New Hampshire’s Oldest Town is Over 150 Years Older Than America
1776 sounds like a pretty long time ago. Thomas Jefferson and his posse lived pretty differently than we do now. Electricity was still a few decades away from being invented, running water in homes was almost one hundred years away, as was toilet paper! The year that our country was born, our forefathers were pretty much roughing it, but they didn't know it at the time.
But about 80 years before Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were even born, the oldest town in New Hampshire was already settled.
What is the oldest town in New Hampshire?
Dover is the oldest permanently settled town in New Hampshire, with a history dating back to 1623. What we now know as the state's fifth largest city started as a small fishing village. Brothers Edward and William Hilton established a plantation on Dover Point, where the Piscataqua and Bellamy Rivers meet.
AZanimals.com states that before the town was founded, nomadic Native tribes resided in the area as it had lots of fish and game, and also very fertile soil. However, by the 1740s, the Native population had been pushed out due to diseases that they had no immunity against, and European settlers told them to scram. It's a tale as old as time.
Why did the Hilton brothers call the town 'Dover'?
The article goes on to explain that it took a while to land on the name 'Dover'. The name of the town changed three different times. At one point, it was called 'Hilton's Point'. Guess those Hilton Brothers wanted the credit they deserved.
The name 'Dover' comes from the Middle Welsh word 'dwfr'. It means 'waters'. This is quite appropriate as the oldest town in New Hampshire sits on a function of rivers: the Cochecho, Bellamy, and Piscataqua.