The settlement of Andover Massachusetts began in the second quarter of the 17th century, as European fortune seeking individuals pressed deeper inland from coastal settlements such as Ipswich and Newbury. In 1634 the Massachusetts General Court created a deeded agricultural area around a natural waterfall along the Merrimack River. This area was known to the Pennacock people as ‘the place of the great cascade’, or Cochichewick in Algonquin. The Cochichewick Brook tributary lead to a nearby Great Pond, valued by the native people as a fertile fishing and hunting location. A few individuals drifted out to the area, coined Cochichewick Plantation, but the first organized influx did not begin until 1641/2, a 1642 Act of the General Court makes reference to “…the village of Cochitawit”.
In 1646 the compact village which had developed around a central meeting house was incorporated into a town, most likely the name Andover was chosen as an homage to English origins, a new town in this New England. Andover thrived and by 1709 had expanded far enough away from the original nucleated settlement to require two churches and therefore two parishes: the primary settlement becoming the First Parish (also referred to as North Parish) and the newer area became the South Parish. Eventually a West Parish was adopted 1n 1826.
By the middle of the nineteenth century the Parishes had grown apart, with separate churches, schools and industries and finally in 1855 the town of Andover formally split into two towns, the South and West Parishes combining to approach the Massachusetts General Court to secure the rights to the name Andover after which the North Parish reincorporated as the town of North Andover.
Little Migration to the Great Pond
The Evolution of Cochichewick Plantation to North Andover
Edmond Faulkner, John Frye, Nicholas Holt, John Osgood, Joseph Parker and Nathan Parker are listed in the Andover Town Records as original proprietors of the town. They made a financial investment to live here. They were also 6 of the 10 men who founded the First Church of Christ at Andover. Edmond Faulkner became the Town Clerk, John Frye held a vintner license, John Osgood kept an inn and Joseph Parker ran a mill. These men who helped shape Andover into a thriving community had in common that they were all originally from towns and villages not far from the market town of Andover England.
Initially interest in the “in-land” Cochichewick Plantation was slow to spark. But as the decade unfolded, and the established coastal European communities began to swell, many began to look West. By 1645 a church was founded, and the merits of the Great Pond (today known as Lake Cochichewick), made the area an attractive draw. A village was growing.
The first mention of the name Andover, “…Cochichewick, [is] now called Andover.”, appears in the General Court records in 1646, about a year after the foundation of the Church, on an occasion when Pennacook Sagamore Cutshamache was on the agenda. Cutshamache came before the Court to give up his “…right, interest and privilege in the land 6 miles southward from the town, two miles eastward to Rowley bounds be the same more or less, northward to Merrimack River…”. In exchange for the land he received 6 British pounds and a coat. Today in Andover, England, standing in a park, is a tall statue of Cutshamache, coat draped over his arm, one hand holding his pouch of 6 pounds, the other hand raised high and pointing towards Andover in Massachusetts. The incorporation date of 1646 stems from this entry, because it was the first time the name Andover appeared in the Mass Bay Colony Records, although it is also recorded in those records that people held grants of land at Cochichewick as early at 1642.
By the early 18th century the First Church of Christ had become the North, or First, Parish and a second church was founded for the southern end of town. A third parish followed in 1826 for the western end of town. In 1847, part of Andover was absorbed into the creation of a new town called Lawrence. The town was fragmented again in 1855 when the town voted to split in half. It could be said this has led to some rivalry over the years, especially in school sports, however overall “The Andovers”, as the area is often called, share a past which both towns fully appreciate.