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What is the history of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA?

People, Pictures, Old Postcards and Stories From the Past

Explore Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures and genealogy.
Portsmouth, Rockingham, New Hampshire, USA

"Portsmouth, a city, a port of entry, and semi-capital of Rockingham co., N.H., 54 miles N. by E. of Boston, is situated on the right bank of the Piscataqua River, about 3 miles from the ocean, and at the terminus of the Eastern, Concord & Portsmouth, Portsmouth & Dover, and Portland & Saco Railroads. Lat. 43°4' 35" N.; lon. 70° 45' 50” W. This city, the commercial metropolis and only seaport of the state, is built on a beautiful peninsula, formed by the Piscataqua, and connected by bridges with Kittery in Maine and with Newcastle on Grand Island. The harbor, which lies between the town and the mouth of the river, is capacious, deep, easy of access, and much frequented by vessels in bad weather; 480 have been counted here at one time, and it is estimated that 2000 could easily find convenient anchorage. The formation of sand-bars or ice is rendered impossible by the rapid tides, which have carried every earthy substance out to sea, leaving a - rock bottom, with a depth of water varying from 35 to 75 feet. The principal entrance is between the mainland and the E. side of Great Island, and is defended by earthworks on Gerrish's Island at the E. side of the entrance, and on Jerry's (or Jaffrey's) Point on the W. side, 2 stone forts farther up the harbor—Forts Constitution and McClary having been condemned. The city stands on a gentle acclivity overlooking the harbor, and is remarkable for its healthy atmosphere and fine gardens. Many of the streets are adorned with a profusion of shade-trees. The principal public buildings are the athenaeum, custom-house, city £ music hall, and Spring market. Besides these, there are 10 churches, some of which are elegant structures. The chief object of interest, however, is the United States navy-yard at Kittery, on an island near the E. side of the river. Among other things, it contains 3 immense ship houses and a floating balance-dock, constructed at a cost of about $800,000. It is 350 feet by 105, and has 24 pumps, worked by 2 steam-engines. The North America, the first ship-of-the-line launched in the Western Hemisphere, was built on Badger's Island, in this harbor, during the Revolution. The literary advantages of Portsmouth are highly respectable. The athenaeum has a library of about 10,000 volumes and a cabinet of curiosities. The schools are numerous and well conducted. Two daily and 4 weekly newspapers are published here. One of these, the “New Hampshire Gazette,” is the oldest in America, having been first issued in 1756. Portsmouth has less commerce now than formerly, though it is still the centre of an important trade, both foreign and coastwise.

Manufacturing is not very extensively carried on. Among the most important corporations may be mentioned the Portsmouth Steam Factory, giving employment to about 400 hands. The leading articles of manufacture are cot ton cloth, hosiery, iron castings, shoes, &c. The city is supplied by means of pipes with excellent water from a fountain in the suburbs. It contains 4 national banks and 2 savings-banks, Portsmouth has a large amount of capital invested in railroads, navigation, manufactures, &c., in other places; and though it has suffered in former years from disastrous fires, and has been compelled to relinquish to the larger cities some of its former extensive trade, still it has steadily increased in wealth. Pop, in 1850, 97.39; in 1860, 9335; in 1880, 9690; in 1890, 9827."

Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ...
Joseph Thomas
January 1, 1895
J.B. Lippincott

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Old Photos, Pictures, Advertisements and Postcards from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA
Gun park and New Equipment Building, Portsmouth Navy Yard, N.H.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA
Life Saving Station, Wood Island, Portsmouth Harbor, N.H.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA
Catholic Church
Internet Genealogy by Moorshead Magazines Ltd

History and News of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

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  • 1756 - First Newspaper in New Hampshire
    The first [newspaper] in New Hampshire was "The New Hampshire Gazette," printed at Portsmouth in the summer of 1756. 1755.htm
  • 1761 - First regular U.S. stagecoach run is begun, from Boston to Portsmouth, New Hampshire
    The World Almanac of the U.S.A, by Allan Carpenter and Carl Provorse, 1996
  • 1774 - December 14 - Portsmouth, New Hampshire militiamen successfully attacked arsenal of Ft William & Mary
  • History of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

    History of Portsmouth, New Hampshire / History of towns in United States (
  • 1813 - Devastating fire in Portsmouth webimage/ countrys/ namerica/ usstates/ nhtimeln.htm
  • 1854 - The Destructive Gale - Its Effects at the East.
    ...The depot of the Concord Railroad at Portsmouth, N. H., was partly torn down by the wind... The New York Times
    New York, New York
    March 21, 1854
  • News  1868 - A female financier in Portsmouth, N. H., recently had her trunk robbed in Boston of one hundred and twenty shares of bank stock of nearly $7,000 value,
    and knew nothing about it until the stock had been sold in New York. St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    June 6, 1868
  • News  1870 - A tradesman of Portsmouth, N. H., has advertised in every issue of a paper of that city for the last twenty-two years.
    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    January 8, 1870
  • News  1870 - The funeral of Admiral Farrigut, at Portsmouth, N. H., on the 17th, was attended by a larger concourse of people than ever assembled in that State on a similar occasion.

    St Joseph Herald
    Saint Joseph, Michigan
    August 27, 1870
  • News  1898 - Received a Painful Wound
    Lewis B. Hanson, who has been employed as a blacksmith at the navy yard, met with a painful accident on Friday. He was hammering a bar of steel when... Read MORE...

  • News  1898 - SERIOUS ACCIDENT. William Fernald Felled by a Falling Electric Light Pole
    The North end was the scene of another terrible accident this morning when William Fernald of Eliot, received injuries that will likely prove... Read MORE...

  • News  1904 - Brewing Company Fire
    PORTSMOUTH, N. H., Nov. 17. - The malt house of the Frank Jones Brewing Company's immense plant here was ruined by fire to-day, entailing a loss of... Read MORE...

  • 1906
    Portsmouth, a city, port of entry, and semi-capital of Rockingham co., N.H., 58 miles N. by E. of Boston, is situated on the right bank of the... Read MORE...

    One of the worst train wrecks that has taken place for many years occurred shortly after noon today, in the Boston and Maine railroad yard, at the... Read MORE...

  • News  1939 - May 23 - Submarine Squalis sank off Portsmouth NH, 26 die
    May 23, 1939
  • 1953 - USS Albacore was a prototype submarine built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and commissioned in 1953. At the time she was the fastest submarine ever designed. resources/ state-facts/ new-hampshire.html

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA Genealogy

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Updated: 5/14/2019 11:19:25 AM

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