Danvers, Massachusetts

Danvers is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, located on the Danvers River near the state’s northeastern coast. Originally known as Salem Village, the town is most widely known for its association with the 1692 Salem witch trials. The land that is now Danvers was once controlled by the Naumkeag branch of the Massachusett tribe of Native Americans. Around 1630, settlers converted an existing Naumkeag trail into the Old Ipswich Road, creating a connection to the main cities of Salem and Boston.

Danvers was permanently settled in 1636 as Salem Village, eventually petitioning the Crown for a charter as a town. According to legend, rather than signing the charter, the King returned it with the message, “The King Unwilling.” On June 9, 1757, however, the town was incorporated anyway. The town was named for Danvers Osborn, an English nobleman who served briefly as colonial governor of New York province in 1753.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Danvers has a total area of 14.1 square miles (37 km2), of which 13.3 square miles (34 km2) is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) is water. The tidal Danvers River begins near the southeast corner of town, located nearly halfway between Boston and the New Hampshire state border. It is bordered by Topsfield to the north, Wenham to the northeast, Beverly to the east, a small portion of Salem to the southeast, Peabody to the south and southwest and Middleton to the northwest.

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