Atkinson Celebrates 250: Pre-European Settlement

Access to Indian Rock was along trails through Atkinson, N.H. (Photograph courtesy of Steven Lewis).

Atkinson, N.H., is celebrating its 250th anniversary with a variety of events between Thursday, Aug. 31 and Monday, Sept. 4. To help give meaning to the festivities, WHAV presents a special series of little known facts about the town, heard on-air at 97.9 WHAV FM, Monday through Thursday, at 7:45 and 11:45 a.m. and 5:45 p.m.

Atkinson Celebrates 250 is brought to you, in part, by Red’s Shoe Barn of Dover and Plaistow, N.H.

For hundreds of years before the Mayflower brought settlers to Plymouth in 1620 and Haverhill bought land in Pentucket 20 years later, what is now Atkinson was a well-known native trail.

Historian Steven Lewis says, then as now, a clear path to the river was desirable.

“Prior to European settlement, Atkinson’s land area was still well-known by the Indians. It was on the Indian trail that led from Haverhill to the Merrimack River, diagonally across.”

This trail, in fact, became an important part of Haverhill’s history, Lewis explains. “When Hannah Duston was abducted, they would have taken through Atkinson.”

Hannah Emerson Duston was a mother of nine when she was

Atkinson Celebrates 250 is brought to you, in part, by RMON Networks.

abducted during King William’s War, with her newborn daughter. The Abenaki people conducted the Raid on Haverhill in 1697, killing 27 colonists and taking 13 captive for the French.

Atkinson’s formal celebrations begin Aug. 31. A full calendar of activities appears at

Tomorrow: Atkinson Celebrates 250: Natural Features Good for Farming.