Marblehead is a coastal New England town located in Essex County, Massachusetts. Its population was 19,808 at the 2010 census.
Marblehead was first settled by Joseph Doliber in 1629 on the shore near the end of what is now Bradlee Road. Mayflower Pilgrim Isaac Allerton came approximately three years earlier, establishing a fishing village about mid-Marblehead Harbor on the town side, across from Marblehead Neck, then set off and incorporated in 1649.Originally called Massebequash after the river which ran between it and Salem, the land was inhabited by theNaumkeag tribe of Indians under the sachemNanepashemet.At times called Marvell Head, Marble Harbour (by Captain John Smith) and Foy (by immigrants from Fowey, Cornwall), the town would be named Marblehead by settlers who mistook its granite ledges for marble. It began as a fishing village with narrow, crooked streets, and grew inland from the harbor. The shoreline smelled ofdrying fish, typically cod, which were exported abroad and to Salem. The town peaked economically just prior to the Revolution, as locally financed privateering vessels pirated the seas for bounty from large European ships. Much early architecture survives from the era, including the Jeremiah Lee Mansion.