Bradford Massachusetts, 1890


Bradford
is beautifully situated on the right bank of the Merrimack River, in the northwesterly part of Essex County. Its bounds are Haverhill on the north (separated by the river), Groveland on the east, Boxford on the south, and Methuen on the east. Its assessed area is 4,546 acres, including 578 acres of woodland. It is about thirty miles north by northwest of Boston on the Boston and Maine Railroad, which has a branch on both the east and west sides, with Ward Hill and Bradford as stations. Little Pond, in the southerly part of the town, sends a small tributary to the Merrimack. The land is handsomely diversified by hill and valley. The soil is generally productive, and the climate healthful. The 122 farms, in 1885, yielded products to the value of $108,204. There were twenty-five manufactories of different kinds, boots and shoes, hats and other straw goods, leather, paper goods, food preparations and others, the aggregate value of these being $472,947. The valuation, in 1888, was $1,619,402; and the tax, $17 on $1,000. The population is 3,106. The public schools are graded, and occupy six school buildings valued at about $33,000. There are five libraries, to some extent accessible to the public; one being the public school library of about 500 volumes, another the academy library, of upwards of 4,000.

[Bradford Academy, Bradford.]

The marked feature of interest in the town is Bradford Academy, founded in 1803 for the higher education of both sexes. The female interest from the first predominated, and in 1836 the school became an exclusively female seminary. Benjamin Greenleaf and Miss A. C. Hasseltine were long associate principals; and Miss Hasseltine, as associate, and, later, as sole principal, was connected with the institution for almost half a century. This was the school of Ann H. Judson and Harriet Newell; and in it are concentrated many sacred and tender memories of the Christian culture of woman. Bradford Academy opened a new era in female education. It combined then, as now, the three elements, the material, the Christian, and the ornamental. The institution now has its third hall, erected in 1843, at a cost of about $130,000; and upon which considerable sums have since been expended. The buildings occupy a commanding site overlooking the broad Merrimack, the beautiful city of Haverhill arising at the northward, on the opposite bank. A memorial volume of Bradford Academy has been published by the trustees, from the pen of one of its graduates and teachers, Mrs. E. A. Barrows, the wife of the Rev. William Barrows, D.D. Another eminent native was the Hon. George Ashmun (1804-1870), an able lawyer and a member of Congress.

Originally this place bore the name of Merrimack; later, it was called Rowley Village. It was first occupied as wild land by Ezekiel Rogers and others, in 1658; and in 1675 it was incorporated under the name which it near bears. This appellation was probably chosen from regard to the large town of this name in the West Riding of York, England. On the 3rd of May of the ensuing year Thomas Kimball was shot by the Indians, and his wife and five children carried away captive. A Congregational church was organized here, and the Rev. Zachariah Symmes ordained pastor, December 27th, 1682. The society has now a large and handsome church edifice here.

pp. 194-195 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

Gazetteer