THIS IS THE OFFICIAL NASHUA, NH USA HISTORY WEBSITE

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Nashua History
Life in our city existed on the shores of the Nashua River eight to ten thousand years ago. Our waterways were highways of scenic splendor. Our lands, rich in wildlife and fertility.

Artifacts from the prehistoric periods were found in a 1995 excavation at Mine Falls. A preservation dig was executed by Gary Hume, NH State Archeologist. Oriental Fishtail Point, made of raw volcanic material from the Lakes Region; Stark Point, made of Boston siltstone and used during the Middle Archaic Period; and a three to four thousand year old Susquehanna broad tip arrow were all found during the preservation excavation. Mr. Hume states, "It does indicate that people passed through this area continuously."

The first area to become a permanent settlement was located between the Merrimack River and Salmon Brook, near Harbor Pond. The settlers referred this area as 'the Harbor' and the area south of the Harbor was coined "Salmon Brook neck". The Pennacooks named the brook for the salmon fish they found plentiful there.

See a map of Harbor Pond

These findings give us a picture of the land usage from so long ago. Travelers made their way, by river travel, and stopped in Nashua along the way. However, Nashua was not the name of the land as it is today. A much larger region which includes our city, was called Wattananock (pronounced wah-taw-nah-nok).

Wattananock was the homeland of the Naticook tribe of the Pennacook Confederacy. Later, they would relocate to Pennacook (Concord, NH).

In 1652, the Massachusetts Bay Colony funded an expedition of four men; Captain Edward Johnson, C. Simon Willard, Johnathan Ince and John Sherman were instructed to discover the source of the Merrimack river and report any other useful information. Findings included campsites located along the banks of the Souhegan and Merrimack Rivers along with about fifty families residing at the confluence of the Nashua River and Salmon Brook.

Other "adventurers" and explorers camped through the Wattananock land during the 1650's - 1660's; Some, assembling trading posts to swap their English goods for native captured animal furs. The furs were a very popular import to England.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony issued many land grants during this time as payment for services they received. During the mid 1660's the families of these grant holders began migrating north to the Wattananock area. Some families on record are Blanchard, Acres, Cummings, French, Hassell, Lund, Sollendine, Weld and Whiting.

About 1666, a very important settler to arrive is Judge Edward Tyng. Tyng purchased land in what would become the neighboring town of Tyngsboro, Massachusetts and saw the area as a future economic stronghold. He, along with his sons and other investors strongly contributed to its development.

The Pennacook people were as friendly as they could be to their new English neighbors. Great sachem Passaconaway was a heroic warrior and keeper of the peace. He gave a very important speech in 1660 explaining the necessity of becoming allies with the English. "Peace, Peace, with the white men - is the command of the Great Spirit - and is the wish - the last wish - of Passaconaway." The Pennacook people understood their leader and remained obedient to peaceful relations. Passaconaway died in 1670, at the outstanding age of one hundred and twenty. His speech did not persuade the other tribes to peace. The history of the frontiers until the 1726 treaty of Casco Bay is a sequence of attacks, arson, captivity and massacre.

On October 26, 1673, a 200 square mile rectangle called 'Dunstable Massachusetts Bay Colony' was chartered into a Massachusetts bay colony township. The name Dunstable derived from a town in England where both Tyng and his wife were born. You may also see the rectangle of land referenced as 'The Ancient Town of Dunstable'.

See the map of Old Dunstable

Continue to nH 1675 - 1700