Andover is an affluent town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. It was settled in 1642 and incorporated in 1646. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,201. It is part of the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts-New Hampshire metropolitan statistical area.
Establishment and incorporation
In 1634, the Great and General Court of Massachusetts set aside a portion of land in what is now Essex County for an inland plantation, including parts of what is now Andover, North Andover and South Lawrence. In order to encourage settlement, early colonists were offered three years' immunity from taxes, levies and services (except military service). The first permanent settlement in the Andover area was established in 1641 by John Woodbridge and a group of settlers from Newbury and Ipswich.
Shortly after they arrived, they purchased a piece of land from the local Pennacook tribal chief Cutshamache for the price of "six pounds of currency and a coat" and on the condition that Roger, a local Pennacook man, would still be allowed to plant his corn and take alewives from a local water source. Roger's Brook, a small stream which cuts through the eastern part of town, is named in his honor. In May 1646 the settlement was incorporated as a town and was named Andover. This name was likely chosen in honor of the town of Andover in England, which was near the original home of some of the first residents. The first recorded town meeting was held in 1656 in the home of settler John Osgood in what is now the town of North Andover.
The old burying ground in what is now North Andover marks the center of the early town. Contrary to popular belief, the towns split due to the location of the Old North Church, also located in what is now North Andover. So technically, what is now Andover was not incorporated as a township until many years after 1646. The villagers from the southwestern part of the town were tired of walking all the way to the extreme north of what was then Andover, and decided to build their own church central to what is now Andover. Early on the general populace was concentrated together around the Old Center (North Andover) for protection from feared Indian attacks, but the Indians were fairly peaceful until the outbreak of King Philip's War in 1675. King Philip was an Indian who organized a revolt against the white settlers throughout most of New England. Six Indian raids occurred between 1676 and 1698 (the last led by Chief Escumbuit) until ever-increasing numbers of white settlers established control of the land.
In November 1798, David Brown led a group in Dedham, Massachusetts in setting up a liberty pole with the words, "No Stamp Act, No Sedition Act, No Alien Bills, No Land Tax, downfall to the Tyrants of America; peace and retirement to the President; Love Live the Vice President," referring to then-President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson. Brown was arrested in Andover, Massachusetts but because he could not afford the $4,000 bail, he was taken to Salem for trial. Brown was tried in June 1799. Brown wanted to plead guilty but Justice Samuel Chase wanted him to name everybody who had helped him or who subscribed to his writings. Brown refused, was fined $480, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison, the most severe sentence then imposed under the Alien and Sedition Acts.
During the Salem witch trials in 1692, Andover resident Joseph Ballard asked for help for his wife from several girls in the neighboring Salem Village who were already identifying witches there. After visiting Elizabeth Ballard, the girls claimed that several people in Andover had bewitched her: Ann Foster, her daughter Mary Lacey Sr. and her granddaughter Mary Lacey Jr. During the course of the legal proceedings, more than 40 Andover citizens, mostly women and their children, were formally accused of having made a covenant with the Devil. Three Andover residents, Martha Carrier, Mary Parker, and Samuel Wardwell, were convicted and executed. Five others either pled guilty at arraignment or were convicted at trial: Ann Foster, Mary Lacey Sr., and Abigail Faulkner Sr. (daughter of Andover's minister, Francis Dane) in 1692 and Wardwell's wife Sarah and Rev. Dane's granddaughter, Elizabeth Johnson Jr. in 1693. Those who were not executed were granted reprieves by Gov. William Phips, but the convictions remained on their records. In 1713, in response to petitions initiated in 1703 by Abigail Faulkner Sr. and Sarah Wardwell, Massachusetts Governor Joseph Dudley reversed the attainder on the names of those who were convicted in the episode.
The two parishes and the division of the town
By 1705, Andover's population had begun to move southward and the idea of a new meeting house in the south end of town was proposed. This was strongly opposed by the people living near the original meeting house in the north, but the dispute was finally settled in 1709 when the Great and General Court divided Andover into two parishes, North and South. After the division of the two parishes, South Andover established the South Parish "Burying-Yard," as it was called, with early Andover settler Robert Russell the first to be interred at age 80 in December, 1710. But despite this split, the town remained politically one unit.
For many years Andover was geographically one of the largest towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; in 1826 a third parish was established and West Parish Church was constructed on Reservation Road. In 1854, a measure was passed to divide the town into two separate political units according to the old parish boundaries. The name Andover was assumed by the more populous and wealthy West and South parishes, while the name North Andover was given to the North Parish.
Andover in the Revolutionary War
Records show that on the morning of April 19, 1775, approximately 350 Andover men marched toward Lexington. Although they did not arrive in time for the battle that day, they did go on to participate in the battle of Bunker Hill two months later and fought in subsequent skirmishes with the Redcoats during the war.
Among the Andover men who were representatives to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention were Col. Samuel Osgood, Zebadiah Abbot, John Farnum and Samuel Phillips, Jr. Phillips – who would later go on to found Phillips Academy – was later appointed by John Adams to help draft the Massachusetts state constitution.
During the burning of Charlestown (June 17, 1775) Andover townspeople hiked to the top of Holt Hill to witness it. Holt Hill is the highest geographical point in Essex County and is currently part of the Charles W. Ward Reservation.
Death of President-elect Franklin Pierce's son
On January 6, 1853, Benjamin "Bennie" Pierce, the 11-year-old son of President-elect Franklin Pierce and his wife Jane, was killed in a train accident in town. The Boston & Maine noon express, traveling from Boston to Lawrence, was moving at 40 miles per hour when an axle broke. The only coach, in which Franklin Pierce was also riding, went down an embankment and broke in two. (The baggage car and locomotive had remained on the track.) Pierce's son was the only passenger killed, but it was initially reported that Pierce was also a fatality. The boy was nearly decapitated. Pierce covered him with a sheet, hoping to spare his wife, but Jane also saw their son. They both suffered severe depression afterward, which affected Pierce's performance throughout his presidency. Pierce was only badly bruised. The Pierces had previously lost two other children. The death is said to have cast a pall on the couple, especially Jane, who entertained hardly at all in the White House and spent much of her time writing letters to her dead children. She died, still grief-stricken, in 1863. After Pierce left the White House in 1857, Pierce said "All that's left, is to drink & die". Six years after the death of his wife, Pierce died in October 1869, of cirrhosis of the liver.
The anti-slavery movement had many supporters in Andover long before the American Civil War began. William Jenkins - an ardent abolitionist and friend of William Lloyd Garrison - and several others provided stops on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. It should be noted that Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, was a longtime resident. Her home, known as Stowe House, is now owned by Phillips Academy Andover. Her body is buried in Phillips Academy's cemetery. When the Confederate Army shelled Fort Sumter in 1861, a company of 79 volunteers formed. By the time the war ended in 1865, 600 Andover men had served in the Union Army.
In 1919, the American Woolen Company announced plans to build a million dollar mill in the already-existing mill community of Frye Village and rename the region "Shawsheen." The village was completely rebuilt as a "model industrial community" and became the site of the company's headquarters. The mill began operating in 1922 and within two years the village contained more than 200 houses, several community buildings, a few tennis courts, a swimming area, a bowling green, an athletic field and a golf course. The employees rented their homes from the company; the brick structures were reserved for upper management and the wooden buildings for those of lesser position. This industrial utopia, however, was short-lived - by the early 1940s almost all of the houses and administration buildings were in private hands. The mills became a victim of changing technology as synthetic fibers became more popular than wool. The American Woolen Company closed its mills in 1953, and the buildings today house a variety of businesses, homes, and apartments. The village left its mark nationally, however, when its soccer team, the Shawsheen Indians won the national soccer championship in 1925.