Welcome to Rollinsford’s history page!
This page is run by the Historical Committee in order to inform residents about our current projects, to provide resources to residents, and of course, to share town history. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions and come to a meeting if you would like to join the committee!
Historic Barns in Rollinsford
Our barns are an irreplaceable link to Rollinsford’s agricultural history and one of the most beautiful features of a New Hampshire landscape. We often don’t realize how much our barns define the character of a town until they are gone. Because of this, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance offers programs that provide information and financial assistance to barn owners across the state.
Visit our Historic Barn page to learn about the resources available for preserving your barn.
The Rollinsford Town Emblem
The Rollinsford town emblem has a new look! The original was presented to the town 50 years ago as a gift from the Legion. You can learn about the original emblem, the redesign, and the featured landmarks in a short booklet prepared by the Historical Committee, including the Salmon Falls Mill, the Rollinsford Town Hall, the Ordway Homestead, and the Somersworth Foundry Company which was located where the Legion stands today.
Read the story of the town emblem »
Rollinsford and the Civil War
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Rollinsford resident, American Revolution and Civil War re-enactor, and history professor Chris Benedetto compiled the following slideshow to illustrate the important historical connection between Rollinsford and the Civil War.
Rollinsford’s Civil War Monument
A Brief Overview of the History of Rollinsford
The area was once within the domain of the Newichawannock Indians, an Abenaki sub-tribe which took its name from the Newichawannock River, meaning ‘river with many falls,’ now the Salmon Falls River.
Their village was located at what is today Salmon Falls Village. They fished at the falls, stretching nets across the river to catch migrating salmon and other species swimming upriver to spawn. But war and disease, probably smallpox brought from abroad, would decimate the native population.
Settled in 1623, the land was part of Dover, one of the original townships of New Hampshire. The area was first called Sligo after Sligo in Ireland, and the name survives on a town road.
It would be established in 1729 as a parish called Summersworth, meaning summer town, because the ministers preached here during the summer.
In 1754, it would be set off and incorporated as a town by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, although thereafter spelled Somersworth due to a clerical error.
Since the pioneers’ arrival, small communities had developed near various sawmills and gristmills along the Salmon Falls River, but the center of Summersworth was located at Rollinsford Junction.
Beginning in the early 1820s, water powered textile mills were established at the larger falls, and the town would divide between them — Great Falls became Somersworth, and Salmon Falls became Rollinsford, incorporated in 1849. It was named for Edward H. Rollins, a prominent businessman, banker and politician.