Exeter, New Hampshire
Rockingham county. This beautiful town lies 40 miles S.E. by E. from Concord, and 14 S.W. from Portsmouth. The compact part of the town lies about the falls, which separate the fresh from the tide water of a branch of the Piscataqua, called by the natives Swamscot, and now known by the name of Exeter river. Above the falls this stream assumes the name of Great river, to distinguish it from one of its smaller branches, called Little river. Great river has its source in Chester, whence it runs through several towns before it meets the tide water in the centre of Exeter. On this river are many valuable mill privileges.
The Exeter Cotton Manufacturing Company commenced operations April 1, 1830. Their principal building is of brick, 175 feet by 45. They have 5,000 spindles, employ 212 girls and 40 men and boys. They manufacture annually about 1,400,000 yards of sheeting. They consume about 1,200 bales of cotton, 300 cords of wood, and 22,500 pounds of potatoe starch annually. They have a steam engine, 40 horse power, to operate when the water power fails. This probably consumes annually about 150 chaldrons of Sidney coal. The capital invested in lands, buildings, machinery, &c. is about $210,000.
A powder mill has been in operation about two years, and will manufacture from 130 to 150 tons of powder annually.
The manufacture of potatoe starch was commenced in 1824. The establishment has been twice burnt, but is rebuilt with brick, and starch is now manufactured from wheat as well as from potatoes. The amount of sales of starch and gum is about $10,000 annually.
In the westerly part of the town is a paper mill, which manufactures paper to the value of $20,000 annually. The manufacture of books, blank books, &c., in Exeter, is very extensive. About $100,000 value of shoes and boots are made annually, and a large amount of leather. There are also establishments for the manufacture of morocco leather, carriages of various kinds, brushes, tin and pottery wares. The soil of Exeter is in general good, though comprehending every variety, from that of the best quality to the least productive. Like most towns in the state, it is essentially agricultural, and the improvement in the style of husbandry has been very great. The number of industrious and enterprising mechanics, to whom Exeter is indebted for her prosperity, is very rapidly increasing.
Phillips' academy, in Exeter, was founded by the liberal donations of John Phillips, LL.D., in 1781, who at his death, in 1795, bequeathed to the institution a large portion of his estate.
The settlement of Exeter commenced in 1638, by John Wheelwright and others, who formed themselves into a body politic, chose their magistrates, and bound the people to obedience. Their laws were made in popular assemblies; and the combination thus entered into subsisted about three years. From 1675 to 1712, Exeter, like most of the early settlements, suffered from the attacks of the Indians.
Exeter has at all periods of its history possessed eminent and useful men, and some of the first lawyers and jurists, antiquarians and scholars, have received their early education at its literary institution. Population, 1830, 2,759.