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Amherst, New Hampshire
Amherst Town Common in 2006
Amherst Town Common in 2006
Official seal of Amherst, New Hampshire
Location in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire
Amherst, New Hampshire is located in New Hampshire
Amherst, New Hampshire
Amherst, New Hampshire
Location in New Hampshire
Amherst, New Hampshire is located in the United States
Amherst, New Hampshire
Amherst, New Hampshire
Location in the United States
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Hillsborough
Incorporated 1760
 • Total 34.4 sq mi (89.1 km2)
 • Land 33.9 sq mi (87.8 km2)
 • Water 0.5 sq mi (1.3 km2)  1.49%
259 ft (79 m)
 • Total 11,753
 • Density 347/sq mi (133.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code 603
FIPS code 33-01300
GNIS feature ID 0873531

Amherst is a town in Hillsborough County in the state of New Hampshire, United States. The population was 11,753 at the 2020 census. Amherst is home to Ponemah Bog Wildlife Sanctuary, Hodgman State Forest, the Joe English Reservation and Baboosic Lake.

The village of Amherst, where 697 people lived at the 2020 census, is defined as the Amherst census-designated place and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Amherst Village Historic District.


Amherst NH Common, 2006
Amherst Town Common in 2006
Post Office Square, Amherst Plains, NH
Post Office Square in 1910

Like many New England towns, Amherst was the result of a land grant given to soldiers – in this case, to soldiers in 1728 who had participated in King Philip's War. Settled about 1733, it was first called "Narragansett Number 3", and then later "Souhegan Number 3." In 1741, settlers formed the Congregational church and hired the first minister. Chartered on 18 January 1760 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, the town was named for General Lord Amherst, who commanded British forces in North America during the French and Indian War. Lord Jeffrey Amherst is also infamous for initiating the practice of giving smallpox blankets to Native Americans in a genocidal effort "to Extirpate this Execrable Race" (as quoted from his letter to Colonel Henry Bouquet on July 16, 1763).

In 1770, Amherst became the county seat of Hillsborough County, due largely to its location on the county's major east-west road. It continued to prosper through the Revolutionary War and afterwards. In 1790, the southwestern section broke off and became the town of Milford, and in 1803, the northwest section departed to become Mont Vernon. The development of water-powered mills allowed Milford to grow at Amherst's expense, and the county seat was moved to Milford in 1866.

The town population remained relatively stagnant until after World War II, when Amherst and many surrounding towns saw an influx of newcomers as they became part of the greater Boston region.

Franklin Pierce, who later become the 14th President of United States of America, studied under Judge Edmund Parker in Amherst. He wed Jane Means Appleton, the daughter of a former president of Bowdoin College, in a house on the town green.

The Nashua and Wilton Railroad passed through Amherst.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 34.7 square miles (89.9 km2), of which 34.2 square miles (88.5 km2) is land and 0.54 square miles (1.4 km2) is water, comprising 1.51% of the town. Located on the Souhegan River, Amherst is drained by Beaver, Bloody, and Joe English brooks. Amherst's highest point is on Chestnut Hill at the town's northern border, where the elevation reaches 865 feet (264 m) above sea level. Amherst lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.

Amherst is bordered by Mont Vernon and New Boston to the northwest, Bedford to the northeast, Merrimack to the east, Hollis to the south, and Milford to the southwest.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 2,369
1800 1,470 −37.9%
1810 1,554 5.7%
1820 1,622 4.4%
1830 1,657 2.2%
1840 1,565 −5.6%
1850 1,613 3.1%
1860 1,598 −0.9%
1870 1,353 −15.3%
1880 1,225 −9.5%
1890 1,053 −14.0%
1900 1,231 16.9%
1910 1,060 −13.9%
1920 868 −18.1%
1930 1,115 28.5%
1940 1,174 5.3%
1950 1,461 24.4%
1960 2,051 40.4%
1970 4,605 124.5%
1980 8,243 79.0%
1990 9,068 10.0%
2000 10,769 18.8%
2010 11,201 4.0%
2020 11,753 4.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
Horace Greeley Birthplace, Amherst, NH
Greeley birthplace c. 1905

As of the census of 2010, there were 11,201 people, 4,063 households, and 3,322 families residing in the town. The population density was 327.5 people per square mile (126.5/km2). There were 4,280 housing units at an average density of 125.1 per square mile (48.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.8% White, 0.5% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.4% some other race, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 4,063 households, out of which 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 72.2% were headed by married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.2% were non-families. 14.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.0% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76, and the average family size was 3.06.

In the town, the age distribution of the population was 26.0% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 19.4% from 25 to 44, 36.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.

For the period 2011-2015, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $121,349, and the median income for a family was $130,278. Male full-time workers had a median income of $102,869, versus $51,473 for females. The per capita income for the town was $49,190. About 1.8% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 2.6% of those age 65 or over.

Public education

Amherst is home to Clark and Wilkins elementary schools, Amherst Middle School and Souhegan High School. The elementary schools handle children from Amherst only. Seventh and eighth graders from neighboring Mont Vernon attend the middle school on a tuition basis, while Amherst and Mont Vernon jointly own Souhegan High School, which serves both towns.


  • The town song of Amherst, Amherst is my Home, was composed by James Durst on a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts/NEA.

Notable people

  • Charles G. Atherton (1804–1853), U.S. congressman and senator
  • Charles Humphrey Atherton (1773–1853), U.S. congressman
  • Courtney Banghart (born 1978), head women's basketball coach at Princeton University. (Souhegan High School, 1995)
  • John S. Barry (1802–1870), fourth and eighth Governor of Michigan
  • Samuel Bell (1770–1850), 14th Governor of New Hampshire
  • Moses Billings (1809–1884), portrait artist
  • Ainsworth Blunt (1800–1865), missionary to the Cherokee in Georgia
  • Hubert Buchanan (born 1941), prisoner of war in Vietnam
  • Clifton Clagett (1762–1829), U.S. congressman
  • Jonathan Fisk (1778–1832), U.S. congressman from New York
  • Horace Greeley (1811–1872), editor, founder of the Liberal Republican Party
  • Jon "maddog" Hall (born 1950), programmer, computer scientist, free software advocate
  • Neal Huntington (born 1969), General Manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates (2007–present)
  • Tony Labranche (born 2001), youngest member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives as of 2021
  • Moses Nichols (1740–1790), physician, Revolutionary War era soldier and statesman
  • Jane Means (Appleton) Pierce (1806–1863), first lady, wife of Franklin Pierce
  • Frank Selee (1859–1909), manager for the Boston Beaneaters and Chicago Orphans, member of Baseball Hall of Fame

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Amherst (Nuevo Hampshire) para niños

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