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Sherburne family makes its mark at Strawbery Banke

Sherburne House c. 1695 at Strawbery Banke Museum
Sherburne House c. 1695 at Strawbery Banke Museum
ST Seacord

Sherburne House, one of the oldest timber-frame houses in New Hampshire. The house was built between 1695 and 1702 for Captain John Sherburne, described in the family genealogy as a mariner and merchant. Born in 1647, he was the son of Henry Sherburne who established the family homestead on The Plains in Portsmouth after arriving from London in 1632. This house was standing when Portsmouth entertained the Wabanaki delegates to the peace conference in 1713 and though no Sherburnes signed the Treaty, they married into the families of many who did: the Penhallow, Hunking, Waldron. In addition, John Sherburne’s descendant Woodbury Langdon was an ancestor of Supreme Court Judge Levi Woodbury (New Hampshire native and 1809 graduate of Dartmouth) whose papers in the Library of Congress contain one of the original copies of the 1713 Treaty of Portsmouth.

The Sherburnes were one of the few Portsmouth families to have direct experience with attacks by Native Americans. John’s brother Samuel was owner and innkeeper of The Globe Tavern on the Plains and in July, 1691 was one of four Captains in a military force sent into Maine against the Wabanaki. He was killed on August 4, 1691 at Maquoit in Casco Bay, Maine. In 1718, John’s granddaughter Mary married the Honorable Richard Waldron, 1713 Treaty signer and Secretary of the Province. John’s niece Lydia was the daughter of Samuel Penhallow (Treaty signer) and granddaughter of John Cutt. John Cutt’s wife Ursula was killed in a Native American attack on her farm on the outskirts of Portsmouth in 1694. In June 1695, The Plains came under attack and the Sherburne house there was burned. Both the attack on the Plains and on the Cutt Farm may have been retaliation for their betrayal and the attack on them in 1676 by Captain Richard Waldron, father of the Provincial Secretary.