Belknap County New Hampshire - Genealogy and History at SEARCHROOTS

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and history in Belknap County, New Hampshire.


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Belknap County was organized December 20, 1840, from parts of northeastern Merrimack County and northwestern Strafford County. It is named for Rev. Dr. Jeremy [Jeremiah] Belknap, noted preacher, educator, naturalist, historian and author of The History of New Hampshire. Belknap county occupies the geographic center of the State, and with the adjoining county of Merrimack, is entirely surrounded by other counties. Its surface is considerably above the level of the ocean, five hundred feet at the shoreline of Lake Winnipesaukee, and is diversified by mountain, hill, and valley, rivers and lakes. Gilmanton Mountain is the highest elevation. Its area of about one hundred and fifty-five thousand acres of improved land is very fertile, and the soil produces good crops.

DOCUMENTS (this site) for genealogical research - ALL of these documents were transcribed by the owner of this web site, and they are not available elsewhere.

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If you are looking for town/city specific resources, click on the town map.

For other resources within Belknap County

If you want to know about general genealogy resources (such as how to find vital records, deeds and other documents), visit the "Genealogical Research" section.

Current communities in Belknap County include: Alton, Barnstead, Belmont, Center Harbor, Gilford, Gilmanton, Laconia, Meredith, New Hampton, Sanbornton, and Tilton.

Map of Belknap Co NH showing towns



  • Brief History: formerly called New Durham Gore; the town was settled by a group from Roxbury, Massachusetts, and was incorporated in 1796. The name Roxbury had already been used, so the town was named for the Alton family. The town's boundary includes the five-mile long Alton Bay, the southeastern point of Lake Winnipesaukee, the southern side of Wolfeboro Harbor and all of the largest islands in the southeast end of the lake.
  • Villages and Place Names: Alton Bay, East Alton, Mount Major, South Alton, West Alton
    • History & Genealogy: Alton, N.H. (TXT file) includes brief early history, list of signers of town's first incorporation, early town officials, and biographies of Major John D. Savage, Amos L. Rollins, and Alonzo Havington Sawyer -- abstracts from: History of Merrimack and Belknap Counties, New Hampshire; Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co., 1885
    • NOTE: When researching census records for Alton, the 1790 census will be listed as "New Durham Gore, Strafford Co., and the 1810 Census is ALTON in Strafford Co
    • Year-book of the Congregational Church in Alton N.H., Jan.1, 1895 (Google Ebooks)
    • Online Books about Alton NH - GoogleBooks
    • Online Book: History of Merrimack & Belknap Co.s' NH - ALTON section - Internet Archive
    • Online Book: Reports of the Town of Alton, NH for the year Ending February 15, 1896 - Selectmen, Treasurer, Clerk, Road Agents, School Board, Clerk of the Police Court; (with births and marriages); 1896.
    • Online Book: Biographical Review of Belknap and Stafford Counties, New Hampshire, Boston, 1897
    • NH Historical Highway Marker: ALTON 0164 ALTON BAY TRANSPORTATION CENTER
      This location became a transportation center on August 30, 1851, upon completion of the Cocheco Railroad from Dover to Alton Bay. The first "Mount Washington" steamboat was built here in 1872. For forty years a railroad terminus, here northbound travelers switched to a stage coach or steamboat. On June 17, 1890 the Lake Shore Railroad opened its line from Alton Bay to Lakeport, only to shut down in 1935. On June 17, 1990 this spot regained its historic name, "Railroad Square," to mark the centennial of the Lake Shore Railroad. At that time, seven of the line's ten original stations still stood.Located on NH 11 at Railroad Square, near the Alton Bay Railroad Station.

  • MAPS:

Latitude: 43.703N
Longitude: -71.509W
  • History: Center Harbor gets its name from two sources: from its location, centered between Meredith and Moultonborough Harbors, and also for the Senter family, who were owners of a large amount of property in the area. Originally part of Moultonboro, the town was incorporated in 1797. This location was a landing place for lake steamers and stagecoaches, making it a popular summer resort. Center Harbor was a favorite spot of John Greenleaf Whittier, and the home of Dudley Leavitt, author of the first Farmer's Almanac in 1797. Center Harbor provided much of the scenery for the movie, "On Golden Pond"
  • Villages and Place Names: West Center Harbor
  • MAPS:

Latitude: 43.424N
Longitude: -71.415W

  • History: The first white settlers arrived in Gilmanton in 1761, when the town still included all of what is now Gilford, Belmont and part of Laconia. First known as Gilmantown, the town was home to the Gilman family, of which there were 24 members receiving land grants. At one time it was the second-largest town in the state, following Portsmouth. The original town was larger than it is now, with villages and parishes including Belmont, Gunstock Parish (Gilford), Hurricane, Tioga, Factory Village, and Lakeport. A parish first called Averytown, the site of an unprofitable iron-mining enterprise, is still known as Gilmanton Iron Works. In the 1950's, Gilmanton was made reluctantly famous, or infamous, thanks to the late Grace Metalious, author of the notorious book "Peyton Place", (and later the television serious) who touched off the largest scandal in the quiet community's history.
  • Villages and Place Names: Allens Mills, Gilmanton Ironworks, Kelleys Corner, Lower Gilmanton
    • History & Genealogy: Gilmanton N.H. (TXT file) includes brief early history, early settlers and industry, the Revolutionary war in Gilmanton, divisions and subtractions from the town, involvement in the Civil War, Gilmanton Academy, Gilmanton Theological Seminary, Church history and ministers, descriptions of the villages (of Gilmanton Iron-Works and Centre Village), and Biographies & Genealogies of: Jeremiah Wilson, Hon. Thomas Cogswell Sr., Stephen L. Greeley, Esq, Andrew Mack, Esq., Rev. Daniel Lancaster, Hon. Ira Allen Eastman, Rev. Heman Rood, Nahum Wight, M.D., Russell Phillips, Thomas Durrell, and Thomas Cogswell, Jr. -- abstracts from: History of Merrimack and Belknap Counties, New Hampshire; Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co., 1885
    • Memoir of the Hon. Joseph Badger, from Collections of the New-Hampshire Histrocial Society, Volume VI, Concord, 1850 [descendants lived in Gilmanton NH].
    • Online Book: The history of Gilmanton : embracing the proprietary, civil, literary, ecclesiastical, biographical, genealogical, and miscellaneous history, from the first settlement to the present time : including what is now Gilford, to the time it was disannexed - by Daniel Lancaster, 1845 (with maps)
    • Online Book: Joshua Bean, of Exeter, Brentwood and Gilmanton, N. H., and some of his descendants - Drummond, Josiah H., 1903 - Internet Archive
    • Free Online Books about Gilmanton NH - GoogleBooks
    • Gilmanton NH USGenWeb site [a bit outdated]
    • Gilmanton New Hampshire Serial Killer: Herman Webster Mudgett (1861-1896) - from my blog, "Cow Hampshire"
    • New Hampshire's Missing Places: Peyton Place - from my blog, "Cow Hampshire" [Grace Metalious]
    • Online Book: History of Merrimack & Belknap Co.s' NH - Gilmanton Section - Internet Archive
    • Photographs: Pinterest - Gilmanton NH
    • Photograph: John Robert French (1819-1890) born May 28, 1819, in Gilmanton, N. H., died 2 Oct 1890; was a newspaper editor in New Hampshire, Maine, and Ohio. (He removed to Ohio in 1854). In 1861 he was appointed by Secretary Chase to a position in the Treasury department. He was appointed by President Lincoln to the board of direct-tax commissioners for the state of North Carolina in 1864. French settled in North Carolina and was elected as a Republican to Congress (1868-69). French was elected Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. Senate (1869-79). He was the editor of the Boise City "Sun," in Idaho, until his death.
  • MAPS:


Latitude: 43.657N
Longitude: -71.5W

Latitude: 43.605N
Longitude: -71.654W


  • History: Tilton not settled until 1762 due to the French & Indian War, which ended in 1760. The first industries in Tilton were a gristmill and a sawmill on the banks of the Winnipesaukee River. A part of Sanbornton until 1869, this town was known as Sanbornton Bridge and Bridge Village. It was incorporated as Tilton, in honor of Nathaniel Tilton, whose grandson Charles was a prominent citizen of the town. Nathaniel established an iron foundry and the area's first hotel, the Dexter House. Charles donated many statues to the town, including the Tilton Arch, and his estate is now part of the Tilton School. In 1879 he donated the Town Hall on the condition that the town was never renamed. Tilton includes the village of Lochmere.
  • Villages and Place Names: East Tilton, The Plains, Winnisquam, Belmont Junction
    • Photographs: Pinterest of Tilton, NH
    • 1884 Bird's Eye View of Tilton, NH - American Memory
    • Photograph and information: The Tilton Arch - Photo #1 [technically this is located in Northfield, but as it is tied in with the history of Tilton NH it is included here].
    • Photograph and History: Black Swan Inn, formerly the historic Peabody-Brown estate, former home of Arthur S. Brown and Mr. Selwin Peabody; Located in the picturesque New England town of Tilton and overlooking the Winnipesaukee River, the Black Swan Inn is the former Historical Peabody-Brown Estate, circa 1880. Mr. Selwin Peabody made "Tilton Tweed", and Mr. Arthur S. Brown was the inventor of the endless belt used by Henry Ford and other industries. Surrounded by flower beds, formal gardens, Oaks and Maples this 19th century Victorian bed and breakfast is a perfect retreat for guests visiting the Lakes Regions of New Hampshire. [ archived version]
    • Veteran's Home, Tilton NH
  • MAPS:

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