Amherst, New Hampshire

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Amherst is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 10,769 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 11,683.[1] Amherst is home to Ponemah Bog Wildlife Sanctuary, Hodgman State Forest, the Joe English Reservation and Baboosic Lake. The town center village is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Amherst Village Historic District.



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 in 1760 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, the town was named for Lord General Jeffrey 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, Massachusetts region.

Franklin Pierce, who later become the 14th President of United States of America, studied under Judges Samuel Howe and Edmund Parker in Amherst. He also wed Jane Means Appleton, the daughter of a former president of Bowdoin College, in a house on the town green.

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