About Sullivan County

About Sullivan County

Sullivan County is located in the West Central area of New Hampshire and was named after Brigadier General John Sullivan (1740-1795), a Revolutionary War hero.  On July 5, 1827, Sullivan County came into being.  Prior to its founding, Sullivan County was part of Cheshire County.  The Town of Newport was chosen as the county seat as it remains to this day.

Sullivan County covers an area of 528 square miles and is home to fourteen towns (Acworth, Charlestown, Cornish, Croydon, Goshen, Grantham, Langdon, Lempster, Newport, Plainfield, Springfield, Sunapee, Unity, Washington) and one city (Claremont).

The estimated population of Sullivan County is 43,990 people as of 2019.

Sullivan County employs approximately 280 people.

History of Sullivan County

Unique County registers have been preserved thanks to a $6,000 NH Moose Plate Conservation Grant awarded by the New Hampshire State Library to Sullivan County, and the links below are available for historical research and family interest.  The registers include a complete record of all residents of the Sullivan County Poor House from its opening to its closing (1868-1932).  Other records include detailed information for County Jail prisoners from 1903-1932, burial records for the Poor House cemetery (located at the County Complex on County Farm Road), and birth records from 1929-1940 (when the County Farm briefly included a public infirmary).  

Unity Sullivan County NH Register of Poor 1867-1924
Unity Sullivan County NH Register of Inmates (Poor House Residents) 1925-1932
Unity Sullivan County NH Register of Prisoners 1925-1932
NH Division of Historical Resources Inventory Form: Sullivan County Unity Complex 2012

History of Sullivan County Health Care

Many years ago, the county's poor were supported in houses located on some farm in each town, known as town-farms, or boarded out in private families.  However, it was found that

only the poor and less desirable families would board the county pauper, and more sad still, the children of these paupers were even looked down upon, and wrongfully made to bear the opprobrium of their misfortunes by the other children of the districts in which they might be boarded - thus blasting the first spark of ambition in their earliest years.  It was from such considerations that the plan of county-farms was attempted.


The beginning of the Sullivan County Home was made in 1866 when the county purchased 395 acres in Unity for $6,500 from Lyman Rounsevel.  This included all the buildings.

In 1869 the county purchased from H. Roudy 50 acres for $450.  In 1903, Elgin, Annie and George Colburn of Unity deeded to the county 200 acres for $1,200.  In 1907, C. Reed Lewis of Unity sold the county 50 acres for $175.  In 1921, the county purchased the Judkins property, - 300 acres for $2,100.  Finally, the county purchased the Mills farm for $8,700; this protected the Marshall pond (which was the county farm water supply) from any pollution.

In 1930, it was voted to build a new almshouse for $150,000, and it was erected in 1931.  It was in this building that Dr. Henry C. Sanders, Jr., who had been the county doctor since 1927, attended the county patients.  Dr. Sanders resigned from the position of county doctor in 1942.  Replacing Dr. Sanders was Dr. Carl M. Stearns.  It was at that time that the County Commissioners and County Convention named this building for Dr. Sanders.

In 1963, the County Commissioners began planning for a new building to be built on the Unity property.  In July, 1970 this new building was dedicated to Dr. Stearns for his many years of service to the county's sick.

In 1997, the county opened a 32 bed special care building specifically designed for the care of residents afflicted with the Alzheimer's disease.  This building was named after Commissioner Frank MacConnell, Jr., who was instrumental in seeing this building built.

Today, Sullivan County Health Care is one of the ten largest Nursing Homes in the State of New Hampshire.  It is licensed by the State as a 156 bed, Skilled Nursing Facility, continuing its tradition of caring for the county's elderly population.

By vote of the County Convention on December 12, 1931 the name of Sullivan County Farm was changed to the Sullivan County Home.

[2][1] From "Sanitary Conditions of Almshouses", in the 1871 Transaction of the N.H. Medical Society.

General John Sullivan

General John Sullivan

Chronological List of Nursing Home Superintendents, Matrons and Administrators

Name Dates of Service
Mr. James W. Dodge 1867 thru 1871
Mr. & Mrs. Jonas Hastings 1871 thru 1877
Mr. & Mrs. Charles F. Carr 1877 thru 1879
Mr. K. J. Wilson 1879 thru 1884
Mr. Thomas Bailey (Annex Building) 1884 thru 1885
Mr. Martin A. Herrick 1885 thru 1891
Mr. & Mrs. Charles Willard 1891 thru 1901
Mr. W. E. Perry 1902 thru 1904
Mr. Fred Bean 1904 thru 1905
Mr. & Mrs. H. E. Buswell 1905 thru 1906
Mr. & Mrs. Oliver Putnam 1907 thru 1924
Mr. & Mrs. Luman Grout 1926 thru 1944
Mr. & Mrs. William George 1944 thru 1957
Mr. & Mrs. Omer C. Ahern 1957 thru 1984
Ms. Mary Louise Horn 1984 thru 1988
Ms. Diane H. Pappalardo 1988 thru 1989
Mr. Robert Lawrence 1990 thru 1991
Mr. Robert A. Hemenway 1991 thru 2004
Mr. Courtney Marshall 2005 thru 2006
Mr. Scott Wojtkiewicz 2006 thru 2007
Mr. David Laplante 2007 thru 2007
Acting Mr. Ed Gil de Rubio 2007 thru 2007
Mr. Ted Purdy 2007 thru 2022
Acting Mr. Lewis Thibodeau Jr. 2022 thru 2022
Mr. Matt Lagos 2022 thru present