"New Hampshire's First Settlement"
My interest in Dover is the history of my ancestors who were among the first settlers in Dover. New Hampshire's first permanent settlement was established in 1623 by Englishman, Edward Hilton (a familiar name). It is the seventh oldest in the United States. Hilton's original settlement, on what is now Dover Point. The center of activity moved gradually from Dover Point to the area of town below Cochecho Falls and came to be known as Dover Landing. The harnessing of the Cochecho Falls' water power caused a shift from a fishing and farming economy to one based on industry. After 1635, mills were built for lumber and grain.
During the early years the settlers lived in harmony with the native inhabitants, however, around 1675 settlers were forced to build fortified garrisons to ward off attacks by Indians of the Massachusetts tribes (Dover is known today as the Garrison City). In 1689, Indians attacked the town and killed many residents (including many of my ancestors as recorded) and took others captive (also some of my ancestors) an event called the Cochecho Massacre.
Following the Indian Wars, shipbuilding was one of the major businesses in Dover. After 1820 sawmills and gristmills gave way to cotton mills and the Cocheco Print Works. In1896, a great flood swept the Central Avenue bridge and several others over the falls, depositing so much material in the river below that Dover's brief period as a seaport was over.