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Lake Winnipesaukee Places To Stay > About > Lake Winnipesaukee

Lake Winnipesaukee History

Information for New Hampshire Vacations in Lake Winnipesaukee

The Native American inhabitants of the area now known as New Hampshire were the Abenaki, a tribe of the Algonquin nation. They largely relied on farming when it came to their diet, but hunting, fishing, and wild plant gathering was an important part of their food supply as well. Before European contact, the Abenaki tribe numbered as many as 40,000, but disease and war quickly took its toll. The Abenaki tribe was allied with the French during the days of colonization, and were slowly forced to retreat into Canada, where most surviving tribe members live today.

About Lake Winnipesaukee | Lake Winnipesaukee History

Martin Pring from Bristol, England, was the first recorded European to lead an expedition to present-day New Hampshire. In 1603, his ship anchored in a bay, and he charted some of the Piscataqua River. In 1614, John Smith passed by along the coast during a mapping expedition and recorded the area as very heavily wooded with great mountains to the west, and he reported very favorably on what he saw. In 1622, the king granted Captain John Mason ownership of much of the land in present-day New Hampshire. In honor of his homeland Hampshire, he gave the name "New Hampshire" to his large tracts of land. In 1622, he and Sir Ferdinando Gorges founded the Company of Laconia to support colonization and development of Mason's holdings

The small towns established by the Laconia Company were independent of the others with no stable government, and there was constant discord and turbulence. Massachusetts claimed this territory and in 1639 the towns formed an agreement to unite and eventually agreed to come under its jurisdiction in 1641, with the people of the settlements retaining liberty to manage their "town affairs," and each town was permitted to send a deputy to the General Court at Boston.  New Hampshire continued a part of Massachusetts until 1679, when the king separated them for seven years before restoring it to Massachusetts.  They were finally separated in 1691, and New Hampshire again became a royal province, the president and council being appointed by the Crown and the assembly elected by the people.  

In the middle of the eighteenth century a bitter dispute arose between New Hampshire and New York concerning the future Vermont area, with both colonies claiming it. One of New Hampshire's governors had laid out about one hundred and forty townships in this disputed region, called the "New Hampshire Grants." But in 1765 the king decided the contest in favor of New York, and when the governor of that colony ordered the settlers to repurchase their lands, they rose in rebellion. Led by Ethan Allen and Seth Warner, both famous in the War of the Revolution, the "Green Mountain Boys" fought off the New York officers.

With the widespread advent of railroads after the Civil War, competition from midwest farmers reduced the demand for produce from New Hampshire. In spite of agricultural reverses, however, New Hampshire's rural areas were not without options. In the late 1800s, New Hampshire turned to commercial logging. Logging railroads were built into once-inaccessible forests. Meanwhile, urban areas around Boston and Portland needed daily shipments of perishable foods. By 1870, New Hampshire's railroad network was largely complete, and farmers near the various rail depots found a ready market for dairy and poultry products, as well as fresh fruit. The same railroads that brought produce to Boston and Portland also brought tourists from those urban centers. New Hampshire's natural splendors attracted artists, poets and writers, scientists, and a host of curious sightseers throughout the 1800s. Tourists came from all over the United States and Europe.







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