Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Hanover!

A color scan of the charter for the town of Hanover. The text is printed with some handwritten elements and King George the Third's name is prominently displayed.With the fall of Montreal to the British in September 1760, most of the continental fighting of the French and Indian War came to an end. Attention then turned to the peaceful settlement of northern New England. During his term of office, Royal Governor of New Hampshire Benning Wentworth granted over 140 town charters within the territory under his control, 78 of them in 1761 alone. Among these were the charters for several Upper Valley towns, on both sides of the Connecticut River, granted that summer.

In December of 1760, Edmund Freeman and Joseph Storrs had petitioned Govenor Wentworth for a grant, specifying land at the mouth of the Wells River, a particularly choice location in the beautiful and fertile Connecticut River valley. What Freeman, Storrs and their fellow proprietors received was the July 4, 1761, charter for the town of Hannover. The first settlers arrived in 1765, and by the time of a provincial census in 1767, the town had 92 residents.

The proprietors of Hanover were aware that the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock intended to establish his college in New Hampshire. To encourage his selection of Hanover as the site, they offered Wheelock large tracts of land, for support of the school and for himself personally. In August 1770, Wheelock, his family and a handful of students arrived on the Hanover plain to start the work of Dartmouth College.

The Library's latest exhibit, By His Excellency's Command, celebrates Hanover's 250th birthday. It will be on display in Baker Library Main Hall through August 31st.