George Leighton Whitehouse Documents & Printed Photos
A docuemnt detailing the life of George Leighton Whitehouse. The document also includes several printed photos of instruments Leighton patented and made, a photograph and Civil War medals, that now reside in the Museum of Farmington History.
The Document reads:
George Leighton Whitehouse was born in Middleton on January 6, 1797, die son of
Nathaniel and Annie (Leighton) Whitehouse. His education was mostly self-taught and in
all, he had but 20 months of formal schooling, six weeks at Gilmanton Academy and the
remainder at local district schools.
At the age of 16, Whitehouse began to teach, employed for several terms in this
manner. He also did some surveying al about this time. In 1815, at age 18, George
entered an apprenticeship in the cotton factory of James Hardy on Union Village. He
spent two summers there and taught during the winter months. Afterwards he worked on
his father's farm in Middleton, became a grocer in Farmington and had his own store for
three years. In June 1822, he married Liberty Dame of Rochester and eventually the
couple had three sons and a daughter.
Whitehouse held every important town office in Middleton and later in Farmington. In
1827 he was appointed deputy sheriff of the county, serving until 1833, when he was
elected Register of Deeds of Strafford County. He served until 1839. He also served as
justice of the peace, notary public in New Hampshire and Illinois, a captain in the NII
Militia, and a member of the legislature in 1830 and again in 1856-57, serving on the
railroad and judiciary committees. From 1841 to 1855 he was judge of the court of
common pleas, at the same time as he surveyed for the railroads and canals.
Shortly after George Whitehouse moved to Dover he made the first map of the town, as
well as one of the village. From 1839 to 1871, George Leighton Whitehouse was engaged
in the surveys for railroads and canals in New Hampshire. In 1839 he built a canal, three-
quarters of a mile long, on the headwaters of the Cochcco River. He erected a saw and
grist mill which he operated. Several years later he moved to Dover where he was an
assistant engineer on the Cochcco Railroad which ran from Dover to Farmington. In
1851 Whitehouse did the preliminary survey of the Portsmouth Great Falls and Conway
Railroad. He surveyed the Rochester & Nashua Railroad, the South Berwick and
Wolfeboro Branches, and the Exeter Railroad from lipping to Salisbury, Massachusetts.
He worked on projects until 1871, serving as chief engineer during part of that time.He
advertised his civil engineering practice at least as late as 1875.
Whitehouse spent 60 years working as a land surveyor. In addition to his survey
practice he was a maker of instruments. In 1876 he was granted a patent for a leveling
rod. Three compasses by him, all made of wood and made while he lived at Farmington,
are known. He died on November 19, 1887.
More photos and information exists in the museum file, specifically close up shots and a document that outlines work done to restore an item.