Norfolk (Old) County, Massachusetts Bay Colony (New England)

The Old Norfolk County, which no longer exists, was created by the Massachusetts Bay Colony on 10 May 1643 as one of its four original counties, along with Suffolk, Essex and Middlesex. (The county's land had originally been granted as separate from Massachusetts, but boundary disputes among the settlers led to their petitioning to join the colonial government to the south.) Norfolk was the northernmost of the four counties and contained the settlements of Salisbury, Hampton, Haverhill, Exeter, Dover, and Portsmouth. In 1680, the Province of New Hampshire was formally separated from Massachusetts, with Norfolk County forming the core. Massachusetts retained the northern bank of Merrimack River and the towns of Salisbury and Haverhill were added to Essex County. Hampton, Exeter, Dover, and Portsmouth were governed at two levels, town and province/colony, until 1769, when New Hampshire was itself divided into counties, and the Old Norfolk County was dissolved. A new, unrelated county was established as Norfolk County, Massachusetts from most of the southern portion of Suffolk County on 20 June 1793, and the former Norfolk County is now often referred to as "Old Norfolk County."