Welcome to the Boxford Essex County GenWeb

Boxford Town SealBoxford Center was settled ca. 1645 and known as Rowley Village, however the town of Boxford was not incorporated until 1685. It was named after the English town from where some of the first settlers came. Two meetinghouse centers emerged: one at Boxford Center where the First Parish was established and one in West Boxford, which was settled after 1670. These were referred to as the East Parish and West Parish respectively. The first meetinghouse in the East Parish was constructed in 1701, while the West Boxford meetinghouse was built in 1734.


In 1668, an iron forge was started on Fish Brook by members of the Leonard family from the Saugus Iron Works. It continued production until 1681.


Boxford’s economic base remained primarily agricultural throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th century. By the 1860s there were about 125 farms in Boxford. This number and the number of acres in production as well as the production levels were maintained well into the 20th century. Farmland was used for cultivation of wet meadow and English hay. Dairy, poultry and wood products accounted for most of the produce taken to markets in nearby cities such as Haverhill, Lawrence and Salem.


For a brief period from the advent of the railroad in 1854 until after the Civil War some minor industrial activity contributed to the economic base, including small shoe factories, and textile, shoe peg and saw mills. After the Civil War in 1867 a match factory, first known as Carlton, Byers & Co., was established on Fish Brook and was the main manufacturing facility in Boxford in the late 19th century. In about 1885 the business was purchased by the Diamond Match Company and continued to produce matches into the early 20th century.