Bradford, Massachusetts

Bradford, Massachusetts

Bradford is a former town in Essex County, Massachusetts on the banks of the Merrimack River. It included land that was originally part of Rowley, Massachusetts. It was known as "Merrimac Lands," and "Rowley Village by the Merrimack" and "Merrimack." The name was changed to Bradford at a town meeting held January 7, 1672. It was named in memory of Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Some of the settlers emigrated from there. The town first paid colonial tax on October 13, 1675.


Bradford (officially incorporated in 1675) was originally part of the town of Rowley. Before Bradford was separated from Rowley and named Bradford in 1672, it was called Rowley on the Merrimack, or just Merrimack. The east parish of Bradford (established in 1726) separated from Bradford in 1850 and was incorporated as the town of Groveland on March 8, 1850. The remaining west part of Bradford was annexed to the city of Haverhill in 1897. Presently, Bradford refers to the area of Haverhill on the south side of the Merrimack River which was the old town of Bradford. Bradford still has its own post office and zip code: 01835.

The original meeting house was located where the Old Bradford Burying Ground is at 326 Salem St. This first church was replaced in 1705. In 1726 the east parish of Bradford was established which later in 1850 became the town of Groveland. In 1751 the church was replaced by a new building that was located on what is now Bradford common. In 1848 the fifth Bradford church was built at is present location facing the common.

Ministers of Bradford : Rev.Zechariah Symmes 1682 to 1707, Rev.Thomas Symmes 1708 to 1725, Rev.Joseph Parsons 1726 d.1765, Rev. Samuel Williams 1765 to 1780, Rev. Jonathan Allen 1781 d.1827, Rev. Ira Ingraham 1824 to 1830, Rev Loammi Ives Hoadly 1830 to 1833, Rev. Moses Searle 1833 to 1834, Rev. Nathan Munroe 1836 to 1854, Rev. James T. McCollom to 1865, Rev. John D. Kingsbury.

The first school was noted in Bradford in 1701. In 1820 there was 7 school houses in 6 school districts in Bradford. Bradford Academy was establish in 1803.

In 1676 Thomas Kimball was killed by Indians in Bradford during King Philips War. In 1755 during the French and Indian War Capt. William Kimbal marched a company of men from Bradford to Stillwater New York. Capt. Nathaniel Gage took a company of 40 men from Bradford to the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. The railroad came to Bradford in 1837.

Like all towns, epidemics have struck the town several times. Throat distemper struck in 1736 killing 47 children and 9 adults, it struck again 1762 when 23 died, and again in 1794 when 15 died. Small Pox struck in 1777 killing ten.

The population of Bradford has been 1765 - 1125, 1776 - 1240, 1790 - 1371, 1800 - 1420, 1810 - 1360, 1820 - 1600, 1830 - 1856, 1840 - 2222. In 1850 after Groveland separated from Bradford the population was 1328. And in 1895 just before Bradford was annexed by Haverhill the population was 4736.

Bradford was primarily a farming community and there are a few farms still in operation. Bradford had several shoe manufacturers who later moved to Haverhill except for Knipe. Several mills long operated on the Johnson's creek (now in Groveland). These included fulling mills (used to remove the lanolin oil from woolen cloth), saw mills, bark mills, and grist mills for grinding corn,


*Bradford College (Massachusetts)
*Carleton School for Boys
*Caleb Dustin Hunking Middle School
* [ Bradford Elementary School] - 118 Montvale St.
* [ Greenleaf Elementary School] - 58 Chadwick St.
*Knipe Elementary School (now closed) (now the Bradford Christian Academy)
*Cogswell Elementary School (now closed)
*Wood Elementary School (now closed)
*Haverhill High School (Located across the Merrimack River in Haverhill Proper)

Notable residents

*Isaac N. Carleton, educator, founder of Bradford's Carleton School for Boys
*Walter Tenney Carleton, businessman, one of the three founding directors of NEC Corporation
*Ann Judson, America's first overseas female missionary


*Kingsbury, J D. "Memorial History of Bradford". published in 1883 by C C Morse and Son.
*Cogswell, John. "History of Bradford". from the History of Essex County vol.2 published by Hurd in 1888.
*Perry, Gardiner . "Discourse on the History of Bradford". published in 1821.
* [ Topsfield Historical Society] (1907), [,M1 "Vital Records of Bradford, Massachusetts to the Year 1849"] at Full text transcription available at .
*George H. Walker. [ "Altas of Haverhill and Bradford"] . Published 1892. Images at Salemdeeds, click on the plate number and then on the small image to get the very large image.
*Kimball, Daniel and Daniel Stickney and Nathaniel Thurston. [ Map of Bradford 1795 ] .
*Spofford, Jeremiah and Benjamin Greenleaf. [ Map of Bradford 1831 ] . click on the map to get a very large image.
* [ Map of Bradford 1872] . Plate 37 of the Atlas of Essex County, published 1872 by D.G.Beers.
*Walker, George. [ Atlas of Essex County] . plate 134 and 135, published 1884. click on map to get a VERY large image.

External links

* [ Bradford Burial Ground Video]

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