For the Historian: Franklin Pierce Homestead in New Hampshire

Rte. 31N, Hillsborough, New Hampshire This white clapboard Georgian-style mansion was completed in 1804 by Benjamin Pierce, twice governor of

Franklin Pierce Homestead, New Hampshire
Outside and indoors, the elegant Pierce family home reflects the affluence of Franklin Pierce and his father, Benjamin, the builder of the house.

Rte. 31N, Hillsborough, New Hampshire

This white clapboard Georgian-style mansion was completed in 1804 by Benjamin Pierce, twice governor of New Hampshire, from 1827-1828 and from 1829-1830. That same year saw the birth of a son, Franklin, who later became the 14th president of the United States.

The Pierces were a sociable family, and many great men of the time, including Daniel Webster, visited them during Franklin’s youth. Handsome, intelligent, and well liked, Franklin rose quickly in politics and left home in 1833 to serve as a Democratic congressman in Washington, D.C.; 20 years later he was inaugurated president.

Pierce’s presidency was not a terribly memorable one; indeed, he is remembered today as the “Forgotten President.” Unable to deal effectively with the issue of slavery, he lost his party’s support and retired from politics in 1857.

The interior of the homestead at Hillsborough has been largely restored to its original appearance. Of special interest is the elegant ballroom on the second floor, with hand-stenciled walls. Among the antique items in the barn is Franklin Pierce’s fine old horse-drawn sleigh, decorated with painted flowers. The homestead is managed by the Hillsborough Historical Society.

Open daily July–Aug.; open weekends late May–June, Sept.–mid-Oct. Admission charged.

www.historic-hillsborough-nh.org

(603) 478-3165

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest