"Live Free or Die" was adopted as the official motto of New Hampshire in 1945. The origin of the phrase is a toast written by General John Stark on July 31, 1809. Unable to attend an anniversary reunion of the Battle of Bennington, Stark wrote: "Live free or die: Death is not the worst of evils."
The Battle of Bennington was fought Aug. 16, 1777, over the border from Bennington, Vt., in Walloomsac, NY. An American force of 2,000 New Hampshire and Massachusetts soldiers led by Stark defeated a mixed force of 1,250 mercenaries, Native Americans, Canadians and British loyalists.
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