MARBLEHEAD, a town and port of entry of the United States, in Essex county, Massachusetts, situated on the coast, 17 miles by rail north-east of Boston, and 4 miles south-east of Salem, and communicates by two branch lines with the main line of the Eastern Railway. It is built on a rocky peninsula of about 3700 acres in extent, which juts out into Massachusetts Bay, and has a deep, roomy, and nearly land-locked harbour. The fisheries in which Marblehead was once largely engaged have declined ; but shoemaking has become an important industry, and the town is rising into favour as a summer resort. Many of the houses date from the " colonial " period, and one of the churches was built in 1714, but in the summer of 1877 nearly the whole business part of the town was burnt to the ground. The population was 7703 in 1870, and 7467 in 1880.
Marblehead was incorporated in 1649. Of the original settlers, a considerable number were from the Channel Islands, and their peculiarities of speech continued for a long time to affect the local dialect. As at that period the second town of Massachusetts in wealth and size, Marblehead sent one thousand men to the War of independence, and its privateers rendered excellent service ; but its trading prosperity never recovered from the effects of the contest. Elbridge Gerry, vice-president of the United States in 1812, was born at Marblehead; and the town is the scene of the grim revenge celebrated, with considerable poetical licence, in Whittier's Skipper fresoie's Ride.