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Methuen /mɛˈθuːɛn/ is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 47,255 at the 2010 census. Methuen lies along the northwestern edge of Essex County, just east of Middlesex County and just south of Rockingham County, New Hampshire. The irregularly-shaped town is bordered by Haverhill to the northeast, North Andover to the east, Lawrence and Andover to the south, Dracut (Middlesex County) to the west, Pelham, New Hampshire (Hillsborough County) to the northwest, and Salem, New Hampshire (Rockingham County) to the north. Methuen is located 30 miles (48 km) north-northwest of Boston and 25 miles (40 km) south-southeast of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Methuen was first settled in 1642 and was officially incorporated in 1726. Methuen was originally part of Haverhill, Massachusetts. In 1724 Stephen Barker and others in the western part of that town petitioned the General Court to grant them permission to form a new town above Hawke’s Meadow Brook.
Although opposed by their fellow townsmen, the petition was approved the following year (December 8, 1725), and the General Court gave them an act of incorporation under the name of Methuen. The town was named for Sir Paul Methuen, a member of the King’s Privy Council and friend of acting Provincial Governor William Dummer. The first town meeting was held March 9, 1726, in the home of a resident. Land was set aside for a meetinghouse, which was erected later in 1726 on what is now Meetinghouse Hill Cemetery.
The residents in the northern part of the new town of Methuen soon petitioned to have their own meetinghouse (a combination of town hall and puritan church), and in 1736 the north parish was set off. Land for a meetinghouse was donated by descendants of the original proprietors of Haverhill, and in 1738 the second Methuen meetinghouse was raised.
The structure survives to this day, as the Salem N.H. Historical Society building. In 1741, with the fixing of the Northern boundary of Massachusetts, most of this new north parish was removed from Methuen and placed in New Hampshire. It was incorporated as Salem, New Hampshire in 1750.