About This Place
Conway is a town, the largest (by population) in Carroll County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 10,115 at the 2010 census. Parts of the White Mountain National Forest are in the west and north. Cathedral Ledge (popular with climbers) and Echo Lake State Park are in the west. Villages within the town include Conway, North Conway, Center Conway, Redstone and Kearsarge, as well as a portion of the village of Intervale. The town has two covered bridges.
The region was once home to the Pequawket Indians, an Algonquian Abenaki tribe. Along the Saco River they fished, hunted or farmed, and lived in wigwams sheltered within stockades. In 1642, explorer Darby Field of Exeter paddled up the Saco in a canoe, and would report seeing "Pigwacket," an Indian community stretching from present-day Conway to Fryeburg, Maine. The Pequawket tribe dwindled from disease, probably smallpox brought from abroad. In May 1725, during Dummer's War, 36 men from Dunstable, Massachusetts led by John Lovewell skirmished with the Pequawket. The Pequawket losses are not known but the result of the day's battle was the withdrawal of the tribe from the area.
In 1765, Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth chartered sixty-five men to establish "Conway", named for Henry Seymour Conway, Commander in Chief of the British Army. To keep his land, a settler had to plant 5 acres (20,000 m2) for every fifty in his share, and to do it within five years. The first roads were built in 1766. Construction of the first meetinghouse began at Redstone. Never completed, it could only be used in summer, with services held whenever a minister visited. Eventually, the partly finished meetinghouse was moved to Center Conway. In 1775, the town raised small sums to build two schoolhouses, one in North Conway. By 1849, however, the town had twenty school districts.