Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Rockingham county, is the principal town in the state, and the only sea-port which it contains. It is situated in N. lat. 43°4'54", W. lon. 70°45'. Portsmouth is built on a beautiful peninsula, on the south side of the river; and, as seen from the towers of the steeples, the river, harbor, points, islands, and adjacent country, presents a delightful assemblage of objects. In many parts of the town are beautiful gardens. It was settled under the auspices of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and Capt. John Mason, in 1623, and was incorporated by charter in 1633. That part of it which lies round Church hill, extending N. and W., was originally called Strawberry Bank. The first house of which we have any account, erected in what is now the compact part of the town, was built by Humphrey Chadbourne, and according to tradition, stood near the corner of Court and Pond streets.
There are in the harbor a number of islands, the most considerable of which is Great island. The others are Continental island, on which is the Navy yard, one of the safest and most convenient on the coast; Badger's island, on which the North America, (the first line of battle ship launched in the western hemisphere) was built during the revolutionary war.
Few towns in New England have suffered as much from fires as Portsmouth. On Dec. 26, 1802, 102 buildings were burnt. Dec. 24, 1806, 14 buildings, including St. John's church, were destroyed. But the most calamitous fire broke out Dec. 22, 1813, when 397 buildings were burnt, of which more than 100 were dwelling houses. The ravages extended over about 15 acres.
Portsmouth lies 45 miles E.S.E. from Concord, 56 N.E. from Boston, and 54 S.W. from Portland. Population, 1820, 7,327; 1830, 8,082. The present population is about 9,000. The rail-road from Boston to Maine will probably pass through this town. The proximity of Portsmouth to the ocean, its neatness, quietude, and beauty, render it an agreeable residence, and a fashionable resort in the summer.