In 1822, the brothers Isaac and Jacob Wendell of Boston purchased for ,000 a gristmill with its water rights at the Great Falls.
They established the Great Falls Manufacturing Company, a textile business that expanded to include three mills for spinning thread and weaving cotton and woolen fabrics, specializing in "drillings, shirtings and sheetings." Throughout the 19th century, other expansive brick mill buildings, including a bleachery and dye works, were erected beside the river.
Of the 4,862 households in the city, 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were headed by married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families.
28.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.2% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older.
The gate house at the dam directed water as needed, regulating the flow either into the river or a company canal, which itself had gates sending it under the mill.
Water power turned the wheels and belts that operated mill machinery.
The railroad arrived in the early 1840s, before which goods were carted to Dover.
The Great Depression sent many regional textile firms into bankruptcy, when some local facilities were adapted for shoemaking.The bleachery became the longest running textile operation in Somersworth.The building housed the operations that took the buff-colored fabric produced in the seven mills and transformed it into a sparkling white material that could be dyed or printed according to the buyer's wishes.New Hampshire Route 9 (High Street) is the main road through the city, leading north into Berwick, Maine, and south into Dover.New Hampshire Route 108 passes through a western portion of the city, leading northwest to Rochester and south to Dover.