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Exeter NH Community Information
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Exeter NH School Information

Exeter is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The town's population was 14,306 at the 2010 census. Exeter was the county seat until 1997, when county offices were moved to neighboring Brentwood. Home to the Phillips Exeter Academy, a private university-preparatory school, Exeter is situated where the Exeter River feeds the tidal Squamscott River.

The urban portion of the town, where 9,242 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined by the U. S. Census Bureau as the Exeter census-designated place.

History

The area was once the domain of the Squamscott Indians, a sub-tribe of the Pennacook nation, which fished at the falls where the Exeter River becomes the tidal Squamscott, the site around which the future town of Exeter would grow. On April 3, 1638, the Reverend John Wheelwright and others purchased the land from Wehanownowit, the sagamore. Wheelwright had been exiled by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a puritan theocracy, for sharing the dissident religious views of his sister-in-law, Anne Hutchinson. The minister took with him about 175 individuals to found the town he named after Exeter in Devon, England.

One of the four original townships in the province, Exeter originally included Newmarket, Newfields, Brentwood, Epping and Fremont. On July 4, 1639 35 freemen of Exeter signed the Exeter Combination, a document written by Reverend Wheelwright to establish their own government. The settlers hunted, planted and fished. Others tended cattle and swine, or made shakes and barrel staves.

Thomas Wilson established the first grist mill on the eastern side of the island in the lower falls. This mill was established within the first season of settling in Exeter, and his son Humphrey assumed control of the mill in 1643, when Thomas died.

Some early Exeter settlers came from Hingham, Massachusetts, including the Gilman, Folsom and Leavitt families. In 1647, Edward Gilman, Jr. established the first sawmill, and by 1651 Gilman had his own 50-ton sloop with which to conduct his burgeoning business in lumber, staves and masts. Although he was lost at sea in 1653 while traveling to England to purchase equipment for his mills, his family later became prominent as lumbermen, shipbuilders, merchants and statesmen.

The Gilman Garrison House, a National Historic Landmark, and the American Independence Museum were both former homes of the Gilman family. The Gilman family also donated the land on which Phillips Exeter Academy stands, including the Academy's original Yard, the oldest part of campus. The Gilmans of Exeter also furnished America with one of its founding fathers, Nicholas Gilman, and the state of New Hampshire with treasurers, a governor, representatives to the General Assembly and judges to the General Court.

The Gilman family began trading as far as the West Indies with ships they owned out of Portsmouth. It was a high-stakes business. In an 1803 voyage, for instance, the 180-ton clipper 'Oliver Peabody,' owned by Gov. John Taylor Gilman, Oliver Peabody, Col. Gilman Leavitt and others, was boarded by brigs belonging to the Royal Navy under command of Admiral Horatio Nelson. Enforcing a blockade against the French, Nelson offered ship Captain Stephen Gilman of Exeter a glass of wine and paid him for his cargo in Spanish dollars. The trip demonstrates how far afield the ambitious merchants of Exeter reached in their trading forays.

Exeter suffered its last Indian raid in August of 1723 and by 1725 the tribes had left the area. In 1774 the rebellious Provincial Congress began to meet in the Exeter Town House after Colonial Governor John Wentworth banned it from the colonial capitol at Portsmouth. In July of 1775, the Provincial Congress had the provincial records seized from royal officials in Portsmouth and brought to Exeter as well. And so Exeter became New Hampshire's Revolutionary War capital, an honor it held for fourteen years until Concord assumed the role.

In 1827, the Exeter Manufacturing Company was established beside the river, using water power to produce cotton textiles. Other businesses would manufacture shoes, saddles, harnesses, lumber, boxes, bricks, carriages and bicycles. In 1836, the last schooner was launched at Exeter. In 1840, the Boston & Maine Railroad entered the town.

According to former governor Hugh Gregg, the United States Republican Party was born in Exeter on October 12, 1853 at the Squamscott Hotel, but nothing came of the secret meeting of Amos Tuck with other abolitionists that day, and the party was not organized in the state until 1856. Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, visited Exeter in 1860. His son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was attending Phillips Exeter Academy, the college preparatory school founded in 1781 by Dr. John Phillips. The town was also once home to the Robinson Female Seminary, established in 1867 and previously known as the Exeter Female Academy (established in 1826). Its landmark Second Empire schoolhouse, completed in 1869, burned in 1961.

In September 1965 Exeter earned a place in UFO history when two Exeter police officers, Eugene Bertrand and David Hunt, witnessed a bright red UFO at close range with a local teenager, Norman Muscarello. Their sighting attracted national publicity and became the focus of a bestselling book, Incident at Exeter, by journalist John G. Fuller. The Air Force eventually admitted to the three men that it had been unable to identify the strange object they had observed, and it is still considered by many UFO buffs to be one of the most impressive UFO sightings on record.

Exeter has a considerable inventory of structures by prominent architects. Arthur Gilman, descendant of one of Exeter's founding families, designed the Old Town Hall of 1855. The Old Public Library of 1894, which now is home to the Exeter Historical Society, was designed by the Boston firm of Rotch & Tilden. Ralph Adams Cram, who trained with Rotch & Tilden, designed both Phillips Church, built in 1897, and Tuck High School, built in 1911. His firm of Cram & Ferguson designed the entire Phillips Exeter Academy campus between 1908 and 1950. More recent is the noted Academy Library, built in 1971 to the design of Louis I. Kahn. Daniel Chester French, sculptor and Exeter native, created the town's war memorial in 1922. He is best known for his statue of Abraham Lincoln in Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, which was designed by Henry Bacon, who also designed in 1916 the Swasey Pavilion at Exeter's town square.

Other features of the town include the Swasey Parkway, which replaced wharves and warehouses along the Squamscott River, and the Ioka Theatre of 1915 on Water Street. The latter was built by Edward Mayer, an Exeter judge and resident. Mayer's opening feature was The Birth of a Nation, by D. W. Griffith. The theatre's curious name was proposed in a contest by a young woman with an enthusiasm for Scouting. Ioka was a Native American word meaning playground.

Notable inhabitants

  • Charles H. Bell, governor
  • Dan Brown, author
  • Lewis Cass, politician
  • Chris Carpenter, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn, statesman and soldier
  • Rev. Samuel Dudley (1608–1683), Puritan minister, son of Governor Thomas Dudley of the Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Nathaniel Folsom, merchant, general & statesman
  • Daniel Chester French, sculptor
  • John Taylor Gilman, statesman & governor
  • Nicholas Gilman, Jr., signer of U.S. Constitution
  • Michael Golay, historian and author
  • Todd Hearon, poet
  • John Irving, author
  • John Knowles, author
  • Dudley Leavitt (publisher) (1750–1831) publisher of Farmers Almanack and Miscellaneous Yearbook
  • Moses Leavitt (1650–1730), surveyor, Selectman, Deputy, Moderator of the General Court
  • Gilman Marston, politician & general
  • Dr. John Phillips, founder of Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Enoch Poor, shipbuilder, merchant & general
  • Edward L. Rowan, psychiatrist, author, Scouting leader
  • Tristram Shaw, United States Representative from New Hampshire
  • Henry Shute, lawyer, judge, & author
  • Statik Selektah, DJ/producer
  • Walter Stahr, lawyer and author
  • Tabitha Gilman Tenney (1762–1837), novelist
  • Amos Tuck, lawyer & politician
  • Edward Tuck, banker & philanthropist
  • Rev. John Wheelwright, founder of Exeter

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.0 square miles (52 km2), of which 19.6 sq mi (51 km2) is land and 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2) is water, comprising 1.85% of the town. Exeter is drained by the Exeter River, which feeds the Squamscott River. The highest point in Exeter is 250 feet (76 m) above sea level on Great Hill at the town's southwest corner. Exeter lies fully within the Piscataqua River (Coastal) watershed.

The town's center, defined as a census-designated place (CDP), has a total area of 4.5 square miles (12 km2), of which 4.4 sq mi (11 km2) is land and 0.2 sq mi (0.52 km2) (3.74%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 14,058 people, 5,898 households, and 3,715 families residing in the town. The population density was 715.9 people per square mile (276.4/km²). There were 6,107 housing units at an average density of 311.0 per square mile (120.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.18% White, 0.42% African American, 0.17% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.29% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.87% of the population.

There were 5,898 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the town the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $49,618, and the median income for a family was $63,088. Males had a median income of $45,091 versus $30,435 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,105. About 2.9% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.

Town center

As of the census of 2000, there were 9,759 people, 4,233 households, and 2,539 families residing in the central urban settlement. The population density was 2,230.4 people per square mile (860.3/km²). There were 4,376 housing units at an average density of 1,000.1 per square mile (385.7/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.21% White, 0.46% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.

There were 4,233 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.1% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 89.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $44,279, and the median income for a family was $53,174. Males had a median income of $41,760 versus $30,000 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $24,663. About 4.1% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.8% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.

Sites of interest

External links

63 Exeter NH Real Estate
All Exeter NH Real Estate

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Search Exeter New Hampshire Real Estate Listings For Sale Below

Exeter NH HomeExeter NH  Homes
   $1,200,000.00
“A river runs through it” may best describe 32 Pickpocket Road. Nestled into a curve in the Exeter River with views from almost every room, you will never want to leave. This e... NH MLS Info

Exeter NH HomeExeter NH  Homes
   $1,125,000.00
Located on a 1.1 acre in town lot. This 1880’s Victorian home walking distance to schools, shopping, dining, train station and PEA. This home offers wide pine floors throughout t... NH MLS Info

Exeter NH HomeExeter NH  Homes
   $999,999.00
Exceptionally appointed one of a kind Exeter 1800's dairy barn completely renovated inside and out in 2015 with no detail spared. With over 7000 sq ft of space this home has the p... NH MLS Info

Exeter NH HomeExeter NH  Homes
   $895,000.00
Zoned NP - Neighborhood Professional, an estimated 3,500 square foot footprint may be placed on the wooded portion of this 6.73 acre parcel that fronts on Route 27 and faces Route ... NH MLS Info

Exeter NH LANDExeter NH  Land
   $745,000.00
Builder/developer/investor opportunity. The Residences at Linden Street - A fully approved 16 unit duplex open space subdivision located 1.5 miles from downtown Exeter. Each unit... NH MLS Info

Exeter NH HomeExeter NH  Homes
   $739,900.00
Impeccably maintained 4 bedroom brick 1800's Federal colonial situated on 3 plus private acres abutting the Henderson-Swasey town forest with over 200 acres of conservation land- p... NH MLS Info

Exeter NH HomeExeter NH  Homes
   $739,000.00
The design is New England meets California meets Charleston! 14 Luxury condominiums on the picturesque Exeter River, in the heart of a vibrant, historic downtown. Abundant sunlight... NH MLS Info

   See All 63 Exeter NH Real Estate



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