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The city of Keene is the seat of Cheshire County, New Hampshire, and home to Keene State College and Antioch University New England. The land was granted by Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher in 1735 to sixty-three settlers whose properties were assigned by lot. Settled in 1736, it was first named Upper Ashuelot, and intended to serve as a fort town, protecting the Province of Massachusetts Bay during the French and Indian Wars, but when the Massachusetts-New Hampshire borders were finalized, the town became part of New Hampshire. The settlement was attacked and burned by Indians during King George’s War, after which the colonists fled, but returned to rebuild in the 1750s. It was re-granted in 1753 by Governor Benning Wentworth, who renamed it Keene, for Sir Benjamin Keene. It became the county seat in 1769.

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