Sokoki, Pigwacket, Winnipesaukee, Cowasuck, and Penacook. Today, they are referred to more broadly as the Abenaki People.

The majority of the Native Americans from New Hampshire now live in Canada.

When Europeans arrived in the 1600s, they unintentionally brought diseases that would harm the local Native Americans more than their firearms ever could.

Smallpox and influenza were the two diseases that affected the local populations before any conflicts occurred, and they had no immunities to these new diseases.

The few Abenaki that survived this early biological onslaught quickly realized that they must take action to ensure their survival.

Some assimilated into the invading European communities through marriage, while the majority fled north into Canada.

Nowadays, less than 1,000 Abenaki remain in New Hampshire, with only a few speaking their native language.

New Hampshire began as a fishing colony.

England was first introduced to the region now known as New Hampshire in 1614 by Captain John Smith, who sailed along the New England coast and reported its pristine beauty.

Afterwards, Captain John Mason received a land grant to establish a fishing colony at the present-day border between New Hampshire and Maine.

A Scottish group led by David Thompson established the first settlement in this new colony in 1629, where the town of Rye, originally called Pannaway, now stands.

A second settlement led by Edward and Thomas Hilton followed shortly thereafter, where the town of Dover now exists.

New Hampshire was initially referred to as North Virginia.

Captain John Smith, the founder of Virginia Colony, England’s first colony in North America, sailed north and first reported of New Hampshire’s shores.

He initially proposed that the region be named North Virginia, in relation to the Virginia Colony.

King James renamed the area New England shortly after its discovery. The name persisted until 1629 when John Mason founded the Province of New Hampshire. Between 1629 and 1641, the Province of New Hampshire was not adequately governed and consisted primarily of a few fishing towns along the coast. Due to a lack of governance, the residents of New Hampshire decided to come under the wing of the Massachusetts Colony in 1641. Massachusetts governed New Hampshire sporadically for the next century, with New Hampshire occasionally being self-governed. In 1741, New Hampshire permanently separated itself from Massachusetts when Benning Wentworth became its new governor. New Hampshire was the first of the thirteen colonies to establish its constitution. In January 1776, they set up their independent government based on their constitution. New Hampshire became the ninth U.S. state in 1768 after they voted to ratify the newly drafted United States Constitution. During the American Civil War, 32,486 New Hampshirites fought for the Union. The White Mountains Range in New Hampshire contains the tallest peak in the U.S. northeast, Mount Washington. The highest wind speed ever recorded at Mount Washington measured at 231 miles per hour (371.7 km/h) in 1934, making it the second-highest wind speed ever recorded in the world.

Uncle Sam, America’s Patriotic Icon, was Inspired by a New Hampshire Native

According to local legends, Samuel Wilson, who spent most of his young years in Mason, New Hampshire, was the inspiration behind Uncle Sam. During the war of 1812, Samuel was responsible for inspecting meat packages in food rations for the U.S. Army. The packages he delivered to the troops were marked “U.S.” and soldiers began to call him “Uncle Sam.”

New Hampshire’s Iconic Landmark, the Old Man of the Mountain, Disappeared in 2003

The granite cliff that formed the shape of a man’s face, known as the Old Man of the Mountain, was an icon of New Hampshire for nearly two centuries. It was featured on the state’s license plates and memorabilia until May 2, 2003, when it crumbled and fell off the mountain.

Herman Mudgett, One of America’s First Serial Killers, was Born in New Hampshire

Herman Mudgett, also known as H. H. Holmes, was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. He attended the University of Michigan and later moved to Chicago, where he built his infamous “Murder Castle.” Over the course of seven years, he murdered numerous people and sold their skeletons to medical schools. He was eventually caught and confessed to killing 27 people, possibly more.

New Hampshire is Home to the First Crop of Potatoes in North America

Reverend James MacGregor sailed to New Hampshire in 1718 and unknowingly made history by planting the first crop of potatoes in North America.

One of the things he brought with him was a sack of seed potatoes, which were specifically meant for planting rather than consumption. In 1719, these potatoes were planted in a field outside of Nutfield (now Derry), which led to the growth of a thriving potato industry across North America. New Hampshire can claim to have been the first to grow potatoes from seeds, rather than from the supermarket.

New Hampshire celebrates its Scottish heritage with the annual New Hampshire Highland Games.

New Hampshire has a long history of Scottish traditions, dating back to the establishment of its first European settlement by Scotsman David Thompson in 1629. During the state’s colonial days, many Scots migrated to North America to start a new life. Today, many of their descendants continue to uphold this tradition. In 1976, the Scottish communities in the area decided to host the first New Hampshire Highland Games, which is an event that celebrates Scottish culture through various games and activities.

New Hampshire was the site of the first women’s strike in American history.

In 1828, mill workers from Dover, New Hampshire made history by going on strike to protest unfair wages and oppressive working conditions. While management had been relatively fair and kind to the women working at the textile mill, the new owners slashed their wages while keeping male wages unchanged. The women decided to strike for better wages and working conditions, but their efforts were short-lived. The mill owner quickly advertised for replacement workers, and fearing the loss of their jobs, the Dover mill girls returned to work at the lower wages.

The first American to travel to space came from New Hampshire.

In 1957, the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, which sparked the Space Race between the US and the USSR. Feeling the pressure to keep up with their Cold War rival, the US quickly developed a spacecraft and formed NASA. They trained a group of seven Air Force pilots to become astronauts, and the first American to be launched into space was Alan Shepherd, who was born in Derry, New Hampshire. Although he wasn’t the first man in space, Shepherd did make it to space on May 5, 1961, making him the first American to travel to space.

New Hampshire: A State Rich in History and Beauty

New Hampshire, one of the New England states, boasts a wealth of captivating history. Its small size belies the fact that its residents continue to make history, as exemplified by figures such as the Dover mill girls and Alan Shepherd.

However, New Hampshire is not solely defined by its historical significance. It is also a state of breathtaking natural beauty.

Whatever your interests, a trip up north to New Hampshire is sure to offer something fascinating.

FAQ

1. What is the origin of New Hampshire’s name?

New Hampshire was named by Captain John Mason in honor of Hampshire County, England, his home county.

2. What is the state bird of New Hampshire?

The state bird of New Hampshire is the purple finch. It was chosen because it is common in the state and has a beautiful song.

3. What is the highest peak in New Hampshire?

The highest peak in New Hampshire is Mount Washington, which stands at 6,288 feet tall. It is a popular destination for hikers and tourists.

4. What is New Hampshire’s state motto?

New Hampshire’s state motto is “Live Free or Die.” It was adopted in 1945 and reflects the state’s independent spirit and commitment to personal freedom.

5. Who was the first settlement in New Hampshire?

The first settlement in New Hampshire was established by the English in 1623 at Portsmouth. It was named after Portsmouth, England.

6. What is New Hampshire’s state flower?

New Hampshire’s state flower is the purple lilac. It was chosen because it is a common sight in the state and has a lovely fragrance.

7. What is the oldest continuously running summer theater in the United States?

The oldest continuously running summer theater in the United States is the Peterborough Players in Peterborough, New Hampshire. It was founded in 1933.

8. What is New Hampshire’s state sport?

New Hampshire’s state sport is skiing. It is a popular activity in the state due to its many mountains and ski resorts.

9. What is the significance of the Old Man of the Mountain?

The Old Man of the Mountain was a rock formation on the side of Cannon Mountain that resembled the profile of a man’s face. It was a symbol of New Hampshire and appeared on the state’s license plates. Unfortunately, it collapsed in 2003 due to natural erosion.

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