Bradford, New Hampshire

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Bradford is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,454 at the 2000 census. The 2009 population was estimated to be 1,589.[1] The town includes the villages of Bradford Center and Melvin Mills.



Granted by Governor Benning Wentworth in 1765 [2] to John Pierce and George Jaffrey of Portsmouth, it was settled in 1771 by Dea. William Presbury and family.[3] Three years later other settlers arrived, several of them from Bradford, Massachusetts, after which the town was named New Bradford. Later, it was called Bradfordton, but upon incorporation by the General Court on September 27, 1787, it was officially named Bradford.[4]

Parts of the town are hilly, but the largest portion is in a valley with varied soil. Streams provided water power for watermills. By 1859, when Bradford's population reached 1,341, industries included one woolen mill, one sash, blind and door factory, one wheelwright shop, two sawmills, one gristmill, one tannery, and one clothing mill.[4] In 1850, the Concord & Claremont Railroad opened from Concord to Bradford, which would remain its terminus until the line was extended to Claremont in 1871-1872.[5]

Concord & Claremont Railroad depot in 1906

The Bradford Hotel in 1906

Lake Massasecum in 1909


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.0 square miles (93 km2), of which 35.3 sq mi (91 km2) is land and 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2) is water, comprising 1.94% of the town. The village of Bradford is located near the northern border of the town, at the intersection of routes 103 and 114, just north of the Warner River and adjacent to the outlet of Todd Lake. The largest water body in the town is Lake Massasecum, near the town's eastern border.

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