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Preserving the History & Heritage of Lake Winnipesaukee & Vicinity
 

 

TUFTONBORO
 

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A BRIEF HISTORY


Tuftonboro lies between Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountain Range and comprises Melvin Village, Mirror Lake, Tuftonboro Center, and Tuftonboro Corner. Tuftonboro has the grand distinction of being the only town once having been owned entirely by one man, John Tufton Mason, after whom it was named in 1750. The town was incorporated in 1795.

Mason, a native of Boston, was the great-grandson of Captain John Mason. His wife, Anne Tufton, was descended from William Tufton, who was a descendent of Christopher Tufton, Earl of Thanet and governor of Barbados. The Tuftons were related to the Wentworth governors by marriage.

John Tufton Mason inherited the claim to the undivided lands of northern New Hampshire assumed to be held by Captain John Mason. In 1746, he sold it for 1,500 pounds to a group of Portsmouth merchants who disposed of it under grants made to prospective settlers in the years preceding the American Revolution. The town of Tuftonboro, bordering on Lake Winnipesaukee, was laid out to be 6 miles square, containing approximately 23,000 acres.

One of the loveliest and most peaceful retreats on the shores of Winnipesaukee is Melvin Village, nestled at the foot of the Ossipee Mountains. From a modest and retiring hamlet, it has grown to become a thriving vacation center at the northeastern end of Winnipesaukee. While guarded by the brooding Ossipee Range, across the bay and intervening islands of the lake, the village is graced with a view of the Belknap Range, blue and beautiful in the distance, and always a
dominating feature of the landscape.

From the more elevated portion of the village, alluring glimpses of the Sandwich Range and many of the well-known peaks of the White Mountains are enjoyed by vacationers, while the bay itself sparkles like a sheet of turquoise below. It is a Swiss-like scene, lacking only the glaciers and guides, and possesses an air that even Switzerland might envy.

Within the limits of Tuftonboro lies Mount Shaw, the highest peak in the Ossipee Mountain Range, rising majestically to a height of some 3,000 feet above sea level. From the summit, a picturesque view of Melvin Village is seen from the outreaching lowlands near the lake. Its white walls and spires are scattered among meadows and orchard greenery, a contrast with the blue water and the outline of hills unseen: Dopple, Crown, or perhaps Mount Caryl, and the low ranges about Alton Bay at the southern end of Winnipesaukee.

The southern side of the mountain was a favorite resort for the American Indians. Their usual choice of picturesque spots for an encampment may be recognized upon sailing about Melvin Village, or in approaching by the range way, the abrupt mountain-wall behind the farmlands of the village. The precipitous face of Bald Peak, the southernmost summit of the range, forms a background to a most enjoyable landscape.

 


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The Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society is a non-profit organization.