The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Exeter (New Hampshire)
EXETER, a town and one of the county seats of Rockingham co., New Hampshire, situated on Exeter river, a branch of the Piscataqua, and on the Boston and Maine railroad, 12 m. S. W. of Portsmouth; pop. in 1870, 3,437. The falls at this point, which furnish good water power, are the head of tide water and the limit of navigation for small vessels. The principal village, built around the falls on both banks of the river, occupies a plain, and is laid out with wide streets shaded with elms. Besides the state courts for the county, sessions of the United States circuit and district courts are held here. The Exeter manufacturing company, incorporated in 1829, has more than 10,000 spindles in operation, and produces about 2,000,000 yards of sheetings annually. It has just erected another mill of equal capacity. The wool business is one of the principal branches of industry and trade in the place, being carried on by several large establishments. There are also several manufactories of carriages, 1 of drain pipe, 3 of harnesses, 3 grist mills, 1 iron foundery, 1 planing mill, 1 saw mill, 1 machine shop, a national bank, and 2 saving institutions. The town is chiefly noted as the seat of Phillips academy, founded in 1781 by John Phillips, LL. D., who bequeathed to it a large portion of his estate. It is one of the most celebrated schools for preparing boys for college in the country, and in 1872 had 4 instructors and 162 students. The original building, in which some of the most famous men of the country were educated, was burned in 1870; a new one was completed in 1872. The Robinson female seminary, organized in 1869 with an endowment of $300,000, has a collegiate department, and in 1872 had 9 instructors and 252 students. Exeter contains several public schools, a town library of 3,428 volumes, a weekly newspaper, and 7 churches. It was settled in 1638, and suffered severely during the Indian wars from 1690 to about 1710. During the revolutionary period it was the capital of the state and the headquarters of its military operations.