Nashua: Where Did We Come From?

Posted on August 7, 2013 under Blog


Did you ever wonder how Nashua became Nashua? Where did the name come from?  Well, we’ve got a brief answer for you! (To get more detail about the history of the city, check The Nashua Telegraph.)

The area now named “Nashua” was originally part of “Dunstable, Massachusetts.” Dunstable, Massachusetts was the earliest settlement in southern New Hampshire and within its borders the areas now known as Hollis, Merrimack and Hudson, and portions of Pelham, Litchfield, Milford and Brookline, in New Hampshire; and Tyngsboro, Dunstable and parts of Groton, Pepperell and Townsend, in Massachusetts.  The settlement of Dunstable belonged to Massachusetts until the division line between the two provinces was settled in 1741. Dunstable was incorporated by New Hampshire April 4, 1746 under the same name, and continued so until December 15, 1836 when the name was changed to Nashua.

“Nashua” comes from the Alnobak word “Nansawi” (sometimes spelled out as Nashaway), which means “between.” The interesting thing about Nashua, besides being the name of a city and a river, is it’s also the name of a Native people who were part of the Pennacook Confederacy. The Nansawi’s villages were between the Nashua River and many of its tributaries, both in New Hampshire and Massachusetts; thus, the name. (