Essex County

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Prior to the dissolution of the county government in 1999, it had two county seats: Salem, with jurisdiction over the Southern Essex District, and Lawrence, with jurisdiction over the Northern Essex District.

The county was created by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on May 10, 1643, when it was ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four shires". Named after the county inEngland, Essex then comprised the towns of Salem, Lynn, Wenham, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Gloucester, and Andover, which were subdivided over the centuries to produce the modern composition of cities and towns.

Essex County is famous as the area that Elbridge Gerry who was born and raised in Marblehead districted into a salamander-like shape in 1812 that gave rise to the word gerrymandering.


Cities and Towns

City of Amesbury, incorporated 1666 from Salisbury.

Town of Andover, incorporated in 1646.

City of Beverly, incorporated 1668 from Salem.

Town of Boxford, incorporated 1685 from Rowley.

Town of Danvers, incorporated 1757 from Salem.

Town of Essex, incorporated 1819 from Ipswich.

Town of Georgetown, incorporated 1838 from Rowley.

City of Gloucester, settled 1623.

Town of Groveland, incorporated 1850 from Bradford.

Town of Hamilton, incorporated 1793 from Ipswich.

City of Haverhill, founded 1640.

Town of Ipswich, established 1634.

City of Lawrence incorporated 1847 from Methuen and Andover.

City of Lynn, established 1629, named Lynn 1637.

Town of Lynnfield, incorporated 1814 from Lynn.

Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, incorporated 1645.

Town of Marblehead, incorporated 1635.

Town of Merrimac incorporated 1876 from Amesbury.

City of Methuen incorporated 1725 from Haverhill.

Town of Middleton incorporated 1728 from surrounding towns-Salem, Topsfield, Andover, etc.

Town of Nahant incorporated 1853 from Lynn.

Town of Newbury founded 1635.

City of Newburyport incorporated 1764 from Newbury.

Town of North Andover (original North Andover Parish), incorporated April 7, 1855.

City of Peabody, incorporated 1855 from Danvers.

Town of Rockport, incorporated 1840 from Gloucester.

Town of Rowley, founded 1639.

City of Salem, founded 1626.

Town of Salisbury, established 1640.

Town of Saugus, incorporated 1815 from Lynn.

Town of Swampscott, incorporated 1852 from Lynn.

Town of Topsfield, established 1650.

Town of Wenham, settled 1638.

Town of West Newbury, incorporated 1819 from Newbury.


Adjacent Counties

Rockingham County, New Hampshire (North)

Middlesex County, Massachusetts (East)

Suffolk County, Massachusetts (South)


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