Rockingham County was first settled in 1623 when
colonists landed at what was then called “Strawbery
Banke” and changed to Portsmouth in 1653.
Rockingham was the first County created in New
Hampshire and held all of the land records for the
entire state until the other counties were created.
The County has a land area of 699 square miles
spread over 37 towns. It has a total
population of almost 300,000 people and represents
25% of the population of the State of New Hampshire.
County is bordered on the east by the Atlantic
Ocean, the west by Hillsborough County, the south by
Massachusetts and the north by Strafford County and
the State of Maine.
of the first hostile acts of the revolutionary war,
local patriots broke into the British armory at Fort
William and Mary in New Castle and stole barrels of
gunpowder from the British, which was hidden in
various towns in the seacoast, including Exeter.
The gunpowder was eventually taken to Boston and
used by the colonists in the defense of Bunker Hill.
was declared to be the revolutionary capital of New
Hampshire before it was moved to Concord where it
remains. The United States Declaration of
Independence was signed by Josiah Bartlett from
Kingston, Matthew Thornton of Londonderry and
William Whipple of Portsmouth, representing New
Hampshire. All three signers were from
Rockingham County. Josiah Bartlett was the
first person to sign the Declaration immediately
after John Hancock.
Hampshire patriots dissolved the royal government in
1776 and created a Legislature and Executive
Council. The New Hampshire State Constitution
was drafted in 1783 prior to the U. S. Constitution.