The Most Powerful Man in NH
  • Print
Written by Strawbery Banke Archive

Tobias Lear V on


Strawbery Banke Presents

Portsmouth has seen its share of presidents during whistle stop tours, but our greatest link to the Oval Office is native son Tobias Lear. He began as tutor to George Washington’s grandchildren at Mt Vernon and became secretary to the first chief executive. (Continued below)


Portsmouth's Complex Native Son

See hundreds of historic photos here

Washington visited Lear’s mother during his 1789 tour and Lear was at Washington’s deathbed in 1799. Lear’s "checkered career included a scandal over the disappearance of some of Washington’s private papers, a failed real estate deal in a swampy area that became Washington, DC. and a risky job as consul in Algiers delivering American payoffs to the Barbary Pirates. Lear was secretary at the Department of War when the British burned the capital city in 1813 and apparently committed suicide three years later. Lear’s only biographer, Raymond Brighton, was a longtime editor and historian at the Portsmouth Herald.

MUCH MORE on Tobias Lear & Washington

Washington's secreatry Tobias Lear of Portsmouth, NH /

This image from the book STRAWBERY BANKE:
A Seaport Museum 400 Years in the Making
by J. Dennis Robinson
(c) Strawbery Banke Museum Collection

Strawbery Banke