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Burying Grounds, Cemeteries, Gravestones & History of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Cemeteries & History of Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Pleasant Street Cemetery is located next to the Mark H. Wentworth Home on Pleasant Street in Portsmouth. See it's location and get directions at Yahoo Maps.

The African American Burying Ground was recently rediscovered underneath Court Street in Portsmouth after being lost for two centuries. It was established in the early 1700's by free and enslaved Portsmouth black residents in a once empty part of town, but as the downtown area expanded it was built into and on top of for more housing and roadways. Graves were discovered in October 2005 while workers were digging for a new sewer line. 13 bodies were removed and DNA testing was performed confirming that they were all African Americans, and evidence of the condition of their bones shows they were probably slaves. It's estimated that this area could still contain up to 200 graves. Plans are in the works to close off the street and make a permanent memorial park.

Cemetery Status for Pleasant Street: Good. Grounds are kept. A sign could be placed in a visible location making it easier to find. Many of the broken stones have been repaired under a project by the former Mayor's Blue Ribbon Portsmouth Historic Cemetery Committee.

Pleasant Street Cemetery

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Deborah Adams d. 1755
Mary Akerman d. 1804
Elizabeth N. Babb d. 1802
Capt. John Brown d. 1772, a member of the Charitable Irish Society.
Charlotte Coues d. 1809
Maria Coues d. 1797
Peter Coues d. 1818, Matross, Capt. Frothingham's co., Col. Crane's regt., transferred from Capt. Eustis's co., Revolutionary War.
Rebecca Coues d. 1799, wife of a sea captain.
John Evans d. 1791, merchant.
Beulah Nichols Fernald d. 1815
Elizabeth Ham d. 1790
Capt. Ephraim Ham d. 1798
Elizabeth Hooker d. 1799, wife of a sea captain.
Hannah Janverin d. 1809, wife of a sea captain.
?? Lowe d. 1799
Charles Lowe d. 1818
Elisha Lowe d. 1797
Elizabeth Lowe d. 1817, wife of a sea captain.
Franklin Lowe d. 1798
Capt. George Lowe d. 1816
Olive Lowe d. 1797
Thomas Janverin Lowe d. 1796
Mary Manning d. 1773
Mary Purviss d. 1799
Lucy Salter d. 1805, wife of a sea captain.
Elizabeth Shores d. 1823, wife of a sea captain.
Capt. James Shores d. 1814
Lydia Shores d. 1796, wife of a sea captain.
Statira Tullock d. 1813
John Wendell Esq.

African-American Burying Ground

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More History in Portsmouth to Visit

Historic Sites Around Portsmouth Gallery

Benedict House Also known as Thomas W. Penhallow House
30 Middle St.
a Jonathan Folsom building. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.


Black Heritage Trail
walking tour through the downtown area
Stops all over downtown at locations important to the early Portsmouth Black cultural history, extending back to the 1600's when the first slaves were brought here. For all the stops, visit SeacoastNH.com

Daniel Pinkham House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Federal style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1815.

Daniel Webster House
Hancock Street
Exterior viewing only. Daniel Webster lived in 3 different homes in Portsmouth. This is the last survivor, and is now part of the Strawbery Banke Museum.

Fort Washington
Peirce's Island
built in 1775 under orders of Major General John Sullivan, overall commander of the Portsmouth harbor defenses, to command the Piscataqua River at "the Narrows" and to provide crossfire with Fort Sullivan directly across the river on Seavey's Island.

Franklin Block
75 Congress St.
Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

General Porter House Also known as Matthew Livermore House
32--34 Livermore St.
Georgian style. Private residence. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Once home to General John Fitz-Porter, a Civil War hero.

George Rogers House
76 Northwest St.
Private residence. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hart-Rice House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Georgian style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1756 by Samuel Hart.

Haven--White House Also known as Joseph Haven House
229 Pleasant St.
Federal style. Private residence. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Henry Sherburne House Also known as Richard Shortridge House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Georgian style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Isles of Shoals
Some islands located in Maine, some in New Hampshire 10 miles off the coast of Kittery/Portsmouth/Rye. Tours to and around the island are available in Portsmouth, Rye, & Newburyport.
Starting as a fishing community in the 16th century, and later a resort community popular during the Victorian era, it's most famous residents are Samuel Haley, the Smuttynose Murder victims and writer Celia Thaxter. More information and history.

Jabez Fitch House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Built in 1725 by members of the North Church for their new minister.

James Neal House
74 Deer St.
Federal style. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Jeremiah Hart House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Georgian style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1800.

John Hart House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Georgian style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.


Gov. John Langdon Mansion

143 Pleasant St.
Built 1784. John Langdon rose from modest origins to become a merchant, shipbuilder, Revolutionary leader, signer of the United States Constitution, and three-term governor of New Hampshire. His opulent home is now a museum and a beautiful example of New England architecture. Open: June 1 through October 15 Friday through Sunday. Tours at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.


John Paul Jones House
Also known as Purcell--Jones--Langdon House
43 Middle and State Sts.
Built 1758. Once home to John Paul Jones, father of the American Navy, now a museum and home to the Portsmouth Historical Society. Open June 1 - mid-October, 10-4 pm, Sun 12-4. Closed Tues & Wed. More on John Paul Jones.

Gov. John Wentworth House Also known as John Fisher House
346 Pleasant St.
Georgian style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Once home to the second and last Royal governor of New Hampshire, 1767-1775 who fled the colonies in 1775 with the passing of the Townsend Acts.

Joshua Wentworth House
119 Hanover St.
Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Larkin--Rice House
180 Middle St.
Private residence. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Liberty Pole
Marcy St., Prescott Park
Erected in 1913 to mark the spot where on January 9, 1766, the "Sons of Liberty" of Portsmouth placed the first "No Stamp Flag" raised in the American Colonies.

MacPheadris--Warner House Also known as The Warner House
Chapel and Daniel Sts.
Built 1716. Georgian style home is the earliest brick urban mansion in New England. It features the oldest colonial wall painting still in place in the United States. Now a museum, open June 1 to October 31.


Moffatt--Ladd House
Also known as William Whipple House
154 Market St.
Built in 1763 by Capt. John Moffatt for his son Samuel, this was once home to William Whipple, general during the Revolutionary War and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Open June 15 through October 15, Monday through Saturday :  11:00 a.m.--5:00 p.m. (last tour is at 4:30 p.m.) Sunday :  1:00 p.m.--5:00 p.m. (last tour is at 4:30 p.m.) Group tours by appointment. School tours by appointment. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

New Hampshire Bank Building Also known as Portsmouth Savings Bank; First National Bank Building
22--26 Market Sq.
Architect: Eliphalet Ladd. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.


North Church
Market Square
First organized in 1671, the present structure was rebuilt in 1855. Some notable worshippers during its long history: General William Whipple, signer of the Declaration of Independence, John Langdon, signer of the U.S. Constitution, Daniel Webster, John Paul Jones, and President George Washington.

Nutter--Rymes House
48 School St.
Federal style, James Nutter architect. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Originally built in 1810. The house has what was an arched carriage way dividing it and was designed by architect James Nutter. It's now home to the Blue Mermaid Island Grill.

Phoebe Hart House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Federal style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Built in in 1812.

The Pearl of Portsmouth Also known as Freewill Baptist Church--Peoples Baptist Church--New Hope Church
45 Pearl St.
Italianate church that was the first Black church in Portsmouth. Martin Luther King spoke here in 1952 and his future wife, Coretta Scott was a solo in the choir. More about the Pearl. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Portsmouth Athenaeum
9 Market Sq.
A non-profit membership library and museum, incorporated in 1817. Open to the public Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 1-4 p.m.

Portsmouth Cottage Hospital
Junkins Ave., S side of South Mill Pond
Colonial Revival. Architects Robert Coit, Harry B. Ball. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Portsmouth Garrisons

Portsmouth Parade Historic District
Along Deer and High Sts.
Federal style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Portsmouth Plains Powder House
Islington St.
built in 1811

Portsmouth Public Library Also known as Portsmouth Academy
8 Islington St.
Architect James Nutter. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.


Prescott Park
Marcy St.
Once Portsmouth's red light district, this street was lined with brothels until the Prescott Sisters came along. They razed all but one of the brothels and built this beautiful riverside park.

Richard Jackson House
Northwest St.
Built 1660. Colonial home, now a museum. Open: June through October, First Saturday of the month. Tours at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Rockingham Hotel
401 State St.
Colonial Revival. Once owned by brewer/politician Frank Jones. Now condos and the Library Restaurant on the first floor. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

Rundlet--May House
364 Middle St
Built 1807. Federal style. Now a museum, open: June through October, First Saturday of the month. Tours at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Samuel Beck House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Federal style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Built ca. 1760.

Samuel Gerrish House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Built in 1822 by architect James Nutter.

Shapley Town House Also known as Reuben Shapley House
454--456 Court St.
Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Now part of the Strawbery Banke Museum.


Sheafe Warehouse

Prescott Park
Built in 1705 for Thomas Sheafe, a local shipping merchant. It's now home to the Folk Art Museum.

Simeon P. Smith House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Federal style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.


South End Historic District

Marcy st., Rte. 1B to New Castle and all cross streets
This historic neighborhood is chock full of antique homes. Makes a great walk. Start at Prescott Park and make your way south towards New Castle.

South Meetinghouse
Marcy St. and Meeting House Hill
Italianate, Greek Revival style, completed in 1866. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.

South Parish Also known as South Unitarian Universalist Church
292 State St.
Early Republic style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Built 1824-26 possibly by Jonathan Folsom.


St. John's Church
Also known as Queen's Chapel
105 Chapel St.
Built in 1736. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Features the oldest operative pipe organ in the United States, a marble baptismal font which was a prize of war captured from the French at Senegal and presented to the church in 1761, a Book of Common Prayer published by John Baskett, London, England, 1739, and an early churchyard.


Strawberry Banke Museum

Bounded by Court and Marcy Sts. and both sides of Hancock and Washington Sts.
The earliest settlement in Portsmouth, this once nearly destroyed neighborhood is now a large museum featuring over 30 historic homes and buildings.
Self-Guiding Season, May 1 through October 31
: Open seven days a week. Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm. Sunday, Noon to 5pm.
Guided Tour Season, November through April : Weekends, Christmas and Thanksgiving weeks. Saturdays, 10am-2pm. Sundays, noon-2pm. On the hour. Along with many events throughout the year.

Sugar Warehouse
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Used to store sugar from which rum was made, the warehouse was originally built for commercial purposes in 1780.

Tobias Lear House
Mechanic and Gardner Sts.
Birthplace of Tobias Lear, secretary to George Washington and home to the Lear family. Open Wednesdays in summer 1-4pm and by appointment. More information.

USS ALBACORE, Portsmouth Maritime Museum
600 Market St.
Tour a real life submarine. Built in Portsmouth, the USS Albacore served as the prototype for today's modern submarine fleet. Open Memorial Day-Columbus Day, 9:30am-5pm daily; Winter, 9:30am-4pm, closed Tues. & Wed.

Wentworth--Coolidge Mansion Also known as Benning Wentworth Mansion
375 Little Harbor Road
Built ca. 1750. Once the home of NH's first royal governor. Open mid-May through Labor Day, Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10:00am till 3:00pm (last tour at 2:00pm), and Sundays from 1:00pm till 5:00pm (last tour at 3:45pm). Listed on National Register of Historic Places.


Wentworth--Gardner House

140 Mechanic St.
Built c.1760 for Thomas Wentworth, brother of John Wentworth, the last royal governor of New Hampshire by his father Mark Hunking Wentworth, a prominent Portsmouth merchant. Open Tuesdays through Sundays 1-4pm
June - mid-October. Listed on National Register of Historic Places.More about the house.

Whidden-Ward House
The Hill (corner of Deer & High St.s)
Georgian style. Listed on National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1720.

Visit SeacoastNH.com for more Portsmouth history

If you know of an historic place to visit in Portsmouth, please submit it to jenn@gravematter.com

 

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