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Orford’s 250th Anniversary Continues: A Reading of the Charter from 1761

Sep 23, 2015 02:42PM ● By Kirsten Gehlbach
Orford continues to celebrate its heritage on September 26 for the 250 Celberation of Orford with an afternoon of horse-drawn wagon rides starting at 1pm, a reading of the town charter at 4pm on the East Common with celebratory remarks, a fall-themed supper at the Main Street Church, and fireworks at the Community Field at dusk.

Incorporated in 1761 when charters were issued for many Upper Valley towns, Orford recognizes 1765 as the establishment of the first permanent colonial settlement. In August, the town gathered for a three-day festival featuring re-enactments, a fun run and ball game, art exhibits, ice cream, a steak and lobster dinner, music, a special postage stamp cancellation, the opening of the Town Hall Heritage Center, a bench dedication at the Orford Free Library, a walking parade around the Mall, and a townwide photo. Orford volunteers planned for over two years to celebrate their town’s 250 years.

New Hampshire’s US Senator Kelly Ayotte paid tribute to the town in the congressional record on July 27. She celebrated the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town, saying, “I am proud to join citizens across the Granite State in recognizing this historic occasion.”

Senator Ayotte noted that the town of Orford is named for Robert Walpole, first earl of Orford and England’s first prime minister. It was originally chartered by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth in 1761 and later settled in 1765. The rich agricultural history of Orford is exemplified by the success of the Mt. Cube Sugar Farm. For over 60 years, the Thomson family has been producing its award-winning maple syrup from groves located on the farm’s namesake mountain.

Senator Ayotte also recognized the town’s impressive industrial past, which has included quarries, sawmills, a tannery, a gristmill, and factories that manufactured starch, chairs, doors, and boots and shoes. She credited the town for its historic “ridge” homes, considered one of the finest collections of federal-style houses in the nation. She noted leaders who shared ties to the town, including steamship pioneer Samuel Morey, US Congressman Jeduthun Wilcox, Senators Gilman Marston and Leonard Wilcox, and New Hampshire’s 73rd governor, Meldrim Thomson, Jr.

On behalf of all Granite Staters, the senator congratulated Orford’s citizens on “reaching this special milestone” and thanked them “for their many contributions to the life and spirit of New Hampshire.” Read her full tribute here.

For more information about the events on September 26, visit

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