Native American History of the Andovers

The area known today as the Merrimack Valley was named for the Merrimack River (Merroh Awke “the strong place or “place of swift waters”) by the Pennacook people who lived here before the arrival of Europeans.

Weir Hill, in present day North Andover, by the Cochichewick pond (Algonquin for “place of the great cascades”) was a seasonal hunting and fishing area for the Pennacook.

After initial coastal settlements of the 1630s expanded, by the next decade English settlers pushed inland from the coast, seeking more land by the authority of royal grants and charters (under the concept of ‘vacuum domicilium’ – vacant land is up for the taking). In 1645 a formative settlement of a few families at the village of ‘Cochichewick’ became the town of Andover with the formation of a Church and the influx of over a dozen families. Once this community was established, the boundaries continued to expand, and established indigenous people’s land and fishing rights were addressed. An example of this is Sagamore Cutshamache appearing before the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1646 to report he had received payment (six pounds currency and a coat) for six acres of land south of the settlement of Andover on the condition that ‘Roger and his Company’ be allowed to continue to plant their fields and fish in the brook adjacent to his land (now known as ‘Roger’s Brook).