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Revolutionary War soldier’s home named to National Register of Historic Places
The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources has announced that the Dudley Gilman Homestead in Belmont has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior by being listed to the National Register of Historic Places.
Built in the 1780s, the two-and-a-half story, clapboarded farmhouse with an ell is one of the oldest documented houses in Belmont. Together with its circa 1800s barn, the property is a well-preserved example of a small-scale homestead farm from the late-eighteenth to early-nineteenth century.
The main farmhouse is two rooms deep with a center chimney, a floorplan commonly found in New Hampshire from 1725-1825. The first floor has a central stair hall with heated parlors on either side in the front. The rear is a long kitchen with a large cooking hearth and built-in beehive oven, along with a borning room for the sick, infirmed or pregnant. The second floor has two finished bedchambers in the front and smaller, unheated rooms in the rear.
Built at approximately the same time as the main house, a one-and-a-half story ell includes a summer kitchen with built-in brick cauldrons, called “set kettles,” that are located on either side of the summer kitchen’s central chimney and were a means of boiling large quantities of water. The adjacent well room, woodshed and carriage shed that complete the ell were added circa 1820.
Built with Georgian-style features – including wainscot beneath chair rails that meet the windows and paneled fireplace surrounds – portions of the farmhouse were updated circa 1820, when Federal-style doors were installed, several fireplace surrounds were updated and vertical double-beaded paneling replaced the wainscot in several rooms. A second renovation occurred shortly after World War II, updating windows and some doors with Colonial Revival details popular at the time.
The gable-front bank barn is a rare early survivor for the area. Wood-framed and with few embellishments, it has some recycled older timbers that indicate it may be a second-generation agricultural building on site.
Corporal Dudley Gilman (1756-1820), who built the farmhouse and barn, was a Revolutionary War veteran whose regiment served at the Battle of Bennington with Gen. John Stark. His son Josiah likely made the Federal-era improvements after his father’s death.
The property was owned by three generations of the Gilman family until it was purchased by French-Canadians Henry and Dora LeBlanc in 1918; that family has owned it since. The LeBlancs’ only child, Irene, and her husband Matthew Mirski added the Colonial Revival updates.
Irene LeBlanc was born and died in the farmhouse’s borning room. Late in the twentieth century, the summer kitchen was remodeled to provide living space for her.
Chartered on May 20, 1727, Gilmanton was granted to a group of men from Exeter, N.H., including 24 members of the Gilman family, after whom the town was named. What today is Belmont separated from Gilmanton in 1859 and was incorporated as “Upper Gilmanton.” Ten years later, when citizens complained that the name was too long “for those who had to write it often,” the Legislature, without opposition, approved their petition to rename it Belmont.
Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of historic resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.
Listing to the National Register does not impose any new or additional restrictions or limitations on the use of private or non-federal properties. Listings identify historically significant properties and can serve as educational tools and increase heritage tourism opportunities. The rehabilitation of National Register-listed commercial or industrial buildings may qualify for certain federal tax provisions.
In New Hampshire, listing to the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP (lchip.org) and the Conservation License Plate Program (nh.gov/nhdhr/grants/moose).
For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact the Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.
New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NHDHR’s mission is to preserve and celebrate New Hampshire’s irreplaceable historic resources through programs and services that provide education, stewardship, and protection. For more information, visit nh.gov/nhdhr or call 603-271-3483.