Boscawen is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,965 at the 2010 census.The native Pennacook tribe called the area Contoocook, meaning “place of the river near pines.” In March, 1697, Hannah Duston and her nurse, Mary Neff, were captured by Abenaki Indians and taken to a temporary village on an island at the confluence of the Contoocook and Merrimack rivers, at the site of what is now Boscawen. In late April, Duston and two other captives killed ten of the Abenaki family members holding them hostage, including six children, and escaped by canoe to Haverhill, Massachusetts.On June 6, 1733, Governor Jonathan Belcher granted it to John Coffin and 90 others, most from Newbury, Massachusetts.
Settled in 1734, it soon had a meetinghouse, sawmill, gristmill and ferry across the Merrimack River. A garrison offered protection, but raiding parties during the French and Indian Wars left some dead or carried into captivity.On April 22, 1760, Contoocook Plantation was incorporated as a town by Governor Benning Wentworth, who named it for Edward Boscawen, the British admiral who distinguished himself at the 1758 Siege of Louisbourg. With a generally level surface, the town provided good farmland, and became noted for its apple, pear and cherry orchards. Bounded by the Merrimack and Contoocook rivers, it had abundant sources of water power for mills.
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