The Godfrey Dearborn House

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Old Home Day

1638 - Town of Hampton - 1961

The Dearborn House

73 Exeter Road

The original part of this house was constructed in 1648 for Godfrey Dearborn and is believed to be one of the first frame dwellings in the colony of New Hampshire. Dearborn settled first at Exeter and was one of the thirty-five men responsible for establishing the local government there in 1639. He then came to Hampton and built this house. Eight generations of Dearborns lived on the place until 1892. Many of the Dearborns became prominent in the life and history of Hampton. George Dearborn fought in the Civil War and died at the infamous Confederate prison at Andersonville in 1864. George's elder brother, Joseph Frederick, a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School became a successful lawyer in New Bedford where he was an investor in many enterprises, including the whaling industry for which that town became the foremost center in the world. He always remained fond of his native town, often returned here, and was finally laid to rest in the local cemetery. His widow provided the funds for the Dearborn obelisk in the High Street Cemetery as a memorial to all Dearborns.

There is much historical lore connected with the location of this house on Exeter Road which was laid out very early in the town's history as an Indian trail through the woods. Tradition tells us that the road was originally laid out by a bear. It appears that the old beast made a night raid on the settlement. The men in pursuit of it followed its tracks through the snow as far as the Squamscott Falls in Exeter, and later followed their trail in laying out the winding road. At any rate, this is one of the legends.

The area directly across Exeter Road from the Dearborn House was originally known as Wigwam Row because of an Indian settlement along the Southern slope which the natives wisely chose as their habitat, protected as it was from the cold north winds and storms by both the slope of the land and the dense forest which grew on the high ground above.

The Dearborn House is presently (1961) owned by Mrs. Helen Bourn, who has been carrying out a faithful restoration of the original house and of a second part built in the 1700's.

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