Seventeenth and eighteenth century settlements in frontier New England were often anchored by garrison houses, fortified homes in which residents could take shelter in the event of an Indian raid. These homes were usually constructed of massive logs. Their doors were reinforced by iron grates lowered by pulleys (called portcullis). Gilman Garrison constructed his garrison house in the late seventeenth century in Exeter, New Hampshire on a site from which he could defend his sawmill. The house was substantially remodeled in the eighteenth century by his descendant, Peter Gilman, a militia general and veteran of the French and Indian Wars, by adding a Georgian-style wing. The house is now preserved by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.
Gilman Garrison House is located at 12 Water Street, in Exeter, New Hampshire 03833. Take I-95 to New Hampshire Exit 2. Follow Route 101 west 3.5 miles to Route 108 south. Continue one mile to Exeter. Turn right onto High Street. The Gilman Garrison House is three blocks ahead, just after a small bridge.
At the time of the French and Indian War, No. 4 was the northernmost British settlement, thirty miles from its nearest neighbor. The fort was actually a fortified village, created by pulling together five existing province houses, building a sixth one, and connecting them with leantos, and a large two-story building containing the only entry gate into the fort. The recreated fort now standing in Charlestown, New Hampshire is a living history museum of this early period.
Fort at No. 4 is located in Charlestown, New Hampshire, 1 1/2 miles from Exit 7, off I-91.
Fort Constitution was one of seven forts that once constituted the defenses of Portsmouth Harbor. The first fortification on the site was an earthwork with four “great guns” erected in 1632. A timber blockhouse was built in 1666. A stronger fort, named Fort William and Mary, was erected later as one of the “castles” established along the Atlantic coastal to protect the colonies of British America. This fort was seized by Patriots at the beginning of the American Revolution. In 1791 the State of New Hampshire gave Fort William and Mary to the United States. The fort was repaired, renamed Fort Constitution, and garrisoned with a company of United States artillery. The fort was used during the War of 1812 and was a training center during the Civil War. The old fort was replaced after the Civil War with a massive, three-tiered granite structure that served as part of the modernized coastal defenses in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Fort Constitution State Historic Site is located on a peninsula at the northeast corner of New Castle Island, overlooking both the Pisquatua River and the Atlantic Ocean.
Fort Constitution Historic Site is located on New Hampshire Route 1B at the U.S. Coast Guard Station, New Castle.
Ebenezer Webster, a veteran of “Roger’s Rangers” in the French and Indian Wars, operated a mill and farmed a stony tract of land in Salisbury, New Hampshire in the late eighteenth century. His son, Daniel, was born on the farm on January 18, 1782. Daniel graduated from Dartmouth College in 1801 and became a renowned lawyer. His advocacy for his alma mater led to the important Supreme Court precedent in the case of Dartmouth College v. Woodward. Webster served as U.S. congressman from New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and as Secretary of State under Presidents Harrison, Tyler, and Fillmore. With his contemporaries Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, he was part of the “Great Triumvirate” of legislative leaders who debated the issues of Union and slavery and forged the compromises that delayed the ultimate sectional conflict. The frame house of Daniel Webster’s birth was moved from its original site in later years. Its original foundations were located in the early twentieth century and the house was returned to its original site. Furnishings and items from Webster’s era, such such as a flax spinning wheel and kitchen utensils, are on display in the house.
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Links: Daniel Webster Birthplace