Pepperell, Massachusetts

Pepperell is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 11,497 at the 2010 census.[1] It includes the village of East Pepperell.

Pepperell, Massachusetts
Pepperell Covered Bridge
Pepperell Covered Bridge
Official seal of Pepperell, Massachusetts

Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°39′57″N 71°35′20″W / 42.66583°N 71.58889°WCoordinates: 42°39′57″N 71°35′20″W / 42.66583°N 71.58889°W
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total23.2 sq mi (60.0 km2)
 • Land22.6 sq mi (58.4 km2)
 • Water0.6 sq mi (1.6 km2)
244 ft (74 m)
 • Total11,497
 • Density500/sq mi (190/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s)351 / 978
FIPS code25-52805
GNIS feature ID0618231


Pepperell covered bridge
The old Pepperell covered bridge
Lawrence Library, Pepperell, MA
The Lawrence Library
Pepperell Covered Bridge, East Pepperell MA
The new Pepperell Covered Bridge

Pepperell was first settled in 1720 as a part of Groton, and was officially incorporated as its own town in 1775. The founders named it after Sir William Pepperrell, a Massachusetts colonial soldier who led the Siege of Louisbourg during King George's War. The town was noted for its good soil and orchards.

Since its formation, the town was active in the American independence movement. Being located northwest of Concord, Pepperell never saw British attack during the American Revolutionary War, though several Pepperell men fought at the Old North Bridge during the Battle of Concord, and a British spy was captured by women on guard at the site of the Pepperell covered bridge (see Prudence Wright[2]). Town resident William Prescott served as the commander at the Battle of Bunker Hill in what is now the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston.[3]

By 1837, when the population was 1,586, Pepperell had three paper mills, one of which was managed by Warren F. Daniell. It also produced palm leaf hats, boots and shoes.[4]

In 1848, the Worcester & Nashua Railroad built a line and train station in Pepperell along the Nashua River. In 1886 the line became part of the Boston & Maine Railroad, and continued to operate trains to Worcester and Nashua, as well as connections to Portland, Maine and beyond. In the midst of the Great Depression, the Pepperell stop was taken out of service in 1934, and the station was subsequently demolished. Freight trains continued to pass through Pepperell until 1981, and the tracks themselves were pulled up in 1984. In 2001, what had been the train path was paved over to become part of the Nashua River Rail Trail.[5][6]

The town library, the Lawrence Library, was designed by architects Ernest Flagg and Walter B. Chambers, and built in 1901. On June 29, 2009 the people of Pepperell voted yes on a Proposition 2½ override, effectively saving operations of the Lawrence Library, Senior Center, and Community Center. The override helped fill a $1.3 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2010.

One of only three covered bridges on public Massachusetts roads that is open to vehicular traffic (and the only one east of the Connecticut River) is located on Groton Street in Pepperell. The current bridge officially opened on July 30, 2010, replacing the aging Chester H. Waterous Bridge which was closed to vehicles on April 7, 2008 and demolished beginning July 30, 2008. It took two years to construct the new covered bridge.[7][8]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.2 square miles (60.0 km²), of which 22.6 square miles (58.4 km²) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) (2.63%) is water. Pepperell is located at the confluence of the Nissitissit River with the Nashua River. According to the Pepperell Reader, the town is situated on a long extinct volcano that helped shape much of New England's geology.

Pepperell borders Brookline and Hollis, New Hampshire to the north, Dunstable to the east, Groton to the south, and Townsend to the west.

Pepperell is served by state routes 111, 113 and 119.


Historical population
* = population estimate.
Source: United States Census records and Population Estimates Program data.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

As of the census[19] of 2010, there were 11,497 people, 3,847 households, and 3,016 families residing in the town. The population density was 495.6 people per square mile (191.4/km²). There were 4,348 housing units at an average density of 187.4 per square mile (72.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.61% White, 0.56% Black or African American, 0.04% Native American, 1.07% Asian, 2.71% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.25% of the population.

There were 3,847 households out of which 44.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.5% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.6% were non-families. Of all households 17.4% were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.89 and the average family size was 3.29.

In the town, the population was spread out with 30.6% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 7.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $82,055, and the median income for a family was $97,870. The per capita income for the town was $35,144. About 2.0% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.8% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.


Pepperell is a part of the North Middlesex Regional School District, which administers the public schools, except for the Nashoba Valley Technical High School. Public schools in Pepperell include Varnum Brook Elementary School and Nissitissit Middle School. The other two towns in the district, Townsend and Ashby, also have local elementary schools, but all three towns share the North Middlesex Regional High School.[20]


  • TAP Basketball[21]
  • Basketball Courts
  • Friends Park at Town Field
  • North Middlesex Pop Warner Football[22]
  • Pepperell Youth Baseball and Softball[23]
  • Pepperell Youth Soccer[24]
  • Skate Park
  • Nashua River Rail Trail (bicycling, running, and walking)
  • North Middlesex Youth Lacrosse
  • Skydiving
  • Boy Scout Troop 26[25]
  • Boy Scout Troop 13[26]
  • Cub Scout Pack 1455[27]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Pepperell town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
  2. ^ Prudence Wright
  3. ^
  4. ^ Hayward's New England Gazetteer of 1839
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Pepperell Covered Bridge Committee"
  8. ^ "Pepperell Historical Commission"
  9. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  10. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  18. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  19. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  20. ^ Pepperell Public Schools
  21. ^ "TAP Basketball". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  22. ^ "North Middlesex Pop Warner Football". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  23. ^ "Pepperell Youth Baseball and Softball". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  24. ^ "Pepperell Youth Soccer League". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  25. ^ "Boy Scout Troop 26". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  26. ^ "Boy Scout Troop 13". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  27. ^ "Cub Scout Pack 1455". Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  28. ^,,1000002642,00.html
  29. ^ Prudence Wright

Further reading

External links

Branch Line Press

Branch Line Press is an American book publishing company founded in 1986 in Pepperell, Massachusetts. The company specializes in reference books on the culture and history of the New England area. Special emphasis is given to New England transportation guides.

Daniel Bateman Cutter

Daniel Bateman Cutter (May 10, 1808 – December 7, 1889) was an American physician.

Cutter, the eldest child of Daniel and Sally (Jones) Cutter, was born in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, on May 10, 1808. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1833, and had studied medicine under Luke Howe, M.D., of Jaffrey, and under his uncle, Nehemiah Cutter, M.D., of Pepperell, Massachusetts, before coming to New Haven. He graduated from the Yale School of Medicine in 1835.

He practiced his profession in Ashby, Massachusetts, until 1837, and for the rest of his life in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He was a member of the New Hampshire State Legislature in 1852. In 1881 he published a history of his native place.

He died in Peterborough, of old age and disease of the kidneys, on December 7, 1889, in his 82nd year.

He married, on December 8, 1835, Clementina, daughter of the Hon. Asa Parker, of Jaffrey, who died on August 28, 1870; two daughters by this marriage died before their father. He next married, on December 5, 1872, Tryphena (Tufts) Richardson, who survived him.

East Pepperell, Massachusetts

East Pepperell is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Pepperell in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 2,059 at the 2010 census.

Edward Parmelee Smith

Edward Parmelee Smith (1827–1876) was a Congregational minister in Massachusetts before becoming Field Secretary for the United States Christian Commission during the American Civil War. In official positions with the American Missionary Association (AMA), he was a co-founder of Fisk University and other historically black colleges established in the South for the education of freedmen. Beginning in 1873, he served as Commissioner of Indian Affairs under President Ulysses S. Grant. In 1875, he was selected president of Howard University, but died on a trip in Africa in 1876 before taking office.

Henry Adams Bullard

Henry Adams Bullard (September 9, 1788 – April 17, 1851) was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the state of Louisiana. He served two terms as a Democrat and one as a Whig.

Bullard was born in Pepperell, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard, and studied law in Boston and Philadelphia. In Louisiana, he resided in Natchitoches, where he practiced law, and in Alexandria, as well as in New Orleans.

He accompanied General José Álvarez de Toledo y Dubois on his military expedition into Spanish Texas in 1813. He was later elected as an anti-Jacksonian to the 22nd and 23rd Congresses, resigned in 1834, and later served as a Whig in the 31st Congress.

Henry A. Bullard was also a justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court (1834–39), Secretary of State of Louisiana (1838–39), a professor of civil law at the new University of Louisiana Law School (1847), and served in the Louisiana House of Representatives (1850). He died in New Orleans and was interred at the Girod Street Cemetery.

Herman Osman Stickney

Herman Osman Stickney (December 10, 1867 – September 13, 1936) was a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy who served in various capacities, including as Commander, Pacific Fleet at the end of his military career. Stickney was a recipient of the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor.

Hermon F. Titus

Hermon Franklin Titus (1852–1931) was an American socialist activist and newspaper publisher. Originally a Baptist minister before becoming a medical doctor, Titus is best remembered as a factional leader of the Washington state affiliate of the Socialist Party of America (SPA) during the first decade of the 20th century and as editor of The Socialist, one of the most-widely circulated radical newspapers of that period. Titus led a party split from the Socialist Party of Washington in 1909 and helped found a short-lived organization called the Wage Workers Party. His paper failed with that organization and he died in self-chosen obscurity in New York City, a medical doctor working in a low paying service job.

John Wesley Emerson

John Wesley Emerson (also known as J. W. Emerson) was an American lawyer, American Civil War commander, Missouri Circuit Court judge, and the founder and principal investor of the Emerson Electric Company.

Joseph Breck

Joseph Breck (1794–1873), a notable businessman and horticulturist of the 19th century, was born in Medfield, Massachusetts. He moved to Pepperell, Massachusetts in 1817, originally working in the chaise carriage manufacturing business, while also exploring his passion for horticulture in his gardens. His interest in flowers and plants developed into a career, initially as editor, from 1822 to 1846, of the New England Farmer, one of the earliest agricultural magazines established in the U.S., and the first of its kind in New England.Breck moved to Lancaster, Massachusetts in 1832 to become superintendent of the Lancaster Horticultural Gardens.. In 1833, Breck wrote a book called The Young Florist, which is a dialogue between two young gardeners that presents information about flowers and natural history as it relates to flower cultivation.Breck moved to Brighton, Massachusetts in 1836 and established a nursery while also expanding his business interests into a seed and agricultural implement store called Joseph Breck & Sons in Boston, Massachusetts (many publicity materials and catalogs would claim 1822 as the founding date of Joseph Breck & Sons, while later ones claimed 1818). In 1840, Breck published his company’s first catalog, the New England Agricultural Warehouse and Seed Store Catalogue, to promote his company’s products. The catalog included illustrations and horticultural literature to accompany product listings.

In 1851, Breck published The Flower Garden, a book about the cultivation of ornamental plants such as perennials, annuals, shrubs and evergreen trees. One of the founding members of the American Seed Trade Association, Breck was the president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society from 1859 to 1862. Breck moved to the Oak Square section of Brighton in 1854, where he built an extensive nursery. He lived there until his death in 1873.

Lawrence Academy (Groton, Massachusetts)

The Lawrence Academy at Groton is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational college preparatory school located in Groton, Massachusetts, in the United States. Founded by a group of fifty residents of Groton and Pepperell, Massachusetts in 1792 as Groton Academy, and chartered in 1793 by Governor John Hancock, Lawrence is the tenth oldest boarding school in the United States, and the third in Massachusetts, following Governor Dummer Academy (1763) and Phillips Academy at Andover (1778). The phrase on Lawrence Academy's seal is "Omnibus Lucet": in Latin, "Let light shine upon all." As of 2017, Lawrence Academy had a reported acceptance rate of 35%.

Nashua River

The Nashua River, 37.5 miles (60.4 km) long, is a tributary of the Merrimack River in Massachusetts and New Hampshire in the United States. It is formed in eastern Worcester County, Massachusetts, by junction of its north and south branches near Lancaster, and flows generally north-northeast past Groton to join the Merrimack at Nashua, New Hampshire. The Nashua River Watershed occupies a major portion of north-central Massachusetts and a much smaller portion of southern New Hampshire.

The north branch rises west of Fitchburg and Westminster. It flows about 30 miles (48 km) generally southeast past Fitchburg, and joins the south branch about 5 miles (8.0 km) below its issuance from the Wachusett Reservoir.

New Hampshire Route 111

New Hampshire Route 111 (abbreviated NH 111) is a 50.027-mile-long (80.511 km) east–west highway in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties in southeastern New Hampshire. The road runs from the Massachusetts border at Hollis to North Hampton on the Atlantic shore.

The western terminus of NH 111 is at the Massachusetts state line in Hollis, where, as Massachusetts Route 111 (Nashua Road), the road continues into the town of Pepperell, Massachusetts. The eastern terminus of NH 111 is at the junction with Ocean Boulevard (New Hampshire Route 1A) in North Hampton. At its terminus, the road is known as Atlantic Avenue.

Pepperell Center Historic District

The Pepperell Center Historic District encompasses the historic core of the village center of Pepperell, Massachusetts. The district is based around the town common, which was laid out in 1740, along with the construction of the first church (whose location is demarcated by foundation lines). It includes a number of surviving 18th century structures, including a post office building that is now a private home, and the town's oldest cemeteries. The village radiates away from the common along Park, Main, Elm, Townsend and Heald Streets.The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Pepperell Hydro Power Plant

The Pepperell Hydro Power Plant is a hydroelectric power plant located in Pepperell, Massachusetts on the Nashua River. It also serves as a bridge for Massachusetts Route 113.

Prudence Wright

Prudence Cummings "Pru" Wright (26 November 1740 – 2 December 1824) was a militia commander during the American Revolutionary War.

Born in Hollis, New Hampshire, she was the daughter of Prudence and Samuel Cummings. She had two brothers. Her father was the town clerk. She was a patriot, but much of her family was loyal to the British crown. In 1761, she married David Wright, a private in the American militia. The two had eleven children – David, Prudence, Cummings, Mary, Wilkes, Caroline, Liberty, Deverd, Patience, Artemas, and Daniel. She joined the Congregationalist church in 1770.According to a legend printed in 1899, Wright was elected by the townsfolk to command a women's militia known as the Mrs David Wright's Guard, based in Pepperell, Massachusetts. The group consisted of about 30 or 40 local Patriot women whose husbands were mostly members of the regular militia ordered to march towards Boston after the battles of Lexington and Concord. The women dressed in their husbands' clothes and carried "anything that would serve as a potential weapon", including pitchforks. Wright appointed Sarah Hartwell Shattuck of Groton as her lieutenant and began organizing patrols of the town and the surrounding area. The two directed the arrest of loyalist spies (two of Wright's own brothers) at Jewett's Bridge over the Nashua River in April 1775.Wright and her group apprehended Captain Leonard Whiting of Holis, New Hampshire - noted Loyalist as he passed through the bridge on his horseback. He was held prisoner overnight in a Pepperell tavern before taking him to Groton where he was taken into custody. Based on a family legend, Wright's brother - Thomas Cummings was with Whiting on the day of his capture but he turned back once he sighted his sister in arms at the bridge.Although women were not to be paid for militia service, in 1777 the town convened a committee to compensate Mrs. David Wright's Guard (who they called Leonard Whiting's Guard) for their actions. Leonard Whiting was a British Army officer and a friend of the two arrested spies.On March 19, 1777, Prudence Wright's guard was paid 7 pounds, 17 shillings, and sixpence by the Town of Pepperell's Committee of Estimation. The Town Meeting Minutes referred to her guard as Leonard Whiting's Guard because women could not overtly be paid for services performed during the Revolution.

Wayne Winterrowd

Wayne Rudolf Winterrowd (October 29, 1941 – September 17, 2010) was an American gardening expert and designer who wrote extensively on the subject. The garden covering 7 acres (2.8 ha) at his Vermont home became a tourist attraction to visitors from around the world.

William Prescott

William Prescott (February 20, 1726 – October 13, 1795) was an American colonel in the Revolutionary War who commanded the patriot forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Prescott is known for his order to his soldiers, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes", such that the rebel troops may shoot at the enemy at shorter ranges, and therefore more accurately and lethally, and so conserve their limited stocks of ammunition. It is debated whether Prescott or someone earlier coined this memorable saying.

William Prescott Jr.

William Prescott Jr. (October 19, 1762 in Pepperell, Massachusetts – December 8, 1844 in Boston, Massachusetts) was a representative from Massachusetts to the 1814–15 Hartford Convention.

Places adjacent to Pepperell, Massachusetts
Municipalities and communities of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Major cities
Cities and towns
Cities and towns
Cities and towns

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