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Haverhill, Massachusetts

HAVERHILL, MASSACHUSETTS, a city of Essex county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., situated on the Merrimac river, at the head of tide and navigation, and on the Boston & Maine railway, 33 m. N. of Boston. Pop. (1880) 18,472; (1890) 27,412; (1900) 37,175, of whom 8530 were foreign-born (including 2403 French Canadians, 1651 English Canadians and 2144 Irish), and 15,077 were of foreign parentage (both parents foreign-bom); (1910 census) 44,115. The city, 3 m. wide and 10 m. long, lies for its entire length along the Merrimac river, from which it rises picturesquely, its surface being undulating, with several detached round hills (maximum 339 ft.). Like all old New England cities, it is irregularly laid out. A number of lakes within its limits are the source of an abundant and excellent water supply. There are fifteen public parks, the largest of which, Winnikenni Park (214 acres), contiguous to Lake Kenoza, is of great natural beauty. The city has three well-equipped hospitals, the beautiful Pentucket club house, a children's home, an old ladies' home and numerous charitable organizations. The schools of the city, both public and private, are of high standing; they include Bradford Academy (1803) for girls and the St James School (Roman Catholic). The public library is generously endowed, and in 1908 had about 90,000 volumes. Almost from the beginning of its history Haverhill was active industrially. Thomas Dustin, the husband of Hannah Dustin, manufactured bricks, and this industry has been carried on in the same locality for more than two hundred years. The large Stevens woollen mills are the outgrowth of mills established in 1835. The manufacture of woollen hats, established in the middle of the 18th century, is one of the prominent industries. There are large morocco factories. By far the leading industry of the city is the manufacture of boots, shoes and slippers, chiefly of the finer kinds, of which it is one of the largest producers in the world. In 1905 Haverhill ranked fourth among the cities of the United States in the product value of this manufacture, which was 4-8% of the total value of boots and shoes made in the United States. This industry began about 1795. In 1905 Haverhill's manufacturing establishments produced goods valued at $24,446,594, 83-9% of this output being represented by boots and shoes or their accessories. One of the largest soleleather manufactories in the world is here.

Haverhill was settled in June 1640 by a small colony from Newbury and Ipswich, and its Indian name, Pentucket, was replaced by that of Haverhill in compliment to the first minister, Rev. John Ward, who was born at Haverhill, England. In its earlier years this frontier town suffered severely from the forays of the Indians, and in 1690 the abandonment of the settlement was contemplated. Two Indian attacks are particularly noteworthy one in 1698, in which Hannah Dustin, her newborn babe, and her nurse were carried away to the vicinity of Penacook, now Concord, New Hampshire. Here in the night Mrs Dustin, assisted by her nurse and by a captive English boy, tomahawked and scalped ten Indians (two men, the others children and women) and escaped down the river to Haverhill; a monument to her stands in City Hall Park. In 1708 250 French and Indians attacked the village, killing 40 of its inhabitants. In 1873 a destructive fire caused the loss of 35 places of business, and on the 17th of February 1882 almost the entire shoe district (consisting of 10 acres) was burned, with a loss of more than $2,000,000; but a greater business district was built on the ruins of the old. Haverhill was the birthplace of Whittier, who lived here in 1807-1836, and who in his poem Haverhill, written for the 25oth anniversary of the town in 1890, and in many of his other poems, gave the poet's touch to the history, the legends and the scenery of his native city. His birthplace, the scene of Snow-Bound in the eastern part of the city, is owned by the Whittier Association and is open to visitors. A petition from Haverhill to the national House of Representatives in 1842, praying for a peaceable dissolution of the Union, raised about J. Q. Adams, its presenter, perhaps the most violent storm in the long course of his defence of the right of petition. Haverhill was incorporated as a town in 1645 and became a city in 1869. Bradford, a town (largely residential) lying on the opposite bank of the river, became a part of the city in 1897. In October 1908, by popular vote, the city adopted a new charter providing for government by commission.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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