The Glen: A history of the land

The Glen area of Portsmouth is a uniquely beautiful and historic landscape.  Walking through the area is like taking a walk through the farming history of Portsmouth.

It was:

  • a Wampanoag and Narragansett summer camp ground,
  • the home of colonial farmers from the Thomas Cooke family,
  • a ferry landing for the Fogland Ferry to Tiverton,
  • a Hessian campground during the Revolutionary War,
  • a site of water powered mills, and factories,
  • a popular picnic site during the 1800’s,
  • a home to Yankee farmers like Leonard Brown,
  • the heart of gentleman farmer’s HAC Taylor’s Glen Farm,
  • the school grounds for Elmhurst Academy of the Sacred Heart and Elmhurst School,
  • and now the recreational center for the town of Portsmouth.

A Brief Glen Land History

1649:  Thomas Cooke Senior buys land from William Brenton who had the original land grant.  The Cooke family held land in this area until 1804. The Cookes gradually sold the land to the south to Giles Slocum

1720:  John Cooke sells part of his land to James Sisson.

1745: Joseph Cundall purchases the land (46 acres) around the brook. Many of the Cundall lands transfer to Judge Samuel Clarke.

1882: HAC Taylor begins to buy the land around the Glen.

1960: Manor house and 43 acres to Elmhurst Academy of the Sacred Heart. Classrooms, chapel and dining hall are added.

1972: Elmhurst Academy closes.

1972:   Town of Portsmouth purchases Manor House, Elmhurst Academy and 43 acres for $1,350,000.

1989:   Town of Portsmouth purchases 95 additional acres of Glen Farm.  Much of the rest of the original Glen Farm land is in private hands.

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