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Robert Fowle (1743-1802)

Robert, the son of John Fowle, served his apprenticeship in Portsmouth with his uncle, Daniel Fowle, and in 1764 became his partner. In 1774, when differences in political opinions caused their separation, Robert moved to Exeter where he established the first press in that town. He began printing the newspaper, The Exeter Journal, or New Hampshire Gazette, and did some printing for the government. During the Revolutionary War, Robert ran into trouble with local leaders who disliked his Tory leanings. They suspected him of printing counterfeit money and arrested him in 1777. On January 7, an advertisement stated that he escaped and fled behind British lines in New York.

The year that he joined his uncle, Robert Fowle’s name began appearing on printed works. These are two of the earliest publications bearing his name.


The Life of the Late Reverend James Hervey (Portsmouth: D. Fowle and R. Fowle, 1764)


A Sermon Preached on the Public Fast (Portsmouth: D. Fowle and R. Fowle, 1764)

After Robert fled, his younger brother, Zechariah, took over the printing business. Zechariah continued to print The Exeter Journal. He also printed documents for the new government, his business apparently untainted by his brother’s reputation.


Articles of Confederation(Exeter: Z. Fowle, 1777)