Southern New Hampshire Towns To Celebrate Tricentennial

Dec 30, 2018

 

 

Derry traces its founding to Scots-Irish families who settled the region in April 1791.
Credit Courtsey of Paul Lindemann

Several towns in southern New Hampshire will be celebrating their tricentennial in 2019.

The settlement of Nutfield - now known as Derry, Londonderry, and Windham - became the first inland settlement of Europeans in the Merrimack Valley in 1719.

It comprised 16 Scots Irish families who had fled religious persecution in their hometown of Aghadowey, in the Irish County of Londonderry.

The Governor of Massachusetts gave it as a land grant to the Scots-Irish, deeming it "wilderness," though for centuries prior to colonization, the region had been home to the Penacook Abenaki people.

Paul Lindemann, a volunteer with the Derry town Heritage Commission, says the man leading the Scotch-Irish settlement, Pastor Rev. James McGregor, is well-known in Irish and New England history.

"Some of the history books refer to him as the 'Moses of the Scots,'" Lindemann says.

To mark the tricentennial, towns in the former Nutfield settlement - which also includes sections of present-day Hudson, Salem, and Manchester - will host lectures, concerts, and gatherings from April through the summer.

In Derry, this will include a gathering of dozens of Scotch-Irish living in Ireland whose distant family members came to New Hampshire 300 years ago.

"They’re very excited about tracing their ancestry over here and what their ancestors ended up doing here," he says. "The Scots Irish, as they’re called, had a huge impact on American Societies."