Haverhill was settled and houses built as early as 1640, however it was not until greater than two years afterwards that the land was purchased from the Indians who owned it. At the time, the town was known as Pentucket. Details of the purchase can be found below in Land & Property.
By 1643, the Massachusetts Bay Colony's administration had expanded
northward to include settlements in what are now New Hampshire and Maine. The
Massachusetts General Court, in 1643, established four counties, then called shires, for
settling legal cases, and denominated those counties Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, and
The Norfolk County of 1643 (Old Norfolk County) was an entirely different geographic area from the present Norfolk County. Located north of the Merrimac River, Old Norfolk included Haverhill, Salisbury, and Amesbury, and what are now the New Hampshire communities of Dover, Exeter, Hampton, and Portsmouth (then called Strawberry Bank). [Information courtesy of the www.norfolkcounty.org website].
Haverhill was engaged in shoemaking as early as 1646, resulting in a long and fascinating history of shoemaking and other tanned leather goods.
In 1725, a petition was made to the General Court for land at "Pennycook", N.H. (now Concord). The petition was granted and in 1726, 36 of the 100 men admitted as settlers to the new township were from Haverhill. More information can be found under Early Inhabitants below.
The throat distemper which prevailed throughout the County of Essex in 1735, 1736 and 1737 was particularly fatal in Haverhill. From Nov. 17, 1735, to Dec. 31, 1737, two hundred and fifty-six children, most of them under ten years of age, died from the disease, and in the whole county the deaths of about fourteen hundred children and a considerable number of adults are estimated resulted.
In 1741 a new state line was created between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. As a result, nearly one-third of the population, territory, and property of the town of Haverhill, fell to the north of the Massachusetts line. In addition, to the large portion was carved out for Methuen, in 1725, more than one-half of the land originally belonging to Haverhill had been taken within the short period of fifteen years. It was, indeed, a great change in its condition, and prospects, and must have been felt most seriously.
Records & Resources
USGS Haverhill Map
Haverhill Ancestor Web Pages
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Essex County Massachusetts Genealogy Project: Founded
Haverhill GenWeb History
Haverhill Massachusetts Genealogy Project: Established January 14, 1997
The Haverhill GenWeb site was created by Ethelind Wright
who maintained it through January 2000
This site was then maintained by Bill Prokasy through
Visitor since February 12, 2000
Copyright © 2007 by Terryl
This site last updated 04 July 2007