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Alstead, New Hampshire

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Alstead /ˈælstɛd/ is a town in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States The population was 1,937 at the 2010 census1 Alstead is home to Feuer State Forest


  • 1 History
  • 2 Geography
  • 3 Demographics
  • 4 Sites of interest
  • 5 Notable people
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


The town was chartered by Massachusetts Governor Jonathan Belcher in 1735 as one in a line of nine forts intended to protect southwestern New Hampshire from Indian attack It was granted as Newton2 or Newtown3 in 1752 by Governor Benning Wentworth, but would be incorporated in 1763 as Alstead It was named for Johann Heinrich Alsted, who compiled an early encyclopedia that was popular at Harvard College Settled about 1764, Alstead would be one of the towns that wavered in its allegiance after the Revolutionary War It decided to join Vermont in April 1781, but at the insistence of George Washington, returned to New Hampshire authority early the next year4

Formerly known as Paper Mill Village, Alstead is the location of the state's first paper mill It was established in 1793 on the Cold River by Ephraim and Elisha Kingsbury Paper was then a rare and expensive product, made by chopping rags of linen and cotton cloth into pulp The mill was destroyed by fire in 1880 While Alstead was basically an agricultural community, its streams and ponds once powered a variety of small mills A turbine water mill at East Alstead is probably the last of its type anywhere in the region5

Shedd-Porter Memorial Library, built in 1909-1910 in the Beaux-Arts style, was a gift to Alstead and Langdon by native son John G Shedd, president of Marshall Field's department store in Chicago Another native son philanthropist, Charles M Vilas, gave a large public recreation area, school building and the only carillon in Cheshire County

On the weekend of October 8–9, 2005, parts of Alstead were devastated by a severe flood Heavy rain in Cheshire County caused the Cold River and its tributaries to swell, washing away homes, cars and 4 miles of Route 123 Four inhabitants of the town were killed A Save Our History grant from The History Channel provided funding to the Alstead Historical Society and several students of the local high school, who wrote and printed a book called Too Much Water, Too Much Rain,6 chronicling the disaster and its aftermath


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 393 square miles 102 km2, of which 388 square miles 100 km2 is land and 06 square miles 16 km2 is water, comprising 145% of the town7 Alstead is drained by the Cold River Lake Warren is in the east The highest point in Alstead is Smith Hill, at 1,795 feet 547 m above sea level Alstead lies fully within the Connecticut River watershed8

The town is served by state routes 123, 123A and 12A


Historical population
1790 1,111
1800 1,666 500%
1810 1,694 17%
1820 1,611 −49%
1830 1,552 −37%
1840 1,454 −63%
1850 1,425 −20%
1860 1,318 −75%
1870 1,213 −80%
1880 1,037 −145%
1890 870 −161%
1900 799 −82%
1910 711 −110%
1920 672 −55%
1930 616 −83%
1940 683 109%
1950 851 246%
1960 843 −09%
1970 1,185 406%
1980 1,461 233%
1990 1,721 178%
2000 1,944 130%
2010 1,937 −04%
Est 2015 1,915 −11%
US Decennial Census10

As of the census11 of 2000, there were 1,944 people, 771 households, and 534 families residing in the town The population density was 500 people per square mile 193/km² There were 941 housing units at an average density of 242 per square mile 93/km² The racial makeup of the town was 9820% White, 021% African American, 062% Native American, 051% Asian, and 046% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino of any race were 051% of the population

There were 771 households out of which 336% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 567% were married couples living together, 89% had a female householder with no husband present, and 307% were non-families 245% of all households were made up of individuals and 80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 251 and the average family size was 299

In the town, the population was spread out with 260% under the age of 18, 61% from 18 to 24, 285% from 25 to 44, 267% from 45 to 64, and 127% who were 65 years of age or older The median age was 40 years For every 100 females there were 1044 males For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 982 males

The median income for a household in the town was $43,191, and the median income for a family was $47,311 Males had a median income of $35,481 versus $23,785 for females The per capita income for the town was $20,444 About 35% of families and 79% of the population were below the poverty line, including 109% of those under age 18 and 47% of those age 65 or over

Sites of interestedit

  • Alstead Historical Society Museum
  • Shedd Porter Memorial Library
  • Vilas Pool and its carillon of bells

Notable peopleedit

  • Sarah Hall Boardman 1803–1845, missionary
  • Titus Brown, US congressman12
  • John Curtis Chamberlain, US congressman13
  • Salma Hale, printer, US congressman14
  • Marion Nicholl Rawson, author, lecturer, illustrator
  • John G Shedd, former chairman of Marshall Field & Co, founder of Shedd Aquarium in Chicago
  • Samuel Thomson, founder of the Thomsonion System of Medicine
  • Allen Wardner, Windsor, Vermont businessman and banker who served as Vermont State Treasurer


  1. ^ United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures Retrieved March 23, 2011
  2. ^ "Hayward’s New England Gazetteer 1839" Gedcomindexcom Retrieved 28 June 2016 
  3. ^ "Statistics and Gazetteer of New Hampshire 1875" Gedcomindexcom Retrieved 28 June 2016 
  4. ^ Coolidge, Austin J; John B Mansfield 1859 A History and Description of New England Boston, Massachusetts p 408 
  5. ^ History of Alstead, Cheshire County, New Hampshire
  6. ^ Alstead Historical Society 2006 Too Much Water, Too Much Rain PublishingWorks ISBN 1-933002-38-7 
  7. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data G001 - Alstead town, New Hampshire" US Census Bureau American Factfinder Archived from the original on September 11, 2013 Retrieved November 8, 2011 
  8. ^ Foster, Debra H; Batorfalvy, Tatianna N; Medalie, Laura 1995 Water Use in New Hampshire: An Activities Guide for Teachers US Department of the Interior and US Geological Survey 
  9. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015" Retrieved July 2, 2016 
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing" Censusgov Archived from the original on May 12, 2015 Retrieved June 4, 2016 
  11. ^ "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Archived from the original on 2013-09-11 Retrieved 2008-01-31 
  12. ^ "BROWN, Titus, 1786 - 1849" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved December 10, 2013 
  13. ^ "CHAMBERLAIN, John Curtis, 1772 - 1834" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved December 10, 2013 
  14. ^ "HALE, Salma, 1787 - 1866" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved December 10, 2013 

External linksedit

  • Town of Alstead official website
  • Shedd-Porter Memorial Library
  • New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau Profile
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