About This Place
Dover is a city in Strafford County, New Hampshire, in the United States of America. The population was 29,987 at the 2010 census, the largest in the New Hampshire Seacoast region. It is the county seat of Strafford County, and home to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, the Woodman Institute Museum, and the Children's Museum of New Hampshire.
According to historian Jeremy Belknap, the area was called Wecohamet by native Abenaki Indians. The first known European to explore the region was Martin Pring from Bristol, England, in 1603. Settled in 1623 as Hilton's Point by brothers William and Edward Hilton, London fishmongers, Dover is the oldest permanent settlement in New Hampshire, and the seventh oldest in the United States. It is one of the colony's four original townships, and once included Durham, Madbury, Newington and Lee. It also included Somersworth and Rollinsford, together which Indians called Newichawannock after the Newichawannock River, now known as the Salmon Falls River. The Hiltons' name survives today at Hilton Park on Dover Point, located where they landed near the confluence of the Cochecho and Bellamy rivers with the Piscataqua. They had been sent from London by The Company of Laconia, which intended to establish a colony and fishery around the Piscataqua. In 1631, however, it contained only three houses.
In 1633, the Plantation of Cochecho was bought by a group of English Puritans who planned to settle in New England, including Viscount Saye and Sele, Baron Brooke and John Pym. They promoted colonization in America, and that year Hilton's Point was the arrival point of numerous immigrant pioneers, many from Bristol. They renamed the settlement Bristol. Atop the nearby hill, the settlers built a meetinghouse, surrounded by an entrenchment, to the east of which they built a jail.