Middlesex county. This is a very pleasant town, with a good soil and handsome orchards. It is watered by the Nashua river, which gives it a good water power. There are three paper mills in the town, and manufactures of palm-leaf hats, boots, shoes, &c. Annual amount about $80,000. Incorporated 1753. Population, 1837, 1,586. It lies 33 miles N.W. from Boston, and 17 N.N.W. from Concord.
Col. William Prescott, the brave defender of Charlestown heights, was a native of this town. He died in 1795, aged 70.
This town derived its name from Sir William Pepperell, who about the year 1727, was chosen one of his majesty's council, and was annually re-elected 32 years, till his death. Living in a country exposed to a ferocious enemy, he was well fitted for the situation in which he was placed, for it pleased God to give him a vigorous frame, and a mind of firm texture, and of great calmness in danger. He rose to the highest military honors which his country could bestow upon him. When the expedition against Louisbourg was contemplated, he was commissioned by the governors of New England to command the troops. He invested the city in 1745. There was a remarkable series of providences in the whole affair, and Mr. Pepperell ascribed his unparalleled success to the God of armies. The king, in reward for his services, conferred upon him the dignity of a baronet of Great Britain, an honor never before conferred on a native of New England. He died at his seat in Kittery, Maine, July 6, 1759, aged 63 years, leaving but one daughter, the wife of Col. Nathaniel Sparhawk. The last Sir William (son of Col. Sparhawk,) died in London in 1817. The name and title are extinct.
Lady Mary Pepperell, relict of Sir William Pepperell, died at her seat in Kittery, Nov. 25, 1789. She was daughter of Grove Hirst, Esq. and grand-daughter of Hon. Judge Sewall. Her natural and acquired powers were said to be very respectable, and she was much admired for her wit and sweetness of manners.
William Pepperell, the father of the first Sir William, was a native of Cornwall, England, and emigrated to this country about the year 1676, and settled in the Isles of Shoals, as a fisherman. It is said, he was so poor for some time after his arrival, that the lady to whom he paid his addresses at the Shoals would not hearken to him. However, in a few years, by his industry and frugality, he got enough to send out a brig, which he loaded to Hull. The lady now gave her consent. After his marriage, he removed to Kittery, where he became a very wealthy merchant, and died in 1734.