The history of the town of Londonderry dates from 1718 when a group of Irish immigrants visited the area then called Nutfield and decided it would be a good site for a community. Four years later, in June 1722, the Nutfield area was incorporated as a township and renamed Londonderry after the city in Ireland from which most of the settlers had come.
Nutfield incorporated Manchester, Hudson, Windham, Salem and Derry. Nutfield was the first inland settlement in the Merrimack Valley. As the number of settlers grew in Nutfield, sections of the town began forming their own towns. In 1741, Windham and Hudson were formed and in 1751 Derryfield (now called Manchester) was formed. Derry was the last to become its own town in 1828.
Linen became the basic industry in early Londonderry. Linen made in town was considered the best in New England and was claimed to have worn by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Because many began producing imitation Londonderry Linen, the House of Representatives created an act to have a seal placed on genuine linen from Londonderry in 1731.
Miles and miles of rugged stone walls were erected in the early years to mark homestead boundaries, to provide an orderly place of disposal for the many stones found in the region and to provide fencing for cattle put out to pasture. Many of these stone walls still stand today and are protected by a law requiring those who misplace stones to pay a large fine, as well as legal fees.
Apple trees were a part of Londonderry since the first settlers and became a major crop by the early 1800′s. By the 1900′s, dairy farms in town began changing to apple orchards as the demand for apples grew. Apples were sold locally until the 1920′s and ’30′s. Londonderry apples were being shipped worldwide by 1976.
To learn more about Londonderry’s history and its landmarks, follow each of these links.