Swanzey, New Hampshire
Cheshire county. This town lies 6 miles S. from Keene and 60 S.W. from Concord. The principal streams are the Ashuelot and the South Branch rivers. The former passes through Swanzey in a S.W. direction, and empties into the Connecticut at Hinsdale. This is a stream of much importance, and is made navigable for boats as far up as Keene, excepting a carrying place about the rapids at Winchester. The South Branch unites with the Ashuelot about one mile north from the centre of the town. The surface here is somewhat diversified with hills, valleys, and swells of upland. There is one pond in the S.W. part of the town, the source of South Branch. There is a mineral spring, the water of which is impregnated with sulphate of iron. Some iron ore has been discovered. Here are 2 cotton factories, 1 cotton and woolen factory, and other machinery.
Swanzey was first granted by Massachusetts, in 1733. After the divisional line was run, it was granted in 1753, by New Hampshire. Until that time it had been called Lower Ashuelot, from the Indian name of the river, which was originally Ashaelock.
From 1741 to 1747, this town suffered much from Indian depredations. Several of the inhabitants were killed and many were made prisoners. After Massachusetts withdrew her protection, the settlers collected together their household furniture, such as chests, tables, iron and brass ware, and concealed it in the ground, covering the place of concealment with leaves, trees, &c., and left their plantation to the disposition of the Indians, who were not tardy in setting fire to their forts, which, with every house except one, they reduced to ashes. Most of the people went to their former places of residence in Massachusetts. They returned about three years afterwards, and nothing about their former habitation was to be seen, but ruin and desolation. Population, 1830, 1,816.