Significant Events in the History of
the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts
1856 - 1893


Benjamin Thompson On February 12, Benjamin Thompson signed his will leaving his estate with assets over $400,000 to the state of New Hampshire to establish an agricultural school in Durham.


Morrill Act signed by Abraham Lincoln on July 2. This act granted each state 30,000 acres of public lands for each of its senators and representatives. The income from the sale of this land would be used "for the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college" to teach agriculture and the mechanic arts.


Report to the legislature proposed three alternatives for consideration as locations for the agricultural college. These three were: Dartmouth College, Lyme, NH (as a result of an offer by General David Culver), and at the state farm connected with the House of Reformation at Manchester.


Gov. Frederick Smyth Governor Frederick Smyth signed a bill on July 7 providing for the incorporation of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. NHC was then established as part of Dartmouth College.


On September 28, the Trustees held their first meeting. The original board consisted of five members chosen by the state and four chosen by Dartmouth College.


the final contract The final contract was signed with Dartmouth College on April 7 providing for use of Dartmouth College equipment by the agricultural students and an exchange of professors between the two schools. However, the colleges were to retain their separate identities.


Ezekiel Webster Dimond Ezekiel Webster Dimond was elected by the Board of Trustees, on April 28, to serve as the first professor of the College. He arrived in Hanover, NH on August 1, 1868.


Class of 1871 On September 4, ten men registered for classes. Two of these men returned for their second year. One more student joined later, thus giving the Class of 1871 three members.


Culver Hall The cornerstone was laid in Hanover for Culver Hall by Governor Onslow Stearns on June 23. Culver Hall was the first building owned by the College. It was sold to Dartmouth College when the agricultural college moved to Durham.


In the fall, thirty-three students enrolled for classes. This number was not matched for a decade.


Conant Hall In May, construction started on Conant Hall. Total cost was estimated at $22,358. Conant Hall was opened in 1874.


The school year was increased to thirty-eight weeks.


First Meeting of Alumni First meeting of the graduates of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts was held on March 23, at the City Hotel in Keene, NH.


Regular academic program was increased to four years.


The state legislature appointed a committee to investigate the feasibility of moving the agricultural college from Hanover to a new location.


Hatch Act was passed on March 2, setting up agricultural experiment stations throughout the country. The act gave federal financial support for experimental work and employee salaries, and permitted the College to set up its own Agricultural Experiment Station to benefit New Hampshire farmers directly.


George H. Whitcher On February 22, 1888, George H. Whitcher was appointed to serve as the first director of the Agricultural Experiment Station.


Benjamin Thompson Benjamin Thompson died on January 30, and his will became public. His will stated that the state of New Hampshire hold his estate for twenty years and guarantee a compound interest of four percent on its appraised net value. This fund was called the Benjamin Thompson Trust Fund. Also, Thompson's will stipulated a second fund for which the state was required to appropriate $3,000 annually for twenty years to be used for equipping the college.


Second Morrill Act was passed on August 30.


Class Group c. 1893 Lucy Swallow and Delia Brown became the first female students of the College. Neither graduated as the college moved to Durham before they had completed their degrees.


Gov. Hiram A. Tuttle Despite some opposition, Governor Hiram A. Tuttle signed the act accepting the conditions of Benjamin Thompson's will on March 5. If the will had not been accepted, the offer would have gone first to Massachusetts, then Michigan.


On April 10, a bill was signed by Governor Hiram A. Tuttle providing for the removal of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts from Hanover to Durham. It also stated that the Agricultural Experiment Station should move to Durham.


Excited over the prospects of leaving Hanover, the Class of 1892 held its commencement exercises in the unfinished barn on the Durham campus. This class had never taken a course in Durham.


On April 18, The Board of Trustees voted to "authorize the faculty to make all the arrangements for the packing and removal of college property at Hanover to Durham."


Rev. Charles Sumner Murkland On May 18, Reverend Charles Sumner Murkland was chosen as the first president of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. Although there was no question that he was a scholar, many thought that he lacked the proper agricultural background to head the agricultural school.


Classes started in the fall in Durham, and the enrollment consisted of fifty-one freshmen and thirteen upperclassmen.


On August 30, the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts celebrated the dedication of the campus in Durham. Charles Murkland was also inaugurated on this day.


Frederick P. Comings Frederick P. Comings of Lee was elected as the first alumnus to serve as a trustee of the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.
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