Bedford, founded in 1750, is a town in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 21,203 at the 2010 census. Bedford is a suburb of Manchester, the largest city in the state.
Established in 1730 as Narragansett Number 5 for the benefit of soldiers who fought against the Narragansett Indians in Rhode Island, it was regranted first as Souhegan East, then as Bedford in 1750. The town was named for Lord John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, Secretary of State for the Southern Department (1748–51), and a close friend of Governor Benning Wentworth, whose first wife, Diana Spencer, was cousin to the Duke of Marlborough. The first settlers in Bedford were Robert and James Walker III. A monument dated 1737 stands on what is now known as Hawthorne Drive, marking the first settlement. Bedford's first moderator was Mayor John Goffe, son of Colonel John Goffe, for whom Goffstown was named.
Like much of southeastern New Hampshire, Bedford has grown rapidly over the last fifty years. The 2000 population of 18,274 was over eight times the population in 1950 of 2,176. Every decade has had a substantial rate of growth, ranging from 33 percent between 1980-1990 to a 67 percent increase between 1950-60. The 2005 population estimate by the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning was 20,738 residents, which ranked 13th among New Hampshire's incorporated cities and towns.
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