Vandals Strike Haverhill’s Hannah Duston Statue—This Time with Red Paint; Police Seek Public’s Help

Haverhill Police and Department of Public Works assess vandalism damage to the Hannah Duston statue in GAR Park in late August, 2020. (WHAV News photograph.)

The statue was struck from the rear. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill’s Hannah Duston statue was struck by one or more vandals overnight when it was covered partly in red paint.

Police are investigating the vandalism, which was not reported until about 9 a.m. since the paint covered the rear of the monument which faces away from Main Street. The red paint reached the waist of the figure of Duston and flowed down to the pedestal.

Capt. Stephen J. Doherty Jr. said there are no suspects yet, but he asked that anyone who saw something or might have information to call Detective James Cotreau at 978-373-1212, ext. 1573

Unlike an incident earlier last month—where the statue was not damaged, but rather marked in chalk—cleanup is expected to be more difficult. Police officers were joined in GAR Park this morning by Highway Department Superintendent Brian J. Zaniboni, whose office will remove the paint. Last month, the words “Haverhill’s own monument to genocide” were written in pink chalk.

The statue, erected in 1879, commemorates Duston’s escape from the Abenaki tribe who had taken her prisoner and killed her newborn child. Several residents have asked the City Council to remove the statue, saying it promotes a racist version of history. Both those for and against the statue have collected signatures to support their positions.

The Council’s Public Property Committee is expected to review the issue.

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