Mirblehead, a town and port of entry of Essex co., Massachusetts, at the terminus of a branch of the Eastern railroad, 12 m. N". E. of Boston; pop. in 1870, 7,703. It is built upon a peninsula projecting into Massachusetts bay, about 4 m. in length and 2 in breadth, with an area of about 3,700 acres, and joins Salem on the west. The surface is elevated, and is exceedingly irregular and rocky. The harbor is deep and convenient, and is about 1 1/2 m. long by 1/2 m. wide. The town has been noted from the first settlement of New England for the enterprise of its people in the fisheries. More recently the inhabitants have also engaged extensively in the manufacture of boots and shoes. For the year ending June 30, 1873, the number of vessels engaged in the cod and mackerel fisheries was 59, with an aggregate tonnage of 2,098; belonging to the port, 64 vessels, of 2,554 tons. There are two national banks, a savings bank, graded public schools, with a high school, a weekly newspaper, and eight churches. - Marblehead was originally a part of Salem, and was incorporated as a distinct town in 1649, at which time it contained 44 families.
Many of the settlers were from the Channel islands; and their peculiarities of language are still to be noticed among the inhabitants, and formerly existed to such a degree as almost to constitute a separate dialect. At the commencement of the revolutionarv war Marblehead was reckoned the second town in Massachusetts in population and wealth. It contributed a regiment of 1,000 men to the army, and at the end of the war there were 000 widows and 1,000 fatherless children in its population of less than 4,000. During the war of 1812 the frigate Constitution was chiefly manned by men from Marblehead, and the town also sent out a great number of privateers; and when peace was declared it was found that 500 of its citizens were held in England as prisoners of war. In the civil war it was the first town to send troops to Boston (April 16, 1861), and furnished altogether 1,440 men.