First known as Twitchell’s Mills, a combination sawmill and gristmill was built here in 1774. Harrisville township was formed in 1870 from lands ceded by Marlborough, Dublin, Hancock, Nelson, and Roxbury. The Manchester & Keene Railroad opened in 1878, helping it prosper as a textile mill town. It was named for Milan Harris, whose stone and brick Cheshire Mills operated until 1970, but look virtually unchanged since the mid-19th century.
Today, the Cheshire Mills are protected as part of the Harrisville Historic District, a National Historic Landmark which includes the center of town. With its red brick buildings and mills reflected in Harrisville Pond and canal, the village is frequently photographed as an iconic example of picturesque old New England. The Harrisville Rural District includes the southern part of the town near the Dublin border.