Strafford County, New Hampshire

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General John Sullivan House Photo: General John Sullivan House, circa 1787, located at 23 Newmarket Road, Durham. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Photographed by user:Magicpiano (own work), 2013, [cc-by-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons, accessed January, 2024.

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Strafford County administrative offices are located at 259 County Farm Road, P.O. Box 799, Dover, NH, 03821; phone: 603-742-1458.

Beginnings [1]

Like the Swiss cantons, nearly all the counties in the "Switzerland" of America are noted for irregularity of shape. Strafford, with its strange outline, is certainly no exception to the rule. If not the oldest county in the State, no other can claim seniority of age — its act of incorporation bearing the date March 19, 1771, when the first five counties formed in New Hampshire were created by a colonial legislation.

By common consent John Wentworth — then the popular governor of the State — was accorded the privilege of naming these counties. Prompted, perhaps, by feelings similar to those which led him later to name a new town in honor of his wife, whose maiden name was Frances Deering, the royal governor, it is said, "called the counties after his friends," — Augustus Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Grafton; the Earl of Hillsborough, of the privy council of George III; Charles Watson Wentworth, Marquis of Buckingham, and William Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, being thus especially honored.

The first settlement made by the English in any part of the State occurred at or near Dover, in 1623, only three years after the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth.

  1. Hillsborough County by Rev. Daniel Goodwin, in: Howard, Rev. R. H. and Crocker, Henry E., Prof., A History of New England containing Historical and Descriptive Sketches of the Counties, Cities and Principal Towns of the Six New England States, Crocker and Company Publishers. Boston, 1881

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