Keene is a city in, and the seat of, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 23,409 at the 2010 census.Keene is home to Keene State College and Antioch University New England. It hosted the state’s annual pumpkin festival from 1991 to 2014, several times setting a world record for most jack-o’-lanterns on display. The grocery wholesaler C&S Wholesale Grocers is based in Keene. In 1735 Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher granted lots in the township of “Upper Ashuelot” to 63 settlers who paid five pounds each. Settled after 1736 on Equivalent Lands, it was intended to be a fort town protecting the Province of Massachusetts Bay from the French and their Native allies during the French and Indian Wars, the North American front of the Seven Years’ War.
When the boundary between the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire colonies was fixed in 1741, Upper Ashuelot became part of New Hampshire, although Massachusetts continued supporting the area for its own protection. In 1747, during King George’s War, the village was attacked and burned by Natives.:79 Colonists fled to safety, but would return to rebuild in 1749.:96 It was regranted to its inhabitants in 1753 by Governor Benning Wentworth, who renamed it “Keene” after Sir Benjamin Keene, English minister to Spain and a West Indies trader. Located at the center of Cheshire County, Keene was designated as the county seat in 1769.
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