Monroe, New Hampshire

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Monroe is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 759 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 827.[1] It is a narrow strip of land located along a bend of the Connecticut River, across from Barnet, Vermont. It was originally chartered as part of Lyman.



In 1762 Colonial Governor John Wentworth issued a grant ("Number 11") to 64 persons obligated to clear, farm and settle one tenth of each of their parcels or forfeit the grant. Only two made the attempt but the charter was extended, in 1769, for another five years. Eleven of the original 64 grantees were named Lyman. In that same year, Wentworth also granted to one Colonel John Hurd (of Portsmouth part of the land which is today within the bounds of Monroe. The grant was named Hurd's Location and included five small islands in the Connecticut River, known as "Deer Islands," and a parcel of land from below the present Village Bridge to the foot of Fifteen Mile Falls.[2]

In addition to Hurd's Location, and the governor's 500 acres (2.0 km2), there were 23 lots of the 64 portions of Lyman located in "West Lyman," or the "Lyman Plain," now Monroe, making up less than 7,500 acres (30 km2) of the present area. A portion of Bath, to the south, was annexed in 1897.[3]

The first known settlers on the "West Lyman" portion of Lyman were John Hyndman (also, "John Hinman"), with his wife and son, who settled on the largest of the Deer Islands (below the present-day Barnet Bridge) in 1784 and built a log cabin. When Colonel Hurd found out about it, he sued to have Hyndman evicted. A Barnet benefactor settled the controversy by purchasing title from Hurd. The first permanent settlers also came in the 1780s. They were the Olmstead families: Joseph, Timothy, and Israel, their wives and children.[2] The first native son, Ethan Smith, was born in a cabin on the Canaan Road (over the Gardner Mountain to Lyman) in 1784.

Because of the difficulty traversing the steep "Gardner's Mountain" [sic], running north to south through the original Lyman grant of 1761, the settlers of the western portion had different priorities and needs than the rest of Lyman to the east. Monroe was incorporated as a separate town in 1854[4]. After appropriate consideration of the options, it was named after former President James Monroe. It had 619 residents in 1860 and 504 in 1880[5].

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