Andover History

Andover was originally settled in 1636 under the Native American name of Cochichawicke, a local waterway. The community was incorporated in 1646 as the Town of Andover, named after a town in England where many of its settlers had come from. From the earliest days of the town, manufacturing has played a major part in its development. The region's first powder mill was established in 1775; the manufacture of paper began in 1789; and in the early nineteenth century, several woolen mills prospered.  Andover is known the world over for being the home of one of the oldest and most prestigious independent secondary "prep" schools in the U.S. - Phillips Academy. Founded in 1770 by Samuel Phillips, the school today has an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students. Phillips Academy alumni include such notables as former President George Bush, pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, former Yale President and baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti, and former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Oliver Wendall Holmes Jr.

The patriotic song America was written in 1831 by Samuel Francis Smith while attending the Andover Theological Seminary. Andover is often referred to as the "Home of America."

Learn more history from excerpts below from "The Andover Town Handbook," published by the Andover League of Woman Voters, 1994.
  1. Early History
  2. English Settlement
  3. Witchcraft
  4. The Two Parishes
  5. Revolutionary War
  6. Education
  7. Division of the Town
  8. Civil War
  9. Shawsheen Village Experiment
  10. People
  11. Recent History
Within the past several years archaeologists have uncovered evidence that primitive people who survived as hunters and gatherers lived in the Merrimack Valley area as early as 7000 B.C. When the first European settlers arrived, the Native Americans living where Andover is now located were probably part of the Pennacook Confederacy who spoke the Algonquian language. They lived in seasonal camps, planting corn and tobacco, and catching salmon and alewives. During 1615 and 1616, archaeologists believe a plague reduced the Native American population in eastern Massachusetts from 100,000 to about 5,000. This may be why the early European settlers reported that they met little resistance when they settled into the Merrimack Valley.