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Bradford, New Hampshire
Bradford Town Hall
Bradford Town Hall
Official seal of Bradford, New Hampshire
Location in Merrimack County and the state of New Hampshire.
Location in Merrimack County and the state of New Hampshire.
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Merrimack
Incorporated 1787
Villages Bradford
Bradford Center
 • Total 35.9 sq mi (93.1 km2)
 • Land 35.3 sq mi (91.3 km2)
 • Water 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)  1.92%
686 ft (209 m)
 • Total 1,662
 • Density 47/sq mi (18.2/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-06980
GNIS feature ID 0873549

Bradford is a town in Merrimack County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 1,662 at the 2020 census. The main village of the town, where 372 people resided at the 2020 census, is defined as the Bradford census-designated place (CDP), and is located in the northeast part of the town, west of the junction of New Hampshire routes 103 and 114. The town also includes the village of Bradford Center.


Depot Square, Bradford, NH
Depot Square in 1913

Granted by Governor Benning Wentworth in 1765 to John Pierce and George Jaffrey of Portsmouth, it was settled in 1771 by Dea. William Presbury and family. Three years later other settlers arrived, several of them from Bradford, Massachusetts, after which the town was named New Bradford. Later, it was called Bradfordton, but upon incorporation by the General Court on September 27, 1787, it was officially named Bradford.

Parts of the town are hilly, but the largest portion is in a valley with varied soil. Streams provided water power for watermills. By 1859, when Bradford's population reached 1,341, industries included one woolen mill, one sash, blind and door factory, one wheelwright shop, two sawmills, one gristmill, one tannery, and one clothing mill. In 1850, the Concord & Claremont Railroad opened from Concord to Bradford, which would remain its terminus until the line was extended to Claremont in 1871-1872.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.0 square miles (93 km2), of which 35.3 sq mi (91 km2) is land and 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2) is water, comprising 1.94% of the town. The village of Bradford is located near the northern border of the town, at the intersection of routes 103 and 114, just north of the Warner River and adjacent to the outlet of Todd Lake. The largest water body in the town is Lake Massasecum, near the town's eastern border.

The highest point in Bradford is an unnamed 2,096-foot (639 m) summit overlooking Ayers Pond on the town's western border. Knights Hill—1,910 ft (580 m) above sea level—and Rowes Hill—1,950 ft (590 m)—constitute a large, hilly mass occupying the southern portion of town. Bradford lies fully within the Merrimack River watershed.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 217
1800 740 241.0%
1810 1,034 39.7%
1820 1,318 27.5%
1830 1,285 −2.5%
1840 1,331 3.6%
1850 1,341 0.8%
1860 1,180 −12.0%
1870 1,081 −8.4%
1880 950 −12.1%
1890 810 −14.7%
1900 805 −0.6%
1910 695 −13.7%
1920 580 −16.5%
1930 587 1.2%
1940 661 12.6%
1950 606 −8.3%
1960 508 −16.2%
1970 679 33.7%
1980 1,115 64.2%
1990 1,405 26.0%
2000 1,454 3.5%
2010 1,650 13.5%
2020 1,662 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,650 people, 667 households, and 471 families residing in the town. There were 917 housing units, of which 250, or 27.3%, were vacant. 203 of the vacant units were for seasonal or recreational uses. The racial makeup of the town was 97.5% white, 0.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.2% some other race, and 1.6% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 667 households, 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.7% were headed by married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 21.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.1% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47, and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town, 20.7% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.3% were from 18 to 24, 20.9% from 25 to 44, 38.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.6 males.

For the period 2011–2015, the estimated median annual income for a household was $59,783, and the median income for a family was $68,750. Male full-time workers had a median income of $55,119 versus $40,000 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,152. 7.1% of the population and 4.8% of families were below the poverty line. 7.8% of the population under the age of 18 and 8.5% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.

Sites of interest

Notable people

  • Odds Bodkin (born 1953), storyteller, musician
  • John Q. A. Brackett (1842–1918), 36th governor of Massachusetts
  • John Milton Hawks (1826–1910), abolitionist, physician
  • Thorkild Jacobsen (1904–1993), Danish-American historian
  • Ghislaine Maxwell (born 1961), socialite, founder of The TerraMar Project, associate of Jeffrey Epstein, daughter of Robert Maxwell
  • Mason Tappan (1817–1886), United States congressman, New Hampshire Attorney General
  • Bainbridge Wadleigh (1831–1891), United States senator
Black History Month on Kiddle
Famous African-American Inventors:
Lonnie Johnson
Granville Woods
Lewis Howard Latimer
James West
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