Amherst is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 11,201 at the 2010 census. Amherst is home to Ponemah Bog Wildlife Sanctuary, Hodgman State Forest, the Joe English Reservation and Baboosic Lake.
The town center village, where 613 people resided at the 2010 census, is defined as the Amherst census-designated place. The village is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Amherst Village Historic District.
Amherst, New Hampshire
Amherst Town Common in 2006
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Amherst (the United States)
Amherst (North America)
|• Board of Selectmen||Dwight Brew, Chair|
|• Town Administrator||James M. O'Mara, Jr.|
|• Total||34.7 sq mi (89.9 km2)|
|• Land||34.2 sq mi (88.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.6 sq mi (1.5 km2) 1.51%|
|Elevation||259 ft (79 m)|
|• Density||328/sq mi (126.5/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0873531|
Like many New England towns, Amherst was the result of a land grant given to soldiers – in this case, to soldiers in 1728 who had participated in King Philip's War. Settled about 1733, it was first called "Narragansett Number 3", and then later "Souhegan Number 3". In 1741, settlers formed the Congregational church and hired the first minister. Chartered on 18 January 1760 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, the town was named for General Lord Amherst, who commanded British forces in North America during the French and Indian War. Lord Jeffrey Amherst is also infamous for initiating the practice of giving smallpox blankets to Native Americans in a genocidal effort "to Extirpate this Execrable Race" (as quoted from his letter to Colonel Henry Bouquet on July 16, 1763).
In 1770, Amherst became the county seat of Hillsborough County, due largely to its location on the county's major east-west road. It continued to prosper through the Revolutionary War and afterwards. In 1790, the southwestern section broke off and became the town of Milford, and in 1803, the northwest section departed to become Mont Vernon. The development of water-powered mills allowed Milford to grow at Amherst's expense, and the county seat was moved to Milford in 1866.
The town population remained relatively stagnant until after World War II, when Amherst and many surrounding towns saw an influx of newcomers as they became part of the greater Boston region.
Franklin Pierce, who later become the 14th President of United States of America, studied under Judge Edmund Parker in Amherst. He wed Jane Means Appleton, the daughter of a former president of Bowdoin College, in a house on the town green.
The Nashua and Wilton Railroad passed through Amherst.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 34.7 square miles (89.9 km2), of which 34.2 square miles (88.5 km2) is land and 0.54 square miles (1.4 km2) is water, comprising 1.51% of the town. Located on the Souhegan River, Amherst is drained by Beaver, Bloody, and Joe English brooks. Amherst's highest point is on Chestnut Hill at the town's northern border, where the elevation reaches 865 feet (264 m) above sea level. Amherst lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 11,201 people, 4,063 households, and 3,322 families residing in the town. The population density was 327.5 people per square mile (126.5/km²). There were 4,280 housing units at an average density of 125.1 per square mile (48.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.8% White, 0.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.4% some other race, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.
There were 4,063 households, out of which 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.2% were headed by married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.2% were non-families. 14.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.0% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76, and the average family size was 3.06.
In the town, the age distribution of the population was 26.0% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 19.4% from 25 to 44, 36.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.
For the period 2011-2015, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $121,349, and the median income for a family was $130,278. Male full-time workers had a median income of $102,869, versus $51,473 for females. The per capita income for the town was $49,190. About 1.8% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.
Amherst is home to Clark and Wilkins elementary schools, Amherst Middle School and Souhegan High School. The elementary schools handle children from Amherst only. Seventh and eighth graders from neighboring Mont Vernon attend the middle school on a tuition basis, while Amherst and Mont Vernon jointly own Souhegan High School, which serves both towns.
The Amherst Village Historic District encompasses the historic village center of Amherst, New Hampshire. Centered on the town's common, which was established about 1755, Amherst Village is one of the best examples of a late-18th to early-19th century New England village center. It is roughly bounded on the north by Foundry Street and on the south by Amherst Street, although it extends along some roads beyond both. The western boundary is roughly Davis Lane, the eastern is Mack Hill Road, Old Manchester Road, and Court House Road. The district includes the Congregational Church, built c. 1771-74, and is predominantly residential, with a large number of Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival houses. Other notable non-residential buildings include the Farmer's Bank, a Federal-style brick building built in 1806, and the Amherst Brick School, a brick Greek Revival structure that now serves as a community center.Amherst was surveyed in 1735, and settled by veterans of King Philip's War from Massachusetts. Its first colonial meeting house was built in 1749 on a hill northeast of the village common, and was moved to the common after the town was incorporated in 1760. Several houses, including one originally used as a tavern, that were built in its immediate area in 1750 are still standing. Amherst was the first shire town of Hillsborough County (organized 1769), and was located roughly midway between Boston, Massachusetts and Lake Champlain, and it flourished economically. The present town hall was built in 1825 as the county's third courthouse. The town entered a decline when the people began leaving for more fertile lands in the American Midwest, and when the town was bypassed by significant industrialization. In 1862, the county functions were moved to the growing industrial centers of Nashua and Manchester.The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.Baboosic Brook
Baboosic Brook is a 12.7-mile-long (20.4 km) stream located in southern New Hampshire in the United States. It is a tributary of the Souhegan River, which flows to the Merrimack River and ultimately to the Gulf of Maine.
Baboosic Brook begins at the outlet of Baboosic Lake in the town of Amherst, New Hampshire. The brook takes a winding course (east- and southward flow predominating) through the towns of Amherst, Bedford, and Merrimack before ending at the Souhegan River near its outlet to the Merrimack River.
Tributaries include Joe English Brook, Pulpit Brook, McQuade Brook, and Riddle Brook, all entering from the north.Charles G. Atherton
Charles Gordon Atherton (July 4, 1804 – November 15, 1853) was a Democratic Representative and Senator from New Hampshire.Charles Humphrey Atherton
Charles Humphrey Atherton (August 14, 1773 – January 8, 1853) was an American lawyer, banker and politician from New Hampshire. He served as a United States Representative from New Hampshire and as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives during the early 1800s.Clifton Clagett
Clifton Clagett (December 3, 1762 – January 25, 1829) was an American lawyer and politician from New Hampshire. He served as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, the United States House of Representatives and as a New Hampshire Supreme Court justice.George Fiske
George Fiske (October 22, 1835 – October 21, 1918) was an American landscape photographer.
Fiske was born in Amherst, New Hampshire and moved west with his brother to San Francisco. He apprenticed with Charles L. Weed and worked with Carleton E. Watkins, both early Yosemite photographers. Fiske and his wife moved to Yosemite in 1879 and lived there until he committed suicide in 1918. Fiske was living alone when he shot himself and he often told his neighbors he was "tired of living." Most of his negatives were destroyed when his house burned in 1904.
Years later, when photographer Ansel Adams was a boy, his Aunt Mary gave him a copy of In the Heart of the Sierras when he was sick. The book piqued his interest enough to persuade his parents to vacation in Yosemite National Park in 1916. Most of the photographs in the book are by George Fiske.
After Fiske's death, his remaining negatives were acquired by the Yosemite Park Company and stored neglected in a sawmill attic, which burned in 1943. Ansel Adams suggested they be stored safely in the Yosemite Museum fireproof basement, but his suggestion was ignored. "If that hadn't happened", said Adams, "Fiske could have been revealed today, I firmly believe, as a top photographer, a top interpretive photographer. I really can’t get excited at [Carleton] Watkins and [Eadweard] Muybridge—I do get excited at Fiske. I think he had the better eye." (Hickman & Pitts, 1980).Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley (February 3, 1811 – November 29, 1872) was an American author and statesman who was the founder and editor of the New-York Tribune, among the great newspapers of its time. Long active in politics, he served briefly as a congressman from New York, and was the unsuccessful candidate of the new Liberal Republican party in the 1872 presidential election against incumbent President Ulysses S. Grant.
Greeley was born to a poor family in Amherst, New Hampshire. He was apprenticed to a printer in Vermont and went to New York City in 1831 to seek his fortune. He wrote for or edited several publications and involved himself in Whig Party politics, taking a significant part in William Henry Harrison's successful 1840 presidential campaign. The following year, he founded the Tribune, which became the highest-circulating newspaper in the country through weekly editions sent by mail. Among many other issues, he urged the settlement of the American West, which he saw as a land of opportunity for the young and the unemployed. He popularized the slogan "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country." He endlessly promoted utopian reforms such as socialism, vegetarianism, agrarianism, feminism, and temperance while hiring the best talent he could find.
Greeley's alliance with William H. Seward and Thurlow Weed led to him serving three months in the House of Representatives, where he angered many by investigating Congress in his newspaper. In 1854, he helped found and may have named the Republican Party. Republican newspapers across the nation regularly reprinted his editorials. During the Civil War, he mostly supported Lincoln, though he urged the president to commit to the end of slavery before he was willing to do so. After Lincoln's assassination, he supported the Radical Republicans in opposition to President Andrew Johnson. He broke with Republican President Ulysses Grant because of corruption and Greeley's sense that Reconstruction policies were no longer needed.
Greeley was the new Liberal Republican Party's presidential nominee in 1872. He lost in a landslide despite having the additional support of the Democratic Party. He was devastated by the death of his wife, who died five days before the election, and died himself three weeks later, before the Electoral College had met.James Freeman Dana
James Freeman Dana (born in Amherst, New Hampshire, 23 September 1793; died in New York City, 14 April 1827) was an American chemist.John S. Barry
John Stewart Barry (January 29, 1802– January 14, 1870) was the fourth and eighth Governor of the U.S. state of Michigan. He was Michigan's only three-term governor in the 19th century. His main accomplishment was to rationalize state finances after the state's internal improvements fiasco.Jonathan Fisk
Jonathan Fisk (September 26, 1778 – July 13, 1832) was an American lawyer and politician who served as United States Representative for the third District of New York.Krystal Muccioli
Krystal Lee Muccioli (born 1989) is an American beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss New Hampshire 2010 and was a contestant in the Miss America 2011 pageant. Muccioli was a successful child actress appearing in several commercials, plays, movies, and television series.Moses Billings
Moses Billings (January 15, 1809 – August 14, 1884) was an American painter and photographer known mainly for his portraits. He was born in Amherst, New Hampshire, but spent most of his life residing and working in Erie, Pennsylvania.Moses Nichols
Moses Nichols (June 28, 1740 – May 23, 1790) was an American physician, soldier, and leading citizen of Amherst, New Hampshire.
Nichols was born in Reading, Massachusetts, to Timothy Nichols and his wife Hannah Perkins. On July 7, 1761, Moses Nichols married Hannah Eaton of Lynn, Massachusetts.
He was appointed colonel of a regiment of New Hampshire Militia (5th NH Militia Regt.) in 1776. In 1777 he led them to the Battle of Bennington and in 1778 the Battle of Rhode Island. In 1780 he led his regiment to West Point where it formed part of the garrison. He attained the rank of Brigadier General.
Moses Nichols was often moderator at Amherst's town meetings and was five times a delegate to the Provincial Congress at Exeter, New Hampshire.Neal Huntington
Neal Alden Huntington (born February 4, 1969) is the 12th person to serve as General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball organization. He was named to the position on September 25, 2007 by new Pirates President Frank Coonelly.Peter Bragdon
Peter Bragdon is a Republican former member of the New Hampshire Senate, representing the 11th District from 2004 through 2014. Previously he was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 2000 until 2002. Bragdon was President of the New Hampshire State Senate from December 1, 2010, through August 27, 2013.
Bragdon was owner and publisher of The Milford Observer.
Bragdon holds a bachelor's degree in math and computer science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Bragdon stepped down as president of the New Hampshire Senate on August 27, 2013, and was succeeded by Chuck Morse.Silas Aiken
Silas Aiken (Bedford, New Hampshire, 1799-1869) was an American religious author and minister. For many years he was minister at Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts.
Aiken was born in 1799 to Phineas Aiken and Elizabeth Patterson. The Aikens had emigrated from Northern Ireland to the Colony of New Hampshire in 1729, and Phineas Aiken was a farmer, member of the Presbyterian church, and American Revolutionary War veteran. Silas Aiken graduated from Phillips Academy, Andoverin 1819, became a Christian at age nineteen and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1825 as the valedictorian of his class. He then taught and studied at the college for three more years in preparation for the ministry. After this period, Aiken was selected as a pastor of the Congregational Church in Amherst, New Hampshire, one of the largest in the state at the time, and the congregation soon underwent a revival. In 1835 Aiken became the pastor of Park Street Church in Boston. Park Street underwent several revivals during Aiken's tenure at the church. While pastoring Park Street, Aiken visited every member of the church at least once per year. In 1849 Aiken left Park Street to pastor the East Parish Congregational Church in Rutland, Vermont. He later received a D.D. from the University of Vermont. Silas Aiken died in 1869 and had selected a younger co-pastor, Norman Seaver, as a successor and Seaver was serving with Aiken at the time of his death.Souhegan High School
Souhegan Cooperative High School () is a Coalition of Essential Schools high school located in Amherst, New Hampshire, in the United States. Students from Amherst and Mont Vernon attend Souhegan for 9th through 12th grades. There are about 800 students and 150 faculty members. The school was founded based on the work of Theodore R. Sizer, a former dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a notable American education reform leader and the father of the Essential Schools movement. Notably, Souhegan's progressive reputation has been chronicled in the book Standards of Mind and Heart: Creating the Good High School by Tony Wagner, Peggy Silvia and Dr. Robert A. Mackin (Teachers College Press, 2002). Based on this history, the school was founded with the mission "Souhegan High School aspires to be a community of learners born of respect, trust and courage." The school name is derived from its proximity to the Souhegan River, which adjoins the school property. The word Souhegan comes from the Algonquin language, meaning "waiting and watching place".Walter Prince
Walter Farr Prince (May 9, 1861 – August 4, 1938) was an American professional baseball player from 1883 to 1889. He played two seasons in Major League Baseball, principally as a first baseman, from 1883 to 1884. His longest stint with one team was 43 games with the Washington Nationals (AA) in 1884.Warren Upham
Warren Upham (8 March 1850 – 29 January 1934) was a geologist, archaeologist, and librarian who is best known for his studies of glacial Lake Agassiz. Upham worked as a geologist in New Hampshire before moving in 1879 to Minnesota to study the resources and glacial geology of that state. Upham's first major report on Lake Agassiz was published in 1890 by the Geological Survey of Canada, but the main product of his many years of study ("The Glacial Lake Agassiz") was published in 1895 as Monograph 25 of the U.S. Geological Survey's monograph series.
Upham graduated from Dartmouth College in 1871 and worked under Minnesota state geologist Newton H. Winchell. The Minnesota Historical Society published his landmark 735-page volume on place name origins, Minnesota Geographic Names: Their Origin and Historic Significance in 1920.
A revised and enlarged third edition of this monumental work was published by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2001.
Places adjacent to Amherst, New Hampshire
Municipalities and communities of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States
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