Newburyport - Encyclopedia

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NEWBURYPORT, a city and port of entry and one of the =county-seats of Essex county, Massachusetts, U.S.A., on the S. bank of the Merrimac river, about 3 m. above its mouth, and about 38 m. N.N.E. of Boston. Pop. (1890) 13,947; (1900) 1 4,47 8, of whom 2863 were foreign-born; (1910 census) 1 4,949Area, about 12.85 sq. m. The city is served by two divisions of the Boston & Maine railroad, and by coast and river freight steamers. There are many houses dating back to the 17th century; of these the stone "garrison" house (in Newbury), with walls 4 ft. thick and built in the form of ,a cross, is an interesting example. Other private houses worthy of mention are the former homes of "Lord" Timothy Dexter and Caleb Cushing, the birthplace of William Lloyd Garrison, and (3.1 m. from Newburyport in the township of West Newbury) Indian Hill Farm, the birthplace of the journalist Ben Perley Poore (1820-1887), author of Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis (1886). Among the public buildings and institutions are the Marine Museum, the Public Library (founded in 1854 by Josiah Little and containing about 45,000 volumes), the old Tracy mansion (built in 1771 or 1772), which forms part of the Public Library building, the Anna Jacques and Homoeopathic hospitals, homes for aged women and men, a Home for Destitute Children, Old South Church, in which is the tomb of George Whitefield, and the Young Men's Christian Association building, which is a memorial to George Henry Corliss (1817-1888), the inventor, erected by his widow, a native of Newburyport. The General Charity Society is a benevolent association. The city has a good public school system. The Female High School was opened in 1843 and is said to be the first high school for girls to be established in the United States. The Putnam Free School, now part of the public school system, was endowed early in the 19th century by Oliver Putnam of Newburyport and afterwards of Hampstead, New Hampshire. Three parks, Washington, Cushing and Atkinson, are maintained by the city; and there are a statue of George Washington (1879), by J. Q. A. Ward, one of William Lloyd Garrison by D. C. French, and a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the Civil W'e'ar - a bronze statue, "The Volunteer" - by Mrs Theo (Ruggles) Kitson. A curious chain suspension bridge across the Merrimac, connecting Newburyport with Amesbury, was built in 1827, replacing a similar bridge built in 1810, which was one of the first suspension bridges in America.

Newburyport in the early part of the 18th century was one of the most prosperous commercial centres in New England. At that time fishing, whaling and shipbuilding were its principal industries, the clipper ships built here being among the fastest and best known on the seas. After the Civil War manufacturing became Newburyport's chief interest. In 1905 its factory product was valued at $6,809,979, an increase of 32.5% since 1900; 57.6% was in boots and shoes, and the manufactures of combs and silverware, silversmithing products, cotton goods and electrical supplies are also important.

Newbury, including the site of the present Newburyport, was settled in 1635 by a company under the leadership of the Rev. Thomas Parker (1595-1677), who had taught in Newbury, England, in his youth. In 1639 a portion of the territory was set off to form the town of Rowley, and in 1764 about 647 acres were set off and incorporated as the town of Newburyport. In 1819 the town of Parsons (now West Newbury) was formed from Newbury. Newburyport, with its area considerably enlarged, became a city in 1851. During the War of Independence and the War of 1812 it sent out many privateers. In 1811 a fire destroyed 250 buildings, including the greater part of the business portion of the town.

See Caleb Cushing, History and Present State of the Town of Newburyport (Newburyport, 1826); Joshua Coffin, History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, 1635-1845 (Boston, 1845); Mrs E. V. Smith, History of Newburyport (Boston, 1854); D. H. Hurd, History of Essex County (Philadelphia, 1888); J. J. Currier, History of Newbury from the First Settlement of the Town to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (Boston, 1902), History of Newburyport, 17641905 (Newburyport, 1906), and Ould Newbury, Historical and Biographical Sketches (Boston, 1898).

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