Dover400 announces 1623 Society
Dover400, a committee of residents organizing Dover’s 400th Anniversary, recently announced the formation of the 1623 Society, a special opportunity to recognize direct ties to Dover with a donation of $1,623. All proceeds will be used to cover costs associated with events planned for Dover’s 400th birthday in 2023.
The group formed on the suggestion of Steve Roberts, who is also the Society's first donor. Steve Roberts is a direct descendant of Thomas Roberts (b.c. 1600, d. 1673), one of the original settlers of Dover. Thomas Robert's lineage dates all the way back to the beginning of Dover when he landed on Dover Point with the Hilton Brothers in 1623. Thomas' wife Rebecca, is believed to be the sister (or sister in law) of Edward and William Hilton. Thomas settled on land on Dover Neck which remained in the family until the mid 20th century. He was elected as president of the court in 1640-1641 (thus called Governor), as the third and last colonial governor of the Dover Colony before it became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641
Thomas Roberts is buried in the cemetery on Dover Point Road. His great grandson Ebenezer, moved to what is now Rollinsford in the early 1700s, and established a farm on property which is still owned by the family. While Steve is also descended from several other early English colonists (Wentworth, Hall, Rollins, Littlefield, Pinkham, Jones, Nutter), he also has French Canadian heritage on his mother’s side (the Mayrand family of Dover; Saint Charles Catholic Church was established by a great uncle, Father Richard). "I grew up on stories about the family which were collected by family historians, especially my grandmother, Katherine Roberts and great uncle John Harry Roberts," said Steve. "Our kids are the 12th generation of the Roberts family in America, and the Roberts family takes great pride in its deep roots in the Dover community."
To date, the 1623 Society has three donors: Steve and Julia Roberts, Kevin and Dee McEneaney, and Guy Eaton, each donating $1,623 to have their history celebrated. Eaton is a direct descendant of Captain Thomas Wiggin (1592–1667), the first governor of the Upper Plantation of New Hampshire, a settlement comprising modern-day Dover, Durham, and Stratham. McEneaney’s grandparents immigrated to Dover from Ireland in the late 1800s.
All donors are recognized on the Dover400 website and presented with a framed print of Hilton Point, where colonists established Dover's first settlement in 1623. Nearly twenty years later, the area became part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the center of activity in Dover moved gradually from Dover Point to the current downtown area below Cochecho Falls, which came to be known as Dover Landing.
Dover400 continues with its wildly popular lecture series, which began in January 2021. The next monthly lecture is scheduled for Tuesday, July 8 and will discuss Dover’s participation in the Civil War. To support these activities leading up to 2023, in addition to the 1623 Society, Dover400 is currently underway with its $400 for 400 campaign, an effort to solicit 400 donors at $400 to celebrate Dover’s 400th Anniversary.
To join this group of community-minded businesses and citizens send your tax-deductible donation to: Dover400, 24 Chestnut Street, Dover, NH 03820. For more information on the 1623 Society, please visit www.Dover400.org.
Dover400 is comprised of enthusiastic citizens from diverse backgrounds who are all committed to one purpose: ensuring a Dover is recognized and celebrated for this momentous event. Members include: Kevin McEneaney, Chair; Sam Allen, Vice-Chair; Nicole Desjarlais-Paulick, Secretary; Kathleen Morrison, Treasurer; Deborah Ballok; Cathy Beaudoin; Bob Carrier; Angela Carter; Guy Eaton; J. Andrew Galt; Zachary Koehler; Tom Massingham; Karen Weston; Sam Crane; Stephanie Bolduc; and Kerry Berry.