County government in New Hampshire began in 1771 under British rule with five counties. Coös County was the first county created in New Hampshire after the United States achieved its independence. An Act approved by the Legislature in 1803 created Coös County as a spin-off from Grafton County.
The original population was only 3000 people. The original settlers of the North Country were hardy and courageous. At that time, the county was home to vast tracts of woodlands, Abnaki tribes, and wild animals.
Coös is an Indian word for "dwellers in the pine tree place".
Today, 200 years later, what few people reside here still have the same sense of purpose and strength of character. Coös County contains nearly 20% of the total land area of the State of New Hampshire. However, only 2.6% of the State's population resides here.
We are bordered by Canada to the north, Vermont to the west, and Maine to the east.
The original counties were created to care for the roads, record land transactions, administer the courts and penal system and enforce the laws of the state with the County Sheriff serving as the chief law enforcement officer. Today there are 10 counties in New Hampshire. County government exists to provide services to people. Some of these services originated in the Constitution of New Hampshire.
- The responsibility for the care of roads now lies with the State or the local municipalities.
- The court system is operated by the state but many of those early constitutional duties remain a part of our responsibility today. The structure of the County government today is modeled after a basic multi-branch system of government.
- There are three County Commissioners who make up the executive branch and are responsible for the day to day operations of the county in both fiscal and policy matters.
- The elected representatives from Coös County to the New Hampshire House are the legislative branch. They appropriate funds for county operations and approve any sales or acquisitions of real estate for the county.