Orford, New Hampshire

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Orford is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,091 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 1,176.[1] The Appalachian Trail crosses in the east.



First called Number Seven in a line of Connecticut River fort towns, Orford was incorporated in 1761 by Governor Benning Wentworth and named for Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford, who was England's first prime minister. It was settled in 1765 by Daniel Cross and wife from Lebanon, Connecticut.[2] By 1859, it had 1,406 inhabitants, most involved in agriculture. There was a large tannery, chair factory, 10 sawmills, a starch factory, a gristmill, a sash, blind and door factory, and 2 boot and shoe factories.[2]

An original grantee was General Israel Morey, whose son Samuel Morey discovered a way to separate hydrogen from oxygen in water, making possible the first marine steam engine. He recognized the potential of steam power after working at his father's ferry. In 1793, on the river at Orford, he was first to demonstrate the use of a paddlewheel to propel a steam boat.

Author Washington Irving visited Orford in 1832 and is quoted as saying, "In all my travels in this country and in Europe, I have seen no village more beautiful than this. It is a charming place -- nature has done her utmost here."[3] Of the famous sequence of seven early homes built on The Ridge, Dartmouth Professor of Architecture Hugh Morrison said, "As a row and counting the setting, this is the finest group of Federal-style houses in the United States."[4] Built between 1773 and 1839, the dwellings show the influence of architect Asher Benjamin.

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