New Hampshire Glossary: Garrison House

Sketch of a New Hampshire garrison house, from History of New Hampshire, by John N. McClintock, page 85

Sketch of a New Hampshire garrison house, from History of New Hampshire, by John N. McClintock, page 85

A Garrison House was a fortified building (sometimes called a “fort”) of colonial New Hampshire where troops were stationed, and to which people living nearby could flee when threatened by the Indians. When the area of New Hampshire was still part of Massachusetts Bay Colony, that region furnished soldiers for garrison duty in the forts which it had built, including those in New Hampshire.


They’re sacred now, these walls of wood!
Ah! what can bear comparison?
From age to age they’ve nobly stood,
They’ve braved the conflict, storm and flood
Of the olden time, A Garrison.

And now, ye ghosts, if ghost there be,
Speak! speak, and tell us of the strife,
When you had life and limbs as we,
When justing pilgrims had to flee
The tomahawk and scalping knife

The poem’s author, Robert Boody Caverly, was born in Barrington (now Strafford) NH July 19, 1806. He graduated at Harvard Law School and practised law, first, six years in Limerick, Maine, and then in Lowell MA where he later lived. His poetry or authorship may be found his his volumes of “Epics, Lyrics and Ballads”; in his several orations, in his “History of the Indians Wars of New England;” in his legends and dramas, and in other works.

Many of the early New Hampshire settlements had a home designated as a garrison house.  One such garrison house (called the Rumford Garrison) was built by Edward Abbott, son of Thomas & Hannah (Gray) Abbott (this editor’s 6th great uncle) about 1735, and here the first white child was born in Concord, New Hampshire. It originally stood at the corner of Main and Montgomery Streets (on the west side, where Mr. E.S. Nutter’s house later was], and to which the old house joins, being used for a barn .The view represents it as it was originally was.

In Manchester NH the Stark family (that of Gen. John Stark) built the garrison house in 1765 and it was occupied by him and his family for the remaining 57 years of John Stark’s life. The building was donated to the city and burnt down in 1866. It was located in the northern part of Manchester NH about a half mile from the head of Amoskeag Falls.


DAMM Garrison House, Dover NH

Gilman Garrison House, Exeter NH

Wingate-Toppan Garrison House, Hampton NH (no longer exists)

Farley Garrison House – Gilmanton NH

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