Situated beside Great Bay at the mouth of the Oyster River, Durham was originally called Oyster River Plantation. It was settled in 1635 as a part of Dover.
During King William&'s War, on, July 18, 1694the English settlement was attacked in the "Oyster River Massacre" by French career soldier Sebastien de Villieu with about 250 Abenaki Indians. In all, 45 inhabitants were killed and 49 taken captive, with half the dwellings, including 5 garrisons, burned to the ground. Crops were destroyed and livestock killed, causing famine and destitution for survivors. The community would rebuild, however, and by 1716 Durham was a separate parish, named after Durham, England. Incorporated in 1732, Durham once included portions of the present-day towns of Madbury, Lee and Newmarket. Because of its arable land, the town would develop as a farming community.
A descendant of an early settler, Benjamin Thompson bequeathed his assets and family estate, Warner Farm, to the state for the establishment of an agricultural college. Originally founded in 1866, at Hanover, the New Hampshire College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts moved to Durham in 1893, and became University of New Hampshire in 1923.
Thompson Hall, built in 1892 with an iconic clock tower, is named in his honor. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style by the Concord architectural firm of Dow & Randlett, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
For a great video of Durham NH click here.
Information taken from Wikipedia