Bedford is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 21,203 at the 2010 census and an estimated 22,628 in 2019. Bedford is a suburb of Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city. In 1733, Massachusetts established Bedford as “Narragansett, No. 5” for the benefit of soldiers who fought against the Narragansett people in Rhode Island. The area was also known as “Souhegan East”. The settlement was incorporated as “Bedford” in 1750, and was named for John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford. Lord Russell, a close friend of Governor Benning Wentworth, was the Secretary of State for the Southern Department from 1748 to 1751, and his first wife, Diana Spencer, was cousin to the influential Duke of Marlborough.
The first English settlers in Bedford were Robert and James Walker III. A monument dated 1737 stands on what is now known as Station Road (adjacent to Hawthorne Drive), marking the first settlement. Bedford’s first moderator was Mayor John Goffe, son of the Colonel John Goffe after whom Goffstown was named.In 1874, Bedford was served by Concord Railroad, and service by the Manchester and Ashburnham Railroad was being planned.Like much of southeastern New Hampshire, Bedford grew rapidly in the second half of the 20th century. The 2000 population of 18,274 was over eight times the population in 1950 of 2,176.
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