A CHRONOLOGY OF GREENLAND HISTORY
Compiled by Paul Hughes

1640
Captain Francis Champernowne settles in Greenland.

1641
Dover & Strawberry Bank join Mass.

1643
Mass. grants Dover 400 acres of Bayside area.

1650
Samuel Haines (1st permanent settler) arrives from Dover.

1653
Strawberry Bank becomes “Portsmouth” (Mass.), absorbs Greenland.

1655
4 Greenland men obtain Portsmouth land titles.

1657
Leonard Weeks arrives.

1661
More land granted to Haines, Weeks, 5 others.

1670
Sawmill running on the Winnicut River.

1671
North Church founded (S. Haines, Deacon), land set aside for 1st cemetery on Winnicut River.

1675
John Johnson (480 Ports. Ave.) gets tavern’s license.

1677
John Keniston killed in Indian raid.

1679
New Hampshire named a royal province, separate from Massachusetts, but with the same governor.

c. 1685
Grist mill built on Winnicut.

1696
Plains massacre and Breakfast Hill rescue.

1706
Greenland forms own parish; Upper Parsonage set aside; 1st church probably built.

1707
William Allen hired as lay preacher, probably teacher.

c. 1710
Weeks Brick House built by Captain Samuel.

1711
Portsmouth common land (largely in Greenland) distributed.
First bridge over Winnicut probably built.

1712
Mar. 5 – William Allen ordained as Greenland’s first pastor.

1717
John Keniston murders Indian on Little Bay.

1721
Greenland becomes a separate town from Portsmouth. Elects its own five-member board of selectmen and other officers.

1727
Epsom granted to people from Greenland, Rye, and New Castle.

1732
Greenland given a General Assembly member. (Matthias Haines)

1735-36
18 residents killed by a “throat distemper”.

1745
George Whitefield, proto-Methodist, preaches in Greenland.
Captain James Whidden leads company at Louisbourg.

1749
James Johnson sells town a militia training field.

1753
New stone bridge over Winnicut built.

1756
New church built on site of present Community Church; Samuel Macclintock ordained as assistant pastor.

1757
First tide mill built.

1760
S. Macclintock serves as chaplain, Phil. John son & Geo. March as captains, on Montreal expedition; Rev. William Allen dies and Mr. Macclintock is called home from the army to succeed him.

1763
Cornish granted to Greenland proprietors.

1765-66
Jeremy Belknap teaches at the Bayside.

1767
Census reports 805 residents (most until 1960)

1768-71
Joshua Pickering suit vs. selectmen arouses town.

1769
Spinning bee at parsonage portends political dissent.

1771
Nor’easter carries away Winnicut Bridge (replaced).

1773
Dec. 16 – Boston Tea Party

1774
Jan. 17 – Anti-tea meeting in Greenland.
July 21 – 2 Greenland men in illegal Provincial Congress.
Dec. 13 – Paul Revere rides down Post Road to warn Portsmouth of British plans.
Dec. 14-15 – Fort William & Mary raided.
Dec. 17 – Greenland raises Liberty Pole.

1774-75
Near-schism in Greenland church.

1775
Jan. 9 – Town meeting approves anti-British measures.
Mar. 30 – Parish meeting settles church dispute.
Apr. 21 – Town meeting responds to Cocord & Lexington.
Oct. 18 – British burn Portland
Dec. – Capt. Greenleaf Clark takes a militia company to help besiege the British in Boston.

S. Macclintock serves as chaplain in Mass., August 21 on.
Town reports 759 people, 108 guns, 106 lb. of powder.
Many Greenland men help man Portsmouth defenses.
N.H. Gazette moves its presses to Saml. Pickering’s tavern for a while.

1775-76
Col. Clement March helps write the 1st state constitution.

1775-83
About 100 Greenland men serve in N.H. & U.S. units.

1776
Jan. 5 – Prov. Congress adopts 1st state constitution.
Jan. 10 – Portsmouth meeting opposes Declaration of Independence.
Jan. 11 – Capt. Clark dies in Mass. of disease.
Jan. 12 – Greenland meeting opposes Declaration of Independence.
Feb. 10 – Greenland and Portsmouth protests are sent to Congress, and ignored.
Mar. 17 – British evacuate Boston.
July 18 – Portsmouth receives Declaration favorably.
Aug. 2 – S. Macclintock advises Congressman Whipple on a future U.S. Constitution.
Nov. 8 – 3 Greenland men appointed Contl. officers.
Dec. 9 – Col. March, terminally ill, is replaced in General Assembly by Joshua Haines after 31 years’ service.

1777
May- Aug. – A British attack on the Seacoast is continually expected, but never happens.
Oct. 17 – Saratoga campaign ends with Burgoyne’s surrender.
Nov. 30 – At Washington’s headquarters in N.Y. state, the Parole is “No. Hampton”, the countersigns are “Greenland” & “Portsmouth” (Maj. Nathl. Macclintock probably responsible.)

1778
Feb. 9 – Greenland meeting approves Articles of Confederation
Feb. 16 – Capt. Wm. Weeks, at Valley Forge, hints to his family that things there aren’t so great.
June 5 – N.H. soldiers get their pay for February & March.
Aug. 4/5 – Capt. John Folsom forms company for R.I. service.
Aug. 28 – Folsom’s company discharged without seeing action.
Oct.-Nov. – Another N.H. invasion scare.

1779
Inflation bad (25:1 or more), money scarce in N.H.
Many Greenland men in Sullivan expedition vs. N.Y. Indians.
Nov. 1 – S. Macclintock voted 20 times his normal salary to allow for depreciation.

1779-80
Hard Winter, Exeter to Portsmouth travelers use the ice.

1780
Inflation at its worst; S. Macclintock paid 55 times his 1777 salary, paper money at 80:1.
Greenland ordered to provide 8819 lb. of beef for the army in lieu of taxes.

1781
Greenland provides 11,024 lb. of beef & 78 1/2 gal. of rum for the army.
Oct. 18 – Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, news reaches Seacoast 8 days later, probably by ship.

1782
Marquis de Chastellux, passing through Nov. 9, praises greenland’s snug houses and well-fed animals.

1783
Apr. 11 – Congress proclaims war over, Seacoast gets word Apr. 24.
Apr. 30 – Big celebration in No. Hampton features Gov. Weare & S. Macclintock, along with 13 toasts and firing of 13 salutes by cannon.
July 24 – The remnants of Portsmouth’s harbor defenses are auctioned off.

1796
Ona Maria Judge escapes slavery to Portsmouth.

1789
Oct. 31 – Nov. 4 – President Washington visits the Seacoast.

1804
April 27 – Rev. Samuel Macclintock dies.

1808-09
Rev. James A. Neal dies of a heart attack at age 34. No successor can be found. The people of Greenland welcome the preaching of Rev. George Pickering, and a Methodist Society is organized.

1813
Oct. 27 – Ephraim Abbot, a Congregational missionary, is ordained pastor. The town has two churches until 1921.

1819-25
John F. Parrott, a summer resident, serves as U.S. Senator and votes for the Missouri Compromise.

1820
Greenland gets its first post office, at Nathaniel Marshall’s tavern, 480 Portsmouth Ave.

1821
Daniel Hodgkins kills Deacon John Weeks.

1824
Brackett Academy incorporated.

1834
Methodist Church burns.

1837
July 20 – New Methodist Church (now the Parish Hall) dedicated.

1840
Dec. 31 – The Eastern Railroad from Boston to Portsmouth, via Breakfast Hill Station, is completed.

1850
Telegraph line from Portsmouth to Boston runs through Breakfast Hill Station.

1861-65
About 80 men with Greenland connections serve in the Civil War.

1876
Mason lodge (Winnicut Lodge) formed.
Ellsworth Hodgdon dies of smallpox; extraordinary measures taken to prevent contagion.

1877
First telephone in Greenland is installed at the Breakfast Hill railroad station to communicate with the resort hotels at Rye Beach several miles away.

1882
First residential telephones in Greenland installed.

1892
Greenland Grange organized.

1896
Prospect Hill Cemetery opened.

1898
May 19 – Weeks Public Library dedicated.

1899
Aug. 30 – Greenland’s first Old Home Day celebrated.

1900
M. Otis Hall publishes “Rambles About Greenland in Rhyme”.

1902
First “electric road” (trolley) in Greenland constructed.

1914
First electric lights appear in Greenland homes.

1917-18
30 Greenland men serve in World War I.

1923
First paved roads in Greenland built.

1951-52
The Greenland Volunteer Fire Department is incorporated and builds its firehouse at 445 Portsmouth Ave.

1954
The former Methodist Church becomes a parish house.

1979
Weeks Public Library opens new children’s room.
Greenland’s first traffic light is erected at Rtes. 101 and 151.

BIOGRAPHIES

Jeremy Belknap
Before he was the historian of New Hampshire and founder of the N.H. Historical Society, he taught school at the Bayside. His school was at the junction of Great Bay and Dearborn Roads.

Captain Francis Champernowne
Moved from Strawberry Bank and settled in the area of the present Portsmouth Country Club in 1640. He eventually called his farm “Greenland”.

Samuel Haines
First permanent settler in Greenland. Born about 1611, in 1635 he was a servant of an English gentleman named John Cogswell. Samuel accompanied Cogswell and his family, and his family, bound for Ipswitch, Mass., from Milford Haven on June 22, 1635, for New England. Haines went back to England, probably in 1637, to bring more of his master’s goods across the ocean — a measure of Cogswell’s trust in his servant. The round-trip voyage, including his time in England, occupied about a year and a half. It no doubt brightened the return trip to America greatly hat he brought with him the former Eleanor Neate, whom he had married in Wiltshire on April 1 1638.
Samuel appears to have discharged his obligations to Cogswell by 1640, when he became one of the signers of the “Dover Combination,” dated Oct. 22. In November 1650, Haines, for “nientie pounds sterlinge,” rented the Champernowne farm for two years. Three years later, a portsmouth town meeting granted Samuel ten acres in his own right, “at the bottom of the great bay over against Captain Champernowne’s, so that it not be upon the Captain’s land.” This was in the area of what is now 18 Tide Mill Road.

Samuel Haines was fined in 1662 for “being neglective in his office of clerk of the trainband [militia company] in Portsmouth,” apparently through notcollecting the fines that members were supposed to pay for absence from musters.

On February 6, 1660/1, additional land was granted at a town meeting to many Portsmouth settlers. As a result, Samuel Haines came to own a total of 101 acres.

In 1670, Haines bought a half interest in Greenland’s first sawmill from the owners, Philip Lewis and Isaac Cole of Hampton.

On July 12, 1671, Haines was ordained a deacon of what is now known as Portsmouth’s North Church (Congregational), but in 1671 was the only church in town.

The date of death of Deacon Samuel Haines is uncertain, but must have been 1685 or 1686.

Daniel Hodgkins
Farm hand to Deacon John Weeks. Thought to be retarded but harmless, he shot his employer to death at his house on 150 Bayside Road in 1821. Weeks had been warned as early as 1808 that Hodgkins might be dangerous.

Ona Maria Judge
A house slave of George Washington, she escaped by ship to Portsmouth in 1796. Washington attempted to get her back without a fuss, but was unsuccessful. She married John Staines of Portsmouth in 1797, and later lived on Dearborn Road until her death in 1848. [more]

Nathaniel Marshall
Became Greenland’s First Post Master on March 31, 1820. The Post Office was in his tavern. He died of a fever five months after taking the post.

Captain Samuel Weeks
Son of Leonard Weeks, one of Greenland’s early settlers. Samuel built the Weeks Brick House around 1710 on his late father’s land, now Weeks Ave.

AGRICULTURE

During early 1887, Ernest Holmes’s cousin John, in his “FORTITUDE” persona, expressed his opinion about what he saw as a disturbing trend in Greenland farming. In the Jan. 14 News-Letter, he wrote:

The milk business seems to be all the rage here this winter. The farmers have been getting 25 cents per [ten-gallon] can, but this month they have to sell for 24 cents. I don’t think really that any of these farmers that are selling milk know whether they are making anything but milk or not, or have even reckoned the actual cost of producing milk. Now they claim that they are improving their farms by keeping so many cows. The most of them feed their cows on malt brewery grains, securing it [sic] from Portsmouth. I don’t know of a farmer in town who uses the above that cuts so much hay as he did ten years ago, or before he sold milk, and when he kept less stock. There are a few farmers in town who sell milk that use principally shorts, middlings, etc., [and] hardly any malt. They hold their own. J. Clement Weeks, Nathan R. Foss & Son, James Y. Whitehorn, George E. Brackett and perhaps one or two others feed on grain. I think the farmers will wake up to the fact after a while that they are doing a great deal of hard work for a very small profit, if any. New milch cows are selling here readily, [at] prices from fifty to seventy-five dollars. James Y. Whitehorn has been dealing quite extensively in them. He superintends the buying personally, making his purchases principally in Maine, ships them here and sells them reasonably. When any one buys a cow of him he gets just what he pays for. His word is reliable, he means what he says and is careful to say what he means. He is one of the best farmers and has learnt by experience that it don’t pay to sell much milk.

In the Feb. 18 paper, Holmes returned to the subject:

The Farmers are getting rid of quantities of milk, and that is about all they have got to sell from their farms. Very little planting has been done here for a few years past compared to what there used to be in former years. The milk business is on the increase, and more farmers are going into it regardless of the season of the year, whether it be winter or summer, “April or August.” Our farmers, most of whom have had only a district or home school education, born and raised in Greenland, have had a pretty good faculty of getting along, but I fear they are not doing a very wise or profitable business in selling milk, at such a low price.

[From “A Pleasant Abiding Place: A History of Greenland, N.H., 1635-2000”, by Paul C. Hughes and Paul F. Hughes.]

CHURCH HISTORY

The North Church (Congregational) of Portsmouth was founded in 1671, and Samuel Haines was chosen as its first deacon. At its founding, a cemetery for Greenland was set aside on a knoll overlooking the Winnicut River, “joining to Thomas Avery’s and Leonard Week’s land.” Greenland formed its own Congregational Parish, separate from Portsmouth, in 1706, and the first church at Portsmouth Ave. and Cemetery Lane was probably built at this time. Portsmouth granted the “Upper Parsonage” at 576 Post Road as “glebe land”, to be cultivated and harvested for the financial support of the church. On March 5, 1712, William Allen, a lay preacher and probably a schoolteacher since 1707, was ordained as Greenland’s first pastor.

EDUCATION

Greenland’s first schoolmaster was William Allen (1676-1760), who was hired as the town’s first minister in 1707, and seems to have been expected to do two jobs for one salary. Allen was a 1703 Harvard graduate who had taught school in Portsmouth in 1704. No one else seems to have been paid for teaching in Greenland until the 1730’s.

INDIAN TROUBLES

In 1677, John Keniston’s house on Packer Brook was burned by Maine Indians incited by the French and he was killed. On June 26, 1696, another band of raiding Indians killed 14 people at Portsmouth Plains, near the present National Little League field, and carried off several prisoners. The Portsmouth militia found them having breakfast the next day and rescued the captives. The site of the rescue soon came to be called “Breakfast Hill”, on the Greenland-Rye line. In 1717, John Keniston, grandson to the John Keniston who was killed by Indians in 1677, killed a Maine Indian on Little Bay. The following year, a jury refused to convict him.

LEGAL HISTORY

The first recorded trial involving a crime committed in Greenland took place in June 1660, at “a Countie Court held in Portsmouth.” In it, Leonard Weeks was charged with “Swareing by god & Callinge John Hall of Greenland ould dogg & ould Slave & [saying] that he would knocke him in the head: this is testifi[e]d by Thomas Peverley & Joseph Attkinson.” Leonard pled guilty and was sentenced to pay ten shillings, “& to have an admonition for his reviling & threttning speeches.” Weeks was tried before a jury that included his neighbor (and future father-in-law) Samuel Haines.

GREENLAND IN THE REVOLUTION

Paul Revere Visits Greenland

On October 19, 1774, King George approved an Order in Council forbidding for six months the shipping of “gunpowder or any sort of arms or ammunition” from England to America, lest they fall into the hands of the insurgents. It was December 10 before the text of the order arrived in America and was printed by the Providence Gazette, which added that, “the Earl of Dartmouth has written circular Letters to the several Governors on the [American] Continent, signifying his Majesty’s Command, that they take the most effectual Measures for arresting, detaining and securing, any Gunpowder, or any Sort of Arms or Ammunition, which may be attempted to be imported into the colonies.” The Gazette had obtained this information, which was intended for Rhode Island’s governor, from members of the colony’s General Assembly. On December 12, the Boston Evening Post reprinted the story. The next day, Paul Revere of Boston, who had ridden as far as Philadelphia on previous errands of the Massachusetts patriot leaders, rode down Post Road to explain to New Hampshire’s Committee of Correspondence at Portsmouth that, with no new munitions likely to become available, it was incumbent on them to secure whatever might be within reach. On the afternoon of December 14, as Governor Wentworth reported to Thomas Gage, about four hundred men were collected together [under the leadership of John Langdon], and immediately proceeded to His Majesty’s Castle William and Mary at the entrance of this harbour, and forcibly took possession thereof,… and by violence carried away upwards of one hundred barrels of powder belonging to the King…

Needless to say, the five-man garrison could do nothing to stop them. On December 15, Wentworth wrote to Dartmouth, another group of men went to the Castle in the night headed by Mr. [John] Sullivan, and took away sixteen pieces f cannon, about sixty muskets and other military stores, and brought them to the out-borders of the town on Friday morning the 16th. Mr. [Nathaniel] Folsome, the other delegate, came to town that morning with a great number of armed men who remained in town as a guard till the flow of the tide in the evening, when the cannon was sent in gundalows up the river into the country…

At noon on the 15th, Theodore Atkinson, Major General of the New Hampshire Militia, had ordered Capt. John Dennett to “Enlist or Impress Thirty effective men” to protect the fort from Sullivan’s group. At 6 p.m., Dennett reported to Atkinson that Pursuant to the within Warrant, we have Paraded the streets, caused the Drums to be Beat, & Proclamation to be made at all the Publick corners, & on the Place of Parade; no Person appearing to Enlist, we wait for further orders.

John Dennett, who has recently been identified as one of the participants in the December 14 raid, must have enjoyed composing his report.

Two British vessels brought troops to Portsmouth from Boston on December 17 and 19, too late to do much good. Gov. Wentworth reported to Dartmouth that, although the raids had been “begun by a few rash people in Portsmouth,” many men from the surrounding towns had also been involved. “With regard to the bringing of any of them to punishment, the very transaction shows that there is not strength in the government to effect it in its present state. No jail would hold them long and no jury would find them guilty.”

From “A Pleasant Abiding Place: A History of Greenland, N.H., 1635-2000”, by Paul C. Hughes and Paul F. Hughes.