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Furber's Ferry: 1650s till today
Posted by: Robert Hall Furber Date: August 22, 2000 at 12:08:22
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Furber's Ferry was established in Newington, New Hampshire by the first William Furber who settled in 1636. It crossed Furber Strait, between Great Bay and Little Bay from Furber's Point over to Matthew's Neck and Oyster River. In 1674 he gave his homestead to his oldest son, William, who was lisenced by the General Assembly tol run the ferry in 1694. The ferry was one of the first major corssings on the route from Boston to the eastern fronteer. The estate remained in the family until the area was taken by the government in 1953 to build Pease Air Force Base.
I recently visited with the last of the Furber name to be born on the homestead, Dorothy Furber Brooks. She is 95, living nearby with her daughter's family and doing quite well despite her age. The combined Furber and adjoining Brooks farms totaled about 160 acres at the time they were condemned for the airbase. The government paid only a small fraction of their value and she has never recovered financially from this reversal of fortune.
Now that Pease AFB has been closed, (guess they didn't need that land after all) Furber's Point has been made part of Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. There is a hiking trail along the old Furber's Ferry Road. You can see remains of the old stone walls that edged the road. I met with the Refuge director, Jimmie Reynolds, to inform his of the pre airbase history of the area and to ask changing the name of the trail, currently called Ferry Way Trail, back to Furber's Ferry Trail. I thought this would be a fitting tribute to Dorothy. He is sympathetic to the idea and will look into it. He is also interested in the effort to identify ancient homesites and gravesites on the point. The town of Newington has commisioned an archaeological study of the old Furber estate and I am trying to facilitate info exchange between the historical society and the wildlife refuge. I suggested putting a marker at the site of the ferry crossing and we discussed working up a historical display for their informational kiosk. If anyone would like to offer info and encouragement, he can be reached at Jimmie_Reynolds@fws.gov

Bob Furber


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