Tuftonboro was the only incorporated place in New Hampshire owned by just one man, John Tufton Mason, for whom the town was named. Following the 1741 separation of New Hampshire from Massachusetts, Mason was heir to the Masonian Claim, the undivided lands of northern New Hampshire. He sold them in 1746 to a group of Portsmouth merchants, thereafter known as the Masonian Proprietors. They disposed of the land via grants to prospective settlers prior to the Revolution.
The town was granted as Tuftonborough in 1750 by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth, and first settled about 1780. It was incorporated by the legislature on December 17, 1795. By 1859, when the population was 1,305, the principal occupation was raising cattle and sheep across the hilly terrain. Tuftonboro has miles of winding back roads, rolling fields, old homesteads and beautiful scenic views of the Ossipee Mountains to the northeast.
Melvin Village, a village of Tuftonboro, is a summer vacation spot on Melvin Bay of Lake Winnipesaukee. It has a marina and many lakeside homes and cottages that are for rent. It is also a popular spot for antique shopping. Melvin Village is in the western part of Tuftonboro, near the town of Moultonborough.