The Indian name for this locality was “Pentucket” – but the early settlers applied the name of Haverhill in compliment to Rev. John Ward, the first minister, who came from Haverhill, England. “Mr. Ward & Newberry men” petitioned the General Court on May 13, 1640, for permission to begin a new plantation on the Merrimack river, which was granted provided “they build there before the next Courte.” Though the town was settled and houses erected in 1640 it was not until November 15, 1642, that a title to the land was purchased of the Indian owners.

  • In June, 1641, the Court appointed men to determine the bounds “between Salsberry and Pantucket alias Haverhill.”
  • In 1643, a law was passed by the General Court requiring records to be kept of births, marriages and deaths in each town and in Haverhill, Richard Littlehale was chosen “clerk of the Writs and Town Recorder,” and the first meeting of which proceedings are recorded was held November 6, 1643.
  • In 1645 the plantation of Haverhill was incorporated as a town.
  • An island in the Merrimack river was granted to Haverhill on May 23, 1650.
  • October 14, 1651 bounds were established.
  • October 19, 1654 bounds between Haverhill and Salisbury were established.
  • May 18, 1664 bounds between Haverhill and lands of Maj. Gen’l Dennison were established.
  • December 8, 1725 the western part of the town was included in the new town of Methuen.

The population of Haverhill at different periods was as follows:

1765 – 1,980
1776 – 2,810
1790 – 2,408
1810 – 2,682
1820 – 3,070
1830 – 3,896
1840 – 4,336
1850 – 5,877
1907 – 41,242

Other Haverhill, Massachusetts Resources: