Merrimack River, New Hampshire
One of the principal rivers of New England, is formed of two branches. The N. branch called Pemigewasset, rises near the Notch of the White mountains, and passes southwardly through the corner of Franconia, Lincoln, Peeling, Thornton, and Campton, forming the boundary between Plymouth and Holderness, and also the boundary line between the counties of Strafford and Grafton from the S. corner of Holderness to near its junction with the Winnepisiogee. It receives several considerable branches in its course; Mad river in Campton, Baker's in Plymouth; and streams flowing from Squam and Newfound lakes, with numerous small tributaries.—The E. branch is the Winnepisiogee, through which pass the waters of the lake of that name. The descent of this branch from the lake to its junction with the Pemigewasset, is 232 feet. The confluent stream bears the name of Merrimack, and pursues a S. course, 78 miles, to Chelmsford, Mass.; thence an E. course, 35 miles, to the sea at Newburyport. On the N. line of Concord, the Contoocook discharges its waters into the Merrimack. The Soucook becomes a tributary in Pembroke, and the Suncook between Pembroke and Allenstown; the Piscataquog unites in Bedford; and Souhegan in Merrimack, and a beautiful river called Nashua in Nashua. The principal tributaries are on the W. side of the river, mostly rising in the highlands between Connecticut and Merrimack. There are numerous falls in this river, the most noted of which are Garven's, in Concord, the falls in Hooksett, and Amoskeag in Goffstown and Manchester. These falls are all rendered passable by locks, and boat navigation has for several years been extended as far as Concord. There are several bridges over the Merrimack and its principal branches, besides a number of ferries. The Merrimack, whose fountains are nearly on a level with the Connecticut, being much shorter in its course, has a far more rapid descent to the sea than the latter river. Hence the intervales on its borders are less extensive, and the scenery less beautiful, than on the Connecticut. It is, however, a majestic river; its waters are generally pure and healthy; and on its borders are situated some of the most flourishing towns in the state. The name of this river was originally written Merramacke and Monnomake, which in the Indian language signified a sturgeon. Its width varies from 50 to 120 rods; and at its mouth it presents a beautiful sheet of half a mile in width.