Andover Massachusetts, 1890

Andover is a flourishing and delightful town of 5,711 inhabitants, 202 farms, 1,014 dwellings, and a valuation, in 1888, of $4,952,750. The rate of taxation was $11 on $1,000. It is situated in the northwestern part of Essex County, about 23 miles from Boston. On the north is Dracut, Methuen and Lawrence ; North Andover is on the northeast, North Reading and Wilmington on the south, and Tewksbury on the southwest. The territorial area is about 20,000 acres ; of which about 6,000 acres are woodland. The geological formation is calcareous gneiss, with an intervening bed of granite and steatite, or soapstone. The most conspicuous eminences are Prospect Hill, just south of the centre of the town, 420 feet, and Wood Hill, 320 feet above sea-level. The view from Seminary Hill, also, embracing the valley of the Shawsheen, is very beautiful and extensive. The Merrimack River forms the western half of the town's north line, and at the northeast receives the Shawsheen, which comes through the midst of the town from the south. In the southeast part is the little Skug River, flowing southwesterly ; while west of it Foster's Pond sends its waters to the Shawsheen ; and, near the northwest, at the feet of the hills, Haggett's Pond, with an area of 224 acres, gathers the waters which it discharges into the Merrimack through Fish Brook. The forests contain much white pine, white and red oak, white maple, white birch and hickory. There are, besides, great numbers of trees along the highways, American elm, rock-maple, chestnut and linden, some of which are more than seventy years old and very large. On the farms and village grounds are, in the aggregate, about 22,000 fruit trees. The soil, for the most part, is a rich sandy loam. The dairy products in 1885 were valued at $75,481 ; the vegetables, $52,140 ; and the aggregate product of the farms and market gar dens $300,957. The principal manufacturing establishments are the flax and hemp mills, having four large buildings, three of which are of stone and brick ; the woollen mills, one establishment having four brick factories, and the other having one of brick and one of wood. These mills employ, the first about 300, the second 200, and the third 190. There are also shoe-shops, and other small factories, making up a total number of 57. The largest products were shoes, $67,860 ; clothing and straw goods, $28,185 ; iron and other metallic goods, $226,996 ; paints, chemicals, etc., $20,000 ; linen and woollen goods, $1,208,146 ; total manufactured goods, $1,780,916.

But the chief glory of the town is her educational institutions. Beside the public schools, which are creditable, there are twenty four buildings devoted to private schools. The principal of these are the Theological Seminary, established in 1807 ; Phillips Academy, incorporated in 1829; and Abbot Academy for girls in 1829. Phillips was the second academy in the State, and the seminary was the first of the kind in the country. All are well endowed, the seminary having had donations to upwards of half a million dollars. Twelve libraries furnish ample intellectual food to the people ; there being two public libraries, while each school has its own, the Theological School library numbering about 50,000 volumes.

The principal public buildings of interest at this time are Soldiers' Memorial Hall (a costly and noble building containing also a public library), the new grammar school-house, and the bank building (Andover National Bank) whose estimated cost is $40,000. The savings bank, on January 1, 1889, held deposits to the amount of $1,810,000, and a large surplus from profits.

Andover (centre) and Ballardvale are the post-offices ; and these, with Frye Village and West Centre, are railroad stations on the Boston and Maine and the Lowell and Lawrence railroads.

Among other natural objects of interest is Red Spring, whose waters, tinctured with iron, issue from beneath a vast glacial deposit. The unsurpassed views from the summits of the northern highlands make them worthy of the attention of other than inhabitants of the region. The vision extends over the valleys of the Merrimack and Shawsheen, the wooded hills and the glimmering ponds, and the city of Lawrence,


" Pure and still. . . .
Its shuttles ply,
Its looms are busy but the crystal sky
Above it like a mother bends, until
The pictured city seems with peace to fill,"

and many another village there, indicated by the spires, rising above " cathedral elms."

In Andover there are many churches, the Congregationalists having five ; while the Baptist, Episcopal and Methodist each have one, and the Roman Catholics two. Of these three are of stone, and others still of attractive architecture.

[Theological Seminary, general view.]

The region is certainly favorable to length of days, for the last State census shows that there were 82 persons over 80 years, and one over 100 years of age.

About 400 men from Andover entered the Union army during the late war, of whom 40 were lost.

The Indian name of this town was Cochickawick. Its present name was from Andover, Hants County, England, from which several of the early settlers came. The land was purchased by Rev. John Woodbridge of the sagamore Cutsnamache for the sum of six English pounds cash and a coat. It was incorporated as a town, May 6, 1646. In the year 1676 depredations were committed by the Indians : Joseph Abbot was killed ; his brother Timothy taken prisoner, but afterwards restored ; Mr. Edward Faulkner's house was burned, Roger Marks was wounded, and Mr. Haggett and two of his sons were captured. In 1698 Assacumbuit led about forty Indians into Andover, burned two dwellings, killed Simon Wade, Nathaniel Brown, Penelope Johnson, Captain Pascoe Chubb, his wife Hannah, and a daughter of Edmund Faulkner. During the witchcraft delusion in 1692, more than fifty complaints were made against persons in the town for bewitching or afflicting their neighbors or companions ; and three persons Samuel Wardell, Martha Carrie; and Mary Parker were tried, found guilty, and promptly hung for witchcraft.

The following are mentioned as eminent people of the town : Col. James Frye (1709-1776), Gen. Joseph Frye (1711-1794), John Phillips, LL.D. (1719-1795), Jedediah Foster (1726-1779), Samuel Abbot (1732-1812), Abiel Foster (1735-1806), Enoch Poor (1736-1780), Thomas Kittredge, M.D. (1746-1818), David Osgood, D.D. (1747-1822), Samuel Osgood, A.A.S. (1748-1813), Samuel Phillips, LL.D. (1752-1802), Benjamin Abbot, LL.D. (1762-1849), Abiel Abbot, D.D. (1770-1828), Thomas Abbot Merrill, D.D. (1780-1855), Stephen Foster (1798-1835), John Alfred Poor (1808-1871), Elizabeth (Stuart) Phelps (1815-1852), Harriette Newell (Woods) Baker (1815), Gen. Isaac Ingalls Stevens (1818-1862). 

pp. 112-115 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890