Chesterfield, New Hampshire

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Chesterfield is a town in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,542 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 3,769.[1] It includes the village of Spofford. Chesterfield is home to Spofford Lake, Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area, and parts of Pisgah State Park and Wantastiquet Mountain State Forest.

Contents

History

Granted in 1735 by Governor Jonathan Belcher of Massachusetts, this town was the site of Fort Number 1, first in the line of forts bordering the Connecticut River. After New Hampshire became a separate province, the town would be incorporated in 1752 by Governor Benning Wentworth as Chesterfield, named for Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. Settled in 1761, the town contains some of the finest farmland in Cheshire County, yet once was home to small manufacturing, notably spinning wheel parts and handtools. [2]

In 1772, Philip Embury conducted the first Methodist religious services in New Hampshire at the James Robertson farm in Chesterfield, and in 1803, Francis Asbury preached here. Asbury Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized for its historic puritan design. Asbury Church is considered the "Mother Church of Methodism" in New Hampshire, and is the oldest Methodist church in New Hampshire. The town has had continual Methodist Sunday services for over 225 years. [3]

Chesterfield Academy, established in 1794, was for decades one of the most celebrated in the state. [4] Spofford Lake is one of the region's largest and oldest resorts.

Granite Cottage in 1907, Spofford Lake

Summer cottages on Spofford Lake in 1917

Pine Grove Springs Hotel, Spofford Lake in 1913

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 47.6 square miles (123 km2), of which 45.6 sq mi (118 km2) is land and 2.0 sq mi (5.2 km2) (4.21%) is water. Chesterfield is bounded on the west by the Connecticut River. The highest point in the town is near its southern border, atop Davis Hill, at 1,427 feet (435 m) above sea level. Chesterfield lies fully within the Connecticut River watershed.[5]

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