More than 100 years ago, the rugged natural beauty of Land Sunapee’s shores inspired American author and diplomat John M. Hay to build a summer retreat in Newbury. John Hay had been a private secretary to Abraham Lincoln and secretary of state under two presidents (William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt).
The name “Cockermouth Forest” has historical significance in that from 1760 to 1790 the town of Groton was known as the town of Cockermouth, named for the river that runs through it. Bill Wadsworth, who donated the land to the Forest Society, first came to the area to attend Cockermouth Boys Camp.
Like so much of New Hampshire, this land was all cleared for pasture by early settlers and remained in that condition until some time in the early 20th century. It then was abandoned from farming and gradually reverted to forest predominated by white pine. When Quentin and Mary Hutchins owned the property in the later half of the 20th century, they managed it for forest products, much of which Quentin harvested himself. He had a small saw mill on his adjoining house lot.
The Sagamore Creek area holds significant agricultural heritage. In fact, the site of Creek Farm, believed to have been occupied by early settler Nicholas Rowe in 1640, was one of the earliest places in New Hampshire to be cultivated by European settlers. It was later part of the 18th-century farm of the royal governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth. Some of the fieldstone boundary walls that cross the property define ancient property lines that were recorded on early maps of the area.