Methuen in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 47,255 at the 2010 census.
Methuen was first settled in 1642 and was officially incorporated in 1726. Methuen was originally part ofHaverhill, Massachusetts. In 1724 Stephen Barker and others in the western part of that town petitioned theGeneral 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.Industrial growth in the 1800s influenced Methuen's development. Construction of the Methuen Cotton Mills at the Spicket River falls in the 1820s and the increased manufacture of hats and shoes in small factories along the Spicket spurred the centralization of Methuen's economic, residential and cultural activities within the area around Osgood, Broadway, Hampshire and Pleasant streets. Three wealthy and prominent families—the Nevins, the Tenneys and the Searles—played a significant role in Methuen's history and development. These families were instrumental in the founding of many of Methuen's landmarks, including the Nevins Memorial Library, the Searles building, Tenney Gatehouse, Nevins Home, Spicket Falls, and the Civil War monument between Pleasant and Charles streets.