Roadside History: Newington

October 06. 2017 9:14PM

New Hampshire historical marker number: 151.

Date established: 1985 in Newington.

Location: On Shattuck Way, just west of the Route 16/Spaulding Turnpike overpass. That section of Shattuck Way can be accessed by taking Exit 4 off northbound Route 16 before the Sullivan Bridge. Bloody Point is actually on the east side of Route 16.

What the sign says: "Boundary disputes among the early river settlements caused this area to be called Bloody Point. By 1640 Trickey's Ferry operated between Bloody Point and Hilton's Point in Dover.

"In 1712 the meeting-house was erected and the parish set off, named Newington for the English village, whose residents sent the bell for the meeting-house. About 1725 the parsonage was built near the town forest, considered one of the oldest in America."

The back story: Bloody Point in Newington is a jut of land bordered by the Pascataqua River, which in the 1630s was part of Dover. The name is tied to a feud in 1631 between Capt. Walter Neal, also referred to as Neale, and Capt. Thomas Wiggin, two officers sent by one of the men originally granted the land to manage the settlement. Neal was assigned to govern the lower settlement, which covers today's Rye, Portsmouth and Newington, while Wiggin was assigned the upper settlement, north from Hilton's Point in Dover. The two men came close to shedding blood over possession of that land. Even though their threats did not escalate to a battle, the name stuck.

Some reports attribute the name to an Indian attack on settlers, but multiple historians dismiss that.

Newington, originally part of Dover and Portsmouth, was incorporated as a parish in 1713 and as a town in 1764 by Colonial Gov. Benning Wentworth.

The Newington Center Historic District is about a mile south of the marker. According to the town's website, the district includes the 18th century parsonage and meetinghouse, which it says is the oldest in continuous use in New Hampshire, and the town forest, as well as the 19th century town hall, the 1892 Langdon Library and a row of horse sheds behind the meetinghouse that were once commonplace, but are now rare.

The district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sources: "A History and Description of New England Vol. 1" by A.J. Coolidge and J.B. Mansfield;; "Landmarks in Ancient Dover, New Hampshire" by Mary P. Thompson; Wikipedia.

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