Incorporated in 1727, the town was one of several formed to ease population pressures on the Seacoast. The town's name comes from its establishment along an arch, or "bow", in the Merrimack River. There is also a bend in the Merrimack River within its borders, and the name Bow may have come from either source. Grants in this expansion were given to many prominent Portsmouth families, causing concern by residents of Rumford to the north, who objected to being hemmed in from the south, and protested to the English crown against extension of such colonization. Upon settlement of the dispute, Rumford was renamed Concord. Bow is the birthplace of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the First Church of Christ, Scientist and leader of the Christian Science movement.