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Orford, New Hampshire

orford new hampshire historic main street, orford new hampshire chamber of commerce
Orford is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States The population was 1,237 at the 2010 census1 The Appalachian Trail crosses in the east


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


The Ridge c 1912

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, Connecticut2 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 factories2

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


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 480 square miles 1243 km2, of which 467 sq mi 1210 km2 is land and 13 sq mi 34 km2 is water, comprising 281% of the town The Connecticut River, which serves as the boundary between New Hampshire and Vermont, forms the western edge of the town Most of Orford is drained by Jacob's Brook and other small tributaries of the Connecticut The northeastern corner of the town, around Upper and Lower Baker Ponds, drains via the Baker River and Pemigewasset River into the Merrimack River

The town has two population centers The main village of Orford, with the town's schools and post office, is located on New Hampshire Route 10 along the banks of the Connecticut River The town hall, however, is located in the smaller village of Orfordville, on New Hampshire Route 25A several miles east of the river

The highest point in Orford is the summit of Mount Cube, at 2,909 feet 887 m above sea level, in the eastern part of town The northern slopes of Smarts Mountain, whose 3,240-foot 990 m summit lies in the neighboring town of Lyme, occupy the southeast corner of town

Camps Merriwood and Moosilauke are situated on Upper Baker Pond in Orford


Historical population
1790 540
1800 988 830%
1810 1,265 280%
1820 1,568 240%
1830 1,829 166%
1840 1,707 −67%
1850 1,406 −176%
1860 1,255 −107%
1870 1,119 −108%
1880 1,050 −62%
1890 916 −128%
1900 890 −28%
1910 799 −102%
1920 661 −173%
1930 636 −38%
1940 701 102%
1950 726 36%
1960 667 −81%
1970 793 189%
1980 928 170%
1990 1,008 86%
2000 1,091 82%
2010 1,237 134%
Est 2015 1,245 06%
US Decennial Census6
Orford Street in 2013

As of the census7 of 2000, there were 1,091 people, 470 households, and 308 families residing in the town The population density was 234 people per square mile 90/km² There were 561 housing units at an average density of 120 per square mile 46/km² The racial makeup of the town was 9698% White, 009% African American, 027% Native American, 064% Asian, 110% from other races, and 092% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino of any race were 092% of the population

There were 470 households out of which 266% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 555% were married couples living together, 70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 343% were non-families 274% of all households were made up of individuals and 91% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 232 and the average family size was 284

Connecticut River Valley c 1907, with Orford from Fairlee, Vermont

In the town, the population was spread out with 219% under the age of 18, 63% from 18 to 24, 298% from 25 to 44, 290% from 45 to 64, and 130% who were 65 years of age or older The median age was 40 years For every 100 females there were 952 males For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 945 males

The median income for a household in the town was $46,250, and the median income for a family was $50,577 Males had a median income of $27,500 versus $25,833 for females The per capita income for the town was $24,196 About 31% of families and 55% of the population were below the poverty line, including 74% of those under age 18 and 41% of those age 65 or over


In the winter of 2011, Orford experienced a rash of street sign theft, at one point leaving the town with only six signs remaining With an addition of a new police officer, 66 of the signs were recovered and two of the thieves confessed8

Notable peopleedit

  • Deborah Arnie Arnesen, NH gubernatorial candidate and liberal commentator9
  • Daniel Doan, hiking enthusiast and writer10
  • Milton Friedman, economist11
  • Charles R Jackson, writer12
  • Ben Lovejoy, defenseman with the Pittsburgh Penguins13
  • Gilman Marston, US senator and congressman: US Army general14
  • Samuel Morey, inventor15
  • Jameson Parker, actorcitation needed
  • Meldrim Thomson, Jr, 73rd governor of New Hampshire16
  • Jeduthun Wilcox, US congressman17
  • Leonard Wilcox, US senator18


  1. ^ United States Census Bureau, American FactFinder, 2010 Census figures Retrieved March 23, 2011
  2. ^ a b A J Coolidge & J B Mansfield, A History and Description of New England; Boston, Massachusetts 1859
  3. ^ The White Mountains: A Handbook for Travellers; James R Osgood & Company, Boston 1880
  4. ^ Alice Doan Hodgson, Orford Street Historic District -- National Register Nomination Information 1976
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015" Retrieved July 2, 2016 
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing" Censusgov Retrieved June 4, 2016 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2008-01-31 
  8. ^ Rachel Kent Mar 22, 2011 "66 Road Signs Stolen in Orford, New Hampshire" Fox 44 News Retrieved July 27, 2011 
  9. ^ "NH hike highest in nation" Sun Journal Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  10. ^ "The Papers of Daniel Doan in the Dartmouth College Library" Dartmouth College Library Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  11. ^ "More morals than money" The Economist Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  12. ^ "Guide to The Papers of Charles R Jackson, circa 1920-1992" Dartmouth College Library Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  13. ^ "Savoring the moment" Dartmouth College Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  14. ^ "MARSTON, Gilman" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  15. ^ "Orford History" Orford New Hampshire Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  16. ^ "Meldrim Thomson, 89, Dies; Governed New Hampshire" The New York Times Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  17. ^ "WILCOX, Jeduthun, 1768 - 1838" The New York Times Retrieved January 10, 2014 
  18. ^ "WILCOX, Leonard, 1799 - 1850" Biographical Directory of the United States Congress Retrieved January 10, 2014 

External linksedit

  • Town of Orford official website
  • History of Orford
  • New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau Profile
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