Barnstead, New Hampshire

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Barnstead is a town in Belknap County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,886 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 4,622.[1] Home to the Suncook Lakes, Barnstead includes the villages of Center Barnstead, Barnstead Parade (identified as "Barnstead" on topographic maps) and South Barnstead.



The town was granted by Governor William Dummer in 1727 to the Reverend Joseph Adams and others. Settlement commenced in 1767, the year Barnstead was incorporated as a town by Governor John Wentworth. Many of the settlers came from Barnstable, Massachusetts and Hempstead, New York - the name is taken from these two.[2]

Although not mountainous, the terrain forms large swells, good for grazing. By 1830, when the population was 2,047, the town contained about 2,500 sheep.[3] Farmers found the soil easy to cultivate and productive. The Suncook River and its tributaries provided water power for mills. By 1859, industries included a woolen cloth factory, seven sawmills, four shingle mills, four clapboard mills, one grooving machine, one turning machine, and two tanneries. Barnstead manufactured large amounts of lumber, which it supplied to neighboring towns. [4]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.0 square miles (114 km2), of which 41.9 sq mi (109 km2) is land and 2.0 sq mi (5.2 km2) is water, comprising 4.66% of the town. The highest point in Barnstead is 1,190 feet (360 m) above sea level along the town's northern border, near the community of Locke's Corner. Drained by the Suncook River, Barnstead lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.[5]

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