Pepperell, first known as Groton West Parish, began in the 1720s with settlement on scattered farms and at river crossings on the Nashua and Nissitissit Rivers. On April 12, 1753, Groton West Parish became a district named Pepperell in honor of Sir William Pepperell, merchant and soldier that organized, financed and led the 1745 campaign that captured Louisbourg.
Pepperell’s rich colonial history includes participation in the battle at the Old North Bridge and Bunker Hill while its women, led by Prudence Wright stood guard over the community’s covered bridge, capturing a British spy.
While its town center began as a religious and governmental hub, the eastern portion of Pepperell developed paper and shoe factories along the Nashua River, beginning in the 1830s. Augmented by the development and the building of the Worcester and Nashua Railroad in 1848, Pepperell’s industrial base grew until the post-World War II years.