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As there are extant, two partial Histories of Newburyport, it may 
perhaps be considered a presumptuous and superfluous -work to add 
another. But neither of the works alluded to, even aim to give a 
' complete history of Newburyport. Mr. Cushing's work, published 
twenty-eight years ago, covers only a period of sixty-two years, from 
1764 to 1826 — leaving one hundred and fifty years since the set- 
tlement of what is now called Newburyport, to be accounted for. 
Mr. Cofiin's " History of Ould Newbury," contains some direct, and 
much incidental information concerning Newburyport; but treats 
with exceeding brevity, periods of the greatest interest in the history 
of the town ; and is also combined with much that has no particular 
interest to citizens of Newburyport. It is therefore believed that 
a History, which comprehends thd whole period of time since the 
occupation of the land by white settlers to the present — with only 
so much of collateral history as shall suffice for a right under- 
standing of our own, is called for ; and if faithfully performed, will 
not prove a useless addition to the literature of Essex County. 

As a history of any place or people should contain within itself 
every essential fact bearing upon the character or fortune of the 
place or people described, — no matter how much other books contain 
on the same subject — it may become necessary, in delineating the 
progressive life of Newburyport, to narrate some things which to the 


older inhabitants may appear trite and familiar, but wliich are nev- 
ertheless component parts of its history, and could not be excluded 
without injuring the unity of the "work. For the same reason we 
shall introduce some brief descriptioti of the state of the surrounding 
country, and even cross the seas to find the source of changes 
which affected the happiness and destinies of our ancestors. 

It will be readily perceived by the intelligent reader that the his- 
tory of a seaport town is essentially different from that of an inland 
one : the latter lias comparatively little connection with foreign 
countries, while the former is continually affected by the policy as- 
sumed by even distant nations. This is peculiarly the case where 
extensive commercial relations have been sustained, as in Newbury- 
port. And then circumstances demand of the historian who would 
faithfully delineate the times, a somewhat extensive acquaintance 
with the foreign policy of other nations, extending the area to be 
explored, and increasing the labor of the writer, but furnishing for 
the reader a variety of topics, the absence of which is apt to mark 
with monotony the records of country towns, remote from all external 

The principal authorities consulted in the preparation of this work 
have been Bancroft's History of the Colonization of the United 
States ; the Massachusetts Historical Collections ; the Massachu- 
setts Historical and Genealogical Register ; Pitkin's Civil and 
Pohtical History of the United States ; Allen's and Warren's do. ; 
Allison's and Russell's Histories of Europe ; White's History of New 
England ; Parish's do ; Histories of Newbury, Lynn, Rowley, Ports- 
mouth, Plymouth ; Histories of the Indian Wars, and Naval Histories ; 
National, State, County, Town, and City Records and files ; Custom 
House, Church, and Society Books ; the Records of Incorporated 
Institutions, Historical Sermons, and Addresses ; private journals, 
accounts, letters, and unpubhshed manuscripts ; legal proceedings, 
deeds, affidavits, &c., together with the personal narrations of the 
intelligent aged ; and nearly complete files of the newspapers pub- 
lished in Newburyport since 1773. 


For files of these papers, we are indebted to Capt. Rlcliard Coffin, 
of Newburj, and Messrs. Morse and Brewster, of the " Daily 
Herald," of this citv. We have also received particular assistance 
through the courtesj of Dr. Shurtleff, of Boston, who placed in our 
hands an early copy of the published " Records of the Governor and - 
Company of ye Massachusetts Bay;" and to Chas. Lowell, D. D , 
of Cambridge, Col. Samuel Swett, and Hon. Geo. Lunt of Boston, 
for biographical, and other papers of value ; to E. Wood Perry, Esq., 
of New Orleans, for original letters of Washington, &c. ; to Eleazer 
Johnson, Esq., (city clerk,) for assistance in examining Records ; 
to Dr. D. S. Blake, for collection of statistics ; to Joshua Coffin, Esq., 
(author of the History of Ould Newbury,) for interesting facts as- 
certained since the publication of his book ; to many others also, we 
are under obligations for similar favors. To publish the long list of 
names of all the persons who have thus evinced their interest in this 
work, would appear ostentatious from thoir number. We return 
to all sucli friends our sincere thanks, assuring them we need no 
printed memento to keep them in our grateful remembrance. 

For the striking sketch of Judge Parsons, we are indebted to his 
son. Prof. Theophilus Parsons, of Cambridge ; it is considered a very 
striking likeness by those who well remember the original. Mr. 
Milton, every one who ever saw him, will recognize at the first glance. 
The View of Newburyport was originally published on the 30th of 
November, 1774 ; it was " sold, framed, glazed, and colored by Ben. 
Johnson and Geo. Searle," and " was taken from a point just above 
the powder-house." (The powder-house then stood on the south- , 
westerly side of Frog pond, near the old burying hill.) The Tonnage 
Table will be found partially deficient during some few years ; the 
Custom House records for that period are missing, which accounts 
for the deficiency. Some typographical, and other errors, will be 
found in the " Errata," at the close of the book. 
Newburyport, Mass., June, 1854. 



Period I. Settlement of Newbury, (now New- 

buryport,) 1635-1764 

Appendix to Period I. 

Period II. Incorporation of Newburyport, and 

Revolutionary War, 1764-1783 

Period III. Commercial Prosperity, - - 1783-1806 

Period IV. Successive disasters, Commercial Re- 

. strictions — Fire — War, - - . . 1807-1815 
Period V. Peace, but not Prosperity, - - 1815-1835 
Period VI. Resuscitation, Annexation, City Char- 
ter, 1835-1854 


Ecclesiastical Sketches. 
Biographical Notices. 


To write the History of a Town or City, resembles much the 
work of a Biographer ; for though composed of mimbers, these sepa- 
rate units, in their corporate capacity, form but a single figure ; they 
have a physical structure which is their own, wants unfelt by others, 
and means of enjoyment within themselves, in which the stranger 
has no part, except by courtesy or invitation. To write such a his- 
tory, then, while the subject is still ahve and vigorous, is both a 
perilous and delicate undertaking. It is like selecting a single indi- 
vidual from his family connections, drawing his portrait, as he looks 
to you, and then "passing it around, among his own blood relations, 
to be criticised by them, and recognized by himself — if that is 

It may appear to some an easy task to collect materials for such 
a work ; and to write upon a subject which is famihar in so many 
of its aspects. But in many respects, it would be much easier to 
write a history of the United States, than to select a single state, 
or still more a smgle town. Ample material for the first is already 
provided ; in the latter, much has still 'to be sought for : to carry out 
the simile with which we commenced, it is both safer and rougher 
work to sketch the public acts of a nation, than to select an indi- 
vidual, from out of a limited circle, for portraiture. Where large, 
diffused, and heterogeneous masses are described, as they must be if 
at all, with a bold pencil, and spread out on a wide canvas, which 
does not admit of being examined minutely, the artist does not 



attempt to bring out the particular features of each, composing this 
multitude, with that distinctness and truth which the miniature of a 
friend, which is laid on the table for daily inspection, is expected 
to possess. 

In comprehensive works, which include in their descriptions great 
varieties of scenes, time and actors, these subjects may be dealt 
with in the mass in such general terms, that if they do not convey 
the impression Ave think they should have done, still the treatment 
is frequently too vague to admit of our entering a special plea 
against it. We see a general family likeness, and are content ; not 
expecting minute accuracy where breadth and coloring, hght and 
shadow, are the chief elements in the picture. In describing a 
nation, if the recital is not flattering no one in particular feels 
injured, deeming himself an exception ; but in describing a township, 
every native feels himself an inseparable portion of it, and neces- 
sarily sharing in the character ascribed to it. If an error creeps 
in, it is sure of detection too, for this corporate individual whom we 
have undertaken to draw, is no common person ; though he may be 
said to possess one soul, he has as many heads as a hydra — not so 
fierce, or we should not have ventured, pen in hand, within his reach*, 
— but with the united judgment of so many brains, so much learn- 
ing, and so many memories, among them all the truth must be 
known, and nothing less than the truth will serve* them. With the 
hundred eyes too of Argus, with which to see our short-comings, it 
is gratifying to be able to record that he has Briarean hands, which 
have been freely used to aid us. 

The retrospective view which wc have been obliged to take, in 
arranging the earlier history of the town, combines much that is pic- 
turesque and romantic in its general aspect. Little more than two 
centuries have elapsed, since the ground we now occupy was 
covered with the primeval forest, which grew in hardy freedom 
almost to the water's edge ; * slight to the eye of man would then 
have been the tokens that these woods shielded living human beings, 
or that the pure waters which rolled untamed from the snowy moun- 
tains of the North, till they met in its sober strength the broad arm 
of the ocean, forbidding its farther wanderings, and betimes rolling 

* Mass. Hist. Coll. vol. 4. 


it back to its sequestered sources, were ever the bearer of the birch 
canoe, and the swarthy occupants of those frail, romantic barks. The 
huts of the red man had already shrunk and decayed, as if in pre- 
scient comprehension that these tall oaks must be felled, to make the 
white man's ships, and the haunt of the deer must be mown away 
for the more useful, but less picturesque fold of the white man's 
herds and flocks. A few poor and degenerate Indians, the last of 
their race, wasted by the pestilence, and destroyed by the hand of 
savage enmity, first shrunk from the presence, and then sought the 
protection of the coming sovereigns of the land. 

Little more than two hundred years ago, and while the solitude of 
the southern banks of the Merrimac were almost unbroken by the 
voice of savage or cultivated man, save here and there a solitary 
and hardy pioneer who had erected his hut by the banks of this fruit- 
ful stream, — at such time the lonely stranger might have seen, a few 
short miles to the south, on the bank of another river, a scene that 
was destined to change all that he beheld, so that the Sachems of 
Agawam, starting up from their resting-places, should no more rec- 
ognize the land of their fathers. On the banks of that other river 
stood a party of wayfarers who had at last reached their journey's 
destined end. They stood there on the ground which they now 
called their own, — they stood there, after many perils of the land and 
of the sea — they stood there with the sanction of the only church 
which they reverenced — they stood there, men and women, with 
their children, and their cattle, and their goods — to take possession 
of the land and to subdue it. 

How they fulfilled their destiny, we have only to look around us 
and see to-day. That little band, sitting down by that silent stream, 
soon taught its unfurrowed waters to labor for their sustenance ; the 
tall trees were levelled with the earth, and sprang up anon in the 
form of dwellings ; the hill-sides, bleak and cold in the early spring 
time, were presently covered with the creatures which were to fur- 
nish the next year's raiment for that undaunted band. And yet a 
little while expanding in their strength, offshoots were seen, 
stretching to the "West and the North, and saying, " Make way, for 
the place is too strait for us." A few more summers and a few 
more snows, and the wrought and labored highways, radiating in 


every direction, — the compact and substantial dwellings, and spire 
and steeple pointing up to Heaven, told to the wandering Indian, in 
accents not to be mistaken, that a people of another lineage and 
another faith, were firmly planted on the soil once teeming with his 
hardy braves ; and that the Merrimac, in which he had been wont 
to spear the sturgeon, and on whose banks in winter's depths he 
had tracked on snow-shoes the flying deer, was now to be spanned 
into a highway by the builder's art ; and its lucid waters were des- 
tined to bear the treasures of four continents to its shores. 

Two hundred and twenty years have passed, and all this and much 
more has been long accomplished. 



The Indians -whom the first English settlers found in the territo- 
ry Ave now occupy, were of the Pawtucket nation. This tribe laid 
claim to all the country lying between the Piscataqua river, and the 
river Charles, and back, inland, to what is now Concord, New 
Hampshire. They had one chieftain, who resided at his pleasure at 
diflferent places within this domain, called Nanapashemet (1630.)* 
Under him were subordinate chiefs, called Sagamores, and the dis- 
trict lying between the Merrimac and Naumkeag rivers, and extend- 
ing to the present site of Andover, was under the particular rule of 
a Sagamore, named Masconomo or Masconomhet, called by Winthrop 
the Sagamore of Agawam, from which Ipswich received its first 
name. But the Pawtuckets, though numbering at one time 3000 
warriors, had been fearfully reduced by two dreadful scourges, 
previous to any attempted settlement of Newbury. Towards the 
eastward, on the banks of the Penobscot, lay their powerful and 
warlike enemies, the Tarratines, who twenty years before had 
overrun the entire country oT the Pawtuckets ; leaving the land, 
from the Penobscot to the Blue Hills of Milton (the home of the 
Massachusetts), strewed with the victims of their revenge ; thou- 
sands of unburied dead strewed the banks of every stream, and 

* Previous to 1 752 the year commenced in JVIarch, which was consequent!}- 
the first month, and February, which is now the second, was the 12th. Ten 
days must be added to any date in the sixteenth century, and eleven daj's 
in the seventeenth, to bnng them up to the present style of reckoning. 


polluted the free air of the primeval forests ; so much so, that the 
plague which followed in the train of this calamity, went like a 
gleaner over the fields, gathering up the remnant which the arrow 
and the tomahawk had left. 

But though the Sagamore of Agawam escaped the scalping-knife, 
and the more lingering death which had swept off the strength of 
his followers, he was in no condition to contend with his ancient 
foes, and gladly sought the protection of the English,* and thus was 
prepared for our fathers, a peaceable and unobstructed possession 
of their new homes. 

The land itself, from its first discovery by the elder Cabot, (if we 
reject the enticing Scandinavian and Welch legends,) was visited 
successively by Gosnold and Martin Pruig, in 1602-3 ; but the first 
regular survey of this portion of the coast was made by the cele- 
brated Captain John Smith, the founder of Jamestown, who in 
1614 made an expedition to the north-east, and on his return to 
London, published an account of this part of the country, with a 
map of the coast ; and the land itself nominally passed into the 
possession of many hands before it was won by our ancestors for 
themselves. In 1620, it was granted to Sir Fernando Georges and 
others, in the name of the Grand Council of Plymouth, and under 
this patent was first called New England, by royal authority. The 
next year, this Council granted to one John Mason " all the land 
from the river of Naumkeag (now Salem) to the mouth of the 
Merrimac ; " and in 1622, this grant was extended to the Piscataqua. 
Again the land was sold to another party ; the Council of Plymouth, 
most of whom remained in England, sold " that part of New Eng- 
land which hes between three miles north of the Merrimac river and 
three miles to the south of Charles river," to a company of sLx gen- 
tlemen, including John Endicott,f one of Salem's illustrious names. 
This patent, it will be seen, infringed- upon that already granted to 

* On the 8th of March, 1634, " Maskanomet," (so written,) with four other 
Sagamores, voluntarily submitted themselves to the government of Massachu- 
setts, and signed a document in which they also professed themselves willing to 
be instructed in the Christian religion. — Colony Records, vol. 1. 

In 1646 the General Court granted him special permission to have his gun 
mended by a smith ; no smith being allowed to repair fire-arms for an Indian 
without leave. 

t Bancroft, vol. 1, tbap. 9. 


Mason. But not content with its having been twice sold, the last 
named company, some of whom remained in England, obtained in 
1628 another charter from King Charles, re-confirming then- patent 
given by the Council of Plymouth, and obtaining in addition, the 
right to exercise powers of government. This charter was in the 
name of the " Governor and Company of Massachusetts Bay, in 
New England." In this Charter, the Merrimac is designated as 
" a great river, there [in New England] comonlie called Monomack 
aUas Merriemack." Under this charter, Endicott was appoints 
ed de facto governor, but was speedily superseded by Winthrop. 
At first, all the freemen under this charter were obliged to go to 
Boston to vote,* but ere long the plan of sending representatives 
was adopted, to the great relief of the colonists. Each settlement 
having ten freemen, Avas entitled to a deputy. The Governor and 
Council assumed jurisdiction over the Indians left within the terri- 
tory, as well as the white inhabitants. In 1631 we find that the 
Sagamore of Agawam, the late lord of the land we occupy, was 
forbidden by the General Court, to " enter any Englishman's house, 
for a year, under penalty of ten beaver skins ; " which punishment 
was inflicted, on account of his having, in some way, given affront 
to his ancient enemies, the Tarratines ; and the Governor probably 
feared another irruption of that still unsubdued tribe. Yet, under 
the noble Winthrop, no white man was permitted, with impunity, to 
injure an Indian. A Mr. Josias Plaistow, havmg stolen four 
pecks of corn from an Indian, was ordered by the Court to return 
eight pecks ; and " to be hereafter called Josias, and not Mr. as 
formerly he was ; " and though two kings had granted the land to 
the emigrants from England, satisfaction was also made to the resi- 
dent Indians, as existing records show. 

Nearly a hundred and ninety years after the first settler had 
planted his cabin by the side of the Merrimac (in 1822), the bones 
of an Indian, a tomahawk, an aboriginal stone pipe, and two whet 
stones were found upon digging into a lot of ground, on Market 
street ; the spot, when selected for burial, probably being chosen as 

* On page 166, vol. 1, of the Records of the General Court, we find it re- 
corded, " that Newberry shall have liberty to stay so many of their freemen at 
home, for the safety of their town, as they shall judge needful, and those who 
are so stayed at home, shall send their voices by proxy. " 


a sequestered place, which the friends of the deceased fondly hoped 
would forever conceal the remains from stranger eyes. The idea 
was broached, at the time that these interesting relics were dis- 
covered, that the place had been used as a cemetery ; but had this 
been the case, these would not have been soHtary witnesses of the 
long departed race.* 

Whatever unsettled claims the descendants of Masconomo held, 
to any portion of their original inheritance, were formally resigned, 
by his grandchildren, by deeds given to the several towns then 
existing within the Hmits of ancient Agawam. Among these was 
Newbury. In behalf of himself and heirs, Samuel English, a 
grandson of Masconomo, in 1701, in consideration of ten pounds 
current money, paid him by the Selectmen of Newbury, confirmed 
to them and their heirs forever, a " tract of land, ten thousand acres 
more or less, containing the township of Newbury, being bounded 
north and north-west by the river Merrimac, east by the sea, west 
by Bradford luie, and south by Rowley." The document m which 
this transfer of ten thousand acres is made, in consideration of ten 
pounds, is signed and sealed by the said hen- of the " Earldom of 
Agawam," witnessed by two Justices of the Peace, and dated Jan- 
uary 10th, 1701, just sixty-six years after the settlement of New- 
bury (Old Town) ; and at this time there was not above a score of 
Indians in the place, and most of those which still survived, were in 
an abject condition ; and the payment, therefore, of any considera- 
tion, must have been a matter of pure choice, and the ten pounds 
paid by Newbury, a mere peace offering, to allay the impotent 
complaints of this degenerate representative of the original lords of 
the soil. 

The part of Newbury first settled was the northern bank of the 
Quascacunquen (now Parker) river ; which inclines us to the be- 
lief that the centennial deposit, at the mouth of the Merrimac, which 
has occurred twice since that period, was then in unpromising exist- 
ence at the entrance of the river. Twice within the history of the 

* Other mementoes of the race have been found in the lower part of the 
town. Captain J. Woodell found a piece of an arrow-head in his field, and on 
land which has probably been cultivated over two hundred years, is occasion- 
ally turned up some fragmentary witness of the existence of the departed 


settlement of the southern shores of the Merrimac, have the envi- 
ous tides, receiving their direction from the point of Cape Ann, 
endeavored to dam up the entrance to the harbor, by the formation 
of large deposits of sand on the permanent bar ; dividing the -water 
into two indifferent channels. The process takes about a hundred 
years ; and these facts accord with the statement of an early 
visitor* to this part of the country, who speaks of the Merrimac 
as a " gallant river," but disparagingly adds, " the entrance to 
which, though over a mile in breadth, and having two passages, is 
barred with shoals of sand, and a sandy island lyeth against the 
mouth."! That the " sandy island " was soon after washed away, 
and one improved passage laid open to the adventurous mariner, is 
certain. But the want of a good channel to the Merrimac in 1635, 
was the turning-point which induced the first settlers of Newbury 
to locate on the banks of the Quascacunquen ; for though a pastoral 
people, they justified their choice by the conclusive argument that 
the favored stream afibrded a " safe and easy passage to vessels ; " 
and Wood ( before quoted) says of the Ipswich and Quascacun- 
quen rivers, " they have fair channels, in which vessels of fifty or 

* Wm. Wood, who came to this country in 1629, and stayed four years ; when 
he returned to England and published "New England's Prospect" (1634), and 
the next year a map of this part of the coast. In 1636 he returned to this 
country and settled in Lynn. 

fin 1840 a new channel, a quarter of a mile wide, was opened thi'ough 
Salisbury beach. At this time the sand had so accumulated on the bar, that 
no large vessel could safely venture over with the wind from any point between 
N. W. and N. E., it being almost certain that if she missed stays, the channel 
being so narrow, she would go on shore on the north breaker, or Plum Island. 
The new channel, had it continued, Avould have shortened the distance from the 
bar to the town over a mile ; and it was proposed to secure it by artificial 
means, but the hope of accomplishing this proved fallacious, and the shifting 
sands were found as untamable as ever. Nearly as great changes took place 
towards the close of the eighteenth century. The site of the fort which was built 
on Plum Island, to protect the harborduring the Revolutionary war, would now, 
• by the changes in the channel, be found on the Salisbury shore. In December, 
1795, public notice was given to mariners making this harbor, that on account 
of the shifting of the bar, the lights on Plum Island were moved so as to range 
"W. by S., running in, and E. by N., going out." Between 1820 and 182C, 
the north end of Plum Island wore away more than 600 feet, and persons were 
then living who could recollect when vessels, drawing from six to seven feet, 
could sail round Plum Island at low tide. 


sixty tons may sail ; " evidently inferring that either of these rivers 
was better adapted for the general purposes of navigation, than the 
Merrimac. That the bar and general configuration of the approaches 
to the Merrimac have materially altered, rather than that these 
first explorers were so egregiously deceived, appears a reasonable 
conclusion ; as within the remembrance of many now living, there 
have been considerable alterations in the approaches to the 
Merrimac, and we can scarcely speculate on the position of these 
shifting sands two hundred and twenty years ago. 

But though the first regular settlement was made in the neighbor- 
hood of the lower green, (Old Town,) yet we find that two years 
earlier, (Sept. 3, 1633,) the General Court " granted liberty to 
Mr. John Winthrop, Jr., and to his assigns, to se£ up a trucking 
[trading] house, upon Merrimac river." And some time after, we 
find an additional favor granted him, viz., the right to employ an 
Indian* " to shoot at fowle ; " and we know from collateral testi- 
mony that as early as this, sturgeon was taken from the Merrimac, 
pickled and shipped to England. The stray settlers who engaged in 
this business, were not numerous enough, however, to excite the 
jealousies of the organized companies and permanent settlers, who 
followed in successive bands close upon them. The first of these, 
coming with the sanction and approval of the General Court, removed 
from the earlier settled Agawam, or Ipswich, in the spring of 1635,t 
and consisted of twenty-three men, whose names are preserved, with 
their families and servants; the pastor with his people. A church 
and a miniature democracy were combined in that little company. 
Following Plum Island river or sound till they entered the Quascacun- 
quen, they landed with their goods, and what hve stock they could 
transport, near where the bridge now crosses the familiar stream 
called " Parker river." Between them and their friends at Aga- 
wam, lay the unbroken forest ; before them, and around them, the 
unsubdued wilderness ; no roof welcomed them, no eye was there to 
kindle at their coming, and to greet them. The home which they , 

* One of the early laws of the colony forbade the employment of any 
Indian, or the sale to them of any fire-arms, except by consent of the General 

t " May 6th " in the Company books is recorded, " Newbury is allowed to 
be a plantation." 


here anticipated, they must first make. And resolutely they set to 
•work, unsheltered, till with their own hands they had felled the 
primeval forest, and reared a temporary refuge from the evening 
dews and the mid-day sun. This was soon accomplished, and in 
the course of the ensuing summer months they were joined by many 
additional emigrants. Newbury was incorporated, as soon as settled, 
by the only Act of incorporation which she ever received, viz., 
the recognition, by the General Court, of her right to send deputies 
to that body, which was done the first year of its settlement. No 
less than sixteen vessels had arrived at the colony of " ye Massa- 
chusetts Bay" within three months of the first movement towards 
Newbury ; all freighted witli liberty loving souls, attracted by the 
fame of the free homes of Massachusetts, and a large number of 
these came immediately to Newbury. The territorial limits of the 
town were among the largest of any in the province ; it contained 
about thirty thousand acres, of wliich, perhaps, two thousand were 
covered with water, including the sea-shore at high water, rivers 
and ponds. It measured thirteen miles in length, and six in breadth. 
At this time, it was the policy of the colonial government to 
encourage settlements to the eastward, in order to meet the designs 
of the French, and, if possible, preoccupy all the lands north-east 
of Salem ; the whole of the territory which King James had granted 
to the Plymouth Company in 1606, having also been granted by 
Francis I of France, to De Montes, three years before, in 1603. 
Yet the French had but nominal possession of any land south of 
Cape Sable, though their boundary fines extended to the Penob- 
scot.* But the Governor of Massachusetts, dreading their influence, 
and fearing they would prove bad neighboi-s, was anxious to extend 
the EngHsh settlements as fast as possible in that direction. And it 
was probably through this direct influence, that so many of the emi- 
grants of 1635 came to Newbury. Yet, in his desire to " prevent 
the French Jesuites," Governor Winthrop was not unmindful of the 
character of the men whom he destined to occupy this part of the 
province, as a barrier to French aggression. And thus, in conjunc- 
tion with the General Court, he not only forbade any to locate them- 
selves within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts without leave, but 

* Bancroft's Hist. Colonization U. S. vol. 1, chap. 9. 


" misliking " some of those who had already settled at Agawam, he 
forthwith ordered their removal. 

The church of Newbury was first gathered under the wide- 
spread branches of an ancient oak, under whose shade stood the 
faithful pastor, who had accompanied some of liis little flock from 
England. In the " open ayre," on or near the lower green, was the 
first sermon preached within the limits of Newbury.* 

In tracing the history of the New England towns, we almost inva- 
riably find the church to be the nucleus around which the future 
town was to grow. This order of events would have followed nat- 
urally enough, without the assistance of any official interference. 
The predominating motive, in the first settlers, being freedom of 
worship for themselves, many of the larger companies bringing their 
minister with them, it could scarcely fall out otherwise, but that 
they would locate with direct reference to the maintenance of their 
church fellowship ; depending on accessions from their friends, for 
increase and the growth of pohtical influence. But this order of 
settlement was systematically encouraged by the rulers of the 
province, who granted no lands, nor sanctioned the removal of any 
number of persons vmless they were able and willing to " maintame 
ye ministrie among them." 

The first object, after dividing the lands and apportioning the 
common pasturage for the sheep and cattle, was to build a house for 
the minister, and a " meeting-house." In the division of the land, 
the general rule was observed, to grant a larger tract to those who 
had property, and less to those who had none ; and though at the 
first thought it appears an unreasonable and unjust mode of divi- 
sion, that the rich should have more granted them because they Avcrc 
rich, and the poor had little given them because they were poor, yet 
there were many reasons which rendered this imequal appropriation 
advantageous, if not absolutely necessary at that time, the principal 
of which was, that there being but little wealth among the mass of 
the colonists, it was desirable to ofier inducements to the higher 
classes to emigrate ; and as the colonial government had nothing else 
to give, and had abundance of unoccupied land, this system of 
appropriation might be considered the premium ofiered to those 
having .property in England, to unite their fortunes with their poorer 

* Popkin's Hist. Sermon. 


brethren in the wilderness, and help build up the church of God in 
this Western World. And though a strong religious sentiment was 
the great motory power which moved forward the tide of emigration 
in those days, yet it is not to be supposed that these grants in per- 
petuity of large tracts of land, were without their influence in decid- 
ing many to leave forever the land of their fathers. Neither should 
they be charged with selfish or unworthy motives on this account. 
A family reared in, and having many attachments to an old country, 
with the physical comforts of a lifetime gathered around them, but 
without much surplus wealth, would be exercising but ordinary pru- 
dence, if they secured to their families, in lieu of all this, a gift of 
wild land, which in course of years would far exceed, in pecuniary 
value, what they relinquished, but to attain which, they must 
encoimter the risks and privations of a long sea-voyage, and all the 
hardships unavoidably connected with the settlement of a new coun- 
try. To induce, then, this class of the " godly sort," to emigrate, 
fifty acres were given to each person who came at his own expense 
to the colony ; and for every fifty pounds in money which he paid 
into the common stock, he received two hundred acres of land. 
Also, if any persons in England sent over, at their own expense, any 
" sound healthy person," the same proportion of land was awarded 
to them ; and in this way there became many owners of real estate 
in Massachusetts, resident in England. 

When the land came to be divided in Newbury, there was great 
inequality in the grants to different persons forming the first parish ; 
the largest gi'ant being one thousand and eighty acres to Mr. Rich- 
ard Dummer ; while others received tracts varying in extent from 
six hundred and thirty, which was the next largest, down to the four 
acres for a house lot and right of pasturage, which was given for the 
use of the poorest settler ; while the rich not unfrequently added 
to their estates by purchase. 

On the lower green was placed the first meeting-house, in wliich 
met the first church of Newbury,* with their first pastor, the Rev. 
Thomas Parker,f who continued with them in that relation for more 
than a quarter of a century ; and connected with him as assistant and 
teacher to the settlement, was Mr. James Noyes, his nephew.^ 

* Dr. Popkin's Sermon. f See Appendix to Period I. 

t See Appendix to Period 1. 


It is impossible to understand the state of early Newbury, without 
a correct appreciation of the position assumed, and influence exerted 
by this " antient divine." The practical union which existed 
between these church organizations and the civil power of the 
province,* involves the history of New England towns inextricably 
with that of the dominant church, and neither can be unravelled 
without the light of the other. Scarcely had the town of Newbury 
assumed shape and order, ere a difference of opinion arose between 
the pastor and his people, upon some points of church government, 
which afterwards broke out into open complaint and opposition, cre- 
ating contentions and dissensions, with brief intervals of truce only, 
for more than twenty-five years, involving the parish as well as the 
church ; injui-iously affecting the organization of the military com- 
pany;! calling for the interference of the General Court, and 
attracting the attention, and exciting the interest of all the churches 
in the province ; giving tone to the entire population for nearly two 
generations ; nor can its effects be said to have entirely ceased, down 
to the present time. 

We may as well here explain, that the mooted point between 
pastor and people, was in regard to where lay the governing 
power of the church. The pastor claimed that it lay in him ; the 
church, or rather the dissentient party in the church, claimed that it 
lay in them ; and despite the adjudication of the General Court, whose 
aid was several times sought — the advice of ecclesiastical councUs, 
and continual endeavors to settle or compromise the difficulties, this 
desii-able object was not attained in the Ufetime of the minister. 
Death only could heal the divisions which had grown and rankled 
for a quarter of a century. 

With this brief explanation of the state of ecclesiastical affairs, 
the reader wiU more clearly perceive the cause of many of the corpor- 
ate, as well as unofficial acts of the parish, and their subsequent 
attempts to control and restrain the growth of new religious interests. 
One of the first orders of the to^^^ii of Newbury, was that no person 
should be admitted as a resident, -without the consent and approba- 

* At this time no one could be chosen to any civil or military office who was 
not a member of the church. — Colony Records, vol. 1. 

f The nomination of an individual proposed as Serjeant, was rejected on one 
occasion, the reason being given, that he was "co^rupi as regards the Lord's 


tion of the town ; * and this on the same principle by which the 
ruhng powers excluded from the soil of Massachusetts, such per- 
sons as they deemed inimical to the peace and purity of the colony. 
For some time, the town met en masse, to transact even the most 
trifling business ; but this being found burdensome and troublesome, 
from the frequency -with which they were called together, the town 
in 1636 chose seven men " to order the affairs of the town." 
These performed duties similar to those of our modern selectmen, 
and their successors, subsequently elected, were called by that name. 

The selectmen had also some duties to perform which their 
modern successors would hardly dare assume. By an order of the 
General Court, they were authorized to examine children, or 
apprentices, and if they found them ignorant, to admonish their 
parents or masters, and if no improvement was made, they might, 
with the consent of two magistrates, or the next County Court, place 
them in the hands of those who would instruct them better. 

Two years after their settlement, the inhabitants of Newbury were 
called upon to furnish their quota of men to join the forces being 
raised against the Pequods, (spelled Pecoits in the early records,) 
who were stirring up the Indians throughout New England, to a war 
of extermination against the English. Eight Newbury men took 
part in the expedition,! against the principal v/arrior now left — 
Sassacus — and pursuing his scattered followers to Fairfield, fought 
in the concluding battle of the Pequod vrar, cfiectually breaking up 
this fearful alliance of the Indians, and from which may be dated 
the utter prostration of the power of the Pequods in New England. 

Though the Indians in the immediate vicinity of Newbury, were 
exceedingly reduced in numbers and spirit, before the planting of 
the first settlement on Parker river, yet our ancestors were by no 
means exempt from all anxiety on their account. We find at this 
time, that they contemplated building a fort ; and it was their 
invariable practice to carry their guns to " meeting." The town 
also passed a special order, that " every man going into the field to 
work, should take his gun with him ; " and one adventurous man 

* State paper of Gov. Barnard. 

f It is related of these troops, and is quite in accordance with the spirit of the 
men and times, that they halted on their way to Connecticut, to discuss the 
question, " whether they were under a Covenant of Grace or Works." 


proposing to place his house some little distance from the others, " on 
the other side of the hill," the town voted that he be warned against 
such presumption, but that if he persisted, and harm befell him, then 
" his blood should be on his own head." These precautions were 
probably not directed agauist those few Indians Hving within the lim- 
its of old Agawam, but incursions were dreaded from more distant, 
and less friendly tribes. 

In regard to education, Newbury, though not at first maintaining 
a parish schoolmaster, was better suppHed in this respect than many 
of the new settlements, both Mr. Parker and Mr. Noyes acting in this 
capacity ; and ere long the annual election of a schoohnaster, with 
suitable appropriation for his support, became a regular and promi- 
nent item in the business meetings of the town. A portion of the 
" lands in common," was appropriated for his use ; and from the first 
records, we find constant and particular provision made for the 
" Latin Scholars." * 

But though the education of all the youth was a fundamental 
principle ia the written and unwritten laws of the province, and 
enlisted the deepest interest of the early emigrants, there is sufficient 
evidence of a great scarcity of books among the mass of the people. 
The county records, containing the valuation and settlement of es- 
tates, with minute enumerations of items of personal property, bring 
this fact very clearly out. Many of the clergy had good, even valuable 
libraries, but the " planters," as the yeomanry were then designated, 
seem to have been contented with a very limited assortment. For 
instance, among the items of personal property, we find belonging 
to an estate valued at .£318, "three bokes." What these were, 
might be matter of interesting speculation, and we should without 
hesitation have decided that the family Bible was one, had we not 
previously discovered that that venerable relic was separately 
disposed of by will. In another account of personal property amount 
ing to nearly X300, we find " bokes 14 s." and as in the next line 
there is an item, " a boy, <£10, 5 s.f " we must conclude that labor 

* The town was, nevertheless, fined by the General Court, for not having a 
" Latin School." 

\ This might be a boy who had been hired out by the " Company," for a term 
of years, or perhaps sentenced as a slave by the General Court, for some 
criminal act; no uncommon thing at this period. See vols. 1 and 2 of 
Eecords Mass. Bav. 


was honored quite as much as lay hterature among the planters. 
The cost of books Avhile they had to be imported from Europe, must 
for many years have precluded the people from indulging extensively 
in this luxury ; which indeed could not be expected to enter largely 
into their expenditures, while so many articles of prime necessity to 
security of life and bodily comfort, were still wanting. 

Up to 1638, Newbury contained no visible means of correcting 
offenders against the law. In this year, Mr. Edward Rawson was 
appointed to "judge small causes in Newbury:" this included all 
matters of less value than forty shillings. But the General Court, it 
appears, was not satisfied to trust to this, and to Newbury was 
given a limited time to provide a pair of stocks, in default of 
which, to be fined five pounds. They were also fined six shillings 
eight pence, and "enjoined to repair their defects" [in the 
roads] before September. 

About this time, settlements were begun on the north of the 
Merrimac, at " Salsberry," [originally called Colchister,] and beyond, 
at what is now Hampton,* and within another year, a ferry was 
estabhshed at Carr's Island, (in the neighborhood of the ship-yard 
now occupied by Mr. Jackman,) which shows that the communica- 
tion between these later settlements, and those on the southern bank 
of the river, must have been frequent and considerable. The popu- 
lation of Newbury was now tending to the "water-side," — that 
portion of the town now included in Newburyport. 

Until 1642, the people had been almost exclusively engaged in 
husbandry ; the most of their property consisting of land, cattle, 
goats and sheep. Almost every family had a flock of goats ; and 
from the quantity of land laid out as "ox-commons," "sheep-walks," 
and pasturage for all the common kinds of live stock which required 
grass, their number must have been very great. But a resolve 
having passed the House of Commons, with fair prospect of being 
made a permanent measure by Parliament, exempting the exports and 
imports of New England from taxation, an impulse was given to the 
mercantile spirit, which produced not only an increased emigration 
of the class of traders from England, but induced the wealthier and 


* Eecords of Norfolk Co. 


more enterprising, already here, to turn their attention to commerce. 
Several English merchants came to Newbury, whom we find after- 
wards engaged by the water-side, laying the foundation of that 
extensive shipping interest, which subsequently placed Newburyport 
among the principal importing towns of New England. Fishing in 
the Merrimac Avas now a regular business, notwithstanding the 
"sandy island which lyeth at the mouth." 

Newbury had also grown in another direction, toward the west ; 
and the first parish was fast losing her original prestige of pre- 
eminence, by the continual removal of the people farther north and 
west, — a "sore distance from the meeting-house" — which said 
meeting-house figui-es as conspicuously in the history of Newbviry, as 
the Constitution in the poHtical speeches of young patriots. 

Plum Island Avas extensively used for many years as a winter 
resort for cattle ; and from the value which the early settlers seemed 
to place upon it, we should infer that it was somewhat more prohfic 
of herbage than we find it at the present day ; for, in a petition to 
the General Court, the people of Newbury prky that Plum 
Island may be granted " to their sole use," (and to the exclusion 
of Rowly and Ipswich,) because that "in right it belongs to us," 
and also " to relieve our pinching necessities, without which, we see 
no way to continue or subsist." Should any see fit thus to petition 
now, we should thmk they hardly bid fair to "subsist" tvith it. 
The Court soon after divided the Island between the three towns 
(Oct. 17th, 1649). 

Although freedom was the thought in the heart of every emigrant, 
and " Hberty" was ever in the speech of the first settlers of Massa- 
chusetts, we, who are sometimes called their " degenerate descend- 
ants," can scarcely conceive how our forefathers submitted to the 
continual pressure of authority over the daily habits, and even speech 
of the people. The mode of wearing the hair, as it would seem a 
matter which involved no question of morahty, or good policy, but 
one Avhich might safely be left to the taste or judgment of the indi- 
vidual, was then made matter of serious import, both by the civil 
rulers, and the still more potent condemnation of the clergy. A 
testimony signed by Governor Endicott and seven or eight of his 
Council, was published against wearing long hair, " after the manner 


of ruffians, and barbarous Indians, and contrary to God's word," 
and by which paper, " they did manifest their dislike and detestation 
of the wearing of long hair, as a thing uncivil." The paper con- 
cludes with an admonition to the elders " to see to it, that the mem- 
bers of the churches be not defiled therewith." The Rev. John 
Elliot, the " apostle to the Indians," also declared that the wearing 
of long hair was " an offence to godly Christians," and that all 
who followed the custom " walked offensively." When it is remem- 
bered that a minister then possessed a degree of influence over the 
feelings of the people unparalleled by any class of men in the pres- 
ent day, such condemnation of the practice was equivalent to an 
authoritative order to desist. The origin of this prejudice of the 
Puritans against long hair, may be traced to the contest between 
the Cavaliers and Roundheads ; though they professed to found their 
opposition to it on the word of revelation, yet it is plain, that when 
the wearing of short hair by men became, as it did in England, in 
the time of Charles the First, and the Protectorate, the symbol of a 
party, — when the Cavaliers, who were also Papists, or favorable to 
that party, nourished their flowing locks with undisguised satisfac- 
tion and pride, and the reformers of the day universally adopted the 
opposite extreme, cutting their hair short, and of an equal length all 
round, until they had earned the appellation of " Roundheads," 
j^vhich expressed not only Protestantism, but designated, also, the 
straitest sect of that division of Christendom, — it is not surprising 
that their descendants, who had been taught to look upon long and 
elaborately dressed hair as a memento of the Stuarts, should hasten 
to discourage the introduction of such vanities in tliis westeni retreat, 
where they had hoped no " papistical ways " would be tolerated. 

But not only was the mode of dressing the hair subjected to the 
ordeal of judicial and ecclesiastical remonstrance, but the cost and 
fashion of apparel fell also under the keen and searching eyes of 
our worthy elders and magistrates of the olden time. A law was 
passed at the General Court forbidding the use of lace upon any 
garment, except " binding or small edging lace," * which might be 
used on garments, orhnen; graciously permitting people, however, to 
" wear out their old garments," if ever so fine ; and adding go 
the grievance of interference in matters of such purely personal 

* Mas?. Records, vol. 1. 


concern, invidious distinctions, by which persons owning a certain 
amount of property were permitted to indulge in these, to others, 
forbidden luxuries. This is the worst feature in these sumpt- 
uary laws, and the least in accordance with republican feeling, as it 
tended powerfully to keep up and create castes, which, odious any- 
where, is more particularly injurious in small communities, where, of 
all the members personally known to each other, some were selected 
out, by judicial discrimination, for the reception of privileges ; as, 
for instance, where the Court expressed " its utter detestation that 
men of mean callings and condition should take upon them the 
garb of gentlemen," or that women of the same rank should wear 
silk or tiffany hoods, which, though allowable in persons of great 
estate, they "judge intolerable in persons of such like condition." 
A little later, we find that three inhabitants of Newbury, " were 
each presented for wearing a silk hood and scarf," but were dis- 
charged on proving that their husbands were worth two hundred 
pounds. But one Joseph Swett's wife was fined ten shillings for 
the same offence. Then, too, a continual surveillance was kept up 
on the conduct of persons in their domestic affairs, and a degree of 
interference was customary, which many now would " judge intolera- 
ble." Thus Aquilla Chase* and his wife " were presented for gath- 
ering pease on the Sabbath day." A due censorship of the tongue 
was also observed. A seafaring man, on approachiQg in his ship,* 
having noticed that the flag displayed was destitute of a cross, 
" spake to some on board the ship that we had not the king's colors, 
but were all traitors and rebels ; " for which indiscreet remark, he 
was arrested and committed to prison ; but was finally discharged, 
on his signing a written confession that the expression had no founda- 
tion in truth, but proceeded only from " the rashness and distemper 

* The descendants of the Chase family were some eight years ago thrown 
into a qui vive by the report that an immense fortune was left them by some 
wealthy branch of the family in England. In January, 1846, six hundred of 
them assembled from all parts of the country, at Newbury Town House, on 
invitation of Joshua Coffin, Esq., where a collection was taken up among them 
to defray the expenses of prosecuting the investigation of the claim ; and a 
committee of five was appointed to carry out such measures as they might deem 
expedient, to secure the money to the American heirs. The money has not 
yet come ! 


of his own brain."* Like all the people of that age around them, 
the characters of our ancestors partook of that inconsistency which 
ever exists in transition periods, when the thought is before the habit, 
and the shackles of past prejudices unlink but slowly, to admit the 
new forms which must follow, but do not always accompany the 
advance of mind. 

But of all the arrangements for maintaining a rigid surveillance 
over the habits of the people, perhaps none was so effectual, and 
certainly none would be considered more offensive and oppressive 
in these days, than the appointment of " tithingmen," a species of 
guardianship to which our ancestors long submitted without mur- 
muring ; not, we believe, because insensible to the value of personal 
liberty, but regarding it as necessary to the general well-being of 
the State, the due preservation of morals, and the prevention of 
heresies and religious eccentricities, tinctured, perhaps, with the 
feeUng that the supervisory power thus submitted to, was attainable 
by themselves, and that those who one year admonished or rebuked 
them, might the next be under the yoke of their rule. 

The "tithingmen" were persons appointed by the selectmen to 
have a general inspection and oversight over a limited number of 
families, usually ten. It was their especial duty to see that all 
the members of these designated famihes attended public worship 
regularly, and to mark otherwise all violations of the Sabbath. In 
the year 1679, fourteen of these tithingmen were appointed in 
Newbury,! which would show the number of families at that time to 
be one hundred and forty ; and reckoning each family to contain five 
persons, (and it would probably be more,) it would give a total pop- 
ulation of seven hundred, or over. This estimation is probably not 
far from correct, as we find, by a Hst of the persons who took the 
.oath of allegiance, (being all males over sixteen years of age,) that 
there were two hundred and thirty-six thus enrolled in the town of 
Newbury in 1678. 

The duties of tithingmen were gradually contracted to narrow er 
and narrower limits, until their only duty was to keep order among 
the boys. Mr. Lewis says, in his history, that in the early times m 
Lynn, the " tithingmen had a knob at one end of their long white 
wands, and a fox's tail at the other; when, if they perceived any of 

* Colony Records. | Newbury Kecords, p. 295. 

22 History of newburyport. 

the men asleep in meeting, they ayouIcI gently rap them on the head 
-with the knob ; but if any of the ladies were caught napping, they 
drew the fox's tail lightly over their face." Their usual insignia of 
office was a long white wand. 

In 1643, the province of Massachusetts was first divided into 
counties ; but as the jurisdiction of the Court Avas then presumed to 
include what is now the State of New Hampshire, there was one 
county laid out, then called Norfolk,* which included Portsmouth, 
Dover, and other towns now in that State. Essex County contained 
" Salem, Lynn, Enon, (now Wenham,) Ipswich, Rowly, Newberri, 
Gloucester, and Cochiawick " (now Andover) ; and about this time 
the inhabitants of Newbury had become so scattered that a new 
division of land was made three or four miles north of the old meeting 
house, which was called the "layuag out of the new town," the 
southern boundary of which was Parker street, in Newbury. Mr. 
Coffin says, " the exact limits of the new town cannot now be ascer- 
tained ; but it extended farther north and south than Newburyport 
now [1845] does. 

This " new town" we may consider as the date of Newburyport, 
as a separate interest from Newbury, though the formal separation 
did not take place till one hundred and twenty years afterwards. 
But from this time we find the two sections arrayed in opposition to 
each other, mainly because their interests being difierent, were not 
so recognized, but the first parish long attempted to exercise a con- 
trol over those who had removed from the original precincts, though 
quite inadequate to furnish them with the benefits which such 
supremacy implied. The first serious trouble arose about the meet- 
ing-house ; some were for having the old one removed to a position 
which would better accommodate those who had located farther 
north and west, while others desired to build a new house, and 
maintain their own minister at their own charge. The party in 

* After New Hampsliire was relieved from the jurisdiction of Massa- 
chusetts, the latter was still determined to have a Norfolk County within 
her borders, and very absurdly located it in the southern part of the State ; the 
name Norfolk being derived from a northern county in England, and meaning 
originally " North folk," in contradistinction to the " South folk," who likewise 
manufactured Suffolk out of their location. — Records of Norfolk Counly. 


favor of removing the house obtained the order that it should be 
transferred from the lower green nearly to its present site, " that 
the people who had formed the new town might be encouraged to go 
on and improve their lands." But to prevent any change, part of 
the inhabitants of the " ould town" petitioned the General Court to 
interfere and prevent the removal. The " new town" after a little 
while prevailed, and a new house was built. 

Although it might naturally be supposed that a people so deeply 
imbued with the religious sentiment, and at the same time so widely 
scattered from each other, — their dwelHngs, as in Newbury, being in 
many instances six or seven miles distant from each other,* — would 
inchne to the practice of extempore religious meetings, and preach- 
ing, if it could be had. We find in reality, that no practice was 
more systematically resisted by those in authority, than any depart- 
ure from the established mode of worship, nor any innovation more 
promptly punished, than that of unlicensed preaching. " Wanton 
Gospellers" were as certain of a seat in the stocks, or some equally 
fashionable, condign punishment, as the thief or any other " con- 
temners of ye law." A positive order of the General Court forbade 
any person exhorting the people on the Sabbath, except a regularly 
ordained minister ; and a native of Newbury having expressed his 
opinion that this law was inconsistent " with those principles of civil 
and religious freedom on which Massachusetts was founded," he 
was disfranchised, and fined twenty marks, for " defaming ye Gene- 
ral Court." 

This case excited the jealous sympathy of some in the town, who 
petitioned for the remission of the sentence, whereupon " eight of 
the Newbury men" were bound over in a bond of ten pounds, for 
their future good behavior, for having signed the petition, — a more 
arbitrary sentence than that which they prayed against. 

The same severity obtained against holding communications with 
those suspected of heresy, most of the virulence being at this time 
directed against the Quakers. An inhabitant of Salisbury, (who 
had removed from Newbury) — Thomas Macy, whose adventures 
have been so graphically described in Whittier's ballad on the 

* At the time Newbury was settled, a general law of the province forbade 
any one to build a house " more than half a mile from ye meeting-house." It 
was found necessary to repeal this. 


" Settlement of Nantucket," was prosecuted and fined for "enter- 
taining Quakers," though he affirmed " that they stayed not above 
three quarters of an hour in the house, and that he had no 
conversation Avith them, being ill in bed, but thinking they might 
be Quakers, he desired them to pass on as soon as the violence 
of the rain had ceased." But for this act of humanity in shel- 
tering three wayfarers from the storm, he could obtain no abate- 
ment of his sentence from the Coui't. These same Quakers were af- 
terwards arrested and hung in Boston. 

But though our ancestors had many of the prejudices of the age, 
they had, too, its virtues. Regarding a religious education as the 
proper foimdation " whereon the grace of God might be grafted, to 
his glory," the inhabitants of Newbury were ever ready to assist in 
contributions to Harvard College, and in the maintenance of other 
institutions of learning, as they multipUed in the country. The 
first graduate of Harvard Avas a native of Newbury, Benjamin 
Woodb ridge. 

The first intimation we have of a wharf or dock being built, on 
the present site of Newbiiryport, is a grant of the town* to Captain 
Paul White, of half an acre of land (in 1655,) near where the 
Market House now stands, for the purpose, and on condition that he 
build a dock and warehouse there. But an independent trader had 
been before him ; one Watts had built a cellar in the vicinity, some 
years before, and he may possibly have been one of those " Scot- 
tish or Irish gentlemen" to whom the General Court, seventeen 
years before, gave liberty to " set dowTi any where upon Merrimack," 
or he may have been one of the assigns of John Winthrop, Jr., who 
had liberty to set up his " trucking house" the year before the above 
liberal grant was made. At any rate, " Watts his sellar " was 
referred to as a well-known site. His occupation was probably 
fishing or trading for fish, which was stored in the aforesaid " sel- 
lar ; " and which he had occupied long before there was any consid- 
erable tendency of the population to the water-side. 

That there had been considerable fishing in the Merrimacf before 
this time, is certain ; and some little traffic was carried on by 

* Newbury Records, p. 121. 

f In early times, before the river -was enchained, and turned into the service 
of our manufacturers, it abounded With fish — sturgeon, salmon, shad, &c. 


small vessels ; but such exchanges of produce, thus made, were 
obliged to be conveyed to and from the vessel in small boats, except 
at full tide, when some of the smaller craft could unlade at a favora- 
ble point on the banks of the river. A brisk trade was now spring- 
ing up with some of the West India Islands ; sugars began to be 
imported directly from them ; while New England received from 
them also tobacco, cotton, indigo, &c. Very Uttle of this was paid 
for in money, but dried and pickled fish, timber, and beef, were 
exchanged for these imports. This change in the nature of trade, 
and the larger vessels and cargoes which might be expected to seek 
a market here, probably suggested to Captain White, who must have 
experienced the difficulty of landing goods on the Merrimac, the 
increasing necessity of a wharf. It was built at the foot of Fish 
street (now State) in 1656. 

At this time there was no tavern in Newbury, but the town being 
liable to a fine for not sustaining one, an " ordinary" was soon after 
opened to the traveller, at the head of Marlborough street. 

While the town was increasing in population and wealth, and new 
avenues of trade were being opened, the inhabitants of the " old 
town" were mainly absorbed in ecclesiastical troubles, arising from 
the difierence before referred to between the people and their min- 
ister. In 1664 the dissatisfaction of the people was expressed by a 
reduction of their pastor's salary ; but this was again increased the 
succeeding year, and no subsequent attempt was ever made to bring 
him to terms by cutting off his supplies ; the opposing party con 
tenting themselves thereafter with petitioning the General Court, 
seeking the aid of ecclesiastical councils, and also, on some occasions, 
exercismg the equivocal right of admonisliing, and finally, by vote, 
suspending him from the exercise of his clerical prerogatives. They 
did this on the ground that they were a majority of the church, and 
were therefore i;7ie church itself ; yet throughout this whole contro- 
versy, the pastor manfully maintained his position, and the people 
their esteem and respect for him ; even the vote whereby he was 
suspended by his mutinous flock, invited him to preach to them, as a 
" gifted brother," if he pleased.* It shows that there must have 
been much good in both parties ; and though the record of their 

* Dr. Popkin. 


public acts would lead to the conclusion that they were actuated by 
a spirit of unmitigated wilfulness, there must have been good ster- 
ling qualities in each, which commended them to their opponents, or 
this retention of kindly feeling towards each other would have been 
impossible. The history of the " troubles at ye church in Neuber- 
ri," is standing evidence how the best of men maybe misled into 
acts of tyranny, as well as unjustifiable usurpation, all the while 
conscientiously beheving that they are only contending for the truth, 
for the truth's sake. But in this state of inquietude, the process 
of " seating the meeting-house " * was one which occasioned some 
little confusion and irritation ; there were originally no pews built, 
but only open seats, which it was soon found necessary to assign to 
certain persons, on accoujit of " divers complaints of confusions in 
ye meeting-house," on account of persons " crowding into seats 
already full." It was therefore ordered, that a list of the names of 
all attending the meeting should be drawn, men and women, and 
their seats assigned them by the selectmen, which process was called 
" seating the meeting-house." Afterwards a pew was built for the 
minister's wife, and permission given to some young ladies to have a 
pew built for themselves. This being looked upon as a piece of 
insupportable pride, some young men broke into the meeting-house 
one night, broke the chairs in the pew and committed other injuries, 
the perpetrators of which outrage being afterwards discovered, were 
duly punished. The children usually sat on long benches " adown 
the ile," and tithingmen were employed to preserve order among 
the boys, and see that they gave " due attention," to the long, two- 
hour sermons. The architecture must in the first instance have 
been decidedly primitive, as it was made one of the duties of the 
individual Avho had the care of the meeting-house, not only " to have 
the floor swept, and the day after to winge down the seats," but in . 
case any of the panes of glass became loosened, to nail them in 
again. f The art of the glazier must have been held at a discount. 
The minister's salary was usually paid in produce. 

The export of ^^ickled sturgeon had become in 1674 a regular 
and profitable branch of trade in Newbury ; some was transported 
overland to Boston, and some found its way out of the country by 
the small vessels engaged also in fishing on the Merrimac. It was 

* Dr. Popkin t Coffin. 


frequently exchanged for West India rum and molasses ; a keg of 
sturgeon was worth from ten to twelve shilUngs, and one Daniel 
Pierce is recorded to have given " fifteen kegs of sturgeon for a 
small cask of rum, and a cask of molasses." But there were mo- 
nopoHsts in those days, as in the present, for a certain William 
Thomas petitions the General Court that he may be " licensed to 
boyle and sell sturgeon for the counties of Essex and Norfolk, being 
aged and uncapable of any other way of subsistence," but was 
" forestalled and circumvented by others, who by hooke or crooke, 
for strong liquors, or otherwise, procure the fish from the Indians 
employed to catch them, by the petitioner." Notwithstanding a 
long array of qualifications for the business, which are enumerated 
in the petition, and the intimation that he alone could put up stur- 
geon to the credit of the country, the waters of Essex and Norfolk 
were left free to other adventurers. 

The alarm excited throughout New England by the breaking out 
of King Philip's war, exceeded that produced by any preceding 
combination of the Indian tribes. An army of a thousand men was 
at once placed under the command of Governor Winslow, and 
requisitions were made on all parts of the country, for men to with- 
stand this formidable alhance. With inconsiderable exceptions. 
New England had been delivered from the terror of the hatchet and 
the tomahawk, since the suppression of the Pequods. But this new 
and powerful combination awoke not only the fears, but roused into 
activity all the energies of rulers and people, and put them on 
devising means of defence. This part of the country was consid- 
ered peculiarly exposed ; and the most prompt and energetic meas- 
ures were proposed by the General Court for its protection. Many 
of the towns had petitioned for aid, and in consequence of their 
representations, it was seriously proposed to build a wall, eight feet 
high, to extend the whole distance from the Charles river to Concord 
river, for the protection of Essex and Middlesex comities ; that thus 
the people might be securely " environed from the rage and fury of 
the enemy." The people of Newbury, however, did not acquiesce 
in this project, but forwarded a representation to the Council, in 
which, after stating that they had duly considered the proposed plan 
of fortifying the Merrimac, " think it not feasible," nor calculated 


to effect the desired object ; and suggest instead, a living wall, 
consisting of a company of men who might " range to and fro." 
They however ordered several houses to be garrisoned, and took all 
reasonable precautionary measures to guard against a surprise. 

From August 5th, 1675, to January 2d, 1676, sixty-seven men 
from Newbury were drawn for the war, with forty-six horses and 
forty days' provisions, — a large proportion for the number and means 
of the town. Of the men taken from Newbury, three were killed 
at the "battle of the fort," * in Rhode Island, and a fourth received 
wounds of which he died shortly after his return home. The place 
where this famous battle was fought, was an elevated piece of ground, 
of three or four acres, on which was placed the fort ; the level land 
below being a hideous swamp some seven miles from Narragansett. 
Five hundred wigwams were destroyed with the fort, which was 
finally reduced by setting it on fire. 

Scarcely had the excitement consequent upon the war with Philip, 
been brought to a close by the death of that chieftain and the 
capture of AnnaAvon, than the town of Newbury was aU astir with a 
new trouble. An enemy not less fatal, and more insidious, had entered 
unperceived, — being in his nature invisible, — and while the General 
Court sought to build up waUs of stone to keep out the wild men of 
the forest, and our good forefathers depended on their strong arms 
and trusty muskets to defend their homes and little ones from 
danger, the unsuspected foe had entered, and fairly made a lodgment 
in the town. 

Perhaps it v/as from bemg so ^ar from the " meeting-house," that 
Satan ventured to make his first demonstrations palpable in the house 
and person of Goody Morse. The reverend pastor who had led tlic 
little chui'ch of Newbui-y from England, after a series of tribulations 
which would have exhausted the faith and patience of ordinary mor- 
tals, had gone to his rest, and no longer watched with jealous care 
over the scattered members of his earthly flock. " The blessed 
light of Newberry," (Rev. James Noyes,) had long been extin- 
guished ; while the colleague of the " antient divine" had not yet 
attained to an order of sanctity comparable to his predecessors. 
What an opportunity, then, during this spiritual breach in the primi- 
tive pastorate, for the exercise of Satan's favorite devices ! 

* Church's Hist, of the French and English Wars. 


In a low wooden house which stood over agahist the " frog pond," 
and on the highway, adown which an aged couple might sometimes be 
SQen riding, (the dame behind her husband on a pillion,) to the distant 
meeting-house, and which whilom was occupied by one Goodman 
Morse and his wife Elizabeth, strange things began to take place, for 
Avhich no visible cause could be assigned ; and ere long, the dread- 
ful thought began to be entertained, and whispered among the neigh- 
bors, tli^t the old house was " bewitched." We can talk calmly of 
these things now, for they mean little or nothing to our ears ; the 
subject inspires no supernatural dread, and no visions of jails and 
hangman's ropes flit before our eyes when we talk of " being 
bewitched." But when old Goody Morse and her faithful spouse 
sat beneath the old elm trees that once sheltered her ill-fated door 
from the summer sun, or when beside the open window the broad 
frills of her cap were seen, and the noise of her spinning wheel 
attracted the eyes and ears of the passers-by, it was indeed a fearful 
thing that they whispered to one another, — " Goody Morse is 

How this terrible suspicion first fell upon the unfortunate woman, 
who more than a century and a half ago occupied the old house, 
which is now replaced by a neat block of modern buildings, on the 
corner of High and Market streets, we probably shall never know ; 
unless a certain yomig rogue, a grandson of hers, has left in some 
unsearched corner, a written confession, which at some future time 
shall be brought to light ; but wanting this, we must make use of 
such information as the Court, and other records of the time afford. 
The first ofiicial information that we find relating to this first and 
only case of legally recognized witchcraft, in what is now Newbury- 
port, is a complaint entered against one Caleb Powell, " for suspicion 
of working with ye devil, to ye molesting of William Morse and his 
family." It appears that this Powell had Ids suspicions that the 
wonderful things which were said to have taken place in the " Morse 
house," were partially, if not wholly produced by the agency of a 
yoimg lad in the family, WilUam Morse's grandson. For the pur- 
pose of verifying his suspicions, he stated that if he could have 
the said lad with him, and another person, whom he named, he 
thought he could ascertain the cause of their many and unaccount- 
able annoyances ; — meaning probably to show that the boy, being 


absent, the fiendish tricks ceased. But in his zeal for his friends, he 
well nigh found his own neck in the noose. On his own confession 
of being thus able to solve the mystery of the assaults upon the peace 
of Goodman Morse, he was arrested for having deahngs in the 
"black art," and was ordered to find bail in the sum of <£20, or 
stand committed for the same, William Morse coming under an 
obligation to prosecute the complaint against Powell at the next 
term of the County Court, which was held at Ipswich. 

The testimony against Powell is about as clear as muclf of that 
presented in the succeeding " witch cases " that subsequent^ 
disfigured the early records of Massachusetts.* One John Badger 
testified " that Caleb Powell said, ' that by astrologie and (he 
thought) by astronomie too, that he could find out whether there 
were diabolical means used about Morse's trouble.' " A brother of 
William Morse declared on oath, " that being at his brother's house, 
a piece of brick came down the chimney, — that he took it in his 
hand, but that in a little time it was gone from him, he could not tell 
how, but quickly after the same piece of brick came down the 
cliimney again ; and presently, a hammer, which he had seen lying 
on the floor but a few minutes before, came down the chimney too ; 
and then a piece of wood a foot long," &c. But the chief witnesses 
were William Morse and his wife. They testified, " that one Thurs- 
day night, being in bed, they heard a great noise upon the roof, 
with sticks and stones, as if thrown against the house with great 
violence ; but on getting up they found nobody, but on lying down 
again, the same noises were repeated. * * * ^i^e next day, an 
awl in the window was taken away, he knew not how, and came 
down the chimney ; which on seeing he put into the cupboard, but 
which mysteriously left its place, and again descended the chimney ; " 
this was repeated several times, and then a basket followed the same 
route. The sagacious man immediately placed a brick in the basket, 

* The -witch cases of Massachusetts have been bruited abroad, as though no 
other civiHzed society had ever been chargeable with the same folly. An order 
of the General Court, passed in May, 1G48, -will showwhose lead the Massa- 
chusetts colonists followed in this matter. It is as follows : " The Court desire 
the course to be taken here which hath been taken in England, for discovery of 
witches, by watching them a certain time. It is ordered that the best and surest 
way may forthwith be put in practice, to begin this night if it may be, being 
tlie 18th of the 3d month." — Records of the Gor).and Com. of ye Mastt. Bay. 


to prevent its again violating the laws of gravitation by getting up 
to the top of the chimney, " he knew not how," but all was of no 
avail ; in a little while basket and brick disappeared, and made the 
favorite witch's entrance to the room, through the fireplace, from 
the chinmey. The number of missiles that descended in this 
unseemly manner was unaccountable, " Several nights," ayc copy 
from the testimony, " a large hog was found in the house, though' 
the door had been locked on retiring ; the cattle in the barn were 
untied, and the boy being sent out to see what was the matter, a 
large frame of some kind fell down on him, and the deponents going 
out to help him, when they came in, they found a cotton wheel 
turned with the legs upward, and many things set upon it, and the 
pots hanging over the fire, were dashing one against another, so that 
they were obUged to be taken do^vn." But these were trifles to 
what followed. 

Next, an andiron danced up and down, and finally into a pot over 
the fire, and then the pot danced on to the table, voluntarily turning 
over, and spilling the contents ; then a tub turned over ; and anon, 
a tub of bread followed suit, came down from a shelf and turned a 
somerset. Goody Morse trying to make her bed, " the clothes did 
fly off many times, of themselves," — at the same time a chest 
opened and shut of its own accord, and the doors flew together. 
But not only while these afflicted ones were engaged in secular 
affairs, did the evil spirits assault them ; William Morse says, " I 
])eing at prayer, my head being covered with a cloth, a chair did 
often times bow to me, and then strike me on the side," and his 
wife coming out of another room, a wedge of iron was thrown at 
her, " and a stone which hurt her much," and a shoe came down the 
chimney and struck him a blow on the head. The concluding part of 
this deposition, — the substance of which we have given, — throws 
some light on the cause, though it does not appear to have directed 
the suspicions of those most concerned to the right source, though 
William Morse says, farther on, " a mate of a ship coming often to 
me, said he was much grieved for me, and that if I would let him 
have the boy, but for one day, he would Avarrant me no more 
trouble, * * * and the boy was with him until night, and I had 
not any trouble since." 


But with the return of the boy returned the trouble. Some 
friends being in the house, " the earth in the chimney corner moved, 
and scattered on them," and " somewhat hit Wilham Morse a great 
blow, but it was so swift that they could not tell what it was." Another 
of the company was hit with an iron ladle ; and a Mr. Richardson 
testified that " a board flew against his chair, and he heard a noise 
m another room, which he supposed in all reason to be diabolical ! " 
There were frequent " noises in another room," and outside of the 
house; sometimes it was "very dreadful." Spoons were thrown 
off the table, the table itself thrown down, " inkhorhe hid from 
me, and the pen quite gone, spectacles thrown into the fire ; struck 
a great blow in the poll ; the cat thrown at my wife, " and so on 
and so forth. The old man undertaking to write down these mar- 
vellous things, before he could dry the writing, a hat was drawn 
against the paper, but holding it fast, (which showed some courage 
imder the circumstances,) but part of it was blotted. This writing 
was intended to be preserved, and the good people bethought them 
to lay it in the Bible over night, lest it should be spirited away, and 
indeed for one night it remained unmolested, but the next it disap- 
peared from between the sacred leaves, and was afterwards found 
in a box. William Morse adds, apparently with the greatest sin- 
cerity, " do what I could, I could hardly keep my j)aper while 
writing this relation, and this morning I was forced to forbear, so 
many things constantly thrown at me." 

How this bore against Caleb Powell, we do not very clearly see, 
but a choice, and truly demonstrative bit of testimony, was produced 
at the trial in March, (1680), one Sarah Hale* and Joseph 
Mirick having testified that "Joseph Morse had often said in 
their hearing, that if there were any wizards, Caleb Powell 
was one ! ! " 

But even this was not so much to the point as ane that followed. 
Mary Tucker, in her evidence, afiirmed " that Caleb Powell said that 
he, ' coming to William Morse's house, and the old man being at 
prayer, lie thought not fit to go in, but looking in at the "window he 
hroTce the enchantment, for he saw the boy play tricks, and among 
the rest, fling the shoe at the old man's head.' " 

* Ipswich Court Eecord. 


The Court could not decide exactly what amount of guilt rested 
on the said Powell, and determining to mete out as exact justice as 
they could, they failed to convict him of the charge upon which he 
was arraigned, " of working by the devil to the molesting of 
WilHam Morse and his family;" but agreed that there was just 
enough suspicion against him to oblige him to " hear his oion shame 
and the costs of prosecution ! ! " and with this equivocal acquittal, 
he was fain to be content. 

But the troubles in the Morse house waxed worse and worse, and 
the people began to cast abeut to find who else might be the 
guilty one. It seems never to have entered the minds of the suffer- 
ers, to investigate calmly and systematically the cause of these 
unwonted disturbances, but they placed them at once, and without hesi- 
tation, to the credit of supernatural, or rather diabolical workings ; 
and having failed to make a victim of Caleb Powell, another must be 
foimd — and who so likely as Goody Morse ? — " some one must be 
the witch! " — and for want of evidence against any -one else, the 
general suspicion was now directed against the poor woman. 

The news had already reached Boston, that the invisible poAvers 
of darkness were displaying their impish deahngs in Newbury. A 
general belief in the existence of such a crime as witchcraft prevailed, 
not only among the poor and ignorant, but the learned and the educated, 
while grave doctors of divinity sanctioned the belief, not only tacitly 
by withholding all rebuke, but actively by their pens, their preach- 
ing, and their presence at the trial of the unfortunate creatures 
charged with tliis impossible crime. Is it strange, then, that the 
imlearned and ignorant should zealously joili in the hue and 'cry 
which the clergy had sanctioned against " witches ? " Suspicion pro- 
duced almost as fatal effects as what in those days was deemed evi- 
dence ; the suspected persons were avoided as infected ; and thus 
being left a prey to their own imaginations, half believing the ver- 
dict of their neighbors, and scarcely trusting their own senses, every 
slight unusual circumstance made a deep impression on their over- 
wrought and fear-excited nervous systems ; until many were induced 
in the end to believe themselves guilty of the crime charged upon 
them, though unconscious of originating or desiring communications 
with the Prince of the Power of tKe Air. 


In May of the same year in wliich Caleb Powell was acquitted, 
Elizabeth Morse was presented by the Grand Jury of Boston, " for 
that she, not having the fear of God before her eyes, being insti- 
gated by the devil, had familiarity with the devil, contrary to the 
peace of our Sovereign Lord the King, his crown and dignity, the 
laws of God and of this jurisdiction." To this, the prisoner plead " not 
guilty ; " but after a form of trial, the jury brought in a verdict 
against her, and she was sentenced to be executed, witchcraft being 
a capital crime. 

The evidence on which Goody Moi-se was condemned, was of the 
most trifling and absurd character ;* much of it consisting of inci- 
dents which had happened many years before, and were supposed by 
the prisoner to have been forgotten, and acknowledged by the wit- 
nesses, in some cases, to have been all adjusted to their satisfaction 
at the time. Of this class of evidence, was the testimony of James 
Brown, who asserted " that sixteen ^/ears before, one George Wheeler 
going out [to sea,] Elizabeth Morse said, ' she knew he would not 
come in again. ' " Yet it was shown that the man had a good 
voyage and returned safe, and the Morses had no knowledge that 
any such saying was laid up against them. Another, John Mighill, 
who twelve years before had promised to do some work for the 
Morses, and not doing it at the appointed time, "judged Goody 
Morse to be angry," arid losing some cattle soon after, thought 
she had bewitched them. Zachariah Davis, living at Salisbury, had 
promised to bring EUzabeth some " winges " when he came in town, 
and forgetting to do so several times in succession, the said Elizabeth 
told him, " she wondered his memory should be so bad," and then on 
going home, and into the barn where there were three calves, " one 
of them fell a dancing and roaring, and was in such a condition as 
was never calf before." On the creature's dam coming home at 
night, however, these strange symptoms disappeared, but there was 
no doubt in the mind of the testator, that the calf was bewitched by 
Elizabeth Morse. 

On other occasions it appears the unfortunate woman had visited 
some sick neighbors, and having expressed a fear that a child 
then very ill, would die, and its dying, they conceited she had 
brought about its death. One woman, however, was more explicit, 

* Boston Court Eecords. Book lettered " Witchcraft, " pp. 14-19. 


having declared some time before the arrest of Elizabeth Morse, that 
she " saw the imp o' God go into said Morse's house." For this she 
was prosecuted at the time, and denied having said it, but her testi- 
mony was received on the trial, and no doubt aided in the conviction 
of the prisoner. Much more testimony, quite as conclusive, was 
introduced, and Goody Morse was remanded to prison to await the 
day of execution. But she had one friend left ; her husband did 
not desert her, nor did he believe her guilty of the crime charged 
upon her. 

He prepared a petition to the General Court, showing the incon- 
clusive nature of the testimony adduced, and affirming that for 
himself and wife, " their consciences were clear of the knowledge 
of any wickedness committed by them, which should cause the devil 
so to trouble them beyond the common frailties which afflict human 
nature," and humbly acknowledging the sovereignty of God, who 
had laid such afflictions on them. 

After repeated petitions, the Court granted another hearing of 
the case, and in the end Elizabeth Morse was reprieved and finally 
allowed to return home, where after some years she died quietly in 
her bed, leaving the impression upon those best able, from frequent 
intercourse with her, to judge, that " her discourse was very 
Christian," and "^resting upon God in Christ for salvation." 
She uniformly denied the crime with which she had been charged, 
and only blamed herself for some impatient and passionate speeches, 
which she had made in prison, " on account of her suffering 

And thus passed away the first and only case of witchcraft 
judicially dealt with in Newbury. 

There are, however, people in Newburyport to-day, who remem- 
ber when a certain Madam Hooper was commonly called and treated 
as a witch.* This woman came to Newbury about the year 1759-60, 
and taught school for some time at the lower part of the town ; her 
acquirements were considerable, and she obtained the honorable 
appellation of " Dame," and afterwards, " Madam " Hooper ; her 
appearance and dress were peculiar, which aided in the impression 
of her diabohcal character. In person she was short and stout, 

* The writer has heard more than one person firmly express the opinion that 
she was a veritable witch. 


having strongly marked features, with greenish grey eyes ; and, 
moreover, possessed a perfect set of double teeth, which fact alone, 
in the minds of the ignorant, invested her with a dubious and 
hurtful character. She possessed an immense wardrobe when she 
first came to the town, so that her garments lasted her to the end of 
a long hfe, and she never changed the fashion of them ; so 
that with dresses, after an antique model, and a deep cape bonnet 
pecuhar to herself, her form was recognized at a distance, and as 
generally avoided. The children learned to dread her ; especially 
as many of them saw their parents inclined to propitiate her, for 
fear of her evil influence. From the knowledge she acquired con- 
cerning the neighborhood while she taught school, she was enabled 
to make many shrewd guesses as to the authors of mischief, and on 
other subjects, which sometunes startled her auditors by their truth ; 
and from her skill in physiognomy, she was enabled to guess at 
more ; and thus first inspired the suspicion, and afterwards the con- 
viction, that she was a witch. Profitmg by this superstition, which 
her natural sagacity early led her to discover, she learned to throw 
her remarks into short sibylUc sentences, which aided to keep up 
the delusion. She visited where she pleased, none being willing to 
ofiend her ; being often applied to for information, she scarcely ever 
granted an answer but what was verified in the result, but on many 
occasions she observed an impenetrable silence, (probably when she 
had no means of guessmg, and did not chose to risk her reputation,) 
for which she obtained an equal degree of credit among her dupes. 

She was for years in the practice of fortune-telling, and 
her fame in this department was second only to that of " Moll 
Pitcher " at Lynn ; her house being the resort of many from the 
surrounding country, as well as of the town, who were earnest to 
learn their destiny from her imhallowed lips. She lived to extreme 
old age, dying at last in deep poverty and degradation, physical and 

Her " familiar " was a black fowl, with its beak cut off square, 
which gave an impish-human look to the creature, which was also 
increased by its claws being cut away, leaving only the stumps ; on 
which, however, it managed to walk. A very intelligent lady 
informed the writer, that when a small child, she had seen Madam 
Hooper confined for several hours to a chair by some person placing 


two knitting needles in the form of a cross before lier ! It is well 
known among the witch-wise that " no witch or wizard can pass over 
a cross." It is evident Madam Hooper missed no opportunity of 
deepening the infatuation of the people, by carefully conforming to 
all that was expected of a " witch." 

The usual form of an indictment for witchcraft was as follows : 

* " Grand Juries' Bill vs. M 

Province of ye Massachusetts ] An Rex 

Bay, in N. E. Essex ss. \ 

Annoq Domini, 1680. 

The juries for our Sovereign Lord the King present that 

-, in the town of , in the county of , in the 

town aforesaid, wickedly, mahciously and feloniously, on [date 
given,] a covenant with the Devil did make, and signed the Devil's 
Book, and took the Devil to be her God, and consented to serve and 
worship him, and was Baptised by the Devil, and renounced her 
former Christian Baptism, and promised to be the Devil's both body 
and soul forever, and to serve him ; by which diabolical covenant 

by her made with the Devil she, the said , is become 

a most detestable witch, against the peace of our Sovereign Lord 
the King, his crown and dignity, and the laws in that case made 
and provided. 

Billa vera. , Foreman. . 

Ponit se. Non Cul. 

Though the principal wealth of Newbury was in their flocks and 
herds, they were not unmindful of the little commerce that was 
springing up on the Merrimac ; and the General Court having 
ordered that Boston and Salem only, were to be the lawful ports of 
entry for the colony, the inhabitants of Newbury forwarded a peti- 
tion, praying " that some mete person might be appointed to receive 
the entry of all vessels, and to act and dc% according as the law 
directs in that case." They complained that by being forced to go 
to Salem, they were subjected to unnecessary delay and expense, 
&c. Their petition was referred to the next General Court, but 
Sir Edmund Andros arriving soon after, and changmg the whole 
administration of affairs,* it was probably not acted upon. 

* Copied from an original bill against one Mary Osgood. 


Another petition, from one portion of the inhabitants of Newbury 
to the other and major part, met with no more satisfactory fate. 
This was a petition from the people of the west end of the town, 
that they might be permitted to " estabhsh the ministrie" among 
themselves, build a new meeting-house, and of course cease to pay 
the tax for the support of public worship, to the first parish. This 
reasonable request was not complied with, and was the source of 
much contention for years after, and when they presented a similar 
petition to the General Court, the " old town " drew up a counter 
petition against it. 

Up to this time (1686) matters had gone on pretty smoothly, 
between the town of Newbury and the general government of the 
colony ; but with the advent of Sir Edmund Andros, a new danger 
threatened — no less a matter than the appearance of a claimant to 
the whole of the land lying between Salem river and the Merrimac, 
of course including the whole of Newburyport. This royal propri- 
etary was Mr. Robert Mason, one of Andros's Coimcil, whose father, 
Captain John Mason, it will be remembered, had received the grant 
from the Council of Plymouth. In a letter to Sir Edmund Andros, 
he says, speaking of the people whom he found settled upon his 
lands : " I hope all things will go easy, so that I may have no 
t)ccasion of using the severities of the law against my tenants.''^ We 
do not find, however, that his claim was prosecuted with any rigor, 
or to the distress of the inhabitants, except as the general adminis- 
tration of afiairs partook of the tyrannical character of Andros. 
Some attempt was made towards a new partition of the lands, but 
as the people were not formally ejected, the old landmarks were 
not lost, and the downfall of Andros, in 1689, restored to the 
original proprietors security for their endangered rights. 

* A favorite point -with Andros was the elevation of the Episcopal Church. 
To give this body greater influence, he authorized their clergy to perform the 
ceremony of marriage. Previous to his arrival, this power had resided in the 
civil magistrates, the General Court sometimes appointing a particular person 
to perform the ceremony, for parties designated by name. Edward Rawson, 
Commissioner for Newbury, was the first person authorized to "join persons in 
marriage" in that town, in virtue of his office. In 1642, Mr. Wm. Bellingham 
was appointed to " see" and " record" marriages there. 


We have to-daj, one memorial, and that a very pleasant and 
convenient one, of the brief reign of Andros over Massachusetts. 
It was he who first granted to John March (1687) the right to 
establish a ferry to Salisbury, within the present limits of Newbury- 
port; and which is still maintained, in nearly the same place, 
with a similar kind of conveyance. His government of the 
province was, however, the most arbitrary of any recorded in this 
part of the country. Several persons in Newbury were fined and 
imprisoned, for having uttered treasonable words against the Gov- 
ernor and CouncU ; and so exasperated were the people against him, 
that on the first rumor of the abdication of King James, whose tool 
he was, they seized upon his person and those of his principal advi- 
sers, placed them under guard, and restored the old officers of their 
own choice, who had been thrust out to make room for his favorites, 
on his first arrival. On hearing of the outbreak in Boston, many 
went from Newbury, to participate in the general joy at the resto- 
ration of the old order of things, while but one of them reached 
the metropohs in time to aid in the disposition and seizure of An- 
dros. This was Samuel Bartlett, who, it is said, " rode with such 
haste, his sword trailing on the ground, that striking the stones as 
he rode, he left a stream of fire behind him the whole ivay.'''' This, 
if not literally correct, shows the spirit which inspired him, and 
pervaded the people, who loved to tell, and have so long preserved, 
the tradition of this Gilpin-like ride of their ancestor. 

The same year which witnessed the downfall of Andros, followed 
as it speedily was by the proclamation of William and Mary, wit- 
nessed too the end of that contention between the old-town and 
west-end people of Newbury, which resulted in the building of a 
new meeting-house by the latter, on that part of the plains which is 
now occupied by the Bellville cemetery. It may seem somewhat 
puerile to the reader of general history, to here find the affiiirs of 
meeting-houses and such local items, mixed up with the graver 
affairs of war and peace, of reigns and dynasties. But the history 
of New England is unique, and that of her towns cannot be truly 
given, if ecclesiastical matters are left out. The division of the 
towns into parishes involved the pecuniary prosperity of the differ- 
ent sections, as every person was obliged to pay a tax for the 
support of public worship; while, if they maintained a minister 


unauthorized, they had a double charge to bear ; and so if parishes 
were multiplied unnecessarily, it impoverished the people, by the 
cost of onaintaining these separate organizations. 

But the people were not permitted to be wholly absorbed in local 
affairs. Andros had left upon their hands another Indian war, 
commonly called the French and Indian war. While Governor, he 
had undertaken an expedition to the east, against the Indians, at the 
head of some seven or eight hundred men, and at first, by his ener- 
getic measures, overawed and reduced them to subjection ; but not 
content with this, he invaded and robbed the house of Castine, a 
Frenchman who had married the daughter of an Indian chief, and 
who had great influence over all the tribes bordering on the Penob- 
scot. Resenting this injury, Castine, by his representations, awoke 
afresh the war spirit among the braves, and all New England was 
again on the alert to meet this double foe, for the French and 
Indians were now firm allies. Commencing to the eastward, the 
danger soon extended below the Merrimac ; again public orders 
were issued in Newbury, for every man to carry his arms with him 
to the " meeting-house," to the fields, and wherever he might be 
exposed, in going to and from his own house. 

It was during this war that the Indians attacked the house of Mr. 
John Brown, at Turkey Hill, the only instance on record of a fatal 
incursion of the enemy into Newbury. It was in the eighth year 
of the war (1695). The attack was made in the middle of the 
afternoon, on the 7th of October ; the Indians having waited until 
all the adult male persons in the family had left the house, when 
they commenced their cowardly assault by tomahawking a young 
girl Avho stood in the doorway. Then, entering the house, they 
seized and bound all the remaining persons, save one girl, who 
managed to secrete herself. After plundering the house of every- 
thing valuable that they could carry away, they departed with their 
captives, nine in number, all women and children. The girl who 
had so successfully concealed herself, immediately made her way 
through the dense brushwood that then encumbered much of the 
ground, ceasing not her flight till she reached Newburyport, giving 
the alarm to all she met. When she reached the town, her clothes 
were actually torn into ribbons from the haste with which she had 
fled from the scene of violence, through the rough bushes which 


vainly attempted to detain her. Information was immediately sent 
by a swift messenger to Ipswich, to invoke the assistance of persons 
there, to aid in intercepting and recapturing the enemy, and restoring 
their unhappy captives. It was supposed they had taken a north- 
westerly direction. Captain Stephen Greenleaf, with a, party of 
men, followed up the Merrimac, to prevent their escaping over the 
river, which it was thought they might attempt to do. He was not 
mistaken. After dark in the evening, a shot from the Indians, who 
had concealed themselves in a gully, penetrated Captain Greenleaf 's 
wrist, by which wound he subsequently lost the use of his left hand. 
After a brief rencounter, the Indians fled. Three escaped by taking 
to a canoe, and two by the woods. The captives were all recovered 
and brought back but one, an infant, which the Indians had killed, 
probably to prevent its cries leading to the detection of their hiding 
place. Some of the others had been severely wounded, so that they 
subsequently died from the effects of the injuries received. " The coat 
which Captain Greenleaf wore in the pursuit is still preserved by his 
descendants, and was, together with the bullet extracted from the 
wound, exhibited by Ebenezer Moseloy, Esq., on the occasion of the 
celebration of the Second Centennial Anniversary of the settlement 
of Newbury, in 1835." The coat was of moose or deer skin. 

As the French had been the principal instigators of the war, the 
Provincial Government determined to attack them in their own 
possessions; and an expedition was accordingly planned against 
Canada, the general command of which devolved upon Sir Wilham 
Phipps. There were at this time but three regiments in Essex 
County ; but one of these joined the expedition, which resulted in 
the capture of Port Royal, but failed to reduce Quebec. 

Notwithstanding the extraneous demands upon the revenue and 
men of Newbury for the public service, the town was steadily 
progressing in wealth, population, and enterprise. The whole of 
the land had been divided up to Artichoke river. It was estimated 
that there were over five thousand sheep owned in Newbury. The 
manufacture of boards, shingles, and building materials was carried 
on ; grain and saw mills multiphed. The land on the water side 
was laid out, and ship-building commenced at the foot of Chandler's 
lane, (afterwards King, now Federal street). Leather dressing 


establishments were put in operation, and an extensive manufacture 
of lime was carried on. The discovery of suitable stone for this 
purpose was considered quite an event in the history of the town, 
and it became necessary for the selectmen to regulate the use of 
this valuable article.* Education, too, was not neglected. Thirty 
pounds were paid by the town to a grammar school teacher, in 
addition to the weekly sums paid by the parents of " Latin scholars," 
while two or three dames' schools were in being for the particular 
instruction of girls. Two religious parishes, with their separate 
ministers, were in existence, regular county courts were heldj 
military campanies were enrolled, and the whole aspect of the place 
gave certain indication of the future importance it was destined to 
attain. The different castes of society were still strictly maintained. 
But eight or ten persons were distinguished by the title of Jir., while 
but one Esq. was found in the limits of Newbury, the usual appella- 
tion being Croodman, except to such as were eminent for wealth or 
education. Military titles, however, were not so scarce. There 
were nineteen men bearing the several titles of Captain, Lieutenant 
Ensign, &c. Deacons of course there were, and their titles were 
never omitted. 

But while peace thus blessed the labors of the land, the mariner 
was exposed to peculiar and frightful dangers. Navigation was 
exceedingly insecure. It was during this period, the last years of 
the seventeenth century, that the famous pirate, Robert Kidd, and 
the buccaneers, whom he originally undertook to subdue, infested 
what was called the " Spanish main," the waters surrounding the 
West Lidia Islands ; but unintimidated by these dangers, as by 
others which succeeded them, Newbury continued to build and fit 
out vessels from the Merrimac, creating a trade which was profit- 
able enough to endure the loss of a vessel and cargo now and then, 
without fatal injury to her merchants. 

That usual insignia of civilization, a jaU, was one of the latest 
public edifices erected in Newbury. It was not till some years after 

* Before its discovery, lime was made from oyster and otlier marine shells. 
On the occasion of a large fire in Boston, and there being a scarcity of lime 
in the city for the purpose of making mortar to rebuild with, several sloops 
came up " little river " and laded with this limestone. 


the opening of the eighteenth century, that the town thought neces- 
sary to build one. With the new century too, came other changes. 
Many of the streets now included in Newburyport* were successively 
laid out, new school-houses were hired or built, a new grammar 
school estabhshed at the head of Greenleaf's lane, (afterwards 
Fish, now State street,) and a new denominational interest, the 
Episcopalian, formed, under rather singular circumstances. 

After the second parish had effected their legal division from the 
first, and built their meeting-house within what was called the west 
precincts, on the "plains," (1689,) some of the people whose 
dwellings lay remote, wished to have the meeting-house removed to 
Pipe-stave Hill, or another built in that neighborhood ; and on its 
location no compromise could be effected, — the one party being 
resolved it should remain where it was, and the other being equally 
determined it should be removed. Those in favor of the " meeting " 
being at " Pipe-stave," proved the stronger party, and gained also 
the decision of the General Court in their favor, to whom both 
parties had appealed. But those of the " plains " were not so to be 
put down ; they resolved to declare themselves Episcopalians,! and 
thus insure the right to worship in the house which they had built, 
but were forbidden to use after the decision of the majority of the 
parish, " that there should be but one meetmg-house, and that on 
the hill." 

Having announced to Governor Dudley their intention to adhere 
to the Church, and having sent to the Bishop of London, to request 
that he would send them a minister, they received the assurance • 
that they should not be compelled to pay taxes for the support of 
the worship they had abandoned, and should be permitted to support 
their own estabhshment unmolested. After some temporary arrange- 
ments for preaching, the Rev. Matthias Plant was settled over them, 
and officiated in the little building, originally erected for a congrega- 
tional meeting-house, but which was dedicated under the name of 

* These were laid out, not as streets are now, by the town, but by the pro- 
prietors of the land, and generally, for their own convenience. Thus we find the 
streets first laid out generally bore the name of the sole or principal proprietor, 
as " Greenleaf's" Lane, (now State street;) "Chandler's" Lane, (Federal 
street;) " Muzzey's " Lane, (Marlborough street;) " Ordway's" Lane, (Sum- 
mer street,) &c. 

t See Sketch of P. E. Church. 


" Queen Ann's Chapel." From this germ, grew the Episcopal 
interest now estabhshed in Newburyport. 

In the first quarter of this century, was the first attempt made to 
introduce any variety of tunes in sacred music. Throughout all New 
England, five tunes had served the whole religious community ; 
these were York, Hackney, St. Mary's, Windsor, and Martyr's, 
but in 1714 the Eev. John Tufts, of Newbury, ventured on the 
hazardous experiment of publishing a book of psalm tunes, tiventy- 
eiglit in number. This innovation was stoutly resisted by many at 
the time, who believed that singing by the inspiration of grace was 
infinitely better than by written notes. Indeed, so suspicious were 
many of everything which they did not fully understand, that it 
was unhesitatingly affirmed, " that fa sol la was but pojjery in dis- 
guise." The good people of Newbury, like their cotemporaries 
through the province, had an unmitigated horror of everything like 
prelacy. However, reason after a while prevailed, and the twenty- 
eight tunes were very generally adopted. 

But perhaps the most influential domestic changes introduced, 
were those connected with diet. Up to this time, two articles now 
deemed necessaries of life, were almost unknown in Newbury ; 
neither potatoes nor tea formed part of the ordinary diet of the 
people. Turnips had supphed the place of the former, and thin 
gruel, cider, or water, that of the latter. Though not in common 
use, potatoes were known to the first settlers of this colony, for we 
find in a list of articles to be shipped for the use of the " Company 
of the Massachusetts Bay," among other plants, " seed-potatoes " 
were enumerated. But they were long in finding favor with the 
people ; they were at first planted cautiously, and in small quantities, 
but finally almost superseded the use of turnips, except that the 
latter were grown as fodder for cattle. By an item in an account 
book of Col. Moses Titcomb, we find that in 1747, or about twenty-five 
years after their general introduction here, they were worth as much 
per bushel as corn. Tea quickly rose in high estimation, especially 
among the "women folk,'' whom it appears were not long in 
discovering its social and exhilarating virtues ; the first " tea- 
parties " given were conducted on a novel plan, each lady carrying 
her tea-cup, saucer, and spoon with her, while the husbands bewailed 
the infatuation which led their wives to expend the " enormous sums 


of thirty or forty shillings on tea equipages." If they had only 
foreseen, in addition to this extravagance, the troubles which tea was 
destined to bring upon the country, they would scarcely have per- 
mitted it to grow into a matter of commercial importance. 

In 1725 was built the first meeting-house in what is now the 

business centre of Newburyport. This was the Rev. John Lowel's,* 

and stood in Market square. In 1754 this building was struck by 

lightning," and Benjamin Franklin, who was on a journey to the east 

at the time, was in the town, and minutely examined the building 

after the accident, as we learn from a letter of his, dated March, 

1755, in which he rephes to a person who had inquired of him, 

" what thickness of wire was necessary to conduct a large quantity 

of lightning." He says : 

" Philadelphia, Ilarch, 1755. 

* * * "In my late journey I saw an instance of a very great 
quantity of lightning conducted by a wire no bigger than a common 
knitting needle. It was at Newbury, in New England, where the 
spire of the church steeple, being 70 feet in height above the belfry, 
was split all to pieces, and thrown about the street in fragments. 
From the bell down to the clock, placed in the steeple, 20 feet below 
the bell, there was the small wire above mentioned, which communi- 
cated the motion of the clock to the hammer striking the hour on the 
bell. * * * rjy-^Q clock wire was blown all to smoke, and smutted 
the church wall, which it passed in a broad black track, and also the 
ceiling under which it was carried. ****** 

" B. Franklin." 

The town were now discussing the propriety of building a town- 
house, and an almshouse, but deferred these matters " for a short 
time," appointing, however, a committee to select a new site for a 
school-house, and lay out a burying-ground. In accordance with 
their instructions, the committee laid out the burying-ground back 
of Frog Pond, and a town-house being shortly after built, part of it 
was used as a school-room, the third formed parish (first in New- 
buryport) voting to add thirty pounds to the thirty raised by the 
town, towards hiring another schoolmaster, and also voting to set 

* See Hist. First Church, and Biographical Notice. 


their school-house between Fish, (State) and Queen, (Market) 
streets. The town-house was finally located on High, at the head 
of Marlborough street; it was completed in 1735, and was occupied 
for various pm-poses some forty-five years, when it was sold by the 
town and passed into private hands. 

During portions of the years 1735 and '36 a maHgnant and fatal 
disease, called the throat distemper* appeared in Newbury; it 
extended its ravages through Massachusetts and New Hampshire, 
and carried ofi" immense numbers of children, whole families being 
mown down" in a few days.f The cause of this dreadful disease 
was not clearly ascertained, but was attributed by some to the 
immense number of caterpillars which had infested the country some 
Httle time before its appearance, and whose myriad carcasses, dying, 
had affected the air. Of these caterpillars a cotemporary writer 
says : '■^Many tJiousand acres of thick woods' had their leaves and 
twigs of this year's growth entirely eaten up. They cleared off 
every green thing, so that the trees were as naked as in the depths 
of winter. They were larger than the common caterpillar. No 
fiver or pond could stop them. They would swim like dogs, and 
travelled in unaccountable armies. Cart and carriage wheels would 
be dyed green from the numbers they crushed in their progress." 

The sickness which followed this visitation commenced by the 
river-side in Newbury, in September ; and by February, eighty-one 
persons were buried from Chandler's lane, (Federal street) alone. 
The disease was a vii'ulent throat distemper. 

Every year was now adding to the importance of that section of 
the town emphatically called the " water-side." They had always 
had wants and interests of their own ; they now began to express 
them loudly and distinctly, and to claim some of the rights and 
privileges which their location had denied them. As usual, the 
" meeting-house " was the first and most important difiiculty. 
Though a Congregational Church was located in Market Square, 
which was by many in the town deemed sufficient for their accom- 
modation, some of the water-side people, wishing to worship in the 
Episcopal form, " were ill content " to go as far as the plains to 

* Parish's Hist. t J- Pearson's Journal. 


Queen Ann's Chapel, and therefore proposed to build a new church 
nearer the present centre of the town. Joseph Atkins, Esq., and 
the Rev. Matthias Plant, each agreed to give fifty pounds towards 
building the new church, — St. Paul's. On the opening of the 
church, an invitation was extended to Mr. Plant to- preach on 
alternate Sabbaths at St. Paul's ; but still wishing to maintain the 
control of affaii'S, and retain the power in their own hands, they 
became involved in contentions with their minister, and finally 
demanded of him to dehver up the written invitation to preach to 
them. Probably in virtue of his gift to the church, Mr. Plant felt 
that he had a claim upon them, and constantly demanded an induc- 
tion into St. Paul's, which was long denied ; but the people finally 
gave way, and he was legally inducted as their minister, and thus 
continued till his death ; having in 1751 chosen Mr. Edward Bass 
his assistant. Queen Ann's Chapel was deserted, went to decay, 
and at last fell to the ground through sheer weakness. 

In 1743, a new meeting-house was built on High street, just 
below Federal, by persons who afterwards formed the first Presby- 
terian society in Newburyport ; and in 1744 the Quakers built a 
meeting-house on High street (Bellville,) but afterwards removed 
their place of meeting to the neighborhood of Turkey Hill. Some 
of their number were buried in a lot of land in the rear of the 
westerly side of Washington street, between the railroad crossing 
and Boardman street ; this locality, with the immediate vicinage, was 
formerly called " Quaker field," and in 1785, before Washington 
street was laid out, Mr. John Tracy manufactured cordage in a rope 
walk running from the little graveyard towards the river. 

Little business of interest was transacted by the town, beyond the 
erection of a new jail on Federal street; and towards the close 
of the year. Captain Donahew* signalized himself by taking with a 
smail privateer, a French ship, loaded with three thousand quintals 
of fish, and also a sloop containing live stock. 

The principal subjects which occupied the attention of the people, 
were war and religion. Proclamation had been made in Boston, early 
in the summer of 1744, of war by Great Britain against the 

* Mem. Col. Moses Titcomb. 


French ; and the winter following was one of unparalleled militarj 
enthusiasm, excited by the expedition to Louisburg ; and rehgious 
devotion inspired by the preaching of Whitfield. The war against 
the French was not only regarded as the opportunity of renewedly 
proving the old British prowess over their ancient enemies, but was 
considered as a crusade against the papists ; and a victory over the 
French, was a triumph of " the truth" over the " man of sin." 
Scarcely a dissentient voice against the war was heard in Newbury, 
and many men from this place assisted in the reduction of that 
redoubted fortress. Among those who most signalized themselves, 
belonging to Newbury, was the Rev. Samuel Moody, who attended 
in the capacity of chaplain, but whose zeal would not permit him to 
be content with his spmtual weapons, and he therefore carried a 
hatchet, with which to cut down the images which he expected to 
find in the Catholic churches ; also* Major Titcomb, who did 
efficient service in the siege. The last battery erected at the siege 
of Louisburg, was called " Titcomb's battery," of which he had 
the charge ; it had five forty-two pounders, and " did as great 
execution as any." There was also Moses Coffin, who served his 
country as " drummer and chaplain." (Probably there was a greater 
demand for chaplains in that than in some subsequent wars, which 
accounts for their doing double duty.) 

As an evidence of the suspicion with which every thing having 
any similarity to popery was regarded, is the fact, that it was not 
until the middle of this century, that the Scriptures were comnaonly 
read in the Congregational churches on the Sabbath ; as this whole- 
some practice appeared to our wary ancesters, a dangerous imitation 
of the Romish practice. The first society in Newburyport led the 
way in introducing the practice in this vicinity. 

In 1748 peace was restored between England and France, which 
allayed, without satisfying the military spirit of the times, for 
Louisburg, the scene of so much persevering labor, the trophy so 
hardly won, was restored to the French. The work of the temporal 
warriors was in part undone ; the great spiritual combatant of the 
same period, Whitfield, had left an enduring monument in Newbury. 
Under his influence, the first Presbyterian church was formed, by 

* See Notice under date 1755. 


the withdrawal of nineteen persons from the first church, and thirty- 
eight from the third, calling the Rev. Jonathan Parsons to be their 

The spirit of progress which had shown itself among the water- 
side people, not only in matters of trade, commerce and secular 
interests generally, but also in the formation of religious societies, 
varying from the ancient models, had not invaded the more secluded 
precincts of the second parish, (now in West Newbury,) for we 
find them disciplining a brother in the church, for the following 
curious reason : " that from time to time, he asserts with the 
greatest assurance, that ' all who weare wiggs,' imless they repent 
of that particular sin before they die, will be damned." Now it 
seems the pastor himself was guilty of this " particular sin," and 
the said brother refused communion with the church while they 
justified the pastor in his wearing an " extravagant superflues 
wigg," which in the mind of this brother and many others, " was 
altogether contrary to truth." And so important a matter has the 
wearing of wigs and periwigs been adjudged, that some men, 
eminent for learning and general intelligence, were persuaded that 
the affliction of the second Indian war, was brought upon the people 
of New England " as a judgment and testimony of God against 
the wearing of periwiggs." 

In 1755 peace was again broken with the French, and the war 
spirit of our people, which had scarcely slumbered in the interval, was 
once more fully aroused. The Rev. Mr. Lowell preached a stirring 
sermon on the subject, in which he expressed his full approval of 
the war. Colonel Moses Titcomb* and the men enlisted with him, 

* Colonel Titcomb was third in descent frona William Titcomb, one 
of the original settlers in Newbury ; he was by trade a blacksmith, and a man 
of gigantic strength. In 1747, by order of Brigadier General Waldo, he was 
appointed to the command of the troops stationed at Falmouth, (now Portland,) 
where he remained, with the exception of a few days' absence, from May till 
October of that year. He was a member of the third church in Newbury, 
(first in Newburyport,) and the pastor preached an eloquent funeral sermon on 
the occasion of his death. In the 4th volume of Bancroft's Hist. U. S. p. 210, 
a drawing is given of the battle ground where he fell. Titcomb's regiment is 
represented on the right wing of the main army, but a short distance from the 
shore of the lake. 



then expecting to join the expedition to Crown Point, being present. 
This campaign terminated his active and brave career. He was 
slain at the battle of Lake George, being shot by an Indian, one of 
a party who gained the flank of his regiment unperceived. He was 
buried in the vicinity, but though diligent search has since been 
made for his grave, all trace of it is lost. The poet, Allen, thus 
refers to his death : 

" There Titcomb fell, and Williams, hapless man ! 
Two dauntless chiefs ■who led our thundering van." 

The war was popular with all classes in Massachusetts, and when 
later Niagara was taken, Ticonderoga reduced, and Quebec surren- 
dered to the victorious army of Wolfe, public demonstrations of joy 
were manifested in Newbury, an ox was roasted, songs were sung, and 
speeches made, indicative of the gratification of the people at the 
result of the war; and on the 29th of October, 1760, a day of 
thanksgiving was appointed, on account of the complete triumph of 
the British arms. 

The building of a new town-house, which should also be used by 
the County Court, was a weighty matter of discussion for some years. 
One difficulty was about raismg the money; but a more serious 
obstacle arose in regard to its location, each section of the town 
desiring that it should be placed most convenient to itself. The 
County, on consideration of its partial occupancy by the Court, 
agreed to give two hundred pounds towards its erection, but the 
town did not accept the proposition ; and the " water-side people," 
without aid from the rest of t)ie town, purchased a large lot of land 
on the corner of State and Essex streets, and furnished the money 
to erect the building. It was completed in 1762. 


For a hundred and fifty years after Newbury was settled, earth- 
quakes were common phenomena of the valley of the Merrimac,* 
while several of these extended over a great part of New England. 
These convulsions of nature appear for the last half century to have 
diminished in number and violence. An early writer, speaking of 
the shocks which occurred in the seventeenth and part of the 
eighteenth century, remarks that " some of them were very small ; 
others passingly considerable, while others came Avith a very grate 
and dreadful noise."! 

The most remarkable of these occurred in 1638, 1727, and 1755. 
On the first of June, 1638, a town meeting was being held in New- 
bury at the time of the shock. The record describes it in the following 
words : " It pleased God to raise a vehement earthquake, which shook 
the earth and the foundations of the house in a very violent manner, 
to our great amazement and wonder ; wherefore taking notice of so 
great and strange a hand of God's providence, we were desirous of 
leaving it on record, to the view of after ages, to the intent that 
they all might take notice of Almighty God, and fear His name. "J 
This was probably the first earthquake experienced by the white 
settlers in Newbury, occurring, as it did, but three years after the 
gathering of the little company on Parker river ; but they must, in 
course of time, have become thoroughly seasoned to them. Nearly 

* The Merrimac makes its entire course through rocks of the primitive 
formation. The nearest and only point where rocks of the transition period 
are found within this geological district, is ten miles south-west of the town, on 
the turnpike. — See ^'•Maclure's Geology U. S." 

t Coffin. $ Newbury Kecords, p. 19. 


two hundred shocks of more or less violence are recorded as having 
occurred in half as many years. That of October 29th, 1727, is 
described at length by many writers. The Rev. Mr. Gookin, of 
New Hampshire, says that " at Newbury and other, towns on the 
Merrimac river, the shock was greater than in other parts of Massa- 
chusetts, though no buildings were thrown down. Many seamen 
approaching the coast, supposed their vessels to have struck upon a 
shoal of loose ballast. The sea roared in an vmusual manner, and 
flashes of light ran along the earth." Hutchinson says, "it 
commenced about forty minutes after 10. The sky was serene, air 
calm but sharp, and it came with a most amazing noise, Uke to the 
roaring of a chimney when on fire, (as some said,) only beyond 
comparison greater. Others compared it to the noise of coaches on 
pavements, and thought that of ten tliousand together would not have 
exceeded it. The noise was heard half a minute before the shock 
began, which continued the space of a minute, till it reached its 
height, and in one minute and a half more ended." 

In the records of Queen Ann's Chapel, kept by Rev. Matthias 
Plant, we find a full account of the successive commotions of the 
earth, which followed the first great shock in October. From his 
description it must have been very severe. Many chimneys were 
thrown down, stone walls fell, springs destroyed, and others opened. 
In several places the earth opened, leaving chasms a foot in width. 
In the words of Mr. Plant, " it was a terrible, sudden, and amazing 
earthquake. It contmued very terrible by frequently bursting and 
shocking our houses, sometimes breaking out wdth loud claps six 
times or oftener in a day until Thursday, and then somewhat abated. 
On Friday, in the evening, at midnight, and about break of day, 
and on Saturday, there were three very loud claps ; also on the 
Sabbath and Monday, though much abated in the noise and terror. 
These claps continued with more or less violence till the 19th of 
November. On the 17th of December, they were renewed. 
A new spring was opened in a meadow, and in the lower groimds 
several loads of white sand were thrown up." One account says of 
this earthquake,* " it came with a dreadful roreing, as if it was thun- 
der, and then a pounce, like grate guns. * * * It shook down 

* Coffin. 


briks, from ye abundance of cbimnies. Knights and Toppans 
[chimneys] fell. All that was about ye house trembled. The first 
night it broke out in more than ten places in ye town, in ye clay low 
land, blowing up ye sand. In one place it blew out, as was judged, 
twenty loads, and when it Avas cast on coals in ye night, it burned 
like brimstone." Many persons were so much affrighted at the first 
shock that they rushed from their houses into the street, and then 
were in as great fear of being swallowed alive. On the third of 
January following, the shocks commenced again. On one day suc- 
cessive bursts were said to have continued without cessation for half 
an hour ; and succeeding shocks were continued at intervals until the 
month of July. 

That greater earthquake, of 1755, commenced in the early 
morning of the 18th of November. As described by the annalist, 
Holmes, " the first motion was like strong pulsatioijs of the earth, 
which threw the house upwards, and then came a peculiar tremor 
which lasted half a minute, followed again by a quick vibration and 
sudden jerks, the whole shock continuing about two minutes. All 
natui'e was stirred and affrighted. The brute creatures lowed and 
ran to the barns for protection. The birds fluttered terrified in the 
air. . Dogs howled at their masters' doors. I AYalked out about 
sunrise, and every face looked ghastly. In fine, some of our solid and 
pious gentlemen had such an awe and gloom spread over their coun- 
tenances as would have checked the gay airs of the most intrepid." 
This was the most violent earthquake that has ever been experi- 
enced on the Atlantic slope of the North American Continent. In 
Boston and some other places considerable damage Avas done. 

In tracing the history of these convulsive movements of the earthy 
we cannot learn that there were any preceding monitions, atmo- 
spheric or otherwise, occurring with sufficient regularity to enable 
us to form any theory in regard to them. They came unannounced, 
in cold weather and hot, in drought and rain, summer and winter, 
spring-time and harvest, night and day, at midnighfand noon, at sunset 
and at dawn. Yet it is remarkable that no person was killed, or 
even seriously injured in Newbury, considering the frequency and 
severity of these notable earthquakes. The only one which has 
occurred in this vicinity within the recollection of the writer, was 
that of November 27,1852. The meteorological and tidal circum- 


stances connected with it were accurately noted by the editor of the 
Newburyport Herald, " The night was calm and still, Avith a light 
breeze to within a short time of the shock from the W. N. W., the 
ground moist from a rain which had fallen the day previous, the 
tide nearly at the full. The premonitory noise of an explosive 
nature, and followed by a roaring as of fire in the chimney, occurred 
at twenty-five minutes before 12, P. M. The shaking of the earth 
did not correspond in violence with the loudness and long continuance 
of the burst and roar," which still conveyed the impression of a fire 
in the chimney. The shock lasted nearly two minutes. To those 
in the street it appeared to come from the north and pass off to the 

Our own recollections of the shock are as follows : First, a very 
loud report, not like " many grate guns," but like one tremendous 
large one ; then a crushing sound, as if the timbers overhead were 
suddenly and irresistibly thrust together, and succeeding this, 
several distinct revibratory motions, as if the house was on rockers 
and was gently swayed backwards and forwards by the wind. The 
time from the first explosion to the last motion of the earth, we 
should judge to be full two minutes. 

The conjecture was made at the time of the occurrence, ".that 
possibly there might be some great cavern between the head of tide- 
water on the Merrimac and the ocean, which fills with subterranean 
gases, and into which water is occasionally forced, producing the 
concussion ; " this theory receiving additional weight, from the fact 
that in the earthquakes recorded of late years, it has been found 
that they generally occurred at high tide, not infrequently after a 
freshet ; but as in the highest tides which have been experienced 
here, there has been no subterranean commotions connected with 
them, there must evidently be other concurring circumstances yet 

It is worthy of remark, also, that some of the most serious, have 
followed more terrific convulsions elsewhere. That of 1638 was 
preceeded by that terrible eruption of Mount Etna, accompanied by 
an earthquake by which the city of Euphemia, in Calabria, was 
completely swallowed up and forever lost to the eyes of man. 

That of 1727 was the most serious Avith which we have not 
corresponding accounts from other section of the globe. 


That of 1755 was the ever memorable year of the destruction of 
Lisbon, the annihilation of St. Ubes, &c. 

About the time of the last, November, 1852, occurred that of 
Valparaiso, S. A. Others near in time may be traced out. 

It appears probable, therefore, that the cause of the more violent 
is not indigenous to the country, but by sorjje internal link, is 
connected with the subterranean fires which have their home, and 
spend their first shock, in more southern latitudes, though why 
intermediate places have escaped, is matter of curious speculation. 

It was not thought necessary to introduce these or other accounts 
of the various earthquakes occurring in this vicinity, into the civil 
and social history of the town, as they had no perceptible influence 
on its character, neither deterring new settlers, nor producing any 
permanent changes physical or moral, (unless we except the " great 
awakening," which followed the earthquake of 1727.) We have 
carefully sought for any indication of vegetation being affected by 
these subterranean convulsions, but find none. 

Though subject to these frightful phenomena, the early settlers of 
Newbury had few other physical evils to endure, except such as are 
inseparable to all newly settled countries. Unlike many other 
portions of New England, they were exposed neither to the constant 
ravages of the savage nor of wild animals ; but once did the Indians 
invade the township of Newbury, and then with but comparatively 
trifling loss to what other settlements were called to endure. Of 
beasts of prey we find no allusion in the early records, except to a 
few tvolves. For some years the sheep had to be guarded at night 
against these ; and it Avas customary for the selectmen to pay a 
reward for the head of a v/olf ; sometimes offering rewards to such 
as Avould shoot them. These animals appear to have had their haunts 
principally on Plum Island, but their numbers could never have 
been large, as from the first, cattle were pastured on the Island 
without guard, being left all winter to subsist as they might. We 
hear, as might be expected, that some died of exposure, and some 
became so wild that they could not be caught, and Avero shot ; but 
if the Avolves had existed in any considerable numl^crs, cattle could 
not have been left there without protection. 

Slavery, also, Avhich Avas for some time an estabhshed institution 
of tliis State, Avas so limited, in regard both to time and numbers 


in NeAvbury, as to have had no material influence on the character 
of the people. There does not appear to have been any particular 
opposition to the introduction of negroes, or the use of Indian slaves 
in Newbury. They were not largely imported, because the climate 
and soil wei-e unfavorable to the existence of such a class of persons. 
Massachusetts never made as strenuous efibrts to prevent the intro- 
duction of slavery, as did Virginia and Georgia. As late as 1755, 
Newbury had but fifty slaves, all told, negroes and Indians ; and 
after that period, there is no proof that any new subjects were 
introduced ; as these died off, the " peculiar institution" died out 
too. Yet one free black was considered undesirable ; a negro 
woman named Juniper, having come to Newbury, (1683,) the 
selectmen desired her to leave, and finally appealed to the county to 
rid them of her presence. After the incorporation of Newburyport, 
some few slaves still remained ; one of these, a man named Coesar 
Hendrick, brought an action against his master, Richard Greenleaf, 
for holding him in bondage, and claiming X50 damages. Tha 
plaintiff's counsel was John Lowell, Esq.,* of Newburyport, (after- 
wards Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts.) The jury 
awarded him .£18 damages, which, with his freedom, Avas quite an 
item to begin the world with. The next year, (1774,) a negro girl 
was advertised for sale, the only notice of the kind we have found ; 
the owner probably thinking that the example of Caesar might prove 
contagious, and that he had better get such dubious property off his 
hands as soon as possible. In 1781 it was decided by the Supreme 
Court of Massachusetts, then sitting in Worcester, that slavery was 
abolished by the adoption of the State Constitution. 

The people of " Ould Newbury" stand somewhat in the relation of 
civic parents to Newbui'yport, and undoubtedly exerted some influ- 
ence on the character of the place, though not so much as might 
have been expected from their long legal union, because from the 
very first, the water-side and agricultural districts had different 
interests, and most pertmaciously defended them. But the connec- 
tion was quite intimate enough to justify our making special notice 
of some of the principal personages who have figured most conspicu- 
ously in Newbury, old town. But not wishing to extend this por- 

. * See Biographical Notice. 


tion of the work beyond Avhat is absolutely necessaiy, Ave must omit 
particular notice of the Sewalls and Dummers, of Webber the 
mathematician, who died President of Harvard College, of Eliphalet 
Pearson, LL. D., who was for many years President of PhilHps 
Academy at Andover, and afterwards Professor at Cambridge ; of 
Christopher Toppan, M. A., a man of varied learning and deep 
piety, who was for many years pastor of the first church in 
Newbury ; and also, as his tombstone records, " skilled in the 
practice of physick and surgery ; " these, with many others, who 
shed a permanent or temporary light in Newbury, must in this place 
give way to the still more influential names of Parker and Noyes, 
whose influence, coming first and being longest continued, gave 
character more than any others, to the early good fame of Newbury. 
The Rev. Thomas Parker, born in 1595 in Wilts,* England, 
prosecuted his theological studies in Ireland, under the celebrated 
Doctor Usher. It not being safe for him (as a non-conformist) to 
return to England, he retired for a while to Holland, where the 
Puritan refugees from England had already organized a church ; but 
the times becoming more quiet, Mr. Parker returned to England, 
and preached at Newbury (in England,) until 1634, when he came 
to Massachusetts, and for a while took up his residence at Agawam, 
(Ipswich ;) but as has been related in the first part of this work, he 
accompanied the first party of emigrants from that place, who in 
1635 came to the banks of the Quascacunquen river, which they 
named Newbury, as the name of their pastor's settlement in Eng- 
land ; and some years later rebaptized the stream by the name of 
Parker, in honor of the subject of this notice. He was, soon after 
his settlement here, joined by his nephew, the Rev. James Noyes,f 
also a man of great theological learning, who had been associated 
with him in England. These distinguished scholars, by their united 
fame, were one of the principal causes of the rapid settlement of 
Newbury. They lived in the same house, pursuing their studies 
amicably together, and with the utmost diligence ; and disinterested 
biographers have asserted, without hesitation, that at no subsequent 
time has there been in this country or England, " such profound 

* Parish and Morse's Hist, of New England. 

t Mr. Parker and Mr. Noyes (spelled Noise in the Records,) were made 
"freemen" at Boston, 3d September, 1634. 


oriental scholars." Not only as writers and preachers, did these 
eminent men diflfuse among their parishioners and readers, the results 
of their research, but they were in the constant practice of superin- 
tending the preliminary education of such young men as were 
destined for Harvard College, which was estabUshed just one year 
after the incorporation of Newbury. They were thus the means of 
giving the first impulse towards a love of learning in many minds 
distinguished in the annals of Massachusetts, not a few of Avhom 
afterwards figured conspicuously as statesmen, and in the learned 
professions in this and other states. 

Mr. Parker, who was never married, was in the latter years of 
his life afflicted with blindness, the result of incessant study ; but 
this did not suspend, though it limited his labors. From his famil- 
iarity with the Greek and Latin text-books, he could attend to 
recitations as well as if his sight had been perfect ; while his friends 
and elder pupils systematically read to him, and wrote at his dicta- 
tion. He wrote much ; some of his sermons and other works were 
pubUshed, but he left many more in manuscript, probably from his 
inability to revise them ; they were left in the hands of the Noyes 
family. Several of these were written in Hebrew, with which and 
the Arabic he was also familiar. It is told, on good authority, that 
on being criticised by certain persons, who came to investigate some 
of his pecuhar ecclesiastical opinions, he propounded questions to 
them, successively in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, to which they 
replied ; when, retreating to the Arabic, he found them unable to 
follow, and summarily refused to be judged by any but his " peers." 

In the valuable library of the Old South Church, Boston, is pre- 
served a work of his, entitled " Visions and Prophecies of Daniel, 
expounded by Thomas Parker, of Newbury : printed in London, 
1644." His great affliction, which none but a devoted student can 
fully realize, was borne without complamt ; and when referred to, 
he would pleasantly remark, " I expect the restoration of my sight 
at the resurrection." 

In the parish built up by him, there has been a long list of 
distinguished pastors. Christopher Toppan, D. D., was succeeded 
by John Tucker, D. D., one of the most acute controversialists of 
the age, and many of whose works Averc published ; after him 
came the Rev. Abraham Moor, who ranked high as a scholar, 


and then followed one of the most splendid Greek scholars and 
profound divines of the age, John Snelling Popkin, D. D., after- 
wards Professor at Harvard.* 

Mr. Noyes published much more largely than Mr. Parker. He 
was considered the most learned man of his time, and among his 
descendants for many generations, were to be found the most 
enlightened clergymen of the country. Two of his sons settled in 
the ministry in Connecticut, and were eminently useful in their day 
and generation. A descendant of his, the Rev. George Noy es, settled 
in New York, has translated a portion of the Old Testament in a 
manner that shows the love of oriental literature has not yet died 
out of the Noyes family. 

*At the celebration in Newburyport, (1835,) of the Second Centennial 
Anniversary of the settlement of Newbury, in the course of a speech made by 
Colonel Samuel Sweet, of Boston, the speaker referred to the fact, that during 
his whole term at the University, all three of the Professors, Webber, Pearson 
and Tappan, were from Newbury. 



Having now a commodious town-house in their midst, and built 
by their own unaided efforts, having ministers and parish schools,* 
forming a separate commercial and trading community, with interests 
all distinct from the husbandmen of Newbury, — in 1763 the 
" water-side people " presented a petition to the General Court, to 
be " set off from Newbury, and incorporated a town by themselves." 
Two hundred and six persons signed the petition; the first five 
names being William Atkins, Daniel Farnham, Michael Dalton, 
Thomas Woodbridge, and Patrick Tracy. Their real grievances 
were numerous, and their petition set them forth in glowing colors ; 
for there had grown up a deep-rooted jealousy between these different 
sections of the town, and mutual suspicions of each other annually 
widened the breach between them, insomuch that if the " water-side 
people" proposed any measure in town meeting, it was pretty sure 
of rejection by the farmmg population; while plans and motions 
advocated by the latter, were ever suspected and thrust aside by the 
former. The impossibility of their continuing to act harmoniously 
together was obvious. The next year the Court granted the petition 
of the water-side people, and the town of Newburyport was duly 
incorporated by the following Act : 

* The records of the first religious society in Newburyport show that the 
parish decided on the location of the schools, the master's salary, and in effect 
sustained and managed the schools, with much other business which is now 
usually assumed only by toivns. 


''^Anno Regni Regis Creorgii Tertii Quarto. 

" An Act for erecting part of the Town of Newbury into a 
NEW Town by the name -of Newburyport : 

" Be it enacted by the Governor, Council, and House of Repre- 
sentatives, That that part of the said town of Newburj, and the 
inhabitants thereof, included within the following lines, viz. : 

" Beginning at the Merrimac river, against the north-easterly 
end of the town way, commonly called Cottle's Lane, and running 
as the said Lane doth, on the eastwardly side of it, to the highway 
commonly called the High street, and so westwardly as the said 
highway runs, on the northwardly side thereof, till it comes to a 
highway known by the name of Fish street, and thence south- 
westwardly as the way goes, and on the eastwardly side thereof, 
leading by Benjamin Moody's to a place called the West Indies, 
until it intersects a straight line drawn from the south-westwardly 
side of the highway, against Cottle's Lane, as aforesaid, to a rock in 
the great pasture, near the dividing line between the third and fifth 
parishes there, and so as the straight line goes, until it comes to the 
dividing line aforesaid, from thence as the said dividing line runs, by 
the said fifth parish down to Merrimac river, and thence along said 
river to the place first mentioned, be, and hereby are constituted 
and made a separate and distinct town by the name of Newbury- 
port, vested and endowed with all the powers, privileges, and immu- 
nities that the inhabitants of any of the towns within this province 
do, or ought by law to enjoy. 

"Francis Bernard, Governor. 

" The twenty-eighth day of January, one thousand seven hundred 
and sixty-four, Anno Domini." 

At the date of its incorporation, Newburyport contained nearly 
twenty-three hundred inhabitants, (two thousand two hundred and 
eighty-two,) and though the territory thus set off into a separate 
township included but six hundred and forty-seven acres, much of 
this was unimproved, the buildings being principally concentrated 
between the northern and southern limits on the river and the ridge 
of land now known as High street. But within this small compass 
might be found what was more important than large territorial 
possessions — men of energy and enterprise, learning and general 


intelligence, lovers of liberty, noble specimens of moral integrity, 
and examples of Christian principles. With these elements of 
prosperity in the men, their position as a separate town was speedily 
made to yield all its natural and attainable advantages. One of the 
principal arguments urged in their petition for a separation from 
Newbury, was that of not being sufficiently accommodated Avith 
pubUc schools. They had hence been obliged to maintain private 
schools, not only at an unnecessary expense, but against the genius 
of the times and people, whose feelings and opinions were all in favor 
of the plan instituted throughout the province, of public schools 
supported by the whole community, and for the benefit of the whole. 
No sooner, therefore, were the " watei'-side people " by the Act of 
Incorporation released from the burden of supporting schools, with 
which on account of their location they could avail themselves 
to but a limited extent, and as they believed, not in that measure 
which was their rightful proportion, than they set about securing 
good and substantial ones for themselves. At the first town meeting, 
called by Daniel Farnham, Esq., held eleven days after the incorpo- 
ration of the town, a committee was appointed to take into consid- 
eration the whole matter of providing for the instruction of the 
young, at the public expense ; to provide good and sufficient school- 
houses, and the best masters that could be procured. From that 
time to the present Newburyport has retained an unwavering interest 
in the maintenance of good pubHc schools. 

With all that was secured to them unmixed with the afiairs of the 
old town, all the municipal arrangements were readily and harmo- 
niously carried into efiect and established ; but some subjects yet 
remained to be adjusted with Newbury. By this division of the 
original town, Newbury, which had formerly sent two representatives 
to the General Court, now was allowed but one, and Newburyport 
one. In regard to the public buildings which had been built at the 
expense of the undivided town, the Newbury assessments for them 
remaining, an adjustment was to be made, and if, after a settle- 
ment of the accounts, a balance remained in the treasury, New- 
buryport was to have a fair proportion ; and if a deficiency was 
found, the arrangement was that she should help pay the same. 
Thus, too, if any of the town's poor who l^ad temporarily removed 
from Newbury came back, they were to be supported by the joint 
resources of the towns. 


An act was passed in 1767, during the governorship of Francis 
Bernard, in addition to those passed during the reign of William 
and Mary, empowering the towns to dispose of any person whose 
presence was undesirable, and who was not a native. The old act 
ordained that any stranger who persisted in remaining in a town after 
fourteen days' warning to leave, might be taken by a justice 
of the peace, and so conveyed from constable to constable until he 
reached the town to which he originallv belonged or where he last 

Among these poor were some French neutrals, whom Governor 
Lawrence, of Nova Scotia, had sent to Newbury. About two thou- 
sand of them were quartered in different parts of Massachusetts, 
during the war just closed. In 1767 several of these petitioned 
the town to be returned to Canada. Their hearts yearned for the 
sound of their native tongue, and the soil from which they had been 
so ruthlessly torn. The number concerned in the petitions to New- 
buryport were three families, including some thirty persons. The 
petitions, which are most pathetically worded, were granted, and 
the weary-worn exiles furnished with money and supplies to reach 
the homes of their kindred. 

But experience proved that persons were sometimes to be found, 
who had secured to themselves no regular settlement in any town of 
the province, and the expense of conveying them away being great, 
it was ordered " that the cost should be borne by the several coun- 
ties through which the person was carried, and that no one, by mere 
residence, should obtain an inhabitancy, no matter how long they 
remained in a town, unless they first expressed their wish to the 
selectmen, and obtained the subsequent approbation of the inhabi- 
tants, at a general meeting of the town." Neither was the town 
obhged to support a person or his family, if not thus approved, 
unless in the case of apprentices. Attached to this Act is the 
clause regarding the poor of Newbury. 

The Court of Common Pleas, which had heretofore sat in New- 
bury, were in future to hold their sessions in Newburyport. 

Scrupulous were the efforts made to secure an equitable partition 
of all the privileges and expenses, formerly concentrated in Old 
Newbury, and on nearly every subject were they effectual ; but on 
the ownership of certain portions of land laid out as public ways 


and landings,* by tlie river-side and elsewhere, the matter was not 
so promptly or easily settled. Part of the land, which before the 
division of the town, had been undivided or common, fell within the 
limits of Newburyport.f These lands the town considered had come 
undi3r its exclusive jurisdiction, by the Act of Incorporation, but on 
this question the proprietors of the midivided lands took issue, and 
the conflicting claims of these persons and the town of Newbury- 
port, continued unadjusted for the tedious space of sixty-three years. 
Particularly were the ways and landings, on the water-side, occa- 
sions of trouble. The proprietors of the adjoining lots had in many 
instances seriously encroached upon them. By the report of a 
committee appointed by the town to examine into the state of these 
and other public lands, it appeared that a committee appointed by 
the proprietors of undivided lands in Newbury, had let out certain 
of these ways and landings, within the limits of Newburyport, 
receiving the emolument arising from them, to the loss and detri- 
ment of the town. 

*The " water lots" had been first laid out in 1703-4, and their 
division was perfectly completed some three or four years later. 
There were two hundred and twenty-five of them, each one being 
assigned to a particular proprietor ; the ways between them being left 
for the public convenience, for the landing of passengers, produce 
from boats, ferry-ways, &c. These, the town considered, now 
belonged to it exclusively, and the proprietors claimed that they still 
belonged to them ; the progress of the dispute we shall have future 
occasion to refer to. 

Newburyport, (and when we speak of the town hereafter, 
whether referring to a period anterior or subsequent to its incorpo- 
ration, we intend to designate it that portion of land now included 
in its corporate limits, in distinction from Newbury " old town,") 

* The earliest wliarves built were in the vicinity of the Market ; the first by 
Captain Paul White in 1656 ; one by " Marchant Dole," in 1678 ; by Daniel 
Davison and Stephen Greenleaf, in 1680; and still another by Mr. Greenleaf 
in 169G. The wharf at the foot of Market street was built by Abiel Somerby 
in 1731, and that at the foot of Marlborough street (then Muzzey's lane), by 
Mr. Benjamin Lunt in 1767. Between the two latter points, wharves were 
rapidly erected after the incorporation of the town. 

f One of the ship-yards was held by the town, and three pence a ton charged 
for the privilege of building upon it. 


Newburyport then, had already estabhshed a good reputation for 
ship-building ; this had been for years the staple business of the 
town, giving employment to all those mechanical trades, -whose 
products or labor enter mto the building or rigging of vessels, — 
carpenters, blacksmiths, braziers, -calkers, riggers, rope-makers, 
painters, &c. Some two years after the incorporation of the town, 
an individual counted in process of construction at one time, seven- 
ty-two vessels, reaching from the " Pierce farm" (now Pettingill's) 
to Moggaridge's point, (now occupied as a ship-yard by Mr. Jack- 
man) ; and there was another ship-yard still higher up, called " the 

Besides supplying many merchants in England with vessels, 
orders for lumber were as promptly responded to. Perhaps no single 
circumstance shows more clearly the enterprise of the " water-side" 
people, than the way in which orders for .lumber were in several 
instances answered. Instead of occupying vessels to carry what 
would float by its own buoyancy, they secured the timber together 
in the form of solid rafts, conforming them somewhat to the shape 
of a ship, and leaving in the centre a small cavity, capable of 
receiving a few men and some provisions, and having arranged with 
considerable ingenuity the means of navigating them, adventurous 
seamen enough were found to undertake the task of carrying them 
to London. The passages made by these rare craft would hardly 
compare with those of our modern clippers, but one of them is 
reported in a London paper as having arrived after a passage of 
twenty-six days ; as good a voyage as was ordinarily made seventy 
years ago. Her commander was Captain Rose of this place. 

Many vessels were built and fitted out, for owners in this town, 
but the principal customers for Merrimac biiilt ships, were the 
British, who paid for them, sometimes wholly, almost always in part, 
with British manufactured goods, and the produce of the British 
West Lidia Islands. This, in turn, gave employment to retail tra 
ders here, Newburyport being the market town for all the contig- 
uous country back, extending many miles into New Hampshire — 
Portsmouth and Salem being the nearest rival towns on either side. 
Here concentrated the business of a large agricultural circle. In 
summer, the Avagons of the farmers might be seen wending their 
several ways through Essex North, and from the " plantations," 


higher up the river, towards " the port," till they reached King or 
Fish street, where their heavy and cumbrous loads were soon dis- 
posed of, in exchange for English calico and cutlery, or West India 
molasses and sugar, which filled the warehouses of the Newburyport 
merchants ; while in winter, on market days, the sound of the sleigh- 
bells scarcely ceased, for miles along the roads, converging in the 
town — many of these -teams crossing the river on the ice, during 
the long " cold spells," of which our fathers have kept the tradition, 
with most marvellous accounts of their length and intensity ; while 
here and there might be seen a large cavernous looking vehicle, 
— now on runners, and then on wheels, (whichever was unemployed 
being lashed to the wagon,) — the contents of which, the outside 
would never indicate, and a glance within scarce tempt one to 
enumerate. The primitive peddler, honored then with the more 
respectable name of country trader, might here be seen fulfilling his 
commissions, and buying on speculation various and incongruous 
articles, to be transported to the inland village store, and resold to 
such as were unable or did not choose to make the journey and their 
own purchases. 

The trade which showed the most animation, and seemed 
destined to grow into the most profitable, was that carried on with 
the French West India Islands ; for this trade, small vessels, not 
requiring any very heavy capital, were the most suitable ; and such 
could be built and fitted out, and sail too, without any risk from the 
ominous sand-bar, which from time immemorial has lain like a 
couchant enemy at the mouth of the river, threatening detention 
and damage to any of more than moderate dimensions, which pre- 
sumed to pass over it jvithout due regard to the ebb and flow of the 
resistless tides. With these islands, Newburyport, from the first 
extensive settlement of the Merrimac, had maintained a constant 
and profitable, and practically unrestricted trade. The duties which 
by the acts of trade. Great Britain had laid on the importation of 
sugar and molasses from the French and Spanish Islands, had never 
been systematically collected in Massachusetts ; * this Governor 
Bernard himself acknowledged, in his famous letters to the minis- 
try ; and thus, the beef and pork which cost our people but little 

* Pitkin's Political and Civil History, vol. 1, p. 160. 


to raise, and lumber and fish, which cost nothing but the labor of 
procuring, -were exchanged at St. Vincent or Martinico, for the 
molasses, cotton, sugar, and indigo, with which England could, and 
heartily desired to supply us from Earbadoes and Jamaica. Hence 
her never-tiring jealousy was finally roused into a determination to 
stop this illegal trade of her colonies. In the very year that New- 
buryport was incorporated. Lord Grenville declared his intention 
of deriving a revenue from America, by internal taxes ; the duties on 
molasses and sugar were increased, and at the same time the inquisi- 
torial device was contrived, of making the British naval command- 
ers revenue officers ; obliging them to take the usual custom house 
oaths, for the express purpose of enabling them to intercept Ameri- 
can vessels, and stop the trade between the colonies and the French 
West India Islands. Thus, at the outset of her independent career, 
the commerce of Newburyport received a serious, though not a 
fatal blow. Yet some seizures were made, of property o^\Tied in 
the town, under these new regulations, under circumstances which 
made the loss severely felt. 

These arbitrary and unusual regulations, by which it was scarcely 
possible longer to evade the burdensome duties laid on our West 
Indian imports, aroused, as might have been expected, the deter- 
mined opposition of the people, not only of Massachusetts, but of all 
. New England. At this time, too, a plan was maturing in Great 
Britain, to change the entire structure of the colonial government ; 
and which finally issued in an " Act for the better regulating of 
his Majesty's Colonies in America," which was the prelude to the 
grand drama of the Revolution. It was not, in all its odious features, 
yet thrust upon the province of Massachusetts ; but as if to test 
the temper of the people, the notorious Stamp Act was passed, a 
fitting introduction to the scheme. In unison with the feelings of 
the entire province, Newburyport declared its abhorrence of this 
" very grievous measure ; " and in a full town meeting, held in 
September, 1765, instructed their Representative to the General 
Court, Dudley Atkins, Esq., " to oppose all his influence to the 
carrying out of the Stamp Act," and also, those other oppressive 
regulations, burdening and obstructing trade. Believing the provin- 
cial charter of Massachusetts to be a confirmation of those constitu- 
tional rights secured to every British subject by the Great Charter 


of Liberties, they declared their belief, and placed it on record, 
that " these rights no man or body of men on earth has the least 
right to infringe."* Growing eloquent upon the late attempt of 
Parliament to deprive them of these rights, which they claimed to 
have inherited from their ancestors, this record declares, "we 
received these rights as descendants of those who were parties to 
the Great Charter, and from those who possessed them, even before 
that happy era, under the Alfreds and Edwards of immortal 
name." Referring to their want of representation, they asked, " Are 
we not treated as slaves, when our brethren and equals are excluded, 
and we obliged to submit to a jurisdiction naturally foreign to us ? " 
And again, in respect to the new laws promulgated by the Admiralty 
Court, which was believed to be in direct contravention of the 
British Constitution, then regarded here, as in England, as the only 
palladium of hberty, they designate the new code as an instru- 
ment in which " the laws of Justinian as a measure of right, and the 
common law, the collected wisdom of the British nation for ages, are 
not admitted, and where one man,f whose interest it is to condemn us 
in all cases, is to be our judge, both of law and fact." 

With these intelligent views of the grounds of resistance, it is 
not surprising that the town took vigorous measures to prevent the 
enforcement of the Stamp Act, or that the Acts of Trade Avere, 
whenever practicable, evaded. A peculiar hardship connected with 
the recent change in the administration of affairs, was that the 
judges had power to order any particular case to be tried at any 
other place than where the action was laid, so that no man felt any 
security for a just and impartial trial. This, with many other odious 
laws attempted to be forced on the colonies, was, so far as principle 
was concerned, of quite as dangerous tendency as the Stamp Act ; 
but the latter concentrated particularly the opposition of the people, 
because it was felt universally and at once, as a tremendous burden, 
because it interfered not on extraordinary occasions only, which a 
man might avoid by sufficient circumspection, but it was present in 
the daily business, and was officiously intruded on the most common 
affairs of life, as well as on the most interestmg and important 

*Town Records, vol. 1. 

■f Jonathan Sewall, an attorney at law. — Hist. Rev. ly M. Warren.i^. 47. 


occasions. A piece of land could not be conveyed, unless the deed 
was recorded on stamped paper ; a ship could not be cleared, a suit 
could not be instituted, aor any action laid, not a marriage could be 
contracted, nor legacy bequeathed, nor an orphan's guardianship 
secured, unless stamped paper, vellum or parchment, was used in 
recording the several writings, necessary to secure or prosecute 
them. No writing was valid in law which did not bear on its face 
the obnoxious stamp. The " Stamp Act" contains fifty-five clauses, 
specifying some two hundred particular cases for which stamp duties 
must be paid, varying in value from half a penny to six pounds. 
Other articles besides paper, were subject to this onerous tax ; 
playing cards and dice were stamped, the former at a cost of .one 
shilHng for each pack, and the latter ten shilhngs a pair. The 
lowest stamp tax enacted was for a half sheet of printed paper, 
which was one half-penny, while any writing requiring the signature 
of the Governor was £6. Any instrument on which was printed or 
engrossed a donation or gratuity to any seminary of learning, 
required a stamp costing X2 ; and the paper appointing any 
individual to a public office, was taxed X4. In making a contract 
for payment, for the performance of labor, a tax of sixpence was 
laid on every twenty shillings in fifty pounds, and a shilling on every 
twenty above fifty. Thus the whole business of life was hampered, 
the difiusion of intelligence prevented, and even the social inter- 
course of friends obstructed, by the ubiquitous Stamp Act. No 
wonder that it was met with one united verdict of execration, from all 
America ; and that in view of it, the vote of the inhabitants of this 
town condenming it, and their united request, " that no man in it 
will accept the oflSce of distributing the stamped papers, as he 
regards the displeasure of the town," and that " they will deem the 
person accepting of such office, an enemy of his country,"* was 
considered sufiiciently mild. But with resolutions on paper, and 
instructions to their legal representative, the more ardent spirits in 
Newburyport were not content ; hke the people of Boston, they 
were determined to root out every vestige of hope that the ofiensive 
act should ever be executed. They hung the stamp distributor in 
effigy, on a tree near the foot of Federal street, where it remained 

* Town Records, vol. 1 . 


some fortj-eight hours, (no one wishing or venturing to cut it down,) 

■when a bonfire was kindled beneath it, into which it was dropped, 

amidst the derisive shouts of the mob. More dangerous and less 

excusable, was the conduct of a gang of young men, who paraded 

through the streets at night, seizing on individuals suspected of 

favoring the execution of the act, and compelling them to join 

in its condemnation, on the penalty of sufferuag personal violence. 

The town endeavored to suppress these tumultuous and disorderly 

proceedings, but the spirit of violent resistance would not be laid by 

any adjuration of the town officers ; and this fit of enthusiasm was 

allowed to burn out, consumed by its own heat. The Act was 

passed in March, and was to have taken efiect in November ; but so 

thoroughly fi-ightened were its friends by the demonstrations of the 

few preceding months, that when November came, neither stamps 

nor stamp distributors were to be found. The stamps had in many 

instances been burned or otherwise destroyed ; and the distributors, 

unable to stem the torrent of contempt which was poured upon them, 

were glad to retrieve their former standing in the estimation of their 

fellow citizens, by resigning their appointments, and washing their 

hands of the whole matter ; and before the year came round, the 

Act was formally repealed ; not a stamp was ever paid for or used, 

that we can learn, m Newburyport. 

The pubUc rejoicings on the arrival of the news of the repeal, 
were as general and hearty as the manifestations of displeasure at 
its passage. The town-house was illuminated, and six and a half 
barrels of gunpowder were discharged from cannon, on the " upper 
and lower long wharves," (now Patch's and Bartlett's,) in honor 
of the occasion. But as a specimen of the prudence mingled with 
these municipal expenditures, it may be mentioned that the select- 
men " recommended the inhabitants not to illiuninate their houses, as 
the town-house illumination would be at the public expense ! " 

Little more than two years had now elapsed since Newburyport 
had obtained a legal name ; and in this time arrangements had been 
completed for the erection of one public " grammar school," near 
the centre of the to-svn, in which Latin was taught, and two " writing 
and arithmetic" schools, one at the north, and the other at the south 
part of the town, the schools being taught in hired rooms until the 
buildings were completed. 


Some progress had also been made in recovering the town's right to 
portions of the disputed lands, that around Frog pond and " Burying 
hill," being laid out by the selectmen ; the vicinity of the pond 
being then adorned, if ornaments they could be considered, with a 
powder house, windmill, rope-walk and a potash factory ; all of 
which are faithfully represented by a drawing made from a survey of 
John Vinal, in February, 1766.* A quarantine was estabhshed during 
the summer months, to keep epidemics out ; and three engine com- 
panies were organized to extinguish fires within the town. There 
had been an engine maintained in Newburyport for twelve years 
previously, by a private volunteer company ; the engine having been 
kept in repair, and the house to contain it built, at the expense of 
the company ; the funds being mainly contributed by merchants, 
Avho had valuable property exposed to the risk of fire. In 1770 the 
Honorable Tristram Dalton gave twenty pounds towards a new 
engine, about to be provided by the town. 

Some futile attempts were made to procure a reunion Avith Newbury, 
but the movement never met with much favor. On the first trial in 
town meeting but fifty-two voted in the affirmative, while two hundred 
and sixty-two voted against such a retrograde project. Four years 
later a similar minority movement was as unsuccessful. Whether it 
was this same uneasy party, we do not know ; but in 1772 a more 
novel motion was introduced at a town meeting held in December, 
namely : " to see if the town would alter the name to that of Port- 
land ; " and at an adjourned meeting, held early in January, 1773, 
this motion was voted in the affirmative. But the better sense 
of the town came to its aid. This self-annihilating vote was left to 
wither on the town books, without practical notice of its existence, 
and the good old name of Newburyport, which had already attained 
some little fame, was allowed to go on and breathe again, and we 
believe no subsequent attempts have been made upon its identity. 

In 1774 the first stage-coach in the country, drawn by four horses, 
was established here by Mr. Ezra Lunt,f connecting Newburyport 
with Boston, via Salem, leavuig Boston and Newburyport on 
alternate days, thus making three trips a week. A stage drawn by 
two horses, and carrying only three passengers, had been established 

* See Town Records, vol. 1. t See Biographical Notice. 


in Portsmouth some years before, making a regular stop, and taking 
up passengers in this town for its destination, going and returning. 

It was some two years later before an insurance oflfice * (and that 
a private one) was opened in Newburyport, but the following copy 
of apohcy issued in Boston, (also by a private firm,) shows the variety 
of perils which vessels were protected against by these private 
companies. The policy commences in the form of many such 
ancient documents, "In the name of God, Amen." The vessel 
insured was a brigantine, " to go to Scarborough, and any or all of 
the West India Islands, and back to Newburyport," in which voyage 
it was to be protected against the " seas, men-of-war, fire, enemies, 
pirates, rows, thieves, jettisons, [throwing goods over to lighten the 
ship in a tempest,] letters of mart and counter-mart, surprisals, 
takings at sea, arrests, restraints, and detainments of all kings, 
princes, and people, of what nation, condition, or quality soever, 
barratry of masters and marriners." 

The form of contract in the ancient style, for building vessels, was 
also a little curious, as the following copy from an original one drawn 
twenty-three years before the incorporation of Newburyport, shows : 

"Articles of Agreement, concluded on this Thirtieth day of 
November, in the Fifteenth year of the reign of George the Second, 
King of Great Britain, &c., Anno Domini, One Thousand Seven 
Hundred and Forty-One, between Samuel Moggaridge,f of Newbury, 
in the County of Essex, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, on 
the one part, and Witter Cummings| and Benjamine Harris on the 
other, in the town of Newbury, aforesaid," &c. 

The contract then goes on to specify the proportions of the vessel, 
thickness of plank, &c., to be completed " according to the true 
intent and meaning of these presents mentioned and unmentioned ; " 
the said Cummings and Harris to find and provide " all the iron-work, 
nails, pitch, tar, turpentine, and oakum ; " the vessel to be launched 

* There were no insurance companies incorporated till after the Revolution, 

•j- Samuel Moggaridge owned the ship-yard now occupied by Mr. Jackman. 

To- the Misses Moggaridge, who still reside on the spot, we are indebted for the 

original contract, written over one hundred and twelve years ago, and also for 

many local items of interest. 

X He resided in England. See Journal of Stephen Cross in the Biographical 


on or by a certain specified day, " to the liking and satisfaction" of 
said Cummings and Harris, for which they agree to pay " Three 
hundred pounds in cash, three hundred pounds by orders on good 
shops in Boston, two-thirds money ; four hundred pounds by orders 
up the river for timber and plank, ten barrels of flour, fifty pounds' 
weight of loaf sugar, one Bagg of cotton wool, one hundred bushels 
of corn in the spring ; one hhd. of Rum, one hundred weight of 
cheese ; the remaining part to be drawn out of the said Cummings 
& Harris' shop." To this contract, as duly witnessed, the par- 
ties severally bound themselves in the sum of "Three thousand 
pounds lawful money of New England, to be paid by the defective 

By a social incident that occurred about this time, we find that 
there was some prejudice already existing in regard to the use of 
foreign tea. A party of young ladies who had met at the house of 
the Rev. Jonathan Parsons, partook of a drink called " liberty tea," 
which was made from an herb which grew in the vicinity, and was 
thought to resemble Bohea in flavor. Thus their patriotism did not 
demand any very severe self-denial. More questionable was the 
' form "in which some of the male citizens displayed theirs. A man 
having been suspected of giving information to the revenue officers 
concerning the introduction of some goods on which the duties had 
not been paid, was seized by a self-authorized party of men, who first 
placed him in the stocks, then tarred and feathered, and committed 
other violence upon him. But these and other manifestations of 
feeling were but the faint mutterings before the approaching storm, 
which was destined to rend a continent from the grasp of a foreign 

The whole country was becoming seriously alarmed at the formid- 
able encroachments which were daily made on their chartered 
rights ; and amid the gathering darkness of colonial affairs the only 
glimmering light Avas that which indicated a disposition among the 
people to unite for their common safety. The various towns through- 
out Massachusetts, perceiving the necessity of establishing some 

* The money named in the contract, to be paid for the labor, was " Old 
Tenor" currency, and worth nothing like its nominal value. 


common ground on whicli they could all stand, and amid the perplex- 
ities of the times anxious to secure the counsels and sympathies of 
each other, established " Committees of Correspondence and Safety," 
who were particularly charged with the duty of devising measures 
to prevent farther encroachments on their rights, and means for 
regaining what had been abeady lost. In answer to a letter from 
Boston, Newburyport, in September, 1768, sent an individual, on 
behalf of the town, to confer with the Committee of the Province 
there, to ascertain "the best means of securing the peace and safety 
of the inhabitants of Massachusetts." Among other measures 
proposed was that of " non-importation ; " the merchants agreeing 
not to import any goods from Great Britain or her dependencies 
while the existing onerous duties remained. These duties were 
exceedingly heavy, and levied on those articles which the Americans 
had not yet attempted, or were not permitted to manufacture ; glass, 
paper, pasteboard, white and red lead, all kinds of pamters' colors, 
tea, &c. They were all afterwards repealed except the latter. To 
the plan of non-importation Newburyport agreed ; though in doing 
so she perhaps sacrificed more than any other seaport town in 
Massachusetts ; for, as has been remarked, her staple business was 
ship-building, principally to British orders, and for which payment 
was made in British goods, and by fallmg in with the non- 
importation agreement, she effectually strangled a very flourishing 
business, while she had not, like many other towns, any considerable 
amount of capital invested in other pursuits as a resource upon 
which to fall back in these troublous times. September 4, 1769, 
the town passed a vote denouncing all miporters of British 
goods as "enemies to the liberties of the country," and expressed 
the determmation to " pursue all constitutional measures to compel 
them to desist." 

Yet, m some instances, they had by vote allowed individuals to 
build vessels already contracted for to English houses, with permission 
to receive payment as before agreed, in British goods ; but afterwards, 
suspecting that this privilege was abused, and made a cover to the 
illicit introduction of goods, not only to the subversion of those 
prmciples expressed by the town, but to the manifest mjury of those 
who voluntarily and honestly abstained, a strict inquiry was instituted, 
and a committee appointed to ascertain the facts in the case, and 

HISTORY OF newburyport; 75 

where any such dishonorcable course had been pursued, the committee 
were empowered to receive the goods thus introduced, and to store 
them, till such times as the duties complained of should be removed ; 
and if any one would not promise to abstain in future, the matter 
was to be laid before the town, in general meeting assembled, and 
" their names published to the world, that they might be known as 
pests of society and enemies to the country."* The town also 
appointed persons to make out hsts containing the names of all the 
inhabitants who would agree not to use any foreign tea ; and also 
the names of those who refused to enter into such an agreement, 
with particular orders to see that those who gave their names to the 
measure scrupulously fulfilled the terms. 

In December, 1773, a standing committee of safety was appointed, 
and the town pubhcly expressed its determination " to prevent the 
landing of any tea while the tax upon it remained," and so far as it 
was possible to prevent it, to insure that none should be sold or used 
in the town, A systematic surveillance was kept up, and tea was 
contraband through the volimtary decision of the community. On 
the heels of this came the announcement of the Boston Port Bill ; 
and Newburyport, with ready liberality f voted two hundred pounds 
of lawful money, to be sent for the benefit of any indigent persons 
in Boston who were suffering from that measure. This sum was 
raised by " an assessment upon all the legal voters in town, in 
proportion to their property ; any one to have the liberty of refusing 
payment if he pleased;" and at the same sitting, it was unani- 
mously resolved, " that this to-svn will stand by the results of the 
Congress," (then sitting in Philadelphia,) " even if it be to the 
stopping of all trade." 

On the anniversary of the " Boston Massacre," this year, (1774,) 
which occurred on the 5th of March, four years before, " the event 
was celebrated in Newburyport by every true son of liberty. The 
day was ushered in by the tolling of bells. At eleven o'clock a 
discourse was preached by the Rev. Jonathan Parsons at the First 
Presbyterian meeting-house, and in the evening the beUs were tolled 
again." X 

* Town Records. f Town Records, Aug. 3, 1774. J Essex Journal. 


During this year, too, the ground in the vicinity of Frog pond was 
ordered by the town to " be levelled for a training field," the first 
material improvement made in that vicinity. 

But while attention was divided by the events now transpiring in 
the metropolis of the province, and the great issues before the 
Continental Congress, the people of Newburyport did not suffer their 
vigilance to relax in watching and guarding against the infringement 
of their own resolutions. In a volume of the " Essex Journal and 
Merrimac Packet," published in Newburyport in 1774, we find the 
following paragraphs, which show the determined spirit which 
prevailed : 

" July 20. "We have it from good authority, that a ship with a 
number of chests of tea on board, is hourly expected to arrive at 
this place. It is to be hoped that this town, who were the first in 
the province that appeared determined in resisting the detested Bos- 
ton Port Bill, by hauling up all their shipping, will not sufier their 
honor to be eclipsed, by tamely sufiering that political plague, tea, 
to be introduced at this time," &c. 

And again, 

" In Salem, last week, while a party were engaged drinking tea, 
an enraged buU dashed at the windows, and then entered the room, 
overturning the table, and causing considerable damage." " Thus," 
remarks the editor, " even dumb creation exert themselves in action^ 
in opposing the endeavors to enslave this free people." 

And here another : 

" Near a training field at Charlestown, a bag of tea was accident- 
ally stumbled upon, which was carried directly to the troops, a fire 
built around it, and immediately consumed, when it was suggested 
that more was probably secreted in the vicinity ; search was made, 
and enough was found to fill a large hogshead ; it was immediately 
surrounded with fagots, and martyred, to the infinite satisfaction of 
the large company assembled to witness the execution. A gentle- 
man from Newburyport was present, and actively assisted in the 
destruction of this national contraband ; there was nearly five hun- 
dred weight consumed." And the editor expresses the hope, that 
" we shall soon be entirely rid of this troublesome commodity, ivhich 
keeps the ivhole continent in a ferment.''^ 


An individual who lived some mites up the river, had been sus- 
pected of introducing a small quantity of tea, for his own use. He 
thus rephes in the " Essex Journal," (of September 30,) to the 
rumors against his patriotism : 

" It is invidiously suggested, among other things, that I beat and 
abused my negro, for telling the truth, and because he would not 
lie in my favor ; and that I have sold him at a great distance, to 
prevent a discovery about some tea. 

" I therefore do hereby on my honour declare, that I have not 
within one year last past, brought up river, in my boat, so much as 
one ounce of tea, and that I brought up in her, on said ' Fast day,' 
two casks of nails, and one of sugar, and nothing more ; and that 
I never heard of my negro's having reported that those casks did 
contain tea, tiU after he ran away, and I had engaged to sell him ; 
and that I sold the said negro for his notorious lying, and other 
faults, for which I was unwilling to give due correction, which if it 
had' been apphed, would have reformed liim." 

The year 1774*, was prolific of devices by the British Parliament 
leading to irreconcilable difficulties with the colonies. For some 
time past, the people of Boston particularly, but also those in every 
■port of entry in Massachusetts, including Newburyport, had been 
brought into frequent collisions with the revenue officers, and the 
general opposition which was manifested to the payment of the new 
duties, convinced the ministry, aided as they were in their conclu- 
sions by the representations of Governor Hutchinson, that there was 
something vitally wrong in the temper of the New England colo- 
nists, especially those of Massachusetts, With the idea, then, of 
accomplishing a thorough and permanent reformation of the " evils " 
which encouraged this rebellious disposition. Parliament passed, in 
the early part of this year, an act totally subverting their early 
charter rights, and many of those privileges confirmed to them by 
WiUiam and Mary. 

* During this year an attempt was made to move " forefather's rock," at 
Plymouth, for the purpose of placing it in the public square, and raising a lib- 
erty pole upon it. From some undiscovered cause, the rock mysteriously split 
in two, which was " enthusiastically received as an omen of the separation 
of the countries." 


The following are the principal points of the Bill " for the better 
regulating the Government of the Province of the Massachusetts 
Bay," and which called forth a storm of indignant remonstrance, 
and determined resistance on the part of the people. 

First, this bill deprived the people of all voice in the choice of the 
Governor and Council, who were henceforth to be appointed by his 
Majesty's commission, under the seal of Great Britain ; the act 
affirming, " that the persons heretofore elected by the people to this 
office, had been of such a character as to weaken the attachment of 
his Majesty's well-disposed subjects ; and to encom-age the ill-dis- 
posed among them, to proceed even to acts of resistance, as hath actu- 
ally taken place in the town of Boston." 

Secondly, it gave to this royally appointed Governor, or in his ab- 
sence, the Lieutenant Governor, the right to appoint the judges of the 
Inferior Courts, and of the Common Pleas ; the attorney general, 
sheriffs, provosts, marshals, &c. ; and also, upon vacancies occurring 
among the judges of the Supreme Court, the Governor, iviiliout the 
consent of his own council, even, might fill those vacancies with 
creatures of his own choice. 

" To remedy the abuses, consequent upon town meetings," 
freely conducted, it was decreed that the inhabitants might meet 
once a year, for the choice of selectmen and some other town officers, 
but ordained " that no other matter should be treated of at such 
meetings ; for that a great abuse has heretofore been made, of the 
power of calling such meetings ; and the inhabitants have been mis- 
led, to treat upon matters of the most general concern ; and to pass 
many dangerous and unwarrantable resolves." On this account, no 
town meetmg was to be held, (except for the bare election of town 
officers,) without a written j^ermission from the Governor. 

The right granted in the time of William and Mary, for 
the inhabitants to choose persons as jurymen, was taken away, and 
all jurymen, grand and petty, were returnable to the sheriff only — 
the creature of the royal Governor's appointment thus insuring, in 
every case between the Government and the people^ a packed jury, 
ready to express the will of the Governor. And as if this was not 
enough, it was further ordained, " that on motion of either of the 
parties, a cause or action might be tried in any other county than 
that where the action was first brought." All this, and much more 


of the same nature was enforced by fines and penalties, laying the 
whole province at the complete mercy of the Governor and his 

In view of these dangerous innovations, a town meeting was called 
in August, and it was unanimously voted, in answer to a proposal 
from the Committee of Safety, at Marblehead, " That in the opinion 
of this To^vn, the situation of our public affairs claim the attention 
of every true friend to his country, and demand an exertion of their 
utmost abilities, to preserve it from that infamy and ruin that now 
stare us in the face ; wherefore, we do most earnestly concur in the 
proposal for a county meeting, and accordingly appoint Tristram 
Dalton, Esq., Mr. Jonathan Jackson, Capt. Jonathan Greenleaf, 
Messrs. Stephen Cross and John Broomfield, a committee on the part 
of this town, to meet with the committees of the other towns in this 
county, when and where shall be judged most convenient, in order 
that they may from time to time deliberate, propose and pursue all 
such measures as may have the most probable tendency to serve the 
interests of the community, in this time of difficulty and danger ; 
this committee to continue until the further order of this town, and 
to have a reasonable allowance for their services. 

" Voted, nem. con. 

" Attest, ] Stephen Sewall, Town Clerk." 

A true Copy, \ 


The delegates appointed by Newburyport to meet with those from 
other towns in the County of Essex, met at Ipswich, on the 6th and 
7th of September. 

Among the final resolves, were the following : 

Resolved, " That the Act of Parliament, entitled, ' An Act for 
the better regulating the Government of the Province of the Massa- 
chusetts Bay, in New England,' being a most dangerous infraction 
of our constitutional and charter rights, and tending to a total sub- 
version of the government of the province, and destruction of our 
liberties ; and having been with uncommon zeal, with arbitrary exer- 
tions, and military violence attempted to be carried into execution ; 
and this zeal, these exertions, and this violence still continuing : — 
from the sacred regard, the inviolable attachment we owe to those 
rights which are essential to^ and distinguish us as Englishmen and 
freemen ; and from a tender concern for the peace of this country. 


we are bound to pursue all reasonable measures, by ■which any 
attempts to enforce immediate obedience to that Act, may be 

" That the judges, justices and other civil officers in tliis county, 
appointed agreeable to the charter and the laws of the province, are 
the only civil" officers in the county whom we may lawfully obey. 
That no authority whatever can remove those officers, except that 
which is constituted pursuant to the charter and those laws. That 
it is the duty of these officers to continue in the execution of their 
respective trusts, as if the afore-mentioned Act of Parliameyit liad 
never been made. And that, wliile they thus continue, untainted by 
any official misconduct, in conformity to said Act, we will vigorously 
support them therein, to the utmost of our power, indemnify them 
in their persons and property, and to their lawful doings yield a 
ready obedience." 

It having been intimated, that the next Court to be held in New- 
buryport would not be permitted to sit, it was resolved, by the dele- 
gates of Essex Coimty, who met at Ipswich, " that all the judges 
and other officers held their commissions agreeably to the charter and 
the laws of the province," and therefore ought to be sustained by 
the county : — that it was the duty of the officers to continue their 
functions the same as if the late Act of Parliament had never passed, 
and that while they continue " untainted by any official misconduct, 
the county will support tfiem," And the people of Newburyport 
fulfilled their part of the above resolve at a town meeting held Sept. 
28, Jonathan Greenleaf being Moderator. It was Voted, that " the 
determination of the county delegates, expressed in their late meeting 
at Ipswich, ought to be adhered to, and the Court supported in the 
exercise of their constitutional authority, and accordingly we will, as 
far as is in our power, support them. But if any officers of the 
Court presume to act under the new and oppressive regulations, they 
must cease to expect support from us." 

The Court was held, and the county and town resolutions carried 
out by the people, as confidently as if those addresses had been legal 
legislative acts. One Nathan Brown, of Newburyport, having ac- 
cepted a commission as under-sheriff, grounded on the late offensive 
Act of ParUament, was waited upon by the committee of the town, and 
informed that he had thus incui*red ftie displeasure of his fellow 


citizens, made a formal and public renunciation of his commission, 
promising in future to maintain the old charter privileges, and m no 
case to accept an oflSce from the new administration. 

The following Committee of Safety and Correspondence were 
appointed by the town, on the 23d September, 1774 : 
Honorable Benjamin Greenleaf, Captain Jonathan Greenleaf, 
Patrick Tracy, Esquire, Dr. Micajah Sawyer, 

Dr. John Sprague, Mr. David Moody, 

William Atkins, Esquire, Mr. John Bromfield, 

Captain James Hudson, Mr. John Stone, 

Mr. Edmimd Bartlett, Major William Coffin, 

Mr. Ralph Cross, Jr., Captain Thomas Thomas, 

Tristram Dalton, Esquire, Captain Joseph Huse, 

Mr. Edward Harris, Captain Samuel Batchelor, 

Mr. Enoch Titcomb, Jr., Mr. Moses Nowell, 

Captain Jacob Boardman, Mr. Jonathan Jackson, 

Mr. William Teel, Mr. Richard Titcomb, 

Mr. Samuel Tufts, Mr. John Herbert, 

Captain Moses Rogers, Mr. Moses Frazier, 

Mr. Jonathan Marsh, Captain Nicholas Tracy, 

The people were now preparing in earnest for the coming struggle, 
and were providing themselves with arms and ammunition ; the 
Committee of Safety of Newburyport reported in November, 
" that the people throughout the town were well supplied with arms, 
and those few who were deficient were resolved immediately to 
obtain them." About this time, too, the town was divided into mili- 
tary lines. Every male over sixteen years of age was required to 
appear " complete in arms and ammunition," either under officers 
commanding independent companies, or in one of the four existing 
companies belonging to the town. These were required to meet for 
practice in the military art, such persons only to be excepted whom 
the field officer "judged unfit or unable." And on a list of the 
names thus organized into* military companies being presented, and 
it being discovered that some few had not enrolled themselves, the 
selectmen were authorized to go around to every man thus insensible 
or indifferent to the fate of the country, and ask him Ms reason for 
such neglect. 



Among the independent companies formed was one by the Marine 
Society of Newburyport, then but two years old, and consisting of 
seventy-six persons, who formed themselves into a company called 
the Independent Marine Company, Avith Captain James Hudson as 
their commander. Their colors were expressive not only of their 
profession, but combined the insignia of the State, and their senti- 
ments in regard to war ; the standard being a blue anchor on a red 
field, supported by a pine tree and ohve branch. One excellent rule 
they adopted, viz., that every neglect of duty by an officer should 
be subject to double the penalty imposed on a private. 

During the winter the town was thoroughly canvassed, and every 
man capable of bearing arms was enrolled in one of the regular or 
independent companies. 

Early in the spring of 1775, the town raised and provided for the 
pay of a number of minute-men, promising to give those who would 
serve, " as much as any other town in the county, for the time spent 
in practice." 

Anticipating that in the event of war, which they appear now to 
have seen plainly approacliing, attempts might be made by the 
enemy to enter the harbor and attack the town, a project was 
brought forward, and soon carried into effect, of obstructing the 
navigation of the river by sinking piers in the channel. The town 
wisely determined, however, " not to obstruct the whole passage," 
but to place the piers in such a Avay that it would be difficult for 
strangers to find the passage, wliile the to^vn's people, familiar with 
the channel, might be able to make their way in safety. A small 
vessel, with a suitable number of men, was also stationed near these 
sunken piers, to give information to and pilot in friends, as well as 
to sound the alarm on any appearance of an enemy, or " to prevent 
any strangers sounding the river." 

The number of piers sunk, was three, about twelve feet square. 
A fort was also built on the Salisbury shore, called " Fort Merrimac," 
and shortly after another on Plum Island. These harbor defences cost 
^2,433, 8s. 2^d. 

A building in which to commence the manufacture of saltpetre, 
was also erected, the town voting to procure, (September 28,) the 
following items, with which to furnish it, which, no doubt, the 


manufacturers of saltpetre, if any such ever look over this page, 
will duly appreciate, viz. : 

"1 dozen molasses hogsheads, 

1 " half barrel tubs. 

^ " trays. 

■^ " thin iron shovels. 

i " pails 

Bricks and setting the kettles." 
The building was placed in the position which the old potash 
house formerly occupied near Frog pond. 

At the same time, a resolve was passed, " that those persons who 
shall violate the resolves of the Continental Congress, respecting the 
unnecessary/ use of gun230wder, shall have their names pubhshed in 
the newspapers, as enemies to their country." 

By the spring of 1775, the town was put into a state of thorough 
preparation for war, the Committee of Safety had divided the whole 
town into four military districts, having their alarm posts, &c. The 
first district included all that part of the town below Federal street ; 
the second, the portion between Federal and State ; the third 
between State and Market; the fourth all above Market. The 
harbor was protected as before described ; military stores and even 
provisions were laid up ; heavy camion purchased ; arms provided 
for such as wished to enlist in the Provincial service, and needed 
such assistance ; and arrangements were made for supplying their 
families during their absence, and the Committee of Safety were 
authorized to incur " ani/ expense which the safety of the town or 
county required." 

Up to the time when these vfarlike preparations commenced, the 
annual expenses of the town had been about seven hundred and fifty 
pounds ; this year fifteen hundred pounds were voted at a town 
meeting held in September ; and this sum, which then appeared 
monstrous, afterwards sunk into perfect insignificance, beside those 
which were freely voted to sustain the burdens of the war. And 
though on the first meeting of the Continental Congress at Phila- 
delphia, Newburyport had sent a representation to that body, 
setting forth the interests which she had at stake in the concerns of 
trade and commerce, and suggesting conciliatory measures, yet, no 
sooner did the safety and honor of the country appear to demand 


the sacrifice of her trade, by armed resistance to the impositions of 
Great Britain, than she cheerfully acquiesced, and anticipating the 
actual result of those deliberations, before they were determined on 
by the authors, as early as May, it was resolved, in a full town 
meeting, " that if the Honorable Congress should, for the safety of 
the United Colonies, declare them Independent of the Kingdom of 
Great Britain, this town will, with their lives and fortunes, support 
them in the measure." 

But though so jealous for the national honor, and so willing to help 
maintain it, local and every-day affairs were not overlooked or 
slighted, but received as diligent attention as if all had been 
peaceful without. In laying out and improving the streets, in the 
ordering of the schools, and in all those municipal regulations, on 
which the peace, order, and intelligence of any community rest, 
the town had made commendable progress ; but its business was 
wellnigh destroyed, at least, made no advance for the next 
succeeding seven or eight years. In addition to the public schools, 
many private ones, particularly for girls, were maintained, nor was 
any town school suspended, during the long and trying struggle of 
the Revolution. 

The following extract from the Essex Journal of April 6, 1774, 
shows that Newburyport was ready to go as far as any in procuring 
desirable reforms : 

" Last Thursday, there arrived in this town Mr. Wm. Goddard, 
who brought letters from the Committee of Correspondence of Bos- 
ton, to the Committee in this town, upon the important and interest- 
ing affair of establishing Post Offices and Post Riders, upon a more 
constitutional plan than the edicts of a despotic British Parliament. 
The inhabitants assembled and voted, nem. con., that if the other 
provinces came into the measure, they would afford all the aid and 
assistance in their power." 

In the spring came the news of the seizure of the public stores at 
Concord by the British troops, or " regulars," as those stationed in 
Boston were generally called, and the battle of Lexington ; and tra- 
dition informs us of an amusing and ludicrous event, that occurred a 
day or two after the latter affair. A town meeting was assembled, 


and the minister of the first parish, Mr. Carey, was just about 
opening it with prayer, when an individual rushed in, bearing all the 
marks of real alarm in his countenance, covered with dust, his 
apparel disordered, and shoutmg, " Turn out ! turn out ! for God's 
sake turn out, or you will all be killed ; the regulars are coming, 
cutting and slashing all before them ! ! " The assembly of course 
were thrown into the utmost confusion ; the minister's prayer was 
stayed ; some rushed tumultuously out of the house, while to those 
who retained their equanimity sufiiciently to make an inquiry, the 
only answer vouchsafed by the breathless messenger was, "that 
they [the British troops] were now at Ipswich, cutting and slashing 
all before them," and either unable or unwilling to give any farther 
information, he disappeared from the town-house, no one could tell 
how, leaving the worst to be conjectured by his startled auditors. 
Unarmed as they were, and not knowing but the "regulars" were 
already entering the town, each one made for his own home, anxious 
to secure the safety of his family. Many, by the time they reached 
their homes, had suiEciently recovered from their fright to take only 
prudent precautions against the threatened danger ; while others, 
considering it a hoax, refused to do anything till they should find 
out the origin of the story ; while others still, began seriously to 
barricade and fortify their houses as best they might, resolving to 
sell their lives dearly, if attacked. But among that numerous class 
of persons who are ever startled from their propi-iety on the first 
sound of an imexpected danger, the ensuing scenes were ridiculous 
enough. Men and boys might be seen running through the streets, 
answering the inquiries of "What is the matter?" with the same 
reply which the messenger, Mr. Ebenezer Todd, had brought from 
Rowley, Avith the addition, that " by this time, tliey are at Old Town 
Bridge." Presently the streets leading from the town were 
sprinkled with pedestrians, and vehicles containing children and 
goods, to be saved from the rage of the terrible "regulars." One 
old lady, we are told, anxious to save her gold, took in her hand, as 
she supposed, the leathern bag containing it ; when, after running 
several miles, and sitting down by the wayside to gather strength to 
renew her flight, she discovered, to her infinite dismay, that she had 
taken the wrong bag, and had burdened herself with a lot of leaden 
weights ; while, as Mr. Coffin relates, another woman " took up a 


cat, Avhich had crept unnoticed into a cradle, and carried it a long 
distance, not discovering her mistake till she sat down on the steps 
of the Belleville meeting-house to nurse the supposed child ; " her 
horror may be imagined, when she discovered that she had left her 
child to the pitiless swords of the " regulars." These terror-stricken 
ones, as they fled, told the news to others, and they in turn to those 
a few miles on, the story being ever the same, " that the regulars 
were close behind, cutting and slashing all before them." The 
fright extended to Haverhill, and was finally allayed by the arrival 
of a reliable witness from Ipswich, who on learning the state of 
affairs, rode over with extraordinary speed to undeceive the people. 
But of all the self-deceived and deceiving retailers of this imaginary 
onslaught, none quite equalled the delusion of a gentleman, who, being 
stopped by a neighbor as he rode furiously through Tappan's lane, 
and solicited for information, as to "• whether any one had been 
killed," replied, "Why, I've rode over more than twenty dead 
bodies this morning! " What the state of his mind was, to imagine 
such a monstrous fiction as this, it is needless to ask. The origin of 
this report has never been ascei-tained ; it appeared simultaneously, 
in various parts of the country, east of Boston ; and the most rea- 
sonable conjecture is, that the British started it, by agents at desig- 
nated spots, to test the spirits and courage of the people. 

But if they gathered any comfort from the result here, it Avas of 
short duration ; for a company had already marched from Newbury- 
port to Lexington, having proceeded thither on the first intelUgence 
of the skirmish there, leaving the town at 11 o'clock at night, that 
no time might be lost in offering their assistance. 

It was now perceived that peace was impossible ; General Gage 
with his troops was already invested in Boston, and the ministers 
from the pulpits joined their persuasions to the general voice of the 
town, and treated their hearers to patriotic and political addresses, 
as well as dispensing religious instruction. The Rev. Jonathan 
Parsons having made an appeal at the close of one of his sermons, 
in which he called on his hearers to form volunteer companies, and 
invited those to walk out into the broad aisle who would do so, Mr. 
Ezra Lunt was the first to come forward ; others followed, and a 
volunteer company was immediately formed, with Ezra Lunt as 


Captain. His was the first volunteer company formed for the pur- 
pose of joining the continental army. On the 9th of May ensuing, 
this company was provided with accoutrements by the town ; and 
that they used them right well, Bunker Hill soon after witnessed. 
One of our native poets,* a relative of Captain Lunt, has well 
described the enthusiasm which inspired these first volunteers in 
defence of American liberty : 

" They left the plough in the corn, 
They left the steer in the yoke, 
And away from mother and child that morn, 
And the maiden's first kiss they broke. 

In the shower of the deadly shot, 

In the lurid van of the war, 

Sternly they stood — but they answered not 

To the hirelins's wild hurrah. 


But still as the brooding storm, 

Ere it dashes ocean to foam ; 

The strength of the free was in every arm, 

And every heart on its home. 

Of their pleasant homes they thought, 

They prayed to their fathers' God ; 

But forward they went, till their dear blood bought 

The broad, free land they trod." 

From the original enhsting papers of Colonel Benjamin Perkins, 
his muster-rolls, bills, letters, &c., we learn the names of the ofii- 
cers and men who accompanied him to Bunker Hill ; and also that 
many of the same afterwards reenlisted the following December, 
and were with him on Long Islandf and White Plains, remaining 
attached to Washington's army durmg the ensuing summer. The 

*Hon. George Lunt, late of Newburyport, now of Boston. 

t While in camp on Long Island, an incident occurred, showing the regard 
which Captain Perkins had for the members of his company. An inferior offi- 
cer, belonging to another regiment, had beaten and abused a man bearing the 
curious name of Newport Rhode Island, who was enlisted in Newburyport in 
December, 1775. Captain Perkins having failed in the effort to induce the 
officer to make some reparation, confined him to his tent, and wrote to Briga- 
dier General Green, to know what course should be pursued, " that the soldier 
might have justice done him." The letter is dated July 11, 1776. In his 
muster-roll for this year, opposite the name of one Caleb Blood is written — 
" lost on Long Island, through neglect." 



commission under -which Captain Perkins led his men on the 17th of 
June is dated at Watertown, May 19th, 1775, and is signed by 
Joseph Warren, President, His company were mostly enlisted some 
ten days before. The following are the names of the company : 

Benjamin Perkins, Captain. 
Joseph Whittemore, 1st Lieutenant. 
Stephen Jenkins, 2d Lieutenant. 
William Stickney, Ensign. 
Samuel Foster, 1st Sergeant. 
Amos Pearson, 2d Sergeant. 
Thomas Frothingham, 3d Sergeant. 
Thomas Wescomb, 4th Sergeant. 
John Brazier, Drummer. 
Richard Hale, Drummer. 
Isaac Howard, Fifer. 
John West Folsom, Fifer. 


Jonathan Carter, 
Edward Swain, 
Jeremiah Smith, 
Moses Wickes, 
Benjamin E. Knapp, 
Benjamin Perkins, 
Moses Pidgeon, 
Daniel Pike,' 
Edmund Rogers, 
Nathaniel Godfrey, 
Thomas Boardman, 
Samuel Coffin, 
Zebulon Titcomb, 
Joseph Somersby, 
Samuel Harris, 
Jacob Knapp, 
John Cook, 
Thomas Wyatt, 
Abraham Toppan, 

Phihp Johnston, 
Isaac Frothingham, 
John Dilaway, 
Charles Jarvis, 
Stephen Wyatt, 
John Kettle, 
Josiah Teal, 
Paul Stevens, 
Joseph Davis, 
Thomas Merrill, / 
Benjamin Eaton, 
Joseph Stickney, 
William Conor, 
Solomon Aubin, 
Joseph Somersby 2d, 
Nicholas Titcomb, 
Silas Parker, 
Moses Carr, 
Amos Hale, 


John Brett, Make Peace Colby,* 

Jonathan Norton,! Jacob Foss, 

Moses Newman, Jacob Willard, 

Thomas Hayncs, Simeon Noyes, 

Aaron Davis, Patrick Tracy, 

Abiel Kent, William Page, 

Joseph Mitchell, Benjamin Cotton, 

Patrick Harrington, Daniel Lane, 

Joseph Noyes, Shadrick Ireland, 
Charles Butler, Daniel Somersby, 

John Coffin, Benjamin H. Toppan, 

Joseph Knight, Benjamin McClanning, 

. John Murray, Michael Titcomb, 

Joseph Pettingell, WiUiam Elliot, 

Samuel Nelson. $ 

On the morning of the 17th June, when Captain Perkins reached 
Charlestown neck with his men, he found it was commanded by the 
shot from the Glasgow, man-of-war, and also by two floating batteries, 
which kept up a heavy cross fire on the American troops, who 
attempted to pass. Finding it growing rather warm, he threw away 
his wig,§ ordered his men to follow in single file, and made the 
passage without loss. From a pamphlet published by Colonel 
Samuel Swett |j of Boston, (son of the late Doctor J. Barnard Swett, 
of Newburyport,) we learn that three of this company were wounded, 
and as two of these, and one of Frye's regiment, belonging to 
Newburyport, were called upon to give some evidence concerning the 

* Make Peace Colby, indirect contravention to his name, afterwards " enlisted 
for the war." 

f Jonathan Norton, was wounded so that he soon after died of his wounds. 

J Samuel Nelson was slain in the battle. 

§ Among Captain Perkins's papers, we find one marked, " Loss sustained in 
the late battle on Bunker's Hill, on the 17th June, 1775, in Benjamin Perkins's 
company," in which is enumerated, two men, one on the ground, and one of 
his wounds, six guns, seven bayonets, two cartridge boxes, two cutlasses, one 
drum, one fife, one hat and one handkerchief ; the wig, we suppose, being an 
optional sacrifice, was not put into the bill. 

II Historical and Topographical Sketch of Bunker Hill Battle, with a Plan." 


conduct of General Putnam in that battle, and thus incidentally state 
the position of their respective companies on the ground, we have 
made a few extracts, bearing on this point and their conduct 

Philip Bagley, well known as the deputy sheriff of Newburyport 
for over thirty years, was attached to Frye's regiment. He says, 
" Went over night ; fought at the breastwork till they turned the 
corner of the rail fence, and began to rake the whole breastwork, 

* * * the shot were very thick." 

Colonel Joseph Whitmore, of Newburyport, was first Lieutenant 
in Captain Perkins's Company, and belonged to Little's regiment ; he 
stated, before Ebenezer Mosely, Esquire, that " he went with part of 
his company down to the left of the redoubt, near some trees which 
were standing, and there received the attack." On the retreat. 
Colonel Whitmore was wounded in the thigh, at the very moment Gen- 
eral Warren fell, and was within six feet of him. He further stated 
that knowing General Putnam well, he said to him, " General, shan't 
we rally again ? " and that Putnam replied, " Yes, as soon as we 
can ; are you wounded ? " Colonel Whitmore's life was only saved 
by his being carried off the field on the back of a companion. 

Philip Johnson, of Newburyport, of the same company, also 
stated before Mr. Mosely, — " Was at the rail fence ; while there, just 
before the actioii began, saw General Putnam on horseback ; very 
near him, and distinctly heard him say, ' Men, you know you are all 
good marksmen, you can take a squirrel from the tallest tree. Don't 
fire till you see the whites of their eyes.' Immediately after the first 
retreat of the British, General Putnam rode up and said, ' Men, you 
have done well, but next time you will do better ; aim at the officers.^ 

* * The balls were flying as thick as peas." 

Mr. Amos Pearson, serjeant of the same company, afterwards a 
commissioned ofiicer, and lieutenant in the campaign of 1777, was 
also wounded in the arm on the retreat. He had but one cartridge 
left, and not liking to have it lost, turned round to discharge it at a 
troop of grenadiers, who were in pursuit, but as he raised his arm to 
ram down the charge, he received a shot which disabled him from 
discharging his own piece, and barely escaped with his life. Of the 
regiment to which Captain Perkins belonged, seven were killed and 
twenty-three wounded. 


Colonel Wade, of Ipswich, (Treasurer of Essex County,) a 
Captain in Little's regiment, says : " I was at the rail fence. * * 
One of our cannon, deserted by Callender, was fired a number of 
times very near me. Two men in our regiment, Halliday and 
Dutton, of Newburyport, fired one of the cannon three or four 
times, and hurrahed very loud." * * * 

In the report made to Congress, by the " Committee for Massachu- 
setts,'' reference is also incidentally made to these companies, which 
were included in the Essex troops ; the report says, " the artillery 
advanced towards the open space between the breastwork and rail 
fence ; this ground was defended by some brave Essex troops, covered 
only by scattered trees. With resolution and deadly aim, they 
poured the most destructive voUies on the enemy. The [enemy's] 
cannon, however, turned the breastwork, enfiladed the line, and sent 
the balls through the open gateway or sallyport, directly into the 
redoubt ; under cover of which, the troops at the breastwork were 
compelled to retire." 

Captain Ezra Lunt's company was ordered up to cover the 
retreat of these exhausted troops, whose ammunition was now all 
expended. His company did good service, and with aid of others 
forming this devoted rear-guard, efiectually kept the enemy at bay 
till the retreat was accomplished, but many of them were killed or 

The detatchment under Arnold destined to the siege of Quebec, 
encamped here for several days, awaiting the transports which were 
to convey them to the Kennebec. Here an addition was made to 
their numbers. Among others who joined them was the Rev. Samuel 
Spring, (aftewards pastor of the third religious society in 
Newburyport,) who accompanied the expedition in the capacity of 
chaplain. Of the detachment, — three companies, — the riflemen 
bivouacked at the head of Rolfs lane, (now Green street in New- 
bury,) and the others obtained use of the rope-walks in the town, as 
barracks for the time they remained here ; they embarked on the 
morning of the 19th September,* in some ten or eleven transports 
for the mouth of the Kennebec. 

* Mr. Henry, of Pennsylvania, who lias published a journal of this expedi- 
tion, makes the day of sailing the 18th ; other historical and all the local evidence 
settles it on the 19th September. 


General Arnold was entertained while here by Messrs. Nathaniel 
Tracy and Tristram Dalton, whose mansions were well accustomed 
to the presence of distinguished guests. 

Joseph Weare, of Needham, Massachusetts, who accompanied the 
expedition and kept a journal of the events connected with it, says : 
" September 15, 1775. This morning marched briskly along, and 
got into Newburyport at eight o'clock at night, where we were to 
make a stay for some days. 

"16th. — In Newburyport, waiting for the vessel's getting ready 
to carry us to Kennebec. 

"17th. — This day had a grand review, and our men appear well 
and in good spirits, and we had the praise of hundreds of spectators 
who were sorry to see so many brave fellows going to be sacrificed 
for their country. 

[Mr. Weare's modesty, it will be perceived, did not lead him to 
the suppression of the truth, though decked in comphments.] 

"18th. — Had orders to embark in the evening. Our fleet 
consisted of eleven sail of vessels, sloops, and schooners. Our num- 
ber of troops consisted of one thousand three hundred men — eleven 
companies of musketmen, and three of riflemen. We all embarked 
this evening, and lay in the river all night. 

"19th. — Early this morning weighed anchor with a pleasant 
gale, our colors flying, drums and fifes a playing." 

, From the dissolution of the Assembly by Governor Gage (June, 
1775) to July of the next year, Massachusetts was without any 
legally constituted government, and was for five years without a 
Governor ; yet there was neither anarchy nor crime in her borders. 
The people spontaneously and voluntarily conformed to all those 
rules of right in their intercourse with each other, that constitute the 
practical well-being of a state. The whole province being divided 
into townships, these little democracies met from time to time, and 
transacted such business as the public exigencies required. The 
whole legislative power was vested in their Provincial Congress, which 
met at Concord and other places, and in the Committees of Safety 
appointed by the towns ; * yet these had no powers to enforce any of 

* la May, of this year, Michael Hodge was sworn iu as Town Clerk by the 
Selectmen, " there being no Justice of the Peace in the town." — Town Records, 
May 6th, 1776. 


their resolves or orders. They could only "recommend;" yet to 
the honor of the people be it said, these recommendations, frequently 
involving heavy taxes of time and money, were cheerfully sustained, 
and carried out with alacrity. The world does not present such 
another instance of a large province remaining for such a length of 
time without executive officers, and retaining of its own accord, and 
by its own inherent sense of propriety, perfect order, and as good 
security to life and property as could be found in any other country 
of Christendom, perhaps better. In these honorable character- 
istics Newburyport participated. They taxed themselves for all the 
purposes of town or county expenditures recommended by those 
temporarily entrusted with the oversight of afiairs, and met the 
requisitions of the Provincial, as they did afterwards the Continental 
Congress, with cheerful promptitude ; and received the news that 
the latter had declared the United States free and independent, not 
only with acquiescence, but enthusiasm. The Declaration of Inde- 
pendence was read in all the meeting-houses, (August 11th,) and 
the Town Clerk evinced his satisfaction at the measure, by recording, 
under date of September 2d, 1776, this endorsement to the call for 
the meeting : 

" This meeting was illegal, because the venire for calling it was in 
the name of the British tyrant, whose name all America justly 

(Signed) Nicholas Pike.*" 

A House of Representatives had been chosen in July, in 
accordance with writs issued in the name and on the responsibility of 
James Warren, the President of the Provincial Congress, and Boston 
being still in the hands of Gage and the British troops, they were 
summoned to meet at Watertown. In October, Newburyport 
instructed her delegates to this House to use their influence there 
to procure the draft of a Constitution or form of government for the 
State, which should be submitted to the people for their approbation 
before passing to enactment. When this Constitution was presented 
to the people, it was found to be grossly defective, and was rejected, 
measures being taken to procure another. 

* See Biographical Notice. 


Several of the towns in the County of Essex appointed delegates 
to meet in Convention at Ipswich, to consider of the amendments 
necessary for the State Constitution, or rather to make the draft for 
a new one. To this Convention Theophilus Parsons* was a delegate, 
and was placed on a committee to draft a report on the subject, 
which was afterwards published under the title of the Essex Result, 
and had an immense influence on the public mind. This paper was 
not a mere synopsis of what was needed by Massachusetts at that 
particular time, but with a comprehensive prescience embodied all 
those great general principles afterwards incorporated in the best 
drawn Constitutions of the separate or united States. The true 
elements of republicanism, divested of all that was visionary or imprac- 
ticable, were here portrayed in terse and vigorous language ; and 
thou«;h containinsr some few sentiments introduced for the satisfaction 
of the other members of the committee, it remams an honorable 
memento of the power and genius of the Newburyport delegate ; and 
at the time produced a more extensive influence than any publication 
touching the proposed Constitution. A year and a half later, 
Mr. Parsons labored efficiently in procuring the adoption of that 
Constitution of Massachusetts which received the assent of the 
majority of the people. And again, in 1778, when the plan prepared 
by Congress for the confederation of the States was presented, 
Newburyport instructed her representatives to give their voices for 
it ; in this, as in every other measure for the public good during 
this trying period, giving their influence, men, and money freely to 
the cause. 

At this time requisitions upon the towns were frequent for men to 
join the continental army. At one time (August, 1777) Newbury- 
port was required to raise one-sixth of her men capable of bearing 
arms, for the continental service. Of course there were many draft- 
ed out under these orders who could ill afford to leave their business 
for the pay then given by the State or Congress, and whose families 
must in consequence be left unprovided for. The town therefore 
voted on this and many subsequent occasions, an additional bounty 
to such as would enhst. The necessity for this, and also for main- 
taining the famiUes of those whose usual support was taken away, 

* See Biographical Notice. 


added immensely to the expenses of the town during the war. On 
this occasion the town voted to pay seven pounds ten shillings per 
month additional bounty to each man who enlisted, and also "to 
assist as much as they can in furnishing provisions for the army." 

So unanimous were the people of this vicinity in their support of 
the Declaration of Independence, that notwithstanding the vigilance 
of the Committee of Safety, Avho with the aid of the community, 
must have detected any symptoms of disaffection, we find that only 
two persons were ever proceeded agamst under the act for securmg 
this and other States "against^ danger from internal enemies." 
Their names were Daniel Bailey and John Anderson, and may be 
found in the Town Records under date of June 16th, 1777. 

An act having been passed by the Provincial Government, regu- 
lating the price of provisions, imported goods, labor, &c., it was 
recommended by the selectmen, in conjunction with the Committee 
of Safety, " that those gentlemen who have on hand stocks of West 
India goods, imported before the regulating act went into effect, 
should sell them to the people at reasonable prices ; charguag, as 
nearly as they can, in accordance with the ability to pay of those 
that stand in need." 

Since the difficulties attending importation, and the frequent 
demands on the country for provisions for the army, prices had risen 
to an exorbitant height, and this act, regulating the price of goods, 
was intended to prevent monopoly among speculators, who by their 
combinations, and forestalhng of the markets, added to the already 
heavy burdens of the people. But capital cannot thus be controlled ; 
and of all the acts passed by the chosen representatives of the peo- 
ple, none was so totally ineffective as this. People sold as they 
could afford to sell, and customers bought as they had the means to 

As might have been expected, the act regulating the price of 
articles of daily use and consumption, became practically a dead 
letter ; though, to insure its execution, the importer was required to 
deliver to the retail trader, a bill of the original cost, by which he 
might see that no illegal profit was taken ; while the retailer, in turn, 
w^as required to limit his advance to twenty per cent, on the pound, 
and to deliver to his customers a bill of the original cost, or to show 
the same, if requested to do so. But people would rather give away 


a whole pound than lose a fraction in the way of trade, and not only 
were the heavy assessments voted by the town met with prompti- 
tude, but many persons contributed, in addition, articles of clothing, 
arms, &c., to help equip the men drafted out for the continental 
army. In Mr. Daniel Balche's Journal for 1777, we find an ac- 
count of some articles, thus contributed by him, for the benefit 
of a company of thirty-three persons, drafted for two months' service 
at Providence ; he says : " I sent one gun and bayonet, five blankets, 
one knapsack, and one cartridge box." 

In another place, the estimated value of these articles are set 
down at X5, 6s., 6d. 

This Journal also confirms the collateral testimony, that additional 
money was frequently raised from private sources, and in the 
religious societies. Under date of November, 1777, we find the 
following memorandum : 

We* raised by contribution for the widows and soldiers' wives, &c., 
X62, 16s., 9id. 

The Church [St. Paul's] raised £18, 2s., 9^d. 

At Mr. Spring's Parish, <£44, 2s. 

At Parson's Parish, 16th, £QS, 15s., Hd. 

Total, £193, 16s., S^d. 

In 1778 the town paid to Jacob Khun ten shillings, for spending 
two days and a half in collecting blankets for the army. 

Horses were also given up by their owners for the use of the 
army ; of several of these we have seen the written evidence ; and 
the depreciated state of the currency is told in the appraisal of these 
animals. Colonel Edward Wigglesworth'sf was valued at £1000, 
and others still higher. 

For the arms and other accoutrements supplied by the town to 
the volunteer companies, receipts were received, and the promise of 
reimbursement, if not returned at the expiration of the war ; but 
many were lost, and the men were frequently unable to make good 
their value., The following is a specimen of such agreements, and 
is preserved in the files of the town, endorsed on the back, 
" Receipt for Guns for Captain Titcomb's Company, July, 1780." 

* Probably Mr. Gary's Society, of -whicli he was a member. 
+ For an interesting account of Colonel Wigglesworth's revolutionary ser- 
vices, see Biographical Notice. 


" We the subscribers do acknowledge to have received, respect- 
ively, this fourth day of July, 1780, of the town of Newburyport, 
a good French firelock, with a bayonet compleat, which we promise 
and engage to return in good order to said town, at the expiration 
of our service, or pay to the said town the sum of XlOO lawful 

Here follow the names of fortv-two men. 

This company were paid by the town for three and five months' 
service at West Point and Rhode Island. 

Barnabas Edmonds received £2, 17s., " for warring nine days 
and a half, from the year '75 to '78." 

An endorsement on the back of this bill explains this extensive 
" warring" of said Edmonds to have been only " trainings." 

Among the bills on the town, Ave find one " for sheets, for band- 
ages, for the campaign of 1778." 

By the enlisting paper, containing the names of the volunteers 
from this town, for the State service in Rhode Island, in July, 1781, 
we • learn that they agreed to provide themselves with " musket, 
blanket and accoutrements." 

Occasionally, arms delivered by the town were returned. 

Jacob Willard, of Captain Perkins's Company, who was supphed 
with a gun in 1775, returned it to the town two years after. 

Short supplies, by the commissariat of the United States, obliged 
the towns to make up the deficiency, and trust to future payment. 

Newburyport, not possessing any lai'ge agricultural district, was 
not always able to supply the demands of the provincial and conti- 
nental armies, for provisions. In some instances these requisitions 
were met by the offer of their equivalent in money, and in others 
the town was obliged to purchase from other tow^ns, for the purpose 
of complying. Contractors in Portsmouth furnished to the town part 
of the quota of beef required of Newburyport, for the use of the army. 

In an account of Jonathan Call's (town clerk) " for supplying the 
famihes of sundry old continental soldiers, in 1778," we find a great 
preponderance of " pork and molasses." Such a town account may 
have fallen at some time into the hands of the enemy, which origi- 
nated the slander, firmly believed to this day, in some parts of the 
British provinces, that " these delectable articles were usually eaten 
together by the Yankees " ! 


During the first year of the war, enlistments being made for but 
short periods, discharged and newly enlisted soldiers were continu- 
ally traversing the country, returning from, or going to join, the 
main divisions of the army ; and as the pay of the continental sol- 
diers was continually in arrear, from the inability of Congress to 
meet the demands on the treasury, it would often happen that 
wounded and destitute soldiers, thus discharged, became burdens 
on the towns in their route towards home. Among the bills on file 
belonging to the town of Newburyport,. we find one against the 
town of York, for the temporary support of one Paul Preble, who 
belonged to Colonel Wigglesworth's regiment when stationed at 
Ticonderoga in 1776, " for nursing, necessary supplies, and carry- 
ing him home." The town was reimbursed by the selectmen of Mr. 
Preble's native place, in the sum of <£2, 16s., 6d. 

A bundle of receipts from poor continental soldiers, vfho were 
thus assisted with money to make their way home, is superscribed 
by the town clerk of Newburyport in 1780, as follows : " Receipts 
for money advanced to sundry continental soldiers, to be paid by .the 
United States, when we can get ity 

Among those drafted in 1777, from this town, was a company in 
August, who was joined by Lieut. Amos Pearson, Avhose gallant con 
duct at Bunker Hill we have before noticed ; from the journal 
which he kept, we find that he was actively engaged during the 
whole campaign, and participated in the action which preceded the 
surrender of General Burgoyne. 

Having left Newburyport on the 23d of August, he marched for 
twenty successive days without halting for any rest except at night ; 
sleeping sometimes in the woods, sometimes in a barn, and sometimes 
in a log-house, when he encamped at sunset within ten miles of 
Gate's army. Here he received orders to join the army with his 
company, before he slept, and resuming their march through Sea- 
brook, Ct., they crossed the river, and joined the army at 3 o'clock 
in the morning. Soon after he was sent out with a scouting party, 
and brought in tliirty prisoners ; and five days after, assisted in the 
memorable engagement of the 7th of October, of which he says : 
" The field-pieces began at four o'clock, and the musketry at five — 
very hot some of the time — drove the enemy within the lines, killed, 
wounded and took a great number of them, and ten field-pieces." 


It will be remembered that a mimber of skirmishes took place be- 
tween the troops of Gates and Burgoyne, preceding the capture of 
the latter. This engagement of the 7th of October, which Lieut. Pear- 
son modestly states in two or three lines, was a battle of the greatest 
importance, and one in which the greatest bravery was displayed on 
both sides ; night terminated the conflict, but the advantage was 
with the Americans. The enemy retreating to the heights of Sara- 
toga, step by step they were pursued and finally surrounded, pris- 
oners were made daily, and having no hope of escape, the whole 
army, for which had been arranged such grand exploits, surrendered. 
The Journal says, " At 12 o'clock, the General (Burgoyne,) marched 
into our lines, and in the afternoon, all their troops, after laying 
down their arms, supposed to be six thousand in the whole." From 
this campaign, Lieut. Pearson brought home a fine English musket 
from the mass laid down by Burgoyne's troops, which still remains, 
with some other trophies of the war, in the hands of his family. 

On the 23d, Lieut. Pearson marched with a fatigue party to Still- 
water after the enemy's wounded, and on his return, was ordered to 
draw three days' provisions and follow the regiment down the 
river. After a tedious march and exposure in open boats, during a 
soaking rain, wading through creeks and over flats, he reached 
White Plains on the 11th of November, and there encamped, but not 
to rest. Several false alarms called out his party, in consequence of 
which he went to Tarry town and New Rochelle with his men, taking 
on these expeditions a few of the enemy's men, and bringing them 
into camp. But once, in the course of the Journal, does Lieut. 
Pearson intimate that he indulged in any but the ordinary fare of the 
army. On Sunday, November 30th, on his return home, he records 
the unusual treat of dining " on fresh pork steaks, mince pie and 
cheese," and then marched 19 miles and put up at Bedford." For the 
next seven days successively, he marched, on an average, nearly 
twenty-seven miles, and arrived at Newburyport, the 9th of Decem- 
ber, having been absent nearly four months, and like thousands of 
our worthy continentalers, quietly resumed his business, (that of a 
house carpenter,) the very next day after his arrival. 'He lived 
to the age of 90. Such was our citizen soldiery of the Revolution. 

During the winter of 1777-8, some eighty non-commissioned offi- 
cers and privates formed themselves into a company under Capt. 


Thomas Thomas, and in July, following, armed only with muskets, 
marched as volunteers in the expedition to Rhode Island, the garri- 
sons of -which had been in possession of the British since 1776. 
While on their march to Rhode Island they received from the State, 
two 4 lb. field-pieces ; which, after the peace, (1793,) were ex- 
changed for two brass six-pounders. Various exchanges were made, 
till in 1844 the company received those they now possess. This 
volunteer corps was the basis of the Artillery Company (now Gush- 
ing Guard,) still existing in Newburyport. 

The expedition to Rhode Island, failed, as it will be remembered, 
for want of the anticipated cooperation of the Count d' Estaing ; 
yet this company, uninfected by the despair which induced so many * 
of Sullivan's army to move off" as soon as they learned of the fail- 
ure of the fleet, continued in service to the end of the campaign. 

In the midst of these troubles, when requisitions were constantly 
being made for men and jjrovisions, by the Continental Congress 
and the General Court, the school interests and the schoolmasters 
were not neglected. It was during this period that a standing 
school committee, to be elected annually, was established, and in 
April (1780) we find a vote recorded, " that the schoolmasters' sal- 
aries be raised in proportion to the rise of mechanics' wages, taking 
their salary in 1774 to be the standard." The tOAvn also, by ac- 
cepting of the school committee's report, granted the scholars two 
whole weeks for vacation, and Saturday afternoons,-f but no public 

But the old master who had taught school for so many successive 
years. Master Sewall, was growing old. Through a long life he 
had taught, — and, ever since the separation of the towns, in New- 
buryport, — and had sent forth numerous successive classes, which 
witnessed to his efficiency, by their own. The old man was first 
awakened to the fact that other people were so short-sighted as to 
imagine he needed any assistance in his duties, by the appointment 
of an usher " to aid Master Sewall in the South school." This was 

* Allen's Ilist. Am. Rev. 

t Not till September, 1782, were they allowed Thursday afternoons, after- 
wards changed to Wednesday. 


a division of his former empire, that he could ill brook, but he bore 
with it for some ijaonths, unwilling to desert the scene to which he had 
become 'so perfectly habituated. Bj the appointment of an assistant, 
it was hoped that he would be induced to resign ; but he seems in this 
respect to have resembled his great cotemporarj, Franklin, in the 
latter part, if not the whole of his maxim on that subject — " never 
to solicit an office, and never to resign one." So, after waiting a 
reasonable time, the sceptre was taken from his unwilling hands and 
transferred to his usher and successor, Mr. Norton. But what was 
the old man to do now ? he felt uneasy and restless ; accustomed to 
the drowsy hum of conning tasks, and the sight of rows of urchins 
at their desks, he could not sit quietly at home, stripped of his usual 
employment, or betake himself to other occupation. He opened a 
school in his own house, where at least he might have the privilege 
of teaching those whom otherwise the town rejected. A regulation 
concerning the schools provided " that none should be admitted to 
the town schools, unless they could read plainly in words of two 
syllables, without spelling." Such were, however, permitted to go 
to Master Sewall, the town allowing him a small stipend, more in the 
form of a pensioner, it would seem, than as a teacher. Master 
Sewall was a man of unexceptionable character, as a teacher faith- 
ful, as long as his powers of mind continued unimpaired ; upright 
in all that related to his fellow-men, and a consistent Christian ; sys- 
tematic and thorough in his discipline, without severity, he had the 
love, as well as the respect of his scholars. He had too a rich vain 
of humor in his composition, which rendered him an entertaining 
companion. "Writing on one occasion to a friend in England, de- 
scribing among other things his school, he said "it was in an 
exceedingly flourishing condition, as he had in it a million and 
eighty-three scholars!" In a postcript, it appeared in explanation, 
that the name of one of the boys was Million. 

When speaking of schools, however, previous to this time and for 
matiy years after, we must be understood as referring to boys' 
schools only. So far as the education of females by the town was 
concerned, they were sadly deficient. As late as 1790, a proposi- 
tion to provide schools for girls, was put aside without action by the 
town, and deferred for another year ; and when they did set about 
the work, it is curious to note of how little consequence they 


considered it, as compared with the provision to be made for boys. 
First, three or four schools were suggested for girls between five 
and nine years of age, which were to be furnished with " dames to 
learn them good manners, arid 'proper decency of behavior;'^ these 
were the essejn'TIALS, but in addition, they were to be taught spell- 
ing and reading, sufficient to be able to read the Bible ; and if the 
parents desired it, "' needlework and knitting ; " the sessions of the 
schools to be but six months, from April to October. It is to be 
feared that in the interval, their stock of " behavior," as well as 
spelling, must have become wellnigh exhausted. But a movement 
having been made by some of the larger souls, on behalf of the 
girls, and a petition being presented to the town, that some arrange- 
ment might be made for the instruction of girls over nine years of 
age, the town graciously voted, in March, 1792, that during the sum- 
mer months, "when the boys in the schools had diminished," that 
the master should receive girls for instruction in Grammar and 
Reading, " after the dismission of the boys, for one hour and a 
half." And even to this poor privilege there were limitations, — no 
person paying a tax for over £300 was permitted to send his 
daughters to these supplementary schools. 

The younger girls and boys were afterwards taught together ; the 
schools being somewhat on the plan of our present Mixed Primary 
Schools. But the scheme for the larger girls did not work well for 
the boys — so it was given up. The masters were directed, "not to 
teach females again, and to keep the usual time." As late as 1804, 
we find the female children, over nine, a great burden on the hands 
of the school committee and the town. The device in that year, was 
not much superior to that of earlier times. In answer to another 
petition, from eleven persons, that this class of girls might be taught 
by the town arithmetic and writing, four girls' schools were estab- 
lished, to be kept six months in the year, from 6 to 8 o^ clock, in the 
morning, and on Thursday afternoons ; so that in addition to their 
other accomplishments, they were now in a fair way of being taught 
early rising. It was left to a comparatively recent period, and 
another generation, to do themselves and the town the honor of es- 
tablishing female schools in Newburyport, Avhich will favorably com- 
pare with the best in the State. But it was not till 1836 that the 
school committee even recommended " that one female grammar 
school be kept through the year." 


In May of 1780 occurred that memorable dark day which ex- 
tended its heavy shadows from Casco Bay in Maine, to Danbury in 
Connecticut, and was observed much farther south. The continu- 
ance and intensity of this darkness, was a phenomenon which was 
not accounted for at the time, and has never since received a satis- 
factory solution. For some days previously, the air had been unu- 
sually thick, and the sun consequently somewhat obscured, but not 
sufficiently so to create alarm. On the morning of this long re- 
membered day, the sun rose as usual, but became gradually overcast, 
the clouds were observed to rise fast, and hurriedly to crowd toward 
the e^st, a little northerly. In this vicinity some thick woods Avere 
on fire, the smoke from which, rising, and mingling with the clouds, 
produced a most gloomy effect, and though there was but little wind 
at this time, the impression was, that a hurricane was about to burst 
upon the town ; while some, ever looking for supernatural evils, 
w^ere overcome with fears, lest the consummation of all things was 
at hand. At 11 o'clock, the darkness thickened, and from twelve 
to one o'clock, at mid-day, it was so intensely dark, that some men, 
who were working on a ship, at the lower yard, sent for lanterns, by 
which they might be able to continue at work ; the contractors having 
more dread of breaking their word in regard to the day of its com- 
pletion, than they had of the gathering blackness. Candles were 
generally lighted through the town, and the feathered race retired 
to their usual roosts, while occasionally a cock, with mistaken self- 
sufficiency, announced the break of day, as here and there a gleam 
of light penetrated the surrounding gloom. The sky was not con- 
tinuously black ; a glimmer of light was discernible at the horizon, 
and at times the sky assumed a reddish-yellow tinge ; the darkness 
however, continued into the night until about 12 o'clock, when 
a wind from the north-west drove away the clouds, and the next 
morning, man and nature revived once more under the cheering 
beams of the unclouded sun. 

But darker than the dark day, was the transaction which a few 
months later sullied the page of American History for 1780. The 
traitor Arnold, the following September, consummated his intended 
treachdVy by flight from West Point ; an incident that we should not 
have introduced into this volume, had it not so happened that in the 


barge which conveyed him to the British ship " Vulture," were tAvo 
members of Capt. Richard Titcomb's company, enlisted in New- 
buryport the preceding July. 

The pay roll of this company shows a list of sixty-one names, in- 
cluding the officers, and among them are Samuel Pillsbury and John 
Brown, who were, at the ti\ne of Arnold's escape, on duty at the 
barge. After having reached the deck of the " Vultui-e," and had 
a brief interview with the officers on board, the arch-traitor turned 
to the bargemen, and said, " My lads, I have quitted the rebel army, 
and joined the standard of his Britannic Majesty ; if you will join me, 
I will make Sergeants and Corporals of you all." But his infemous 
offer had no influence on the honest patriots in the barge, — but two, 
British deserters* remained with him. That neither one of Capt. 
Titcomb's men was seduced by his offers, is proved by the pay roll,f 
which shows them to have been honorably discharged at West Point, 
October 9th of the same year. 

In 1780 the continental money had driven nearly all the gold 
and silver out of circulation ; and these notes depreciated so fast, 
prices rising in consequence, that the whole monetary affairs of the 
country were disarranged, and in speaking of any given sums 
appropriated by the town at this period, it is necessary to distinguish 
between the money employed, whether coin or bills. In the 
payment of bounties, the town was frequently obliged to guarantee 
the payment in silver or gold, the continental money having depre- 
ciated so much as to become almost valueless. :|: An eloquent writer§ 
says, " that in some parts of the country, a month's pay for a 
soldier would not buy a bushel of wheat for his family ; and the pay 
of a colonel would scarcely find oats for his horse." 

Thus when Ave find the town voting to raise " sixty thousand pounds 
for the current expenses of the year," || and that " three hundred 
pounds per month, (additional to the State's pay,) be given each 

* " Kevolutionary Annals," p. 473. " Warren's Hist. Am. Eev.," Vol. 2, p. 

I A copy of ■which we have in our possession. 

JAs an illustration, the Marine Society of Newburj'port, by a vote in 
November, 1780, agreed that members should pay for their monthly dues, 
^^eigJit dollars in paper, or eiglit pence in hard money." 

§ Ramsay. ' || Town Records, D^une 12, 1780. 


man wlio will enlist for three months,^'' and tliat four hundred and 
fifty pounds be advanced to every such person ; and a few weeks 
later, voting to raise by assessment on the polls and estates of the 
inhabitants, seventy-five thousand pounds; and again in October 
another town tax of seventy-five thousand pounds ; at the same time, 
authorizing the treasurer to hire a sum " not more than one hundred 
thousand pounds," — we are not to conclude that these appropriations 
were of the value which such figures would indicate at the present 
day. By consulting the " scale of depreciation," for any particular 
year, the value of the continental money,* as compared with gold or 
silver, may readily be found. Still these taxes, when paid in paper, 
were onerous enough, and show, if anything can, that the resistance 
of the people to taxation, was not from love of money, but from 
principle. Great Britain never taxed the people of America to a 
fraction of the extent to which they afterwards taxed themselves. 

Newburyport early engaged in privateering, by Avhich for awhile, 
her merchants retrieved the losses they had voluntarily encountered 
by agreeing to the Non-importation Act, by which their staple busi- 
ness of building ships for the British was destroyed. But eventually, 
little was gained, the size of the vessels being ill adapted to cope 
with the heavy ships of the British navy. Many of them, after 
successful and daring cruises, were finally captured ; while many 
more became a prey to the elements. The clearances of twenty-two 
vessels are recorded as having left Newburyport, with a thousand or 
more men who never returned, and of whose fate we are still ignorant ; 
probably many of them were wrecked, or foundered at sea ; but it 
is highly probable that some of them were burned or wantonly sunk 
by the British cruisers, not deeming them of sufficient consequence, 
or perhaps being unable to record their names. This was done in 
some instances we know, and may account for the silence and 
mystery which still hang over the final fate of hundreds of these 
bravo fellows. 

* The continental bills were of the size of half an'ordinary bank bill of the 
present day, being nearly square, and were of various denominations, commonly 
from one to thirty dollars, several values being used that are now discarded ; as 
six, eight, &c. They were mostly impressed with some appropriate motto in 
Latin, as, " The oppressed rise." " By perseverance we conquer." " In thee. 
Lord, have I trusted." After the return to a better currency, it was not unusual 
to see a handful of these bills given to children to play with. 


Of this unfortunate class was the " Yankee Hero," a privateer 
of about eighteen guns, commanded bj James Tracy, for some time 
successful ; but on one of her cruises she encountered the British 
frigate Milford, a heavy vessel, much too superior in force to have 
been voluntarily engaged. Captain Tracy was forced into this 
action by the mistaken opinions and earnest wishes of his officers, 
who on observing the Milford at a distance, took her to be a Jamaica 
merchantman, and obstinately insisted on giving chase, against the 
opinion of Captain Tracey, who recognized the vessel as the Milford. 
But faihng to convince his officers, at their earnest entreaties he 
consented to make sail for her, and when the friaiate in her true 
colors was revealed to the satisfaction of all, it was too late to 
retreat ; and notwithstanding her immense superiority, Captain 
Tracy engaged her, and fought desperately for two hours before he 

On being exchanged, and returning home, he was furnished with 
another privateer of the same name, and of twenty guns, manned 
with one hundred and seventy men, including some fifty young 
volunteers from the first families of Newburyport and vicinity. 
She sailed from the port, and vessel, officers, nor crew, were ever 
heard of more. 

Another of these unfortunate privateers was the " America," 
(belonging to Joseph Marquand,) which Avas lost on her second 
cruise, no tidings of her or any of her crew having ever been 
received. In this vessel was lost Cutting Lunt,* one of the released 
prisoners from the Old Mill Prison. 

The first privateer fitted out in the United States, sailed from this 
port, and was owned by Nathaniel Tracy, Esq., (a relative of 
Captain James Tracy of the " Yankee Hero,") the first of whose 
fleet sailed in August, 1775. From that time to 1783, Mr. Tracy 
was the principal owner of 110 merchant vessels, having an aggre- 
gate tonnage of 15,660, which with their cargoes were valued at 
$2,733,300. Twenty-three of the above vessels were letters-of- 
marque, and mounted 298 carriage guns, and registered 1,618 men. 
Of this 110 sail, but 13 Avere left at the end of the war, all the rest 
were taken by the enemy or lost. During this same period, Mr. 


* See Biographical sketch of the Lunt family. 


Tracy was also the principal owner of 24 cruising ships, the com- 
bined tonnage of which was 6,330, carrying 340 guns, six, nine and 
twelve pounders, and navigated by 2,800 men. When it is considered 
that these were in addition to the letter-of-marque vessels, it exhibits 
Mr. Tracy rather as a naval, than a " merchant prince." But of these 
24 cruisers, only one remained at the close of the war. But they 
had not been idle, nor were they ignobly surrendered. These ships 
captured from the enemy 120 sail, amounting to 23,360 tons ; 
which, with their cargoes, were sold for three million nine hundred 
and fifty thousand specie dollars ; — (one hundred and sixty-seven 
thousand two hundred and nineteen dollars, Mr. Tracy devoted to 
the army, and other public demands ;) — and with these prizes were 
taken 2,225 men, prisoners of war.* 

Many of these privateers were vessels of small burden and but 
poorly armed ; yet, judging of the spirit which animated their crews 
by those of whom record or tradition has preserved accounts, we 
may judge their valor was worthy of being displayed on broader 
decks. The master of one of the first which sailed from the Merri- 
mac, the " Game Cock," a sloop of about twenty-five tons, and 
carrying only four swivels, in accordance with the usual practice of 
the times, (not yet totally discontinued,) before putting to sea sent 
up a note to be read from the pulpit, asking the prayers of the church 
that he " might be preserved in his attempt to scour the coast of our 
unnatural enemies ! " f Yet this, with others still smaller and less 
fully armed, made some notable captures, principally of merchant 
vessels ; but these, being generally armed, were often formidable 
antagonists. The first prize brought into Newbury port was the 
British brig Sukey, of ninety tons, bound to Boston with provisions. 
She was taken by the privateer Washington. The second was a 
transport, and its capture was one of the most daring achievements 
of this period. The circumstances were as follows : 

The ship " Friends," Captain Bowie, of London, bound to Boston 
with provisions to the British army there, having got out of her course, 

* The above account Is taken from a memorial addressed to Congress, by a 
gentleman who was part owner and concerned with Mr. Tracy. It was pub- 
lished at the time of the application to Congress, In the New York papers, and 
re-publlshed In the Newburyport Herald, December 4, 182G. 

t Coffin. 


appeared on the morning of January 15th off the "Bar," tacking 
on and off as if uncertain of her position. Her manoeuvres being 
noticed by several gentlemen of Newburyport, they rightly conjec- 
tured that she had lost her bearings, and immediately planned a scheme 
for her capture. Arming themselves, and taking three ^vhale-boats, 
they proceeded down the river under the command of Captain Offin 
Boardman, who, on the boats arriving within speaking distance, 
hailed the ship, inquiring " Avhere she was bound," and " where she 
hailed from." The Captain replied, "From London, bound to 
Boston," and then asked what land it was in sight, and where the 
boats came from. Mr. Boardman replied, " "We are from Boston ; 
do you want a pilot ? " and his offer being accepted by the unsus- 
picious stranger, the ship was hove to, and Captain Boardman soon 
stood on the quarter deck of the " Friends." He carried no arms 
in sight, and after shaking hands with the Captain, entered into 
conversation with him, asking the news from London, &c., while his 
companions from the three boats, seventeen in all, quietly mounted 
the ship's gangway, and now stood guard by the same. Seeing 
they were all ready. Captain Boardman threw off his assumed char- 
acter of pilot, and to the astonishment and chagrin of the late 
master, ordered the English flag to be struck, and neither crew nor 
commander making any resistance, the order was instantly executed. 
The ship had four carriage guns, and a crew of about the same num- 
ber as the captors, but taken wholly by surprise, and at the moment 
unprepared, they fell an easy prey to the shrewd management of 
the little party ; though it must be confessed that three boats in 
company, containing seventeen men, might reasonably have been 
suspected of carrying others than pilots. The names of this party 
have not all been preserved ; but in addition to Captain Boardman, 
we have learned that Mr. William I3artlett, Enoch Hale, John 
Coombs, Joseph Stanwood, Gideon Woodell, Johnson and Cutting 
Lunt, were of the number. 

Thus by a stratagem the morality of which one of the party 
afterwards seriously questioned,* a valuable ship and cargo was 
secured, and in the course of a few hours brought up to the wharf, 
when she was found to contain fifty-two chaldrons of coal, eighty- 

* William Bartlett, Esq. See Biographical Notice. 


six butts and thirty hogsheads of porter, twenty hogsheads of vinegar, 
and sixteen hogsheads of sourkrout, besides Hve stock, for which 
the British troops in Boston were at that moment suffering. 

The capture about this time of several vessels laden with sup- 
plies for the troops in Boston, was the occasion of much distress to 
the army there. The country people of the suburbs could not be 
induced to supply them at any price, their patriotism rismg superior 
to every temptation, except in a few instances, and thus their only 
dependence was on supplies from abroad, and when these were cut 
off their case became desperate, and no doubt precipitated the evac- 
uation of the city. 

Among the small privateers was the " General Ward," Captain 
William Russell, which with about a dozen men, with a musket apiece, 
and one not very heavy swivel, captured two brigs and a schooner. 
Having such a small crew. Captain Russell could spare but two 
men to put on board the schooner, which was unfortunately retaken, 
but the brigs were brought safely into town. 

October 30, 1778, WiUiam Springer, with Joseph and Samuel 
Brookings, officers of the private armed schooner " Hornet," sent to 
the care of the selectmen of Newburyport four Frenchmen whom 
they had taken from on board the English brigantine Success, bound 
to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. These Frenchmen had been taken by 
the " Success " from on board a ship coming from Spain to the 
United States, they having at the time a permit from the State of 
Massachusetts to go ,to St. John's and return. They were not, of 
course, considered prisoners of war. 

The privateer schooner Hawk, Captain Lee, (commonly called 
" Jack Lee,") in 1778 captured and sent in, among other prizes, an 
English brig from Oporto, bound to England, loaded with wine, a 
large amount of specie dollars, bullion, and gold dust. The prize 
Avas anchored at Greenleaf 's wharf, and Avhen the officers were going 
on shore, some of the gold was found to be missing, and several of 
the sailors were imprisoned on the charge of embezzhng it ; but were 
subsequently released from the charge, though the gold was 
not found. Long and frequent searches were instituted iii the 
neighborhood of the wharf, but without success, and the lost gold was 
almost forgotten. But forty-two years after, in June of 1820, 


a boy, searching in the dock for a lost eel-pot, hooked up a bag of 
gold weighing eighteen ounces, the only portion ever recovered of 
this long-lost treasure. 

The " Hibernia," of Newburyport, Captain John O'Brien, was 
very successful in her first cruise, capturing three brigs, a ship, and 
two schooners in less than four weeks after she sailed. In this cruise 
she met with a sixte en-gun ship, with which she had an engagement 
which lasted nearly two hours, but from which she finally escaped 
with the loss of but three men and some wounded. 

Many interesting incidents connected with naval adventurers from 
this port are preserved in a journal kept by Captain Moses Brown,* 
who in August, 1778, started on a cruise in the privateer " General 
Arnold." Captain Brown had but recently returned from one of 
his many mercantile voyages, and " finding the country all in arms, 
unloaded and took off her upper decks, and put eighteen six-pounders 
on her, fitting her for a privateer." On this cruise he says : " The 
first gun that was fired burst,f and killed or wounded all my officers ; 
returned to Newburyport again, proved my guns, and burst four 
more of them ; got new ones, and sailed again in August ; cruised 
three months and took a brig, which was retaken, and returned in 

The journal continues : " In February I sailed on a third cruise 
in the General Arnold. After cruising four months, taking several 
prizes, and fighting some warm battles, I was captured in June by 
His Majesty's ship Experiment, of fifty guns, Sir James Wallace 
commander." When Captain Brown was received on the deck of 

* See Biograjililcal Notice. 

f By this accident an Irishman onboard was severely wounded, and believing 
his injury to be fatal, he sent word to Captain Brown that he wished to speak to 
him. Captain Brown went below to ascertain what his request might be, whenthe 
man told him that he knew he was going to die, and begged that he might not 
be " thrown overboard like a dog, but might have prayei's read over him." 
Captain Brown, after failing to inspire him with any hope that he would recover,' 

assented to his request, saying, " Very well, Mr. shall read prayers for 

you." " No, fiuth," says the man, " thin I'll not die ! Mr. shall never 

read prayers over Tne." Captain Brown then promised he would read them 
himself, when a gleam of satisfaction stole over the features of the honest 
Hibernian, as he exclaimed, " God bless ye Captain ! thin I'll die directly!" 


the Experiment by Sir James Wallace, he was asked by this British 
officer " if he was the captain of that rebel ship," when Captain 
Brown replied, " I was very lately — you are now," at the same 
time oifering Sir James Wallace his sword ; when Sir James, struck 
with his manly reply and noble appearance, refused to take it, saying, 
" I never take a sword from a brave man ! " Afterwards, inviting 
Captain Brown into his cabin, and entering into conversation over a 
glass of wine on the affairs of the two countries. Sir James proposed 
a toast — "George the Third, and the Royal Family!" It Avas 
rather hard to take, but Captain Brown swallowed it without remark, 
when Sir James called on him for another, thinking, probably, from 
his acquiescence in the first, that he would offer something in the 
same strain. But rising with dignity, and unawed by his position 
as a prisoner. Captain Brown gave in return, " George Washington, 
the Commander-in-chief of the American forces ! " The glass, 
which Sir James had raised to his lips, was set down again, as he 
asked, " Do you mean to insult me, sir, in my own ship, by proposing 
the name of that arch-rebel ? " " No," replied Captain Brown, " if 
there was any insult, it was by your giving George the Third, which, 
however, I did not hesitate to drink, though you must have known it 
could not have been agreeable to me, who at this moment am a guest, 
though a prisoner." Sir James, perceiving that if there was any 
wrong, or breach of etiquette, he had led the way in it, like an 
honorable man, suppressed his anger, and actually drank to the health 
of the " arch-rcbL'l," Washington. Being carried by the Experi- 
ment into Madeira, Captain Brown was from thence sent to Savannah, 
in Georgia, where he was for sometime confined on board a prison- 
ship, but was exchanged, and in November retm-ned to Newburyport. 

The following account of some particulars of this cruise, before 
his capture, will not be read without interest. It is from the journal 
of Thomas Greely, one of the officers of the Arnold, Under date 
of March 28, 1779, being off St. Michael's, he says : 

" Sunday, at 6, A. M., bore S. S. E. Distant nine or ten miles, 
saw a sail under St. Michael's, which gave us chase. At 10 she 
came up with us, and proved to be the British ship " Gregson," a 
Liverpool privateer, mounting twenty twelve-pounders and one hun- 
dred and eighty men. After an action of two hours and fifteen minutes, 
she sheered off and made sail ; but we could not come up with her, as 


our spars, rigging, and sails were much cut up ; her loss unknown, 
but from appearance it must have been deplorable indeed." [She 
lost her first lieutenant and seventeen men killed, and a number 
wounded, as was afterwards published in an English newspaper, which 
stated " that she had the battle with a rebel frigate of thirty-two guns, 
andbeatheroff!!"] * * * "April 4th, took the ship 'Wilham,' 
Captain John Gregory, from Gibraltar, bound to New York ; put 
Mr. Samuel Robinson on board as prize-master. April 19th, 
anchored in Corunna, in Spain, refitting till May 19th ; at 9, A. 
M., sailed from Corunna. May 20th, off Cape Finisterre S. W. 
eight leagues. At 6, A. M., saw a sail and gave chase. Came up 
with her at 8, A. M. She proved to be the ship Nanny, of Liverpool, 
Thomas Beynon, master, mounting sixteen six-pounders. After an 
action of an hour she struck, but having many shot between wind 
and water, she soon after sunk ; we having our fore-yard cut away, 
and the mainmast and rigging much damaged. May 29th, put 
Captain Beynon and two other prisoners on board a Spanish brig 
bound for Cadiz. May 30th, took the brig Despatch, from Antigua 
for Oporto. Put Samuel Burbank in prize-master, and sent her to 
Corunna. June 1st, took a snow,* laden Avith fish, from Newfound- 
land, for Oporto, called the ' George,' Wilhcot, master. June 

4th, Friday, was captured by His Britannic Majesty's ship. Experi- 
ment, fifty guns. Sir James Wallace, commander. So ends our 
cruise. Thomas Greely, Sailing Master." 

The following is the other side of the story, relating to the capture 
of the Nanny, being a copy of a letter from Captain Thomas Beynon 
to his owners, dated Cadiz, June 2, 1779 : 

" The following are the particulars of an engagement we had with 
the General Arnold, Captain ISIoses Brown, of eighteen six-pounders, 
and one hundred men, on the 20th of May, off Cape Finisterre. 
Saw a ship in chase of us, and being resolved to know her weight 
of mstal before I gave up your property, I prepared to make the 
best defence I could. Between 8 and 9 o'clock he came alongside 
with American colors, and three fire-pots out, one on each fore-yard 

* Snows being almost obsolete, we may be excused for describing them. 
They were vessels equipped with two masts, resembling the main and fore-masts 
of a ship, and a third small mast, just abaft the mainmast, carrying a try-sail. 


arm, and one at his jib-boom end. Hailed and told me to haul do-\vn 
my colors. I desired him to begin and blaze away, for I was deter- 
mined to know his force before I gave up to him. The battle began 
and lasted two hours, our ships being close together, having 
only room to keep clear of each other. Our guns told well on both 
sides. We were soon left destitute of rigging and sails, as I engaged 
under topsails and jib. We were shattered below and aloft. I got 
the Nanny before the wind and fought an hour that way, one pump 
going till we had seven feet of water in the hold. I thought it then 
almost time to give up the battle, as our ship was a long time in 
recovering her sallies, and began to be water-logged. We were so 
close that I told him I had struck, and hauled down my colors. The 
privateer was in a shattered condition ; his fore-yard shot away in 
the slings and lying on her forecastle, and a piece out of his main- 
mast, so that he could make no sail till it was fixed ; all his running 
rigging entirely gone, and a great part of his shrouds and back-stays. 
None of his sails escaped except his mainsail. By the time we were 
all out of the Nanny, the water was up to her lower deck. When 
Captain Brown heard the number of men I had, he asked me ' what 
I meant by engaging him so long.' I told him I was then his 
prisoner, and hoped he would not call me to any account for what I 
had done before the colors were hauled down. He said he approved 
of all I had done, and treated my officers and myself like gentlemen, 
and my people as his own. There was then a fleet in sight, and 
three ships in chase of the privateer. She was so much disabled, a 
frigate soon came up with her, which proved a French convoy of 
sixty-eight sail, under eight sail of the line, besides frigates outward 
bound, steering about S. W. I had only two men wounded with 
splinters. The cook, I believe, was drowned, as he never came on 
board the privateer. Nothing was saved but the ensign, and. that 
full of holes ; for we received sixty dozen musket cartridges from 
their marines by their own account, besides some from their tops. 
The privateer had six men wounded, and is the same that fought the 
Gregson, of Liverpool. I was put on board a Spanish brig, and 
arrived at Cadiz on the 2d June. Thomas Beynon." 

But it was not only in vessels of their own construction, and 
under Newburyport officers, that the young men of this vicinity 



were found fighting the battles of their country. With Paul Jones 
and other naval heroes, volunteers from Newburjport might be 
found on almost every wave-crest of the ocean. 

We find, by the journal of Thomas Greely, who sailed with 
Captain Bro^Yn in the " Arnold," that he was afterwards with J. 
Paul Jones at the time of his engagement with a British ship of 
thirty guns, Captain John Grey commanding. (Jones's vessel carried 
but twenty guns.) The extract relating to this action is as follows : 

" Moderate breeze at S. and smooth sea, all sail set. Saw a 
large ship to the westward, bearing down upon us ; we took her to 
be a British ship. She came up with us in four hours, and fired a 
broadside, which cut away our mizzenmast and killed four men ; we 
returned it again and fought till the blood ran out of their scuppers; 
she then struck her colors, after four hours' engagement. We had 
fourteen men killed and seven wounded ; the British had forty killed 
and seventeen wounded. All hands employed in throwing the dead 
overboard and cleaning up the blood ; took a reef in the mainsail 
and bore away for Baltimore, with our prize in company. 

" Thomas Greely." 

The date of this engagement is not given, nor the name of the 

But while some of our fellow citizens were bravely fighting the 
enemy on the lakes, some on the ocean and some on land, there 
were many, unfortunate in their first encounters with the enemy, 
wasting away their lives in the English prisons and prison-ships. 
Of this class, were the entire crews of two privateers from New- 
buryport. These were the brig " Dalton," (fitted out by Stephen 
Hooper,) and the brigantine " Fancy ; " many of these men spending 
between two and three years in the famous " Old Mill Prison," in 
Plynputh, England. Among the crew of the former, was a youth 
named Charles Herbert, a native of Newburyport, not 19 years old 
at the time of his capture, who through all the disadvantages of the 
scenes through which he passed managed to keep a nearly daily 
record of the events. He Avas restored to liberty, with others, after 
an imprisonment of nearly three years, by the efforts of Benjamin 
Franklin, then in France, who negotiated an exchange of prisoners. 
After the peace, Mr. Herbert carried on the business of a blockmaker 
on the Upper Long Wharf (Patch's,) in this place, where he 



continued to reside till his death in 1808. His journal has been 
published, and from it we have taken copious extracts, relating to 
the treatment of the prisoners, facts, and referring to many well 
known citizens of Newburjport.* 

The following is a list of the prisoners taken in the Dal ton, 
belonging to Newburyport, and committed to Mill Prison, Ply- 
mouth, England, June, 1777 : 

Captain Eleazer Johnston, | 

1st Lieutenant Ant. Knapp, J 

2d Lieutenant John Buntin, 

Daniel Lunt, J 

Joseph Rocklief, 
William Shuckford, 
John Key, $ 

Alexander Ross, J 
Offin Boardman, :^ 
Moses Cross, 
Thomas Cluston, | 
Cutting Lunt, ^ 
Wym'd Bradbury, 
Henry Lunt, ^ 
Samuel Cutler, J 
Francis Little, 
Joseph Asulier, J 
Joseph Brewster, ^ 
Nathaniel Wyer, $ 
John Knowlton, 1| 
Charles Herbert, ** 
Joseph Cheat, ** 
Thomas Bailey, ** 
Nathaniel Bailey, ^ 
Benjamin Carr, ** 
Samuel Woodbridge, 

John Barrenger, J 

Joseph Poor, 
Nathaniel Warner, 
Josiah George, 
Moses Merril, 
Jacob True, 
John George, 
Richard Lunt, 
Ebenezer Brown, 
Paul Noyes, 
Joseph Plummer, 
Reuben Tucker, 
John Smith, 
Henry Smith, 
Ebenezer Edwards, 
Jonathan Whitmore, 
Edward Spooner, § 
Daniel Cottle, f 
Ebenezer Hunt, f 

In the brigantine Fancy, taken August 7th, 1777, and remaining 
in the Mill Prison, February 7th, 1779, were 

Captain John Lee, $ John Bickford, 

Daniel Lane, William Wliite. 

* See Biographical Notice, 
f Dead. % Escaped. § Joined English man-of-war. 

II Died, or escaped before committed to prison. 
^ Sailed with Paul Jones. ** Sailed in the Alliance. 


One historian says that the ship Warren from this port, Captain 
Timothy Newman, was taken by the English at this time, and that 
her captain, with forty-seven of his crew, died on ship-board. This 
could hardly be, as the Warren, Avhich Captain Newman commanded, 
was not built till 1799, and consequently was not captured in 1777 
or 1780, and the captain, as we shall show, did not die in England ; 
there was a schooner Warren, taken in 1777, but she belonged to 
Salem, and her master's name was John Ravel ; he did not die, but 

We have fortunately the history of the Warren, Captain Newman, 
from Dr. Parke, the surgeon of the ship, who was attached to her 
during the whole of the time she remained in the .United States 

Dr. Parke says : 

" The ship Warren was built at Salisbury, under the inspection of 
Capt. Nicholas Johnson, of Newburyport, and was launched on the 
26th of September, 1799, and was taken immediately to Newbury- 
port, to be fitted for sea. Captain Timothy Newman (who was a 
released Algerine captive) was appointed commander. I received 
my commission on the 3d of October, and forthwith joined the ship. 
We left Newburyport for Boston on the 24th of November, to receive 
her guns, stores, &c., and sailed for Havana on the 31st of December. 
A few days after, we heard the melancholy news of the death of 
Washington. Arrived at Havana in January, 1800, and sailed for 
Vera Cruz the ensuing June. From Vera Cruz Ave came back to 
Havana, where Ave anchored the 15!;/i of August, 1800, and on the 
afternoon of the same day Captain JVewman died. 

" A Mr. Knapp, of Newburyport, Avas her 2d Lieutenant, and Mr. 
Jos. Whitmore, of NcAvburyport, Avas her Sailing Master. 

" We returned to Boston, and the ' Warren ' was fitted for a second 
cruise, under Captain Jas. Barron. On the return from this cruise, 
Mr. Jefferson Avas President, and the Warren was ordered to be sold, 
and having had enough of the navy, I resigned. There is another 
Warren now in the navy." 

Erom a journal kept on board the brigantine Vengeance, of Ncav- 
buryport, Captain Wingate Newman, a privateer of some 350 or 400 
tons, carrying 20 guns, which sailed on a cruise in the summer of 
1778, Ave are enabled to make the following extracts ; the writer Avas 


Mr. Samuel Njc, a surgeon on board the Vengeance. It is princi- 
pally interesting, as it relates to the capture of many officers and 
persons of political importance, whose exchange was the means of 
restoring many Americans to liberty. 

" Sept. 17. — Lat. 49. Discovered a sail at 9 A. M., bearing E. 
N. E., 4 leagues distance ; at 3 P. M. got within cannon shot of her ; 
gave her two or three bow chasers, and received as many stern 
chasers from her ; soon after which she hauled up her courses, and 
gave a broadside ; but her guns being light, the shot did not reach ; 
she then endeavored to get away by making sail again, but found it 
impracticable ; she again lay to till we got within pistol shot of her, 
and then gave us another broadside, which was returned on our part, 
and to such purpose as to oblige her to strike at once, after having 
one man killed, and sLx wounded. She proved to be the ship ' Har- 
riot-Packet,' of 16 three-pounders, and 45 men, Sampson Sprague 
Commander, bound from Falmouth to New York, out fifteen days. 
Took the people on board our brig, and sent a prize-master and people 
on board the ship. ******** 

" Sept. 21st. — Lat. about 49. Discovered ourselves within a league 
of a sail ; at 7 A. M., came up with and engaged her. She fought 
bravely fifteen or twenty minutes, and then struck, after having two 
of her people killed, and four or five wounded ; one of them so badly 
I was obliged to amputate his leg. The prize proved to be the 

' Eagle-Packet,' a snow, Spence, commander ; from New York 

to Falmouth ; out twenty-eight days, mounting twelve three-pounders, 
and having forty-three men, beside the following passengers : Col. 
Howard, of the 1st Regiment Guards, killed in the engagement ; 
Col. McDonald, 71st Ptegiment Highlanders ; Col. Anstruther ; Col. 
Stevens, of the Guards ; Maj. Barcley ; Maj. Forbes ; and the 
Hon. Maj. (afterwards Lord) Charles Cathcart, Capt. of the Athol, 
Highlanders, and 2d Major of Lord Cathcart's legion, and brother 
to Lord Cathcart ; Mr. Sloper, cornet of horse, two sergeants, three 
or four servants, and Miss Jane Marsh. On board were some dry 
goods, besides plate and cash to a considerable amount. Got the pris- 
oners on board our brig, and sent Mr. Thomas Newman, prize-master, 
and a gang of our people aboard, to repair her rigging. * * 

* * We had no person hurt, except Captain Newman, who 
received a musket ball in the thigh; Avound not dangerous." 


In the summer of 1779, the British having undertaken to estab- 
lish a military post on the Penobscot, an attempt was made to prevent 
them, by sending a fleet, of such vessels as could be secured for the 
purpose, and a considerable number of men to the site. A schooner, 
the " Shark," was provisioned here in June for this service, and 
many m.en from Newburyport and the immediate vicinity, joined the 
expedition. The disastrous result is well known. A powerful British 
fleet appeared soon after the American vessels, had entered the 
river, which completely defeated them. The ofiicers abandoned their 
ships, and hundreds of the unfortunate men, sick and destitute, were 
found struggling through the then unbroken wilds of Maine, towards 
home. Some, natives of other towns, reached Newburyport in a 
wretched condition ; and large supplies w^ere made and forwarded by 
the town, " for the defeated army, and seamen of the eastward," 
while the stragglers who reached here were hospitably provided with 
necessary suppUes, and money to enable them to reach their homes. 
Two of these men, "driven," as they expressed it, " from Penobscot in 
distress," received from the town treasury £30 each. 

Some came by land, others by water ; part of Col. Jackson's regi- 
ment (of Portsmouth) which was supposed to be lost, or taken 
prisoners, finally reached Newburyport by water ; and an express was 
hired, at the expense of the town, to go to Portsmouth and inform 
the colonel of their safety. 

Other towns also furnished natives of Newburyport, who belonged 
to the expedition, with entertainment ; the town of Falmouth pre- 
sented a bill to Newburyport " for provisions for people returning 
from Pernopskot.^' 

A statement made by Captain Micajah Lunt, of this town, who 
joined this expedition, shows that if the officers were to blame in 
their management, some of the men, at least, were of the same un- 
daunted stamp as those who, more fortunate, conquered the enemy 
they went to meet. Mr. Lunt says :* 

" In the war of the Revolution, in the year 1779, 1 shipped in 
Newburyport on board the armed ship Vengeance, commanded by 
Thomas Thomas, in the expedition to Penobscot, which ship was 
driven up the river by the Bi-itish fleet, and with others in the 
expedition, was burnt by order of the Commodore, to prevent them 

* Papers of the late Wm. Woart, Esq. 


fallin<^ into the hands of the British ; their crews took to the woods, 
and on foot found their way back to the province of Massachusetts. 
At my return, I again shipped on board the armed brig Pallas, 
commanded by William Knapp, from Avhich vessel I Avas transferred 
to one of her prizes, a British ship, from Newfoundland bound to 
Lisbon, John Stone, of this town, prize-master. After having posses- 
sion of her thirty days, we Avere taken by an English privateer 
schooner, from the Gut of Canso, Avhich schooner had possession of 
the prize twenty days, when Ave were retaken by a French 74 gun 
ship and frigate, and carried into Cadiz in Spain, Avhere I Avas liber- 
ated ; when I shipped on board the American armed ship ' Count 
d'Estaing,' commanded by Captain Proctor of Marblehead, (since 
dead ;) on our passage from Cadiz, when out thirty days, the Count 
d'Estaing was captured by tAVO English letters-de-marque from 
Liverpool, called the ' Viper ' and the ' Dick,' and carried to the 
island of St. Kitts, and [I was] thrown into prison, Avhere after a 
lapse of about sixty days, I escaped from prison in company Avith 
Captain Green Pearson of this toAvn, (since dead,) and got over to 
the island of St. Eustatia, where we shipped on board the armed 
brig ' Tom,' commanded by John Lee, of NcAvburyport, (since dead) 
bound to NeAvburyport. After being out ten or fifteen days, Ave 
were taken by the British frigate Guadaloupe and carried to New- 
York, and myself, Avith others, thrown onboard the ' Hunter ' prison 
ship ; on board of which, I Avas on the ynemorahle dark day, 19th 
May, 1780 ; from Avhich I was exchanged and put on board a cartel 
ship, and sent to Boston, from Avhence I immediately returned to Ncav- 
buryport, and shipped on board the private armed ship ' Intrepid,' 
commanded by Moses Brown, carrying tAventy tAvelve-pound guns on 
the gun deck. From NcAvburyport Ave sailed to Boston, Avhere we 
made up our crcAV of one hundred and tAventy men ; thence sailed 
on a cruise, and Avent to L' Orient in France, where the ship Avas 
coppered and had a spar deck [put on.] We then took on board a 
cargo of ammunition and munitions of Avar, and sailed thence for 
the United States, and got into Baltimore, Avhere, soon after our 
arrival, the cargo Avas discharged, I remained in the ship till the 
peace of 1783, when the shipAvas sold in the Island of Cuba. This 
ship Avas owned by Messrs. John and Nathaniel Tracy of this •town, 
both since dead, and also her commander, Captain Moses Brown." 


No attack having been attempted on the town, the selectmen were 
this year (1779,) authorized to sell the military stores accumulated 
here, and also all the cannon but tAvo six-pounders. The piers 
which had been sunken in the river at an early period of the war, 
were not kept in repair, and gradually breaking up the timbers, 
floated ashore or out to sea, as the tides chanced to carry them. 
The men were withdrawn from Plum Island, (except three, who 
remained to take charge of the fort,) in the general anticipation that 
the negotiations going on wQuld result in a treaty of peace ; the 
warlike spirit gradually became less prominent, though drafts Avere 
supplied, as before, for the continental army. The treasurer was 
still authorized to receive in payment of taxes, " the dead conti- 
nental money,"* which he was afterwards authorized to exchange 
for specie, at the rate of three for one, if he could make so good a 

In 1779 w^e have the first intimation of the town's improving the 
streets by planting trees. March 9th, Nathaniel Tracy was empow- 
ered to plant trees on High street, where the old rope-walk stood. f 

The town, under all the disadvantages of the times, continued to 
grow, and in 1781 the inconvenience arising from want of suitable 
building lots, induced several public-spirited gentlemen owning land 
in the vicinity, to give to the town " sufficient to lay out a regular, 
handsome street, four rods wide, half way between Fish and Queen 
streets," and thus Green street originated. The names of the 
donors were Nathaniel Tracy, Benjamin Greenleaf, Enoch, Joshua 
and Richard Titcomb, Stephen Sewall, Stephen and Mary Hooper, 
Nathaniel, Parker A., Stephen A., and Nathaniel Jr. Atkinson, 
and the guardians of the heirs of Benjamin Frothingham. 

Ever alive to the value of the fisheries, the town in 1782 directed 
their representatives to the General Court, to procure an applica- 
tion to be made to Congress, " that they would give positive orders 
and instructions to their commissioners for ncgotiatmg a peace, to 
make the right of the United States to the Fisheries, an indispensable 
article of treaty.^'' % 

* As late as 1 786, " two hundred and seventy old continental dollars " were 
reported as being in the Town Treasury. — Towti Records. 

■\ Near Frog pond. 

Jin 1787, "fish reeves," equivalent to our modern "inspectors," were 
appointed by the town. 


When the peace came, and money resumed its natural vahie, we 
find that the town made provision, in some instances at least, to pay 
the debts they had incurred for the expenses of the war, " by giving 
the real value of the money borrowed, though the securities were 
given after the depreciation of the money." 

For the eight years reckoning from the Battle of Lexington to the 
Proclamation of Peace, Newburyport raised for the extraordinary 
expenses of the town, the payment of bounties, and providing for 
all those exigencies that were dependent on the Avar, the enormous 
sum of ,£504,500. The usual current expenses of the town per 
annum, previous to the outbreak of hostilities, had been but X750, 
making (for the eight years) £498,500 to be set down as war 
expenses, — in dollars, 2,492,500; £17,000 or $85,000 arc 
specified as having been raised in gold or silver, and as some of the 
debts were also paid in coin, it is impossible to determine exactly 
what the real cost was ; but when we consider that much was also 
done in providing provisions for the army, and clothing for soldiers, 
the sum becomes, considering the size and ability of the town, truly 

The war had interfered with but one ecclesiastical interest in the 
town ; the Congregational and Presbyterian societies remained 
intact, during the momentous political change through which the 
country had passed, but the Episcopal church Avas placed in a new 
and somewhat embarrassing position. During the war the parish 
connected with St. Paul's church, had sympathized Avith their 
countrymen, but the minister had, as far as was safe and practicabfe, 
stood aloof from the controversy, and showed a reluctance to assist 
th,e Revolutionary party, Avhich* subjected him on one occasion, at 
least, to the insults of the populace. His parishioners obhged him 
to omit reading the prayers for the king, but did not and could not 
succeed in making him pray for the " rebels." On public fast days 
appointed by the Provincial Government, and when in accordance 
Avith official requests, seconded by his parishioners, he felt obhged to 
"open his church, and even to haA^e collections taken up in aid of the 
Revolutionary soldiers, he ever failed to add a word of persuasion, 

* See Biographical Notice. 


or to express any sympathy with the patriot cause. On one occa- 
sion, when desired to preach a sermon and have a collection taken 
up, "to aid in procuring clothing for the continental soldiers," he 
did indeed preach, but on some general subject, making no allusion 
to the particular object for which the congregation was convened. 
The collection was nevertheless made, and was not, we know, the 
only one which was taken in the church for similar purposes. His 
moderation and general estimable character, however, preserved to 
him, through these trying scenes, the respect and love of the best 
and most liberal part of the community ; and on the close of the 
war he became identified with the American interest. 

The Society in London under whose patronage he had been, 
declared his loyalty necessarily/ tainted by the fact that he remained 
in Newhuryport! — a town, as they conceived, preeminently repub- 
lican.* But the church in America was in a peculiar position ; it 
had no civil head. Up to the period of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, it had remained an integral part of the Church of England, 
the church in Newburyport belonging to the Diocese of the Bishop 
of London. When, therefore, civilly dissevered, its organization 
was incomf)lete, being destitute of that order in the ministry by 
which holy orders were conveyed in regular succession. Candidates 
for the ministry of the church had hitherto proceeded to England 
for ordination, being there first ordained deacons, and then priests ; 
but this was a process which could not be expected to continue. 
The whole difficulty was eventually removed by sending a minister 
of the church. Dr. Seabury, of Connecticut, to England to be 
cctfisecrated as a bishop. This ordinance he received from the hands 
of the non-juring bishops of Scotland ; and subsequently Dr. White, 
of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Madison, of Virginia, were consecrated by 
the Most Reverend John Moore, Archbishop of Canterbury; and 
thus the Protestant Episcopal Church in America rejoiced in the 
belief that the true ApostoHc Succession was completed, and that 
the American Church was regularly organized, with power to transmit, 
through their newly made bishops, the priestly dignities to succeeding 
candidates. The minister at St. Paul's Church, in this town, was. 
soon after coi^^ecrated, the first Bishop of Massachusetts. 

* Appendix to the " Frontier Missionary." 



With the return of peace business revived, and in place of the 
privateers which for the last seven years had been the most profita- 
ble shipping afloat, the merchantman was again built and rigged, and 
water craft of all sizes and capacity, speedily left the Merrimac for 
the East and West Indies and Europe.* Two years before the close 
of the war the tonnage of Newburyport Avas but 7,176. Seven years 
after, it had grown to 11,870, an increase of some sixty per cent., 
and was daily increasing. With the revival of foreign trade, busi- 
ness of all kinds was awakened to a new life. The artisan and 
mechanic resumed their tools, and putting aside the old muskets and 
rifles with which they had marched from Bunker Hill to the Jerseys, 
and from the Jerseys to Savannah, now wrought with as hearty a 
good-will with the plane, at the anvil, and the bench. As our first 
fleet of merchantmen returned, and money became plenty, the retail 
traders launched out into unwonted investments, and Cornhill and 
King street again displayed English goods, and retail traders without 
fear invited their customers even to the purchase of tea. 

But it was some time before the debts incurred by the town in 
sustaining the war were paid ; and though internal improvements, 
such as repairing and improving the public property, grading streets, 

* Captain Nicholas Johnson, of Newburyport, commander of the ship 
" Count de Grasse," was the first to display thfe " stars and stripes " from the 
masthead of his vessel, in the river Thames. 


and erecting new buildings, were projected and discussed, the most 
expensive of these were deferred until provision Avas made for the 
payment of the town debt. The place had long since been divested 
of all signs of royalty in the decorations of public buildings and 
business insignia. Only one of this nature, the sign of the " Wolfe 
Tavern," by some accident escaped ; and this was afterwards the 
cause of severe denvmciations by the newspaper press, which declared 
its existence " in the very centre of the place to be an insult to the 
inhabitants of this truly republican town."* Effectual means were 
also taken to eradicate everything savoring of royalty from the 
names of the streets. King street was changed to Federal, and 
Queen to Market, Fish to State, &c. 

Considering that the fortification of the harbor had proved a 
protection to the surrounding country, as well as to Newburyport, 
the latter petitioned the General Court (1785) to be reimbursed in 
the sums thus expended, instructing their Representatives "if 
objection was made on the ground that other towns assisted in raising 
these works, that in case an appropriation was made for their relief, 
to guarantee for Newburyport, that the due share of those towns 
should be paid over (Amesbury and Salisbury assisted) in just 
proportion, according to what they had given." 

These works were a fort on Salisbury shore, and another on Plum 
Island, a floating battery, a barge, and several gun carriages ; the 
whole expense, as set forth in the petition, being X 2,433 8s. 2M.; 
and as these works had been authorized and recommended by a 
committee employed by the General Court, as thus providing a safe 
harbor for vessels belongmg to Boston, (then in the hands of the 
British,) and the maritime towns on the coast, it was reasonably 
supposed that the State would, on the return of peace, make good 
the cost. This had already been done in regard to some other 
places, but Newburyport was not destined to a speedy adjustment of 
the account. 

Both the Federal Government and the States were exceedingly 
perplexed by the failure of their many plans for extinguishing the 
public debts after the war. The paper money had served the 
purpose of its emission, bu,t the ill effects of this necessary evil were 

* Essex Journal. 


not SO easily disposed of. In addition to its own tendency to depre- 
ciation, it was counterfeited by the cart-load by the orders of 
General Clinton, in New York, on the suggestion of Lord George 
Germaine, and sent through the country, for the purpose of driving 
Congress from continuing this expedient to support the expenses of 
the war ; and thus, when the danger from British arms was over, 
new dangers arose to the Federal Union from the difficulty of appor- 
tioning the amount of the public debt to be assumed and paid by the 
several States. To Massachusetts was assigned a larger proportion 
than to any of the States, except Virginia, yet she was prepared 
to do her part;* but New York refusing her assent to the plan, it 
was given up, and the States were left to devise such means for the 
extinguishment of their own debts as they could ; while Congress 
borrowed money in Europe to pay the interest on foreign loans, and 
sold out the domestic debt for about a tenth of its nominal value. f 

In this juncture of affairs, when the honor of Massachusetts was 
at stake, and the General Court was tempted by some of its less 
scrupulous members to repudiation, Newburyport took a noble stand 
in behalf of maintaining inviolate the faith of the State. In May, 
1786, the toAvn approved by vote of an address prepared to their 
Representatives, in which the hope is expressed ^^thmt injustice may 
never he confounded iviili i^licy in Massachusetts.^^ A j)lan was also 
devised in this address for reducing the debt of the State, the 
principal features of which were, after making provision for the sup- 
port of the necessary officers in the Commonwealth, first "to raise a 
sum, of that species of security called final settlements, on some 
proportion to the sum with which Massachusetts is charged by the 
United States, whereby the State may be relieved from its annual 
interest, bearing as it does a high proportion to the current value of 
the principal, and its whole ability be thus left to operate with greater 

* Honorable Tristram Dalton, of the United States Senate, under date of 
August 3, 1790, writes to Mr. Michael Hodge, of this town, "Miss Assumption, 
you will have been informed, was raised, and seems pretty well. I shall have to 
fight to-morrow in Senate about Madam Molasses, as some of the southern mem- 
bers want to load her with more duties than I think she can walk with." [Pri- 
vate letters of this period show as strong sectional feeling as has ever been 
displayed since.] 

t Pitkin's History. 


freedom for the discharge of its other obligations, which might be 
effected by sinking annually of its capital debt £100,000 until it 
appreciated to par, when its interest might be diminished by easy 

Without transcribing the expressions of opinion in regard to 
enlarging the powers of Congress, or "the peculiar embarrassment" 
which the town felt (as they might be considered " as pleading for 
themselves as a community"), they represented, in conclusion, 
that in the valuation of the State, " though a respectable commercial 
town, they were not among the greatest in population or property, 
but by their prompt attention to the public interest, they had 
been involved in extraordinary expenses which had never been 
settled." Finally, in this noble address, they say to their Repre- 
sentatives, " We charge you to regard the Constitution and laws of 
this Commonwealth with a religious solemnity and carefulness, as 
your constituents esteem them invaluable possessions.^^ 

We find, however, a year later, that one of the printers at least, 
in Newburyport, Mr. John Mycall, editor of the Essex Journal, did 
not consider one of the laws adopted about this time as an " inval- 
uable possession." This was the Massachusetts Stamp Act, passed 
July 2, 1785. In their efforts to raise a revenue for the payment 
of the public debt, the State invented a system of internal duties, 
and a revenue was raised by placing a tax oh papers, advertisements, 
blank, legal, and some other books, and other articles.* This stamp 
duty on papers was very generally resented. Some newspapers 
were suspended, (the Boston Continental Journal was one,) and 
various devices were used by others to evade the tax, especially on 
advertisements. Mr. Mycall, in an editorial under date of January 
4, 1786, says : " The journals of other States come to us filled with 
advertisements ; but on account of the /Stamp Act here, we cannot 
advertise our own goods, though I have for sale Bibles and Testa- 
ments, primers, almanacs, stationery, and many other useful things, 
and also an excellent ' Moral Discourse,' the price of which being 
only eight pence will not afford profit enough for paying the 
[advertising] tax ! " 

* The duty was seventeen per cent, on blank books, twelve and a half on 
primers, psalm books, &c., and for an advertisement of twelve lines or less, 
(allowing but eight words to a line,) sixpence ; for twenty lines or less, one 

"history of newburyport. 127 

So great was the prejudice against the duty on papers, that the . 
law authorizing it was soon repealed. It reminded the people too 
strongly of that against which they had battled in the colonial times, 
and they would more cheerfully have paid a double tax on anything 
else, than a very moderate one for stamped paper. 

The heavy taxations, which followed for several years after the war, 
produced in the middle and western counties of the State, an insur- 
rection, commonly known as " Shay's Rebellion," from the name of 
the individual who headed the insurgents. 

By a record on the town books, we find that a company from this 
town joined the expedition against Shay, the town having voted, 
March, 1789, " to grant to the soldiers that went against Shay, a sum 
sufficient to make up their pay to 48 shillings a month." 

The company thus drafted, was commanded by Capt. Ezra Lunt, 
(the same that was at Bunker Hill.) 

" I very well remember," says a cotemporary and relative,* " seeing 
this company paraded, the day they took up their march, being at the 
head of Church laae, (Market street,) and directly opposite to Bishop 
Bass's church. Captain Lunt, just before marching, made a veay 
suitable and soldier-like address to his officers and men, on this novel 
and unexpected service ; enforcing in set terms the necessity of 
military discipline, and due obedience to those who were in lawful au- 
thority over them. The whole company responded to the address in 
loud and cheerful huzzas. The word ' Forward — march ' was given, 
but before they had reached a great distance, they got the news that 
the rebels had dispersed, much to the satisfaction of all, for a cam- 
paign in a civil war was not fully liked." 

How far they went, is not stated by the narrator, but the following 
certificate, with the record above quoted, indicates that either then 
or subsequently, they were absent on this expedition a considerable 
time, but we find no evidence of their coming into collision with the 
insurgents : 

" This certifies, that the 752 cartridges and 100 flints, received 

from the Selectmen of Newburyport, were delivered out to the soldiers 

of my company, at different times, during the expedition against the 

insurgents ; and that two camp-kettles were lost in the same service. 

" Ezra Lunt, Captain. 
" Newburyport, 22d Oct., 1787." 

* Henry Lunt, Esq., of Boston. 


As another evidence of the sentiments of the people of Newbury- 
port, in regard to this riotous resistance to the properly constituted 
authorities, may be mentioned the vote thrown in the town for the 
two candidates for Governor, in 1786, Bowdoin and Hancock : the 
latter, the inflexible enemy of the insurgents, received 189 votes ; 
while Bowdoin, who was considered comparatively favorable to them, 
received but 96. The entire County of Essex gave 1800 for Han- 
cock, which was a majority of 1000 over Bowdoin ; though the latter 
carried the State. 

This insurrection showed the value, and the weak points of the 
militia, Avhich was, for long after the war, relied on as the great 
defence of the country. In this State, (1787) it consisted of nine di- 
visions, of which the Essex companies were the second ; in each divi- 
sion there were to be four (in some cases five) artillery companies, and 
two cavalry ; they were to be raised by order of the Governor, with the 
advice and consent of his Council, but the enlistments were voluntary. 
Authority was also given, by the Act passed in November, 1786, for 
the formation of cadet companies, " if this could be done without 
reducing the militia companies to less than sixty privates." So im- 
portant was the thorough organization of the militia then considered, 
that it was by special Act provided, " that if any individual was 
unable to procure proper equipments for himself, the town was to 
provide them ; parents, masters, and guardians, to do the same for 
minors under their care." 

Additional acts to secure efficiency were from time to time added. 
Six years later, it was made incumbent on every town, to be constantly 
provided Avith 64 lbs. of good gunpowder, 100 lbs. of musket balls, 
100 flints, and 3 tin or iron camp-kettles, for every 64 soldiers in 
the mihtia of such town ; and a proportionate supply of the articles 
named, for a greater or less number. It was the duty of the Brigade 
Inspector, to present any town to the Grand Jury which was not thus 
provided. We shall hereafter show that the militia of Newburyport 
held -a high rank in the State. 

During the year 1787, there occui-red a curious, and by no means 
agreeable instance of the impertinence of some of the British officials, 
for it can hardly be supposed the government sanctioned such a 
proceeding. On the 30th of July, there were put on shore at New- 


buryport, twenty men and fourteen women, in a perfectly destitute 
condition, who either could not or would not give any account of 
themselves ; and who were supposed to be British convicts. They 
proved to be part of a company of one hundred persons, who had been 
landed at diflferent points on the coast, between Machias and this town. 
They were br9ught in a brig or snow, commanded by a Capt. Elliot. 
They were temporarily provided for by the Selectmen, who, August 
1st, wrote to Governor Hancock, to inquire what disposition should 
be made of them. The State relieved the town, by assuming the 
disposition of the unwelcome visitants. 

Newburyport was made a port of entry, under the Federal Con- 
stitution, by the action of Congress, in 1789, which divided the whole 
coast into Districts, assigning the ports of entry and delivery to be 
included in each. Newburyport was made a District,* to which was 
annexed the towns of Salisbury, Amesbury and Haverhill, as ports 
of deUvery. The Hon. Tristram Dalton, Senator from this place, 
endeavored to secure the addition of Ipswich to this District, until 
satisfied that the people there much preferred to be commercially 
annexed to Salem. 

In this session of Congress was also mooted the question of assum- 
ing the charge of the Plum Island lights ; but this was for some 
time delayed by the difiiculty experienced in inducing the State to 
consent to their cession, with the land on which they stood, to the 
Federal Government. 

An unwarrantable jealousy existed on the part of the States, lest 
the national Government might abuse the power, if a foothold of any 
description were permitted them, within the several Commonwealths. 

* Letters of Hon. Tristram Dalton, of the U. S. Senate, and B. Goodhue, 
Representative to the Congress of 1 789, to M. Hodge, Clerk of the town of 
Newburyport. B. Goodhue writes from Philadelphia, July 5, 1789 : "As soon 
as we have got through the business necessary to set the Government agoing, 
we shall have a recess. The harbors, ports, &c., of the United States are put 
into Districts ; — in each District is to be a port of entry, and to which is annexed 
several ports of delivery. For instance, Newburyport is a District, to which is 
annexed Salisbury, Amesbury and Haverhill as places of delivery, and a Col- 
lector, Naval Officer and Surveyor is to reside at Newburyport. Tristram Dalton 
proposed Ipswich to belong to Newburyport, but Mr. Choat wrote him, that it 
would be more agreeable for the people there to go to Salem." 


Mr. Dalton, writing from the seat of Government, in regard to these 
lights, January 31, 1790, says :— " The property in the hght-houses 
must be vested in the United States before August next, or they Tvill 
be hable to be overlooked, and I know some influential people in 
Boston are not favorable to the navigation of Merrimac river ;" and 
he further urges the necessity, on the people of Newburyport, of 
securing from the State Legislature the right to cede the light-houses 
on Plum Island, at an " early period, so that when the next Congress 
met, they might be found as an established cliarge on the Govern- 
ment ; " but he adds, " I beheve there are people in Massachusetts, 
who would rather stand by and witness the total destruction of our 
commerce, than yield one foot of Massachusetts soil to the Federal 
Government. But if Massachusetts does not cede the light-houses, 
they will have to be maintained at the cost of the merchants ; for 
the country people will not assist." 

The right of cession, so important to the navigation of the Merri- 
mac, was granted by the State Legislature early in 1790. Previous 
to their cession, they had been maintained by private enterprise. In 
September, 1787, the town granted " all the right that it has the 
power to grant, to ]Mr. Wm. Bartlett and others, to appoint a man to 
live in, and take care of the fort and lights on Plum Island, at the 
expense of the said petitioners." * In a printed notice the next year, 
to seamen, giving directions about making these lights, the informa- 
tion is incidentally given, that there was at that time, " 7 feet of water 
on the shoal part of the bar, at low tide, and more than 11 feet at 
half tide." 

In this year, an Act was passed by the General Court, regulating 
pilotage for Newburyport. It was found that the general Act, for 
the ports of the Commonwealth, was in some respects inapplicable to 
this town ; and the following provisions were accordingly made : — 
" First, that no person should take any vessel in or out of the Mer- 
rimac river, drawing 9 or more than 9 feet of water, (except coasters 
and fishino- vessels,!) without obtaining a commission or branch as a 

* Before tlie liglits were erected, a flag-stafi" assisted to guide the mariner on 
his approach to the hai'bor. 

\ These were probably excepted because they were all American vessels, 
frequently owned, wholly, or in part, by the men that sailed them, and were of 
small burden. 


pilot. The branch, or commission, was to be granted by the Gov- 
ernor and Council, only on the applicant producing a certificate of 
capacity, signed by the clerk of the " Merrimac Marine Society of 
Newburyport," in behalf of a majority of its members. A pilot thus 
authorized, was also obhged to deposit with the Treasurer of the 
Commonwealth, X 100, as security that he would relinquish his branch 
whenever required by the Governor to do so, on a representation, of 
a majority of the Marine Society, that he had become disqualified. 
Any unauthorized person, attempting to bring in a vessel, was liable 
to an action for damages, if any ensued. 

The pilots of Newburyport were originally confined to prescribed 
limits, outside of which no ship-master was obhged to accept of their 
services ; these limits were from Newbury bar to Jebacca, from 
Jebacca to Hallibut point ; from HaUibut point to the Isles of Shoals ; 
from Isles of Shoals to Rye Beach. 

But this defining of their bounds was found to be productive of 
ill consequences. Captains and owners had their favorite pilots ; 
and if one ofiered whom they did not wish, or whom they were ordered 
not to take, they had only to lay outside of these limits until the one 
came whom they desired to patronize. Thus some were deprived of 
their due share of business, and though risking their lives, perhaps, 
in beating out to reach a vessel, might, on offering their services, be 
refused. This, it was feared, Avould superinduce more caution in 
putting out after vessels, among those who were doubtful of being 
accepted ; and the Marine Society, considering the risk to which 
property was thus exposed, made the effort, and succeeded, (in 1847,) 
in getting a law passed, " oblighig any sliip or vessel, requiring the 
aid of a pilot, to receive the first person offering his services, and 
holding a branch for the port into which the vessel is bound, whether 
he be within his District or not ; and if such pilot, so offering his 
services, shall not be received, and the master or commander shaU 
afterwards receive another pilot, the first pilot offermg shall be entitled 
to receive full pilotage for the draught of water such vessel may 
draw." * 

In the fall of 1789, "Washington, then recently elected to the 
Presidential chair, conceiving it his duty to become as fully acquainted 

* General Laws and Resolves for Massachusetts, 1847, Chap. 279, p. 20. 


as possible with the country over which he had been called to preside, 
availed himself of the first interim of public duties, to make a tour 
through those States with wliich he was least acquainted. On his way 
through Massachusetts to JSTew Hampshire, he visited this town on 
Friday, the 1st November, remainmg until Saturday mornmg. 

The Hon. Tristram Dalton, who was on his way home, but 
awaiting the President's arrival in Boston, thus writes to his friend 
and relative, Mr. Michael Hodge, at that time Town Clerk of 
Newburyport : 

"I will advise you, when he [Washington] expects to be in New- 
buryport, and wish you would let me knoAV what is proposed to be 
done, with you, on his account. If any public house, and suitable 
accommodations could be provided, it would be well. * * * I 
would offer my house to him, if the furniture was not out, and if I 
had any servants. I have not, and I know it to be the wish of the 
President, not to stop at private houses. * * * The appearance 
of the mihtia in the County of Essex, and of the Id Regiment* in 
particular, must be very agreeable to him. To arrange the militia 
of the United States, is an important object with him ; and better 
examples he cannot meet with than in the County of JEssex." 

Every preparation was made to give the first President a worthy 
reception. The Hon. Tristram Dalton, and Major General Titcomb, 
with other distinguished gentlemen from Newburyport, had met and 
accompanied him from Ipswich, with an escort of two companies of 
cavalry. On approaching the boundaries of the town, the cortege 
was met (on High street, near Bromfield,) by the Militia and Artil- 
lery Companies of Newburyport, the procession which was to escort 
him through the town, and a company of young men, who had pre- 
pared an Ode of Welcomef to the Chief Magistrate of the country. 

* This included the Newburyport Companies. 

\ He comes ! he comes ! The Hero comes ! 
Sound, sound your trumpets, beat your drums ; 
From port to port let cannons roar, 
He 's welcome to New England's shore. 

Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome, 

Welcome to New England's shore I 

Prepare ! prepare ! your songs prepare ; 
Loud, loudly rend the echoing air ; 


After the firing of a Federal salute by the Artillery Company, this 
Ode was sung, and proved an affecting, as it was a novel feature, in 
the receptions given to the President, on his tour. Washington was 
moved even to tears by this unexpected and interesting mode of 
welcome ; additional effect being given to the words, by the accom- 
paniment of the military, and other instrumental music, appropriately 
joining in the sentiments expressed. 

The procession embraced, in addition to the military, all the town 
officers, professional men, manufacturers, tradesmen, sea captains and 
mariners, with all the children of the public schools,* each having a 
quill in his hand. The procession conducted the President throvigh 
High to State street, to fhe mansion of Nathaniel Tracy, Esq,,t 
where he remained through the day and evening. On his arrival 
there, he was greeted with an Address, written by John Quincy 
Adams, $ to which he made the folio wmg reply : 

" Gentlemen, the demonstrations of respect and affection which 
you are pleased to pay to an individual, whose highest pretension is 
to rank as your fellow citizen, are of a nature too distinguished not 
to claim the warmest return that gratitude can make. 
* * In visiting the town of Newburyport, I have obeyed a 
favorite inclination, and I am much gratified by the indulgence. In 
expressing a sincere wish for its prosperity, and the happiness of its 
inhabitants, I do but justice to my own sentiments, and their merits." 

In the evening, &feu dejoie was fired by the militia companies ; 
and a display of fireworks terminated the public demonstrations of 
joy felt by the community, at the privilege of entertaimng so illus- 
trious a guest. 

Washington had entered the town over the Parker river bridge, 
advancing through Newbury, old town, to High street ; on leaving 

From pole to pole liis praise resound, 
For Virtue is with Glory crowned. 

Virtue, virtue, virtue, virtue, 

Virtue is with Glory crowned. 

Essex Jour., N. H., Packet. 

* These contained boys only ; there were 420 in the procession. Female 
public schools were not established at this time. 

■\ Now known as the Prince House, nearly opposite Temple street. 
t See Biographical Notice. 


the next morning, lie was escorted as far as tlie boundary line of New 
Hampshire, where he was met by the Chief Magistrate of that State, 
General Sullivan, and four companies of light horse. The Marine 
Society of Newburyport had prepared a beautiful barge, in which 
the President was carried across the Merrimac from a point opposite 

During the year 1793 an inoculating hospital for the small-pox was 
established. This fatal practice of taking the virus directly from 
a person who had the disease, and inserting it into the system of 
a healthy person, has fortunately been totally abandoned, and super- 
seded by the safer practice of vaccination. But it was, up to 
the close of the last century, quite common ; and on the appearance of 
the small-pox in Newburyport, a hospital was built in the common 
pasture, for the express purpose of inoculating for the disease. 
Formerly the inhabitants who chose to be thus inoculated, had 
resorted to other places for the purpose.* In Mr. Daniel Balch's 
Journal we find this entry: " May 15, 1777, Hannah went to Mar- 
blehead to take ye small pox ; " and " 16'th, Daniel come home ; 17 
June, B B 's wife came home." 

Much alarm was felt in the town on its first appearance ; indeed, 
no one in these days can realize the terror which the approach of 
this disease then caused. The strictest regulations were enforced, 
and no one was permitted to remain in the town who had it. With- 
out discrimination they were carried to the hospital, and heavy fines 
were inflicted for privately inoculating, or concealing the fact that 
a person had the disease. The report having at one time got abroad, 
that the disease was in the town, the selectmen felt constrained 
to publish weekly bulletins of its progress. A circular letter 
which was received from the authorities of New York, desiring 
this town to take measures, "by quarantining vessels from the 
south," against the spread of the yellow fever, with the request that 
the same might be published in " the neighboring States ivhere there 
are printing presses,^^ did not create so much excitement as did the 
rumor that a case of small-pox had actually occurred. 

The brig Stark had appeared in the harbor some time previously, 
and it was rumored through the town that a man on board had the 

* A " pest liouse " had been previously erected on Plum Island for victims 
of the small-pox, but was not voluntarily resorted to for inoculation. 


small-pox. Orders were immediately issued to the constable, Mr. 
James Kettle, who also acted as health officer, " to prevent the 
vessel coming up to town, and to allow no one to leave it for any 
other place than Plum Island, until he was satisfied that they neither 
had the disease, nor would convey it to others;" and if, after his 
examination, any of the crew did come up to town, they were 
to be officially visited for eighteen days successively, to see if any 
symptoms of the disease appeared. The vessel was partly laden 
with cotton and dry goods. The cotton was ordered to be "buried 
in the sand seven days," and the piece goods "well aired." The 
written return of the constable shows that he thoroughly entered into 
the spirit of his instructions. He says " that he found the man well, 
but sent him to Plum Island to be cleansed ; that the brig had been 
washed and smoked a long time before she came into the harbor ; 
but notwithstanding, he smoked her agam from stem to stern, and 
washed her cabin with vinegar, and had taken everything out from 
both cabin and steerage, and smoked and aired them well ; " and he 
adds, as well he might, " and I am very certain that she may come 
to town to-morrow with all safety." 

When the hospital was built, so great was the alarm of the people, 
and so complete their faith in inoculation, that there were soon 
more applicants for admission than there was room to accommodate 
them. Under these cii-cumstances, the physician, Charles Coffin, 
Jr., was directed to exercise no discrimination in the admission of 
patients, but " to choose them by lot," Avitli this humane provision 
only, that "families were not to be separated." But being once 
within the terrible precincts of the hospital, it was no very easy 
thing to get out ; for the strictest surveillance was kept up over the 
whole premises, lest the contagion should be carried away. Among 
the rules and regulations of the establishment, it was ordered, that 
" no patient should leave the hospital without being thoroughly 
smoked and cleansed ; " the latter process included bathing in 
strong vinegar ; the hair was to be cut off, and no article of clothing 
whatever, not even shoes, which had been used in the hospital, was 
to be worn away. This was enforced by a penalty of ten dollars. 
No visitor might enter without leave, under a fine of eight dollars, 
and no conversation was allowed between a visitor and patient unless 
the former placed himself " to the windward " of the latter, under a 


penalty of one dollar. Let it not be supposed that these visitors 
were admitted into the building. No! Hnes were drawn at a 
considerable distance from the house, called the "inner" and 
" outer" hnes; the latter sixteen and a half feet distant from the 
former, and no nearer than this could any visitor approach to see 
his friend. If one brought an inmate of this dismal abode any little 
article for the gratification of his palate, he was not allowed to hand 
it to him, but must place it " on the outer line " to be taken up after 
he was gone a safe distance from the spot. Without this boundary, 
too, were placed all the supplies for the hospital. A guard was 
stationed to keep off cattle, and if a dog or cat unwittingly invaded 
the fatal circle, it experienced the same fate as was adjudged to 
the intruders on Mount Sinai, — instant death. The hospital was 
kept open during the fall, winter, and succeeding spring months. 
Apphcants gradually diminished, the disease disappeared, and the 
building was deserted. But during the panic produced by the 
prevalence of the disease, the selectmen of Newburyport and New- 
bury jointly agreed " to erect two smoke-houses, and to appoint 
suitable persons to attend them, for the purpose of smoJdng travellers 
and goods coming from infected places ; one to be near Oldtown 
bridge, and the other at Thorlo's bridge ; and that no one should 
escape, a gate was placed across the road, to be opened only when 
the sesame of perfect purity from all contagious disorders was satis- 
factorily proved. 

When the French Revolution broke out, in 1792, followed by the 
deposition of the royal family, and the decapitation of the king, 
arousing all monarchial Europe, and arraying them against the new 
Repubhc, all eyes in France were tui'ned towards the United States 
for sympathy and aid. The first had been freely given by all classes 
at the commencement of the struggle ; but the anarchy, excesses, 
cruelties, and enormities which followed each other in quick 
succession, soon detached the majority of the humane and order- 
loving portion of the community from her cause, while others who 
deprecated these immediate bad results, still hoped that she would 
purify herself from these stains, and acquii-e a name worthy to stand 
beside her elder sister among the Repubhcs, which it was confi- 
dently hoped, by the friends of Hberty, were about to be estabhshed. 


With the view of attaching the United States to their interests in a 
pohtical alhance, negotiations were early commenced bj France, 
though a commercial treaty was the ostensible object. 

Hitherto there had been but one acknowledged party in the United 
States, that of Repubhcans ; but at this epoch the incipient parties 
included under the general names of Federalists and Democrats, 
began to assume distinctness ; the leading member of the former 
being Mr. Hamilton, and of the latter, Mr. Jefferson. The imme- 
diate cause of open differences in the Cabinet was the appearance of 
citizen Genet as Minister to the United States from France. Wash- 
ington having decided on maintaining the neutrality of our Govern- 
ment, every effort, honorable and dishonorable, was used by France 
to effect a change, first in the views of the leading men at the seat 
of Government, and then to detach the people from the Adminis- 
tration, and set them in array against the President and his measures, 
and to create a popular influence in favor of an alhance, offensive as 
well as defensive, with France. 

The National Convention, immediately after their declaration of 
war against Great Britain, had passed a decree, opening French ports 
in the East and West Indies, and granting other special privileges to 
the United States, for the double purpose of crippluig Great Britain, 
by throwing the carrying trade into our hands, and as a bait to the 
Government of the United States to form the desired treaty. By 
the eleventh article of the treaty of 1778, between France and the 
United States, the reciprocal guaranty of the possessions of the two 
nations was stipulated ; — the United States thus guaranteeing to 
France her possessions in the West Indies. These possessions were 
now in danger ; but the United States could not fulfil this clause in 
her treaty with France, without breaking her " treaty of peace and 
amity" with England. To increase the difficulty, citizen Genet was 
commissioned to make the observance of this article in the treaty 
with France, " a dne qua non of their free commerce with the 
West Indies."* Thus the United States was in the threefold dilemma, 
of either failing to fulfil this clause, renewing war with England, or 
losing the commerce of the French West India Islands, and other 
advantages, which it was in the power of France to withhold or 

* Pitkin's Civil and Political History. 


bestow. What the result might have been, had the negotiations been 
conducted, on the part of France, with deUcacy and tact, it is impos- 
sible now to determine. But the pro tempore ruling powers of 
that country appeared to consider that the United States were under 
imperative obligations to render their assistance ; and worse, pre- 
sented their demands in such terms, that the manner would have 
precluded a favorable consideration, had the request been reasonable 
and well timed. Every expedient was resorted to, by citizen Genet, 
to embarrass the Government, and following his instructions, he de- 
manded the immediate payment of the whole of the loan due France, 
though the time set for the several payments had not expired. The 
French Minister also claimed the right of arming vessels in our 
ports, and enlisting American seamen to cruise against nations with 
whom the United States were at peace. This was resisted by Wash- 
ington ; but for a long time unsuccessfully. Prizes were taken by 
French vessels, and actually sold in ports of the United States. It 
is not necessary to enumerate here, all the offensive and dangerous 
proceedings of M. Genet up to the time of his recall; but suffice it 
to say, he had so far influenced a portion of the people, who 
were inclined to favor his views from a romantic kind of gratitude to 
France, — forgetting that it was the murdered king, and not his violent 
dethroners, who had assisted us, — that they openly condemned the 
policy of Washington, in regard to maintaining the neutrality of the 
country. But this feeling was much allayed by the disclosures which 
were subsequently made, of the base arts used by the emissaries of 
France ; especially in the project which they had set on foot, for form- 
ing an alUance among the people at the south-west, bordering on the 
Mississippi, urging them to throw off their allegiance to the Govern- 
ment, and estabhsh an mdependent one by French aid. But though 
it was generally conceded that the demands of France, as presented, 
were inadmissible, yet the political parties, formed at the time, re- 
tained for many years after the bias they then received ; the 
Federalists being supposed to favor the interests of Great Britain in 
our foreign policy, and the Democrats that of France. Without an 
intimate knowledge of the pohtical phases of this period, it is impos- 
sible to have a right understanding of those causes which gave such 
intensity and bitterness to the recriminations of the two great parties 
which in after years struggled for supremacy under these names ; 


till the Issues, so important at the time of their formation, gave -way 
to the interests awakened by new times and different circumstances. 

The influence which the French party had obtained, even in Con- 
gress, is shown by the refusal of the House of Representatives to 
vote the necessary supplies for carrying Mr. Jay's treaty with 
England into effect. This delay was productive of so much uncer- 
tainty, — jeopardizing, it was believed by many, even the existence of 
the Federal Union, — that in many parts of the country, serious alarm 
was felt. Newburyport, with many other towns, held public meetings, 
to enable the citizens to express their opinions on this aspect of 
national affairs. We find the following notice of their action in the 
newspaper of the day : 

" On Saturday afternoon, [April 6th,] the inhabitants assembled 
at the town-house, with no other notice than twice ringing of the 
bells, in larger numbers than has been known for many years, to decide 
on measures, proper to be taken at this important crisis of our 
national affairs ; and with only one dissentient voice, agreed to present 
a petition to the House of Representatives, praying that the treaty 
concluded between Great Britain and the United States may be 
carried into operation ; which they consider essential to preserve the 
faith, honor and interest of our young and rising RepubUc." — Essex 
Journal, (1796.) 

A Committee was appointed, to obtain subscribers to this petition, 
and upwards of four hundred names were secured in a few hours. 

But the troubles which involved Great Britain, and the confusion 
which reigned in nearly every State of Continental Europe, at this 
time, threw an immense carrying trade into our hands ; American 
shipping found protection in the Texel, and the Empress Catharine 
had already granted us the freedom of the Baltic ; a brisk ti;ade was 
opened with the EngUsh, French, Spanish and Dutch possessions, and 
for a season, unchecked prosperity was the reward of maritime en- 
terprise ; and the town, content with this, readily agreed to abide by 
the Proclamation of Washington, forbidding the fitting out of armed 
vessels in aid of either nations (1793). But though on the whole, 
the town gained immensely from her foreign trade, for the next 
twenty years, great annoyances, and many heavy losses were expe- 
rienced by individuals, from the effect of decrees of the belligerent 
powers, affecting neutral vessels, of which we shall furnish ample 


evidence as we proceed. For not only did Great Britain claim the 
right of search, for the ostensible purpose of recovering English 
deserters, or British subjects,* but in the exercise of this disputed 
right, frequent seizures were made, of what she called " enemy's 
goods," — viz., goods shipped from the port of some nation, (as the 
French,) with whom she was at war ; and on various pretexts, both 
cargo and vessel were frequently confiscated, or otherwise subjected 
to such delay, loss and injury, as absorbed the whole profits of the 
voyage. In addition to these insults and injuries from Great, Britain, 
the French, irritated at the neglect of the Government of the United 
States to renew and enforce that part of the treaty which secured to 
them their West Indian possessions ; and feeUng themselves aggrieved 
at the refusal of the United States to form an alliance with them ; 
and farther, complaining that we allowed the English to take French 
goods out of our ships, thus permitting a great injury to France, — 
adopted retahatory measures, and French privateers made a prey 
of our merchantmen, because they had previously been robbed by 
the Enghsh. 

In 1793, the allied powers, in order more completely to crush 
France, adopted the extraordinary measure of endeavoring to starve-f 
her into submission, and for this purpose agreed among themselves 
not only to allow no exportation of corn, grain, salt meat, or other 
provisions to France, but they mutually engaged to unite all their 
efforts, to prevent neutral nations from supplying her, directly or 
indirectly. The Empress Catharme also requested the King of 
Sweden not to allow his ships of war to take under convoy, merchant- 
men destined for France. Thus, on every side, a net was being 
drawn, to entangle our commerce. The Government of the United 
States remonstrated through its Ministers, but without avail. And, 
as if this league was not enough, American commerce and American 
seamen were suddenly and unexpectedly exposed to a new and worse 

« For some years, a state of Avar had existed between Portugal and 
Algiers, and during this period, Portugal, by a powerful fleet, had 

* Capt Goodhue, of Newburyport, lost all liis men by impressment, at Leo- 
gane, March 28, 1796. 

t Vide Alison's Europe : " Convention between Great Britain and Russia." 


confined the piratical cruisers of the Dey, to the Mediterranean ; 
and American vessels, in full security, navigated the Atlantic, on the 
borders of Spain and Portugal. But in September, 1793, a truce 
was concluded between the Dej and the latter power, and the whole 
of the Algerine fleet was suddenly let loose, to prey upon the com- 
merce of the ocean ; and thus a new element of destruction was 
added to the selfishness of the Northern powers, and the revengeful 
policy of France, against which our merchantmen were totally un- 

The history of European Cabinets is the narrative of fluctuations 
in our commercial prosperity. A treaty could neither be made, nor 
disregarded, but the ebb of the wave, which threw it on the world, 
bore on its retirement, a page of the annals, of profit or loss, of the 
merchants in Newburyport ; and aflairs which, upon a cursory view, 
might appear to have no relation to our interests, were oftefl vitally 
connected with it. The correspondence of ship-masters, belonging 
to this port, at this period, and for long after, would abundantly con- 
firm this statement, if collateral, historical proof were wanting. 

Thus, a master of a schooner, writing from Martinico, to this town, 
under date of March 20th, 1794, says : " We are continually 
insulted and abused by the British ; the Commodore says, ' all Amer- 
ican property here will be confiscated ; ' my schooner is unloaded, 
stripped and plundered of everything. Nineteen American sail here 
have been libelled ; seven of them were lashed together, and 
drifted ashore, and stove to pieces."* 

Another master reports " that on leaving Guadeloupe he was 
boarded by an Enghsh private'er, but that she was retaken by a 
French privateer, who took possession of all the English sailors ; " 
and on April 29th, arrived in this town. Captain T. Adams, from St. 
Martin's ; he had been taken by a British frigate and carried to 
Barbadoes, where he was tried (under the new neutrality laws,) 
and acquitted, but not until he had paid three hundred pounds 
charges. The following is a list of some of the vessels belonging to 
Newburyport, which were thus unceremoniously seized upon and 
carried to the West Indies, up to September, 1794. 

* Impartial Herald, 1794. 





*" Ship Russell, 

I. Young, 

Wm. Bartlett. 

Brig Beaver, 

N. Pierce, 

J. Greenleaf. 

" Betsv, 

J. Wiley, 

Peter Le Breton. 

" Dolphin, 

E. Knapp. 

Samuel Knapp. 

« Essex, 

Wm. Brown, 

A. Davenport. 

" Marv, 

M. Pearson, 

Joshua Carter. 

" Margaret, 

J. Dalton, 

O'Brien & Pike. 

" I«rancy, 

E. Adams, 

WiUiam Coombs. 

« PoUy', 

H. Goodhue, 

J. Stanwood. 

" Stark, 

J. Holland, 

William Coombs. 

" William, 

W. Trow, 

W. Bardett. 

Schooner Fox, 

T. Adams, 

Wm. & Phil. Coombs. 

'• Flora, 

T. Follansbee, 

S. Howard. 

" Hope, 

D. Farley, 

T. Brown. 



Smith, Pettingell & S, 

" * Speedwell, 

A. Rejan, 

Bayley, O'Brien & Pike. 

" Two Brothers, 

B, Colby, 

D. Richards. 

Sloop Mary, 

J. WeUs, 

Smith & Pettingell. 

« Polly, 

W. ]\Tilberrv, 

Gage 6t Balch. 

" SaUy, 

G. Colby, 

Joseph Wadleigh & Co." 

The following paragraph from the Essex Journal of August 7th, 
partly explains the cause of their detention. 

" Yesterday Captains Tappan and Trow, arrived here from the 
West Indies ; they were both taken by the British privateers, and 
carried into St. Christopher's, where they underwent an examination, 
but it appearing that the former had not any French property on 
board, he was released. On board Captain Trow's [vessel] seventy 
hogsheads of sugar were seized, which Captain Tappan claimed as 
his property, but the claim afipearing to them to be without foimda- 
tion, it is detained for trial at their next maritime court." 

The following extract fi"om a letter written by Captain Moses 
Brown, of the schooner Hannah, dated Bermuda, October 28, 1795, 
is evidence of the slight grounds on which many of these seizures 
were made. The " Hannah " was libelled at the same time. 

"•• I have heard the trial of the brig SaUy, of Boston, and of a 
ship belonging to Charleston, which gives me reason to believe, that 
they want only suspicion in their ov,-n favor, to condemn a}ii/ vessel, 

* Morning Star of September 2, 1 794. 


as the king's attorney was pleased to declare on the trial of the 
Sally, ' that any of the [British] armed vessels have a right to 
take any vessels they meet with at sea, and call them French 
property till some person comes forward and proves to the captor's 
satisfaction, the contrary.' * * They say, ' till the Admiral's 
proclamation is revoked, they have a right to condemn all vessels 
from Guadeloupe, even though he was gone to England with his 
ships, much more while he is lying at Martinico, or Antigua.' His 
Majesty's ordering a dock yard to be built here, raises some of their 
expectations very high. Indeed, they have even the vanity to say 
that ' the situation of this island is such, that they don't doubt it 
wiU be so fortified in fifty years, that every vessel passing from 
America to the West Indies, will he obliged to call here for a 
jMSsport ! P " 

These outrageous proceedings did not escape the notice of our 
Government, as will appear by the following note, addressed to the 
Collector of Newburyport ; hut the protection was rather prospective 
than immediate. 

Department' OF State, March 2h, 1796. 

" Sir : — The newspapers frequently give accounts of impressments 
of American seamen, and of other outrages committed upon our 
citizens by British ships-of-war. But however well founded these 
relations may be, yet other documents will be required whenever 
reparation for these wrongs shall be demanded. I am therefore 
directed by the President of the United States, to endeavor to 
obtain correct information on this subject, verified by the oaths of 
the informants. Such of these as shall enter the port of Newbury- 
port, will fall under your notice, and I must request you to have 
their depositions taken at the public expense, in a most fair and 
impartial manner before a notary public, and transmitted from time 
to time to this ofl&ce. I am respectfully, Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" Timothy Pickering." 

But while the United States authorities were calling for the evi- 
dence of damages, the seizures went on, as the following extract of 
a letter from Captain Wyatt St. Barbe, of this port, to the Marine 
Insurance Company here, will show. It is dated Teneriflfe, March 
22, 1796. Captam St. Barbe says : 


" Having left the Elbe on the 5th of February, on the 25th saw 
a large ship in the south-west quarter apparently in distress, and 
made for her ; she proved to be a British transport, with troops on 
board, bound to the West Indies ; she was leaking badly ; her name 
was the ' Isabell,' Captain Potter, who came aboard and requested 
me to see him to Corilmia, or Lisbon. I told him my ship was 
chartered at a very high rate, and my voyage would be much injured 
by turning back, but that I would see him safe to the Western 
Islands, Madeira, or the Canaries, with which he seemed to be satis- 
fied, and said that he would send to the commander of the troops, 
[in the transport,] for his approbation ; but instead, he sent liim 
word that my ship and cargo Avas French and Dutch property,* and 
requested assistance to seize me as a prize. An armed party soon 
came on board and drove my supercargo, chief mate, and eight of 
my sailors into his boat, at the point of the bayonet, and sent them on 
board the Isabell, before even having seen my papers, manning my 
ship from his with an addition of fourtien soldiers and two officers. 
The next day. Captain Potter said ' he should take us to Lisbon, 
and send us from there to BarlSadoes.' Having examined all the 
ship's papers, and my private ones, breaking open boxes and taking 
out what he pleased, he took every means to corrupt my sailors, 
trying to induce them to swear that the ship is either Dutch or 
French property, keeping my men on bread and water, and the car- 
penter in irons. This is a fine reward for having saved the lives of 
near three hundred of His Britannic Majesty's subjects. * * » 
I am confident if justice takes place on our arrival at Barbadoes, I 
shall be acquitted with honor, not having a single paper or anything 
else aboard of my ship, that can gainsay or contradict what I have 
always professed myself to be, and what you have always known me 
to be, a citizen of the United States. It is peculiarly aggravating 
to me to know that most of my cargo will he 7'uined before a decision 
takes i^lace!''' 

The brig Friendsliip, of Newburyport, Captain Harris, was taken 
and carried into Barbadoes, the officers and crew turned ashore 
without clothes or money, the Avhole of which was taken from them. 
On applying for a small portion of their own to procure necessary 

* The Batavian Republic was at this time in the French interest. 


supplies, they were answered that " His Majesty needed it to pay 
the troops before they went to the siege of Martinique ! " 

Some of the vessels thus captured, were sent to other ports than where 
they were bound, where their cargoes were seized and confiscated, 
or bought, when not condemned, on such terms as the captors chose 
to dictate. This was the case with the brig Polly, Captain Gushing, 
who was boarded when three leagues distant from Fort PeUican, by 
the sloop RepubUcan, Captain Pomey, who ordered him into port, 
the sloop's pilot carrying him into the harbor of Cape Francois. 
Here Captain Cushing was conducted out of the vessel by a guard 
of soldiers, to the presence of the general in command, to whom he 
showed the manifest of his cargo, for which he was offered less than 
the cost, the commandant saying " he should not leave port on 
any other conditions." His cargo was perishing and he was obliged 
to comply, and delivered it up to the Government on the 1st of 
September, to be paid for in coffee, sugar, and molasses in thirty-five 
days ; but having waited until the 10th of November, he was put 
off twenty-five days longer, and at the end of that period, told 
" that the American captains " (many from other ports being there 
in the same dilemma,) " were to be paid in rotation ; " and Captain 
Cushing, finding that his turn would not come for some four or five 
months, and little chance of prompt payment even then, his vessel 
being on expense all the time, concluded not to wait ; but before 
leaving, prepared a protest to present to the Government ; but this 
was not received, and the only official evidence that he could obtain, 
that he had not wilfully sacrificed his cargo, was a certificate to that 
effect from the American Consul at St. Croix. 

Many American captains were long detained at Barbadoes, and 
when permission was given them to leave, and they reached the 
ports where their vessels had been sent, if anything was saved, much 
of the profits of the voyage was lost by the delay and expense 
attendmg the recovery. In a Hst of American vessels sold at pubUc 
auction at Dominica in March, 1794, we find the " brig Polly, of 
Newburyport, for one hundred and sixty joes," (a Portuguese coin 
worth eight dollars.) 

These were condemned on the ground of having broken the 

Even the mulatto commandant, Le Point, then in temporary 



authority at L'Accahye, under the sanction of Great Britain, and 
■with the aid of a British privateer brig, presumed to arrest and 
detain American merchantmen, seizing upon the officers and crews, 
as incendiary " RepubUcans."* To this privateer brig, Le Point 
made frequent and pompous visits, and having on one occasion made 
a signal from her for a small boat to take him on sho;:e, (he having 
previously ordered the return of his own,) and none of the vessels 
in the harbor complying with the signal, he arrested ten American 
captains, whom he confined in a jail where there were over thirty 
negroes, and there kept them twenty-four hours without food or 
drink, until they paid twelve dollars apiece for jail fees. This Le 
Point had received his commission from Governor Williamson, of 
Jamaica. The names of the captains belonging to Newburyport, 
who were subjected to this insult, were John Holland of the brig 
Nancy, Nicholas Pierce, Elijah Mayhew, and Ant. Knapp. 

But the fate of our citizens who were so unfortunate as to fall into 
the hands of the Algerines, was much more to be commiserated. 
They were not only robbed of everything, but were at once reduced 
to a state of chattel slavery, without hope of release except as their 
countrymen might choose to seek their ransom. The following is the 
substance of a letter from Captain Timothy Newman, one of these 
victims, to his father. Dr. John Newman, in this town, dated March 
12, 1794 : 

" On the 18th of October, I was captured by an Algerine corsair, 
and stripped of everything. On arriving at Algiers I was conducted 
to the Dey's house, and in the morning was sent to the slaves' 
bagnio, and there received an u^on shackle round my leg and a chain 
of twenty pounds, and three loaves of coarse bread for twenty-four 
hours, and some water, and was immediately put to hard labor. My 
situation is so deplorable that to mention but a small part would 
require much longer time than I am allowed. I wish you to make this 
known to Payne Wingate and Benjamin Goodhue ,| who I trust will 
do every thmg they can to procure my release." 

* That is, French " Jacobins," inimical to the authority of Great Britain 
over the island. 
I Member of Congress. 


In a list of ten American vessels taken by the Algerlnes during 
the latter part of the year 1793, was the brig Polly, Captain 
Michael Smith, of Newburyport. 

The fate of these wretched men excited intense sympathy in all 
classes of the coromunity ; an appeal in their behalf was made in 
this town, which was read from the pulpits of the various churches 
on the Sabbath preceding the general Thanksgiving, and contribu- 
tions were taken up to aid in ransoming them,* but the Dey, 
persuaded that the Government would ultimately redeem them, at 
an exorbitant price, and Congress being unwilling to encourage their 
piracy by stimulating and rewarding their avarice, the negotiations 
for their release were not concluded until 179G. 

The followmg extract is from a letter of Captain Michael Smith, 
of this town, dated " Algeirs, September 9th," 1796, and addressed 
to a gentleman here : " We have all been liberated from slavery, 
and now only wait for a vessel which is to take us to Philadelphia, 
where I expect to arrive about December. * * * j^\\ }^gj.e from 
Newbury port are well." 

Among these captives was Mr. Bailey, son of Samuel 

Bailey of this town, but his ransom came too late ; he died from the 
effects of his cruel servitude before reaching his home. 

But the profits arising from successful voyages were so great, and 
the number of vessels which managed to escape from the complicated 
perils of the times was so large, that though we omit all mention of 
numbers of similar cases, the commercial prosperity of the town was 
unchecked by these high-handed outrages on our commerce. In 
1790 there were owned here but six ships, forty-five brigantines, 
thirty-nine schooners, and twenty-eight sloops, with an aggregate 
tonnage of 11,870. About a dozen years later, the shipping of this 
port was estimated at 30,000 tons. 

While our seamen in foreign ports and on the liighway of the 
ocean were encountering perils that the sailor of to-day knows 
nothing about, save as the faithful page of history, or the glowing 
tales of romance have preserved them for his instruction and enter- 
tainment, the dwellers on the land were rapidly advancing in their 

* One gentleman, whose name we have not learned, gave $4000, " enough to 
redeem a master or supercargo." 


several departments, and internal improvements followed, if tliey did 
not quite keep pace with the enterprise of our mariners. 

On turning to the Town Records for 1796, we are pleasantly 
surprised at the change in the currency. '-'■ Exeunt pounds and enter 
dollars ! " is the natural exclamation, as we see, for the first time, this 
insignia of American Independence used in the estimates of the 
annual town expenses. There had been, previovis to the introduction 
of the continental bills, but one other considerable change in the 
cui'rency of Massachusetts ; the Enghsh money being in co mm on 
circulation from the first settlement of the country, except during a 
period of forty-eight years, from 1702 to 1750, when a paper 
currency was introduced into New England by the Colonial Govern- 
ment, bearmg on the face of the bills the promise of future redemp- 
tion, which promises were met, like those of the Continental Congress, 
only with new emissions. The consequences were the same, though 
the necessities of the case were not. The money which is now 
known as " old tenor," sunk in value so as to compare with coin, 
which was distinguished as "lawful money" in Massachusetts, 
71 to 1 ; in some other parts of New England even lower. 
The "old tenor" currency was a monetary invention, introduced 
to meet the expenses of the French war ; and in 1750 Parhament 
reimbursed Massachusetts for her exertions during that war by 
sending over a large sum of money, all in silver. With this specie. 
Governor Hvitchinson proposed to redeem the bills of credit, which 
was done, and "old tenor" bills became an illegal tender; and 
so determined was Massachusetts to root out every vestige of this 
deceptive currency, that it was subsequently enacted "that no 
person could commence a suit at law, or be eligible to any office of 
honor or profit, without taking oath that he " had taken no paper 
money since 1750." * 

* One Joseph Green, of Boston, wrote a somewliat celebrated dirge, set to 
the tune of Chevy Chace, " On the death of Mr. Old Tenor," in which he 
shows the good which " Old Tenor " had done in his life, and lugubriously 
laments over his death. The ballad is of some lenp-th : we extract but a verse 

O ' 

or two 

" Led on by him, our soldiers bold 
Against the foe advance ; 
And took, in spite of wet and cold, 
Strong Cape Breton from France. 


Commerce, religion, and education were the staple objects of 
solicitude at this period, and by the following extract it will be seen 
that we have not overrated the earlj interest of Newburyport in the 
education of the young : 

"By a late visitation of the selectmen and school committee of 
this town to the pubHc schools, it appears that there are about nine 
hundred children now educating at the expense of the town. Not- 
withstanding the smallness of this town when compared with Boston, 
there are two more public schools here than there are in that" place. 
Such is the opinion of the inhabitants of this town with regard to the 
necessity of well educating the rising generation, that they cheerfully 
support nine public, and several private schools." — Essex Journal, 
Newburyport, 1793. 

One of the most important rights, affecting personal liberty, 
was obtained by Newburyport during the year 1794. This was 
procu^red by the passage of an act incorporating the several religious 
societies then existing, and enlarghig the liberty of the individual by 
permitting him to attend what place of worship he chose, without 
being hable to be taxed for the support of a ministry with which he 
had no sjmipathy. It seems almost incredible that the descendants 
of the Pilgrims in Newbiu:"yport never acquired this essential of 
religious liberty till more than a century after their settlement here ; 
yet such is the fact. The evil effects of its delay are amply exem-, 
plified in the early history of the churches in this town.* By this 
act no person was to be taxed in paore than one parish, and in 
that which he attended; and only to be taxed so long as 
he thus attended, every person beuig required to give notice, in 
writing, of his intention to withdraw from the society with which he 

" The merchants, too, — those topping folks. 
To him owe all their riches ; 
Their rufiles, lace, and scarlet cloaks, 
And eke their velvet breeches. 
«■***«* * 
" In Senate he like Coesar fell, 

Pierced through with many a wound ; 
He sunk, ah ! doleful tale to tell. 
The members sitting round ! " 

* See Sketch of First Presbyterian Church. 


had been In the habit of Tvorshipping ; his attendance being deemed 
proof of membership. It was still, however, presumed by the law, 
that every person must attend some place of public worship, and pay 
a tax to some society. The presumption was founded on the consid- 
eration that the pubhc recognition of the Christian religion was a 
pubhc benefit, and a means of insuring the peace of the community 
and the permanency of our political institutions. It was therefore 
argued, that for a pubhc benefit of which every individual was a 
recipient, whether he attended on preaching or not, each should pay 
a due proportion of the cost. 

It was not tiU 1834 that the Legislature of Massachusetts passed 
an act distinctly releasing any from the liability to pay taxes for the 
support of rehgious worship. By the " Act relating to Parishes and 
Rehgious Freedom," passed in April, 1831, it is provided by Section 
2, that " No person shaU hereafter be made a member of any parish 
or religious society, so as to be liable for a tax therein for the support 
of pubUc worship, or other parish charges, without Ms express consent^ 
first had and obtained.^ ^ 

The passage of an act bestowing only so much rehgious freedom as 
that of 1794, tended greatly to harmonize the ecclesiastical afiairs 
of the town, as the records of the various parishes abundantly prove. 

As the progress of the community Avas towards a perfect freedom, 
— yet indeed unattained, but drawing nearer with each succeeding 
,year, — we find some spicy bits of evidence, that the ladies of New- 
buryport were resolved not to be behuid the times ; among others, an 
amusing account is given, in a, number of the Impartial Herald, for 
February, 1795, of the celebration of Washington's birthday, by the 
ladies ; on which occasion we find the following democratic and pro- 
gressive toasts offered : 

^^ Marie Charlotte QordS* — May each of Columbia's daughter be 
ready, like her, to sacrifice her hfe to Liberty." 

And again : 

'■'■TJie Fair Patriots of America — May they never fail to assert 
their Independence, which Nature equally dispenses." 

How many participated in this pubhc demonstration, is not men- 

* The assassin of Marat. 


Not only were the spiritual and mental needs of the community 
thus freely catered for, but the selectmen, evidently convinced that 
the people under their paternal guardianship, needed sound and 
good physical aliment, as well as spiritual, passed the following order 
respecting the weight and quaUty of bread, to the confounduag of 
all dishonest bakers, if any such there were : 

lb. oz. 
" Two-penny white loaf to weigh 8 

Four-penny " " " " 1 ^ 

Six-penny " « a a 1 *8 

Biscuit of one penny each, 4 

Biscuit of two pence each, 8 

Four-penny brown loaf, three- 
quarters wheat, and one- 
quarter rye meal, 1 8 
Four-penny brown loaf, not more 

than half Indian meal, 2 

" The bakers in town are required to mark their bread, which they 
bake for sale, with the first letters of their Christian names, and with 
the first and last letters of their surnames. 

All that is made of different grain, or proportion from this assize, 
must be seized." 

" By order of the Selectmen, 
"August 22, 1796. Enoch Titcomb, To^Yn Clerk." 

Several by-laws were also passed about this time, for the security 
of the to^vn against fire. Indeed, from the frequency with which 
reference was made to this subject, in the municipal government of 
the town, it would appear that our ancestors had a faithful presen- 
timent, that "Fire " would at last write " Ichabod" on the fame of 
Newburyport, and extinguish, as it did, the aspirations of a whole 
generation. All the glory of the past being covered by the ever 
brooding shadow of that dire calamity. 

With a view to preventing accidental fires, it was forbidden any 
person to smoke a pipe or cigar in any of the streets or alleys of the 
town, on the wharves, or any place where danger could possibly exist ; 
and a fire having occurred at Pine Island,* in December, it was 

* Three or four miles from the town. 


thereupon voted, in town meeting, " that a night watch of ten per- 
sons be appointed, to continue until May," the watch to be sustained 
by the citizens m due rotation, in alphabetical order. It was also 
recommended to the inhabitants " to keep a barrel of water in their 
houses, impregnated with marine salt, pot or pearl ashes, alum or 
copperas, to put out fires; and at the engine houses the firemen 
were requested to keep a butt of the same on wheels." 

Conduits had been previously sunk by order of the selectmen. 
People were forbidden to carry fire through the streets, " except in a 
safe, close-covered vessel,"* and the inhabitants were requested "to 
leave open a shutter in the rooms where they usually kept a fire at 
night, that the watchmen might see if the fire kindled up, and give 
due notice." 

Some of the regulations intended to preserve the town from this 
species of calamity were almost ludicrous. In 1794 the town by 
vote seriously recommended the inhabitants, in case of fire, to " take 
their buckets- with them, and to fill them at the most convenient 
place, so as to be ready when they came to the fire to assist in 
quenching the flames." How many miles a person was "recom- 
mended " to run with a bucket of water is not laid down ; but another 
order exemphfies, if nothing else, the honesty of the people. "All 
carpenters, and such as use axes in their business," were requested, 
on alarm of fire, to take them with them, the town engaging, if they 
were lost, to make good the value. We would by no means infer 
that the morahty of the moderns has depreciated ; but we do think, 
did such a. custom obtain now, the city would be obhged to keep on 
hand an ample supply of new axes to restore those which w^ould 
inevitably be lost at every fire. 

The due " area of freedom " for dogs was also allotted, and is thus 
naively limited by an order of the selectmen some years later : " From 
the 1st of January to the 31st of December, no dog shall go at 
large except he be confined by a chain or rope of not greater length 
than ten feet^ 

Manufacturing was yet an imtried experiment to the capitalist ; 
but we find that as early as 1793 a woollen factory was projected 

* When wood was the only fuel, neighbors often borrowed " a coal of fire " 
to kindle with. 


here, and in 1794, incorporated, raised, and carried on under the 
auspices of gentlemen in this town. Water being then the principal 
power for the movement of complicated machinery, a site for the 
building was purchased on Parker river, in what is now the parish of 
Byfield. This pioneer company was subjected to all the trials and 
losses which ever beset the introduction of a new manufacture, involv- 
ing the use of complicated and imperfect machinery ; jet the records 
of the first thirteen years' existence of this company (the first incorpo- 
rated for the manufacture of woollen in the United States) show 
a spirit of enterprise and perseverance which nothing but the adverse 
pohcy of the country could have overcome. 

By the act of incorporation, the company was permitted to hold prop- 
erty, real and personal, to the amount of eighteen ttousand pounds. 
The land was bought of a Mr. Moody, who had previously improved 
the " Newbury falls " by the erection of a grist mill. There were 
at first one hundred and twenty shares. These were afterwards 
increased to two hundred, and were all bought by Newburyport 
capitalists, with but one or two exceptions, Mr. William Bartlett 
taking twenty shares. The next year a petition was presented to 
the Legislature to exempt the property and the workmen employed in 
the factory from taxation ; but this was not granted, so far as appears 
by the books. We find on them a long array of assessments, but no 
dividends ; and in 1798 it was voted by the directors to carry on 
the mill "if laborers could be procured for one-eighth less than the 
year preceding," which does not indicate a great surplus revenue. 
The process of manufactui-ing was a great curiosity. Slatersville was 
then but in embryo, and Lowell and Lawrence were yet to be heard 
of. So many strangers visited the factory from motires of curiosity, 
that a small charge for admission was made. 

In 1797 the company again petitioned the Legislature for aid, but 
nothing effectual was done. The goods on hand were sold off at 
auction, and money was obhged to be hired to piy the laborers. 
Thus they dragged on some six or seven years longer, when the 
affairs of the company were wound up, and the factory and other 
property sold, Mr. Bartlett buying out the original holders, and 
selling out to an Englishman, who continued to manufacture broad- 
cloth and flannel till 180(5. Some cotton cloth was also made in this 
factory, which sold for seventy-five cents a yard. 


All the machinery used in the establishment was made in New- 
buryport by Messrs. Guppy & Armstrong, and the original cost of 
the entire concern was $50,000. In 1822 it was sold (additional 
buildings having been erected) for |22,000, and in 1846 it was 
again sold for $4,350. The main building has for many years been 
used as a bedstead factory. 

Coeval with this enterprise, was that of clearing the Merrimac 
from the obstructions which interfered with inland navigation ; the 
particular object at this time being to render the river passable for 
boats and rafls below the Pawtucket falls. The first serious obstruc- 
tion to vessels, was the rapids, called " Mitchell's eddy," between 
Bradford and Haverhill. Much of the lumber then used in this 
vicinity, was brought down the river on rafts, so constructed as to 
pass all the falls except those by Amoskeag and Pawtucket ; but 
boats were not safe where rafts freely passed. Several towns on the 
river united in this project, Newburyport subscribing in ^the first 
instance, between twelve and thirteen hundred dollars, and, as the 
committee reported, " with a prospect of getting more." But its 
importance was not fully realized, and the scheme failed of efiectual 

In the summer of 1796 a malignant fever broke out in the town, 
a disease then practically unknown to the members, of the medical 
faculty here, but which was very similar to, if not identical with, the 
yellow fever of the South. It first appeared in a house on Water 
street, at the foot of Independent, and was supposed by some to 
have originated on the spot to which it was for some time confined, 
none taking it but such as had visited there, or received it from 
those who had ; the more probable conjecture was, that it was 
brought in a vessel from the West Indies. But whatever was its 
origin, great alarm was reasonably excited, and many persons fled from 
the town, in which fifty-five, including the most eminent physician in 
the place,* died, before the ravages of the disease ceased. It disap- 
peared with the frost, and has never since revisited the town in an 
epidemic form. 

The next year, when Philadelphia Avas suflering from a similar 

J. Barnard Sweet. See Biographiccil Notice. 


scourge, Newburyport sent on a contribution of six hundred dollars 
for the suffering poor of that city. But local affairs were not long 
permitted to engross the attention of the citizens. 

The Government of the United States, finding that no treaty 
obligations were observed. by France, that our vessels were embar- 
goed in French ports, and that their cruisers and privateers were 
annually sweeping off millions of American property, were at last 
aroused to defensive measures ; letter s-of-marque were issued, and the 
basis of a navy for the protection of American interests was planned. 
The brothers Stephen and Ralph Cross built here, to the order of the 
State, the frigates " Hancock," " Boston," and " Protector," and 
Mr. Orlando Merrill* built for the General Government the brig 
" Pickering." 

In the measures of the Government Newburyport warmly sympa- 
thized, and though aware that they might be again called upon to make 
great sacrifices of their personal interests, if a declaration of war 
should follow, they did not hesitate to come forward, and by public 
action, express their approval of this late preparation for resistance 
to French aggression. An address was forwarded to the President, 
in which, after expressing their confidence in the administration, and 
their surprise at the arbitrary and unfriendly spirit of the French, 
and their indignation at the utter want of justice and continued dis- 
position to repel all conciliatory measures, they say, "The inhabitants 
of this town duly appreciate the blessings of peace and neutrality, 
but they will never complain at the loss of those blessings, when 
constrained to sacrifice them to the honor, the dignity, and the 
essential interests of their country." To this address a prompt 
reply was returned by President Adams, in which he remarks : " The 
address of the inhabitants of the ancient, populous and wealthy town 
of Newburyport, passed without a dissentient voice, as certified by 

*Mr. Merrill, who is still living, (April, 1854,) was then a young man and 
without property, but had already established such a character for industry 
and integrity, that a friend " of diS'erent politics," as he is proud to remember, 
(Mr. Lowell Parsons,) voluntarily assumed the bond of $10,000, required by 
the Government, that the brig should be completed in ninety days ; which was 
accomplished, and an enlisting rendezvous opened, for seamen to man her, in 
July, 1 798. Mr. Merrill is now 94 years of age ; one of the many natives of 
Newburyport over/our-score and ten years. 


your selectmen, and presented to me by your representative in 
Congress, Mr. Bartlett,* does me great honor • * * * ^^(J the 
solemn pledge of your lives and fortunes to support the measures of 
the legislature and administration, are all the assm-ances which the 
best of Governments could desire from the best of citizens." 

A number of the more wealthy citizens, anxious to serve the 
Government, made the proposition to Congress through their repre- 
sentative, the Hon. Bailey Bartlett,t to build and equip for the 
United States, a ship of three hundred and fifty-five tons, mounting 
twenty six-pound cannon ; agreeing not to accept any other compen- 
sation than the interest of six per cent, per annum, and a final 
reimbiirsement of the net cost, " at the convenience of the Govern- 
ment." Tliis, at a time when the treasury was low and beset with 
calls, was considered a very generous offer. It was accepted, and 
the vessel was built, under the direction of Mr. William Hackett, in 
the short space of seventy-five days. She was named the " Merri- 
mac,"$ and launched on the 12th of October. Her commander was 
Captain Moses Brown, (the same who commanded the privateer 
"Arnold" during the Revolutionary war,) and was soon after 
ordered to Guadeloupe, " to look after French privateers." In the 
West Indies she gave a good account of herself, as may be seen on 
referring to the biographical notice of her commander. A cotem- 
porary writer says of her, " The Merrimac was the first and 
best vessel of her size, furnished on loan to the Government, and 
was built at a much less expense than any other built for the Gov- 
ernment. She was employed in the United States service about 
five years ; until, in accordance with Mr. Jefferson's plan, the navy 
was reduced ; when she was sold under the name of the Monticello, 
for the merchant service, and was soon after wrecked on Cape Cod. 

At this time merchant vessels occasionally went armed, as appears 
from the following letter, written by Captain Brown (of the U. S. 
ship " Merrimac ") to Mr. William Bartlett, the owner of the ship 
referred to. 

* Hon. Bailey Bartlett, of Haverhill. 

fThe Committee who addressed him, were William Bartlett, William 
Coombs, Dudley A. Tyng, Moses Brown, William P. Johnson, Nicholas John- 
son, WilUam Faris, Ebenezer Stockcr, Samuel A. Otis, Jr. 

X See Biographical notice of Moses Brown, U. S. N., for further particulars 
of the " Merrimac." 


" August 20, 1799. 

" I suppose you have heard of tlie fate of your ship Rose, but 
perhaps not particulars ; the enclosed list is an authentic account of 
the killed and wounded. Captain Chase behaved with the greatest 
bravery and conduct, but at last was overpowered and boarded. 

The Rose was taken the beginning of the present month (August) 
by the privateer L' Egypt Conquise, and after a brave defence of 
one hour and a half, was obliged to submit to superior force ; the 
mate and two men being killed, and Captain Chase and fifteen others 
wounded, two severely. The privateer was hulled very dangerously 
before Captain Chase was wounded." 

This ship, with her cargo, was one of the most valuable that ever 
sailed from Newburyport to the West Indies. 

With the close of the eighteenth century, the guiding spirit of 
the early days of the Republic, the leader of her araiies, the chief 
of her councils, having hved to see the Federal Union, which he so 
much loved, consolidated on his own principles, and having seen a 
successor imbued with his own policy, elevated to the office he 
had so well filled and so nobly resigned, — George Washington, whose 
fame has now become the heritage of the Anglo-Saxon race, calmly 
and peacefully closed his senses on all earthly scenes, and bewailing 
their own loss, a continent was in mourning. 

In unison with the feelings of the whole community, all business 
was suspended in Newburyport on the day appointed for the public 
services on the occasion of the death of Washington. 

A procession was formed in Market Square, which proceeded to 
the Rev. Mr. Dana's meeting-house, where the eulogy appointed for 
the oocasion, was delivered by Mr. Thomas (afterwards Robert 
Treaf) Paine, prayer being offered 'by the Right Rev. Bishop 
Bass. Many were present who well remembered his visit to the 
town, and who took part in welcoming him on that joyful occasion ; 
and theirs, with thousands of others through the land, was a^ 
personal sorrow. Mourning badges were worn by both ladies and 
gentlemen, many wearing also the Perkms medal.* The Masonic 

* This was designed by the celebrated 'Jacob Perkins, of Newburyport. On 
one side of it was a likeness of the first President, encircled with a wreath, 



Association of St. Peter's Lodge took a prominent part in the cere- 
monies of the day. In George Washington the Order had lost a 

"With 1800, there appears on the stage a new generation of poli- 
ticians ; not that the men of the Kevolution were all defunct, but 
their opinions and political predelictions were no longer considered 
infaUible bj the younger aspirants for pohtical honors ; yet in New- 
buryport, the principles of Washington and Adams maintained their 
ascendency, and the new party, baffled (in Essex County,) on* the 
election of Governor Bowdoin, successor to Hancock, stigmatized 
the clique, most prominent among the Federal leaders, as the 
^'■Easex Junto.'''' In the political history of Massachusetts, this 
chque for years exerted an influence large indeed, but absurdly 
exaggerated by their opponents. Among the most active members 
of the Junto were prominent citizens of Newburyport, — men who 
from their learning and personal weight of character it was not easy 
to overthrow ; among them was Theophilus Parsons, (Judge,) John 
Lowell, (Judge,) Kev. Thomas Gary, Jonathan Jackson, Nathaniel 
Tracy, Wilham Coombs, Esqrs. &c. ; and with these of Newbury- 
port, were associated the most active Federalists of the county. 
The older citizens of Newburyport will well remember the animosity 
which the " Essex Junto " excited among the increasing Democracy 
of the State. 

Various material improvements were also projected : the mall by 
Frog pond was reduced to shape and seemliness, by the liberal aid 
and generous exertions of Captain Edmund Bartlett, to whose honor 
a writer in the " Impai-tial Herald," endued with more gratitude 
than poetical genius, perpetrates a piece of rhyme, which describes 
the now clear and beautiful pond, as a " stagnant pool, across which 
scuds the social duck;" and attempting a daguerreotype of the 
surrounding scenery, locates a lottery-ticket office on the side oppo- 
'site the graveyard, and designates the gun-house by a sublime allu- 
sion to the place where 

" The sleeping ordnance lays, 
That welcomed Washinston ! ! " 


around which was imprinted the words, " He is in glory, the world in tears." 
On the reverse, were the dates of the prominent events of his life. 


Indeed the local poetry of the past, as* exliibited in the columns of 
the newspapers, is not of a style to excite much regret that so much 
of it has been consigned to oblivion ; as a specimen, read the following 
verse, one of many similar, on the death of Governor Hancock, pub- 
lished in the " Herald." 

" Yes, all must yield to Death's remorseless rage ; 
Creation's brow shall wrinkle uj) tvith age ; 
Time shall remove the keystone of the sky, 
Heaven's roof shall fall — but ah ! must Hancock die ? " 

The coasting trade, as well as the foreign, was both extensive and 
profitable at this period, and though many of the vessels owned in 
Newbury port were of small size, and a great proportion registered 
as schooners, yet these, and even sloops, often carried very valuable 
cargoes. The freight that now loads down our railroad trains, was 
then principally brought into port by coasters. Sloops not unfre- 
quently brought in cargoes valued at from eighty to one hundred 
thousand dollars. From the 14th of April to the 14th of May, 
1805, one month, there were imported by citizens of Newburyport, 
goods to the value of eight hundi-ed thousand dollars. The sloop 
" Blue Bird," a coaster between here and Boston, laden with 
English goods, polished hardware, fancy dry goods, West India 
goods, dry fish, woollens, books, paper, &c., in October, 1805, got 
ashore on North point, and though subsequently hauled up on Plum 
Island, but a small portion of her cargo, which was valued at ninety 
thousand dollars, was saved.* 


* A few days after the disaster, a number of advertisements relating to the 
calamity, appeared in the Newburyport Herald, of which the following are 
specimens : 

& present their ingenuous thanks to those whose prompt and per- 
severing exertions rescued their property from loss, on board the sloop Blue 
Bird stranded on the 8th inst. October, 1805.' 

proffers thanks to the gentlemen who so generously attended to ^ave 

his property, while absent, from total destruction, in the late calamitous event ; 
he likewise tenders his acknowledgments to those ladies who assisted in washing 
and drying his goods, to preserve the same from ultimate ruin. October, 1805. 

The editor of the Herald apologizes " for the bad appearance of the paper, 
much of which was soaked with salt water on board the Blue Bird." The 
paper containing the apology, is an irrefragable witness to the truth of it. 


Of salt alone there was ' imported by Newburyport in one year, 
1806, one hundred and thirty-three thousand eight hundred and five 
bushels. Much of it was probably used in salting cod fish which 
was exported. 

With 1800, and the elevation of Napoleon, French depredations 
on our commerce were shortly renewed, but our Government 
endeavored to have them cancel some of the old scores before 
beginning a new account. At a meeting held in Newburyport, in 
1802, of the " sufierers by French spoliations previous to 1800," 
Josiah Smith, E. Stocker, and S. A. Otis, were chosen a committee 
to receive all claims of Newburyport and neighboring towns against 
the French Government. The world knows how they have been 
paid. The claim of the nation was ^20,000,000, and the amount 
brought in by citizens of Newburyport and vicinity, was $682,608.05. 
The number of vessels confiscated in whole or in part, with their 
cargoes, or detained to loss and injury, was 8 ships, 35 brigs, 27 
schooners and four sloops ; * seventy-fom* ship masters being thus 

* Of this list the following were never subjected to adjudication, but were 
piratically plundered without even a form of trial : 

Brig Vulture, with her cargo on board, was detained at Bordeaux from 
August, 1793, to April, 1794, and then released ; claim for $;3,928 expenses. 

Schooner Peggy and Polly — property to the amount of $1,230 taken out of 
the vessel while in port, without adjudication. 

Schooner Speedwell — loss $3,200, not subjected to adjudication, but seized by 
an armed force at Cape Francois. 

Schooner Eagle — $5,650 — captured July 27, 1798, by French privateer 
Democrat, not subjected to any legal adjudication, but carried to Curacoa and 
proceeds distributed among the captors. 

Brig Vulture — $6,75G — captured and burned with her cargo of lumber at 
sea, by a French government ship. 

Schooner Three Friends — $8,800 — captured by French privateer Patriot, 
cargo taken out and disposed of among the captors — manner not known. 

Schooner Belisarius — $3000 — property taken by force and retained by the 
authorities at Cape Francois, without compensation. 

Schooner Unity — $6,120 — not subjected to adjudication, but detained and 
property taken out at BQspaniola for the government, without any compensation. 

Schooner Industry — $2,500 — not subjected to adjudication, but taken forcibly 
by an officer in port. 

Schooner Sally — $7,521 — captured by French privateer L'Importe, of Cay- 
enne, and burned at sea, without being carried in for trial. 


injuriously interrupted in tlie prosecution of tlieir voyages. The 
whole number of claimants whose names appear on behalf of them- 
selves and others, is about ninety. One of our citizens, the late 
William Bartlett, Esq., was interested in these and subsequent 
claims on the French Government, to the amount of some one hun- 
dred and sixty-nine thousand dollars. The following memorandum 
of one or two vessels (from the original records) will give an idea 
of the form of recording the claims : " Brig Edmund, owned by 
William Bartlett — William Chase, master — captured by two French 
privateers, October 13th, 1798 — was recaptured by the master, but 
subjected to adjudication. Loss $1,355.23. The claim is made 
for loss sustained in the capture and expenses. 

" The schooner Dolphin, John Pearson and others, owners, Thomas 
Buntin, master, captured by French privateer, Bon Mere. May 26 
and 29, 1800, subjugated to adjudication at Guadeloupe, and then 
condemned. Loss of vessel, on cargo and freight, $7,500. The 
vessel and cargo, wholly American, was first captured by a French 
privateer called the Phoenix, and ordered to Guadeloupe ; but recap- 

Schooner Speedwell— $3,053 — not subjected to trial, but property taken out 
by the government at Cape Francois. 

Brif Eanger — $5000 — not subjected to adjudication, was bound for Guade- 
loupe, with a cargo of provisions, fish and lumber — was boarded near the land 
by a French privateer, who under pretence of piloting her in, put a prize- 
master and crew on board. 

Brig Anna — S2,33G — not subjected to adjudication, but salvage paid. 

Brig Mehitable — $2,184 — not subjected to adjudication, but salvage paid. 

Brig Dove— $723— robbed at sea, May, 1800, by a French privateer. 

Brio- Peter— $3,600 — not adjudicated— loss by four months' detention in port. 

Brig Betsey — $6,976 — nor subjected to adjudication. 

Brio- Tryall — $15,596 — was bound to the West Indies, with a cargo of pro- 
visions and lumber — captured, a few days after sailing, by a French privateer, 
carried into port, and without adjudication, plundered. 

Brig Minerva — $3,424 — captured by a French privateer, and not subjected 
to adjudication. 

Sloop Hero— $2,696 — property taken out by the government at St. Domingo, 
for public use, and receipted for by the authorities, but no compensation made. 

There are several others in the list which were never subjected to adjudica- 
tion, and in many other cases there was no adjudication which came to the 
knowledge of the claimants. 



tured by master and people, and again captured by French privateer 
and carried into Guadeloupe, and condemned there. 

" Schooner Union, Micajah Lunt, owner and master, captured by 
French privateer, L'Experience ; subjected to adjudication at Basse- 
terre, Guadeloupe, and condenmed ; loss ^800, property of the 
claimant, an American citizen." 

But under Napoleon, it was not France only, but likewise all her 
satelHtes who were employed to entrap our property. Denmark, 
while under the dictation of France, became as expert as h2r teachers 
in wresting money from American shipmasters. The ship Wash- 
ington, Captain Joseph Brown, of this town, was carried into Copen- 
hagen, on suspicion of being an English vessel in disguise. She 
wes clearly proved to be American, and her cargo legal ; yet the 
kind of justice administered may be learned from the following copy 
of the decree of the court: 

" Decree. — The ship Washington, litigated in this case, is hereby 
restored ; yet so that the captain, Joseph Brown, shall pay to the 
privateer, Captain Ronne, as a compensation for the expenses caused 
to the latter for bringing in the said vessel, two thousand rix 
DOLLARS, Danish currency, and pay the court prizes, due to the 
prize court ! For the rest, the costs of the process are annulled. 
The right of the custom house for the sound toll, not paid by the said 
ship on her preceding voyage, is reserved, the present owners seeking 
a remedy against the real persons concerned. 

" Signed and sealed by the proper authority, February 12, 1812." 

Vessels bound to Holland were equally liable to capture, nor was 
southern Europe a safer haven. 

Captain Tucker, of the ship " William," wrote to his owners here : 
" I was captured on the last of April, 1808, by a Spanish privateer, 
who took four of my best men out of the ship, and sent a prize- 
master and eight men on board, ordering the ship to Malaga. Next 
day an Enghsh privateer came up with them, and after an engage- 
ment of an hour and a half, the Spaniard struck, and Captain 
Tucker, with his vessel, was taken into Gibraltar." 

Captain Buntin wrote to his owners from Gibraltar, May 7, 1808, 
stating that after being taken by the French, on attempting to pass 
through the straits, he, with his crew, endeavored to retake the 
vessel, but did not succeed, several of his men being wounded. 


After being plundered by the French, they were recaptured by the 
English, and carried into Gibraltar, from whence he intended to 
proceed to London with the first convoy sailing. 

Nor was the British navy less voracious in its appetite for 
American vessels, (though occasionally relieving them from the 
French,) as we purpose to show in the next succeeding pages. In 
the Newburyport Herald of October 30, 1800, Governor Lincoln 
gives notice of fifty-one American seamen who had been impressed 
on board British ships, and could not get released without their 
friends forwarded certificates of citizenship. Two of these, John 
Tucker and William Pearson, hailed from Newburyport. 

The ship Huntress, Captain Chase, on her first voyage, August 1, 
1807, was taken and carried into Yarmouth by the British frigate 
Amethyst. The pretext was " that the greater part of the cargo was 
the produce of an enemy's colony, and though purchased by the 
present owners in the United States, that fact did not neutralize 
their right to make the seizure." This was new ground to take, as 
the vessels before condemned had brought the goods in the same 
bottom in which they were exported. 

But not only on the high seas v/ere seizures made of men and 
property ; no mercy was shown in circumstances which ought to have 
excited the sympathy of barbarians. The brig Peace, of this place. 
Captain Edward Swain, was wrecked on the Cat Keys in a severe 
storm, by which several other American vessels also got ashore. 
His Britannic Majesty's schooner De Convert, Lieutenant Boys, 
impressed several of the men, and on Captain Swain applying for 
their release. Lieutenant Boys insolently declared that " he intended 
to impress two men out of each crew, from the vessels wrecked there, 
and one out of every four belonging to an American ship." One of 
the most inexcusable instances of cruelty was that exercised upon 
Captain Isaac Bridges, of Newburyport, who was shot by the fire 
from a British cutter, on his refusal to risk his life in a small boat, 
on a rough sea, for the purpose of carrying his papers for exam- 
ination on board of the cutter. The following account of the trans- 
action is preserved : 

" Isaac Bridges, master of the brig Hannah, of Newburyport, 
made the following deposition before John Street, Vice Consul for 
the United States at the Island of Fayal : 


" ' I sailed from Newburyport on the 13th of March, in the said 
brig Hannah, sound and stanch, loaded with American produce and 
other articles not prohibited by any treaty between the belligerent 
powers. Nothing particular occurred till the 30th of March, when 
I observed a vessel at the stern, a heavy sea running. A short time 
after, the vessel fired a gun to leeward. I immediately showed the 
American colors, and took in sail to let her come up, and then found 
the vessel was an English cutter. Her captain hailed me and ordered 
me to send the boat on board ; but the sea being turbulent, I 
observed the boat was too small, and not knowing how to swim, I 
would not trust myself in it ; and that if he wished to search the brig, 
he must come to it at his own peril. The captain then threatened 
to fire, which I told him to do and be d — d, as I knew the treaty 
between England and the United States. Soon after, said cutter 
fired several muskets, and then came round the Hannah and fired 
muskets and great guns, and the third time that she fired, I received 
two very severe wounds, and my life being in danger in consequence, 
I have desired the Consul to take this protest against the barbarous 
proceeding of the captain of said cutter, the " Providence,^' of 
London, the captain's name being Phillip Le Roux.' " 

Captaiu Bridges died of his wounds, after lingering nineteen days 
in great sufiering. The above deposition was signed by the Consul, 
mate, and four marmers. 

But robbery and murder, under the more specious terms, but no 
less intolerable facts, of " adjudication " and " right of search," were 
not the only injuries and indignities imposed on " the nation without 
a navy," as ours might be then justly designated ; as is too plainly 
proved, by the following affidavit of Captain Horton, of Newbury- 
port, which he made before the Mayor of Philadelphia, respecting 
his treatment by the Governor of Surinam, he being at the time in 
the port of Paramaribo : 

" Being loaded and ready for sea, I repaired to the Custom House 
for my clearance, but was informed that my certificate would not be 
signed, unless I took on board two negroes, (criminals,) who were 
under condemnation of banishment. I waited on the Governor, and 
explained to him the difficulty it would bring me into in America, if 
I should take them, and refused. He told me ' then I must remain 


where I was.' I then went to the American Consul, and desired 
him to take my protest, for that I would abandon my vessel. This 
he persuaded me not to do, and advised me to see the Governor 
again. I called at nine in the morning, but was refused an interview 
Avith him, by his secretary, who informed me that ' if I had come 
about the negroes, there was no alternative ; I must take them.'' 
I then asked for a written statement, showing that they were placed 
on board my vessel, by the Governor's authority, against my Avill, 
and that I received nothing for their passage ; this was at first 
refused, but at last they consented, and gave me the certificate, 
[which was signed P. H. Spieing, Senator and Fiscal.] I was 
also informed that special orders would be sent down to the officer 
of the fort, at Bram's Point, to see that the criminals were on board 
when I passed, and to fire on any boat that should leave the vessel, 
or attempt to land, after I passed the fort. 

"J. Havens Horton, 
" Master of schooner Julien, of Newburyport. 
" Sworn, July 15, 1805. Matthew Lawler, Mayor.'" 

The schooner Farmer, Captain Wilson, coming from Martinico, 
was taken by the English privateer Success, mounting two guns, 
and manned by Guinea negroes. Captain Wilson says : " The 
English commander declared I was a dead 'prize, and ordered me to 
give up my papers, which I refused. But detaining us till the next 
day, he overhauled my papers, and then ordered us to Nevis ; 
where, after 'paying expenses, we were cleared. The excuse he 
gave for taking us was, we had too much proi^erty for the cargo to 
be American." 

A gentleman writing from London, May, 1806, thus describes 
the mode of proceeding in regard to American vessls brought to 
Enjylish ports for adjudication, being captured on their way to 
Holland : 

" When a vessel is brought in, on suspicion, from the United 
States, all her letters are forwarded, by the captors, to Doctor's 
Commons, [the courts of law] where they are indiscriminately 
opened ; those necessary, or of importance to the trial, are preserved, 
while others are left open to the inspection of visitors. Thus 
family secrets are exposed, and letters designed solely for the eye 


of intimate friendship, are subjected to the ridicule of strangers ; 
many are attracted to their examination by mere curiosity, and 
others by baser motives." 

Similar indignities — impressment, confiscations, and every species 
of spoliation-^were the risks to be encomitered by masters, ship 
owners, and shipping merchants, with but brief intervals of unmo- 
lested ocean traffic, from the peace of 1783 to the more permanent 
and real peace of 1814. Notices like the following were of frequent 
occurrence in the journals of those times : 

" Portland, 1812. 

* " Impressed, from on board schooner Humphrey, on the voyage 
from Martinico to Charleston, Robert Masters and Joseph Safford. 
They sailed from Newburyport in December last. Any person 
duly authorized may receive their clothes, &c., by apphcation to 
Samuel Chandler." 

As late as 1842, a sailor advertises in the Newburyport Herald 
for an " old ship-mate, whom he desired to share a fortune with." 
Fifty years before, in 1792, he had been pressed out of an Ameri- 
can ship in such cruel haste, that he had not time to ask the address 
of his favorite companion. 

If the question is asked. Why did our people submit to these out- 
rages, why did not our merchantmen all go armed and prepared to 
retaliate ? the reply is that Government discountenanced this ; and 
with all their indigenous love of personal liberty, the Americans are 
emphatically a law-abiding people. Respect for the Government 
could alone have prevented the general arming of our merchantmen 
at this period. 

As early as January 1st, 1805, a bill was passed by Congress, 
forbidding armed vessels to leave the United States, and if any 
such left, not specially permitted, and having a regular clearance, 
the vessel was subject to forfeiture, and the captain to imprison- 
ment ; and to add to the stringency of the law, it was farther 
provided, that if any vessel thus armed, in rencounter with vessels 
of any nation " with whom the United States were at peace, 
should commit any deed which in the United States was deemed 

* Herald, April 12, 1808. 


felony or murder, it should be so considered if committed on the 
high seas." And as the United States, as a nation, was " at peace " 
with Great Britain, France, and her jjro teritpore dependencies, our 
mariners were effectually prevented from defending themselves, or 
retaliating on their principal oppressors. It was the policy of the 
then existing Government to maintain peace by avoiding collisions, 
rather than by asserting rights ; but finally, measures were adopted 
with a view to punish the aggressors ; which in their practical 
effects, did more damage to the commerce of the Eastern States than 
all the confiscations of England and the continental powers combined. 

The first of this series of restrictive acts was the Embargo Act, 
in 1807, by which vessels were forbidden to go to any foreign port 
whatever. For contravention of this act, the owners and shippers 
were hable to a suit for double the value of the vessel and cargo, 
and the master to a fine of not less than $1000 for every offence ; 
and his oath was henceforth inadmissible before any collector of 
the United States. 

Thus both the export and import trade were killed at one blow. 
Even owners of whalers and fishing vessels, were required to give 
bonds, in four times the value of their vessels, that they would not 
go to any foreign port. For disregard of the act, the vessel was 
liable to forfeiture, and all concerned in it to a fine of from $1000 
to $20,000. This apparent severity to the fishers,* was excused 
on the ground that they would be used as a cover to an illegal 

The record of so many mercantile annoyances, would leave the 
impression, if not counterbalanced by other facts, that this, the 
tlilrd period in the history of Newburyport, was one of unexampled 
mercantile disasters ; but the fact remains, that during this period 
the town increased rapidly in wealth and population,! mainly from 
the extensive and profitable commerce carried on ; large fortunes 

* There had cleared for the Labrador fisheries this year, before the passage 
of the Embargo Act, vessels having an aggregate tonnage of 4,407. 
Reckoning one man to every nine tons, the general rule, this "would give 
490 men engaged in the fisheries, sailing from this port in that season. 

fin 1801, Newburyport was the third town as regards population, in Massa- 
chusetts ; only Boston and Salem exceeding her, and no other approaching to 
the same number, except Nantucket. 


were made, and general comfort and competence prevailed. By 
referring to the tonnage table, It m\l be seen that from the year 
1795 to 180G, twelve years, there was the enormous amount of 
253,521-27 tons of shipping employed in Newburyport. In 1802, 
the duties on imports amounted to §200,695. In 1805 there 
belonged to the port, forty-one ships, sLxty-two brigs, two snows, two 
barques and sixty-six schooners, with sloops and other small craft. 

And not only was wealth pouring in upon our merchants ; the 
social and intellectual condition of the town, partook of this pros- 
perity, several valuable libraries were collected and sustained, which 
helped to keep alive the intellectual activities of the people ; while 
the debating societies became schools of elocution for the young 
men whose names afterwards adorned the senate, the pulpit and the 

The County Court House, now standing, was erected in 1805, at 
the joint expense of the town and county ; the former occupying it 
only for the annual town meetings, and one of the lower rooms for a 
girls' summer school. In 1834 the county bought out the interest 
of the town, and much improved the interior of the house. 

During the last year, (1853,) the Court House has undergone 
extensive alterations, the figure of " Justice " has been removed, 
and the entire exterior of the house modernized, and finished with 
mastic cement of a dark brown color. The alterations cost $12,400, 
and the new furnishing of the rooms brought the total expense of 
the improvements up to more than $13,000. It is now the best in 
the county, nor is it excelled by any in the State. 

Since 1782 the town has made many efforts to procure a sitting 
of the Supreme Court in this place, but hitherto mthout success. 
It was advocated in 1782, at the time a bill was introduced into 
the General Court, for removing the Supreme Judicial Court from 
Ipswich to Salem, on the ground, " that from the increase of com- 
merce, suits connected with commerce and navigation would neces- 
sarily increase, while real suits would become comparatively scarce." 

In 1820 it was voted in a town meeting, to petition the General 
Court that a term of the Supreme Court might be held here. 

In 1821, the selectmen were appointed a committee to corre- 
spond with the other towns in the county, to procure their concurrence 


in petitioning that a term of the Supreme Court be held here. 
Nearly similar measures were adopted in 1824 and 1835 ; and at 
other times, until the unsuccessful application to the Legislature 
of 1854. 

The Plum Island turnpike and bridge were also built in 1805 ; 
and we may imagine the difficulties which beset the pleasure-seekers 
who sought Plum Island's " sea-girt shores," before this desirable 
enterprise was carried into effect. Before the bridge was built, a 
primitive kind of ferriage was established, in the shape of a large 
flat-bottomed boat, which safely conveyed man and horse and the 
various et cetera essential to a Plum Island party, across the river 
at JiigJi tide ; but wo betide the loiterers who arrived too late to take it 
at the full, for then a small boat only, could take foot passengers 
across, while animals or other cumbrous articles, must even wait for 
the next rising of the tide. About building this bridge there 
was the usual opposition to be encountered ; a petition of the pro- 
prietors of salt-marsh, on Plum Island, was presented against it. It 
was not however interrupted, but was opened to the public in 
August, 1806. 

A proposal was made, about this time, to fill up the flats below 
South street, and thus make several acres of land ; a project which 
promised more for the improvement of the harbor, than any other ; 
but the necessities of that time not being so great as the 
increased size of modern ships has made them, the advantages of 
this project were overlooked, and the plan failed to be acted upon, 
— perhaps for the reason, that many of the heaviest capitalists were 
involved, at this period, in completing the turnpike road to Boston ; 
a heavy work, and one which deserved better remuneration than it 

But it was not only on works of internal improvement, that energy, 
time, and money, were expended ; the records of the various 
churches and benevolent societies show the exercise of a praise- 
worthy liberality, corresponding with the state of the town ; as an 
instance of which, it may be mentioned that a collection of nine hun- 
dred and fifty dollars was taken up in August, 1806, at one time, 
" to aid in printing the Bible in the Indian languages.*" 


One of the most pleasing charitable institutions was instituted in 
1803 ; namely, the establishment of an asylum for female orphans. 
The original fund procured by subscription was about fifteen hundred 
dollars. During the first twenty years of its existence, this associa- 
tion provided for over fifty orphan girls. This society has since 
died out. 

Newburyport was among the first towns which opened subscrip- 
tions to build a National Washington Monument, and liberal sums 
were subscribed here in 1802 ; and so sanguine were her citizens, 
of a hearty response on this subject, that they decided no one should 
give more than ten dollars, and if more than enough was collected, 
(throughout the country,) which was then thought probable, it was 
agreed to devote it to building a National University ! Perhaps one 
of the most convincing proofs of the advance of society, was the 
steadily increasing support given to the permanent newspaper 
established here, which the editor did not fail, at regular intervals, 
to announce ; the subscription hst and improvements in the paper, 
keeping pace with each other. To avoid being tedious we have not 
always introduced into the text the exact time and other data, con- 
cerning some works of public improvement or enterprise. These will 
all be found under their appropriate heads in the Miscellany and 
Chronological Index, to which we refer the reader ; by refer- 
ence to which, it will be found that most of the successful enter- 
prises of the town, were conducted to completion duiing either the 
tliird or sixth epoch of its history. 

Several branches of business flourishing through this period have 
since died out. Ten or twelve distilleries* and a brewing establish- 
mentf gave employment to a large number of persons ; while the 
manufacture of cordage was one of the most important interests 
dependent on our mercantile success ; sugar refining was also a 
profitable business, and in the manufacture of gold beads and silver 
buckles, large capitals were invested, and combs and horn buttons 
were made in considerable quantities ; the comb business is revived 
(1853) in Newburyport. 

* In the procession which escorted Washington on his entrance to Newbury- 
port through tha town, the " distillers " marched as a distinct body. 

f Robert Laird's beer, porter and ale, were famed throughout the country. 


In this era flourished the great inventor, Jacob Perkins,* and 
Timothy Pahner ; to the latter, Newburyport is much indebted for 
the regularity of the streets and the improvements of the public 
grounds and ways. Under his directing genius, the Mall began to 
assume shape and symmetry, and Market square was laid out; 
encumbrances and encroachments speedily vanished from the high- 
ways over which he presided. 

In 1796, Mr. Palmer received a patent for " improvement in the 
construction of timber bridges." The principal bridges on the 
Kennebec, Piscataqua, Connecticut and Merrimac rivers, including 
the Essex Merrimac bridge, were built upon his models, as was also 
the bridge across the Schuylkill, at Philadelphia. Mr. Adams, in 
his "Annals of Portsmouth," says of the Piscataqua bridge : " This 
arch was constructed by Timothy Palmer, Esq., of Newburyport, on 
a model entirely new, and does him great credit for his skill in 

But the greatest contrast between the present time and the social 
era that passed away with the first decade of the nineteenth century, 
was the degree of style and fashion observed by the wealthy. Every 
family of any pretension kept their family carriage, footman, and 
coachman; and ladies their own saddle-horses. The deep wine- 
cellars under some of the old mansions broadly hint of the stores of 
Port and Burgundy which once filled their now dreary depths, while 
vessel after vessel, arriving direct with rich silks, velvets, and laces 
from France, enabled our grandmothers to appear in costumes which 
would awaken the envy of many a modern belle . A spacious assembly 
room, with elegantly furnished drawing rooms connected, then stood 
in Temple street, at which the belles of seventy years ago displayed 
their charms and accomplishments. The town never presented 
so gay an appearance as it did for twenty-five years after the peace 
of 1783. A wedding cortege of that time is thus described by a 
cotemporary : 

" The bride and bridegroom arrived yesterday. Mr. 's splen- 
did new carriage was drawn by six white horses. They had four 
outriders, and all the horses were decked with white favors. His 
footmen and coachmen are put into new liveries," t &c. 

* See Biographical Notice. f From a private letter. 


The very different style of living from that which now prevails, is 
observable in the advertisements of that period. Among the 
" wants " we frequently find " Wanted, a handsome span of carriage 
horses;" "Wanted, a porter — a gardener, who understands hot- 
house plants — a man to wait at table," &c. One teacher gives 
" private lessons in all the fashionable dances ; " another teaches 
"the broadsword exercise," &c., while the frequent festivals held 
among the Masonic fraternity and other bodies, evince a deter- 
mination to enjoy life and diffuse wealth, which would now be looked 
upon with the severest criticism. But life was not all consumed in 
light amusements, though social intercourse was somewhat freer, 
and the interchange of social hospitahties was more frequent than is 
now customary. The leaders who gave tone to society in this era 
were men of unusual talent and force of character, and the public 
partook, to some extent, of their tastes, if we may judge from the 
character of the books pubhshed and sold here by any one of the 
firms then in business. The booksellers' advertisements during this 
period show a more classical selection than can now be found in State 
street. There appear to have been concentrated here more means 
of enjoyment, both physical and intellectual, than have since been 
attainable this side of Boston. Quite a number of families had their 
town and winter residences. The beautiful estates of Dalton* and 
Hooper were the pride of Essex county, while the liberahty and 
hospitality of the citizens were proverbial. 

All public gatherings were managed on a like liberal scale. Ordi- 
nations of ministers were not then, as now, concluded with an address, 
an anthem, and a tumljler of cold water. The physical man was as well 
entertained as the mental. The expenses of Rev. Thomas Gary's 
ordination were <£35 18s. 2^d., and some coming later than he, saw 
as liberal provisions made for the guests of the day. At funerals, 
also, entertainment was provided for all who attended. Liquors and 

* The estate now occupied by Dr. Robinson, in Newbury, and then called 
" Spring Hill," from the numerous springs which still vivify its summit, was 
once owned by Mr. Dalton, and used by him as a summer residence. In the 
Impartial Herald, of July, 1794, we find the following notice: 

" The Hon. Tristram Dalton, lady, and suite, arrived in this town on the 
5th instant from the seat of government, and proceeded next day to his seat at 
Spring Hill." 


more solid refreshments were freely consumed, while gloves and 
scarfs were always siven to tlie near friends of the deceased — 
sometimes to the whole company assembled. 

With the incoming of the nineteenth century, garments more in 
conformity with present fashions took precedence of three-cornered 
hats, long coats with immense pocket folds and cuflfs, but without 
collars, in which the men of the eighteenth century prided them- 
selves, with their buttons of pure silver, or plated, of the size of 
a half dollar, presenting a great superfluity of coat and waistcoat 
when contrasted with the short nether garments, ycleped " breeches," 
or "small clothes," which reached only to the knee, being there 
fastened with large silver buckles, which ornament was also used in 
fastening the straps of shoes. The gentlemen quite equalled the 
ladies at this period in the amount of finery, and the brilliancy of 
colors in which they indulged. A light blue coat, with large fancy 
buttons, a white satin embi-oidered waistcoat, red velvet breeches, 
silk stockmgs, and buckled shoes, with a neckcloth, or scarf of 
finely embroidered cambric, or figured stuff, the ends hanging 
loose the better to show the work, and liberal bosom and wrist- 
ruffles, (the latter usually fastened with gold or silver buckles,) was 
considered a proper evening dress for a gentleman of any pretension 
to fashion. The clergy and many other gentlemen commonly wore 
black silk stockings, and others contented themselves with grey 
woollen. The boots had a bi-oad fold of white leather turned over 
the top, with tassels dangling from either side. The clergy 
frequently wore silk or stuff gowns, and powdered wigs. The ladies 
usually wore black silk or satin bonnets, long waisted and narrow 
skirted dresses for the street, with long tight sleeves ; and in the 
house, sleeves reaching to the elbow, finished with an immensely 
broad frill; high heeled shoes ; and always, when in full dress, 
carried a profusely ornamented fan. The excessively long waists, 
toward the close of this period, were exchanged for extremely short 
ones ; so short, that the belt, or waist, was inhumanly contrived to 
come at the broadest part of the chest. But no fashion of dress 
was so permanent as other customs clinging to particular eras. 
Anciently, as now, fashions were changed more or less extensively 
every few years, though certain broad characteristics remained long 
enough to give a specific character to the costuming of the eighteenth 


But not only in dress and social customs do we find a marked 
difference ; the whole style of architecture has changed since then. 
The large three-story square houses on High, State, Green, and a 
few other streets, with their commodious carriage ways, and large 
garden lots, are the most permanent and impressive remains of our 
commercial prosperity. But these capacious dwellings have no modern 
successors. They look down upon a new age, and a comparatively 
diminutive style of building ; neat and comfortable enough, but with 
contracted surroundings, and on a scale which suggests small means, 
and which is devoid of all imposing architectural effect. But Avith 
all the profuseness of expenditure among the wealthier class, we do 
not find that the laboring people were depressed, or suffered any 
abridgment of comforts, as is sometimes the case where a single 
class is found thus eminent in wealth and luxury. All classes 
participated in the prosperity which the business enterprise of our 
merchants imparted to the place. All might find employment who 
would work, and the labor market partook of the general buoyancy. 
If the humbler classes suffered in any sense from the rapid influx of 
wealth to the mercantile community, it was in the example of profu- 
sion which the latter exhibited, and which the former were thus 
tempted to imitate ; particularly in the free use of liquor, the most 
insidious and ruinous taste which can be engrafted on society, espe- 
cially to those of moderate and uncertain incomes. When a change 
came in the fortunes of the town, it was hard for these to reconcile 
new facts with old habits ; and though there was much to admire in 
the age we are leaving, perhaps, on the whole, there is not so much 
to regret. Modern improvements have dispensed with the necessity 
of many things which went to make up the grandeur of those old 
times ; and the wider diffusion, and greater equalization of wealth, 
compensate for the pleasing pageantry of the past, wliile the 
increased attention to female education is a step forward worth all 
that is left behind. 

With the closing up of our gi-eat and profitable foreign commerce, 
closed the life of an eccentric individual, vfho has forced himself into 
the annals of the town, and to whom we must therefore give a passing 
notice. Timothy Dexter has obtained a somewhat unenviable noto- 
riety, but more fortunate than most of his honorable and learned 


cotemporaries, has found a biographer and artist * to preserve his 
memory and liniaments to the posterity which he courted. " Lord 
Timothy Dexter," whatever were his faults, was a pecuniary bene- 
factor of the town, and also, for a long series of years, held an office 
in it, viz., " Informer of Deer ! " and we have therefore not thought 
it out of place to introduce him here. He has generally been con- 
sidered a fool, with a slight mixture of the knave ; but nearly every 
act of his apparent folly may be traced to one overpowering passion, 
uncontrolled by any natural or cultivated taste, though combined 
with considerable shrewdness: this passion was vanity; so in-\ 
ordinate, as to lead him into all sorts of absurdities. To be an ob- 
ject of attention to the present, and of remembrance to succeeding 
generations, in his adopted town, was the central idea of his life, 
around which all others revolved, and were subordinate. That he 
succeeded in his aim, is proof of his knowledge of human nature : — 
where one person expresses an interest in the life and writings of 
Theophilus Parsons, and men approaching liim in worth and talents, 
a hundred make inquiries after his Lordship, " Timothy Dexter." 
To be sure, the regard of that fraction of society who are discrimin- 
ate in their admiration, is worth more to a man of mind, than the 
" incense of a world of fools ; " but Mr. Dexter was not very scrupu- 
lous as to whence the incense rose, if he only had enough of it ; 
and this he attained. 

The town office which he held had no duties annexed to it, as no 
deer were ever known to have been seen in Newburyport, after its 
incorporation ; and the town probably bestowed it on him, merely as 
a gratification in return for some of his gifts, — a return which cost 
them nothing. That he was hberal, is amply proved by his do- 
nations to the town and other bodies ; and if his ruling passion, 
vanity, had a share in these, that does not entirely derogate from 
their value, as he certainly might have found less exceptionable 
modes of displaymg it ; and the benefit was as great to the re- 
cipients, as if there had been no admixture of this feehng in the mind 
of the giver. 

In the oft-repeated story, told generally to exemplify his folly, 
namely, that of sending a cargo of warming-pans and woollen mittens 

* S. L. Knapp. 


to the West Indies, which turned out a profitable speculation, — the 
warming-pans being bought for ladles, to be used on the sugar es- 
tates in the straming of syrup, and the mittens sold at a heavy ad- 
vance to a vessel bound to the Baltic, — we see no evidence of folly, 
but rather shrewd management, and cunning reticence to cover it ; 
as it cannot possibly be supposed, that with vessels constantly ar- 
riving at Newburyport from the West Indies, and with cargoes from 
the North of Europe, he did not know that the one was a warm 
country and the other cold. No doubt, he knew the use to which 
his warmuig-pans were to be apphed, before they left the wharf, and 
as the West Indies were a kind of half-way house, in which vessels 
from all parts of Europe were in the habit of seeking a market, the 
mittens were as prudently destined as the other part of his venture. 

His building his own tomb in his garden, and undergoing the 
process of a mock funeral, with the subsequent abuse of his wife, for 
not weeping during the solemn farce, was an ebullition of vanity, 
carried out in unique style, certainly, but not very diffei*ent in its 
nature from cases constantly occurring around us, but which excite 
no astonishment, from their very frequency. And if Timothy Dexter 
stood on the highway and scattered silver coins to the boys who 
would salute him with the title of " Lord," wherein did he differ, 
except in the mode, from those to be found in every town, who, 
by well-timed obeisance to the rabble, whom in their hearts they 
spurn, yield the silver of then* honeyed tones to the interests of the 
" dear people^' who they beUeve in their hearts can be bought to do 
them reverence ? 

As a man of capital, Dexter was always ready to embark in any 
enterprise that would benefit the town. When it was proposed to 
huild the Essex Merrimac Bridge, he bought over a hundred shares. 
At his own expense, he filled up a large hollow in the road below 
his mansion, which it was the proper business of the town to keep in 
repair ; calluig forth from the travellmg pubhc, and the town, their 
thanks for this service. He offered also to pave the whole of High. 
street, if the town would consent that it should be caUed by his 
name — "Dexter street," — cheap enough for so expensive and 
valuable a work ; but his generous ofier was not accepted, and High 
street remains unpaved to this day. A very liberal offer of his, to 
"construct a brick market house," when the town was without 


one, was also rejected, though the only objectionable condition 
was that it shovild be called " Dexter Hall." 

He presented to the Harris street church $333.33 to procure a 
bell, and a similar sum was gratuitously bestowed on St. Paul's 

During the distress occasioned by the first embargo, the town 
acknowledged the receipt of $2000, given by the will of Mr. Dex- 
ter, " for the benefit of such of the poor of the town, as are most 
necessitous, and who are not in the work-house ; " the interest on 
which, was to be distributed annually by the overseers of the poor. 

Timothy Dexter's vices were profanity, a want of veracity, and 
irreverence, while his execrable taste led hira into such vicious dis- 
plays as were calculated to have an injurious efiect, especially upon 
the young. His mansion, and surrounding estate, — a fine house, and 
large garden, on High street, — were for many years disfigured with a 
profusion of painted wooden images, of men and beasts. Three of 
these remained, for a long time after his death, on the porch of the 
front door. But these, with all that remained elsewhere, have been 
since consigned to their proper place — the flames ; and the mansion, 
after havmg been occupied for some time as a hotel, has fortunately 
passed into the hands of a gentlemanf whose good taste has re- 
deemed it from every objectionable feature left with it by the 
original proprietor. 

In addition to his other devices, Timothy Dexter employed for 
years a j)oet laureate, whose jingling rhymes,:]: in praise of his 

* Impartial Herald. t E. G. Kelly, Esq. 

X The following verses will serve as a specimen : — 

•'Lord Dexter like King Solomon, 
Hath Gold and Silver by the ton, 
And bells to churches he hath given. 
To worship the great King of Heaven." 

After describing the mansion, he proceeds : 

" Four lions stand to guard the door, 
With mouths wide open to devour 
All enemies who dare oppose 
Lord Dexter or his shady groves. 

The images around him stand, 
For they were made by his command ; 
Looking to see Lord Dexter come, 
Vfiih. Jixed eyes they see him home." 



patron, were quite in keeping with the character he was paid to 

As a final effort for posthumous fame, Dexter turned author, and 
wrote a small book, entitled " A Pickle for the Knowing' Ones," a 
mass of words, without arrangement of ideas, or anj attempt at 
grammatical construction, or in compliance with any acknowledged 
mode of orthography ; and for the matter of punctuation, he omitted 
all points through the body of the work, and had several pages of 
punctuation marks printed separately, and bound with the book, 
observing " that each reader might put them in where he pleased." 

Timothy Dexter was not a native of Newburyport ; he was born in 
Maiden, Massachusetts, 1743. He made much of his property by 
buying up continental notes when they were at a low point of 
depreciation, and selHng when the prospect of r^emption had 
enhanced their value. He died unregretted, (as he had lived 
without the respect of the community,) October 26, 1806. 



Affairs between the United States and Great Britain were fast 
drawing to a crisis, Avhich was by no means retarded by the unprovoked 
attack of the British ship-of-war Leopard, on the American frigate 
Chesapeake, off the coast of Virginia ; in which affair some Ameri- 
cans were killed. A committee of correspondence, in Norfolk, 
addressed a letter to the selectmen of this town on the subject; 
and a spirited meeting Avas held, at which the following, and other 
similar resolutions, were passed unanimously : 

" Resolved, That we consider the attack made upon the United 
States frigate Chesapeake, by the British ship-of-war Leopard, a 
violation of our national rights, and an insult on our national 
dignity, no less humiliating than unwarrantable. 

" Resolved, That the conduct of our brethren at Norfolk, before 
orders from Government could be obtained,* was truly spirited and 
patriotic, and that the selectmen be requested to return a respectful 
answer to their communication, with a copy of the proceedings of 
this meeting." 

Since 1793, American shipping had been exposed to the cross 
fires of French and English guns ; it was now to bo scuttled by 
friendly hands, by way of preserving it from the enemy. President 
Jefferson, having found that the Embargo Act of 1807 was success- 

* The people 'of Norfolk liad agreed to enforce the suspension of all inter- 
course between the British squadron, then lying off the coast, forbidding any 
one to furnish them with provisions or -water ; and had established a committee 
of correspondence, to inform all the seaport towns of these proceedings. 


fully evaded under various feints, put forth additional acts, first 
restricting, and then forbidding the coasting trade. This latter 
exited the deadhest hostility of the great majority of the New 
England people, and the frequent supplements to the act served to 
keep them in a constant state of irritation. About the 4th of July, 
1808, the following effusion appeared in the Newburyport Herald, 
which shows that whatever kind of produce tvas embargoed, poetry 
was not. 

" Our ships all in motion, once whitened tlie ocean ; 
They sailed and returned with a cargo : 
Now doomed to decay, they have fallen a prey 
To Jefferson — worms — and embargo. 

What a fuss we have made about rights and free trade, 
And vow'd that we'd not let our share go ; 
Now we can't for our souls, bring a hake from the Shoals, 
'Tis a breach of the twentieth embargo ! " 

Some captains during the first embargo, after procuring a clear- 
ance for some domestic port, on getting out to sea, concealed the 
names of their vessels, and run for the West Indies ; several of 
them were " driven by stress of weather into Nassau," where, says 
a cotemporary, " the carpenters were so expert and generous, that 
they repaired them in an extraordinary short space of time, and at 
scarcely no expense!!" Other vessels had been reported to the 
officers of the Customs as having on board more than was entered 
on their manifest. One suspected, was chased out of the Merrimac 
by the revenue officers, accompanied by some twenty volunteers, 
and on examination was found to contain a large quantity of pork, 
flour, butter, lard and tobacco, which the books of the Custom 
House knew nothing of. It was on account of these numerous 
evasions, that the coasting trade, which successfully covered them, 
was laid under interdict. 

But when a law is felt to be in direct contravention of the 
rights and prosperity of a people, and also that it is not pro- 
ductive of the result it professes to aim at, human natm-e rebels 
at its enforcement, and but faintly, if at all condemns its infraction ; 
smugghng, therefore, became an illegality which no one was 
ashamed to confess having participated in, after the danger was over. 

One of the worst social effects of these restrictions on commerce 


was the driving of American seamen into foreign ships ; there was 
at one time, two hundred* American seamen at St. Andrews, N. B., 
seeking employment. The utter stagnation of business is told, in 
the difference between the value of exports from Massachusetts in 
1806 and in 1813. In the former year it was $21,199,243, in the 
latter $1,807,923, a diminution of twenty millions of dollars ! f A 
reference to the table of the " Inspection of mackerel " will show 
its effect on the fisheries. Under these circumstances, it is not 
strange that Newburyport, whose interest was so deeply involved, 
should address the President (May, 1808) with representations 
of the ruin which was hanging over the toAvn, asking for some 
alleviating measures to be adopted ; seizing upon the favorable 
aspect which affairs in Spain and Portugal had taken, to urge the 
safety and profit of permitting a trade with those nations, and their 
colonies ; and that the answer of the President, declaring it " not 
prudent to change the measures adopted," should lead some to con- 
ceive a violent prejudice against his entire administration. 

On the first anniversary of the passage of the Embargo Act, the 
day was observed in Newburyport by the tolling of bells and the 
firing of minute-guns, that signal of extreme distress ; the flags 
hung at half mast, and a procession of sailors was formed, who 
marched under muffled drums with crape on their arms, accompanied 
by a dismantled ship, on a cart body drawn by horses, and bearing 
a flag on which was inscribed " Death to Commerce." A young 
man, attired like an old sailor, stood on the quarter deck with a glass 
in his hand, as if about to take an observation ; while a painted 
motto was exhibited, inquiring " Which way shall I steer ? " the " old 
sailor " occasionally throwing the lead, as if to take soundings. 
When the cortege arrived opposite the old custom house, an address 
was made by this individual, reflecting rather severely on the cause 
which occasioned the procession. 

Having found the remonstrance to the President unavaihng, the 

* Herald, 1808. 

f A merchant here, having more time than business on his hands, made the 
following calculation of the loss to New England, while the shipping was thus 
laid up. " The total tonnage being 450,000, the loss by embargo is 810,800,000 
annually; each day it is $29,529, and each hour $1,232. 


to^vn (January 12, 1809,) next addressed the State Legislature to 
interpose what means they constitutionally could, to guard the people 
of the commonwealth from what they deemed unjustifiable, absurd, 
unnecessary and ruinous restrictions.* 

What increased the dissatisfaction of the people of New England 
generally, with the course of the administration, was the fact that 
though the French had offered as great provocations, and committed 
as many violations on our flag, (except in the matter of impress- 
ment,) as the British, yet the latter were the principal objects of 
retaliation in the policy of the President ; and here appeared con- 
spicuously, the character impressed upon the two political parties at 
the epoch of their formation, which has been elucidated in the 
remarks on the course of citizen Genet in this country. 

One effect of the long-continued embargo, was the contrivance of 
devices for effecting sales of produce and other goods, without 
ostensibly violating the act. Vessels in the coasting trade no sooner 
got to sea, no matter to what port in the United States they were 
bound, than they met with " head winds," " continued and violent 
gales," " sprung a mast," or " started a butt," and were obliged 
to put into some of the West India Islands, " in great distress, and 
very much to the prejudice of their owners " — of course ! ! A few 
were able to make Passamaquoddy, " while many more," says a 
cotemporary writer " passed-by-quoddy, and got safe to Hahfax, 
or Bermuda." Indeed, throughout the war, more or less successful 
efforts were made to send provisions to the north-eastern frontier 
for sale in the provinces. 

During this period, the farmers suffered nearly as much as the 
merchants ; their surplus crops were wasted for want of a market, 
and deep and general distress prevailed. The following scale of 
prices, will show the depression of the agricultural interest after the 
passage of the act which went into effect in 1808 : 

1807. 1808. 

Corn, ^1.00 $ M 

Wheat, 1.75 1.00 

Bye, 1.35 .75 

* To the acceptance of this address there were but ten dissentient voices in a 
full town raeeting. — See Town Records. 



$15.00 a 18.00 


.20 a .22 

.08 a 


.06 a .14 

.03 a 


4.66 a 5.50 


10.50 a 12.00 

6.00 a 





A considerable business had been carried on in this town, in the 
distillation of whiskey ; but now there were no means of exporting 
the whiskey, and consequently the distiller would not buy the 
farmer's rye. Another valuable article of export was salt pork ; but 
the farmer's stock of swine had become valueless, unless to eat the 
rye which the distiller did not want ! 

In the spring of 1809, President Madison signed a bill, passed 
by Congress, so far mitigating the burdens on commerce as to admit 
of foreign vessels, belonging to nations with whom the United States 
were at amity, loading in our ports. But this relief was of short 
duration. In the fall the embargo was repealed, but a substitute, 
entitled the ISTon Intercourse Act,* was passed, which prohibited all 
trade with Great Britain and France, the countries with which a 
profitable commerce might, notwithstanding all the obstructions in 
the way, have been indirectly secured. The Non Intercourse Act 
led to negotiations on the part of Great Britain, which resulted in 
the release of such of the men impressed as could be fully proved 
to be native Americans. And in 1810, France repealed her conti- 
nental decrees, and the restrictions upon our intercourse with that 
nation were removed. A treaty had also been made with an agent 
of the British government, by which the Orders in Council were 
repealed ; but this act of their minister was repudiated by the 

* While the Non Intercourse Act was in force, many evasions were attempted, 
which led, in some instances, to ludicrous scenes between the revenue officers 
and real or pretended smugglers. One suspected craft being boarded, the 
captain, after considerable parley, confessed to the officer that he had a few 
" ^^y goods" packed away, under an ostensible cargo of potatoes. The officer 
immediately set his gang to. work hauling them out, working zealously himself 
in the cause, expecting to make a grand seizure of English calico. After 
working several hours, they came to a small box of dried herrings : the only 
dry goods to be seen ; the chagrin of the oflicer may be better imagined than 


Eritish Government. By a Report of the Secretary of State, it 
was found that between October 1, 1807, and March 31, 1809, four 
hundred and sixty-two men had been taken out of American vessels 
and impressed by the British. Of this number, however, but two 
hundred and thirty-five exhibited proofs of American citizenship, 
though no doubt many others were fully entitled to our protection ; 
of the whole number taken, two hundred and eighty-seven were, in 
March, 1810, ordered to be discharged. And in return for this late 
act of justice, intercourse was again restored with Great Britain. 

The impetus which was given to the shippuig interest in New- 
buryport by this change in public affairs, is sufficiently indicated by 
the number of vessels built here in 1810, viz. : twenty-one ships, 
thirteen brigs, and one schooner, a total of 12,000 tons, all but 
seven being owned in this district. Had peace continued, the 
prosperity of Newburyport would apparently have been placed 
upon such a basis, as that the memorable disaster of the succeeding 
year would have had but a temporary effect in depressing her renewed 
elasticity. Yet the perils of her merchants and seamen in this 
brief interval of restored intercourse with the two most prominent 
of their oppressors, were by no means completely removed. 

Not only was Denmark made the complete tool of France, but 
American vessels, having passed the form of trial in their courts, 
and, as we have seen in the case of Captain Brown, of the ship 
Washington, paid their own costs, were still liable to be seized by 
French privateers, Avho were perpetually watchmg on the coast for 
such prey. Captain H. Parsons, of the schooner Dolly, of New- 
buryport, writes to his owners in this town, from Tonningen, 
November, 1810 : " The Danes have ordered the clearance of 
American vessels, but^ave no power to protect them if the French 
bring them back. I am in a very critical situation, in jeopardy of 
French privateers if I go out, and may be taken by the authorities 
if I remain at anchor." 

The next year matters grew worse in that direction. Captain 
Wheelwright, of Newburyport, whose vessel was condemned in 
1811, was but one of one hundred and thirteen American ship- 
masters carried into Kiel, Norway, and Denmark. The expense 
of clearing many of these vessels was enormous ; the brig Hannah, 
Captain Dennis, of Newburyport, was taken into a port of Norway, 


and her expenses, including lawyers' fees and some "well-directed 
gifts to secure a favorable judgment, amounted to 20,000 rix 

But these were partial losses, felt directly only by the persons 
immediately concerned in the property seized ; a more extensive 
and disastrous calamity was in store for those citizens whose property 
and interests were all on land. During the spring of 1811, several 
inconsiderable fires had excited the alarm and increased the watch- 
fulness of the citizens ; yet despite all their efforts to detect the 
incendiary, a fire was again announced on the evening of the 31st 
of May, which soon progressed to such an extent as to be totally 
beyond the control of the firemen, assisted as they were by the entire 
body of the citizens, and many of the inhabitants from neighboring 
towns. Even many women, during the progress of the fire, were 
seen standing in the ranks, passing buckets of water ; while many 
others as opportunely and usefully occupied themselves with bringing 
refreshments to the exhausted men. From a pamphlet f issued a 
short time after the fire, we draw, substantially, the account of the 
origin and progress of the flames. 

The fire broke out about half past nine o'clock in the evening, 
an hour when a large proportion of the inhabitants had already 
retired for the night. And as the ominous cry of "_F/rg.'" 
resounded through the streets, it broke upon the stillness of the 
evening air, and renewed the alarms which had become frequent, 
from incipient fires discovered and timely extinguished, during the 
last few weeks ; and the belief gained ground that a determined 
effort was making, from some unknown enemy, to fire the town. 
The spot selected by the incendiary was that which had several 
times before been fired, probably by the same reckless hands ; this 
was an old stable, unoccupied at the time, situated on Inn street, 
then called Mechanics' vovf. 

When discovered, the building was already enveloped in flames, 
and the frame being light and dry, it was irretrievably devoted to 
destruction, the fire spreading on either side, but principally towards 
Market square and State street ; consuming, in a few hours, every 

* Herald. f By W. & J. Gilman. Second Edition, Revised. 


building between Pleasant street and the alley leading to Inn street, 
and both sides of State street ; and from tliis point to the Market, 
baffling successfully the desperate efforts of the firemen and assisting 
citizens. On Essex street, the destruction extended only to the 
house of Captain James Kettle ; but in Middle street, gathering 
fresh strength, the devouring element marched with giant strides 
the whole length of the street to Fair, on the north-east side, and 
to within a few rods of it, on the upper. On Liberty street, it 
reached to within one house of Independent street, and on Water 
street extended to Cushing's wharf, sweeping off every building 
within this circle, the whole of Centre street being laid in ashes ; 
including a range of buildings on Ferry wharf, and a row of stores 
between Wood's wharf and the Market, the wharf itself being 
burned ; thus clearing a tract of sixteen and a half acres, in the 
most compactly built and densely populated part of the town, and 
containing a large proportion of the most valuable property in it. 
Nearly two hundred and fifty buildings were thus totally and 
suddenly consumed, including almost every dry goods store, four 
printing offices, the Custom House,* surveyors' office, post office, 
two insurance offices, the " Union " and the " Phoenix," the Baptist 
meeting-house, four attorneys' offices, four book stores, (the loss of 
one of these was $30,000,) and also the Town Library. 

Blunt's building, a massive structure four stories high, and the 
Phoenix building, for awhile seemed to present an effectual barrier 
to the farther progress of the flames ; but by a sudden change of 
the wind they w^ere carried directly upon these immense piles, which 
were soon involved in the general calamity. 

" State street at this time presented a spectacle most terribly sub- 
hme ! The wind, soon after it changed, blew with increased 
violence, and these buildings, which were much the highest in the 
street, threw the fire in awful columns high into the air, the flames 
extending in one continued sheet of fire across the spacious area ! " 

* An irretrievable loss was that of the Custom House Records up to the 
date of the fire. 

By this fire, George Peabody, Esq., (the well known banker in London,) 
then a clerk in his brother's store in this town, was thrown out of employ- 
ment, and the next year removed from the place. He is nephew to General 
John Peabody, formerly a well known merchant of Newburyport. 


The large brick meeting-house in Liberty street, belonging to the 
Baptist Society, in which many had deposited their shop goods, 
furniture, and other property, as a place of safety, was reached by 
the flames, and with its now valuable contents, utterly consumed. 
At two o'clock in the morning of June 1st, the fire seemed to rage 
with new and irresistible fury, and it was feared, at this time, that 
the whole town would be laid in ashes. Everything was done to 
stay the progress of the flames, which intelligent and persevering 
efforts could devise, but with very limited success. But about four 
o'clock, the intensity of the fire abated, and by six, the immediate 
danger of its further extension was over. 

The scene has been represented as terrifically sublime. Gather- 
ing clouds of smoke obscured the bright clear moon, which shone out 
upon the origin of the fire, as if willing to lend its aid to expose the 
concealed perpetrators. The air, at first darkened with heavy 
volumes of smoke, was ere long reddened with the lurid glare of the 
flames, now rising from a hundred buildings : while the physical 
destruction going on, was a tame and indifferent sight, compared 
with the pathos of the scene, as family after family were driven with 
their little ones into the streets, shelterless and homeless. The 
rapidity with which the flames spread, and the shifting of the wind, 
which brought the flames in hot haste upon many buildings which 
had been considered safe from their approach, greatly enhanced the 
perplexity of the flying inhabitants, who were thus prevented from 
removing the property they had deemed out of the reach of danger. 

Such a mass of burning material had the apparent efiect of chang- 
ing the season of the year ; persons, unless under the pressure of 
excitement, such as the scene naturally produced, could hardly have 
borne to walk the streets where the fire Avas raging ; the air was 
like that of a furnace, and the light like the glare of the summer's 
sun. All nature seemed to sympathize with the scene. The birds, 
attracted by the light, and suffocated by the heat and smoke, dropped 
powerless into the burning ruins ; the terrified and bewildered cattle 
made night hideous by their unearthly looings, while the sudden 
crash of falling timbers, and the roaring sound of a hundred chimneys, 
was likened only to the subterranean commotions which precede 
volcanic eruptions, while the flying fire, borne about in showers by 
the wind, helped to sustain the idea. 



The loss Avas estimated at about a million of dollars; the 
greatest misfortune being, that the calamity came at a period when 
our citizens could do but little to re-create that of which they had 
been so suddenly and unexpectedly deprived. 

Over ninety families were on the first of June houseless, many of 
them reduced at once, by this calamity, from affluence to poverty. 
The light of the fire was seen at an immense distance,* and in addition 
to tliie more immediate assistance received from Salisbury and 
Amesbury, numbers from Rowley, Ipswich, Danvers, Beverly, Haver- 
hill, Topsfield, Bradford, and even Salem, were shortly on the spot, 
with the laudable intention of rendering aid, and relieving our 
citizens ; a guard of gentlemen from the latter toAvn kept a watch 
over the scattered property of the inhabitants during the night of 
the 1st of June. Measures were immediately taken by the select- 
men, assisted by a committee of the most able citizens, to devise 
means of relief for such as were in immediate want. A depot was at 
once estabUshed in a building of Captain William Russell's, that had 
fortunately escaped the flames, on Market square, where provisions 
and other donations were received, and disbursed to the destitute. 

But no sooner was the news of the calamity disseminated abroad, 
than the most prompt and liberal contributions were made in the 
neighboring towns and cities, and some more distant parts of the 
country. Boston headed the list with the munificent gift of 
$24,315.25 ; Salem followed with $10,000, besides contributions 
of clothing; Charlestown gave $1,744. 55,t while many smaller 
places gave as largely in proportion to their means. Among the 
contributors, were the towns of Hingham, Waltham, Marlborough, 
Brighton, Attleborough (the latter to assist in rebuilding the Baptist 
church), and Medford. Dr. Spring, then pastor of the North 
church, made a tour to the South, travelling as far as Virginia, for 
the purpose of soliciting funds. Philadelphia responded nobly, 
appointing twenty committees to canvass the city, and solicit sub- 
scriptions, which resulted in raising for the sufferers here $13,000. 
Part of this was also appropriated to the express purpose of rebuilding 

* It was distinctly seen at Amherst, N. H., and at Attleborough, Mass., thirty 
miles beyond Boston. 

f Of this, $150 was from the firemen there, to their brethren here. 


the Baptist church ; the Rev. Mr. Peak, the pastor, having also 
visited the citj, and successfuUj urged the necessities of that society. 
A Moravian Society in Pennsylvania added sixty dollars to the 
funds forwarded from that State. 

One of the most pleasant and useful contributions was made by 
the Shaker communities of Enfield and Canterbury, N. H., which 
consisted of five wagon loads of furniture, bedding, clothing and 
food, well selected, and possessing, therefore, more than their 
intrinsic value to the persons whose daily and hourly wants were 
thus opportunely supplied. On their Avay to Newburyport, the 
person having these goods in charge, was solicited to sell some arti- 
cles ; the reply was characteristic, and prevented a repetition of the 
request : " These goods are not for sale, friend, but if thou art a suf- 
ferer, take freely what thou needest." 

Nor should the liberality of our OAvn citizens to their more unfor- 
tunate neighbors remain unrecorded. Mr. William Bartlett gave 
three thousand dollars, and Mr. Moses Brown fifteen hundred dollars, 
while others of less fortune contributed as their means permitted. 

Subsequently Newburyport had an opportunity of repaying, in 
part, this debt of humanity, to other sufferers by fire. What they 
could, they rendered to Portsmouth in 1813, when a fire of almost 
equal extent as that which made a ruin of Newburyport, desolated 
that pleasant town. This fire occurred on the 22d of December, 
and the Portsmouth Annahst says : " Many citizens of Newburyport 
and other towns hastened to our assistance ; Newburyport detached 
eighty or ninety men, who guarded the town the succeeding night. 
A gentleman from Newburyport, in search of objects of distress, 
entered a house involved in flames, and at great hazard of his own 
life, rescued a child Avhom he heard crying for its mother, and 
brought it to a place of safety." In 1815, (July 28,) on the occa- 
sion of a destructive five in Petersburg, Va., nearly seven hundred 
dollars were collected here, and forwarded for the sufferers. In 
October, 1823, between five and six hundred dollars were collected 
in town, for the sufferers by fire in Wiscasset, and Alna, Maine. 
In 1830, over three hundred dollars Avere contributed by seven of 
the churches, for the town of Gloucester ; and in 1831, nearly two 
hundred dollars were given by three of the churches to Fayette ville. 
In 1836, about three hundred and fifty dollars were made up for 


Charlesto\Yn ; and to Fall River, in 1843, Newbmyport gave in 
money, clothing, &c., nearly one thousand dollars ; and to Nan- 
tucket, in August, 1846, over eleven hundred dollars, and six boxes 
of clothing. But it "was not within the ability of Newbui-yport to 
give as largely as she had received, or as she would have done, had 
not this untimely blight fallen upon her fortunes. 

An unfortunate but perhaps necessary rule, was observed in the 
distribution of the money thus generously contributed by the country 
and our own citizens. No person received any appropriation who 
had property remaining of the value of five thousand dollars. This 
looked reasonable, and was perhaps as satisfactory a rule of pro- 
ceedure as could be adopted at the time. Yet looking back from 
our present stand-point, with all the results of that disastrous year 
before us, we cannot doubt that had the whole amount of money 
thus collected, been loaned to some half dozen of the most enter- 
prising business men, possessing five thousand dollars or upwards, 
and by thus addmg to their capital, encouraging them to renew busi- 
ness and inspiring them with the hope of eventually making good 
their losses, it would have been better for the town, and better for 
the poorer class who received it, by enabling these capitaHsts to give 
them profitable and permanent employment long after the pittance 
supplied them was exhausted ; instead, as the event proved, 
creating a class who just managed to live on the remnant of the 
property they had saved, but with no surplus which they dared risk 
in the most inviting speculations. 

To this class is Newburyport principally indebted for that blight 
which appeared to settle on every subsequent effort to retrieve her 
misfortunes. These fell into the habit of condemning or discour- 
aging every plan that involved any outlay of capital, or in which 
were any elements of risk, and thus exerted a depressing influence 
on the more ambitious and enterprising. The class was by no means 
small ; and those acquainted -with the history of the town for the 
twenty years subsequent to the " great fire," Avill acknowledge 
the truth of this picture. Newburyport has been from that time, 
almost without cessation, the prolific exporter of young men. How 
else do we account for the great number of Newburyport youth 
annually exUed, and scattered over the Union in eUgible and profit- 
able situations, — from Boston to New Orleans, and from New York 


to the Mississippi ? True, the restrictions upon commerce, and the 
war which followed, had their share in producing this eflfcct ; but other 
towns, similarly situated, recovered in a few years the business then 
lost. And somewhat later, the increased obstructions upon the river 
bar, with the larger class of vessels demanded by the freighting 
trade, were obstacles serious and potent ; but either or all of these 
combin'ed, would not so permanently and thoroughly have depressed 
the community, had a majority of them retained the spirit of enter- 
prise which they once possessed. 

The selectmen offered a reward of one thousand dollars for the 
discovery of the incendiary who had set the fire on the 31st of 
May, and the town appointed a committee, for the express purpose 
of ferreting out the miscreant, but both failed, and the perpetrator 
remained undiscovered. A lad was arrested in July, who confessed 
to setting two or three barns on fire, but persisted in denying all 
knowledge of the origin of the " great fire." 

In the mean time, the affaij: of the Little Belt and its fatal encounter 
with the United States frigate President, prepared the minds 
of at least the southern section of the Union, for war ; and it was 
immediately seized upon by the British as an excuse for new captures. 
The brig Hannah, Captain Dennis of Newburyport, from Christian- 
sand, for Russia, was seized by the British sloop'-of-war Fawn, and 
sent into Yarmouth, England, and the " Alert," of Newburyport, 
Captain William Nichols, from Bordeaux, was boarded by the British 
man-of-war, Semiramis, soon after leaving port ; several hands were 
put in her, and she was ordered to Plymouth. But Captain Nichols 
was not disposed to submit without an efibrt to save his vessel ; when 
off Ushant, he with his men rose on the British seamen, and regained 
possession of the brig ; they battened down four of the men, and sent 
the rest adrift in the jolly boat. But unluckily the " Alert " was 
soon after fallen in with by the British man-of-war. Vestal, Captain 
Berkley, and though Captain Nichols assured the English com- 
mander "that he had been boarded by the Semiramis," Captain 
Berkley's suspicions were excited that all was not right, and he 
determined to carry them into Portsmouth. Captain Nichols, finding 
that there was no escape, acknowledged the whole story, and the 
men in the hold were set at liberty. 


These are but single specimens out of large numbers of similar 
occurrences. These continued depredations and insults called forth 
another embargo act of ninety days' duration, and finally a declaration 
of -war against Great Britain ; a declaration which the town of New- 
buryport, in common with the major part of New England, vehemently 
opposed, and to sustain which they persevermgly refused to do one 
particle more than their constitutional obhgations imposed ; forming 
in this a strong contrast to their conduct in the Revolutionary war, 
when the extremity of ability was the only hmit to their exertions. 
The ground of opposition to the war was principally this : that they 
believed the wrongs complauied of might have been redressed by 
other means, and also, that equal-handed justice required, that if an 
appeal in defence of our commercial rights was made to arms, that 
these should be directed against France as well as England. From 
the former, we had endured, and were stUl submitting to, the grossest 
violations of the laws of nations. Napoleon, in addition to his Berlin 
and Milan decrees, had lately issued orders authorizing French 
armed vessels to burn or sink any vessels pretending to be neutral,* 
laden mth any of the produce of England or her colonies, if they 
could not otherwise be brought in. In consequence of this decree, 
a large number of American vessels were destroyed or detained in 
the northern ports of Europe. At one time eighteen vessels were 
forty days at Elsmeur, not daring to leave, as the authorities m 
Denmark could insure them no protection at any distance over four 
miles from the coast. France being an ally of Denmark was the 
excuse offered to our minister, Mr. Erving, when he remon- 
strated. Thus, with equal aggravations on the part of France, which 
we-re permitted to pass with present impunity, our people felt that 
there was no greater need for war with Great Britain, but that if 
negotiations were ample means of remedy m the one case, they 
might be in the other ; and when, too, the disparity of our naval force, 
as compared with that of England, was considered, it is not surprising 
that even the heroes of the Revolution should have some fears of 
the result of a contest with Great Britain on Avhat was then her own 
element, as the coming conflict they saw must be. 

Great Britain, at the moment when Madison declared war against 

* Alison's Europe. 


her, had a naval establishment of 254 ships of the line, 247 frigates, 
183 brigs, besides cutters, armed yachts, and fire-ships, making a 
total of 1,042 vessels ; * -while the United States could boast of but 
10 frigates, 10 sloops, and 165 gun-boats, small affairs at best. 

A public fast was proclaimed in Massachusetts by the Governor, 
and the inhabitants of Newburyport appointed a committee, consisting 
of Messrs. Jeremiah Nelson, John Pierpont, f Joseph Dana, William 
Bartlett, and William Farris, to prepare an address to the Legis- 
lature. In this address, which was adopted at a full town meeting, 
they say, after expressing their opinion of the impolicy of the war, 
" We wish, therefore, firmly and decidedly to express to your Excel- 
lency and Council, that, under your command, we are ready to 
march for the purposes expressed in the Constitution, namely, ' to 
suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, and to enforce the laws ; ' 
and ive loill march under no other, * * * gome of us were 
born — and we have all lived — freemen. Our soil we will defend, 
but without the command of our lawful captain, [the Governor, as 
commander-in-chief of the militia,] conscripts or not conscripts, v)e 
will never stir an inch.^^ 

This was in anticipation of the requisitions to be made on the town 
to form the army proposed by the President. It was the general 
resolution of the people not to go out of Massachusetts to fight in 
this war. The address continues: " Should a tide from the south 
and west [referring to the war spirit in those sections] overwhelm 
us to sweep us away, it must rise higher than our mountains. Should 
civil commotion arise to destroy us, it must tear us from the bottom 
of our valleys ; for rather than that our blood should mingle with the 
St. Lawrence, or cement the walls of Quebec, every valley shall be 
the pass of Thermopylae, and Qvery height a Bunker Hill." 

At a town meeting the ensuing February, a memorial was adopted, 
addressed to the Legislature, in which the memorialists say : " We 
are called, in common with our fellow-citizens of the Eastern States, 
to consider whether the Republic still exists, or whether in the 
government under whose oppression we now suffer, we have any 
rights, privileges, and interests, worth a struggle to maintain. 

* Steel's List for July, 1811, 

f Reverend John Pierpont, of Boston, then a resident of Newbiu'vport, 
13 ■ • 


Tliousands of oui- hardy and intrepid mariners have been compelled 
to quit their country and seek employment in foreign nations. The 
debt already incurred exceeds the -whole debt of the United States 
at the close of the Revohxtionary war. The late act interdicting 
commerce between citizens of the same State, thereby depriving 
the people of necessary supplies, violates the Constitution, vests 
despotic poAver in the President, and raises up petty despots in every 
seaport. It imposes Avanton restraints Avhich are calculated to in-itate 
to resistance, or to make slaves of us all. 

•■' We therefore pray your Honorable Body to devise constitutional 
means to restore our right of intercourse hy water; and we, the 
people of Newburyport, solemnly pledge ourselves to your Honorable 
Body and our fellow-citizens, to support with our lives and fortunes 
such measures as shall be adopted by you for the redress of our 
grievances, and in defence of our rights, and to be prepared at a 
moment's warning to obey the call of duty and our country." 

With these sentiments, we are not surprised to find that the town 
subsequently refused to pay the soldiers drafted for the war any 
additional bounty to induce their voluntary enlistment. Many of 
the Federalists were even opposed to the fitting out of privateers, 
the only way in which the town might reasonably hope to turn the 
war to profit. But all were not of this opinion, and the summer of 
1812 saw quite a fleet of vessels cleared from Newburyport, "bound 
on a cruise." 

One of the most successful of these privateers was the brig 
Decatur, Captain William Nichols, formerly master of the Alert, 
taken by the Vestal and carried into Portsmouth. On the 25th of 
Jn\y he took the brig " Elizabeth," and also captured the British 
barque, " Duke of Savoy," which .he brought to Newbmyport. 
Starting on a new cruise the 4th of August, he took, on the 23d, the 
brig " Thomas," in ballast, two guns and thirty men ; on the 26th, 
the " Devonshire," laden with fish and oil ; on the same day, the 
" Concord," on board which he put twenty prisoners, and ordered 
her to Halifax, as a cartel ; on the 30th, took the brig " Hope," in 
ballast — took out the men and burnt her ; same day, took the 
" William and Charlotte," with five hundred tons of oak timber, on 
account of British government. She was armed, mountmg four sLx- 
pounders ; ordered her to Newburyport. September 1st, fell in with 


the St. Thomas, of a homeward bound fleet of nineteen sail, under 
convoy of an eighteen-gun brig ; captured the ship " Diana, mount- 
ing ten nine and twelve-pounders, and having a cargo of rum, sugar, 
and coffee; ordered her to Newburyport. Same day took the brig 
" Fame," * with a cargo of rum and sugar ; ordered her to Newbury- 

port. September 6th, fell in with ship Commerce, Watts, master, 

from Demarara to Glasgow ; cargo, rum, sugar, cotton, and coffee, 
carrying fourteen nine and six-pounders, and armed with small arms. 
Commenced an action which continued about twenty-five minutes, 
when she struck, with the loss of her captain and three men killed 
and two wounded ; her masts, rigging, and hull much injured ; 
ordered her to Newburyport. 

In the course of this cruise, the Decatur had been to within a few 
leagues of the English channel, had been absent but two months, and 
brought home fifty-four prisoners, among them two masters and two 
mates, who were admitted to parole : the men were imprisoned, for 
safe keeping, but every indulgence compatible with their safety was 
granted them, by order of the collector of the port. 

In a subsequent cruise, the Decatur took the ship Neptune, Capt. 
Oldham, of and from London, bound to Rio, with brandy, wine, 
•watch-cases, jewelry and dry goods, and sent her into Portland, to 
which place, a pilot from this port went to bring her in. 

We 'have heard the extraordinary success of Captain Nichols 
ascribed to a peculiar and original mode of naval tactics which he 
adopted ; the first rule of which was, when engaged Avith a a ship, 
to order some trusty men, good marksmen, to " keej) the helm of the 
enemy clear. ''^ The helmsmen thus being successively picked oft", the 
men became afraid to take up the fated position, and the vessels thus 
becoming unmanageable, more readily fell a prey to their shrewd and 
brave antagonist. 

The Decatur was finally captured by the British frigate Surprise, 
of thirty-eight guns ; a new vessel, Sir Thomas Cochrane commander, 
the Decatur being her first prize. She fired during the action, forty 
small arms, and seventeen eighteen-pound shot, kilhng one man and 
wounding several ; Mr. J. Foot, of this tOAvn, having a leg shot away. 

*jThis and the ship Diana were retaken by the British after the Deoatur 
left them. 


Captain Nichols had just before his capture taken three prizes, two 
of which he sent to France to be sold, and one home. 

The Decatur was carried into Barbadoes, January, 1813, where 
there was already a large number of American prisoners. Here 
Captain Nichols was admitted to parole, until the " Vestal " arrived 
at Bermuda, when he was recognized by her commander as the 
recaptor of the "Alert," and through Captain Berkley's influence, 
he was arrested and placed in close custody, on board a prison-ship, 
where, to the eternal infamy of Berkley, he Avas confined in a 
pen or cage, built on the quarter-deck, but seven feet long, and five 
wide, for the space of thirty-four days, without being allow^ed commu- 
nication with any one, except his guard. On the 23d of April, he 
was, without previous notice, removed ]to the Tribune Frigate, which 
soon after sailed to the leeward islands, to join a convoy for England, 
where he was detained a prisoner some months, when he was ex- 
changed, and came to Boston in the ship " Saratoga" in September. 

The only reason assigned for the unusual and cruel treatment of 
Captain Nichols, was one which was most honorable to him — his 
having retaken the Alert, and his subsequent activity during the 
war. (He took in all twenty-eight prizes). Nothing daunted by 
the fortune of war which had made him for so many months an exile 
and a prisoner, Captain Nichols sailed in another privateer, called 
the Harpy, which also did good service. After a cruise of twenty- 
one days, she arrived at Portsmouth, laden with bale goods, which 
she had taken out of a ship belonging to a convoy dispersed on the 
Banks, which ship she manned out. On this cruise, she also took 
three others, two transport ships, one of them carrying twenty guns, 
the other unarmed, laden with brandy, flour, bread and dry goods, 
took her cargo, and manned her out ; the other was a schooner in 
ballast, Captain Bass, late of the "Liverpool-Packet" which was 
burnt. The Harpy brought in sixty-five prisoners, among whom was 
a major general, and other officers. She was twice chased by 
British frigates, but outsailed them. Her prize cargo was estimated 
to be worth ^300,000. If success is any evidence of skill or 
bravery. Captain Nichols could have had few equals among the pri- 
vateer commanders of that or any other period. 

Privateering not being so universally approved in this, as in the 
Revolutionary war, there was not the same freedom of narration in 


the public prints, of the success of privateers ; some left this port 
under other professions, but we have the names of several which 
were fitted out here with the avoAved purpose of taking whatever 
they could find. The schooner Yankee, Captain Stanwood, sailed 
in the summer of 1812, and on her second cruise, with Captain 
Pillsbury, was captured hi October, and sent into Barbadoes, where 
the crew were confined on board of a prison-ship, exceedingly 
crowded and uncomfortable, but, as appears by a letter, Avritten 
by one of the prisoners, dated March 10th, they were not stinted 
in food, as were those in some other prisons — their allowance 
being for twenty-four hours, "half a pound of good bread, half a 
pound of salt beef or pork, one pound of sweet potatoes, and as much 
water as they could drink." There Avas in all nearly six hundred 
American prisoners at Barbadoes. Some of them, feeling themselves 
neglected by the United States Government, shipped on board British 
vessels, hoping thus to get an opportunity of returning homo. The 
crews of the Decatur and Yankee were returned in the cartel ship 
Providence, July -SOth, 1813. 

The Manhattan was the first privateer fitted out in Newburyport ; 
she sailed in the summer of 1812 ; she took no prizes. The first 
letter-of-marque was the Argus, Captain Harry Parsons ; she sailed 
in March, 1813 ; she took three prizes, the first by stratagem. It 
bemg night. Captain Parsons hailed a vessel, which proved to be the 
London-Packet, and informed her master, that they had fallen in 
with the United States ship Argus, and ordered the English flag to 
be struck ; the order was immediately complied with, and the prize 
secured. The next prize was the brig Atlantic, which they manned 
out, but which they lost, she being retaken. The prisoners from 
this and the third prize were brought into Boston. The letter-of- 
marque, Antelope, which sailed in December, 1814, made no prizes ; 
she was sold into the merchant service, and was cast a^vay on 
Tuckanuck beach. The prizes taken, with the exception of those 
brought in by Captain William Nichols, were fcAV, and not of great 
value, and the accounts have not been accurately preserved ; even 
the Custom House records of this period are missing ; but all the 
losses were faithfully chronicled in the " Herald," the publisher of 
which was opposed to the war. 

The following are some of the captures made of vessels belonging 



to this port, or commanded by Newbiirjport men. The ship 
Moriarty, Captain Stickney, and the brig Jordan ; the sloop 
Fame, Captain Eaton, having a cargo of fish, was taken off the 
coast of Labrador ; the schooner James was captured, her cables 
and anchors taken out, and then released ; the ship Belleville, 
Captain Goodwin, and the brig Eos, Captain Samuel Nichols, were 
detained in England; the ship Abigail, Captain Johnson, was 
taken and carried into Halifax in November ; the ship Essex 
was taken and sent into Gibraltar about the 1st of January, 
1813 ; the privateer Bunker Hill, Captain Boddily, was taken, 
but escaped with the aid of the privateer Retaliation. In May 
of this year, the cartel ship Robinson, Captain Potter, brought 
home Captains John Wells of the brig Leader (or Leander,) 
Goodwin of the ship Belleville^ Samuel Nichols and John H. Tit- 
comb of the brig Eos, Thomas Buntin of the brig America, and 
several others belonging to Newburyport. The schooner Two 
Brothers, Captain Lovett, was captured, but released after a 
detention of a few hours. 

In 1814, the Tenedos, a British man-of-war, captured -a boat 
belonging to Captain John Pearson, with her cargo, and turned her 
into a tender, but afterwards gave her up. Mr. Richard P. Coffin 
Avas taken by a barge from the British ship Leander, and detained 
four hours and then released ; the lieutenant of the Leander telling 
him that it was not the intention of the British to molest this part of 
the coast. In June of this year. Captain Lufkin, of the schooner 
Ann and Elizabeth, was returned from Bermuda, whither he had 
been carried the December previous. A pilot boat of Captain 
John Somerby's was taken and made a tender to the British frigate 
Nymph. Other captures of more or less value were made, and 
two natives of Newburyport, prisoners of war, confined in Dart- 
mouth Prison, died there, as is shown by an official list of " deaths 
in the prison from 1813-15 ; " their names were Joseph Luckey and 
Joseph Perkins. 

In September of 1813, was launched from Merrill's ship-yard, in 
this town, the United States sloop-of-war Wasp,* named probably 

* In several naval histories which we have examined, the " Wasp " is repre- 
sented as belonging to Portsmouth. Willard's History of the United States 


in honor of the United States sloop of that name, whose gallant 
action with the "Frolic" had made her a favorite with the sup- 
porters of the war, and which was captured immediately after that 
engagement by the seventy-four gun ship the Poictiers. 

The builder of the " Wasp," Mr. Orlando Merrill, still lives in 
this city, and is the same who built the United States ship Pick- 
ering, in 1789. The eighty-second anniversary of Washington's 
birthday, February, 1814, v/as celebrated by a ball on board the 
Wasp, then lying in the Mefrimac, shortly before she sailed on her 
first cruise. During the short time she was in service she was 
remarkably successful ; and what makes her actions particularly 
interesting, is the fact that her crew, when they sailed from this port, 
wei-e almost to a man " green hands," and their average age was 
but twenty-three years. That they were not very experienced 
seamen is clear, from the fact that nearly the whole crew were sea- 
sick for the first week out. Yet in three months and five days she 
captured and destroyed twelve British merchant vessels and their 
cargoes ; the thirteenth was sent into port. In addition to these 
exploits, her memorable actions with the Reindeer and Avon attest 
to the valor of her crew. Up to the close of the latter engagement 
she met with no considerable loss ; her bows, of solid oak, like the 
timbers of the old Constitution, proved impenetrable to the shot of 
the Eeindeer. The fate of the Wasp was for some time involved in 
mystery, but it finally became certain that she went down at sea, 
after a severe engagement with a British frigate, dui-ing the night 
on or about the fii-st of September, 1814. On that day she encoun- 
tered a convoy of ten sail, in charge of the " Armada," a seventy- 
four gun ship, and in the evening discovered four vessels on 
her bows, two on each side, and successively encountered two of 
them. The first struck after a severe engagement, but the second 
came up and prevented the Wasp getting possession of her prize. A 
few days after, a British frigate had an encounter with an American 
vessel, the name of which they could not tell, but which must have 

also leaves the same erroneous impression. An English paper, printed in 
1814, in recording the action with the Avon, makes the same mistake; which 
may have arisen from the fact that the Wasp went to Portsmouth to complete 
her stores before sailing on her cruise, but does not altogether exonerate the 
naval historians referred to from the charge of carelessness. 


been the Wasp, as there Avas no other United States vessel cruismg in 
that vicinity at the time. The engagement took place towards 
evening, it being calm weather, but in the morning the British 
frigate alone remained to tell the tale ; which makes it certain that 
the gallant little sloop fought till quite disabled, and then fell off 
and sunk with all her creAv. Two years after, when all hope of 
hearing tidings from her gallant commander or daring men was past, 
a government agent came to Newburyport to distribute to the heirs 
of her deceased officers and crew, $50,'000 prize money, and twelve 
months' wages, which was due them when the Wasp was lost. 

In the summer of 1812, political divisions had so far widened, 
that the 4th of July was separately celebrated by the two parties, — 
the " peace" party, under the name of " Disciples of Washington," 
and the "war" party, or Democrats. On the 10th of July, the 
latter party met under a call to " Kepublican citizens," and passed 
resolutions sustaining the war ; * while the sole instance of pubHc 
approval accorded to the brave men who carried out the designs of 
the Government, on the field or the ocean, by the Federalists, was 
the vote of the Washington Benevolent Society, expressing admira- 
tion of the conduct of Captain Isaac Hull; and even this was 
mingled with depreciatory remarks on the cause for which he fought, 
and lamentations that such bravery was so misapplied. 

A careful reticence pervades the columns of the leading news- 
paper of Newburyport, (which was opposed to the Administration,) 
during this period, of the domgs of the Democratic party in the 
town, practically ignoring their existence, though they possessed 
considerable strength in the first year of the war, as is shown by 
the votes thrown for Governor in 1812. But the next year, when 
Timothy Pickering was chosen Presidential elector, m Essex north, 
the " peace ticket," was carried by 696, to 136 for the " war " 

For greater security, some owners of American merchant vessels, 
asked and obtained Hcenses from the British, which protected them 
from seizure by the armed vessels of that power. The British naval 
force afloat, was often glad to be supphed with fresh provisions, &c., 
by our coasters, and for this and other objects granted these protective 

* Salem Register. 


licenses ; but in accepting them, a new peril was encountered. A 
vessel belonging to Newburyiport, the ship Aurora, having one of 
these licenses, was taken hy a Neiv York privateer, and sent into 
Rhode Island, where she was condemned by the decision of Judge 
Howell, of that district, on the ground " that by accepting a British 
license, she had denationalized herself." Upon hearing this 
decision, one individual belonging to this port, destroyed his license, 
and was within a few hours seized by a British cruiser and detained 
because he had none. Thus vessels of small capacity were eiFec- 
tually prevented from venturing out to sea ; the coasting business 
was cut up, root and branch. 

In the winter of 1813-14, all the Newburyport coasters in Boston 
were hauled up and stripped, the collector refusing to give them a 
clearance. Up to the 14th of February, 1814, there were but two 
arrivals at this port. Dry goods and other articles of quick consump- 
tion, were brought from Boston principally by wagons, of which a 
regular freighting line was established, their arrival and departure 
being duly chronicled by the jocose editor of the Herald, in the form 
of " ship news," being duly headed "arrivals," " clearances," and 
" disasters," &c. 

In obedience to general orders issued to the militia of the State, 
alarm posts were estabhshed in the town, at which the companies 
were to assemble on the prospect of any immediate danger, and in 
case of invasion, those nearest were to toll a bell ; on which the 
militia men were to appear, perfectly armed and equipped. One of 
these alarm posts was in Essex street, opposite where the selectmen's 
room then was. Many British armed vessels were from time to 
time seen hovering on our coast, and one, the Majestic, a razee, con- 
tinued watching at the harbor for some time before the Wasp put to 
sea, and while she was lying at Horton's wharf, where she had for 
company, two of Jefferson's gun-boats,* numbers Eighty-one and 
Eighty-three. It was supposed that the Majestic had in view, the. 
capture of the Wasp and these boats, but she finally made off with- 
out crossing the bar. It was rumored in town that she had landed 
a party of thirty men at Plum Island, and tried to bribe the keeper 

* Built by Stephen Coffin, of this town. They carried one long twenty-four 
pounder, a twelve-pound carronade, and were calculated for sixteen men. 


of the lights to pilot her up to to^yn, but if there Avas any truth in 
the storj, the effort was a failure. 

An eastern coaster was soon after chased into the river by a 
British privateer, (on the 11th of September,) but the guns at 
Plum Island fort being brought to bear on her, she sheered off with- 
out accomplishing her object. 

A respectable force was stationed at Plum Island, the Washing- 
ton Light Guards volunteering for this service, in place of the 
drafted guard, where they maintained regular camp exercises ; the 
Newburyport regiment of militia, was also actively employed. The 
disposition to organize for the defence of the town was universal, 
while the citizens were almost as unanimous not to eno-acre in 
aggressive expeditions. One hundred and twenty citizens who were 
exempt by age from military service, organized themselves into an 
independent infantry company, under Captain Ab. Wheelwright, and 
Lieutenant Amos Pearson. 

The firemen, also, who were legally exempt, formed themselves 
into two companies of sLxty or seventy men each, and armed and 
equipped, offered their services to the town ; they were under the 
command of Captains Benjamin Lord and Eliphalet Brown. Other 
exempts under forty-five, enlisted in Captain Perkins's company, 
having chosen for Lieutenants, Nicholas Johnson, Jr., and Ebenezer 
Moseley, Esq. The list of one company, afterwards designated as 
the Silver Greys, embraced the names of one hundred and ten indi- 
viduals, a large proportion being men of wealth and standing in the 
community. They met for military exercise once a week, each 
member being provided with " a good musket, bayonet and belt, 
cartridge-box, and twenty-four pounds of ball cartridges made to his 

A;n observatory, furnished with a telescope, was erected on the 
high ground called Lunt's hill, near the head of South street, for 
the purpose of watching the movements of vessels off the coast. 
The fire companies were for a time posted on Plum Island turnpike, 
near the bridge, where they erected a temporary battery, intending 
to defend the passage to the town, if a landing was effected on Plum 
Island, but fortunately no such attempt was made. Indeed, it 
seemed the policy of the British to spare New England, on account 
of her opposition to the war, and to expend their strength at the 


south, where it was more ardently supported. It was thought pru- 
dent, however, to associate a large committee with the selectmen, to 
devise and carry out proper measures of preparation for attack and 
defence. The following are the names of the committee : 

William Bartlett, Esq., Captain Mich. Titcomb, Jr., 

Mr. Abner Wood, Major Abram Perkins, 

Captain Thomas M. Clark, Colonel Ebenezer Moseley, 

Captain Nich. Johnson, Mr. Joseph Williams, 

Mr. Jacob Gerrish, Captain WilUam Russell. 

It will not do to omit all mention of another company, formed 
during this period, most of whom, it is believed, outlived their attach- 
ment to it. This was the " Sea Fencibles," and was composed princi- 
pally of shipmasters, and others who had been thrown out of 
employment, and otherwise pecuniarily injured by the war and the 
previous restrictive policy of the Administration ; they were, in every 
sense, a perfect specimen of the pure New England Federalism of 
1814, and adopted a flag, which told as plainly as bunting could, 
their sentiments ; bearing as it did on its field, the insignia of but jive 
States. They took their turn in performing fatigue duty at Plum 
Island, to which place they were accompanied in October, by the 
selectmen and the committee of defence, where they planted their 
standard, naming the station " Fort Phillip " in honor of the 
Lieutenant Grovernor, when a New England salute was fired, (five 
guns,) and an address from the parapet of the fort was made, by 
Captain Thomas Cary. The standard borne by this company, was 
presented to them by the ladies of Newburyport, A gun-house 
erected for their use, afterAvards passed into the hands of the New- 
buryport Artillery Company. 

Ordnance and musket had been furnished to the town by the 
State, the batteries on Plum Island and Plum Island turnpike had 
been erected under the direction of State ofiicers. After the peace 
the ordnance and muskets were returned to Boston, and the buildings, 
utensils, &c., sold at auction, and the proceeds paid over to the 
agent of the Board of War.* The fort on Plum Island was soon 
after washed away. 

In the summer of 1814, when the news of Napoleon's abdication 

* Town Recordfi. 


was received, the success of the allies Avas celebrated in Newbury- 
port by displays of flags on the shipping, the ringing of all the 
bells in the town, (except that belonging to Mr. Giles's* meeting 
house, the second Presbyterian,) and the firing of a grand royal 
French salute of twenty-one guns, and at sunset a New England 
salute of five guns. The Town Hall, Observatory, and other 
buildings, were brilliantly illuminated in the evening, and trans- 
parencies, with appropriate mottoes, were exhibited ; and all the 
demonstrations of joy manifested which usually accompany welcome 
public news. There were many who dissented from the propriety 
of these proceedings, but they attempted no public counter 

* Some wicked wit suggested that it " was not sound, which was the reason 
of its not playing an accompaniment to the majority." But Mr. Giles was 
too consistent in his political opinions to sanction what he did not approve, 
though standing alone among the clergy here in his support of the Admin- 

From the Salem Register, we learn that " on the Fourth of July, 1809, the 
Rev. Mr. Giles, of Newburyport, delivered an oration before the Democrats of 
Salem, who subsequently presented to him a handsome service of plate," 



On the proclamation of peace between Great Britain and the 
United States, extravagant Avere the rejoicings in Newburyport ; 
the public buildings and many private ones "were illuminated, flags 
again floated from the mast-iiead of the vessels,* a Federal 
salute was once more heard from the eighteen-pounders of the 
" Sea Fencibles," and on some of the public buildings the united 
flags of the United States and England were seen. 

But with the return of peace did not reappear the anticipated 
prosperity. Taxes were heavy, and duties were laid on so many 
articles of domestic manufacture, for the purpose of raising a 
revenue, as to make the risk of manufacturing great, and the certain 
profits small. And though Newburyport despatched the first ship 
to Calcutta which sailed from the United States after the peace, 
which ship (the Indus) brought home the first news of her arrival 
out,f the omen of successful rivalsliip failed ; the days of her 
commercial prosperity were apparently numbered. 

The success of the alUes in Europe, though celebrated by the 
Federal party in Newburyport as a public bl'essing, was in fact one 
of the fatal blows given to the prosperity of the town. Wliile the 
Great Agitator reigned unchecked in Europe, his mania for 

* On the shipping which was hauled up during the war, inverted tar barrels or 
kegs were placed over the tops of the masts, to protect them from the weather ; 
these were facetiously and sarcastically called by the sailors " Madison's night- 

t Newburyport Herald. 


anmliilating the commerce of Great Britain, and the measures he 
took for carrying that object into effect, threw all the advantages 
of his gigantic plan, called the " continental system," into our 
hands ; and if the risk to our commerce, under his unjustifiable 
decrees, was great, the profits, in the long run, were much 
greater. Hence, on the restoration of the Bourbons to the 
throne of France, and consequent peace between England and the 
Continent, the maritime nations of the east resumed their natural 
rights on the highways of the ocean, and in the proportion with 
which they thus availed themselves, was our own share diminished, 
and our monopoly of the profits entirely broken up. 

There was no longer room for the growth of all our Atlantic" 
seaports, and the shipping business naturally concentrated to a few 
points ; Boston, New York and New Orleans were hereafter to be 
the great marts of foreign exchange. ^Yhn,t Newbury port and the 
smaller seaports retained, must now be secured by force of enter- 
prise and deteimination, not favoHng circumstances. Reasons 
have been elsewhere offered in these pages for the failure of 
Newburyport at this critical juncture ; she stood still, and saw 
her old trade dying out, with but feeble efforts to resuscitate it. 
The result was its irretrievable loss. 

We would not imply that all was surrendered without a struggle, 
but the fortunes of the great capitaHsts, with a few exceptions, had 
been swallowed up by the sea, devoured by the fire, or decayed by 
inaction during war ; and enterprises which would once have 
secured the sympathies and aid of hundreds, were now left to 
languish in the hands, and hang as a dead weight on the energies 
and purses, of those who still looked for the renovation of the town. 

One of the first projects was to secure the aid of the Government 
in erecting piers and beacons, for the greater safety of the naviga- 
tion of the river ; and for the purpose, a petition was presented to 
the State Legislature for leave to cede the land to the United 
States. The piers were built, but foreign vessels were not thus to 
be baited to our wharves. 

Looking in another du-ection, up the river, it was seen by some 
of oui" shrewdest merchants, that a valuable inland trade might be 
secured, were the obstructions to its free navigation removed or 


avoided, by turning its bkie Avaters into a canal. In times past, 
at favorable seasons of the year, much timber and firewood had 
found its way to Newburyporfc on rafts down the river ; and why, if 
navigation was made easy and secure, should not country produce 
reach us by the same means ? The most feasible plan seemed a 
canal ; and for the purpose of securing this, jSIessrs. Wm. Bartlett, 
Moses BroAvn and John Pettengill obtained an Act of Incorporation, 
in the spring of 181G, as " Proprietors of an Association for 
Clearing and Locking the Falls in the river Merrimac." For several 
years they dragged along this enterprise by the strength of their 
names and means, and subscriptions were obtained in aid of the 
object to a considerable amount. At one time there was $80,000 
subscribed, but they were not sustained with the energy and 
determined perseverance of which the project was worthy. The 
Middlesex canal drew the favor of the Legislature from the object, 
and directed a large portion of the inland trade to Boston, which 
Nature intended should be ours. 

If this work had been carried out as proposed, through Rock- 
ingham County, New Hampshire, to Concord, and by way of Exeter 
river connecting Avith Portsmouth, passing, as it would on the first 
named section of the route, through Chester, Candia, Allenstown 
and Deerfield, a Avell-timbered country, the Avhole difiiculty after- 
wards experienced by the town in procuring supplies of wood 
required by our ship-builders, and even for fuel, Avould have been 
avoided, and a cheap and direct supply have been always attainable. 

This scarcity of fuel is indicated in the many votes of the town, 
that wood coasters, Avho Avere deterred from entering our harbor by 
reason of the cost of pilotage, should have this tax on their profits 
reduced, by the totvn paying the pilots " six cents per cord for every 
cord brought over the bar." * 

But there w^as still another resource Avhich promised a reasonable 
reward to adventui-e, — the Fisheries. When the first colonists at 
Plymouth, (1620,) sought a patent from King James, one argument 
they used was, the profit which would accrue to the crown from 
the prosecution of the fisheries. In the early records of the 
"Company of Massachusetts Bay," Ave find that "fishermen" 

* Town Records. 


were one of the very few classes of persons exempt from "training." 
Wlien the treaty of peace was under consideration in 178o, Massa- 
chusetts desired no 2^^<^<^^ which would not secure to the United 
States the freedom of the fishing grounds. In token of their 
determination always to maintain their right to them, they affixed 
the image of a cod to the walls of the State House, which still 

In the winter of 181G-17, the Mercantile Company* of New- 
buryport was formed for the purpose of prosecuting the bank 
fishery, and in the spring of 1817 the company fitted out their first 
vessels in this comparatively new business. It was rather a poor 
year for fish, yet after paying the interest of the fund, $50,000, 
the net profits were estimated at about twelve per cent. ; making 
the income for the year, on the capital employed, eighteen per cent. 
The number of sail employed in this business was sixty, all schooners, 
with the exception of one brig and four sloops, making an aggregate 
tonnage of 2,874 ; the largest of these vessels was the Despatch, 
of 118 tons, and the smallest, the Black Bird, of only 8 tons. 

The fisheries have remained a permanent interest of Newbury- 
port; yet, for some years they have not been very profitable, 
for the reasons that the fish are diminishing on their old 
haunts, making good fares more uncertain ; and within two or 
three years there has been a reluctance to engage in them, on 
account of liability to interruption from British cruisers. But the 
most powerful inducement to abandon the business, is the fact, that 
that interpretation of the bounty laws which refuses a bounty on 
any fish but cod, has obtained here. 

During the war a direct tax was laid on various articles, for the 
purpose of raising a revenue, but which fell so heavily on the 
industrial interests of the country as to paralyze manufacturing 
interests, and produce a complete stagnation in trade. Heavy 
duties were laid on carriages, and to save this tax, many persons 
unhinged their vehicles ; but this experiment did not save them 
from the duty being levied. Retail dealers in wines, spirits and 
foreign merchandise, were forced to pay a license tax, the amount 

* Private and independent enterprise had been before them in this business. 
See " Tonnage Table. 


of the tax being proportioned to the number of inhabitants to the 
square mile in which the store licensed was located. For a district 
containing over one hundred families, the " retailer's license tax" 
was twentj-five dollars. 

From April 13th, 1815, duties were laid on an immense variety 
of goods ; there were taxes on nearly all articles of luxury, and 
licenses were required for the conduct of many branches of business 
hitherto unrestricted. There was a duty on iron, candles, hats, 
umbrellas, parasols, paper, playing and visiting cards, saddles, 
bridles, boots, beer, porter, aiid distilled spirits, cigars, snuff, tanned 
and dressed leather ; land w^as taxed, chaises were taxed, gold and 
silver Avare, &c. These taxes it was found exceedingly difficult to 
collect. On the 6th of August, 1817, there were published the 
names of one hundred and ninety-five persons in this town who 
refused or had neglected to pay the duties levied, and on whose 
estates attachments were laid for the same ; additional lists were 
from time to time given, until the most objectionable duties were 
removed, and a change in the mode of collection authorized, (1823.) 

The summer of 1817 was enlivened by the visit of President 
Monroe. At a town meeting held in June, a Committee of Recep- 
tion was appointed, of which Ebenezer Mosely, Esq., was chairman. 
The town of Newbury was invited to unite in the reception 
ceremonies. The arrangements were made for the reception of the 
President, on Thursday, the 10th of July, but some untoward delay 
prevented his arrival until the following Saturday. A deputation 
of the field and staff officers went as far as Ipswich to meet 
him, while an escort of cavalry, under Colonel Jeremiah Coleman, 
the Honorable Bailey Bartlett, Sheriff of Essex County, and suite, 
the Committee of Arrangements, with a concourse of citizens in 
carriages, awaited his arrival on the lower green, (Old Town.) 

Here the President was briefly addressed by Colonel Mosely, in 
behalf of the town, when the procession proceeded through Newbury 
to High street. On reaching the Newburyport line, then South 
street,* the President was saluted by a peal of bells, and the " roar 

* The name of this street has recently been changed to Bromjield, in honor 
of JoHX Bromfield, Esq., who left $10,000 to the town, for the purpose 
of " improving and ornamenting the streets by setting out shade trees," &C. In 



of cannon from Captain CoflBn's well disciplined corps of artillery." 
A multitude of citizens had gathered at this point, and his welcome 
was most enthusiastic. The procession moved up High street to the 
mall, where the Washington Light Infantry company, under Captain 
Balch, awaited the procession. Here the President passed under a 
civic arch, decorated with flowers, and along each side, were 
arranged, forming a living avenue, one thousand eight hundred and 
fifty children, chiefly pupils of the public schools of the town and 
vicinity. From the front of the Court House, hung a flag which 
had been borne in the battles of the • Revolution. The President 
was then conducted to the " Wolfe Tavern," where a dinner Avas 
provided. Here was another concourse of people, and being fairly 
within the town, and its guest, another address was made to the 
President by the chairman of the Committee of Arrangements. At 
the dinner, General Swift presided, and many distinguished guests 
were present, among whom were General Dearborn, Brigadier Gen- 
eral Miller, General Brickett, Commodore Bainbridge, Mason 

and suite. Doctor Waterhouse, clergymen, and others. During 
the dinner, a portrait painter procured, unseen, the opportunity of 
sketching the President as he sat at table, and secured of him an 
excellent and most life-like portrait. After dinner, the President 
proceeded, without escort, to New Hampshire. 

Those whose memories can carry them back to the winter of 
1816-17, will not fail to recollect the excitement occasioned by the 
rumored highway robbery and assault committed upon the person of 
Major Elijah P. Goodrich, an individual belonging to Maine, then 
residing near the Essex Merrimac bridge. From the condition in 
which the major was found, stripped, mutilated, and deprived of 
his senses, it was readily believed that* a most outrageous and 
dangerous crime had been committed on the public highway. On 
recovering his reason, the major stated, " that he had just reached 
the brow of the. hill, on the south-westerly side of the chain-bridge, 
when he was beset by three men, pulled from his horse, dragged 
over a fence into a field, and there beaten and robbed of every 
thing valuable in his possession." A pistol-shot wound was found 

Marcb, 1851, a committee of five persons was appointed " to receive and ex- 
pend the interest of the donation, according to the ■will of the donor." 


on the left hand, and his arm was stabbed with a knife " taken," 
as he said, "from his own pocket." The community was greatly 
excited by the additions to and reiterations of Goodrich's story, 
especially as an attempt had been made, the same night, to break 
open a store on Cornhill. The major offered a reward of $300 for 
the discovery of the robbers and_ assassins. But the town speedily 
filled up a subsci'iption paper, by which a reward of $1,000 was 
offered for the detection of the villains ; and the advice was 
publicly given that " until this gang of desperadoes was arrested, 
citizens, necessarily out in the evening, should go armed; and the 
proposal was made to double the number of watchmen employed by 
the town. Several persons were arrested on suspicion, but nothing 
was proved against them. As inquiries multipHed upon the major, 
and it became necessary to particularize, he stated, " that while 
being robbed, he counterfeited death, Falstaff fashion, for fear of 
meeting with the reality, until two of them had quitted him and 
gone to some distance, when he suddenly and valiantly sprung upon 
the other, and overpowered him for a time, but that finally this third 
man escaped." At last, the major so far forgot the consistency 
necessary to fiction, as to accuse a worthy and upright citizen of 
the town, and a personal friend of his own, of aiding and abetting 
in the robbery. 

During the examination which followed, among the other efforts 
used to solve this mysterious affair, an appliance of the Dark Ages 
was brought into use. Search was made far and near for some 
one skilled in the use of the divining rod. And now behold ! in 
the nineteenth century, and in the State of Massachusetts, a scene 
that should have been reserved for the Middle Ages, and some dark 
corner of the earth, where the light of science had never penetrated ! 
A little, withered old man, ycleped a wizard, armed with a twig of 
witchhazel, with the mystic OBI* wound on the larger end, was 
actually seen traversing the highways of Essex north, and seeking, 
under supernal and infernal guidance, the hurled gold which the 
credulous still believed these oblivious robbers had concealed some- 
where in the neighborhood of the bridge. But the charm would 
not work, the rod would not dip, and the treasure remained 
undiscovered, as still did the robbers. 

*A piece of leather dipped in the ashes of a witch. 


And thus, after months of excitement and alarm to the timid, 
having exliausted legal and supernatural means for the- discovery 
of the perpetrators of this high-handed outrage, the conviction 
forced itself on the minds of the community, that no robbery had 
been committed, no assault perpetrated, and that Major Elijah P. 
Goodrich was but the synonyme for treachery, imposture and 
swindler. The man had thus robbed and mutilated himself for the 
sake of avoiding some pecuniary obligations, and for months 
managed to deceive and impose on the public, and keep the proof, 
if not the suspicion, of the deed from himself. It is needless to 
add that he soon removed from this part of the country, carrying 
with him nothing but the contempt and execration of the community 
he had so shamefully abused. 

In 1820 a convention was called for revising the Constitution of 
Massachusetts ; the delegates from Newburyport were the Hon. S. 
S. Wilde,* Hon. William B. Banister, Rev. John Andrews, Dr. 
Nathan Noyes, WiUiam Bartlett, Esq., and James Prince, Esq., all 
Federalists but Dr. Noyes and Mr. Prince, who were designated 
Republicans. One of the niost important amendments proposed at 
this convention, was a plan for enlarging the freedom of the indi- 
vidual, by a change in the management of religious bodies and paro- 
chial affairs. But some unacceptable clause in the drawing of the 
amendment, caused it to be rejected by the people ; and the full 
freedom they sought was not attained until 1834. In the same 
way, various other desirable propositions were lost, because linked 
with something which was not wanted. The people proved to have 
very clear ideas of their own political needs, and no conglomerate 
substitute, in lieu of the substance they desired, prepared by 
interested leaders, could find acceptance with them. This conven- 
tion sat fifty-SLX days. 

When the town, nineteen years later, was called to vote on an 
amendment to the Constitution of the State, removing the " property 
qualification" for voters for Senators, the yeas were given, 20G to 6 
nays, showing a state of feeling in the community, highly liberal, 
and practically Democratic. 

* Hon. Judge Wilde, now of Boston. 


. This year Maine Avas created a State, and admitted into the 
Union. The province of Maine had been purchased by the Massa- 
chusetts colony in 1677, of Sir Fernando Georges, for £1,250 ; it 
had thus remained, under the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, until 
this time. A reservation of certain lands was, however, made by 
Massachusetts, the claims to which have but recently been extin- 
guished. The sale of Maine lands, was a permanent source of 
income applied to the increase of the State School fund. 

A new phase of the town was now exbibited : the era of rapidly 
acquiring was past, and that of small savings was introduced ; 
economy was now the watchword of the town, which had previously 
been the centre of extended and munificent liberality. To save was- 
become a cardinal virtue, since to mahe was become an impossible 
one. One permanent and valuable institution arose out of this pros- 
tration of hope and ambition, the Savings Bank, which was first 
opened to the public on Wednesday, the 5th of April, 1820 ; the 
doors remained open but one hour between twelve and one, during 
which time twenty-four persons deposited four hundred and sixty- 
five dollars ; the deposits being principally made by mechanics, 
laborers, domestics, and for . minors. The next week there was 
deposited by twenty-five persons, one thousand three hundred and 
seventeen dollars ; one mechanic brought two hundred dollars, mostly 
in change, which he had saved little by little, and which had been 
lying an unproductive hoard upon his hands. The number of 
depositors and the amount placed in the institution, have gradually 
increased, until the trustees have at their disposal over one million 
of dollars. The value of such an institution cannot be overrated. 
Its existence has proved the turning-point in the character of many 
individuals and famihes, who have thus been enabled to preserve, 
not only the money there deposited, which would otherwise have been 
absorbed in unnecessary, and scarcely observable expenses, but of 
greater consequence still, it has encouraged haUts of temperance 
and frugality among that class to whom these virtues are of the 
first necessity in shielding them from self-induced, and therefore 
degrading poverty. The Savings Institution of Newburyport was 
established rather as a benevolent imdertaking, than with any vioAV 
to profits by the originators, which result is indeed excluded by their 


own by-laws ; which provide, " that none of the trustees shall 
receive any compensation for their services," no salary being 
attached to any office, but that of " treasurer, or such other officer 
as may be found necessary." 

In 1854 was incorporated the " Newburyport Five Cent Savings 
Bank," which extends the principles of the " Savings Bank," by 
oiFering facilities to children, to deposit for safe keeping the small 
sum of half a dime, and putting upon interest all deposits amounting 
to three dollars. The President of this institution is J. B. Morse, 
Esq. ; Secretary, Rev. D. P. Pike. 

Newburyport has always made good provision for its poor. In 
1816-17, so comfortable were the quarters for the town's poor found, 
that many idle and vicious persons chose rather to remain depend- 
ent and well fed, in the Alms House, than to make the necessary 
exertion to support themselves ; and the expenses of this depart- 
ment becoming thus exceedingly burdensome, a committee was ap- 
pointed in 1817 to ascertain what measures could be adopted to 
reduce them. In the winter of this year there were in the Alms 
House one hundred and three persons, and in other houses owned 
by the town, fifty-one who were partially supported, and one hun- 
dred and fifty other families who received occasional supplies of fuel, 
&c. Of the number in the Alms House, fourteen were above seventy 
years of age, seven were idiots, or partially insane persons, twenty- 
four were children, and thirty-three foreigners and transient persons ; 
twenty-five of the number were intemperate, or otherwise suffering 
from vice. In view of these facts, the committee suggested that a 
distinction should be made, and a more rigorous discipline adopted 
towards those Avho were criminal rather than unfortunate. 

Spinning had already been introduced into the women's depart- 
ment ; and the men were now variously employed in working on a 
farm and vegetable garden belonging to the town ,•■ and at times upon 
repairing the streets and highways. The introduction of this system 
had the desired effect of sifting out the idle and unworthy from the 
unfortunate poor, without detracting from the usual comforts of the 

In March, 1821, the town voted to erect for the better accommo- 
dation of the poor, a " three-story brick building on the south- 


easterly side of the old house," at an estimated cost of from twenty 
to twenty-five thousand dollars, which vote was carried out in the 
subsequent erection of the building, appropriated to their use at the 
present time. 

The next year the shambles of the itinerant butchers, which had 
occupied the space in the Market square, left vacant by the removal 
of the old meeting-house of the first church, were removed, and the 
present brick market-house was built, the hall of which, before the 
seats were put in, was occupied as a chair factory. 

The " Navigation Law," which went into efiect this year, (1820,) 
restricting vessels from bringing the produce of the British colonies 
to ports of the United States, or taking cargoes from here,* very 
injuriously afiected our shipping interest, as many vessels were 
engaged in the eastern trade, while the exorbitant duties imposed 
by France, and some other of the continental nations, on American 
goods and tonnage, tended greatly to depress maritime enterprise. 
France followed this mistaken policy to such an absurd length, that 
it amounted to an entire prohibition of intercourse. In September 
of 1820, the ship Jane, Captain John M. Miltimore, of Newbury- 
port, arrived at Bordeaux from Norfolk, and found, on arrival there, 
a new tonnage duty of eighteen dollars per tow,f to have paid which, 
w^ould have consumed the value of the vessel and her cargo. Cap- 
tain Miltimore took the wise, prompt, and decisive step of proceeding 
at once to Paris, and applying to the American Consul, and Mr. 
Albert Gallatin, then our Minister at the Court of St. Cloud, repre- 
senting to them the unfortunate position his vessel was in. Mr. 
Gallatin, though despairing of success, took up the subject, and laid 
the case before the Government. A favorable reply was received, 
and the duty in this case removed, and afterwards modified. 

* The origin of tlie custom, prevalent in many parts of New England, of 
eating salt fish for dinner every Saturday, is traced to these restrictions upon 
exports. The fish that was formerly destined to the West Indies, was system- 
atically and patriotically consumed for the benefit of the fishermen. 

t Commercial Reading Room News Book, November, 1820. 


In 1821, Judges Thatcher* and Wilde were appointed by the 
town a committee to report on the expediency of introducing the 
Lancasterian, or monitorial system of teaching into the public schools. 
Their recommendation in favor of the experiment was, during the 
next year, carried into execution, reducing the four male writing 
schools to two Lancasterian schools. The friends of this system 
were at the commencement peculiarly fortunate in the teachers 
selected to carry out the new plan ; and much of the success was 
fairly attributable to the tact and extraordinary exertions of " Master 
Coolidge,"t an experienced and devoted teacher; but with the 
introduction of new men, the monitorial system began to fail, and 
gradually fell into decadence, and in the course of a few years 
the advocates of the system found but slight support, and a gradual 
return to the old plan excited no united opposition. It was customary 
in these Lancasterian schools to give rewards to the best scholars. 
In the town expenses for the year 1825 ^ is this item : " Seventy- 
three dollars for rewards for Lancasterian scholars." 

To show that capitalists were not quite idle during this depressed 
period of the town's history^ there may be instanced the building of 
the Newburyport bridge, crossing the Merrimac from the foot of 
Summer street to the Salisbury shore, for which a charter was 
obtained in 1826, and which was opened for travel on the 1st Septem- 
ber, 1827. The cost of its erection was $70,000, the stock beuig 
divided into one thousand shares. Its construction was opposed by 
those interested in the iEssex Merrimac bridge, as it was anticipated 
that it would largely divert travel from the latter. The eflforts of 
its opponents were as ineflfectual as their fears were prophetic. The 
Newburyport bridge saved to travellers from Hampton, Portsmouth, 

* IIoQ. George Thatclier, a native of Biddeford, Maine, wlio resided in 
Newburyport for several years. 

fTown Records. 

X An African School, for colored children, was at this time supported. The 
few colored children now in the town are taught in the common public schools, 
bein"- also elip-ible candidates for the " Putnam Free School," no distinction 
bein'T observed on account of color. This class of the population has greatly 
diminished. A locality in the neighborhood of the old burying hill, where a 
number of colored families reside, and which was formerly more populous, is 
still called " Guinea." 


and the eastward, a circuitous ride of some three miles, landing 
them in the business centre of Newburyport, instead of three miles 
north of it. The first year the tolls amounted to ^2,783.63, and 
the next year they nearly doubled, being f 4,358.05. The present 
rate of tolls is equal to six per cent, on shares of ^43 par value. 

A factory for the production of hosiery* was also established about 
this time, (1825.) It kept in operation twenty looms, making from 
two to three hundred pair of stockings per week, and employing from 
forty to fifty operatives, chiefly females. 

In 1827, Edmund Bartlett, Esq., established a lace school, which 
contained at one time ninety pupils, Avho were first instructed in 
working lace, and then employed in its production, — a very oppor- 
tune enterprise, when so few sources were open to female labor. 
While the style of lace wrought continued in fashion, this employ- 
ment went far towards supporting many indigent families. 

Just after the termination of the Greek Revolution, 1830, an 
association was formed in this place for the purpose of establishing 
schools in G-reece. A primary school was commenced in Athens, 
from funds raised by the " Richmond Circle," and at a fair held in 
May, 1833, six hundred and fifty-nine dollars were raised in aid of 
this cause. 

From time to time various plans were devised for mitigating the 
evils arising from an indiscriminate sale of spirituous liquors in the 
town. One of the most novel plans was suggested in 1820, by a 
committee appointed by the town, "to consider the abuses of the 
liquor licenses," appointed at the request of Moses Brown, and 
others. On inquiry, the committee found that many poor persons, 
who had received clothing and other supplies from the town, were 
in the habit of exchanging these for hquor, and that some minors 
had actually committed thefts for the sake of obtaining the means 
of maintaining their credit at the bars of the retail liquor dealers. 
Under these circumstances, finding the poor-tax of the town thus 
improperly increased, and vice directly generated, the committee 

*In 1830 the American Institute awarded a diploma for hosiery made at 
this factory, and exhibited at the fair of that institution, held in New York in 
November. This ooncez'n, with the machinery, was sold at auction in 1833. 


recommended, "that the selectmen make out a list of all the common 
drunkards in the town, and have their names posted up in every 
shop licensed to sell liquor," with the explicit understanding that the 
license should be taken away if they furnished any such persons or 
youth with liquor. 

For several successive years after the organization of the Wash- 
ington Total Abstinence Society, the town granted them the free use 
of Market Hall for public meetings, on Sabbath evenings ; and in 
various other ways facilitated the movements of the temperance 
societies formed in the place, regarding the diffusion of temperance 
principles as a direct exterminator of poverty and idleness. 

The winter of 1820-21 was remarkable for the intensity and 
endurance of the cold. The Merrimac was frozen over to Black 
Hocks, and the vessels in the river were blockaded as effectually as 
if an armament opposed their egress. On the 26th of January, the 
temperature by different thermometers in town varied from 18° to 
20" below zero. A memorandum, entered in the journal of William 
G. White, Esq., reads: "The river has been closed for two days. 
This day, January 26th, (Friday,) multitudes have passed and 
repassed. One team of two yokes of cattle brought over a load of 
wood; others with hay, &c. You may travel with safety from 
Haverhill and above, down to the light-houses, [on Plum Island,] 
and so over to Black Rocks. This is the first time the river has 
been so completely closed since 1780." The opportunity was taken 
to measure the width of the river from two points. From the lower 
part of Ferry-way wharf to Salisbury shore, at low- water mark, the 
distance was found to be seventy-two rods ; and. from Brown's wharf 
to the opposite shore, ninety rods. Much damage was done by the 
cold. Many fruit trees were split by the frost, and several cattle, 
during the night, were frozen to death. For eleven weeks there was 
excellent sleighing ; when, during the first week in February, a sudden 
change in the weather took place, with rain and thaw. The mer- 
cury rose to 50°, making a difference of sixty-eight degrees in one 

In August of 1824, the town was called to participate m the 
general joy which pervaded the nation on the return of La Fayette 


to this country. At a town meeting held August 23d, the selectmen, 
with ten other gentlemen, were appointed a committee to make 
arrangements for his reception on his expected visit to the town. 
The usual military escort was provided, and much the same order of 
arrangements prepared as in the reception of Washington and 
Monroe ; but La Fayette's entrance occurring in the evening, and 
during a shower of rain, necessitated changes to suit the time and 
circumstances. The General made his entry, like his illustrious 
predecessors, Washington and President Monroe, over the Parker 
river bridge, and thence, through Oldtown, to High street, where he 
was saluted with national honors by the military, a signal-gun being 
fired from the summit of Oldtown Hill, informing the inliabitants of 
Newburyport of his arrival at the boundaries of the town, and as a 
timely intimation for them to illuminate their dwellings. 

James Prince, Esq., who now occupied the house formerly owned 
by Nathaniel Tracy, Esq., the host of President Washington on the 
occasion of Jiis visit, now offered the use of the same mansion to 
General La Fayette and his suite. The pleasure of the coincidence 
was increased from the fact that the same chamber which Washington 
occupied, with the bed and other furniture, had been retained in the 
mansion when it changed proprietors, and was now offered for the 
repose of La Fayette. 

In the morning, an hour after breakfast was devoted by the 
General to the reception of company, among whom he had the 
pleasui-e of welcoming an old companion-in-arms, Daniel Foster, 
Esq., to whom the General had presented a sword when the former 
held the rank of Serjeant in La Fayette's Select Corps of Lifantry, 
during the war of the Revolution. 

A procession had been planned for the morning, which, on account 
of the unfavorable state of the weather, was abandoned ; though the 
schools were paraded "the first fair day" after the General's 

The meals were prepared, and the tables arranged for the town's 
distinguished guest, by Mr. Prince Stetson, who kept a hotel on the 
corner of State and Temple streets. His son Charles, (now of the 
widely reputed firm of " Coleman & Stetson," proprietors of the 
Astor House, New York,) a lad of thirteen, acted as valet de cham- 
bre to the General. 


The settlement of the " Massachusetts claims " was long a subject 
of engrossing interest among the politicians of the day. The claims, 
thus designated, were demands on the General Government for 
reimbursement of certain moneys expended during the war of 1812, 
in the payment of soldiers, and defence of the State. These claims 
by Massachusetts were resisted on the part of the Government, on 
the ground that the Governor of the Commonwealth, Caleb Strong, 
had assumed the position "that the militia could not be called out 
without the consent of the Chief Executive of the State, with the 
advice and consent of the Comicil ; " and farther, that if consent 
Avas thus given, " they should be commanded by none other than 
State officers, excepting, always, the President of the United States." 
This position was sustained by the town of Newburyport in their 
several addresses to the Governor and Council in 1812 ; while the 
Secretary of War peremptorily declared, that unless the militia of 
Massachusetts was put under United States officers, the Govermuent 
would pay none of the expenses incurred by the State ; and on this 
question, issue was subsequently taken. 

Dui'ing the Presidency of James Monroe, the attention of Congress 
was particularly called to these claims, and a distinction was 
attempted to be made between the services of militia " patriot- 
ically and spontaneously rendered," and those which were not, by 
designating particularly the services of the Fifth Division of the 
Massachusetts Militia as of the former character. The President, 
also, in his message to Congress, February, 1824, recommended 
payment for " services actually rendered," but on the untenable 
ground that "the present Executive [Eustis] had abandoned the 
principle assumed by Strong, and therefore the Government could 
consistently settle the claims ; " thus making their payment depend- 
ent, not on the justice or injustice of the demand, but on the shade 
of political opinion entertained by the Governor who happened for 
the moment to occupy the chair of state. Of these claims, a portion 
was due to citizens of Newburyport. The whole amount claimed 
was about $400,000, of which $227,176.48 were admitted by the 
Secretary of War, in 1837, to be properly vouched, but none of 
which, up to this day, (1854,) has been paid. 

The militia, the object of so much soHcitude during the early 


history of the country, had long been faUing into disrepute ; a sys- 
tem adapted to the period of its organization, (1792,) when the 
population was comparatively small, the country sparsely settled, and 
the danger of invasion by no means remote, was an unwieldy, imprac- 
ticable and unnecessary body forty years later, when the population 
had increased to some fourteen milhons, the Government was 
firmly established, and the danger from foreign aggression reduced 
to its minimum. True, the militia system had been revised and 
patched up at intervals, but fundamental objections remained to it. 
One of these was the immense number of men which it assumed to 
hold in service ; and also the number of ^ays appointed for training, 
which being sufficient to prove expensive and burdensome, were also 
felt to be inadequate to the professed object in view, viz., the acquisi- 
tion of a perfect knowledge of military tactics. The greater inherent 
evil, however, was the destruction of military ardor and the true mili- 
tary spirit, which were extinguished by the system latterly adopted, 
of accepting a small annual tax, in lieu of actual service ; thus vir- 
tually exempting the Avealthier portion of the community, and by 
inference degrading the mihtia, by filling it-s ranks with men from 
that class of society who felt even a small money tax to be a 
burden, but who yet paid a heavier one by the consumption of their 
time in musters and trainings. The musters themselves \sere 
deemed by many, as so many occasions of ministering to vice and 
immorality, by the inducements to intemperance and other excesses, 
frequently indulged in by the crowds attracted together at these 
annual displays. 

Originally, the militia men had been required to provide their 
own equipments, but in 1808 this ground was abandoned, and the 
National Government undertook to furnish them ; but the appro- 
priations were so inadequate as to amount to a mere trifle, Avhen 
divided among the States. Massachusetts then provided by law? 
(1810,) that the several towois should furnish them, first, to such 
as were unable to procure them for themselves, and then success- 
ively to those to whom the tax was inconveniently great. The 
fund from which these equipments were furnished was derived from 
the taxes imposed upon certain conditional exempts. This fund 
had accumulated so fast in Newburyport, where unusual diligence 
was exercised in exacting it, that in 1819, the selectmen wrote to 



the Adjutant General of the Commonwealth " to know what they 
should do with it ; having already in store six times as many arms 
as were demanded for the use of the companies here." The 
Adjutant General, William H. Sumner, in replying, advised that 
the money be expended in procuring " uniforms for the men, and 
everything necessary for their comfort and convenience'^ 

A proposition was agitated at this time to divide the County of 
Essex, so as to cut off the southern portion, and unite several of 
the river towns in a new county, to be called " Merrimac." Had 
this been carried out several years earlier, the company formed for 
the purpose of " clearing the Merrimac," and rendering it nav- 
igable, very possibly might not have been crushed out of existence, 
by the success of the Middlesex canal, as all these river towns 
would then have had a united, in place of a divided, interest. 

Every change in the men and measures of the town, each new 
era of j^rosperity or depression, was marked with the execution of 
some work, or the broaching of some project, best adapted to that 
particular epoch. Thus, the calm which enveloped in an enervating 
atmosphere, and effectually shrouded the speculative eyes of enter- 
prise, was a time favorable to patient deliberation, and to the 
adjustment of small but compUcated affau's. For sixty-two years 
had the claims of the " proprietors of common and undivided lands " 
been perpetually thrust in the way of the town, when any plan for 
the improvement of the public ways or lands was suggested. Did 
the town grant leave for a new wharf to be built, or did the select- 
men undertake to lay out a new landing, or a more convenient road 
to burying hill, or common pasture, there was almost certain to 
arise some unwelcome proprietary claim, interfering with and 
delaying, if not eventually preventuig, the completion of the Avork. 
And as the number of proprietors was largely increased by time, 
some having become such by purchase, while heirs had multiplied 
on the number of original grantees, new perplexities were each year 
added to the past. 

In 1826, were happily terminated these conflicting claims, which 
had for more than half a century marred the executive action of 
the town. These endlessly recurring controversies between the 


town and the "proprietors' committee," were finally terminated by 
the latter giving to the town a deed of all the lands claimed by 
them, within the limits of Newburyport, for the sura of $1,200. 
The right to prosecute these claims, on the part of the proprietors, 
was a natural right, as well as a legal one ; yet were they some- 
times vexatiously, and often inopportunely, insisted upon, and their 
permanent extinguishment relieved the town from many embarrass- 
ments in which it had become involved while these claims were 
unsettled,* and Avhich, once cancelled, cleared away all legal 
obstructions to comprehensive plans of improvement. 

The same year a survey of the harbor was made by Lieutenant 
Colonel John Anderson, of the United States Topographical En- 
gineers ; and in 1829, Congress appropriated $30,000 for the 
purpose of constructing a breakwater, which it was believed would 
materially deepen the water on the bar and improve the harbor. 
The work was commenced the same year, but it was found that an 
additional appropriation would be required, and the work was not 
completed untU 1831, and unfortunately did not prove of so much 
benefit as was anticipated. This structure was nineteen hundred 
feet long, bearing north-west across the mouth of Plum Island river. 
It was allowed to go to decay ; nearly the last remains of it being 
dispersed in the gale of 1851. 

In 1832, the Police Court was established in Newburyport. In 
1852, (when the city charter was granted,) the existence of the 
Police Court was confirmed, and an additional act passed for its 
" better establishment." 

The whaling business at one time promised to become a perma- 
nent interest of Newburyport. In 1833, three ships, the Merrimac, 
Navy, and Adeline, were engaged in the business, employing a 
hundred men or more ; and the next year, another ship was added 
to the little fleet. The first efibrts of the several whaling companies 
were successful, but some temporary discouragements arising, the 
enterprise was abandoned, and the fortunes which were finally 

* In 1826, the proprietors endeavored to eject the town from the Market 
House, claiming the land on which it stood. 


made in tlie wliale fishery, went to build up the prosperity of other 

The fur seal fishery was also prosecuted by citizens of Newbury- 
port for some years ; but that has also been abandoned. 

The principal manufactures and mechanical employments followed 
dui'ing this period, in addition to those dependent on the shipping 
interest, such as rope-making, which in 1825 produced cordage 
to the amount of $70,000 annually ; there might be enumerated, 
tanning, morocco-dressing, to the amount of 10,000 skins annually, 
wool-pulling, the manufacture of gold and silver articles, particu- 
larly beads, thimbles, and silver spoons ; these latter were produced 
to the amount of from ^0,000 to $50,000 annually. The hat 
business employed a capital of $17,000, ten manufacturers 
being engaged in the production of fur and plated hats ; while 
combs to the value of $183,000 were annually jaroduced. Chairs * 
were made in large quantities, while hoisery, yarn, cotton, batting, 
lace, and other manual and mechanical pi'oducts, gave variety to 
the interests concentrated here. Printing and publishing were 
also more extensively carried on than since modern facilities for 
travelling have brought us within two hours' reach of the metropolis. 
Chaises, to the number of one hundred per annum, were made for 
many years. 

In 1834, there were twenty-eight ships, twenty-six brigs, one 
hundred and forty-five schooners, four barques, and four sloops, in 
the District of ISFewburyport, and nearly all owned here. 

Two hundred years had rolled away since " Newbury was 
allowed to be a plantation ; " her " twenty-three freemen " had grown 
to many thousands ; two new towns had been taken from her terri- 
tory (Newburyport and West Newbury ;) and as the descendants 
of those eai'ly pioneers exulted in the present blessings of spiritual 
and civil freedom, and saw themselves surrounded with every source 
of prosperity and happiness which usually falls to the lot of 
humanity, their hearts swelled with gratitude to those who had 

* Of chairs tliere were made about two hundred per day, not painted. The 
comb factory employed from thirty to forty hands. Manufacture of tobacco 
about twenty hands. 


broken the wilderness and tamed the ruggedness of nature, that 
then' children might be reared in a pure faith on a free soil. 

As the Second Centennial Anniversary* of the settlement of New- 
bury drew near, the feeling arose spontaneously and simultaneously, 
in the hearts of the people, to celebrate, by appropriate ceremonies, 
an event so important and interesting. Citizens of Newburyport 
met for consultation, and appointed the 26th of May for a public 
celebration, inviting Newbury and West Newbury to participate. 

A spacious pavilion was erected, on rising ground, near the New- 
bury Town House, (now the Brown High School building,) and 
extensive preparations were made for the reception of friends from 
abroad, as well as the citizens generally. 

At sunrise on the appointed day a salute of twenty-four guns was 
fired. At ten o'clock a procession was formed at the Newbury Town 
House, Avhich was escorted by the Boston Brigade Band, Newbury- 
port Artillery Company, and Byfield Rifle Company. Mter 
marching through the principal streets, they repaired to the Pleas- 
ant Street Church, wher3 an address was delivered by Hon. Caleb 
Cushing. An ode and a hymn, written for the occasion by Hon. 
George Lunt, of Boston, were sung, and on the conclusion of the 
exercises at the church, the company retired to the pavilion, where 
dinner was provided for seven hundred persons. Among the par- 
ticipants in the celebration was Lieut. Gov. Armstrong, Hon. 
Messrs. Edward Everett, Phillips, Cushing and Lunt, Colonel Win- 
throp, (a lineal descendant of Governor Winthrop,) and Col. Swett, 
of Boston, Col. S. L. Knapp, Judge White of Salem, Gov. William 
Plummer of New Hampshire, the Hon. Levi Cutter, Mayor of 
Portland, Nehemiah Cleveland, Preceptor of Dummer Academy, 
with other distinguished men. The speeches and sentiments fol- 
lowing the dinner were of a high order ; many interesting reminis- 
cences of the olden times carried back the mind of the listener, 
through intervening centuries, till they rested on that prolific source 
of all which they had met to commemorate, — the little company in 
the Mayflower, which, under a guiding Providence, had founded the 
State, under whose broad asgis they were then assembled. Every 

* The First Centennial Anniversary -vvas celebrated on the premises of Col. 
Joseph Coffin, an ancestor of Joshua Coffin, Esq., of Newbury. 



heart beat responsive to the -words of the poet of the clay, as 
expressed in his paean to the heroes of 


" Sweet as the honored name 

Their storm-tossed shallop bore ; 
The memory of our fathers' fame, 
And green for evermore. 

Peace to their hallowed graves, 

That consecrate the ground, 
Where first a refuge from the waves 

Their pilgrim footsteps found. 

What mortal sighs and tears 

Swelled on that wintry sod ! 
How cast they all their cares and fears, 

And every hope on God ! 

And wild as winds, that sweep 

Along the savage shore, 
Rose thoughts of homes beyond the deep, 

Their pleasant homes no more. 

But grander visions greet 

Their prophet-lighted eyes. 
They trod the world beneath their feet, 

And marched to join the skies. 

Triumphant over earth. 

Faith, that their spirits fed. 
Beamed, like a gem of priceless worth, 

On each uplifted head. 

No flaming sign they sought 

To light their venturous road, 
They owned the unseen Hand that wrought. 

And in His strength abode. 

But to their soul's desire, — 

Though dark to mortal view, — 
The daily cloud and mighty fire 

Shone, clear as Jacob knew. 

Vain doubt, and fear, and care. 

The desert and the flood, — 
They knew the God they served was there, 

And in His name they stood. 


Thoughts more than human great, 

Came to their spirits' call ; 
And thus they built the stable State, 

In Him their hope, their all. 

And far as rolls the swell 

Of Time's returnless sea, 
Where empires rise and nations dwell, 

Their pilgrim fame shall be ! " * 

So unwilling was the company to break off the renewed inter- 
course with long separated friends, Avhich this celebration had called 
together, that those in the pavilion did not disperse until the 
last rays of the setting sun warned them of the absolute necessity 
of bringing their festivities to a close. 

In the evening the ladies of the town gave a tea-party at Wash- 
ington Hall, the walls of which were covered with paintings, 
engravings, mirrors, and flowers, giving to it an exceedingly ani- 
mated and pleasing appearance ; some ancient furniture was also 
procured, and to make the illusion as complete as possible, some 
young ladies occupied the antique chairs, arrayed in the costumes of 
a hundred and fifty years ago. Among the paintings of interest 
exhibited, was a portrait of Colonel Moses Titcomb, Avho fell at the 
battle of Lake George, in 1775 ; and relics of Captain Stephen 
Greenleaf, who was shot by a party of Indians in 1695. f 

One of the permanent results of this celebration was the forma- 
tion of a " Society for the Relief of Aged Females." The ladies 
who procured subscriptions for getting up the tea-party, having a 
small surplus above expenses, decided to make it the nucleus of a 
fund for assisting aged females in depressed circumstances ; and the 
formation of the above society was the result of that determination. 
In 1839 Mr. WilUam Gordan, a native of Norway, resident in 
Newburyport, bequeathed the society nine hundred dollars, the 
whole of his estate. Subsequent bequests have added to its perma- 
nent fund. The first of May (1854) was observed as a " May- 
day festival " for the benefit of this society, when nearly eight hun- 
dred dollars were added to its treasury. 

* " Lyric Poems," by Hon. George Lunt, 1854. f See page 41. 



The revival of enterprise in Newburyport, its increase in popula- 
tion, and the gradual breaking up of the stereotyped complaints, 
that "Newburyport plans were especially distasteful to Providence," 
are mainly attributable to the introduction of the cotton manufacture, 
though the first established mill (the " Essex," in 1834,) failed to 
bring heavy dividends to the first stockholders. But since the 
erection of the Bartlett Mills, in 1838, followed in (pick succession 
by the James, Globe, and Ocean, a ncAv impetus was given to the 
whole business of the town, which gradually began to change its 
outward appearance, with the influx of a large floating population. 
State street, the principal rendezvous of the dry goods merchants, 
defied its old exterior of small windows, carefully curtained, lest 
the sun or customers shoiild see the goods intended for sale, and in 
their place appeared large plate glass, granite fronts, and a liberal 
display of colors, in cheerful contrast to the old secretive style of 
doing business. 

The addition of several hundred to the population in so short ;i 
time, tended to modify the exclusiveness of old established castes 
in society, which forty years of comparative inertia had produced, 
and strangers received a readier admission to guarded circles, as 
they became more numerous. Business Avas also revivified. The 
fifteen hundred added to the manufacturing population are all 
consumers, and brought in their train an increase of retail traders ; 
while other concurring events favored that elasticity of the pubhc 
mind which opens the Avay to pubhc improvements and municipal 
prosperity. Among these was the distribution of the surplus 


revenue, the opening of the Eastern Railroad to Newburyport, the 
change m regard to public sentiment on female education, the 
temperance reformation, the maturity of the Putnam School fund, 
the opening of the Magnetic Telegraph line, the Newburyport 
Railroad, &c. 

The Washingtonian temperance movement commenced in the 
winter of 1841, and the " Washington Total Abstinence Society " 
was formed in May of that year. A general interest on the subject 
pervaded the community ; during the first six months of the existence 
of the society, over eight hundred dollars were paid into the 
treasury, and the number of shops where spirituous liquors were 
sold was reduced from eighty to twenty, in less than one year, by 
moral means alone. A female temperance society was formed in 
June, called the Martha AV^ashington Society, members of which 
circulated a " pledge against all that would intoxicate " through the 
town, and obtained in a fcAv weeks eleven hundred signatures, 
raising also the sum of two hundred and eighty-two dollars the first 
year of their efibrts. Part of the funds raised by these temper- 
ance societies, with large quantities of clothing, was appropriated 
to the relief of families who had been reduced to poverty hy the 
intemperance of their natural protectors. 

Four years later a division of the Sons of Temperance was 
formed in the town, the " Merrimac Division, No. 11." Its object 
being to connect the usual objects of temperance societies with a 
system of benefits to members in case of sickness, or of death in 
their families. It is to some extent a secret society. 

In 183(5, the national treasury of the United States was over- 
flowing. The revenue for some years past had so largely exceeded 
the expenses, that it was resolved to relieve the treasury by 
distributing a portion of the fund thus accumulated to the several 
States, and on the 1st of January, 1837, $36,000,000 was thus 
disposed of, each State receiving a sum proportioned to their elec- 
toral representation ; and to Massachusetts the sum of $1,784,231 
was awarded. This the State distributed to the several cities and 
towns, by a ride of division which gave to Newburyport nearly 
$15,000. The disposal of this money was a stock subject of 
discussion in the town meetings, for some six years, before its 
appropriation was finally agreed upon. 


On the 10th of July, 1837. the town voted " not to receive their 
portion of the surplus revenue ; " but on the 31st of the same 
month, they reconsidered that determination, concluded to accept 
it, and appointed Mr. Moses Men-ill as the agent to receive it. On 
the 27th of September it was voted " to loan the money just 
received, to the Commonwealth, at five per cent, interest, and apply 
the income to the payment of the poll taxes." This vote was par- 
tially carried into effect, and the town treasurer received the 
certificate of the Commonwealth for the sum, which was exactly 
$14,843. The next proposition was to recall the money and dis- 
tribute it joer capita; but this was believed by many to involve 
insuperable difiiculties, and its legality was at once questioned; 
neither did it meet the approbation of the majority of the town, who 
desired to see it applied to some permanent and pubhc use. A vote 
Avas however procured at a meeting held on the 15th of November, 
1838, to recall the money from the hands of the State Treasurer, to 
whom it had been committed, and to make the proposed distribu- 
tion, " each individual to give his receipt to the town for the same." 
Before this could be carried into execution, some citizens, opposed 
to the measure, applied for an injunction, which was granted by the 
Supreme Judicial Court, which effectually restrained the execution 
of the vote of November 15th. 

At a meeting held December 24th, all preceding votes were 
reconsidered, and the town treasurer was directed to procure legal 
advice on the subject. In the mean time, various propositions were 
made ; such as to loan the money at a nominal rate of interest, to 
all the inhabitants who might apply for it, and a more reasonable 
one, to lend it at a low rate to such as could offer good security ; 
neither of which propositions prevailed. In the spring of 1843, the 
agent holding the money (Mr. Merrill,) died, and the executors 
transferred it to the to-\vn treasury, and on the 1st of June it was 
finally appropriated as follows : 

To the School Department, $5,000 

To the Fire Department, 5,000 

Balance, for repairs of highways and other property of the town.* 

A motion to reconsider this vote was lost, 177 to 91, and the 

* Induding a brick barn for tte Poor Department. 


selectmen were directed to " expend the money during the financial 
year, as soon as possible after the removal of the injunction could 
be obtained." 

The injunction was procured on the ground that " the town had 
no right to appropriate the surplus revenue to any other purposes 
than such for which they might lawfully raise money in their cor- 
porate capacity ; " and a distribution, or general and unsecured 
loan to individuals, was therefore accounted illegal. 

During the winter of 1840, a public appeal was made for funds to 
complete the Bunker Hill Monument, and extensive arrangements 
were made to hold a fair at Qixincy Hall, in Boston, to aid in the 
object. The appeal met with a very general response. A meeting 
was held at Market Hall, in this town, July 24th, and a committee 
of gentlemen and ladies was appointed to procure aid for the " fair," 
and in September, four hundred and fifty dollars in money and arti- 
cles were contributed. 

The late Miss Lucy Hooper, of Newburyport, wrote a poetical 
answer to the appeal, of which the following is an extract : 

" We are coming ! we are coming' I 
We liave heard the thrilling call ; 
We are coming from the hill-side — 
We are coming from the hall ! 


We are coming ! we are coming ! 

High thoughts our bosoms fill ; 
One watchword wakens every heart — 

The name of Bunker Hill ! 
There Freedom's fire was lighted, 

And its flame was broad and high, 
Till a wakened and a rescued land 

Sent up its battle-cry ! 

' Old Massachusetts ! ' dost thou need, 

To gem thy * lordly crown,' 
Aught richer than that battle-field, 

Which tells of thy renown ? 
Home of the Pilgrim Sires, who crossed 

The waste and trackless sea ! 
Was it not meet that on thy soil 

The first brave strife should be V 


Dear to thy children in thy home, 
Dear to thine exiles far. 

To Freedom's sons, in every age. 
It shines a beacon star ! 

We are coming ! -we are coming ! 

That thy martyrs, brave and free, 
In the record of the future 

Shall e'er be linked with thee ; 
That upon thy glory never 

One dimming shade may fall, 
We are coming from the hill-side — 

We are coming from the hall ! " 

In 1838, two female winter schools were established. In 1840, 
'41, and '42, several new school-houses were built, some of the 
schools, up to this time, having occupied hired buildings ; and in 
March of 1842, the town voted to estabhsh a Female High School, 
the building for which was erected in a central part of the town, at 
a cost of ^7,000. It was opened for the receiDtion of pupils in 
December, 1843. 

When the principal of the Brown Fund had increased to $15,000, 
the income was applied to the enlargement and support of the Centre 
Male Grammar School, which was thereafter designated as the 
" Brown High School." 

When the "Putnam Fund" came into use, the town voted a 
special committee to confer with the trustees on the subject of 
employing the funds in strict accordance with the intentions of the 
testator. The material point in question was, " whether Mr. Putnam 
designed, by his bequest, to include the instruction of females," and 
the numerous discussions of this mooted point were at last brought 
to a termination by a reference of the language in the will to the 
decision of the Supreme Court. It was decided that " youth " might 
include both sexes, — the position maintained by the trustees. 

By the Annual Legislative Report for 1837, it appears that the 
valuation of Newburyport for this year was $2,165,607. 

The value of imports was $63,385 ; the value of exports, $61,698 ; 
the duty on imports was $23,912 ; the gross revenue derived. 


$16,1)60.85 ; the expenses of collection, $10,960.85, and the net 
revenue, $6,513.29. 

The receptacles for the dead, up to 1842, were the " old burying 
hills ;" the one directly back of Frog pond, and the other lying a 
few rods to the south of it ; the cemetery attached to the Belleville 
parish, where were buried the first deceased members of Queen 
Ann's chapel ; the ground belonging to the first parish in Newbury, 
and a small graveyard attached to St. Paul's church, on High street. 

The old burying hills had now become densely populated, and the 
ancient boundaries for the dead grew too narrow for the wants of the 
town. From the location of the first named, a thickly settled neigh- 
borhood was exposed, with every breeze from the west, to the air 
wafted over these acres of mouldering bones ; and it became a 
question of some importance, how and where to enlarge the bounda- 
ries of the several graveyards, or whether it were better to conse- 
crate new. 

In accordance with the latter opinion, a company of gentlemen 
purchased a lot of land on the south-easterly side of the turnpike, 
Avhich was covered with a fine growth of oak trees, and which was 
consecrated in the summer of 1842 ; the company having been 
incorporated as that of the " Oak Hill Cemetery Company." 

The plan for laying out the grounds was well devised for forming 
a beautiful and appropriate home for the dead ; and the neatness, 
beauty and taste of the enclosvires, monuments and shrubber}^, with 
the profusion of summer flowers which bloom within most of the 
lots, evince a refined and cultivated taste in the individual proprietors, 
which makes it compare favorably with larger and more celebrated 
cemeteries. An addition has recently been made to the land 
enclosed, and the whole now contains about seven acres ; about half 
of which has been sold in lots varying in size and form, and nearly 
all are fenced and otherwise decorated. 

The extension of the Eastern Railroad to Newburyport in 1840, 
infused new life into the place. The locale of its route through the 
town, gave rise to much animated discussion in the business 
meetings of that period. A route was very near being adopted, which 
Avould have carried the road through Frog pond on the westerly side 


of the Court House ; but this was happily overruled, leaving this 
beautiful little sheet of water* unpolluted by the smoke and ashes 
of the steam engine. 

In April, the Directors of the Railroad purchased of the Direc- 
tors of the Newburyport bridge, the right to erect on their piers, a 
suitable structure for the passage of their trains ; for which right 
they paid eight thousand dollars, contracting at the same time, to 
" keep in repair and maintain in good condition forever, at their own 
cost and expense, every part of the bridge and structure, including 
the piers and abutments, excepting the first or lower floor," which 
the Directors of the Newburyport bridge agreed to keep in repair. 
Tho charter of the Eastern Railroad Company made it incumbent 
upon them, to construct a draw in the bridge, of thirty- eight feet in 
width at the channel of the river, and to change such location if the 
channel should alter. By a representation on the subject brought 
before the town by one of our enterprising ship-builders in 1845, an 
examination was had of the width of the draw, when it was found 
to be but thirty-six feet ten inches. A committee was appointed in 
behalf of the town, to bring the subject before the Legislature, 
which eventuated in the widening of the draw considerably beyond 
that at first required by the charter, so as to admit of the passage 
of the largest class of ships, which are built on the river, above the 

Since the opening of the Eastern Railroad, the comparative amount 
of travel betAveen the several towns on the route between Boston 
and Portsmouth is decidedly in favor of Newburyport. The first 
year that it was opened, there were 19,673 passengers ; in 1847, 
the annual number had increased to 46,203, the increase of travel 
being more than that of any other town on the route. In 1850, 
after the opening of the Newburyport Railroad, which to some extent 
diverted the travel to the Boston and Maine Road, the three highest 
towns on the route stood thus: Newburyport 43,022, Salem 19,236, 
Portsmouth 17,640, leaving Newburyport far ahead of any other. 
These figures relate to single tickets, and do not include season 
tickets, which would vary the comparative result as regards Salem. 

' The pond contains, by measurement, 8,700,000 gallons of water. 


The Company have within the last year erected a new brick depot, 
at a cost, inckiding the land adjoining, of ^30,000. 

The magnetic telegraph was first used in Newburyport, on 
Christmas day, 1847, when the compliments of the season passed 
over the wires, between the Mayor of Boston, and the selectmen of 
the town. 

A small company was raised here in 1847, to join the Massachu- 
setts regiment ordered to Mexico. Of this regiment Caleb Gushing 
was appointed Colonel. Previous to his departure a number of 
ladies, desiring to present him with a memorial of their regard, sub- 
scribed some three hundred dollars for the purpose ; when Colonel 
Cushing suggested that the sum raised should be appropriated to 
the more comfortable outfit of the troops placed under his command, 
declining to receive any more valuable token from his friends, than a 
plain gold ring. This suggestion was acquiesced in by the ladies, 
and a public presentation ceremony took place on the 9th of Feb- 
ruary, at Market Hall, a young lady presenting the ring with a brief 
address, which was happily and eloquently responded to by the 
recipient, the whole afiair passing off with considerable eclat, and 
to the great satisfaction of all engaged in it.* 

Captain Albert Pike, (formerly of Newburyport) of the Ar- 
kansas cavalry, distinguished himself in this war, particularly at 
Buena Vista; General Taylor making honorable mention of him, 
three times in his dispatches from that place. Captain Pike is now 
a practising lawyer at Little Rock, Arkansas, and was for some time 
editor of a Whig paper there, but he is best known to the literary 
world as a poet, and as author of the " Prose Sketches." The New 
York Express says " his poetical description of the battle of Buena 
Vista gives the best and most intelligible description of the scene 
which has been published. We give a verse or two as a specimen 
of the life and spirit of the piece. 

" From the Rio Grande's waters to the icy lakes of Maine, 
Let all exult, for we have met the enemy again. 
Beneath their stern old mountains, we have met them in their pride, 
And rolled from Buena Vista back, the battle's bloody tide. 

* Many ladies declined to unite in this demonstration, on account of their 
disapprobation of the war, which was not popular in Islassachusetts. 


Still suddenly the cannon roared, but died away at last, 
And o'er the dead and dying, came the evening shadows fast. 
And then above the mountains, rose the cold moon's silver shield, 
And patiently and pityingly, looked down upon the field. 
« * * » ■ « * » * 

And still our glorious banner waves, unstained by flight or shame, 
And the Mexicans among their hills, shall tremble at our name ; 
Do honor unto those that stood — disgrace to those that fled, 
And everlasting glory to the brave and gallant dead." 

During tlie same season came over the water the cry of the 
famine-striclven millions of Ireland, and immediate measures Avere 
taken for raising money, provisions, &c., for their relief. At a 
meeting held at Market Hall on the 18th February, Hon. Henry W. 
Kinsman in the chair, a committee of fifteen was 'appointed to collect 
funds for the purpose, and the clergy were invited to call the atten- 
tion of the people to the subject from their pulpits. Captain Micajah 
Lunt was appointed treasurer, and Messrs. John Wood and WilHam 
Ashby, to receive donations of food or clothing. A few days after, 
a meeting of ladies was held in the vestry of the Temple street 
church to aid in the object. Committees of collection were appointed, 
who thoroughly canvassed the town, calling at almost every house 
and sohciting donations. The result of these efforts was, the collec- 
tion of $2,002.07, of which some $400 were taken up in the churches. 
Over $1000 were collected by the gentlemen's committee, and the 
remainder, between five and six hundred dollars, by the ladies, who 
also collected ten large cases of clothing, of the estimated value of 
five hundred dollars. The money was expended for corn, and, with 
the clothing, Avas shipped from Boston, being consigned to the 
"•' Friends' Irish Relief Association of Dublin." 

The next year, in the fall and winter of 1818-9, the excitement 
consequent on the discovery of gold in California, produced similar 
effects here to what it wrought in other portions of the country. 
Probably a larger proportion of young men left Newburyport for the 
"•old reo-ions, than from manv other towns of the same size, perhaps 
Irom the hereditary habit of emigration. Quite a number of vessels 
were put up here for the Pacific coast, while by far the larger pro- 
portion of adventurers from Newburyport sailed from Boston or New 


The first vessel which left our wharves for California was the brig 
"Ark," and religious ceremonies were observed on the occasion of 
her departure, an address being made by the Rev. John Emerson, 
and prayers being offered in the presence of a large concourse of 
spectators assembled on the wharf. The effect of the gold Idgera 
on Newburyport has proved by no means beneficial. It not only 
carried off a large number of active and entei-prising young men, 
most of whom carried all their property with them, but it unsettled 
the character of many who remained ; their otherwise determined 
prospects and intentions being changed by this unexpected episode in 
in the openings of business, they were induced to relax their energies 
in the occupations they Avere already engaged in, from the uncertainty 
of continuing in them. The damage in this respect, — the depre- 
ciation of business energy among those who remained, — was greater 
than the pecuniary value directly abstracted from the town. The 
majority of those who left Newburyport have not returned. Of 
those who have, none have added largely to the taxable property of 
the place. A few, and but a few, have more than made good their 
original draft on the town. 

In November, 1850, some six months before the "Annexation 
Act " passed, there were in Newburyport 9,572 inhabitants, of which 
1,362 were of foreign birth; 1,927 families, and 1,431 dwelling 
houses. One hundred and sixty-eight deaths had occurred during 
the year. 

When the town of Newburyport was set off from Newburj^, the 
dividing lines were very injudiciously drawn, leaving, as they did, 
on the river side, both to the north and south of Newburyport, and 
on the westerly side of High street, a population daily increasing, 
whose interests were all essentially united to those of Newburyport, 
but whom the act of incorporation assigned to Newbury. The 
consequence was, that successive attempts were made from that 
time until the object was attained, to have these portions annexed to 

In May of the same year in which the town was incorporated, 
Newburyport voted a petition to the General Court to "have their 
limits and bounds enlarged." In 1794 a committee was appointed 


to prepare a petition to the General Court " to enlarge the bounds 
of the town." 

In 1821 the matter received a large share of attention, and was 
the occasion of long and earnest discussions in " town meeting ; " 
but the advocates of enlargement could not harmonize on the exact 
boundaries to be desired; one party desiring the amiexation of 
only the more southern and south-easterly part of the town, including 
the Plum Island turnpike, and the other wishing to include Belle- 
ville. The subject was dropped at this time, only to be taken up 
ao-ain in 1827, when a unanimous vote was given in favor of a 
petition, praying for the annexation of a part of Newbury, including 
" the ridge." But this also was barren of results. In January, 
1835, the town accepted a report, drawn up by a committee ap- 
pointed for the purpose, recommending the reunion of Newbury 
with Newburyport. But at an adjourned meeting, this project, 
after a full discussion, was rejected. 

At a town meeting held in January, 1833, it was voted to accept 
a certain portion of Newbury, which a committee appointed by the 
Legislature had indicated as proper to be annexed to Newburyport, 
" if it could be done without expense." And at a full meeting on 
the 21st of the same month, it was voted by a large majority to 
accept " that part of Newbury which had petitioned to be set oif," 
unconditionally. But the union was not then effected. 

In 1843, Ebenezer Wheelwright, Esq., of Newbury, and others, 
petitioned the Legislature to set off a part of Newbury, and amiex it 
to Newburyport, and this town voted to accept the portion desig- 
nated in his petition, if that was granted. But the division was 
not made, the consummation was not yet. 

In 1846, a vote of the town was again obtained " to vmite the 
towns, if Newbury should agree to do so," and otherwise, that it 
was expedient to annex the contiguous portions, " including the 
Ridge, Belleville, and Joppa, so called." And the Hon. Henry W. 
Kinsman, John Porter, Esq., and J. B. Swazey, Esq., were ap- 
pointed a committee to appear before the " committee of the 
Legislature on towns," and urge forward the measure. This was 
the commencement of that last series of efforts which eventuated in 
the annexation to Newburyport of those portions of Newbury 
described in the act passed April 16th, 1851. 


Other ineffective votes have at times been taken and reconsidered 
on this subject. To quote them all -would be a tedious repetition. 

A permanent cause of variance between the " water-side " people 
and the farmers of Newbury, might be found in the fact that the 
fanners were inclined to place a high tax on personal property, most 
of which was to be found in what is now Newburyport, while the 
" water-side people," who were still legally united to Newbury, were 
disposed to place the higher tax on land, which would bring the 
main burden on the farmers. 

The experiment of steam on the Merrimac has been tried with 
but limited success.* The steamer Decatur, (1846,) ran some time 
as a regular packet between here and Boston ; while the steamers 
Sarah, California, Merrimac, Ohio, Lawrence, C. B. Stevens, and 
Narragansett, ran transiently to Haverhill and intermediate places 
on the river, making also frequent excursions out to sea, to Plum 
Island, the Isles of Shoals, &c. Some of these boats did exceed- 
ingly Avell for a limited period, during the summer months, but profits 
could be very nearly graduated by the thermometrical scale. While 
the weather continued pleasant for excursions, an extensive patron- 
age might be relied on ; beyond that period, the preference for travel 
into the interior was by land carriage. 

At the Annual March meeting in 1850, it was voted by the town, 
to erect a new Town Hall, " at a cost not exceeding thirty thousand 
dollars," and a committee was appointed to procure a suitable plan. 
The location of the Hall was decided by a very small majority, 116 
voting in favor of its present site, and 108 against it. The plan for 
the Hall, draughted by Captain Frederic J. Coffin, was accepted, and 

**Yet a permanent steam-tug, owned here and always ready for use, to bring 
vessels over tlie bar, -vvitli a railroad terminating at one of the wbarves, (of 
which there is now a prospect,) could scarcely fail of remunerating the owners. 
It would take time to become profitable ; but without some such arrangement, 
Newburyport cannot materially increase her commerce. It is the employment 
of steam which has enabled the merchants of New Orleans to overcome the 
natural obstacles to the entrance of that harbor ; the " bar " at New Orleans, 
is intrinsically as bad as that of Newburyport, yet it has not been permitted to 
impede the growth of the place. 


the corner-stone of tlie building was laid with appropriate ceremo- 
nies on the 4th of July next ensuing, and was opened to the public 
on the 4th of March, 1851. 

The opening of the Newbury port Railroad, on which ground was 
first ])roken January 15th, 1849, was the attainment of a point, 
which has occupied, at intervals, the mind of the thinking part of 
the business men for half a century, only that the jDreceding gen- 
eration had in mind a canal, while the present, more fortunate in 
their instruments, avail themselves of steam. The object to be 
attained, was direct intercourse with the interior ; the beneficial 
results have exceeded the general anticipation, and require only 
to be extended to the water's edge, to transcend the expectations of 
the most sanguine. 

The first week's travel (commencing May 23, 1850,) in which 
the road Avas opened to the pubHc, there were but 526 passengers, 
the second week there were 679, the three months preceding January 
1st, 1852, there were 15,440. Since the extension of the road to 
Bradford and Haverhill, uniting it with the Boston and Maine Road, 
the business has steadily increased, for both freight and passengers. 
Leave was granted by the Legislature of 1854 to extend this 
road to the water-side. 

The Ncwburyport fishing fleet sufiered severely in the terrible 
gale on the night of October 5th, 1851, at Prince Edward's Island ; 
eighteen vessels being lost, and over twenty men. An unusually 
large fleet had been fitted out this year, and the greater destruction 
to vessels from this port, was ascribed to the fact that at the com- 
mencement of the storm, they were nearly all fishing in company, 
and near the shore ; yet to one of this number, a native of Ncw- 
buryport, is to be ascribed the preservation of many vessels and 
lives, during the storm. Captain Benjamin Small, of the new 
schooner " General Gushing," which was noted as the fastest sailer 
in the bay that year, at the imminent hazard of his own safety, ran 
into Cascumpec harbor, and placed a light upon the buoy, leaving 
two of his crew to tend it ; then taking in tow the schooner Mary, of 
this port, a comparatively dull sailer, with this encumbrance ran 
ahead of most of the fleet and came safely to anchor. By this con- 



siderate, prompt and noble conduct, many disasters were prevented, 
and many lives were probably saved ; as it was towards evening when 
the storm came on, and it was dangerous running into harbor without 
these lights, quite a number of vessels which otherwise would not 
have ventured to make the attempt, availed themselves of the signal 
thus timely arranged for them, and made a safe harbor. 

The names of the vessels lost belonguig to this port were the 
Atlantic, Blossom, 

Enterprise, " Forrest, 

Franklin, Gentile, 

H. Ingram, Index, 

Lucinda, M. Scotchburn, 

Ocean, Spray, 

Statesman,* Traveller,* 

Ruby, Duroc, 



The " Native American " lost one man, and with the " James," 
" Fulton," and others, was badly damaged ; others of our fishing 
fleet were subsequently lost the same season. 

The list of fishing vessels from the District of Newbury port, this 
year, was officially given at 90 vessels, with a total of 6,012 tons 
and employing 985 men. The valuation of the vessels with their 
outfits was estimated at $211,900. 

FROM 1804 TO 1853. 






























* These lost their entire crews ; the Statesman had ten men, the others six 
or eight. 












































The expenses of the town for the five years preceding the act 
of annexation had averaged $25,000 annually. 

At the annual meeting in March, 1851, $26,830.00 were appro- 
priated as follows : 

For support of schools, including interest on 
the Brown fund and State School fund, - 

Repairs of Highways, - - - - 

Support of the Poor, - - - - - 

Expenses of Fire Department, - - - 

Services, Sextons and Constables, - 

Assessors, ------ 

Overseers of Poor, _ _ _ - . 

Treasurer and Collector, - - - - 

Incidental expenses, including Town Watch, 

Interest on Town Debt, _ _ - - 

Building Culverts, _ _ _ _ . 

Paying heirs of late Perley Tenny, for land 
taken for extension of Fair street. 

Celebrating Fourth of July next, 

Discount on Taxes, - - - - - * 

Abatement on Taxes, - - - - 


















At a meeting held in April, the following additional sums were 
voted, in view of the increased expenses which would attend on the 
annexation of part of Newbury, viz. : 

Added for support of Schools, - - - $2,300.00 
Added for support of Poor, - _ - _ 2,000.00 
Fire Department, including pay of Engineer, - 250.00 

Highways, - - 1,000.00 

Incidentals, ______ 450.00 

Making a total of $32,000. 

The following is a copy of the Act of Annexation : 



An Act to Annex a part of the town of Newhury to the town 

of Newhuryport. 

Be it enacted, by the Senate and House of Representatives, in 
General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as 
follows : — 

Section 1. So much of the town of Newbury, in the County of 
Essex, as lies within the following named lines, to wit : beginning 
at the northerly boundary of Newburyport, on the Merrimac river, 
thence running by the Newbury line in the said river to the line of 
West Newbury, at the mouth of Artichoke river, thence up the 
said last named river, and through the middle thereof about five 
hundred and seventy-two rods and twenty-two links, to a place on 
the said stream known as the " New Log," thence south twenty-five 
degrees, east about three hundred and sixty rods to the most east- 
erly corner of West Newbury, thence in a direct line north-easterly 
to the westerly corner of Newburyport, thence by the line of 
Newburyport to the southerly side of a stream called Little River, 
thence by the southerly side of the said last mentioned stream to 
the south-easterly side of the road at Clark's bridge, so called, 
thence on a straight line to an elm tree, near the Newburyport 
turnpike, on land of Daniel Coleman, southerly of said Coleman's 
house, thence to the northerly side of Marlborough street, on High 


street, thence to the most southerly bend of the Plum Island turn- 
pike, thence on a straight line to the ocean, four rods southerly of 
the Hght-keeper's house on Plum Island, thence by the ocean to 
Salisbury line, thence by the line of Salisbury to Newburyport, 
with all the inhabitants and estates thereon, is hereby set off from 
the town of Newbury and annexed to the town of Newburyport ; 
and the said inhabitants shall hereafter be considered inhabitants of 
Newburyport, and shall enjoy all the rights and privileges, and be 
subject to all the duties and liabilities of the inhabitants of the said 
town. Provided, however, that for the purpose of electing the 
Representatives to the General Court, to which the said town of 
Newbury is entitled until the next decennial census shall be taken, 
in pursuance of the thirteenth article of amendments to the Constitu- 
tion, the said territory shall remain and continue to be a part of the 
town of Newbury, and the inhabitants resident therein, shall be 
entitled to vote in the choice of such Representatives, and shall be 
eligible to the office of Representative in the town of Newbury, in 
the same manner as if this act had not been passed. 

Sec. 2. The said inhabitants and estates so set off shall be liable 
to pay all taxes that may have been legally assessed on them by 
the town of Newbury, in the same manner as if this act had not been 
passed, and the town of Newburyport shall be holden to pay their 
just and equitable [share] of the debts of Newbury, and shall also 
be entitled to receive their just and equitable portion of all the 
property owned by the towa of Newbury, the said proportions to 
be ascertained by the taxes paid by the inhabitants, and upon the 
property assessed in the part set off and the part remaining the 
past year. 

Sec. 3. The said towns of Newbury and Newburyport shall be 
respectively liable for the support of all persons Avho now do or 
shall hereafter stand in need of relief, as paupers, whose settle- 
ments were gained by or derived from a residence on their 
respective territories. Provided that nothing in this act shall affect 
any agreement heretofore made between the towns of Newbury 
and Newburyport for the support of paupers. 

Sec. 4. In case the said towns shall not agree on a division 
of property, debts, paupers, and all other existing town Uabilities, 
the Court of Common Pleas for the County of Essex, shall upon the 


petition of either of the said towns, appoint three competent and 
disinterested persons to hear the parties and award thereon, and 
their award, accepted by the Court, shall be final. Provided, how- 
ever, that until the division of the said property as aforesaid, the 
same shall be and remain under the control of the town of New- 
bury, and the inhabitants of Newbury may hold their town meetings 
in the town house as heretofore. 

Sec. 5. The selectmen of Newburyport shall annually, fourteen 
days at least before the second Monday of November, furnish the 
selectmen of Newbury, a correct list, so far as may be ascertained 
from the records of the town of Newburyport, or any of its officers, 
of all persons resident on the territory hereby set off, who shall 
be entitled to vote for Representatives as aforesaid in Newbury ; and 
for every neglect by the said selectmen, so to furnish such list, the 
to^yn of Newburyport shall forfeit the sum of one hundred dollars ; 
and for the making of any false return in respect to any part of 
such list, shall forfeit the sum of twenty dollars for every name in 
respect to which a false return shall have been made, to be recovered 
in the same manner as is provided by the fourth section of the third 
chapter of the Revised Statutes, in respect to penalties for neglect 
or false returns of collectors of towns. 

Sec. 6. The said towns of Newbury and Newburyport may 
at town meetings, duly notified within seven days after the passage 
of this act, grant and vote such sums of money as they may respect- 
ively judge necessary, for all purposes authorized by law, and 
reconsider, modify and change any votes on that subject passed at 
their annual meeting the present year. 

Sec. 7. This Act shall take effect from and after its passage. 

House of Representatives. 

April 16, 1851. 
Passed to be enacted. 

N. P. Banks, Jr., Speaker. 

In Senate. 

April 17, 1851. 
Passed to be enacted. 

Henry Wilson, President. 
April 17, 1851. 




That the annexation of so large a portion of Newbury, was not 
quite palatable to all the inhabitants of that ancient town, we may 
infer from the following notice, which appeared in the Daily Herald 
of May 6th, 1851. 

" The Annual Town meeting of what is left of Netvhury^ stands 
adjourned to Monday, May 12th, 2 P. M., at the Town House, now 
in Newhuryport, 

" Joshua Coffin, Town Clerk." 

The said " town house," has within a few months been fitted up 
for the reception of the Brown High School, and is so improved by 
paint, green bhnds, a steeple and ornamental work, as to present 
quite an attractive object to travellers on the turnpike ; so completely 
metamorphosed is the building, that the sight of it will scarcely 
recall any future regretful associations in the minds of our neigh- 
bors of Newbury, for nothing but its location can remind them of 
the use to which it was devoted when in their hands. 

By the Act of Annexation the territory of Newburyport was 
increased from the little patch of six hundred and forty-seven acres 
to between six and seven thousand ; leaving Newbury, however, 
nearly or quite twice as much land, but only about eighteen hun- 
dred inhabitants. It took about two-thirds of her population 
and property, bringing the population of Newburyport from 9,534 
up to 12,866, (1852 ;) extending its water front from the chain 
bridge (" Essex Merrimac ") on the north, to Plum Bush bridge on 
the Plum Island turnpike to the south, and on High street from the 
chain bridge to Marlborough street, and taking in a considerable 
agricultural district on the west and north-west, and including 
within its limits the light-houses on Plum Island, but leaving the 
hotel still in Newbury, the dividing Une which is run straight from 
the comer of Marlborough street to the ocean, striking the island 
on the north side of the Plum Island hotel. 

At the first town meeting held after the passage of the annexa- 
tion act, (April 24th,) the Moderator, Hon. Henry W. Kinsman, in 
a few brief and happy remarks, welcomed the new citizens to a par- 
ticipation in the public affairs of the town, most of whom had long 
been socially united with it ; to which address Moses Pettingell, 
Esq., replied on behalf of the newly admitted citizens. At the 


same meeting, it was voted to apply for a city charter, and a com- 
mittee, consisting of Hon. Caleb Gushing, Hon. Henry W. Kinsman, 
Messrs. Joseph Roberts, E. S. Williams, Joshua Hale, Samuel 
Philhps, Thomas Huse, E. F. Stone, Henry Frothingham and Moses 
Davenport, were chosen to present the petition, which was granted 
without delay, the act of incorporation being dated on the ensuing 
24th of May. 

By this charter, it was provided (Sec. 3,) that the selectmen 
should, as soon as might be after the passage of the act, and its 
acceptance by the people, proceed to divide the city into six 
wards ; the wards to contain, as nearly as practicable, an equal 
number of inhabitants, the same to be subject to revisal once in five 

The second Monday of December is appointed (Sec. 6,) for the 
election of city officers ; the mayor to receive no compensation for 
his services, (Sec. 7.) All the powers formerly vested in the 
selectmen, devolve on the mayor and aldermen ; particularly are 
they required to comply with the duties of the selectmen, as pre- 
scribed in the fifth section of the Act of Annexation, which obliges 
them to furnish Newbury with a list of all the persons in the terri- 
tory then annexed, who are entitled to vote for Representatives. 
The custody of all trust funds, hitherto in the care of the selectmen, 
is also confided to them. The sittings of the Board of Aldermen 
and Common Council are made pubhc, except when engaged in 
executive business. To the City Council is especially committed the 
care of the city treasury ; " to see that no money is drawn unless 
legally appropriated," having also the general care and manage- 
ment of the city property ; concerning all of which, they are to 
publish an annual account for the use of the inhabitants, (Sec. 8.) 
Section 9 provides that no person shall be eligible to any office the 
emoluments of which are paid out of the city treasury, while a 
member of the Board of Aldermen or Common Council. Section 
12 confirms the act of 1830, establishing the fire department of 
Newburyport. Section 18 provides that the name of every person 
voted for, for County, State, and United States officer, shall be 
written out at length in the several Ward Records, with the number 
of votes cast for each. 

General meetings of the citizens may still be held " to obtain 


redress of grievances, consult upon the public good, and to give 
instructions to their Representatives," (Sec. 20.) Any breach of 
a by-law of the city may be prosecuted before the PoUce Court, the 
decision of the Court being subject to appeal to the Court of Common 
Pleas, (Sec. 22.) By Section 26, the Legislature reserved to 
themselves the right to alter or amend the charter whenever they 
deemed it expedient. 

For the purpose of organizing the City Government, and putting it 
in operation, in the first instance, the 23d section of the Act directed 
" that the selectmen then in office, should, within thirty days after its 
acceptance by the people, issue their warrants for calling meetings of 
the citizens, for the purpose of choosing, in the several wards, the 
officers necessary to its complete organization," and by providing 
that at these primary meetings, " any legal voter might call the 
citizens to order until a warden was chosen." 

All records, papers, and muniments of property in the hands of 
town officers were (Sec. 24,) directed to be transferred by them to 
the City Clerk. 

On Tuesday, June 3, 1851, the inhabitants gave in their votes on 
the acceptance of the city charter. The whole number of votes cast 
was 594 : in favor of the charter, 484 ; against it, 110. A clear 
majority in its favor of 374. 

At the election for city officers, held immediately after, the 
following persons were chosen : 

Mayor, — Honorable Caleb Cushing. 


Ward 1. — Thomas Huse. Ward 4. — Nathaniel Horton. 

2. — John Porter. 5. — John M. Cooper. 

3. — Moses Davenport. 6. — Joseph Roberts. 


Ward 1. — Zaccheus P. Thurlo, Ward 3. — Isaac H. Boardman, 
John Woodwell, Charles J. Brockway 

George W. Knight. Moses Hale. 

Ward 2. — Phillip Johnson, Ward 4. — Phillip K. Hill, 
Frederic Knight, William C. Balch, 

Jacob Stone. ' Eben F. Stone. 


Ward 5. — Albert Russell, Ward 6. — John Currier, 

Jacob Horton, John Colby, 

Jacob Hale. Joseph Newell. 

In the First Ward there were 2,153 inhabitants ; in the Second, 
2,173 ; in the Third, 2,137 ; in the Fourth, 1,946 ; in the Fifth, 
2,234 ; in the Sixth, 2,223. 

According to the ward lists, there were 1,980 voters, of whom 
892 lived north of State street, and 888 south of it. 

There were (1851) 113 persons in the Almshouse, Newburjport 
taking, with the portion of territory annexed, about two-thirds of the 
poor of Newbury. 

The City Government was regularly organized on the 24th of June, 
at the City Hall, in the presence of some three or four hundred 
spectators. Nathaniel Horton, Esq., the chairman of the late Board 
of Selectmen, stated the object of the meeting. Prayer was oifered 
by the Reverend B. I. Lane. The oath was administered to the 
Mayor elect by J. Cook, Esq. The Mayor then administered the 
oath to the Aldermen and Common Council, and afterwards addressed 
both bodies in a brief but appropriate speech. The Aldermen were 
organized by the election of Eleazer Johnson, Esq., as City Clerk; 
and the Common Council, by the choice of Eben F. Stone as 
President, and Edward Burrill, Esq., Clerk; and, on joint ballot, 
Jonathan Coolidge, Esq., was chosen Treasurer and Collector. 

Among the ordinances passed by the new City Government were 
the following : 

An Ordinance (No. 14) 
To Establish the City Arms and Seal. 

Be it ordained, &c., as follows : 

Section 1. The Arms of the City shall be the following, to wit : 
Quarterly, first, two light-houses, in the distance a ship under full 
sail ; second, a steam-mill ; third, a ship on the stocks ; and 
fourth, (the seal of Newbury, in England,*) on a mount three domed 

* Newbury, in England, is a large market town in the hundreds * of Fair- 
cross, on the banks of the river Kennet, near the road from London to Bath, 
and fifty-six miles from Hyde Park corner. It was incorporated in 158G by 

*■ The " hundreds " in English law, is that part of a shire or county consisting of 
ten tithings, or ten times ten households. 



towers, on each a pennon, crest, a mural coronet surmounted by 
two hands conjoined ; supporters, two female figures, that on the 
dexter side representing America, that on the sinister, Massachu- 
setts ; scroll. Terra Marique. 

Sec. 2. The seal of the city shall bear as a device, the shield, 
crest, and scroll of the arms of the city, with the legend " City of 
Newburyport, A. D. MDCCCLI". 

The expenses of the city for the first year of its existence, 
reckoning from March 1st, 1851, to March 1st, 1852, was 
$41,459.58, including $1,474.31 for furnishing the new City Hall, 
and $984.30 for the celebration of the 4th of July. 

Queen Elizabeth, who had visited it the year before. Two battles were fought 
near this town between Charles I and the Parliamentary troops in 1643-4. 
At the time of taking the Norman fiurvej', 1086, it was a town of considerable 
consequence, and bore the Saxon name of Uluritone, which was probably a 
corruption of Ulwardetone, from Ulward, who possessed it in the reign of Ed- 
ward the Confessor. The name was changed to Newbury by the Earls of 
Perch, who built a castle there which they called Newbury, about the close of 
the twelfth century ; and the town was thereaft'er called by the name of the castle. 
In 1216, Thomas, the Earl of Perch, died, and the Bishop of Chalons, a Nor- 
man, became his heir, and he sold the manor of Newbury to William Marshall? 
Earl of Pembroke. Uluritone had once belonged to an ancestor of the Bishop's 
before it passed into the hands of the Perches ; this ancestor was Ernulfus de 
Hesden, also a Norman, who probably received it direct from William the 
Conqueror, as in Doomsday book it is recorded as belonging to him. There 
were then in it fifty-one houses, which paid a (}uit-rent to the feudal lord. 


The present School Department embraces twenty-seven schools, 
taught by thirty-eight teachers, — seven males and thirty-one 
females, — and consists of the Brown High School, having a male 
principal and female assistant ; the Female High School, having a male 
principal and two female assistants ; five male grammar schools, two 
of which have female assistants ; five female grammar schools, 
taught by female teachers, as are all the primary schools, of which 
there are five male, five female, and four for both sexes. There is 
also a school centrally situated, styled " intermediate," for boys of 
a somewhat higher grade than primary, but not ranking with the 
grammar ; this has also a female teacher. 

The estimates for the school department for the year 1854 are 
$12,000. The number of children and youth in the schools at 
the close of the year 1853, was 1,865. 

The assessors' valuation, for 1853, was $5,655,000 ; real estate, 
$2,780,000; personal property, $2,875,000. The State tax was 
$2,787 ; County tax, $5,227.76. 


"Was founded by the will * of the late Oliver Putnam, a merchant 
of Newburyport, who " devised the residue of all his property," 
after making provision for his nearest relatives, " for the establish- 
ment and support of a free English school in Newburyport," his 
native place. The principal was to accumulate until it amounted 
to $50,000, when it was to be invested by the trustees as a 
permanent fund, only the interest on which was to be used for the 
estabhshment and support of the school. In 1847-8, the building 
for the school was erected, and William W. Wells, A. M., late 
instructor in Phillips Academy, Andover, was engaged as princi- 
pal, with two assistants. By a provision in the will of Mr. Putnam, 
" instruction in the dead languages " is forbidden ; but a thorough 
mathematical and scientific course, with the study of the French 
language is secured. This legacy was left in no contracted spirit ; 
its benefits are extended as freely to the natives of other towns as 

* Hon. S. Eand and Caleb Cushing, of Newburyport, and Mr. Aaron Bald- 
win, of Boston, were named executors. 


to this, and many of the students belong to other towns, and other 

The school, -which was opened April 12th, 1848, is well supplied 
with philosophical apparatus, and every facility for the experimental 
study of natural philosophy and chemistry. The number of scholars 
is about 120, including both sexes. 


Was established by an act of the Legislature in 1830, and con- 
sists of a Chief Engineer and six assistants ; having in charge 
(1854,) eight engines and one hook and ladder company. The 
whole force of the Department averages about four hundred men. 
The late Dr. Eben Hale, of this city, gave (October 24, 1846,) 
one hundred dollars as a permanent fund to the Fire Department, to 
which Philip Johnson, Esq., added fifty dollars, (April 21, 1852,) 
and the Newburyport Mutual Fire Insurance Company added one 
hundred dollars in June of the same year. 

There are fourteen reservoirs in the city, with hydrants at suit- 
able places for the extmguishment of fires ; part of these reservoirs 
are filled with water, led by pipes from Frog pond ; they contain from 
one to two hundred hogsheads each. 

Gas was introduced into the city in 1852, the Newburyport Gas 
Company being incorporated in September of that year. Pipes are 
now laid through the following streets : Water, Merrimac, Liberty, 
State, Pleasant, Harris, Washington, Congress, Kent, Strong, Park, 
High, — some four miles in all. The City Hall, six cotton mills, 
and about two hundred stores and dwellings are now lighted by gas.* 

In January, 1854, this company made their second semiannual 
dividend of three per cent, for the year passed, having during that 
time also expended in street drains, and service pipes, some four per 
cent, from their earnings. 


*]Sro longer ago than 1827, the editor of the Newburyport Herald wrote as 
follows : " In New York, many buildings are lighted by means of pipes, with 
the flame produced from the oleaginous gas, procured from a distillation of pit- 
coal. The gas is set on fire as it escapes from the orifice of an aperture, not 
more than one-thirtieth of an inch in diameter, and burns till the gas is 
consumed ! ! " 


Though perhaps a greater number of societies and associations, 
benevolent and religious, exist in Newburyport now than at any 
former period, yet some have been suffered to die out, which were 
better calculated to influence character, than any later substitutes. 
Of this class are the Debating Societies and Library Associations. 
The Newburyport Debating Society was instituted in 1821, and 
continued to flourish for a number of years. 

At the same time, there was in existence the Athenreum, and the 
Franklin Library Association, the former instituted in 1810 and the 
latter in 1812 ; both continued for many years, but both are now 
extinct, the books in the Athenaeum being sold at auction in 
1849. In the list of incorporated and other societies, will be found 
a long array of fossil literary associations. 

The Neiohuryi^ort Lyceum succeeded to some of these, but the 
exercise of Hstening is far behind active participation in the stimu- 
lus of thought, and the growth of intellect ; and is a very inefficient 
substitute for Avell-directed debating societies, or well-selected and 
well-read libraries. 

The Lyceum was instituted in the winter of 1829-30. The lec- 
tures were first given at the Town Hall, until Market Hall was 
fitted up for the use of the Society : and so popular did they 
become, that for a while two courses of lectures were sustained, 
the meetings of the second association, designated Institute, being 
held in Academy or Lyceum Hall, on High street ; (the building 
has since been altered into a private dwelling ;) and subsequently 
it became necessary to dispose of the tickets of admission by a 
species of lottery, no hall in the town being large enough to 
accommodate the numbers who wished to attend, until the present 
City Hall was built. 

Two abortive attempts have been made within a few years to 
establish a public library in this city, but the foundation stone for 
this goodly enterprise is yet to be laid ; and the honor of founding 
such an institute is still in reserve for some liberal soul, who may 
thus indeUbly impress his name on the memory, and inspire gratitude 
in the hearts of the present or future generations in Newburyport. 

^ There have been at different periods, thirty-four periodical publi- 
cations issued in Newburyport. Here was established in 1832, the 
first daily paper in the county ; and the city in 1853 supported tivo 


dailies, the second established in 1849, no other city or town in the 
county, not even Salem or Lynn, yet (April, 1854,) boasting a daily 
paper. The following is believed to be a correct list of the papers and 
other periodicals printed here since 1773 : 

Ussex Journal and New Hampshire Paclcet, (Republican,) by 
Thomas & Tinges, Ezra Lunt, John Mycall and others ; first pub- 
lished December 4th, 1773 
Impartial Herald, (Fed.) Blunt & March, 1793 
Morning Star, Tucker & Robinson, 1794 
Political Gazette, Barret & Farley, 1796 
Merrimac Gazette, Caleb Cross, 1803 
Repertory, (Whig,) John Park, (transferred to Boston,) 1804 
Political Calender, (Dem.) Caleb Cross, ' 1805 
Merrimack Magazine, W. & J. Oilman, 1805 
Merrimack Miscellany, (Lit.) William B. Allen, 1805 
Newhuryport Gazette, (Dem.) Benjamin Edes, 1806 
Statesman, (Dem.) Joseph Gleason, 1809 
Independent Whig, Nathaniel H, Wright, 1810 
Churchman's Repository, (transferred to Boston,) James 

Morse, D.D., editor, 1820 

Northern Chronicle, (Dem.) Herman Ladd, 1824 

Hssex Courant, (Neutral,) Isaac Knapp, 1825 

Free Press, (Anti-Slavery,) William Lloyd Garrison, 1826 
Newhuryport Advertiser, Joseph H. Buckingham, 1830 

Daily Herald, (Whig,) E. W. Allen & Son, (J. B. 

Morse associated in October,) 1832 

The Times, (Dem.) Hiram Tozer & D. W. O'Brien, 1832 
Monthly Paper, (Religious,) Hiram Tozer, 1833 

People^ s Advocate, (Dem.) B. E. Hale, 1833 

Hssex (North') Register, (Rehg.) Hiram Tozer, 1834 

Watchtower, Hiram Tozer, 1837 

Merrimac Journal, (Dem.) Hiram Tozer, 1842 

Newhuryport Courier, (Whig,) Clark & Whitten, 1844 

Newhuryport Advertiser, (Dem.) Huse, Bragdon & Co. 1845 
Daily Courier, (Whig,) Whitten & Hale, 1846 

Essex County Constellation, (Lit.) John S. Foster, 1846 

Watchtower, (Relig.) H. A. Woodman, 1847 

Christian Herald, Elijah Shaw & D. P. Pike, 1847 


Mirror and Casket, (Lit.) Joseph Hunt, 1848 

Broadway Emporium, (Adv.) Moses Sweetzer, 1848 

Daily Evening Union, (Dem. F. S.) and Weekly Union, 

Huse, Nason & Bragdon, 1849 

Herald of Gospel Liberty, (Christian Bap. Association,) 1851 
Saturday Evening Union, (Lit.) W. H. Huse, publisher, 

Mrs. E. Vale Smith, editor, 1854 

The first number of the '■'■Essex Journal, and Merrimack Packet : 
Or, the Massachusetts and Neiv Hampshire General Advertiser,'''* 
which -was the whole of its original title, was issued on the 4th of 
December, 1773. It was printed by Isaiah Thomas and Henry 
Walter Tinges, in King street, opposite the Rev. Jonathan Parsons' s 
meeting-house. Mr. Thomas was the proprietor. The history of 
this indefatigable and most successful specimen of self-made men, is 
exceedingly interesting. He never was in a school as a pupil. At 
sLx years of age he was apprenticed to a printer of ballads, in Boston, 
and by working at the trade, and by his own efforts, learned to read, 
and afterwards taught himself to write ; and with these meagre 
advantages for learning, at the age of seventeen he established and 
took sole charge of a paper in the British Provinces ; where, however, 
his repubhcan principles were not relished, and he left. In 1773, 
he commenced the paper alluded to, in Newburyport ; since which 
time, the town has never been without one or more newspapers. 
Withui a year, Mr. Thomas sold out his share in the paper to Mr. 
(afterwards Captain) Ezra Lunt, who, two years later, transferred 
it to Mr. John Mycall, in whose hands it remained for many years, 
the title undergoing various alterations. Mr. Tinges withdrew about 
six months after Mr. Mycall became principal proprietor. Mr. 
Thomas was afterwards connected with the Massachusetts Spy ; and 
after having expended large sums in benevolent and literary enter- 
prises, — having lived an eventful and useful life, — this unaided and 
unschooled boy became the projector and sustainer of that invaluable 
association, the American Antiquarian Society. An author of repu- 
tation, and a public benefactor of the State, he left in legacies, a 
fortune of some fifty thousand dollars, besides donating to Harvard Col- 
lege and other hterary institutions, books, and other benefices, to a very 

* History of Printing in America, vol. 2. 


considerable amount. The bulk of his property went to the Antiqua- 
rian Society at Worcester. Such was the father of newspaper 
printing in Newburyport. 

While in the hands of Messrs. Tinges & Lunt, Mr. Thomas, who 
had removed to Boston, furnished the foreign news for the Journal. 
On the breaking out of the Revolution, Mr. Lunt joined the Conti- 
nental army, and Mr. Tinges and Mr. John Mycall continued the 
pubhcation of the paper until, in 1776, the latter became sole propri- 
etor and editor. The original subscription book of Mr. Mycall's 
contains 707 names distributed through the province of Maine, New 
Hampshire, and Essex north; but with no circulation south of 
Salem. The paper while in his hands was conducted with great 

The Newhuryport Herald, which is the successor to the Impartial 
Herald, has now been established over sixty years. The first 
printer and proprietor of the Impartial Herald was Mr. Edmund 
Blunt, author of the " Coast Pilot," now a veteran of over four- 
score years, but retaining all the vigor of intellect and business 
enterprise which distinguished him while a citizen of Newburyport. 
As an apprentice to Mr. John Mycall, then editor of the Essex 
Journal, Mr. Blunt remained here from the spring of 1783 to 1791, 
when, after an absence of three years in Boston, he returned to New- 
buryport and commenced the publication of the Impartial Herald,* 
with but seventy subscribers, which he surrendered at the end of 
two years with seven hundred. He now commenced writing the 
"American Coast Pilot," and printed several editions here, amount 
ing to 20,000 copies, employing in his printing office and bindery ,t 
from twelve to twenty men and boys. 

Mr. Blunt having succeeded so well with his Coast Pilot, next 
published an edition of the Practical Navigator, founded on the work 

* The press on -whicli the Herald was first printed originally belonged to 
Benjamin Franklin, of whom Mr. Blunt bought it for forty dollars. It is now 
owned by Ben. Perley Poore, Esq., of West Newbury, and formed an inter- 
esting feature in the procession of the Fourth of July Celebration in Newbury- 
port in 1852. 

f The first bookbinder and bookseller in Newburyport was Bulkeley Emer- 
son, who commenced the business in 17G0. He had no competitors in the busi- 
ness of binding till 1775. He was also postmaster for many years. 


of John Hamilton Moore. The first t^YO editions did not run well, 
and in the third, Mr. Blunt introduced the name of N. Bow- 
ditch, who had previously made many corrections on the English 
work. Armed with this nautical authority, Mr. Blunt took a copy 
of his book to England, and sold it for two hundred guineas, where 
it was repuhlislied under the title of '■'■Kirhy^s Navigator^ He then 
returned to NoAvburyport and completed his American edition. 
While in this town, Mr. Blunt printed 25,000 copies of the Naviga- 
tor, 15,000 copies of Walsh's Arithmetic, besides many other 
works, and an almost innumerable quantity of sermons, which it was 
so much the fashion in those days to print. He also first printed 
that " unimitated and inimitable " work of Lord Timothy Dexter,* 
" with whom," says Mr. Blunt in a letter addressed to the writer, under 
date of October 4, 1853, " in his own summer-house, on his cofiin, 
decorated with decanters, &c., I have taken many a glass of wine, 
with a company of cavalry to which I then belonged." 

Mr. Blunt removed from Newburyport in 1810, but left, in his 
building on State street, an unfinished edition of his Practical Navi- 
gator, the concluding sheets for which, were forwarded from New 
York, where he had taken up his residence. These were unfortu- 
nately consumed in the " great fire " of the next year. 

Mr. Angier March was the next principal editor of the Herald until 
1801. He Avas a violent Federalist. Other individuals had tempo- 
rary charge of the paper, but the next permanent editor was E. W. 
Allen, Esq., who conducted it Avith marked ability for nearly thirty 
years. While enumerating the worthy men and good citizens 
who have contributed to give to Newburyport that bpst wealth of 
any community, its good name, it Avould be Avrong to omit particular 
mention of Ephraim W. Allen. Mr. Allen, as the conductor of 
the " NoAvburyport Herald," Avas, for a third of a century, identified 
with the history of the toAvn,' sympathizing in its good and ill fortune, 
laboring to promote its interests, and anxious to acquit himself, not 
only as a faithful chronicler of the times, but as an earnest, efficient 
advocate of all such principles and measures as he believed to be 
conducive to the prosperity of the community to Avhich he was bound 
by his interests and affections. 

« " A Pickle for the KnoAving Ones." 


Mr. Allen was born in Attleborough, Bristol County, Massachu- 
setts, April 9, 1779. His father, a substantial and respected farmer, 
served his country as an oiEcer in the army, in the war of the Revo- 
lution. At the age of fourteen, the son was placed in the printing 
office of Thomas & Manning, in Boston, the senior of the firm being 
the celebrated Isaiah Thomas ; and the junior, a printer and publisher 
who stood in high repute with the craft in the early part of the cen- 
tury. Among his fellow craftsmen and more intimate friends, were 
several young men who afterwards reached stations Avhich brought 
them conspicuously and honorably before the public. Among these 
was the late Hon. Samuel T. Armstrong, who was, at one time. 
Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth. Having served out his 
time faithfully and well, young Allen went forth to seek opportu- 
nities of advancement in his profession, as well as the means of an 
independent support. Newburyport, then enjoying its fullest meas- 
ure of commercial prosperity, was an attractive point to a young man 
just embarking in life, and hither he came in the year 1801. At 
that time, having nothing to rely upon beyond his knowledge of his 
art, and his own energies, he entered the office of the Herald, then 
owned by Edmund M. Blunt, as a journeyman printer. He remained 
in that situation but a very short time. Mr. Blunt being willing to 
sell his estabUshment, Mr. Allen purchased it in connection with Mr. 
Jeremy Stickney, a young man who afterwards became a well known 
supercargo and shipmaster of this port, and the paper was published 
in the name of Allen & Stickney. Mr. Stickney's health failing, 
his share of the paper was purchased by Mr. Barnard. The firm of 
Allen & Barnard was but of short duration, Mr Barnard going out, 
and the whole estabhshment becoming the property of Mr. Allen. 

Subsequently, Mr. Allen, having formed a partnership with his 
brother, William B. Allen, commenced the business of booksellers 
and pubhshers, under the name of WitUam B. Allen & Co. This 
once Avidely kno^vn firm was extensively engaged in the publication 
of standard works, including editions of the Bible, theological, 
ecclesiastical, medical, and school books. The times were not then 
propitious for an undertaking of that nature in the locality selected 
by them, and on the scale on which it had been projected by these 
enterprising brothers, and the business was finally relinquished ; 
but, owing to highly prudent management, without serious loss. 


The energy, assiduity, and intelligence brought to this enterprise, 
had they been exerted under more favorable circumstances, could 
hardly have failed to secure those rich rewards -which have so 
deservedly crowned the eflforts of many of the more recent Ameri- 
can pubUshers. 

At the close of his bookselling operations, Mr. Allen repurchased 
the Herald, with which he had parted when he entered on his other 
engagements, and continued the pubhcation of that paper to the 
year 1834. 

In the days of his early career, Mr. Allen was the printer, the 
editor, and the carrier of his paper. In those times the communi- 
cation with Boston was so slow, that not unfrequently, when important 
events were pending, Mr. Allen Avould prepare his paper for press 
on the day previous to its publication, and then proceed on 
horseback to Boston, return with Avhat news was to be found there, 
put it in type, work off the sheets with his own hand, and then 
distribute them himself to his subscribers. 

In the long period of thirty years, for the greater part of which 
he was at the head of a public journal, he so conducted the press 
imder his control, as to secure the approbation and support of the 
community with which he was identified. Successive newspaper 
enterprises were set on foot with a view to the supplanting of 
his paper, all of which, however, failed, without seriously affecting 
the prosperity of the " old Herald ;" opposition of this kind never 
disturbed him. He met it coolly and good-humoredly ; for he felt 
himself too firmly anchored in the good-will of his fellow citizens to 
fear the consequences of such rivalry. His journal, in the hands 
of himself and judiciously chosen associates in the editorial depart- 
ment, in part moulding and in part reflecting the predominant 
sentiment of the community by which it was sustained, — never 
perversely bent on ignoring those permanent changes in public 
opinion, without deference to which no journal can ever be either 
successful or practically useful, but wisely conforming itself to 
those changes, — has always kept itself fairly " up with the times," 
while cautious of committing itself to the support of mere specious 
novelties. It is a journal with which, looking at its past history, 
and no less to its present excellent management, this community 
may feel, upon the whole, well satisfied. To-day, fcAV journals in 


our country, no matter what their pretensions or how wide their 
fame, contain more weighty matter than the well-considered edito- 
rials and salutary selections of the Newburyport Herald. 

In 1827, Mr. Allen embarked in the fur seal fishery, and in 
company with other enterprising citizens, continued for some years 
to send vessels round Cape Horn, to cruise among the seal islands 
in the Pacific ocean. In 1834, Mr. Allen's connection Avith the 
Herald finally ceased. From that time forward, he busied himself 
in mercantile operations and the care of his property. In 1837, he 
visited Missouri, where he remained nearly a year, with some 
expectation of making that State his permanent home ; and after- 
wards twice revisited it, the last time in 1845. Under President 
Harrison's administration, he received an appointment in the 
Newbury port Custom House, which he resigned after Mr. Polk 
came into office. The succeeding year brought to a sudden termi- 
nation his busy, active, and useful life. After an acute illness of 
only a short duration, he breathed his last on the 9th of March, 
1846, aged 68. He died universally lamented by that community 
whose fortunes he had shared for nearly half a century, and was 
followed to the grave by mourning relatives Avho keenly felt their 


Mr. Allen was married in 1804, to Dorothy, youngest daughter 

of Captain William Stickney, by whom he had nine children, three 

of whom died in infancy. The remaining six, five sons and one 

daughter, (the latter the wife of our fellow-citizen, William H. 

Brewster,) still survive him. Mrs. Allen deceased in 1842, much 

regretted by an attached circle of friends, who loved her for her 

warmth of heart, conscientious feelings, and Christian life. 

Mr. Allen had many excellences of character. Active in his 

habits, of a buoyant disposition, and public-spirited, he bore a 

cheerful share in the social movements around him.' Military, fire, 

and other friendly or mutual encouragement and aid associations, 

found in him, during the years of his more vigorous manhood, a 

ready and active participant. He was always a regular attendant 

on rehgious worship. In middle life, he became impressed with a 

new sense of his rehgious obligations, and in 1832 united himself 

to the church under the pastoral care of Rev. Dr. Dimraick, in 

which communion he remained till death ; exhibiting, in a consistent 


Christian walk and conversation, the evidences of a sincere and 
warm attachment to the faith which he professed. The domestic 
ties were strongly wonnd round his heart. That kindliness of dispo- 
sition which made him so good a friend, was accompanied by a 
parental tenderness, which made him one of the most affectionate 
' of fathers. The best interests, the permanent welfare, the true 
happiness of his children, for time and for eternity, were with him 
objects of a soUcitnde which never slumbered. Without extra- 
ordmary gifts of genius, he had that sober good sense and cautious 
judgment, which, combined, as they were in him, with an enterprising 
temper and alacrity and diligence in all undertakings, are not 
unfrequently a better possession than the most striking endowments 
of nature. Intelhgent, active, persevering, temperate and frugal, 
with moderated desires and duly regulated ambition, loving the 
picture of an improving, well-ordered society, kindly disposed 
towards man, and reverencing his Maker, Mr. Allen was a fair type 
of that invaluable class of men Avithout which no community or 
nation can either make progress or secure the desired measure of 
strength, steadiness, or stability. To his children and his felloAV- 
townsmen he left the best of legacies, the memory of a blameless, 
useful and well-spent life. 

In October, 1832, the present senior editor of the Herald, J. B. 
Morse, Esq., was associated in the publication of the Daily Herald. 
(Up to this time it had been published semi-weekly.) In 1834, it 
passed into the hands of Messrs. Morse & Brewster, with whom it 
remains to the present time, 1854. 

A large number of apprentices in the Herald office have become 
successful editors ; among these was the editor of the '■'■Free Press,^^ 
Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Esq., better known as the editor of the Boston 
^'Liberator" who is a native of Newburyport, and learned the 
printing business in the Herald office, when in the hands of the 
late Ephraim S. Allen, Esq. In 1827, we find the name of Mr. 
Garrison enrolled as a member of the Newburyport Artillenj 
Comjmni/. Mr. Coffin, the " Boston Bard," was another of these 

The Newburyport Advertiser, the predecessor of the Daily 
Evening Union, is the only Democratic paper which has success- 
fully competed for any length of time with the Herald. On the 1st 


of January, 1854, tlie Union was merged into the Daily Herald, 
and a weekly paper, entitled the Saturday Evening Union, was 
established the ensuing February. 

The Broadivay Emporimn was started as an advertising medium 
by its publisher, and distributed gratuitously. It was one of the 
first of this class of papers printed in Massachusetts. ' 


When ship-building was first commenced on the Merrimac, is not 
positively ascertained, but as early as 1680 this place exported a 
ship-builder. A Mr. Duncan Stewart and his sons went from New- 
bury to Rowley, and built the first vessel ever constructed there. 
This veteran builder was a fine type of the class whom he represented. 
He lived to the age of one hundred years. 

In 1741, we find Mr. Samuel Bloggaridge engaged in ship-building 
on the spot now occupied by Mr. George W. Jackman ; but who 
had filled up the intervening half century since Duncan Stewart's 
day, we do not know. But that there were others who immediately 
preceded Mr. Moggaridge, we learn from incidental references in 
papers belonging to his descendants ; and among his cotcmporaries 
was Mr. Ralpli Cross, a native of Ipswich, born in 1706, who early 
removed to Newbury and commenced ship-building here. His yard 
was that which is now occupied by Titcomb & Lunt as a mast-yard. 
His sons, Stephen* and Ralph, succeeded him in the business. 

Mk. Orlando B. Merrill built over sixty sail of vessels, among 
Avhich was the ship Pickering in 1798, and the sloop Wasp for the 
United States in 1813. 

Some controversy has arisen relative to the origin of the ship 
models now in use. The invention has been claimed by some of the 
oldest New York builders, but after proper investigation it has been 
awarded to Orlando B. Merrill, Esq., of this city, who is now living, 
at the age of ninety-four years, and made the first water line model, 
on the plan now in use, in the year 1794 ; previous to that time, 
there were used only skeleton models, composed *of pieces showing 
the ribs, &c., of the ship. 

" At a stated meeting of the New York Historical Society, held 
at its rooms in the University of the city of New York, on Tuesday 

* See Biographical Notice. 


evening, June 7, 1853, Mr. De Peyster presented the original ship 
model, made by the inventor, Orlando B. Merrill, of Belleville,* 
Mass., in 1794, noAv ninety-four years of age. The model was given 
to David Ogden, of New York, in February, 1853, who presented it 
to the New York Historical Society. 

" Extract from the minutes. 

"Andrew Warner, Recording Secretary. 
" January 25, 1854." 

Mr. "Woodell, grandfather of Captain J. Woodell, built on the 
spot which the latter now devotes to the same purpose, fifty-two sail 
of vessels, from the year 1763 to 1773. His son, in connection with 
Mr. Hale, the firm of " Woodell & Hale," from the close of the 
war in 1783 to 1790, built ten sail. 

Since 1800, Captain J. Woodell, formerly in partnership with 
his father, has built about ninety sail of schooners, from 50 to 320 
tons burden. 

The Woodell family have therefore built a total of one hundred 
and fifty-two vessels. 

Mr. Elias Jackman was a noted ship-builder from the year 
1790 to 1833, and built a great number of vessels during that 

Mr. Joseph Jackman commenced building in 1822, and between 
that period and 1829 he built several ships, brigs and schooners. 

Stephen Jackman, Jr., between 1830 and 1848 built some thirty 
sail of vessels, ships, brigs, and schooners, and also two steamers, 
(the Ohio and Decatur.) Of the brigs which he built, thirteen were 
to the order of the late John N. Cushing, of this city. 

George W. Jackman, Jr., since 1849 (to 1853) has built four 
ships, four barques and one schooner. The ships being from 720 
to 1,100 tons. 

Mr. Elisha Briggs, who formerly occupied the ship-yard now 
owned by Mr. J. Currier, built from 1807 to 1837, seventeen ships, 
thirteen brigs and ten schooners. 

. Mr. Joseph Coffin has built since 1810, nine ships, eight barques, 
three brigs and thirteen schooners. 

* Belleville is a part of Newburyport, where the ship-building is chiefly 
carried on, and is not, as strangers to the locality would suppose from the above 
extract, a separate township or municipality. 


Messrs "Currier & Toavnsend" from 1843 to 1853, built 
twenty-three ships, two brigs, eight barques, one schooner, and one 
steamboat. The ships built by this firm have varied from 700 
to 1,667 tons burden. 

Mr. William Currier, between 1840 and 1842, built two ships 
and five barques. With the building of some of the latter was con- 
cerned Mr. Donald McKay (now of East Boston.) 

Mr. John Currier, Jr., has been extensively engaged in this 
business for over twenty years. Since 1831 (to 1853) he has built 
forty-two vessels, viz., thirty-seven ships and five barques, several of 
the ships being over 900 tons, twenty-one of them being from 600 
to 800 tons. In 1847 a steam mill was erected in his ship-yard to 
facilitate the preparation of timber. 

In addition to these builders there have been Messrs. Williain 

Gerrish, Jonathan Greenleaf, Woodbridge, (who occupied 

what was called the " middle ship-yard,") Horton, Dut- 

ton, Stephen Coffin and others. Mr. S. Coffin built here in 1813 
two of Jefferson's gun-boats. Currier & McKay* built here the 
Ashburton; and Pickett & McKay the St. George, and John R. 

In 1852 the total tonnage of Newburyport was 29,403 which is 
9000 greater than that employed in Salem. Of this amount there 
were employed in the coasting trade 1,549 ; in the cod, 4,946 ; and in 
the mackerel fishery 2,628. The number of foreign vessels arriving 
during the year was 95. There were built here during the year 
8 ships, 6 schooners, and a steamboat of 6,137 tons, more than were 
built by any other town in the county. 

The building of clippers for the New York market is a large and 
profitable branch of the ship-building interest. 

During the year 1853 nineteen vessels of different sizes, were 
built upon the river, measuring 10,758 tons. The following are the 
names, tonnage, builders, and owners : 

Ship Highflyer, 1200 tons, by Currier & Townsend, for D. 
Ogden and others. New York. 

Yacht Ocean Bride, 50 tons, by Lowell k Sons, Salisbury, for D, 
Childs and others, Lynn. 

* Now of East Boston. 


Yacht Golden Eagle, 50 tons, by E. P. Lunt, for George Per- 
kins and others. 

Barque Naiad Queen, 315 tons, by Manson & Fernald, for James 
Blood and others. 

Barque Wildfire, 315 tons, by S. McKay, of Amesbury, owned 
in Boston. 

Schooner John and Frank, 88 tons, by Bickford & Son, Salisbury, 
on their own account. 

Ship Guiding Star, 900 tons, by John Currier, for Moses Daven- 
port and others. 

Yacht Wild Banger, 45 tons, by E. P. Lunt, for Benjamin Lunt. 

Ship Constitution, 1200 tons, by Currier & Townsend, for Messrs. 
Bun tin and others. 

Schooner Tekoa, 150 tons, by Joseph Coffin, and owned by the 

Schooner William H. Fitts, 58 tons, by Wilham H. Fitts, Salis- 
bury, for himself. 

Ship "Whistler, 900 tons, by George W. Jackman, Jr., and owned 
in Boston. 

Schooner Spray, 40 tons, by D, Lowell, Salisbury, owned in Lynn. 

Ship John N. Gushing, 650 tons, by John Currier, for J. N. & 
William Gushing. 

Ship Jabez Snow, 1,200 tons, by Currier & Townsend, for Jabez 
Snow and others, Boston. 

Yacht Daniel C. Baker, 50 tons, by Daniel Lowell, Salisbury, 
owned in Lynn. 

Ship Dreadnaught, 1,400 tons, by Currier & Townsend, for D. 
Ogden and others, New York. 

Ship Starr King, 1,100 tons, by George W. Jackman, Jr., for the 
builder, and parties in Boston. 

Ship Volant, 900 tons, by John Currier, for Captain Micajah 
Lunt and the builder. 

Schooner Fearless, 140 tons, by Manson & Fernald, owned in 

If it is thought by any that we have devoted too much space to 
the shipping interest, it must be remembered that it was this, and this 
alone, which gave Newburyport all her early reputation, and on it, 
in a great measure, has always depended the prosperity of the place. 





Enrolled in the 

Employed in 


Employed in 




Coasting and 


in the 

the \Vhale 



Tons. SIoths. 

TONS, asms. 

TONS, Mtiis. 


TONS, asrns. 










631- 7 

20,129- 9 



4,614- 1 


























645- 6 






1,268- 3 











2,000- 2 





4,314- 6 












4,998- 1 


3.886- 5 















29,897- 6 








3,921- 9 










































984- 4 









































1,004 60 












988- 9 






588- 4 


21,535- 2 


14,699- 9 




23,302- 2 









6,446- 1 









22,078- 2 






329 35 







413 65 





4,424- 5 












1,. 376-63 


21,041- 8 


14.362- 4 


















16,451- 8 

5,865- 6 















28,973- 5 











6,554- 2 





















Ship-building, the manufacture of cotton cloth, fishing and shoe- 
making, are the occupations which employ the greatest number of 
hands in Newburyport, but the two latter are very frequently com- 
bined in the same person, many men who go to sea in the summer 
employing the winter months at the bench. 

The manufacture of organs has been carried to great perfection 
in this place by Mr. Joseph Atley, who has built in all thirty-four 
organs, some of large size. Mr. Richard Morse was formerly 
engaged in the business, and built the organ in the Prospect street 

On the 1st of January, the comb-making business was com- 
menced by Lucian A. Emory & Co., on Fair street, who employ 
fifty hands, and are doing a business of $50,000 per annum. 

The population of Newbury port was. 

In 1764 


In 1830 

















Newburyport, as now defined, lies on the southern bank of the 
Merrimac river. The closely built portion of it extends some 
three miles in length, and less than a quarter of a mile in width ; 
this narrow jjarallelogram gradually ascending from the river to 
High street, or " the Ridge." The streets are regularly laid out, 
running from the ridge to the river, and crossed by transverse ways 
at nearly right angles, with some fSw exceptions. The place is 
noted for its cleanliness, the general appearance of thrift and 
comfort among its inliabitants, and the number and beauty of the 
trees which adorn the streets. 

Back of " the Ridge " lies an agricultural district, which may be 
reached from any part of the town in fifteen minutes ; while the 
river, lying at its feet, gives to it that vitality and spirit which 
characterize a seaport town. Towards the north, a part of the 
town, called Belleville, concentrates the ship-building interest. 
Here are four ship-yards, three large and one smaller ; the products of 
whicn may new be found in every quarter of the globe. In the 


central portion of the town are gathered the merchants and retail 
traders, the City Hall, Banks, Market House, &c., and through it 
runs the railroad, penetrating the ridge by a tunnel, and being 
carried by a bridge, elevated some twenty-five feet, across Merrimac 
street, and leading thence directly across the river, over which, 
many times a day, rushes the screaming locomotive. Towards the 
southerly part of the town, we find the fishermen, many of whom 
in winter work at shoemaking. And here too is one of the primi- 
tive ship-yards,* long dedicated to the exclusive production of 
schooners. This section of the town owns to the common appellation 
of " Joppa ; " and leading directly from this, in a south-easterly 
direction, is the Plum Island turnpike, which by a bridge connects 
the island to the main land, at a distance of nearly two miles from 
the southern extremity of Water street. Hence, the inhabitants of 
Newburyport have within the compass of a moderate walk, the 
choice of turning to the green fields, with the West Newbury hills 
forming a background to the picture ; to the inland river scenery, 
over which presides the " bald summit of old Powow ; " or to the 
dashing waves of the free Atlantic, which spend their unobstructed 
strength on the yielding shores of Plum Island ; while interspersed 
everywhere over the town, rise the church spire and the school- 
house, and those emblems of industry, the cotton factories, which 
pour out into the streets some six times a day, their fifteen hundred 
well-paid and well-cared-for operatives. A few rods distant from 
the southern extremity of the thickly settled part of the town, is 
" Pcttingell's," formerly " Pierce's " farm, upon which stands an 
ancient stone house, built about 1660 or 1670,f used in the early 
days of Newbury to store ths town's powder ; a portion of which 
on one occasion exploded and blew out a side of the house, lodging 
a woman, a negro slave of Mr. Pierce's, bed and all, in the branches 
of a large apple tree. From the Pierce family who occupied this 
estate, is descended Franklin Pierice, President of the United 
States ; Benjamin Pierce, of Hillsborough, being descended from 
Benjamm Pierce of Newbury, who is buried in Byfield Parish, 
Newbury, and, if we may believe his epitaph, like his descendant, a 
" pillar i' th' State he was." 

* Captain J. Woodwell's. See " Ship-building." 
t Coffin. 


Following up the street, along the water-side, the southern half of 
which is called Water street, and the northern Merrimac street ; 
commencing at the southern extremity, the following varieties of 
business may be observed, with many others which we have not 
space to enumerate. At the starting-point is located the gas fac- 
tory, which, with its iron arms, diffuses its light through all parts of 
the town ; from which, following up Water street, through " Joppa," 
Ave find the shore lined with small boats and nets, which latter may 
often be seen drying in the sun ; while on vacant lots to the left, in 
the latter part of summer, it is not uncommon to see the fish-flakes 
reared, and the cod, which the fishermen have brought home ready 
salted, spread out to dry, preparatory to packing. Attached to 
many of the houses in this vicinity are small workshops, which in 
winter are occupied by groups of four, six, or eight shoemakers, 
busily plying awl and thread, while they watch for the opening 
spring, which will lead many of them to the " banks " and the 
" Labrador," in j^ursuit of the mackerel and cod. In this vicinity, 
and both above and below it, for some distance, the shore consists of 
flats, which are only deeply covered with water at full tide. From 
this position, perhaps one or more pilot boats may be seen putting 
out after some ship or barque, whose white sails may be discerned 
on looking down the harbor, between Salisbury point and Plum 
Island, standing up to, "Avhere, if she is a stranger, she must 
wait for a guide. 

Above Bromfield street, anciently the southern limits of Ncav- 
buryport, the wharves jut out in quick succession, one after another, 
into the stream, and fishing schooners, coasters. West India traders, 
eastern vessels, with wood from the Provinces, fill up the docks. 
To the left stands the James cotton mill ; and at little less than a 
mile from our starting-place, Ave come to Lunt's mast-yard, where 
the long pine timbers are shaped into spars and masts for the 
schooners Ave have passed, and the ships A\'hich Ave shall come to, 
and for others Avhich may never see the Merrimac, Not far from 
here are the boat-builders, Orne & Rolfe, and Pickett, the latter of 
whom, in 1846, built a splendid thirty-oared barge for the Govern- 
ment, to be used in the war with Mexico. 

Nearly opposite to them is Huse's cigar factory; and in this 
vicinity are found the importers of West India goods, coal, lumber. 


and grain ; and a little farther on, we approach the Custom House, 
a substantial granite building, which contains not one square foot of 
wood-work from the cellar to the cupola ; and just beyond, is the 
primitive ferry-way established by Andros, where now, as then, the 
Merrimac may be crossed in the style of our ancestors a century 
and a half ago, the traveller being rowed across at a nominal price, 
and at a pace which gives ample opportunity to examine all the 
beauties of the harbor, the river, and the Salisbury shore with which 
it connects. 

Above this a few rods, we leave Water street, Avhich terminates 
in Market square — an open space into which leads the central busi- 
ness street, (State street,) and at a few rods from the foot of which, 
stands the Market House, From the north side of Market square, 
the water street is continued under the name of Merrimac 
street. Walking on in this direction, we have, on Brown's wharf, 
the iron foundry, and then pass the machine-shop of Mr. Lesley, the 
marble-yard of Mr. Ira Davis; and a httle beyond the railroad 
bridge, the distillery of Mr. Caldwell.* The first ship-yard we 
approach, is that of Messrs. Manson & Fernald ; then comes a 
tannery, which business has been carried on on the same spot nearly 
ever since the " water-side " was settled. Soon appear the black- 
smith shops, the adjuncts to the larger ship-yards. Here we shall 
probably see several chppers on the stocks in various degrees of 
progress, and perhaps a steamboat building. Passing the several 
ship-yards, the road leads directly to the " Chain bridge," (the Essex 
Merrimac,) which crosses the river at little more than four miles 
above the gas factory. 

Parallel with the water-side street, and at little less than a quar- 
ter of a mile from it, runs High street, where the " retired merchants 
most do congregate ; " and at a central point on its Hne, on the west- 
erly side, is situated the " Bartlett Mall," an enclosed piece of ground 
on the centre of which stands the County Court House, and at either 
end, a brick school-house. Back of the Mall lies a beautiful pond, 
surrounded with terrace walks, elevated from twenty to forty feet 
above its level. The general appearance of this vicinity is extremely 
pleasing and picturesque, the effect being heightened by an ancient 

* Mr. Caldwell makes about five hundred hogsheads of rum per annum. 


burying hill lying just beyond its westerly limits. Between High and 
Water streets, the upper ship-yard and the gas factory, is contained 
the mass of the population of the city. 

" The avenue known as High street, in this city, is remarkable for 
its location, extent, and beauty. Many portions of it not only afford 
an extensive view of the scenery for ten miles in the surrounding 
country, the full extent of the handsomest portion of the city, and the 
numerous private residences, gardens, lawns, and landscapes, but it 
commands a most beautiful marine panoramic view of our coast from 
the Isles of Shoals to Cape Ann, including Plum Island and the 
harbor. The location of this street is the admiration of strangers 
from all parts of the country. The many tasty dwellings located 
along its entire length, extending a distance of over six miles, from 
Parker river to Chain bridge, its winding way through Belleville and 
Newbury, together with the beautiful foliage intermingled with the 
waving elms, the sturdy oak, and the majestic forest trees of a 
century's growth, arcliing their spreading branches in luxuriant 
grandeur, united with songs of the forest birds, and enlivened by 
fragrant aromatic breezes constantly sv/eeping their course from 
hundreds of highly cultivated exotic plants and gardens on either 
side, cooled by refreshing air from the ocean, contribute to make this 
avenue of our city a delightful promenade and fashionable retreat 
during the summer season. The number of shade trees on High street, 
embracing that portion within the limits of Newburyport, (from the 
' Three Beads ' on the north, to Marlborough street on the south,) 
is eleven hutidred and forty-seven.''''*' 

The climate of Newburyport, though variable, is healthy for most 
constitutions, excepting that class disposed to bronchial or pulmo- 
nary complaints. The town is subject to no epidemic diseases, and 
the cholera has never effected a lodgment here. 

One cause of the salubrity of the place, is the excellent water 
which is found here. The soil is gravelly, and with the exception 
of the wells nearest to the river, the springs are peculiarly pure. 
Those near the mouth of the river contain a large proportion of the 
muriates and nitrates of lime and soda, which are, however, princi- 
pally objectionable, when conducted through lead pipes. On the 

* Herald. 

272 HISTORY OF newburyport. 

higher parts of the to^Yn the water has been found to contain only 
7j^- grains of soluble and insoluble matter, to a gallon of water, 
(the gallon containing 56,000 grains,) and is composed of the fol- 
lowing substances : Chromate of lime 2.24 grains, carbonate of 
lime 1.10, sulphate of lime 0.48, nitrate of soda, 1.40, muriate of 
soda 1.51, sulphate of soda 0.41, silicia and potash 0.14; total 
7.28 grains. 

The number of persons who attain to an unusual age in Newbury- 
port is remarkable. Of twenty-three funerals attended by one 
clergyman in the town, from 1846 to 1848, the combined ages of 
eleven of the subjects, amounted to 844^ years. In 1810, there 
were of the deaths occurring, ten men between eighty and ninety, 
eleven women about eighty, and two past ninety. . In the fall of 1853, 
at the funeral of an aged lady, the sum of the united ages of four per- 
sons in one carriage, was three hundred and twenty-five years ; the 
addition of another relative, still living, would have made the sum 
total of their ages, over four hundred years. At the present writing 
(J 854,) there are quite a number of persons near, and several over 
ninety years of age, in the city. 

In the section of NeAvburyport known as Belleville Parish, 
(between Artichoke river and Oakland street,) there have not been 
less than eleven persons over eighty years of age since the year 
1839, and during this interval the number over eighty, has varied 
from eleven to seventeen. The average of population in this section 
of the city, during this time, has been about 1000. There is also 
a large number of citizens embraced in this parish, who might be 
considered " aged," but Avho have not as vet reached the mark of 

Nor is it only length of years to which Ave can point ; many of 
those reaching extreme old age, retaining their strength and facul- 
ties beyond the common term of nature. Mrs. Mary Toppan, Avho 
died in 1833 at the age of 105 years, retained all her faculties of 
mind to the last, and suffered no peculiar bodily infirmity, except 
loss of sight, which was not ascribed to her length of days. Mr. T. 
A. Coffin, at the age of eighty, walked from NcAvburyport to Hamp- 
ton Depot, then rode fourteen miles and visited the beach, walked 
over and examined the state of his farm, and returned in the cars to 
NcAvburyport the same evening, exhibiting no unusual signs of 


fatigue. Deacon Ezekiel Prince,* a native of Newburyport, died 
in Boston, January, 1852, at the age of ninety-two. When eighty 
years of age he painted the outside of his own house ; at the age of 
ninety, being in Charlestown,^ he walked to the top of the Bunker 
Hill Monument, a feat greatly more exliausting than a walk of many 
miles on level ground. 

Deacon Henry Merrill, who deceased April od, 1844, at the 
advanced age of ninety-three, had filled the office of Deacon in the 
First Baptist Church, for a period of nearly forty years ; and though 
residing a distance of three and a half miles fi-om the meeting-house, 
he was never absent from public worship a single Sabbath for twenty 
years, and, till the age of eighty-three, when he had the misfortune 
to break his leg, had never been confined to the house by sickness 
a single day in his life. 

We might add pages of similar instances of strength, health and 
longevity, but the specimens selected must suffice. 


There is no native of Newburyport, and scarcely a stranger who has 
visited our city in the summer season, who does not retain vivid recol- 
lections of this fantastic strip of sand. To the minds of most, its asso- 
ciations are of the social gatherings of friends, of sea-side picnics with 
home companions and stranger guests ; the eye recalls the sandy 
beach dotted with tents ; the cloth spread on the clean yellow sand, 
surrounded with groups of young men and maidens, old men and 
children, the complacent pastor and the grave deacon, all enjoying 
together a day of unrestrained mirth and healthful recreation ; some 
indulging in the exuberance of their wild delight amid the waves 
that roll their white crests to the feet of the more timid watchers, 
and others preparing the gondola for a return home, knocking away 
the poles that support the tents, or packing up the fragments of the 
feast preparatory to stowing them in the carriage, wagon or boat, 

* Mr. Prince was the son of tlie Rev. Mr. Prince, (a blind preaclier,) whose 
remains lie beside Whitfield's in the vault of the Federal Street Church ; and 
was brother to James Prince, for many years Collector of Newburyport. The 
late Dr. Sidney A. Doan, of New York, belonged to this family, being a grand- 
son of James Prince, Esq., the latter gentleman entertained La Fayette on his 
visit to this town. 



that is waiting to carry the jDarty home, just as the sun is setting 
behind the western hills. 

Thousands remember just such scenes as these when they think 
of Plum Island; but there is another .picture, with darker shades, 
which comes between the eye and heart at the mention of Plum Island. 
There are some to whom that name recalls a dark, stormy night — 
the heavy moaning of the sea — a bark vainly striving to clear the 
breakers — bhnding snow — a slippery deck — stiff and glazed ropes — 
hoarse commands that the cruel winds seize and carry far away from 
the ear of the sailor — a crash of tons of falling water beating in the 
hatches — shrieks which no man heard, and ghastly corpses on the 
deceitful, shifting sands, and the great ocean cemetery, still holding 
in awful silence the lost bodies of the dead. 

When the north-east wind blows, and the misty fog, which has 
left its home in the Bay of Fundy, and travelled down the coast, 
shrouding from sight the breakers and the bar, and dimming the 
warning harbor lights, — when the drizzling rain turns to the fierce 
tempest, and the deep roar of the Atlantic can be heard like mournful 
dirges in the streets, — then the citizens of Newburyport think of 
Plum Island, and speculate on the probability that a vessel may even 
then be vainly struggling amid the breakers. If in the day-time, one 
and another, and here and there a party, put on their thickest coats, 
and stoutest boots, and speed away to Plum Island, to see the storm 
in its majesty, and to rescue its victims, if any such there are, that 
may be reached. 

In December, 1839, occurred one of these terrible storms. On 
the 15th, there had been a very high tide, which had overflowed the 
wharves on the river-side, and covered the eastern end of Plum 
Island with water, so that for some hours the keeper could not get 
to the lights, a lake having formed between his dwelling-house and 
the light-houses. The hotel nearer the bridge was also surrounded 
with water, while sandhills twenty feet high were washed away, and 
others formed, the eastern shore being reduced by the action of the 
waves, many rods. On the 24th, there was a recurrence of the 
stoi-m, and during the night, a brig of some three hundred tons, the 
Pocahontas, struck, and was discovered early in the morning, but in 
such a situation that nothing could be done for the relief of the 
wretched men who still clung to the wreck. Those on board in whom 


life remained, could see the excited but impotent spectators on the 
shore, while the latter gazed with useless sympathy upon the stragglers 
in this terrible conflict of the elements. The surf was such that no 
boat could possibly live in it, and those in the brig were too distant 
to throw lines on shore, if the wind had not been enlisted against 
such a means of deliverance. The bodies of several of the crew 
were afterwards found on the beach at some distance from the brig, 
with the small boat lying near, showing that these had attempted 
thus to escape, but perished by the very means taken to preserve 
their lives. These probably left the brig before daylight, and 
perhaps before she struck. Seven bodies of the crew were recovered, 
besides the captain and first mate.* 

One man who was seen before nine in the morning on the bowsprit, 
retained that critical position until near twelve, when a heavy sea 
washed away him and his support, and he was lost in full sight of 
scores of spectators. To make his case the more sad, it was but a 
few minutes after this catastrophe that the brig was washed upon the 
beach, so that it was readily boarded from the shore. One man was 
found lashed to the vessel with life not extinct when first discovered, 
but so exhausted that he ceased to breathe without being able to 
make an intelligible sign. The sea had beaten over liim so fiercely 
and continuously, that his clothes were almost entirely washed ofi" of 

Still the unpitying storm beat on. The ice was driven in from the 
flats to the wharves, and piled up on the lower part of Water street. 

* The poet must have had a very similar scene in mind when writing : 

" Seven sailors went sailing out into the East; 
Into the East as the sun went down ; 
Each thought of the woman that loved him the best, 
And the children were watching them out of the town. 
For men must work, and women must weep. 
Though the harbor bar be moaning. 

Seven corpses lay on the shining sand — 

On the shining sand when the tide went down ; 
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands, 
For those who will never come back to the town. 
For men must work, and women must weep ; 
And there 's little to earn, and many to keep, 
Though the harbor bar be moaning.^' 

KiNOfiLEY, {Altered. 


The light-houses "were at one time considered in danger, as the water 
flowed above the blockings on which they were placed, even at an 
hour which should have been low tide. Of one hundred and thirty 
vessels in port, forty-one were more or less injured ; and one, the 
schooner Panama, was sunk at her wharf. 

When, after several days, it became almost certain that no more 
bodies would be discovered, the stranger corpses were borne into the 
broad aisle of the South church — the American ensign thrown over 
the coffins, — the bells tolled, — and amid a concourse of two thousand 
five hundred people, solemn prayer was oiFered over these human 
waifs, untimely thrown upon our shores. But they were not all 
strangers. One lay there, the master of the vessel, whose name 
and lineage and features were famihar to many in that crowded 
sanctuary. Young Captain Cook, and the first officer, also named 
Cook, were the only ones recognized that day. The others were 
borne by the hands of strangers to the old burying hill, wliile the 
bells tolled solemnly, and the drooping flags hung at half-mast from 
the vessels at their moorings ; and on that ancient hill-side now stands 
a neat monument over the spot which humanity ofiered for their 

Other wrecks have there been before and since December, 1839 ; 
but none the circumstances of which were more indelibly impressed 
upon the mind, especially of those who participated in these funeral 

On Christmas day, 1850, was discovered on the snow-covered 
beach, tKe frozen body of a young man, belonging to the schooner 
Argus, wrecked a day or two before. He was quite young, not 
more than 19 or 20, and had evidently reached the shore alive, but 
benumbed with cold, and exhausted with his efforts to reach the 
shore, had laid down in a posture of repose, but it was to a rest 
AYhich knew no earthly waking. He was discovered by a Mr. 
Johnson, of Rowley, and ibrought up to town by S. T. Payson, Esq. 
The corpse, decently arrayed for the grave, with another of the 
same crew, subsequently found on the beach by Mr. T. G. Dodge, 
was buried from the same church whence the crew of the Po- 
cahontas had been carried to their last resting place. Of the 
crew of the Argus, five perished ; two were washed off" the vessel 
and not recovered. It is supposed the two found on the beach 


attempted to swim on shore. One was not accounted for ; the 
captain only was saved. 

Four months and a half later, on the 15th of April, 1851, com- 
menced another storm which is now fresh in the recollection of all, 
but which is recorded as not without interest for the future. On 
Monday, the slowly gathering, but thick easterly mist, announced 
the coming of a storm ; the mist in a few hours turned to a steady 
rain, accompanied by a heavy gale ; on Tuesday greatly increasing 
in violence ; and by Wednesday morning, it proved one of the most 
severe ever experienced in this vicinity. It was the more fearful, 
as coming on an unusually high course of tides, which rendered 
every additional impetus, dangerous and destructive. At Wednes- 
day noon, the tide was higher than at any other previously recorded, 
except perhaps one which occurred exactly a hundred years ago, in 
1753, when during a violent E.N.E. storm of snow, the tide rose to 
an unprecedented height ; so much so that in a corn-mill situated 
on Parker river, some six or seven miles from the sea-shore, the 
tide flowed in to the depth of twenty-three inches on the floor.* It 
was twenty-two inches higher than in the gale of December, 1839, 
and thirteen inches higher than at any subsequent time. The 
wharves were covered with water from one to four feet, which also 
forced its way into the warehouses on the^ wharves, and filled the 
cellars on the lower side of Water street. During Tuesday night, 
the watchmen employed at the ship-yards, found a quantity of 
timber floating ofi", and much was lost before aid could be procured 
to save the remainder. In the morning, and towards high tide, 
several hundred cords of wood and lumber floated from the 
wharves, and went adrift. The wharves themselves were many 
of them badly damaged ; the lower long wharf to the amount of 
some $1,200. 

Many vessels were badly chafed by beating against each other 
and the docks, and some broke adrift. The Essex mill, which is 
situated on the water-side, above the bridge, had its engine and 
boiler-house nearly filled with water,! and the waste-house was 
thrown over and forced from its place. As high up as Hale's 
wharf, the spray was thrown against the windows of the second 

* Family Record of Mr. John Pearson. t Daily Herald. 


stories of houses on the upper side of the street ; while below South 
street, the river broke in waves over the whole line of the road to 
Plum Island ; and the spray was carried to the tops of the houses 
on the upper side of Water street. A number of workshops and 
outbuildings were grasped by the advancing waters, and borne off 
in triumph, only to be cast back again, shattered and in fragments, 
by the next returning wave. A view of the scene the next day, 
made the destruction appear quite as impressive as during the 
violence of the storm. The road was torn up, and impassable for 
horses or carriages, strewn with wood and timber and fragments of 
buildings which the angry waves had left, as if in contempt for 
their worthlessness, and which they had only rent to atoms to show 
their own prowess. Many families on the lower side of the street, 
fearing for the foundations of their dwellings, had temporarily 
abandoned them, and spent the night with hospitable neighbors ; 
while many had removed some of their more frail and valuable 
pieces of furniture, and for days after might be seen carrying them 
back to their still undemolished homes. When within the town the 
resistless tides had so completely pronounced their ascendency, it 
may well be imagined that Plum Island presented a still more 
desolate aspect. On Wednesday noon, Plum Island bridge was 
covered with water and quite impassable ; but previous to the 
highest rising of the tide, two of our citizens, Messrs. T. G. Dodge 
and 0. Rundlett, impressed with the idea that a vessel was lying off 
Plum Island, and that it was possible they might be of use to the 
endangered crew, had made their way to the island at about 
half-past ten in the morning ; and there, lying to, outside of the 
breakers, was a brig, which it was evident could not long withstand 
the sea, which Avas forcing her on to the beach. Messrs. Dodge 
and Rundlett made for the " Relief Hut, No. 1 ; " a house erected 
shortly before by Captain Nicholas Brown and others, for the 
purpose of affording temporary shelter to shipwrecked mariners, 
and also for those who ventured to their assistance ; the latter 
needing occasional shelter from the fury of the storms, and the" 
means of making a fire, to enable them to be of much assistance to 
those threatened with destruction. The vessel now in sight was 
not far from the house, and presently the watchers saw her main- 
sail give way ; control over her was lost, and they knew she must 



soon strike. They had not long to wait ; she struck almost as soon 

as they came opposite to her, on a reef about two hundred yards 

from the shore, and about half a mile below the relief house, and 

between that and the Emerson rocks. The crew could plainly see 

their unknown friends on the shore, and by signal communicated 

with them, the brig gradually beating up the beach. Many and 

persevering efforts were made to secure a line which the crew 

endeavored to throw on shore from the brig, but, undiscouraged, 

Messrs. Dodge and Rundlett remained in the surf nearly three 

hours before this was accomplished. A little before one o'clock, 

they were joined by Mr. Lufkin, who resided on the island, some 

two miles below the wreck, who with a hired man came to their 

assistance. An hour's more toil and the rope was at last secured, 

and the Captain and crew, with a single passenger, nine persons 

in all, were thus, by the humane and persevering efforts of these 

men, rescued from their perilous situation. Too much credit cannot 

be given to those who thus exposed themselves to wet and cold, and 

exhausting endeavors to rescue the imperilled strangers. The brig 

proved to be the Primrose, Captain Bokman, with a cargo of coal, 

from Pictou bound to Boston. The Captain had not been able to 

take an observation for several days, and supposed himself in Boston 

Bay, till he discovered the breakers at his feet. She lay imbedded 

in the sand till the ensuing July, when she was towed off, having 

had her cargo taken out by the steamer C. B. Stevens, then running 

on the river between Newburyport and Haverhill. 

The damage caused by this storm along the wharves and among 
the shipping, could not have been less than twenty thousand dollars, 
while the injury to the Plum Island turnpike and bridge was only 
repaired at a cost of about four thousand dollars. The sea at one 
time broke completely over the island, in some parts, leaving lakes 
and ponds in unwonted places when the storm subsided. 

Cojnmunication on the Eastern Railroad was interrupted on the 
morning of the 16th and 17th, by the washing away of a portion of 
the road by the Rowley marshes, and during Wednesday a large 
number of persons came over the GeorgetoAvn Railroad to see the 
ravages which the storm was making along the shore. Indeed, so 
exciting was the scene along the lower part of Water street, that 
the streets leading to it were thronged Avith groups of interested 



persons and spectators, among Avliom -ivere probably two or three 
hundred ladies, who participated, despite of wind and weather, in 
enjoying the fascinating excitement of the scene. 

The Plum Island Bridge and Turnpike Company was incorporated 
in 1805, with a capital of $25,000, divided into 500 shares. In 
1837, $20 was assessed on each share, and in 1851, $10 per share. 
The bridge has been twice washed away ; in 1851, as related above, 
and in 1832, when it remained unbuilt for the next succeeding five 
years, but was rebuilt in 1837 at a cost of $13,000. In 1818 and 
at other periods it has been very seriously damaged. 

In 1808 a whirlwind passed over the northern end of Plum Island, 
throwing over the hght-houses and leaving them stretched out like 
dead sentinels, not side by side as might naturally be expected, but 
in opposite directions, as if they had fallen in deadly conflict with 
each other. 

Plum Island bears north and south, and is between eight and 

nine miles in length, and less then a mile in width ; the northern 

half of it was originally owned by the town of Newbury ; but in 

1827 it was 1)0ught of the " Proprietors' Committee on undivided 

lands in Newbury," by Moses Pettingell, Esq., o'f Newburyport, for 

the sum of $600 ; in whose possession this portion still remains. 

The southern part of the island belongs to Ipswich and Rowley, and 

contains a few dwelling-houses 'and farms ; but the northern part is 

entirely composed of sand, which is thrown by the wind into hillocks 

of various heights and forms, and on the eastern shore is continually 

the sport of the Atlantic billows, which change its outline from year 

to year, making its shores a new study, to the lover of nature, 

who might here revel in one of her wildest and most fantastic forms, 

an ever new delight. 

Besides the small heach jjlum, which originally gave name to the 
island, the juniper bush, and a coarse species of grass which is found 
in patches sometimes of several acres in extent, there are few other 
plants to be found indigenous to the soil, except the "|;rMW?ts litto- 
ralis, (of Bigelow,) the Hiidsonia tomentosa, bearing a small yellow 
flower, the Cotivallaria stellata, the latliyrus marithmis (of Bigelow,) 
and the arenaria pebloides* discovered R. S. Spofford, M. D., of 

* Cushing's Hist. Newburyport. 




The only Insm-ance Company now in operation in Newburyport, 
is the '■'■Newhuryport Mutual Fire Insurance Company,^^ incor- 
porated in 1829, of Avhich John Balch, Esq., is President, and J. J. 
Knapp, Esq., Secretary. 

There has been a large number of private insurance companies 
here, but few incorporated, Boston Companies usually keeping 
agents here. The following incomplete list is all that we have been 
able to ascertain regarding them. 

In 1776, there appeared in the Essex Journal, a notice of the first 
insurance office opened in Newburyport. 

In 1781, a private insurance office was opened by Michael Hodge, 
Esq., on the site now occupied by Messrs. T. H. & A. W. Lord. 

In 1798, another private office was opened by Mr. John Balch at 
a place called " The Hole in the Wall," at the foot of Green street. 
In June, 1799, was incorporated the Marine Insurance Company, 
" to continue until 1819." Ebenezer Stocker, President. 

An office called the " Newburyport Marine Insurance " was 
opened in 1802. 

In 1803, the " Merrimac Marine and Fire Insurance Company, 
was incorporated (February 15,) " to continue till 1823." John 
Pearson, President. 

An insurance office was opened by Mr. Joseph Balch, in 1803. 
The Union Marine and Fire Insurance Company, of which Stephen 
Holland was President, was kept (in 1806,) over the store now 
occupied by Mr. John Chamberlain, in Market Square. 

The Newburyport Marine Insurance Company was kept by Mr. 
John Porter on State street in 1810. 


The Merrimac Insurance Company, of which Jeremiah Nelson was 
President, was in operation in 1815. 

In 1817, a private insurance office was opened' by the late Seth 
Sweetzer, Esq., over the store now occupied by Mr. Joseph 
Goodhue, Market Square. 

Mr. Gushing in his History mentions another incorporated com- 
pany, the "Phoenix" prior to 1826, (date of incorporation not 

An office was opened on Water street, (date not known,) the 
Secretary of which vras " Master Clannin." 

The Merchants' Insurance Company (date of opening not known,) 
dissolved in 1836, having lost heavily, but paying up all their debts 
and interest. 

The Essex Marine Insurance Company had at risk in 1840 over 


The Banks now doing business in Newburyport are the Merchants', 
the Mechanics' and the Ocean. 

There have been three banking institutions incorporated under the 
name of the " Newburyport Bank," and one called the " Merrimac 
Bank." This latter was incorporated June 25th, 1795, to go into 
operation the ensuing 1st of July, the charter to hold until July 1st, 
1805. Of this, WilHam Bartlett was President, and Joseph Cutler, 

The next incorporated was the Newburyport Bank, March 8th, 
1803, Dudley A. Tyng, President, and William W. Prout, Cashier. 
With this institution was united the Merrimac Bank, (on the expira- 
tion of its charter in 1805,) the concern being carried on under 
the name of the " Newburyport Bank," the charter of which, was 
to continue till the first Monday in October, 1812, with a capital of 
of $550,000, William Bartlett being President, and Samuel MulH- 
ken. Cashier. 

On the expiration of the charter in 1812, a new Act of Incor- 
poration was obtained for the " Newburyport Bank" with a capital 
of $210,000. The charter to hold till the first Monday in October, 
1831. (This was succeeded by the "Merchants' Bank.") 

The last named " Newburyport Bank " was incorporated in 1836, 


and in no way connected with the preceding. It had a capital of 
$100,000; Stephen \V. Marston, President. During the disastrous 
money crisis of 1837-9, it became embarrassed, and finally sus- 
pended payment in 1841. In 1845 its aflFairs -were wound up, the 
Bank redeeming in full every bill in circulation. 

The Mechanics' Bank, of Newburyport, was incorporated in 
1813. Its most active projector was James Prince, Esq., who 
with Messrs. John O'Brien, William Russell, Joshua Little, William 
Davis, Abraham Williams, John Brickett, James Horton and Gil- 
man Frothingham, was named in the act of incorporation. The 
company had a capital stock of $200,000, which has remained without 
change from the commencement of its operations. The number of 
shares is 2000, of $100 each. John Pettingell was its first 
President, and continued in that oflSce until 1828. Moses Daven- 
port, Esq., has recently been elected President, in place of the 
late John Wood, Esq. 

The Merchants' Bank, of Newburyport, was incorporated 
March 18, 1831. Messrs. " WilHam Bartlett, John Wills, John 
Wood, Robert Jenkins, John N. Cushmg, Benjamin Hale, William 
Balch, Stephen Tilton, Henry Johnson, Amos Noyes, David Noyes, 
Henry Frothingham, Samuel Nichols, Eleazer Johnson, Edmund 
Swett, and others," being named in the act of incorporation. 
Capital, $225,000. Captain John Wills was elected President, and 
Mr. Samuel Mulliken, who had been for many years Cashier of the 
Newburyport Bank, was elected Cashier. The Bank commenced 
business June 6, 1831, and in October of the next year, the Presi- 
dent, Captain Wills, declined a reelection to the Presidency, and 
was succeeded by Henry Johnson, Esq., who held the ofiice for 
twenty-one years, until October, 1853, when he resigned, and Hon. 
Micajah Lunt was chosen to succeed him. 

In 1833 the capital stock of this bank was increased $75,000, 
bringing it up to $300,000, the par value of the shares remaining 
as at its organization ($50). 

In 1844 it was, however, reduced $90,000, leaving it at $210,000, 
at which it has since remained. The par value of the shares was 
then also reduced to S35. 



The ]\Ierchants' Bank arose on the ashes of the old Newbui-yport 
Bank, whose charter expired by limitation, October, 1831, the 
office, real estate, &c., being purchased and still occupied by the 
officers of the Merchants'. In 1851, the veteran Cashier of 
the bank, Samuel MuUiken, Esq., having attained the age of 82 
years, resigned his office, and Mr. Gyles P. Stone was elected his 

The Ocean Bank, of Newburyport, was incorporated March 20, 
1833. The persons named in the act were John Wills, first Presi- 
dent of the Merchants' Bank, "William Davis, Seth Clark, of 
Salisbury, Phillip Johnson, Henry Frothingham, Jacob W. Pierce, 
Richard Stone and Hem-y Titcomb, Jr. The original capital was 
$200,000, but in 1844, the capital was reduced to $100,000, at 
which it remains. The number of shares was 2,000, of par 
value, $50 each ; the average number of stockholders being 250. 
Captain John Wills was the prime mover in getting up the Ocean 
Bank, and was its first President, which office is now filled by 
William Stone, Esq. 

The average dividend before the reduction of capital was four 
per cent, per annum, since which time it has been ten per cent. 


Office, corner of State and Essex streets. Incorporated in 1820. 
Micajah Lunt, President; John Harrod, Treasurer ; Richard Stone, 
Secretary. On deposit (1853) over $1,000,000. 

Among the By-Laws are the following. " No deposit received 
less than one dollar, and no sum less than three dollars shall be put 
on interest." 

" Office hours from 9 A. M. to 1 P. M., and from 2i P. M. until 
4 P. M., excepting Saturday afternoon and public hohdays." 

" Dividends payable on the fourth Wednesday of April and 
October ; dividends not called for, added to the principal of the 
depositor and placed on interest." 

" No interest paid on sums drawn before the regular period for 
declaring dividends, which is the third Wednesday in April and 
October, nor on any sum which has not been on deposit three 


" At the end of every five years, the net profits of the Institu- 
tion are added to the capital of all depositors, whose deposits amount 
to throe dollars and upwards." 

" Money can he withdrawn on any day during office hours, except 
on the third Wednesdays of January, April, July and October ; 
but no sum less than one dollar can at any time be withdrawn. 

" The Trustees may by vote of the majority return the amount 
of all or any of the deposits, or divide the property among the 
depositors in their proper proportions, by giving three months' 

This is the legal provision for dissolving the Institution ; so that 
in this extremity, which there is no reason whatever to anticipate, 
the depositor is ensured against loss. 


The Essex Steam Mill was incorporated in 1834, with a capital 
stock of $100,000 ; par value of shares $5,000, the number of 
shares, 200. The present officers are George Gardener, Presi- 
dent; James Reed, Treasurer; William C. Balcli, Af/ent. 


This Company owns two buildings, situated on land adjoining 
Pleasant and Inn streets. Company incorporated in 1837. Capital 
stock $350,000. Number of shares 700, of par value $500 
each. Sheetings and shirtings (of No. 40) are manufactured to 
the amount of 2,000,000 yards per year. The number of hands 
employed average 400. Spindles 18,080, looms 391. In one of 
the buildings the engine is of 100 horse power, and in the other 
but 70. 

This company was originally incorporated as the " Wessacumcon 
Mills," and the principal projectors of it were Messrs. Ebenezer 
Moseley, Richard S. Spoflbrd, M. D., John Chickering, Samuel T. 
DeFord, Phillip Johnson, William Ashby and T. M. Clark. The 
capital stock was originally divided into 350 shares, of $1,000 
each. The present division of stock was made in May, 1845. The 
annual meeting of stockholders is held in May. Eben. Stone, 
Treasurer. The name of the Mills was changed in 1840. 



Situated on Water street, foot of Charles : was incorporated Janu- 
ary 28, 1842, with a capital of $250,000. The building is 312 feet 
long, 50 feet wide, and four stories high, employing 17,000 spindles, 
and 356 looms. The engine is rated at 180 horse power. The mill 
produces annually, of fine shirtings and sheetings, (of about No. 40,) 
a little over 2,000,000 of yards ; consuming 590,000 pounds, or 
1,300 bales of cotton, and some 1,300 tons of coal ; number of hands 
employed, 325, of whom two-thirds are females. 

This enterprise originated with several persons, principally at the 
south part of the town, among whom were Messrs Phillip Johnson, 
Mark Symonds, Robert Bayley, Charles T. James, Ralph and Thomas 
Huse, J. T. Loring, Albert Wood, and Samuel Brookings, and the 
heirs of the late William Bartlett, Sen., who subscribed at once half 
of the original amount with which it was at first proposed to com- 
mence operations, ($30,000,) and subsequently added to this sum. 
Some Boston capital was drawn in, which justified the enlargement 
of the mill, and stock was paid in to the amount of its present capital, 
which was divided into 2,500 shares of $100 dollars each. 

The annual meeting of stockholders is held on the third Monday 
in February. Charles J. Brockway, Treasurer. 


Situated on Federal street, near Water : incorporated March, 
1845 : capital of $320,000, having 800 shares of par value, $400 
each : manufactures jeans and printing cloths, producing 4,000,000 
yards annually, and employing 100 males, and 275 females. The 
engine is rated at 230 horse power; spindles in operation, 13,392, and 
looms, 384, consuming annually 1,600 tons of coal, and 704,000 
pounds of cotton. The building is 320 feet long, and 50 feet wide ; 
four stories high. 

* Before the macbluery was put into the upper stories of this mill, a room 
was selected as the most commodious in town, in which the Hon. Daniel Web- 
ster addressed the citizens of Newburyport, prior to the fall elections of 1844, 
(November 7.} The weave-room was capable of seating 5000 people. 

Water is introduced into this mill from a pond lying beyond the cemetery, on 
the southerly side of the turnpike. 


The prime originators of this company were Messrs, John Porter, 
James Reed, Charles H, CofBn, John Balch, and Mark Symonds. 
The original capital stock was but $200,000 ; but in 1846, the com- 
pany made 400 new shares, of value, $200 each, thus increasing 
the capital stock $120,000. 

Annual meeting of stockholders, second Monday in May. John 
Porter, Treanurer. 


Situated on the corner of Kent and Monroe streets : was incor- 
porated in 1845, with a capital stock of $160,000, divided into 400 
shares, of $400 each. The product is principally pi-inting cloth, of 
which 2,000,000 yards are made annually. The number of hands 
employed is 170, of which 60 are males ; number of spindles, 8,784 ; 
looms, 208, consuming 850 bales of cotton, and 900 tons of coal per 
year ; engine 120 horse power. 

The principal originators of this mill were Messrs. WilHam C. 
Balch, Frederick J. Coffin, James Reed, Benjamin Saunders. 

Annual meeting of stockholders, jfirst Monday in May. James 
Reed, Treasurer. 


Chartered in 1826 : present Board of Directors, (1853,) Joseph 
Johnson, President; William Balch, Prescott Spalding, Josiah 
French ; John Porter, Clerk and Treasurer. 


Incorporated, 1792 ; charter expires in 1862. Micajah Lunt, 
President; Ebenezer Stone, Treasurer and Clerk. 


Collector of Customs, (1854,) James Blood ; Deputy Collector, 
Thomas W. Burnham ; Naval Officer, Nicholas Brown ; Surveyor, 
Nathaniel Jackson ; G-auger, George W. Hill ; Weigher and Meas- 
urer, Enoch Hale, Jr.; Inspector, Charles Peabody; Boatman, 
Joseph Lowell. 



The " Newburyport Artillery" Company was organized in 
1778. The first officers were Thomas Thomas, Captain; David 
Coates, Captain Lieutenant; Michael Hodge, First Lieutenant ; 
Samuel Newhall, Second Lieuteiiant. 

In 1794, by the union of this company with one in Amesbury, a 
battalion was formed, and subsequently a company belonging to 
Andover was annexed to this battalion. Since 1820, the company 
have performed camp duty in several towns in this State and New 

This company are governed by a written constitution, regulating 
terms of membership, the choice of officers, specifying the duties of 
the several officers, &c. The 19th Article is one which might be 
copied with advantage by associations other than military. We give 
it entire : 

"Article 19. Every member shall keep by him a copy of these 
Articles, which he shall produce at the meeting in October, on pen- 
alty of twelve and a half cents." 

This is well calculated to keep members to the point in debate. 
The 20th Article shuts the door on frivolous or ill-natured motions 
to reconsider. It reads : 

" No vote passed by the company shall be repealed or reconsidered, 
unless there be a greater number present than when the same was 
adopted, and unless by a majority of the whole company." 

In 1844 the name of the company was changed to that of the 
Washington Light Guard. In 1852 this name was exchanged for 
that of the " Gushing Guard." Their motto, adopted at their 
seventy-fifth anniversary, (February, 1853,) is " Prepare for War, 
but pray for Peace." 

December, 1853, the City Government voted to purchase the gun 
house, by Frog pond, for an armory, for the use of the Gushing 

In 1800 the " Washington Light Infantry Company" was formed 
under Captain Abraham Perkins, Lieutenant Charles Jackson,* and 

* Now Judge Jackson, of Boston. 


Ensign Nicholas Tracy. Their motto was, " He led the fathers, and 
inspires the sons." In 1813 this company performed guard duty at 
Plum Island. In 1817 the company was dissolved, but re-formed 
the next year. In the journal of William G. White. Esq., we find 
the following record under date of May, ! 834 : " The Washington 
Light Infantry of this town, broke up last March, so that now there 
is only the Artillery Company that have a uniform in this town." 
This dissolution was final. 


Masonry was introduced into America, according to Masonic 
Chronology, July 30th, 5733,* when a Lodge was formed in Boston, 
by virtue of a commission from the then Grand Master in England. 
The Massachusetts Grand Lodge was established in Boston, Decem- 
ber 27, 5769, and descended by Masonic transmission, from the 
Grand Master of Scotland. On the 19th of June, 5792, a Grand 
Masonic Union was formed by these two Grand Lodges, and all dis- 
tinctions between ancient and modern Masons was abolished. The 
Lodges of Massachusetts, were divided into twelve Districts, each 
having a District Deputy Grand Master. The Lodges of Newbury- 
port belonged to the second District ; these were : 

St. John's, chartered in 1766, St. Peter's in 1772 and St. Mark's 
in 1803. 

In 1790 a Royal Arch Chapter Avas established in Newbury- 
port, and in 1795 an Encampment of Knights Templars was 
instituted. About 5825 a Consistory was established here which 
had the power of conferring all the highest degrees of Masonry. 

In the decline of ^Masonry throughout the country, some twenty- 
seven years since, the several bodies here participated ; but the 
Order reckoned as its members, during its ascendency, the names of 
some of the most intelHgent, worthy and pious members of the 
community, including many of the clergy. For many years the 
Grand Royal Arch Chapter held their Annual meetings alternately 
at Boston and Newburyport, many of the highest officers belonging 
to the latter town. 

* To reduce this to common time, call the Tj a 1 ; thus, 5733 Masonic time 
will be 1733, A. D. 



St. Mark's Lodge is still sustained, and another, the St. John's, 
which had surrendered its charter, has recently received it again, 
and is now in operation. 


The Quascacunquen Lodge, (No. 39,) was instituted in Newbury- 
port, March 7th, 184:4 ; the charter being granted to Messrs. E. S. 
Stearns, George Emery, John Poole, S. K. Oilman, and C. A. 

Among the terms of membership, it is provided* that " the candi- 
date shall be a believer in a Supreme Being, Creator, Preserver and 
Governor of all things. He shall not be under twenty-one years of 
age. He shall be a man of good moral character, * * * 
having some respectable known means of support, and exempt from 
all infirmities which may prevent his gaining a livelihood. * * 
No person shall be admitted a member of this Lodge over fifty years 
of age, (except by card,) or paying annually one dollar extra over 
the usual fees. 

" The initiation fee is ten dollars, and two dollars for each degree. 
* * In addition, every member pays to the general fund of the 
Lodge seventy-five cents per quarter. * * There are two funds 
connected with the Lodge, the ' widows and orphans' fund,' which 
consists of specific contributions and donations, with all fines and 
forfeitures, and the interest of all funds invested by the Trustees. 
The 'general fund' consists of all moneys not belonging to the 
widows and orphans' fund. The Lodge pays out annually between 
six and seven hundred dollars. Benefits, in case of sickness of a 
member, or death in his family, are graduated and paid according 
to the degree which he has attained, and consequently in proportion 
to the fees paid in by him. The punctual attendance of officers, at 
the regular or special meetings, is enforced by a fine for absence. 

" No smoking or refreshments except water, are allowed in the 
Lodge rooms." 

The number of members rose, soon after the organization of the 
Lodge, to about three hundred ; it is now something less than that. 

The Merrimac Encampment, (No. 7,) was formed under a charter 

* " Constitution and Bye-Laws of Q. L., T. O. O. F." 


from the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts, granted to E. S. 
Stearns, George Emerj, P. K. Hills, T. II. Lovel, Gilbert Watson, 
Dexter Dana, and John Huse. Average number of members, forty. 


The origin of the INIarine Society of Newburyport, which has for 
so long a period exerted a beneficent influence on the mercantile 
interests of the town, is to be found in the voluntary association of 
six individuals, who met on the 5th of November, 1772, and agreed 
to form an association for the purpose of better securing the interests 
of shipmasters, obtaining information relative to the navigation of 
this vicinity, and forming a fund for the assistance of decayed ship- 
masters or their families ; the latter part of their work was com- 
menced by depositing with their Secretary and Treasurer, Michael 
Hodge, Esq., a guinea apiece for the purpose. On the 13th of the 
same month their numbers had increased to seventy, and a code of 
By-laws was adopted, which involved in substance these points : 
That members should consist only of persons who were, or had been 
shipmasters, except in extraordinary cases. That captains in com- 
mand of a vessel should pay a certain sum per month to the funds, 
for the time they Avere absent, but that in case of shipwreck, cap- 
ture,* or other misfortune, they might be excused from this tax, and, 
if the case required it, assistance to himself or family should be 
rendered. In case of the death of a member of the Society, his 
widowf or children should be assisted, if necessary, according to the 
means of the Society ; that any person guilty of any notorious crime 
or vice, should be excluded from the Society and its benefits ; that 
members in the practice of their profession should be careful in their 
observations of the variations of the needle, soundings, courses and 
distances, and of all remarkable things about the coast, and com- 
municate in writing to the Society, such observations as he had made 
and deemed serviceable to the community. 

In 1779 a committee appointed by the Society made a survey of 

* In 1779 a large proportion of the members were excused on account of 
having been captured by the enemy. 

f Many widows have been wholly or in part supported by this Society, and 
several orphans educated and maintained at their expense. 


the Breaking Rock — a ledge about half a mile long, in the vicinity 
of Great Boar's Head, and lying about a mile from the shore. The 
danger to vessels from this ledge, which was covered at high tide, 
had been fatally experienced by many coasters. The report of the 
Society's committee gave such directions in regard to the navigation 
of this part of the coast as to make it thereafter safe. To their 
consideration, as combining the best nautical knowledge of the coast, 
was submitted a book of sailing directions, with the bearings and 
distance of headlands, &c., by Captain Furlong, which book was the 
foundation of that Avhich has since grown into such repute as the 
American Coast Pilot, afterwards published by Edmund Blunt, Esq. 

The amount disbursed by the Society in charity has exceeded 
$20,000, and they are now paying annually $900 to the widows of 
deceased members. The par value of the funds and building is 
risino- of $23,000. The charter of incorporation was obtained in 
1777. The nucleus of a cabinet of curiosities was gathered, but 
the decline of the shipping interest here has prevented any consid- 
erable enlargement. The building owned by the Society is on State 

Captain Joseph P. Russel, who had been a member of the Society 
for twenty-eight years, donated to it $2,000. 

The Merrimac Humane Society was instituted for the purpose 
of extending inquiries, collecting facts, and aiding in the rescue or 
resuscitation of persons subject to accidents, particularly drowning. 
They were stimulated to this from the frequent occurrence of acci- 
dents on the Merrimac, and deaths by shipwreck, and otherwise, at 
Plum Island. 

The persons named in the act of incorporation, (March 7, 1804,) 
are Micajah Sawyer, M. D., Dudley A. Tyng, and Ebenezer Stocker, 
Esqs., Dr. Nathaniel Bradstreet, William Woart, Rev. Thomas Cary, 
Rev. Samuel Spring, Rev. John Andrews, Rev. Daniel Dana, 
Rev. Isaac Smith, William Coombs, and Nicholas Johnston, Esqs., 
Dr. Nathaniel Saltonstall, Dr. Samuel Nye, and Rev. Joseph Dana, 

D. D. 

This Society erected three huts on Plum Island, and published 
printed directions to mariners how to find them if cast ashore on the 
island. They also provided signal colors and lights, which were 


placed in the care of the keeper of the light-houses, with suitable 
directions for use in case of vessels approaching under dangerous 

Grappling irons, inflaters, fumigaters, and electrical machines, 
were also kept on hand by the Society, for the purpose of facilitating 
the recovery of persons taken from the water and exposed to death. 
The Society still survives, but the houses erected on Plum Island 
were long since destroyed by the malicious or reckless frequenters 
of the island.* They lasted, however, quite a number of years. 

The present officers of the Society are Hon. Dennis Condry, Pres 
ident ; Francis Todd, Esq., Vice President ; Ebenezer Moseley, Esq., 
Corresponding Secretary ; Moses Pettingill, Recording Secretary ; 
Captain Paul Simpson, (deceased 1854,) Treasurer ; Rev. Daniel 
Dana, D. D., R. S. Spofford, M. D., Hon. Ebenezer Moseley, Ed- 
ward S. Rand, Captain Francis Todd, Hon. Dennis Condry, Hon. 
Henry Johnson, Captain Charles Hodge, John Harrod, Esq., Moses 
Pettengill, Esq., Ebenezer Stedman, Esq., Trustees. 

Mr. William Coombs, named in the act of incorporation, was one 
of the Vice Presidents of the Society, and was awarded a gold medal 
by the trustees for his heroic act in saving a child of Mr. Paul 
Plummer, who had fallen from a raft into a depth of water between 
six and seven feet, near Coombs's wharf. Mr. Coombs, though then 
seventy-six years of age, immediately leaped into the Avater, and 
succeeded in rescuing the boy. 

Mr. Coombs was for many years President of the Marine Society 
of Newburyport ; was a Representative to the State Legislature ; a 
Trustee of Dummer Academy ; a founder of the Massachusetts 
Society for promoting Christian Knowledge, &c., &c. From an 
early age he followed the maritime profession, till near the age of 

* In 1851 was erected a new relief hut, differently situated from those 
erected by the Humane Society, being five miles from the hotel, and about 
three-fourths of a mile north-west of Emerson's Rocks, and but one hundred 
and fifty yards from the shore. This house is kept provided with dry fuel, 
matches, and straw bedding, with two good lanterns, (a donation from Mrs. 
Moses Emory ;) Captain J. Small, who resides on the Island, having cbarge of 
the hut and its contents, hghting the warning-lamps in heavy weather. Since 
the erection of this hut, there have been three wrecks near it 


forty. His last voyage was performed in the ^^ear 1775, and was 
undertaken just before the commencement of hostiUties, for the pur- 
pose of obtaining from the island of Guadeloupe a supply of arms 
and ammmiition, such as he knew would be needed in the coming 
contest. The voyage was eminently a patriotic one, involving the 
risk of personal danger, if intercepted, and he surrendered his cargo 
to the town authorities on his return without any stipulated recom- 
pense. He died May 28, 1814, aged 78. A funeral sermon, from 
which the above facts are derived, was preached by his son-in-law, 
Dr. Daniel Dana, then pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, and 
was published by request of that body. 


Instituted in 1818. Its object is to relieve the necessitous 
poor of the town. It has a fund, and has always been well sus- 
tained ; annual collections are made in the various churches of the 
city, to aid the funds of this Society, cither on " Thanksgiving day," 
or the Sabbath immediately preceding or following it. 


The Charitable Society of Newburyport and vicmity, was organ- 
ized Feb. 12, 1850, Mrs. N. B. Medberry being chosen First 
Directress, and Mrs. W. H. Wells, Secretary. 

Its object is to extend aid to the suffering poor of the city, who 
are not otherwise provided for. To effect this perfectly, the city is 
divided into districts, each of which is under the particular charge 
of a committee, consisting of three ladies. 

In cases demanding immediate help, this Society furnish direct 
assistance, in furnishing clothes, food and money; but the great 
point to which the efforts of the Society are directed, is 'to put those 
needing aid in a position to help themselves, and to rescue the 
children of the poor from ignorance, idleness and vice ; to elevate 
the mass, by inspiring them with courage to seek the improvement 
of their condition, and to helj} them to do it. 


Was formed in 1818, for the purpose of promoting harmony 
among the regular members of . the medical profession; availing 


themselves of each other's experience, and the discouragement of 
empiricism in all its forms. The memhers have heen Chas. Coffin, 
John Bond, Oliver Prescott, Nath'l Bradstreet, Nathan Noyes, 
Lawrence Sprague, Richard S. Spoflford, Jona. G. Johnson, Sam'l 
W. Wyman, Henry C. Perkins, Josiah Atkinson, Enoch Cross, E. 
P. Grosvernor, J. H. Sawyer. 

The eight last named are now in practice. 

Numerous associations, religious, benevolent, &c., connected with 
particular denominations or parishes, and more or less local and 
limited in their character, exist, which we have not thought neces- 
sary to allude to, they not being sufficiently extended in their 
influence to give character to the place. 


Though situated in the parish of By field, Newbury has been the 
resort of Newburyport youth, from its first institution to the present 
time ; and is therefore properly placed among those educational 
influences which have given character to the young men of this 
town. It was founded by WiUiam Dummer, Lieutenant Governor 
of the Province of Massachusetts, who at his decease devised his 
whole estate in Newbury, for the endowment of a free grammar 
school, and the erection of a school-house. The estate consisted of 
a farm, upon which the school-house was built. It was first opened 
in 1763 — just one year before the incorporation of Newburyport. 
The execution of the will was originally committed to Nathaniel 
Dummer, Thomas Foxcraft, and Charles Chauncey ; but in 1782, 
the latter gentleman being the only executor living, the Legislature 
appointed a Board of Trustees to manage the Fund, and the follow- 
ing gentlemen were incorporated as " Trustees of Dummer Acad- 
emy : "—Jeremiah Powell, Benj. Greenleaf, Jonathan Greenleaf, 
Rev. Joseph Willard, (President of Harvard College), Rev. Charles 
Chauncey, Rev. Moses Parsons, Rev. John Tucker, Rev. Thomas 
Cary, Samuel Moody, (the Preceptor,) William Powell, Dr. Micajah 
Sawyer, Dummer Jewett, Samuel Osgood, Nathaniel Tracy, and 
Richard Dummer, — nearly all Newburyport men. Their successors 
have continued to have the control of the Academy. 

Dummer has always ranked high as a classical school, and during 


the first half century of its existence, there Avere constantly more 
applicants for admission than could be accommodated, Mr. Samuel 
Moody's fame as a teacher greatly assisting the reputation of the 
Academy. He Avas succeeded by Rev. Isaac Smith, Dr. Benjamin 
Allen, llev. Abiel Abbott, lion. Samuel Adams, Nehemiah Cleave- 
land, and others. Mr. Cleaveland took charge as Preceptor in 1821, 
and continued in that office until 1840, when he resigned. In the 
autmmi of 1848, there was a general gathering of the " Sons of 
Dummer," a dinner was had, speeches were made, and a silver 
pitcher, suitably inscribed, was presented to Mr. Cleaveland, the 
teacher to whom most of this generation are indebted for their 
kindly remembrances of Dummer. 

In 1822 an Association was formed among the graduates of 
Dummer, for the purpose of cultivating and preserving their early 
friendships, originating in this institution ; and also to accumulate a 
fund for the establishment of prize scholarships. The " Sons of 
Dummer," as the association was called, embraced many citizens of 
Newburyport, and among those most interested in its formation, we 
find the names of Hon. Dudley Atkins Tyng, LL, D., of this town, 
who was for many years President, as were afterward Hon. Nathan 
Noyes, M. D., Hon. Jeremiah Nelson, and Hon. E. S. Rand. Mr. 
Rand resigned his office in 1845. Dr. J. G. Johnson is the present 
head of this association. 


The ecclesiastical history of this place and vicinity presents some 
peculiar features, which can best be shown in a general sketch of 
the successive churches formed, and their connection with each other 
and their parent root, the First Church in NcAvbury. This was for 
sixty- three years the only church in Newbury.* In 1698 a church 
in what is now West Newbury, was organized with the Rev. Samuel 
Belcher as the minister. This church, like several subsequently 
formed, violently tore itself away from the parent stock, after having 

* A small Baptist church was organized in 1682, but being few in numbers, 
and of small means, no minister was settled among them, nor is there any evi- 
dence extant that any of the ordinances were observed by this ephemeral 
church. It died ere it reached maturity. 


for a long series of years sought for a peaceable and honorable 
dismission from the First Church, from whose meeting-house many of 
them were resident a distance of six or seven miles. This meeting- 
house was built on the " plains." Subsequently a difficulty arose 
amonc; themselves about its removal, •which resulted in the formation 
of an Episcopal church, the parent of St. Paul's. 

With these, the community, though illy accommodated, were 
obliged to be content imtil 1725, when the Third Congregational 
church was formed, (now worshipping in Pleasant street,) by those 
"who found it inconvenient to meet with the other parishes, or were 
" not edified " by the ministry of their respective pastors. The 
formation of this church was considered as objectionable and as 
unnecessary by those already established, as was the formation of 
the second and the offshoot of Queen Ann's chapel. Yet notwith- 
standing the difficulty they experienced in procuring a separate 
organization, they, in their turn, became spiritual monopolists, and 
in conjunction with the First Church in Newbury endeavored to 
prevent the formation of the First Presbyterian Society ; * refusing, 
to that end, to give a regular dismission to thirty-eight of their 
number, who withdrew during the ministry of their first pastor, Mr. 
Lowell, for the purpose of uniting with the Presbyterians. They 
were, however, received by the latter, who were mostly dissentients 
from the Rev. Christopher Toppan.f The Third Religious Society 
in Newburyport (Titcomb street) was a branch from the first, which 
settled the Rev. Thomas Cary simultaneously with the selection of 
Mr. Marsh as the pastor of the third. This separation was per- 
fectly amicable, a pleasant variety in the retrospect already taken. 

The Fourth Church (Temple street) was not so fortunate in its 
first establishment. Its original members consisted of individuals 
who withdrew from the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Murray, of the 

* A vote of the cliurch, passed December 21, 17G3, reads thus : '■'■Inasmuch 
as they profess themselves Presbyterians, we will by no means encourage their 
being empowered, [to act as a separate parish,] but leave the matter to the 
General Court. 

■]■ From the Toppan family of Newbury, descended the late Senator Toppan 
of Ohio, and the well-known brothers Arthur and Lewis Tappan, of New 
York. Several branches of the family have substituted Tappan for the original 
orthography of the name. 


Presbyterian church, for the purpose of settling the Kev. Charles 
W. Milton among them as their minister. For some time they met 
in a private house for worship, and in 1793 renounced the govern- 
ment of the Presbyterian church, and soon after erected a 
meeting-house, formed an independent Congregational church and 
secured the services of Mr. Milton as their pastor. A few years 
later the Presbyterian Society was again divided by a schism in its 
members, the occasion being a difference of opinion in regard to the 
settlement of a minister ; the majority deciding in favor of Rev. Dr. 
Dana, and the minority withdrawing for the purpose of organizing 
a second Presbyterian church, under the pastoral care of the Rev. 
J. Boddily, who v/as installed in June, 1797, in the house where the 
same church now worships, (Harris street.) This last division left 
the Federal street church in a somewhat perplexed condition ; the 
clerk and treasurer both being of the minority party, the First 
Presbyterian Church was left "without records, files or funds." 
The church files were subsequently restored by the courtesy of the 
Rev. John Giles, the successor of Mr. Boddily. The dissentients in 
this instance had proposed some compromise measures, which were 
not accepted, but after the first period of excitement, the most 
friendly relations were maintained between these churches of the 
same order. In the bosom of the Second Presbyterian Society, 
oriarinated the movement which resulted in the formation of the 
Whitfield Congregational Church. 

Neither the Baptist nor Methodist churches are necessarily linked 
with the preceding, and their history will be found under their 
appropriate heads. 

The Roman Catholic denomination also comes late in the eccle- 
siastical history of the town, (1843,) and is not of native growth ; 
and though it has risen within the short space of ten years to the 
number of fifteen hundred souls, it exhibits all the features of an 
exotic. Its members being almost exclusively of foreign birth, no 
appreciable loss or gain, numerically considered, has taken place 
between this church and the Protestant sects with which it? is sur- 
rounded. The denomination has been exceedingly fortunate in the 
resident pastors of the church, whose influence has been most 
judiciously exercised in all matters pertaining to good neighborhood 
and good citizenship. 


The Sabbath schools now usually attached to the several churches 
were first established here in 1817. The children were then gath- 
ered indiscriminately from all parts of the town, and collected into 
one school, which was held in the Court House. Subsequently 
other schools of a similar character were commenced at the southern 
and northern extremities of the town, which were continued until 
the plan was adopted of appending them to the various churches 
as they now exist. In 1830, an infant Sabbath school was taught 
in Bartlett's building, at the foot of Market street. 

The Protestant Episcopal Church-j' the present representative 
of which is St. Paul's, originated in Newbury about the year 1712. 
The following appear to have been the circumstances which led to 
the organization of the Church. The inhabitants of what was called 
the West precinct of Newbury were divided among themselves as 
to the location of their meeting-house, the district being so wi^dely, 
though not thickly settled, as to render it impossible that all could 
be accommodated, by having the meeting-house near their own 
dwellings. At a meeting of the parish, it was finally voted to have 
the meeting-house on Pipe Stave Hill, while a respectable minority 
refused to coincide with this vote, and proceeded to the erection of 
a building for the better accommodation of themselves and famiUes, 
on what is called the Plains, where the original parish meeting-house 
stood. Had they been allowed unmolested to procure and settle a 
minister, it is probable they would have chosen one of the prevailing 
denomination ; but the stronger party at the Hill persisted in taxing 
them for the support of the minister there, the Rev. Mr. Belcher, 
which naturally led the people at the plains to look about them and 
see what legal redress remained to them under these circumstances. 
Betaining the name of the Congregational denomination, there was 
none ; the law expressly providing that the majority of the parish 
might decide on the location of the meeting-house, and that every 
person in the parish should be taxed for the support of the same ; 
but the alternative was presented, of declaring for some other form 
of church government, when they might hope to be exempt from 
this onerous taxation, from which they had petitioned time and again 
to be released. The result was that twenty-two of the residents 
at the plains, declared themselves for the Church of England — 


being satisfied that in making this change, thej should sacrifice 
none of those evangelical principles Avhich they had been taught to 
revere. From the frequent petitions sent to the General Court, 
these parish difficulties were well known in Boston, and Dr. Cole- 
man, then of the Brattle street church in that town, addressed a 
letter on the subject to Dr. Kennet, Bishop of Peterborough, Nov. 
17, 1712, in which he declares that " these persons (the dissentients) 
seek onlj to save their tax, and are utterly ignorant of the church 
they declare for." This statement appears perfectly gratuitous, 
and made rather in that kind of " pet " which he felt at the result 
of the difficulties in Newbury, and which he endeavored to affix 
upon the dissentients. There existed no reason why they should be 
" utterly ignorant," while there were many why they should be 
well-informed. The very troubles which afflicted the parish, were a 
means of turning their attention to the forms, discipline and faith of 
other churches, and the supposition that the materials of information 
were not to be found among them is absurd. Many of them were emi- 
grants or immediate descendants of emigrants from England,* and, as 
persons of ordinary intelligence, could not fail to be acquainted with its 
faith and formula. As early as 1811 they had enjoyed for a season 
the ministry of the Rev. M. Lampton, through whom they must, if not 
before, have been made acquainted with the tenets of the Church. 
In an answer which Governor Dudley makes to one of their petitions, 
to be released from the payment of taxes, for the support of a public 
worship in which they did not participate, we find that a Mr. Harris 
from Boston, a minister of the Church of England, preached for 
them occasionally after Mr. Lampton left, and until a minister could 
be sent to them from England. Governor Dudley gave it as his 
opinion, and desire, that the Episcopalians should not be taxed by 

*rrom tlie Puritans arriving first, and giving a name to Plymouth Colony, 
a confused idea seems to have arisen — and prevails even in the minds of some 
historians, that all the early emigrants were Puritans — which is far from correct : 
many who had followed the first settlers of Plymouth, had been members, and 
retained an affectionate interest in the Chui-ch of England. Even of that 
Puritanic band, including Francis HIgginson, (an ancestor of Rev. T. Went- 
worth Higginson, late of this town), Bancroft says: — "They did not say 
' Farewell, Babylon ! farewell, Rome ! but Farewell, deak E^igland ! ' " 
1 vol. p. 347. 


the second parish ; but it was not until July of 1722, nearly twelve 
years later, that official power effectually interfered for their protec- 
tion, and legal freedom insured them in the unmolested maintenance 
of their chosen form of Avorship. The Rev. Henry Lucas arrived 
from England, and took charge of the parish, in the summer of 
1715 ; and was succeeded, after his death, which occurred in August, 
1720, by the Rev. Matthias Plant, (in 1722.) All now went on 
harmoniously for a few years," until the " water-side people " pro- 
posed to build a church nearer to the business centre of the town, 
which awakened a prophetic apprehension among the original 
founders, that the two churches could not be maintained, and that 
Queen Ann's Chapel — the church on the plains — would suffer by 
this rival. The frame of St. Paul's was, however, raised in 1738, 
principally by the joint efforts of the Rev. Mr. Plant and a layman, 
Joseph Atkins, Esq., who each gave fifty pounds towards it. It was 
not used for public service till 1740. Immediately a difficulty 
arose, from the circumstance of two congregations with but one 
minister, which was for a while allayed by Mr. Plant officiating 
alternately at both churches, and was afterwards more satisfactorily 
adjusted, by his consenting to hire an assistant, Mr. Edward Bass, 
with whose help constant services might be performed at both places. 
But this arrangement did not secure all the harmony desirable, and 
subsequently an altercation arose between the proprietors of St. 
Paul's and Mr. Plant, the occasion of which was as follows : The 
proprietors claimed the right of receiving into or excluding from 
the pulpit any minister whom they chose ; while Mr. Plant insisted, 
in accordance with the usage of the Church of England, that he 
should have the control of the pulpit. This controversy was not 
adjusted until 1751, when the proprietors yielded, and Mr. Plant 
was regularly inducted into the Rectorship of St. Paul's. Ho 
enjoyed the fruits of his triumph but two years ; he deceased April 
2d, 1753, and was succeeded by his late assistant, Mr. Bass, 
Avho continued to officiate once a month in Queen Ann's Chapel, 
until 1766, when public service in that building was abandoned, part 
of the congregation uniting Avith St. Paul's, and others returning to 
the congregational form which their fathers had abandoned. Thus 
deserted, the edifice went to decay, and finally fell down through 
feebleness and the weight of yeai'S. The bell, which liad been 


presented to the church by the Bishop of London, now hangs in the 
belfrj of the Belleville meeting-house. St. Paul's was rebuilt in 
1800, the corner-stone being laid on the 22d of May, with Masonic 
ceremonies, by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. 

The Rev. James Morse, D. D., succeeded Bishop Bass in the 
Rectorship of St. Paul's, and remained in this office till his death in 
1842, a period of thirty-nine years. He was devotedly attached 
to the Church, and was a gentleman much esteemed in all the rela 
tions of life. He was a native of Newburyport, and graduated at 
Harvard in 1800. He was succeeded by Messrs. J. S. Davenport 
and E. A. Washburn. The present rector is Rev. Wilham Horton. 

The First Church in Newburyport was the third in Newbury, 
being organized in 1725, and the Rev. John Lowell settled as pastor 
the year succeeding ; its history is one of peculiar interest, pre- 
senting in its early records, the simple idea of a primitive church, 
intent only on fulfilling their appointed work of making themselves 
and the world better. 

As early as 172(3, we find organized within the church, a volun- 
tary association of twenty-four persons, who having taken " into 
serious consideration the decaying and languishing state of religion," 
subscribed their names to six articles, by which they agreed to meet 
once a month, " none to a^bsent themselves unless on some extra- 
ordinary occasion ; and first to redress in themselves and fami- 
lies any irregularities, and next to admonish their neighbors of the 
same." Especially were their efibrts to be directed to the observ- 
ance of the Sabbath, and finally to meet deputations once in three 
months fi-om the other churches, (if they would send any,) to con- 
sult upon the interests of religion and morality. Under date of 
January 2, 1727, they voted to request the " honorable justice to see 
that the ferrymen in and about Newbury, carry no one over the 
ferries on the Lord's day," and a month later agreed to a measure 
much neglected by the churches in these latter days, namely, " to 
visit the young communicants of the church, and endeavor to comi- 
sel and advise them to continue in the sincere practice of those 
duties that are incumbent on them by their public profession of 

And in pursuance of their desire to assist their brethren in diffi- 


culties, tliey appointed a committee on one occasion, " to converse 

withe yc wife of concerning the disturbance she gives 

him, when he is going to perform family prayers." In regard to 
the ferrymen, either the " honorable justice " did not comply with 
their request, or the ferrymen were impervious to argument, for a 
little later we find them directing one of their number "to mform 
ye ferrymen that they carry no person on ye Lord's day, except on 
extraordinary occasions." Three of their number were also appointed 
to the duty of going " to ye tavern by ye water-side," and there to 
read the law of the province, respecting " the order required to be 
kept in their houses." Requesting also the constable " to walk ye 
streets after the evening exercise is over on the Lord's day, that the 
Sabbath may not be prophaned.''^ 

After the arrival of Mr. Whitfield and the drawing away a por- 
tion of the church by the young preacher Adams,* it was deter- 
mined, " upon consideration of the difiiculties of the present day, in 
respect of religion in this place, and particularly of the divisions 
that have lately arisen among us," &c., that a day of fasting be 
appointed. But the evil spirit of schism was not cast out, and the 
breach rather widened than contracted, and peace -was not restored 
until the seceding members were received into the communion of 
the Presbyterian church. 

When the first parish in Newburyport was set off, in accordance 
with their repeated request, by the General Court in 1735, the com- 
mon law of the province gave the Society a legal supervision over 
the precinct thus divided from the first and second parishes in New- 
bury. The dividing line between the first parish in Newbury, and 
the one thus established, was Federal street. The new parish, in 
accordance with their privileges, sustained schools and transacted 
much other business which would noAV be left to the management of 
the town, or city. Their first pastor, the Rev. John Lowell, con- 
tinued their minister till his death in 1767. He v/as succeeded by 
the Rev. Thomas Gary in 1768, who performed the pastoral ofiice 
for tAventy years, when the Rev. John Andrews was settled with him 
as a colleague, and succeeded him as sole pastor on his death in 1808. 
The present meeting-house which this Society occupies on Pleasant 

* See account of First Presbyterian Chiircli. 


street, and ■\vliich is a model of architectural beauty, was erected in 
1801. The Society had previously worshipped in a church standing 
in what is now Market Square, and which was removed, (being 
much decayed,) soon after the Society abandoned it. The Rev. 
John Andrews, D. D., continued his ministry during forty- two years. 
He resigned his office in May, 1830, " welcoming his successor 
(Rev. T. B. Fox,) as his friend, and gracefully retiring from the 
pulpit to the pew, an example of Christian humility as rare as it was 

In an appendix to the ordination sermon preached by Charles 
Lowell, D. D., of Cambridge, on the settlement of Mr. Fox, we find 
the report of the Committee appointed by the Council called on that 
occasion ; they say the dissolution of the connection between the late 
pastor and the people " was mutual, harmonious and honorable to 
both parties ; * * and that they should be doing themselves, and 
the friends of Dr. Andrews injustice, if they did not express their 
sincere and entire respect and esteem for his character ; for his 
exemplary life, for his assiduous and conscientious ministry and 
eminently Christian deportment towards the Society." Mr. Andrews 
died August 17, 1845, aged 81, leaving a large' circle of mourning 
friends, including many outside of his parish relations. He was a 
native of Hingham, and graduated at Harvard in 1786. The suc- 
cessors of Mr. Fox, have been T. W. Higginson and Charles Bowen. 

The First Presbyterian Church was formed on the 3d of 
January, 1740, by nineteen persons who had formally withdrawn 
from the first parish in Newbury. These, with others, had met for 
worship for more than two years previously, in a small building 
erected on High street, (then called Norfolk,) below Federal, a 
young graduate of Harvard University, Joseph Adams, offici- 
ating as their pastor. This whole movement for a separate religious 
establishment, was strenuously resisted by the pastor and church . of 
the first parish, who designated their proceedings as "irregular and 
disorderly." By the advice of Whitfield, the new church (" the 
Separatists," as they were called by those who remained attached 
to the previously existing societies) extended an invitation to the Rev. 
Jonathan Parsons to become their pastor. The consummation of 
tills connection was also opposed by the pastor of the Third Church 


in Newbury, but without success ; and he was accordingly installed 
on the 19th of March, in the same year. 

The form of installation was certainly original and unique. The 
services having been commenced by the singing of a hymn, Mr. 
Parsons, having mentioned the reasons against his settlement, made 
a final proposition to the assembled church, to see if they still wished 
him to remain as their pastor. The vote was taken by the clerk, 
and pass 3d unanimously in the affirmative. The pastor elect then 
said, " In the presence of God and these witnesses, I take this 
people to be my people ; " and the clerk replied, speaking in the 
name of the rest, " In the presence of God and these witnesses, we 
take this man to be our minister." Mr. Parsons then went on and 
preached the sermon he had prepared, no other ceremonies what- 
ever (except prayer) being observed. The first platform agreed 
upon by the church was designed to be but temporary ; though 
containing the main features of Presbyterianism, the church was 
not yet united to a Presbytery, but was styled " independent." 
They had experienced great and unwarrantable difficulties in exer- 
cising their right of withdrawal from the first parish, which made 
them regard Congregationalism, seeing it as they did sustained by 
the favor of the civil power, with any thing but friendly feelings. 
On the 7th of April succeeding the installation of Mr. Parsons, they 
completed the organization of the church, by the choice of six 
ruhng elders, and in the following September, voted to unite with 
the Presbytery of Boston ; retaining, however, the right to choose 
their elders annually. Though now recognized as a " regular Pres- 
byterian Church," — their numbers being also largely augmented by 
a considerable body who subsequently Avithdrew from the third 
parish, and others, — the first and third parishes still insisted on the 
right to tax them, for the support of public worship in those places ; 
and their petitions to the Legislature, to be released from the pay- 
ment of taxes, as laid on them by the previously existing societies, 
were met by remonstrances from these bodies, and their petitions 
were again and again denied. Thus for a long time the members 
of the Presbyterian society had a double burden to sustain ; the 
law compelling them to pay taxes for the maintenance of the 
churches from which they had withdrawn, and their own choice 



and engagements demanding the support of tlieir own church 
and pastor. 

Shirley, who was then Governor of Massachusetts, was rather 
favorably inclined to the petitioners, and in one instance, at least, 
commended their request to the especial attention of the General 
Court. But other counsels prevailed ; the representations of their 
opponents, who hesitated not to impute unworthy motives to them, 
gained credit, and the rights of conscience were sacrificed to ancient 
prejudice, apparently founded on the maxim that " might makes 
right." Some of the oppressed band absolutely refused to pay the 
tax laid by the first parish, preferring to spend their days in prison, 
to submitting to what they believed an unjust demand. To make 
their case more intolerable, by contrast, they saw the Episcopalian, 
the Baptist, and the Quaker, released from these very taxes from 
which the Legislature denied them exemption. The excuse offered 
by the Congregationalists for the extreme measures pursued towards 
the Presbyterians was, that the " parish property was pledged for 
the support of the parish minister," and of course if any consid- 
erable number refused to pay their proportion, the burden fell 
heavier on those that remained. This was true, and a mitigating 
circumstance in their favor ; but they sought no accommodation, 
and would listen to no compromise, nor take measures for the future 
release of those who desired another form of worship ; constantly 
denying the right of any to differ from themselves. But if the one 
party was tenacious and grasping, the other was as determined never 
quietly to yield the inalienable rights of conscience. The Presby- 
terian society actually entertained the idea of presenting their case 
to George II and his Council, and only desisted, from the consider- 
ation that such a step might endanger the Charter of Massachusetts, 
by invoking the interference of the king. It had, however, one 
beneficial effect ; the Legislature, finding that they had already 
written to the Attorney General of England, and fearing the effects 
of their application, granted them some concessions, — unwillingly 
and ungraciously enough, — but still concessions of right, so that a 
stepping-stone v/as prepared for obtaining others. But it was not 
till 1794, more than forty years afterwards, that they were finally 
and legally released, by a General Act, bestowing ecclesiastical 
freedom on the town from paying taxes to the Congregational 


We have been favored with an examination of the original records 
of these seceding brethren from 1745 to 1795, and they certainly 
exhibit, during the period of 'their first trials, a pure desire for the 
restoration of the vitalizing truths of the gospel, from which, they 
believed, " there was a warping as originally adhered to," in the 
Congregational churches. Formally repudiating Armenianism and 
Antinomianism, they embraced anew the peculiar doctrines of the 
Reformation, as based on the Confession of Faith and Larger Cate- 
chism adopted by the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. 

By these records it appears that from the organization of the 
church to 1793 inclusive there were 461 members admitted, an 
annual average gain of fifty. 

The history of the First Presbyterian Society, as illustrating the 
progress of correct opinions on religious freedom, is one of the most 
instructive which the records of the State have preserved, which 
induced us to give it more space than our limits will well warrant. 

The meeting-house now occupied by this Society was erected in 

In this house of worship is a remarkably fine whispering gallery ; 
we know of none which compares with it, save that of St. Paul's in 
London, which this fully equals. Here also are preserved the bones 
of Whitfield.* 

The pastors of the church have been Jonathan Parsons, John 
Murray, Daniel Dana, D. D., Samuel P. Williams, John Proudfit, 
D. D., Jonathan F. Stearns, and the present Rev. A. G. Yermilye. 
The second is included in the Biographical Sketches. 

• The Religious Society now known as the Belleville Congre 
GATIONAL Society, and which was incorporated in 1808, under the 
name of the "Fourth Religious Society" in Newbury, was set oft' 
as a separate parish in 1761, as the fifth in Newbury. Its forma- 
tion was opposed by the second (now first in West Newbury) and 
third (now first in Newburyport) parishes. Incipient measures were 
taken to raise a meeting-house as early as November, 1761 ; the 
parish occupying the deserted building called Queen Ann's Chapel, 
until this was accomphshed (1763). The Rev. Oliver Noble 

* See Biograpliical Notice, " Wbitfield." 


(August, 1762) accepted a unanimous call of the parish to settle 
with them as their minister ; he had previously preached to them in 
the old chapel on the plains. Mr. Noble continued with the parish, 
to the mutual satisfaction of both parties, until about the years 
1773-4. In December of the later year, we find the parish voting 
that " it appears to us that near one third part of the polls and 
estates are gone over to the Church of England ; " and " that the 
state of the parish has much altered since the settlement of Mr. 
Noble." A committee was appointed at this meeting (December 
13,) to " confer with Mr. Noble and acquaint him with the facts." 
And at an adjourned meeting, it was voted that the committee 
'' farther acquaint Mr. Noble with the state of the parish, and that 
his proposals was not like to answer any good end." He however 
continued to preach to them until 1784, when the connection ceased : 
and the parish remained without a settled minister until 1808. 
" In the spring of 1808, a number of individuals belonging to the 
parish met for prayerful consultation, on the subject of organizing 
a church, and after several solemn conferences agreed to form 
themselves into a Christian church, by dedicating themselves to 
God in a church state, and by obedience to the ordinances of the 
Gospel." A mutual covenant was signed, and at a meeting of 
the church (April 2) it was voted, " that they unite with the parish 
in extending an invitation to the Rev. James Miltimore to settle 
with them in the work of the ministry." 

Mr. Miltimore was installed on the 27th of April, since which 
period internal harmony has distinguished the church, and its inter- 
course with the neighboring churches has been eminently pleasant 
and peaceful. Mr. Miltimore preached to the Society for nearly a 
quarter of a century, and until he retired from the labors of the 
pulpit. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. C. March, who continued 
with them as their pastor until his decease in September, 1846. 
Mr. March Avas a native of Newburyport. His successor is the 
present pastor, Rev. Daniel T. Fisk. By a division of Newbury in 
1819, this parish became the " Second." 

In 1816, the old meeting-house was struck by lightning (April 1) 
and entirely consumed ; nothing being saved but the cushions, books, 
and lower window frames. The only fire-engine available was 
small, not possessing sufficient force to throw water, of which but 


little could be obtained, on the belfrej.* The present building 
stands on the site occupied by the old one, and its general style of 
architecture is the same. 

The Second Congregational Church was formed in 1768, 
The Society was incorporated as the " Third Religious Society of 
Newburyport." Its origin was altogether a pleasant episode in the 
ecclesiastical history of the town ; the persons proposing to form it 
having withdrawn from the First Society in consequence of a dif- 
ference of opinion as to some of the important doctrines of 
Christianity, which the two candidates in view of the First Society 
entertained. The disagreement Avas unattended with any of that 
excitement which had marked the separation of some of the earlier 
churches, and as evidence of the amicable feeling which prevailed, 
we may note a vote of the First Church (January 18, 1768,) 
whereby they agreed to divide the church plate and stock between 
the seceding and remaining brethren. The First Church settled 
the candidate of their choice, Rev. Thomas Cary, and the Second 
Church (October 19, 1768,) theirs, the Rev". Christopher Bridges 
Marsh, the latter recognizing the Orthodox platform, so called, 
and the Society concurring unanimously in the choice of the church. 
Mr. Marsh died December 3, 1773, and the church was for the 
next four years without a settled pastor, when the Rev. Samuel 
Spring was invited to preach to them as a candidate. His answer 
to the first request of the church is dated " Ticonderoga, August 
12th," in which he declines the invitation of the church, as incom- 
patible with his engagements as chaplain in the army. On the 
conclusion of this engagement, he accepted the renewed request of 
the church, and was ordained its pastor in August, 1777, which 
relation he sustained till his death, which occurred March 4th, 1819, 
a period of nearly forty-two years. Dr. Spring was a man of fine 
talents, devoted piety, and untiring activity.f 

The present pastor. Rev. Luther F. Dimmick, D. D., Avas ordained 
by the unanimous voice of the Church and Society, December 8th, 

* Newburyport Herald. 

■f His son, the Rev. Gardiner Spring, D. D., is the oldest settled pastor in the 
city of New York. , 


The first meeting-house was dedicated in September, 1768, 
standing nearly on the site of the present building, which was 
erected in 1827. 

The. Fourth Religious Society was incorporated in 1794. 
The church was formed principally by dissentients from the ministry 
of the Rev. John Murray, then pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Society. The withdrawing members met for some time at a private 
house, (Mr. Anthony Morse's,) in Milk street, the town refusing the 
use of the Town House for the purpose. The present house of 
worship was raised in 1793. " Yesterday," says the Essex Journal 
of Jmie 12th, " the frame of a meeting-house sixty-seven feet by 
sixty, was raised in Temple street. It is designed for a handsome 
edifice, and, on the plan of the new meeting-house in Boston, it is to 
have two steeples in front. Previously to entering on the business, 
the throne of grace was pathetically addressed by the Rev. INIr. 
Milton, in the presence of a large number of spectators, after which 
the workmen engaged spiritedly in the laborious undertaking, which 
they accomplished without any accident intervening, to lessen the 
pleasure of the day, excepting a fall which Mr. William Davis of 
this town met with, though he is likely to do well, notwithstanding he 
fell between thirty and forty feet." 

The first pastor of tlie church was the Rev. Charles W. Milton, 
who was installed into that office on the 20th of March, 1794, and con- 
tinued with them till his death, a period of forty-three years. He 
■ was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. Randolph Campbell. 

The interior of the house was remodelled in 1845, making it one 
of the most neat, convenient and beautiful in the city. 

Mrs. Margaret Atwood, who left a sum of $1,500 for various 
charitable purposes, left some small legacies to this Society. 

The Second Presbyterian Church was organized by the Pres- 
bytery of Londonderry, October 29th, 1795, with thirty-three mem- 
bers ; these individuals had withdrawn from the First Presbyterian 
church, being dissatisfied with the settlement over that body of the 
Rev. Daniel Dana, D.D. The Society was incorporated November 
24th, 1796. The first pastor was the Rev. John Boddily, of Bristol, 
England, and a graduate of Lady Huntingdon's College. He was 


installed June 28th, 1797. On his death, which occurred Novem- 
ber 4th, 1802, he was succeeded bj the Rev. John Giles, also of 
England, who occupied the pastoral office for twentj-one years, when 
declining health obliged him to relinquish its duties. In 1824 the 
Society, without the concurrence of the church, called as their min- 
ister, the Rev. William Ford, who v/as installed by the aid of a 
Congregational Council, August 11th. He remained but little over 
two years. In 1825 the Rev. Dr. Dana, who was then at London- 
derry, (President of Dartmouth College,) accepted an invitation to 
this church, the original members of which, thirty years before, had 
seceded from the First Presbyterian church on account of his settle- 
ment. In 1845, just twenty years from the date of his settlement, 
Dr. Dana was at his own request released from the pastoral charge, 
the Presbytery of Newburyport being called in to advise on the 

On July 15th, 1846, the Rev. W. W. Eells, of the Presbytery of 
Baltimore, was unanimously called as pastor by the Church and 
Society. The church having applied for, and been again received, 
(November 18,) under the care of the Presbytery of Londonderry, 
Mr. Eells was installed as pastor by that body. This church was 
based and now stands on the strictest Calvinistic platform of faith. 

The Baptist Church of Christ in Newbury ^nd Newburyport, 
was formed under many difficulties, and in the face of obstacles that 
would have disheartened less persevering or less conscientious per- 
sons. They had not the same kind of difficulties to encounter as had 
obstructed the growth and prosperity of some of the earlier churches 
of this vicinity ; they had no legal hindrances, such as beset the 
Congregational and Presbyterian interests, but a more formidable 
opposition was to be met in the prejudices of the times and place. 
The denomination Avas new to this vicinity ; there was no Baptist 
church in this or the neighboring township of Newbury. Some 
attempt was made by a few individuals as early as 1681 to form a 
church on these peculiar principles in Newbury, and they even went 
so far as to apply for assistance to the first church in Boston, who 
assented to their organization, but they were too few in numbers to 
maintain a separate existence. 

The peculiarities of this denomination forced themselves, there- 



fore, with all the intensity of novelty, on the settled habits and opin- 
ions of the community in which they were now to be first broached 
in a practical form. After some preliminary meetings held in May, 

1804, a school-house at the south part of the town, then within the 
Newbury line, was procured for the use of the Society, and Mr. 
Joshua Chase preached the first sermon to a Baptist Society in this 
vicinity on the Sabbath of July 22d, 1804. The first persons ever 
baptized in Newburyport, were Stephen Goodwin, David Burbank, 
Benjamin Goodwin, Bart. Hurd, John Flood, Nathaniel Pettingell, 
and Mrs. Rebecca Dormon, on Sunday the 14th October, 1804. 

The church was not regularly organized until the 2d of May, 

1805. The young licentiate preacher, Joshua Chase, having in the 
mean time received ordination, continued with them as their minis- 
ter, mitil the encraaiement of the Rev. John Peak in the fall of 1805. 
Meetings were alternately held at the above named school-house (in 
Marlborough street,) and at a building on the plains, until Mr. Peak 
made it a condition of his permanent settlement among them, that 
he should preach in some central place in Newburyport. Previous 
to the erection of their meeting-house in Liberty street, the Society 
met for worship in a building called the " Tabernacle," situated on 
Temple street. In 1809 the Society took possession of the new 
brick meeting-house, which they had erected at the cost of over 
sixteen thousand dollars ; but of which they were destined soon to 
be deprived by a calamity which involved the surrounding neighbor- 
hood in ruins. In 1811 the " great fire " consumed the house raised 
with such great exertion and toil, and after a seven years' struggle, the 
Society were thrown back, in a pecuniary sense, to their first starting- 

Their pastor, Mr. Peak, immediately set out on a collecting tour, 
and by great exertions on his part, and the generosity of the com- 
munities which he visited, obtained a sufiicient sum to rebuild a 
place for public worship. But now came the question of selecting 
a site for the new house, opinions being divided according to the 
residence of the members, as thei/ were located north or south ; and 
so vehement were those at the south part of the toAvn in their desire 
to have the house located there, that they held ex jjarte meetings, 
declared themselves the church, cited the Rev. J. Peak to appear 
before them and resign his office of solicitor of funds, and on his 


neglecting their citation, proceeded to the extremity of excommuni- 
cating him from the Christian privileges of the church ; all of -which 
proceedings were disallowed and disapproved by a council subse- 
quently called to settle the difficulties which had arisen, and assist 
in healing the lamentable divisions in the church. The council 
agreed " on approving the conduct of the pastor, and sustaining the 
course he had pursued." • 

The pastor and Deacon Henry Merrill had already purchased the 
lot of land on which the meeting-house is now situated, on Congress 
street, and the house of worship there was occupied by the Society 
in 1812, having met for worship in the interim at the Court House. 
The seceding party met together in "Joppa" for a year or two, with 
Mr. Nathan Ames as their preacher ; but, unable to maintain visi- 
bility, the organization which Avas deemed irregular was dropped. 
Thirteen of these individuals w^ere formally excluded, for their disor- 
derly proceedings, by the parent church. The meeting-house has 
been enlarged, and otherwise improved, since its erection. 

Mr. Peak's successor, in 1818, was Kev. Hosea Wheeler, since 
which period, the following persons have occupied the pastoral office : 
Messrs. Nathaniel Williams, Wilham B. Jacobs, Jonathan Aldrich, 
Albert N. Arnold, (who resigned for the purpose of connecting him- 
self with a mission established in Greece,) and Nicholas Medberry. 
Rev. I. B. Lane is the present pastor. 

First Methodist Episcopal Church. The Methodist interest 
was commenced in Newbury, (now Newburyport,) in the year 
1819, under the preaching and labors of the Rev. John Adams,* 
a member of the New England Annual Conference of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church. Up to 1825, this place was connected 
with the Salisbury Conference, Avhen it was made a station under 
the charge of Mr. Adams; the advent of Methodism into New- 
buryport was marked with much excitement, and not a little oppo- 
sition. A "revival of religion" which accompanied the labors 
of Mr. Adams, and which exceeded in extent and interest any 

* Familiarly called " Reformation John ; " bis life has recently been pub- 
lished, (1854,) in two volumes, and is principally autobiographical. He appears 
by this work to have had considerable psychological power, and to have been 
very conscious of it. He was eminently successful in his professional labors. 


movement in the cliurches in tins town since the days of Whitfield, 
elicited no sympathy from the existing churches ; though many of the 
converts subsequently became members of them. 

In the fall of 1825 a meeting-house was built on Adelphia street, 
the Society having formerly met in a school-house on Marlborough 

In 1826 the Rev. B. Othman a\1\s appointed to the station, but 
removed the next year to the Second Methodist Episcopal church in 
Newburyport, Avhich was organized in 1827. 

In 1831, the Rev. Le Roy Sunderland,* was appointed preacher ; 
under his labors, a considerable revival of religion took place, the 
Missionary, Bible, Tract, Sabbath School and Benevolent (Temper- 
ance) Societies, were formed in the church, and a Sabbath School 
Library was collected. 

The frequent change of pastors in the Methodist denomination, 
has prevented our obtaining a list of them. 

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Newburyport was regu- 
larly organized by the Rev. B. Othman, June ■20th, 1827. On the 
same day the meeting-house situated in Liberty street, and built under 
the superintendence of Mr. Othman, was dedicated. The original 
members were fifteen persons, formerly members of the Methodist 
Episcopal church in Newbury. The church made permanent and 
satisfactory progress during the six succeeding years of its exist- 
ence, having in that time received an addition to their number of 
one hundred and fourteen. In the seventh year of their organiza- 
tion, being 1834, a "Four Days' Meeting" was appointed, when so 
great was the interest manifested, and so numerous the tokens of an 
awakening among the people to the interests of religion, that the 
meetings were continued twenty successive days, and fifty evenings, 
without other interruption than the regular meeting of the classes 
on one evening of each week. During this protracted meeting, one 
hundred and fifty were admitted as probationers into the church. 

* Mr. Sunderland subsequently withdrew from the Methodist Episcopal con- 
nection, removed to New York, became the publisher of a paper, and has since 
become extensively known as a psychological lecturer. He now resides in 


The faith and discipline of the church correspond with that gener- 
ally adopted bj the Methodist Episcopal denomination in the United 

The seventh pastor of the church, Rev. Jacob Sanborn, has writ- 
ten on page 90 of the Church Records, this sensible suggestion, 
over a list of the funerals in the Society during the year 1836 : "I 
judge it might be well for the preachers in this station to make 
an entry in this book of the funerals they attend, as it would be 
useful at the end of the year to call the attention of the congrega- 
tion to the ravages of death, or in a sermon on the first Sabbath in 
the year." 

The First Universalist Society was organized on the 26th 
December, 1834, by the following persons associated for that 
purpose : Messrs. John B. Greely, Austin George, Daniel W. 
Bailey, Albert Thompson, Gideon E. Leighton, William H. George, 
Richard Bartlett, and Stephen Kent, Jr. 

The meeting-house was dedicated in 1840, but the recognition 
of the church did not take place until November 16, 1842. The 
recognition services were performed by the Rev. Sylvanus Cobb. 

The following gentlemen have been the settled pastors of the 
Society, the last of whom now sustains that office : Revs. William M. 
Fernald, Darius Forbes, Edwin A. Eaton, James Shrigley, A. R. 
Abbot, Daniel M. Reed. 

The Christian Church was organized May 7, 1840, by a 
mutual covenant of ten persons, who met at a private residence, 
" and after prayer, and solemn dedication to God, covenanted to 
take the Holy Scriptures, especially the last will and testament of 
Jesus Christ, as the rule of their faith and practice," and were then 
acknowledged by Elder Daniel P. Pike, their first, only, and present 
minister, as a properly constituted Church. The commencement of 
this interest was at Belleville, Newbury, in 1838, when Mr. Pike,' 
then minister of the Christian Church at Salisbury point, com- 
menced holding evening meetings in Belleville, which were continued 
weekly until January, 1840, when meetings were commenced at a 
central location in Newburyport. In April, 1840, a room on 
Brown's square was obtained, and dedicated to the public worship 


of God. In November, 1840, " a Presbytery form of government 
was adopted by this church, consisting of the pastor, three ruhng 
elders, three deacons, six deaconesses, and a church clerk." The 
next year a Congregational form of government was adopted. The 
church is now included in the Rockingham Congregational Con- 

The church requires the adoption of strict temperance principles, 
by all its members ; and refuses all fellowship with slaveholders. 

In 1844-5 the neat and commodious building which the church 
now occupies, was erected. The present number of members is 
about 300. 

RoMAX Catholic. The first church organization of the Catholic 
denomination in Newburyport, was in May, 1843. There was then 
no church edifice erected, and this was deemed a missionary field. 
The first building occupied as a church, was the vestry of the 
Federal street church, which was removed to Charles street, Avhere 
it was fitted up for temporary service. This station was occasionally 
visited by the Rev. William Clanaran, of Dover, N. H., and in May 
of 1848, the Rev. John O'Brien was appointed Resident Pastor of 
the church. He was shortly succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. 
Henry Lennon. 

On the 27th of April, 1852, the corner-stone of a new church edi- 
fice was laid, in the presence of the Bishop, some twenty priests, and 
an immense concourse of people ; the ensuing 17th of March the 
building was dedicated under the title of the Church of the Im- 
maculate Conception. The style of architecture is decorated 
Gothic, and the interior is finished in an appropriate and pleasmg 
correspondence with the exterior plan of the house. 

The congregation numbers some fifteen hundred, including 

children. The church has on the average between 750 and 800 
communicants, and a Sabbath school is maintained during the 
* greater part of the year. Many of the usual attendants upon this 
church reside out of town, in West Newbury, Salisbury, &c. ; 
some come even from Amesbury, the congregation gathering from 
all the contiguous country within walking distance. 

" The fee-simple of the church property is vested in the Bishop 
of the Diocese for the Catholics of Newburyport and vicinity." 


The Green Street Baptist CnuRCii was organized on the ITtli 
of May, 1846, by sixty-seven persons who withdrew from the First 
Baptist Church. The Rev. N. Medberry was installed as pastor on 
the 16th of June next ensuing. The church met for public worship in 
the Washington and Market Halls, until the erection of the neat 
and picturesque building, which the Society now occupy, in Green 
street, and which was dedicated on the ^'th of February, 1848. 

On December 2-3d, 1852, Mr. Medberry resigned the pastoral 
office, and the Rev. John G. Richardson .was chosen as his successor, 
and installed September 8th, 1853. 

Second Advent Church. Organized December, 1848, under 
the pastoral care of Elder John Pearson, Jr. 

. The origin of this church may be traced to the winter of 1841-2, 
when the doctrine of the speedy Second Advent of Christ was 
preached here by Rev. Charles Fitch, Miller, and others. A con- 
siderable number of persons embraced the views presented, and 
imited for the purpose of public worship, and their jneetings were 
sustained until the latter part of the year 1844 ; at which time, in 
consequence of the passing of the specified date for the fulfilment 
of the great event for which they looked, and other adventitious 
circumstances , their meetings were discontinued; but in 1848 they 
again reunited, and have since maintained a distinct church organ- 
ization. Connected with the church are a Sabbath school, Bible class, 
&c. Their present place of worship is Washington Hall, on the 
corner of State and Essex streets. 

The peculiarities of their faith are the following : 

"That there are but two advents, orappearings of the Saviour to 
this earth, and that both are personal and visible. 

" That there will be a literal resurrection of the dead. 

" That only those who are Christ's will be raised at his coming. 

" That there will be a thousand years between the resurrection of 
the righteous and the wicked. 

" That the reward promised the saints will be given at the second 
comins of Christ. 


" That this earth renewed will be the saints' inheritance. 
" That the Scriptures do not teach the world's conversion. 


" That the Scriptures do not reveal the specific time of Christ's 
second coming, but do reveal events intimately connected with it, — 
making it the privilege and duty of the church to know when the 
advent is near. 

" That the grand object of the Christian's hope is the Second 
Personal Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ." 

On all other doctrines the church conform to those usually desig 
nated evangelical. 

The Whitfield Congregational Church was organized Janu- 
ary 1st, 1850. Stated preaching had been maintained in the 
Market Hall by the friends of this new interest for some fifteen 
months previously; the Rev. John E. Emerson, a native of this 
town, and a recent graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, 
oSiciating. Mr. Emerson was ordained as pastor on the 1st of 
January, 1850, but died in little more than a year after his settle- 
ment, on the 24th of March, 1851. He was succeeded by the 
present pastor, Rev. Samuel J. Spalding, on the 30th of June of 
the same year. The edifice on State street, in which the church 
now worship, was erected the next year, and was dedicated March 
2d, 1852. 


When approaching the Biographical Department of this work, we 
felt that our labors were drawing to a rapid close, and that a few 
paragraphs would suffice to enumerate the most distinguished natives 
of Newburyport ; but investigation quickly dispelled the illusion. 
Materials and subjects crowded vipon our hands, until it was evident 
that to do justice to but a portion of the departed worthies of the 
town, would require a large volume of itself, and could in no satis- 
factory manner be sketched in a mere appendix at the close of a 
History. But it was too late to alter the plan of the work, and 
though we have endeavored to select those characters for limning 
which seemed most calculated to interest the reader, and inspire 
the young of this community to an imitation of the virtues and 
heroism of their ancestors, we have been compelled to omit a large 
list who might worthily have been included in these brief notices. 
There is ample margin for the biographer who delights in the por- 
trayal of genius, to fill up the account at some future time. 

[We understand that Joshua Coffin, Esq., author of the History 
of " Ould Newbury," has been collecting materials for this purpose, 
and designs to complete a full biographical work ere long. If he 
carries his intention into execution, we shall expect to see thorough 
justice done to the many distinguished men of this vicinity.] 

It is to Newburyport that the heads of the professional depart- 
ments have come for judges, divines, and physicians — for men of 
science and of mercantile sagacity ; for of brave soldiers and 
distinguished civilians, Newburyport has more than supplied her 
share ; and if these few pages have the eifect of awakening the 
ambition of the young, and inducing any of them to aim at equalling, 


if they may not hope to excel, the integrity, industry, courage, 
learning and piety of the names here recorded, we shall feel amply 
rewarded for the time and labor expended in collecting these brief 
remains of their useful and brilliant lives. 

It has been well remarked by the author of the " American 
Biography,"* from whom we have made copious extracts, " that 
though the Revolution has incalculably increased and diffused the 
happiness of the people, yet before that time there was found in 
many parts of New England a degree of mental cultivation, a 
refinement and dignity of manners, and a liberal hospitality in the 
intercourse of society, which has not since, to say the least, been 
surpassed." And the writer justly adds, " the town of Newbury- 
port once furnished a remarkable illustration of the truth of this 
observation ; it having given to New England some of its most 
intelligent and distinguished jurists, merchants, and literary men. 
Several of these had formed associations of friendship at Harvard, 
and four members of one class, though not natives of the town, 
chose Newburyport as their residence, believing that in no part of 
the United States was an enlightened social intercourse better sus- 
tained or more rationally enjoyed, or a more frank and generous 
hospitality exhibited towards strangers." 


Probably no individual aided so much in attracting foreign talent 
to Newburyport, and giving tone to what already existed there, as 
Theophilus Parsons, whose perfect features the skill of Stuart 
has preserved to us ; but who was the laborious artist of his own 
fame, as all who aspire to usefulness in life, or to a name which their 
countrymen " will not willingly let die," must be. 

Theophilus l^arsons was the thu-d son of the Rev. Moses Par- 
sons, of Byfield parish, Newbury. He was born the 24th of 
February, 1750. He was early placed at Dummer Academy, of 
which the celebrated " Master Moody" was then principal, and to 
whom Parsons was greatly indebted for the early development and 
right direction of his originally great powers of mind ; and though 
Master Moody was not a native of Newburyport, yet as most of the 

* Samuel L. Knapp. 


Froiu i SketctL "by S taart, 

SM Chanme^.eJ3t-a Zith. S or ton. 


Newbury^tort youth destined for the University, at this period, passed 
under his moulding hand, and he thus left upon them ineffaceable 
influences, it will not be deemed out of place to give him a passing 
notice here, especially as Judge Parsons ever retained for him the 
greatest respect. Master Moody was a thorough scholar, and 
required thoroughness in his pupils ; he was also a man of extensive 
and varied information, and had some eccentricities too. He was 
a bachelor, and perhaps therefore took the more interest in his 
scholars, whom he regarded as his children, and in whose future 
success and fame he took an intense interest, which neither separa- 
tion, time nor distance abated. It is easy to see how such a man 
would impress his character upon his pupils, and how much harder 
he would labor for their perfection than one whose only motive to 
exertion was pecuniary profit, or even his own reputation as a 
teacher. Master Moody lived to a good old age, but it was in his 
prime that he ranked among his pupils Theophilus Parsons, upon 
whom he was frequently heard to bestow his highest eulogy. From 
Dummer Academy young Parsons entered Harvard College, where 
he graduated in 1769 ; he then entered as a law student with The- 
ophilus Bradbury,* and in 1777 commenced practice in Newburyport, 
having already obtained the reputation of a " young man of great 
talent, and remarkable acquirements." It was at this interesting 
epoch that the Legislature of Massachusetts formed the Constitution 
which they submitted to the people for their consideration. It con- 
tained many defects, and a general movement was made to prevent 
its adoption, in which Essex County took the lead ; and Mr. Par- 
sons was elected as a delegate to meet with gentlemen from the 
other towns of the County at Ipswich. Here he was placed on a 
committee to prepare a report on the subject, and he then drafted 
the famous paper known as the " Essex Result." 

In 1779-80 a convention was called for the purpose of drafting a 
new Constitution, and to this body Mr. Parsons was also a delegate, 
and one of the most active and influential members. 

In 1789 the Massachusetts Convention met in Boston, to consult 
upon the adoption of the Federal Constitution, then submitted to the 
several States for their adhesion. In this convention met a host of 

* See Biographical Notice. 



distinguished statesmen, and to this body Mr. Parsons was also a 
delegate, and here too he met in counsel and argument, one of his 
distinguished pupils, Rufus King, the only individual who at that 
time rivalled him in this vicinity in learning and talent. Parsons 
came to the convention with serious apprehensions as to the result, 
but fully determined to exert his utmost strength to secure its adop- 
tion ; learning, Avit, satire and argument combined, made his influ- 
ence preeminent, as his genius deserved that it should be. One 
of the members, a clergyman, having remarked " that no angel pre- 
sided at the formation of the instrument, for that the name of God was 
not in it," Parsons reminded him that by the same rule of judg- 
ment there was no divinity in one of the books of the Old Testa- 
ment, referring the astonished clergyman to the book of Esther, 
which contains no mention of the name of Deity. A large share of 
the effort which secured the final majority in favor of the adoption 
of the Constitution may fairly be attributed to Mr. Parsons. 

In 1806, Chief Justice Dana resigned his office, and general 
expectation was turned to Mr. Parsons, (who had some time pre- 
viously moved to Boston,) as his successor. The judges were not 
unwilling to profit by his profound knowledge of law, and the whole 
of the intelligent community desired to see him at the head of the 
judiciary. But his practice at this time was extensive, and its emolu- 
ments were lucrative ; his income was probably from six to ten thou- 
sand dollars a year, and the salary of the chief justice was then but 
twenty-five hundred dollars ; and those Avho were most anxious for 
his professional advancement, felt hardly prepared to ask him to 
make this immense pecuniary sacrifice. He was, however, nomi- 
nated by Governor Strong, and accepted the appointment ; but not 
without arguments in return, on the insuflSciency of the judges' 
salaries, so convincing and unanswerable, that the Governor in his 
next message to the Legislature, recommended "that a permanent 
and respectable compensation" be granted them, which resulted in 
placing these salaries on their present footing. 

When he came to the bench there had been much done, but there 
was still much left to do, and he set about making a thorough reform ; 
the docket was crowded Avith cases, and the method of despatching 
the business slow. To finish the business of the term, he roused 
parties and counsel to extraordinary exertions of vigilance and punc- 


tuality, and at all times, his mind moved with such rapidity, and his 
despatch of business was so unequalled, as to excite both the mur- 
murs and applause of clients and lawyers, as their different interests 
were affected by this new and energetic administration. Dealing 
with a man whose biography rightly told would fill volumes, and yet 
compelled to condense it within a few pages, we feel that we can 
scarcely give any just idea of Judge Parsons within our assigned 
limits. *^ 

In person he was nearly six feet high, stout even to corpulency, 
heavy yet dignified ; his features bold and striking ; forehead high, 
but its effect was sadly marred by a very ill-looking wig, which was 
not always fashionably made nor carefully worn ; sometimes after a 
season of deep mental occupation, awaking the mirth of his friends, 
by the wry and disordered appearance of this inelegant appendage. 
His eyes, "blue tinged with hazel grey," were deep set, and in 
repose looked sunken, but when excited, sparkled and burned with a 
peculiar lustre. Happy in his domestic connections, he shared in 
the amusements and directed the studies of his children, with the 
fondness and solicitude of a man who had no great official responsi- 
bilities weighing upon him. Wit sparkled in his conversation, yet 
no one would imagine from reading his written opinions, that he ever 
indulged in this, to him natural propensity. His memory was won- 
derfully tenacious, — not of that desultory sort which is sometimes 
found where the judgment is weak, but was as orderly as it was com- 
prehensive. He seemed to have the same control over his thoughts as 
a strict discipHnarian has over his men ; " they came, retired, con- 
centrated, scattered, were condensed in column, or extended in line 
at his bidding." His great power of instantly arranging or 
embodying his thoughts, made his decisions appear at times almost 
like intuition. And the imagination, a faculty which is rarely com- 
bined, in much power, with such qualities of mind as he possessed, 
was yet in him sometimes warm, and always prolific. In his profes- 

* We have the fact on good authority, that on one occasion Hamilton sought 
out Parsons for the sake of a personal interview, having heard much of his 
reputation, and being disposed to believe his talents exaggerated. He had the 
desired interview, and was accosted by a friend on his return, with the query, 
" Well, and how did you find Parsons ? " " How did 1 find him ? why I found 
him cut and dried for everything," replied the now satisfied examiner. 


sional practice, he had none of that coldness and indifference which 
mark so many men of intellect. To the poor and those in a humble 
condition of life, he was ever kind and ready with his advice, to 
reheve them from their difficulties. If they and their cause were 
honest, he never delayed assistance to calculate the chances of 
remuneration. He was never known to take a fee from a min- 
ister of the gospel, no matter to what sect he belonged. He was 
a firm believer in the Christian religion, and as he approached the 
confines of old age, his love for the study of mathematics and divin- 
ity increased. He lived neither too long nor died prematurely, but 
when his labors had done good service to his country, and his wide 
spread fame had settled down on a permanent and abiding basis, 
he died, October 13, 1813, at the age of sixty-three, with a reputa- 
tion as a judge and a lawyer, unequalled in New England, and 
imexcelled by any jurist in fhe United States. 

During his residence in Newburyport, Mr. Parsons had in his 
office, as students of law, three young men of eminence, two of whom 
afterwards exceeded him in being the recipients of more public 
honors, though none surpassed him in vigor of mind or literary attain- 
ments : these were John Quincy Adams, Rufus King, and Robert 
Treat Paine. 

The life of the sixth President of the United States, who for 
several years participated in the social life of Newburyport, is too 
well known to need particular notice here, and perhaps should not 
occupy the room which might be devoted to natives of Newburyport, 
or more permanent residents ; yet it is pleasant to know.that late in 
life he retained a lively interest in the town, with which, as he 
expressed himself on a public occasion, " many of the most pleasing 
recollections of his youth were associated." That he also enter- 
tained a respect for its citizens, is evidenced by his selecting from 
among the many Americans there, a gentleman from this town,* to 
be the bearer of his official despatches to the Government of the 
United States, during his residence as American Minister at St. 
Petersburg, in 1813. 

When Washington visited the town in 1789, Mr. Adams prepared 

* Captain Natb'aniel Jackson. 


the reception address ; and his much admired poem, entitled the 
" Vision," was written in Newburyport in 1792 ; the animated 
description which he there gives of nine different female characters, 
are portraits, which he drew from life, of some of his young friends 
and acquaintance here. 

RuFUS King, a native of Scarborough, Maine, spent many years 
in Newburyport and vicinity, first as a pupil of Master Moody, at 
Dummer Academy, and afterwards as a student of law with Mr. 
Parsons, — as a practitioner at the bar, and also as Representative 
to the General Court. Rufus King graduated at Harvard, with the 
first honors of the class of 1777, which was considered an excellent 
one. He was not only first in mathematics, the languages and 
oratory, but took the lead in every athletic sport, running, jumping 
and swimming. He was a fine specimen of the benefit of a sound 
body with a large mind. Before entering on the study of the law, 
Mr. King was appointed aid to General Sullivan, during his cam- 
paign in Rhode Island. On being admitted to the bar, in 1780, he 
rose rapidly in the public favor, and was soon after chosen as Repre- 
sentative from Newburyport to the Legislature, where he sponta- 
neously took the position of a leader. 

Having distinguished himself in the Convention of 1787, he soon 
after removed to New York, from which time his history is identified 
with that of his country. In 1784 he was sent to Congress, and 
took a high stand there, as he had done in the Legislature of the 
Commonvfealth. In the Senate, dunng the warm discussions 
respecting the British treaty, he took the side of Washington and 
Hamilton. Having successively filled various honorable pubhc 
offices, being for some years Minister to the Court of St. James, he 
on his return in 1803, made a visit to Newburyport, where he was 
complimented Avith a public entertainment. " It was a joyous 
occasion ; the friends of his youth were around him ; a thousand 
reminiscences were awakened ; the old were glad to renew their 
acquaintance with him, and the young to catch a glimpse of the 
man whom then" fathers had delighted to honor." He died at Long 
Island in 1827, aged 72. While in this town, Rufus Kmg was one 
of the Wardens of St. Paul's Church. 


Robert Treat Paine, son of the signer of the Declaration of 
Independence, of the same name, pursued his study of law in the 
office of Theophilus Parsons, at Newburjport, and while in that 
town, (January, 1800,) pronounced his brilliant " Eulogy upon 
Washington," on the occasion of public funeral services being 
observed, on the intelHgence of the death of the latter. 

His baptismal name was Thomas, and it was after this period that 
he applied to the Legislature to be relieved from it, not wishing to 
be confounded with the author of the Age of Reason. He spent 
several years in Newburyport ; but attained more reputation as a 
poet than a lawyer. His genius was certainly of a high order, and 
his imagination prolific. His talents commanded admiration, and 
his wit excited merriment and delight ; he was bold in his views, 
quick at retort, and sometimes fearfully sarcastic. 

His principal literary efforts are the " Invention of Letters," 
" Adams and Liberty," the " Ruling Passion," with some minor 
poems, and the " Steeds of Apollo," which was his last and best 

Samuel L. Knapp, LL. D., a native of Newburyport, and a gradu- 
ate of Dartmouth College, and afterwards a student at law with Judge 
Parsons, and subsequently a practising lawyer in Newburyport, was 
particularly distinguished as a belles-lettres scholar, and wrote on 
various subjects ; some works of fiction, and many fugitive articles 
of merit, with others of permanent interest, as his " American 
Biography." He removed from Newburyport to Boston, and while 
there, edited the Boston Galaxy, and for a while the Commercial 
Gazette. He also spent some time at Washington, as editor of the 
National Journal ; then removed to New York, and edited the Com- 
mercial Advertiser of that city. 

As a writer Mr. Knapp was easy and graceful, but with too great 
a tendency to the highly ornate ; in his biographical sketches, 
allowing too much sway to th^ personal admiration and feelings of 
friendship which he felt for many of his subjects, 'yet conveying 
distinct and permanent ideas of the men he would portray. He 
was the life of every social circle in which he mingled, his con- 
versational talents partaking of the brilliancy and grace of his 
writings ; but his practical failure in making life what it should have 


been to one of his talents, arose from his careless business habits, 
which not unfrequently brought him in contact with the sheriff and 
the debtor's jail. Here, like greater genius before him, he amused 
and employed himself with his pen. While in Newburjport jail 
he wrote, and pubhshed (in 1817) a fictitious journal, descriptive of 
a tour through New England, and which he ascribed in the title-page 
to " Marshal Soult." In this book some of the peculiar traits of 
Newburjport are drawn with a free hand. He died at Hopkinton 
Springs, in July, 1838. 

Nicholas Pike, author of the arithmetic which bears his name, 
was a graduate of Harvard College, and principal of the grammar 
school in Newburjport for manj jears. His treatise on Arithmetic, 
with an appendix of Algebra and Conic Sections, kept its place in 
the public schools of New England until displaced bj the production 
of another resident and teacher in Newburjport — Master Walsh. 
Mr. Pike was also for manj jears a justice of the peace, and the 
rigid discipline he had exercised in the school-room, prepared him 
to visit with severitj the pettj trespasses subjected to his decisions. 
" He was," sajs the biographer Knapp, "readj in the classics, and 
seldom took a book to hear his pupils recite." He could boast of 
manj excellent scholars who had received the rudiments of a classi- 
cal education under his care — a proof that he was himself well 
grounded in the same branches of learning. 

He died December 9th, 1819, aged 76. Mr. Pike's was the first 
original arithmetic published in the United States, as appears from 
the following letter of President Washington, addressed to the 

Mount Vernon, June 20th, 1788. 

Sir : — I request jou will accept mj best thanks for jour polite 
letter of the 1st of Januarj, (which did not get to mj hand till 
jesterdaj) and also for the copjof jour " Sjstem of Arithmetic," 
which jou were pleased to present to me. 

The handsome manner in which that work is printed, and the 
elegant manner in which it is bound, are pleasing proofs of the pro- 
gress which the arts are making in this countrj. But I should do 
violence to my own feelings if I suppressed an acknowledgment of 


the belief that the work itself is calculated to be equally useful and 
honorable to the United States. 

It is but right, however, to apprise you that diffident of my own 
decision, the favorable opinion I entertain of your performance is 
founded rather on the explicit and ample testimony of gentlemen 
confessedly possessed of great mathematical knowledge, than on the 
partial and incompetent attention I have been able to pay to it 
myself. But I must be permitted to remark that the subject in my 
estimation holds a higher rank in the literary scale than you are 
disposed to allow. The science of figures, to a certain degree, is 
not only indispensably requisite in every walk of civilized hfe, but 
the investigation of mathematical truths accustoms the mind to 
method and correctness in reasoning, and is an employment pecu- 
liarly worthy of rational beings. In a cloudy, state of existence, 
Avhere so many things appear precarious to the bewildered research, 
it is here that the rational faculties find a firm foundation to rest 
upon. From the high ground of mathematical and philosophical 
demonstration, we are insensibly led to far nobler speculations and 
sublime meditations. 

I hope and trust that the work will ultimately prove not less 
profitable than reputable to yourself. It seems to have been con- 
ceded on all hands, that such a system was much wanted. Its 
merits being established by the approbation of competent judges, 
I flatter myself that the idea of its being an American production, 
and the first of the kind which has appeared, will induce every 
patriotic and liberal character to give it all the countenance and 
patronage in his power. In all events, you may rest assured that 
as no person takes more interest in the encouragement of American 
genius, so no one will be more highly gratified with the success of 
your ingenious, arduous and useful midertaking, than he who has the 
pleasure to subscribe himself, with esteem and regard. 

Sir, your most obedient and very humble servant, 

G. Washington'. 
Nicholas Pike, Esq. 


The Lowell family, who are of Welch origin, and early settlers of 
Newbury, are eminently worthy of a more extensive notice than our 
limits will permit us to give. 


Four of the Lowell family have been Fellows of the Corporation 
of Harvard, viz., Judge John Lowell, his son, John Lowell, LL. D,, 
Charles Lowell, D. D., (now of Cambridge,) and John A. Lowell, 
Esq., of Boston. And to one of them, John Lowell, Jr., (who died 
in 1825,) is Boston indebted for the foundation of the " Lowell 
Institute of that citj." 

The Rev. John Lowell, for forty-two years pastor of the First 
Church in Newburyport, was a divine of large scholarly attain- 
ments, extensive reading, and of a liberality of mind unusual 
to the period in which his professional duties were exercised. A 
portion of his library is now in possession of Dr. Charles Lowell, of 
Cambridge, and the value and nature of the works, show a refined 
taste and an enlarged and liberal mind. In addition to the Greek 
and Latin, with which all persons regularly trained for the ministry 
were supposed to be acquainted, Mr. Lowell was familiar with the 
French tongue, and from the range of his reading, was probably 
acquainted with some other modern languages. Nor was it in liter- 
ature alone that this liberality of mind was apparent. It was only 
during the controversy which divided his church, that human nature, 
aided by the spirit and legislation of the times, betrayed him into 
anything like illiberality. The prevailing tone of his mind was to 
an enlightened Catholicism. 

On the first appearance of a revival of rehgion among his people, 
he encouraged it both by extra labors himself, and by freely inviting 
others to occupy his pulpit. It was not until, in his judgment, 
things were tending to excess, and that persons whom he deemed 
unsuitable, and in whom he had not confidence, were thrust upon 
him as co-laborers, that he paused, and resisted — not the divine 
work — but the self-appointed workers and the manner in which it 
was attempted to be performed. His theological sentiments appear 
to have been independent and orthodox, so far as the orthodoxy of 
the day corresponded with New Testament Christianity. He was 
not strictly a Calvinist, neither was he an Armenian, Arian or 
Socinian ; he was not tied to any formula of man's making, was 
neither a zealot nor a bigot, believing as the highest authority had 
taught him, " that secret things belong to God;" and he was willing 
to leave their interpretation to Him, and to be content to square 
his conduct by what he believed the written word taught. The 


following fact is illustrative of his general disposition to maintain 
the individual rights of conscience. Before the middle of the last 
century, a council was called to consider the expediency of dis- 
missing Mr. Barnard, third minister of the Second Church in 
Newbury, now First in W. Newbury. Its expediency was deter- 
mined on, and the question occurred on giving him a recommendation 
as a minister. To this one of the council objected, " unless it 
should be ascertained, on inquiry, that Mr. Barnard was a believer 
in the doctrine of the Trinity." Mr. Lowell rose, with much 
emotion, and addressing the moderator, said, " If that question is 
put, sir, I shall leave the room, and take no more part in this 
council." The question was not put. 

Mr. Lowell occupied the second house on the right hand 
side of Temple street, entering from State street; on a panel 
over the fireplace of the sitting-room was a painting repre- 
senting a meeting of ministers, who were seated around a table, on 
which was represented a bowl and a tobacco dish, and bearing 
above, this motto, in Latin, " In essentials, united ; in non-essentials, 
liberty; in all things, charity." This panel was purchased by 
James Russell Lowell, Esq., the well-known poet, of Cambridge, 
a great grandson of the Rev. Dr. Lowell, in whose possession it still 
remains. Mr. Lowell died in 1767. He left one son, the subject 
of the next notice. 

John Lowell, LL. D., A. A. S., S. P. A., son of the Rev. 
John Lowell, was born in Newbury, June 17, 1743, (Old Style,) 
and graduated at Harvard College in 1760, and applied himself to 
the study of law. He very soon rose to great eminence in the 
profession, growing in public esteem and the aifections of his 
acquaintance as he advanced into life. The integrity of his char- 
acter always secured him the confidence of those who admired his 
ability. In 1776 he removed from Newhuryport to Boston ; was 
there chosen representative to the General Court, and one of the 
twelve delegates to the Convention Avhich framed the Constitution 
for the Commonwealth, where he was distinguished for his knowledge 
and eloquence. Being one of the committee who drew the plan, he 
was fully prepared for the subject whenever taking part in debate. 

In 1781 he was chosen a member of Congress, and in 1782 was 


appointed by that body one of the three Judges of the Court of 
Appeals — a tribunal estabUshed by Congress for the trial of all 
appeals from the Courts of Admiralty of the several States. When 
the Federal Government was established, he was appointed by Wash- 
inri-ton Judo-e of the District Court in Massachusetts. He remained 
in that office till the new organization of the Federal judiciary in 
1801, when he was appointed Chief Justice of the Circuit Court, 
for the first Circuit, which included the district of Maine, New 
Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In the discharge of 
that office he continued until the repeal of that act in 1802. 

On the bench. Judge Lowell appeared with peculiar and engaging 
lustre. With the most condescending and obliging manners, he 
ever maintained the dignity' of his station. In critical causes he 
was mature and deliberate in making up a judgment, and his quick 
apprehension and facility for discrimination enabled him to give 
despatch to ordinary business. People of different pohtical senti- 
ments had the same persuasion of his knowledge and impartiality ; 
and those against whom judgment was given, were disposed to con- 
fide in its equity and legality. Had the act been continued 
which established the Circuit Courts, he would have had a wider 
sphere for his usefulness, and the exercise of his talents. 

On retiring from public business, he actively engaged in literary 
and benevolent associations. He was interested in agriculture, 
gardening, botany, and other branches of natural history. 

He first originated the subscription for a professorship of Natural 
History, at the University, and was among the most generous sub- 
sci'ibers. He was always a great friend to Harvard College, and 
his mind was actively employed in devising means for its prosperity. 
When there was a vacancy in the Corporation in 1784, he was 
elected one of that Board, and for eighteen years was an attentive, 
firm and judicious member. The critical state of the pubHc funds 
during this period, caused some doubtful and anxious expectations, 
and required of the members of the Corporation peculiar watchful- 
ness over the property they had in trust. Mr. Lowell acquainted 
himself with the interests and circumstances of the College, and its 
treasury was especially benefited by his discreet and active 

He was one of the most active in forwarding the plan in 1780, 


for establishing an Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Society 
elected him one of its counsellors. They had also such a sense of 
his literary merits, that they chose him, with a unanimous vote, to 
deliver an oration when President Bowdoin died. This oration was 
published in one of the volumes of the Academy. Mr. Lowell was 
the author of that clause in the Massachusetts Bill of Rights, which 
forever excluded slavery from the soil of this Commonwealth. 

Among those who studied law with Mr. Lowell, was Thomas 
Dawes, afterwards Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, 
and Christopher Gore, Governor of Massachusetts, and Harrison 
Gray Otis,* of Boston. 

Mr. Otis, writing on the character of his legal instructor, but a 
few years since, says : 

" Had that excellent person been a native of Virginia, his life 
would have been written and emblazoned, by pens qualified to 
eulogize departed worth and talent ; and his name would have been 
classed with those of her Henrys, Marshalls, Wythes, and other 
eminent lawyers. * * My personal acquaintance with him com- 
menced in 1783, when I entered his office as a student ; he was 
then at the head of the profession in Suffolk, to which eminence he 
rapidly attained after removing to Boston from Essex County, where 
he made his debut, and practised with a constantly rising reputation. 
I first saw him, as well as I remember, at Cambridge, while I was a 
student at Harvard College ; he, with Mr. Theophilus Parsons, 

appeared there as counsel for a Mr. W , a substantial, and 

until then, a quite respectable farmer, charged with murdering his 
wife by poison. It was a trial Avhich at that period of paucity of 
crime, thrilled the whole community with astonishment and horror. 

* Mr. Otis, who was later advanced in life when he commenced his legal 
studies - than the others, gave to Mr. Gore this reason for studying law. 
" That he at first studied divinity, and commenced preaching, and that having 
on one occasion supplied a vacant pulpit, in the neighborhood of Boston, 
preaching twice upon the Sabbath, he was waited upon on Monday morning 
by a deacon of the church, who asked him what he should pay him for his 
services. ' O, I don't know,' replied Mr. Otis, ' give me what they are worth.' 
The deacon gravely handed him a pistareen. Thinking if two sermons were 
worth but that, he had better turn to some other profession, he abandoned 
theology, and turned his attention to law." 


This was probably the first occasion which estabUshed the preemi- 
nence of these gentlemen in the estimation of the whole State. 
Their ordinary circuit, before this time, being principally limited to 
SuflFolk and Essex, in the latter of which Parsons still resided. 
Their claim to this precedence was never afterwards disputed, and 
they were regarded as par oiobile fratrum. Professional rivals they 
sometimes were, bvit always friends. 

In stature, Judge Lowell reached, I should think, about five feet 
ten inches ; he was inclined to corpulency, his gait rapid, even 
hurried, his conversation animated and ardent. He appeared to 
strangers, at first, to speak too much ex cathedra; but he was free 
from all propensity to brow-beat or show ill-humor. On the con- 
trary, he was the mirror of benevolence, which beamed in, and made 
attractive, a countenance not remarkable for symmetry of feature or 
beauty ; and his companionable talents, never displayed at the 
expense of dignity, made him the delight of the society in which he 
moved. His private character was irreproachable — his honesty and 
moderation proverbial. ***** jjg \^q^^ always something 
pleasant to say to the young ; and his demeanor towards the bar 
and witnesses was kind and courteous. 

His general health during the time of my intimacy with him, was 
good, though occasionally inclined to a maladie imaginaire, an ordi- 
nary symptom of ardent temperament and ethereal genius. Of his 
last few years I lost the run, from my constant absence from home, 
but I know tliat no one ever lived more beloved, or died more 

Chief Justice Parker thus refers to Judge Lowell, in his remarks 
on the death of Theophilus Parsons : " At that early period of his 
(Parson's) life, his more formidable rival, and most frequent com- 
petitor, was the accomplished lawyer and scholar, the late Judge 
Lowell. It was the highest intellectual treat to see these great men 
contending for victory in the judicial forum." 

Judge Lowell was three times married, though he and Mr. Jack- 
son,* his college chum, on leaving college, determined to keep 
bachelor's hall together, and forswear the state matrimonial. But 
Cupid outwitted them, and shot a fatal shaft at each of their hearts 

* See Notice of Hon. Jonatlian Jackson. 


at the same time, and they were both married on the same evening, 
in Salem, — Mr. Lowell to Miss Higginson, daughter of Stephen H. 
Higginson, Esq. ; and after her death he married Miss Susanna 
Cabot, of Salem, daughter of Francis Cabot, Esq. ; and lastly he was 
united to Mrs. Rebecca Tyng, widow of James Tyng, Esq., and 
daughter of Hon. Judge James Russell, of Charlestown. 

John. Lowell, LL. D., a son of Judge Lowell, was born in 
Newburyport, October 6th, 1769. He was fitted for college under 
the tuition of Dr. Eliphalet Pearson, of Newbury, at Andover 
Academy. He ranked high as a scholar, and having graduated 
with honor at Harvard College, was admitted to the bar before he 
had completed his twentieth year ; and " instead of lingering through 
a long and scant novitiate, advanced almost at a step into full, 
laborious, and lucrative practice." His health failing in 1803, he 
visited England, and though this was perfectly restored by 
travel, he never returned to the bar ; having acquired a competent 
fortune by his professional labors at an age, thirty-four, when most 
lawyers are but beginning to be known. During the war of 1812, 
he wrote constantly for the public, on the side of the Federal party. 
His political pamphlets, in two octavo volumes, are now in the 
library of Harvard University. When the Unitarian controversy 
broke out, he published various pamphlets which had a marked 
bearing on the points at issue ; the one entitled " An inquiry into 
the right to change the Ecclesiastical Constitution of the Congre- 
gational Churches of Massachusetts," in all probability, says Dr. 
Greenwood, " contributed to put a stop to the proposed plan for an 
arbitrary consociation of churches." 

From 1810 to 1822 he was a member of the Corporation of Har- 
vard, and was Overseer of the University for several years. Mr. 
Lowell filled other honorable public offices, and gave his influence to 
many valuable associations connected with the welfare of his native 
State, which our limits will not permit us to enumerate ; but one 
trait of his character we cannot forbear to notice, which was his 
benevolence. His private charities were large, and his constant 
practice of assisting, with his valuable legal advice, parties in 
indigent circumstances, was a kind of charity which drew largely 
on that most valuable commodity of a business man, time. 


But his money was also freely given. One who had been his 
almoner for thirteen years, and who during Mr. Lowell's life had 
been forbidden to mention them, says, " The sum which was placed 
at my disposal was to be expended in wood for the poor. I was 
requested to relieve any case of suffering, for want of fuel, which 
might come mider my notice. At my own request for some speci- 
fied limit, he named a certain annual sum, desiring me, however, 
to exceed it without scruple, if I should find occasion for more. 
But in no year did I find occasion for so much, using the circum- 
spection which I felt bound to use." In addressing a letter to this 
individual, Mr. Lowell says, " There is no variety of physical 
distress, for which my heart suffers more than that produced by 
cold. * * I iiave always thought that this particular mode of 
relieving distress was the most unexceptionable, and in our climate 
the most imperative. With this opinion, I have never failed to con- 
tribute when asked by the Howard Benevolent Society, nor have I 
ever refused an individual application for the same object ; but 
these opportunities have been too unfrequent to satisfy my sense of 
duty." * He therefore selected an ^Imoner to seek out objects of 

The winter of 1839 Mr. Lowell spent in the West Indies, to 
which climate he had been recommended for the relief of a painful 
disorder. He returned with improved health, but his constitution 
remained enfeebled. He died suddenly, while reading a daily 
paper, at his house in Boston, expiring, apparently without suffering, 
on the 12th of March, 1840. 

Francis C. Lowell, also a son of Judge Lowell, was born in 
Newburyport, April, 1775. His name is indelibly connected with 
the manufacturing interests of New England, in the name of the 
City of Lowell, formerly a part of Chelmsford, which is derived 
from him. 

" It was owing to his genius and apphcation, aided by the talents 
and skill of his relative, Patrick Tracy Jackson, of Newburyport, 
and by the mechanical skill of that profound but unpretending 
mechanician, Paul Moody, also of Newburyport, that the country 

* Funeral Sermon, bv F. W. P. Greenwood, D. D, 


IS 1 

ndebted for the first establishment which satisfied our most 
intelligent citizens that the business of milling could be engaged in 
■with safety and success." * 

When the mills at Waltham, put into operation by these sons of 
Newburyport, carried every part of the manufactory of cotton 
o-oods to a complete and finished state,t the mills at Slatersville were 
only spinning. 

The particulars of the introduction of the manufacture of cotton 
at Waltham and Lowell, in which Mr. Lowell was so deeply inter- 
ested, will be found in the sketch of Patrick Tracy Jackson, the 
friend and brother-in-law of Mr. Lowell. It is noticeable that F. C. 
Lowell and Chas. (Judge) Jackson $ were chums at college, as 
their fathers were before them. Their college friendship was 
cemented by the marriage of Mr. Lowell with a sister of Mr. 

" Mr. Lowell died in 1817 at the age of forty-two, satisfied that 
he had succeeded in his object, and that the cotton manufacture would 
form the basis of the future permanent prosperity of New England. 
He had been mainly instrumental in procuring from Congress in 
181G, the establishment of the minimum duty on cotton cloth, an 
idea which originated with him.§ It is not surprising that he felt 
ffreat satisfaction at the result of his labors, for elsewhere, vice and 
poverty have followed in the train of manufactures, but these wise 
and patriotic men (Lowell and P. T. Jackson,) foresaw and guarded 
against the evil." 

By the erection of boarding houses at the expense, and under the 
control of the factory, putting at the head of them matrons of tried 
character, and allowing no boarders to be received except the female 
operatives of the mill ; by stringent regulations for the government 
of these houses, — by all these precautions, they gained the confidence 
of the rural population, who were no longer afraid to trust their 
daughters in a manufacturing town. A supply was thus obtamed of 
respectable girls, and these, from pride of character, as well as prin- 
ciple, have taken care to exclude all others. Other advantages have 

* Boston Chi-onlcle, 1816, and Massachusetts Observer, 1816. 

t Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, 1848. + See Notice of Jackson Family. 

§ Hunt's Merchants' Magazine. 


followed from this good foundation ; persons were found willing to 
become operatives from that class in comfortable circumstances, 
among whom the mental powers had been developed, and this moral 
connection, with mental efficiency, has essentially helped to decide 
the question of our rivalry with England in the manufacture of 
cotton. To Mr. Lowell may be fairly attributed all that is pecur 
liarly good in the factory system of New England. 

The Hon. Jonathan Jackson, who belonged to the Revolutionary 
era, was " a man of whom the world knew much, but knew too little." 
As a patriot he combined the qualities which form the estimable 
citizen, and rendered him useful as a statesman. He took an early 
and zealous part in the Revolution, and devoted much of his time to 
the public service. His zeal for civil liberty in the early part of his 
life was enthusiastic, but his penetrating mind early suspected 
danger from pure Democratic institutions, and he was anxious to have 
such modifications made in our National Constitution as would secure 
the permanence as well as the fulness of our liberties. The views 
which he entertained on this subject, may be known by the draft of 
a Constitution prepared by delegates from the county of Essex, in 
forming which, Mr. Jackson bore a considerable share. Before the 
adoption by the State of the Federal Constitution, Mr. Jackson 
published a pamphlet on the subject, replete with understanding, 
foresight and patriotism, approving of the Constitution, to which, and 
to the policy of Washington, he remained firmly and invariably 
attached. If he was distinguished from his pohtical friends in any 
point, it was in the dread and detestation in which he held the power 
and intrigues of France, a sentiment which he imbibed during his 
service in the old Revolutionary Congress, of which he was an 
honored member, and where he was witness and conversant with the 
dishonorable intrigues and manoeuvres of the French Cabinet. But 
useful as he was to the State in his public capacity, the beautiful 
symmetry and integrity of his private life, his urbanity and refine- 
ment, his intellectual endowments, and his moral purity, over- 
shadowed and echpsed his public reputation. As the beau ideal of 
a gentleman, he retained the supremacy among that galaxy of 
worthies which formed the intellectual and social life of Newbury- 
port. He was a member of the Continental Congress in 1780, 



Marshal of the District of Massachusetts under Washington, first 
Inspector and afterwards Supervisor of the Internal Revenue, 
Treasurer of the Commomvealth for five years, and at the time of 
his death was Treasurer of Harvard College. 

Mr. Jackson was truly a " gentleman of the old school." Dr. 
Charles Lowell of Cambridge, says of him, " I knew him well, and 
was permitted to be with him the last night of his life, and on the 
Sabbath after his death, preached an afiectionate tribute to his 
memory, from the passage, ' Thy friend, and thy father's friend, 
forsake not.' He was eminently worthy of any honor that could be 
paid him." His wife was a Miss Barnard of Salem. 

His eldest son, Charles Jackson, born. in 1775, in Newburyport, 
graduated at Cambridge, and having studied law under his erudite 
and learned townsman-, Theophilus Parsons, commenced practice in 
his native town. He rapidly rose to distinction at the bar, and 
having removed to Boston, was, on the death of Theodore Sedgwick, 
made Judge of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. His untiring 
devotion to his professional duties seriously impared his health, and 
he made in 1823-4 a visit to England ; Jacob Perkins was then 
interesting the scientific classes in Great Britain, with his numerous 
and important inventions, and Mr. Jackson was hailed by another 
class, the jurists and statesmen of the times, as a man of equal, 
though of very difierent genius. A gentleman writing to an indi- 
vidual in this town from London, at the time of jMr. Jackson's visit, 
says : " Two of your townsmen now fill the public eye of England, and 
are the subjects of public and private conversation, even to the exclu- 
sion of all other topics in the beau monde.'' But it is not yet time to 
write the biography of Judge Jackson, of Boston, nor that of his 
brother Dr. James Jackson, of equal reputation in the medical pro- 
fession in the metropolis, and who was the second son of the Hon. 
Jonathan Jackson. 

Patrick Tracy Jackson was born at Newburyport, August 14th, 
1780. He was the youngest son of the Hon. Jonathan Jackson. 
He received his early education in the pubhc schools of his native 
town, and afterwards at Dummer Academy. When about fifteen 
years of age he was apprenticed to Mr. Wm. Bartlett. In this new 


position, which "with the aristocratic notions of that day, might have 
been regarded by some youths as derogatory, young Patrick took 
especial care to prove to his master that he had not been educated 
to view anything as disgraceful which it was his duty to do. He 
took pride in throwing himself into the midst of the labor and re- 
sponsibility of the business. In so doing he gratified a love of 
activity and usefulness which belonged to his character, at the same 
time that he satisfied his sense of duty. And yet, while thus ready 
to vfork, he did not lose his keen relish for the enjoyments of youth ; • 
and would often, after a day of intense bodily labor, be foremost in 
the amusements of the social circle in the evening. 

He soon secured the esteem and confidence of Mr. Bartlett, who 
entrusted to him, when under twenty years of age, a cargo of mer- 
chandise for St. Thomas, with authority to take the command of 
the vessel from the captain if he should see occasion. After his 
return from this voyage, which he successfully conducted, an oppor- 
tunity offered for a more extended enterprise. His brother. Captain 
Henry Jackson, who was about six years older than himself, and to 
whom he was warmly attached, was on the point of sailing for 
Madras and Calcutta, and oflfered to take Patrick with him as a 
captain's clerk. The offer was a tempting one ; it would open to 
him a branch of commerce in which his master, Bartlett, had not 
been engaged, but which was at that time one of great profit. An 
obstacle however interposed ; our young apprentice was not of age, 
and the indentures gave to his master the use of his services until 
that period. With great liberality, Mr. Bartlett, on being informed 
of the circumstances, relinquished his claim. 

It was very nearly the first day of the present century when Mr. 
Jackson commenced his career as a free man. Already familiar 
with many things pertaining to a sea life, he occupied his time on 
board ship in acquiring a knowledge of navigation and seamanship. 
On his return from this voyage, he took charge of a ship and cargo 
in the India trade, which he completed successfully, estabhshing his 
reputation for correctness and the faithful performance of everything 
entrusted to his care. He made two subsequent voyages to India, 
and on the last, was at the Cape of Good Hope when it was taken 
by the English, in 1806. This detained him and disarranged his 
mercantile plans ; he formed new ones there, and did not return 
home till 1808. 


He now entered into mercantile business in Boston : his lono- 
acquaintance with the India trade eminently fitted him for that 
branch of business ; and he had the support and invaluable counsels 
of his brother-in-law, Francis C. Lowell. He entered largely into 
business, and his credit was unbounded. By the failure of another 
house in 1811, his credit became involved ; it was expected he 
would fail ; he called a meeting of his creditors and made a lucid 
exposition of his aifairs, and showed that if allowed to manage them 
•his own way, all the difficulties might be overcome. So admirably 
had his accounts been kept, and so completely did he show himself 
to be master of his business, that the appeal was irresistible ; he 
was allowed to go on, and the event justified the confidence reposed 
in him. Within a year all the embarrassments passed away, and 
he continued in the India and Havana trade till the breaking out of 
the war in 1812. 

At this period, Mr. F. C. Lowell had just returned from a pro- 
longed visit to England and Scotland, where he had conceived the 
idea that the cotton manufacture, then almost monopolized by Great 
Britain, might be advantageously prosecuted here. We could 
obtain the raw material cheaper than they, and the character of 
our population, educated, moral, and enterprising, could not fail, 
Mr. Lowell believed, to secure success, though England had the 
advantage of cheap labor, improved machinery, and reputation. 
Mr. Lowell determined to bring his views to the test of experiment, 
and he offered Mr. Jackson a share in the enterprise. The diffi- 
culties to be encountered were enormous ; the state of war prevented 
their procuring models, or even books or drawings of machinery, 
from England ; everything, even to the tools to work with, must be, 
as it were, reinvented. But undiscouraged by any obstacles, Mr. 
Jackson entered heartily into the project. 

The first object was to invent a power loom, and unacquainted as 
they were with machinery, they set about the solution of a problem 
that had baffled the most ingenious mechanicians. In England the 
power loom had been invented by a clergyman ; why not here by a 
merchant? After numerous experiments and failures, they suc- 
ceeded, in the fall of 1812, in producing a model which they thought 
so well of as to set about making preparations for putting up a mill 
for the weaving of cotton cloth. 


It was now necessary to procure the assistance of a practical 
mechanic, and they had the good fortune to secure the services of 
Mr. Paul Moody, of Newburyport, afterAvards well known as the 
head of the machine shop at Lowell. They found, as might natur- 
ally be expected, many defects in their model loom ; but these were 
gradually remedied. The project hitherto had been exclusively for 
a weaving mill, to do by power what had before been done en- 
tirely by hand. But it was soon ascertained, by inquiry, that it 
would be more economical to spin the twist than to buy it, and they 
put up a mill for about 1700 spindles, which was completed late in 

It will probably strike the reader with some astonishment to be 
told that this mill, still in operation at Waltham, (1848) was pro- 
bably the first one in the world that combined all the operations 
necessary for converting the raw cotton into finished cloth. Such 
appears to be the fact from all that we can learn on the subject. 
yhe mills in this country. Slater's, for example, in Rhode Island, 
were spinning mills only, and in England, though the power loom 
had been introduced, it was used in separate establishments, by 
persons who bought, as the hand weavers had always done, their 
twist of the spinners. Great difficulty was at first experienced at 
Waltham for the want of proper preparation (sizing) for the warps. 
They procured a drawing of Horrick's dressing machine, from Eng- 
land, which, Avith some essential improvements, they adopted, 
producing that now used in LoAvell and elsewhere. But no method 
was indicated in this drawing for sending the threads from the 
bobbins on to the beam, and to supply this deficiency, Mr. Moody 
invented the ingenious machine called the " warper." Having ob- 
tained these, there was no further difficulty in weaving by power 
looms. There was still, however, a deficiency in the preparation 
for spinning ; they had obtained from England a description of what 
was then called a bobbin and fly, or jack-frame, for spinning roving ; 
from this, Mr. Lowell and Mr. Moody produced our present double- 
speeder. Tl^e motions of this machine were very complicated, and 
required nice mathematical calculations ; without them, Mr. Moody's 
ingenuity, great as it was, would have been at fault. These were 
supplied by Mr. Lowell. Many years afterwards, and after Mr. 
Lowell's death, when the patent for the speeder had been infringed, 


the late Dr. Bowditcli was requested to examine them, that he might 
appear as a witness at the trial. He expressed his admiration of the 
mathematical power they evinced, adding " that there were some 
corrections introduced that he had not supposed any man familiar 
■svithhut himself." 

There was, also, origmally great waste and expense in winding 
the thread for filling, or weft from the bobbin on to the quills, for the 
shuttle. To obviate this, Mr. Moody invented the machine known 
as the filhng-throstle. In 1813, Messrs. Lowell and Jackson asso- 
ciated themselves with other intelligent merchants of Boston, and 
obtained a charter under the name of the " Boston Manufacturing 
Company," with a capital of ^100,000. The machinery they used 
is substantially the same as that employed now ; minor improvements 
have been, and will continue to be made. 

After the death of Mr. Lowell, in 1817, Mr. Jackson gave up his 
mercantile pursuits and devoted himself to the manufacturing busi- 
ness ; boldly venturing on experiments and an expansion of the 
business, in the erection of successive mills, which others hesitated 
to commence. In 1821, he conceived the idea of possessing himself 
of the whole power of the Merrimac at Chelmsford, by the purchase 
of the Pawtucket canal ; and aware of the necessity of secrecy, in 
order to secure it at a reasonable price, he undertook it single 
handed. It was necessary to purchase not only all the canal stock, 
but the farms on both sides of the river which controlled the water 
power ; and it was not till he had accomplished all that was mate- 
rial for his purpose, that he offered a share in the project to a few 
of his former colleagues. 

Such was the beginning of Lowell, a city which was named in 
honor of his friend, and which he lived to see, as it were, completed. 
In 1825 that portion of Chelmsford which he had purchased and 
built up, was incorporated under the name of Lowell. 

Everything which he had undertaken being now settled on a per- 
manent basis, and the manufacture carried on by gentlemen subse- 
quently associated with him, under the name of the Merrimac Manu- 
facturing Company, Mr. Jackson resigned his agency of the factory 
at Waltham, (remaining however, a director in that, and the new 
company at Lowell,) intending to retire partially from business. 
But leisui'e did not suit him, and this interval of comparative rest 


was of short duration. Mr. Moody had recently introduced some 
important improvements in machinery, and a new company was got 
up, (the Appleton,) of which he was appointed treasurer and agent, 
and as successive companies were formed, his presence and advice 
seemed indispensable at Lowell ; he was appealed to by all parties 
as a man of sound judgment, and as occupying a historical position 
in regard to the cotton manufacture, Avhich none others pretended to. 

In 1830, Mr. Jackson, in unison Avith Mr. Boott, entered into the 
then untried project of obtaining a charter for a railroad in New 
England ; and with respect to the road itself nearly everything was 
to be learned. Mr. Stephenson's experiments in England, on the 
Liverpool and Manchester railroad, helped to give the Legislature 
confidence in the undertaking. Mr. Jackson established a corre- 
spondence with the most distinguished engineers in this countx-y and 
Europe, and he deliberately and satisfactorily solved the doubts of 
his own mind and those of others, before he commenced the work. 
The road was graded for a double track, and every measure adopted 
shows clearly that Mr. Jackson foresaw the extension and capabili- 
ties of the railroad. Few can realize the moral firmness requii^ed 
to carry on this work ; shareholders were restless under increased 
assessments and delayed income. It is not too much to say that no 
one in Boston but Mr. Jackson could at that time have commanded 
the confidence necessary to pursue the work so dehberately and 
thoroughly. The road was opened in 1835. Its success is too well 
known to require recapitulation here. Subsequently, Mr. Jackson 
formed a new company for the extensive purchase of Boston flats, 
to make land for the accommodation of the Railroad Company ; and 
after the death of Mr. Boott, (in 1837,) he assumed the manage- 
ment of the Locks and Canal Company, which he brought up from 
an exceedingly depreciated condition, so that when the affairs of the 
Company were wound up, the stockholders received of capital stock 
$1,600 a share. The brilHant issue of this business greatly 
enhanced Mr. Jackson's previous reputation, and no great pubHc 
enterprises were brought forward without the sanction of his opinion. 
During the last years of his life, he was treasurer and agent of the 
Great Falls Manufacturing Company in Somersworth. 

He died at his seaside residence at Beverly, September 12, 1847, 
from an attack of dysentery, against which his overwrought consti- 


tution had no power of resistance, and he sank after a short illness. 
It had not been generally known in Boston that he was unwell, and 
the news of his death was received as a public calamity. The spon- 
taneous expressions of regret and grief that burst forth from every 
mouth, were a most touching testimonial to his virtues as well as to 
his talents.* 


Prominent among the gentlemen of the Revolutionary era was the 
Hon. Tristram Dalton, who at the early age of seventeen, 
received the degree of Bachelor of Arts at Harvard University. 
After finishing his collegiate course he studied law as an accom- 
plishment, his ample fortune not requiring him to practise it as a 
profession. His father, Michael Dalton, was an eminent merchant of 
Newburyport, and his son was for several years actively engaged in 
commercial pursuits, but was not engrossed by them ; his taste for 
agricultural pursuits and letters being gratified by the possession of 
beautiful and valuable country estates, which he delighted to culti- 
vate ; while a library, rich in ancient and modern authors, was his 
favorite and frequent retreat. As eminent for piety as mental 
endowments, the Episcopal church of which he was a member shared 
in his large and generous liberality. For several years he was called 
to fill some of the most dignified and responsible offices in the Com- 
monwealth. He was a representative from his native town. Speaker 
of the House of Representatives, a member of the Senate and also 
a Senator of the United States in the First Congress after the adop- 
tion of the Federal Constitution. After the seat of Government 
was removed to Washmgton, Mr. Dalton for a time took up his resi- 
dence there, where he had the misfortune, by the baseness of a per- 
son connected with him in business, to lose nearly the whole of his 

A vessel which was conveying his movable property to the Dis- 
trict of Columbia, was also cast away, putting the finishing stroke 
to a series of disastrous losses ; and thus, after living sixty years 
in affluence, he was suddenly reduced to a state of comparative pov- 
erty. But he was neither daunted nor overcome by this late reverse ; 
he soon after returned to New England, and accepted the office of 

* Hunt's Merchants' Magazine. 


Surveyor of the Port of Boston and Charlestown,* having been 
repeatedly offered a choice of respectable oflBces by the National 
Government, whose members appreciated his worth and sympathized 
in his misfortunes. He was for some time collector of the direct 
tax in Essex Coanty. 

Mr. Dalton had lived on terms of intimate friendship with the 
four first Presidents of the United States. " Washington honored 
him with his confidence and regard," as did also his illustrious class- 
mate, John Adams. Yet like all genuine gentlemen, he could take 
an affectionate interest in his dependants, and the poor, black or 
white. He was kind and considerate to his servants, of whom, at 
one time, he had a large retinue. In the old graveyard back of 
Frog pond, may now be seen a stone with this inscription : " To 
Pompey, a faithful servant, erected by Tristram Dalton." 

Mr. Dalton died in Boston, June, 1817, aged 79, and his 
remains were brought to his native town for burial. He was interred 
in the burying ground attached to St. Paul's church, of which 
Society he was, while resident here, a warden. 

In figure, Mr. Dalton was tall and finely formed, and added to 
great personal beauty, the most graceful and accomplished manners. 
He was a diligent and accomplished scholar, standing high in his 
class at college, which was a distinguished one, none having 
exceeded, if indeed equalled it, in furnishing to the world such a 
number of eminent men. 

Theophilus Bradbury, eminent as a Judge of the Supreme 
Court of Massachusetts, was born in Newbury (now Newburyport) 
in 1739. Having graduated at Harvard College at the age of eigh- 
teen, he then studied law, and commenced the practice in Falmouth, 
Me., where he had as a student, Theophilus Parsons — a name which 
subsequently outshone that of his teacher. During the war, (in 
1779,) he returned to Newburyport, where his professional and 
other qualifications subsequently kept him continually in pubhc life. 
He was a member of Congress from his native district, during the 
Presidency of Washington. About six years before his death, 
which occurred in 1803, he was appointed' to a vacant judgeship in 
the Supreme Court of Massachusetts. 

* American Biography 


Oliver Putnam, the founder of the Putnam School in New- 
. burjport, was born in that place in 1778. He received only a 
common school education, and was early placed in the store of 
Messrs. Faris & Stocker to learn the mercantile business. After 
accumulating a handsome competence through his success in com- 
merce, he endeavored to make up for his early deficiency in educa- 
tion, by a systematic course -of reading and study. No doubt the 
sense of loss Avhich he experienced, for want of early culture, 
induced him to lay the foundation of the noble Free School which 
bears his name. He was something of a traveller, having visited 
many parts of Europe, as well as distant parts of his own country. 
He suffered much from ill health, was never married, and died in 
Boston on the 12th of July, 1826, at the age of forty-seven. 

Hon. Jonathan Greenleaf, a native of Newburyport, was a 
nephew of Benjamin Greenleaf, who had been a Representative in 
the General Court, and filled various offices of confidence and con- 
sideration in the town, and who deceased at an advanced age 
in 1783. 

Mr. Greenleaf was brought tip to the business of a ship-builder ; 
the class to which he belonged was here, as in all the seaport towns 
of that period, exceedingly influential ; they were the pioneers in 
every act of opposition,* and produced, if we except the printers, 
more remarkable men than those of any mechanical class. The 
ship-yard which he occupied while in business, was situated between 
Bartlett's and Johnson's wharves. Mr. Greenleaf was placed on 
the first Committee of Correspondence and Safety appointed in 
Newburyport, and was for many years a Representative from this 
town to the General Court. He was a man " gifted with fine 
natural talents, and a peculiar tact for public business." In 
politics he was associated with Judge Parsons, and the powerful 
clique designated as the Essex Junto ; and what his great cotempo- 
raries devised, his was the skill to carry into effect, by persuasions 
that overcame foes, and made him the reUance of his friends. From 
his great success in circumventing and persuading his political 
opponents, he received the appellation of " old silver tongue," 

* The first caucuses held in Boston were by the ship-builders. — Hist, of the 
Arts, p. 315. 


wliicli to those who knew him, was no equivocal compliment, — 
expressing the perfection of persuasive oratory, while his principles 
Avere firm as the granite rock. 

He lived to the age of eighty-four, a great portion of which time was 
spent in public life, and in the service of Newburyport.* 

His cousin, Benjamin Greerdeaf, also a nephew of the one first 
named, was a member of the Executive Council of Massachusetts 
during the Revolution, and was also chosen to various honorable 
offices in the town of Newburyport. After the adoption of the 
State Constitution, he was chosen Senator. He was for many years 
Judge of Probate for Essex County, and was also a Chief Justice of 
the Court of Common Pleas. 

The late head of the Law School at Cambridge, Professor Simon 
Greenleaf, was a native of Newbury, (now Newbui-yport,) and 
connected by consanguinity with many families here. He was a 
descendant of Hon. Jonathan Greenleaf, and a grandson of the 
Rev. Jonathan Parsons, the first minister of the first Presbyterian 
church — both men of mark ; and was cousin to the present 
respected City Clerk of Newburyport, Eleazer Johnson, Esq., and 
Dr. Jonathan G. Johnson. 

Simon Greenleaf was born December 5th, 1783, and was edu- 
cated at the Latin School in Newburyport, then kept by " Master 
Walsh," author of " Walsh's Mercantile Arithmetic." At the age of 
eighteen he entered on the study of the law, in New Gloucester, Me., 
in which State he commenced practice. Mr. Greenleaf received 
the honorary degree of Master of Arts at Bowdoin College, in 1817, 
and that of Doctor of Laws at Harvard, in 1834, (the year of his 
removal to Cambridge,) and the same degree at Amherst, the next 
year. He was appointed Royal Professor of Law in Harvard Uni- 
versity, as successor to Professor Ashmun, in 1834, which office he 
filled two years, when he was appointed to the chair of the Dane 
Professorship — a worthy successor to the chair — made vacant 
by the death of Judge Storij. In consequence of ill health, he 
resigned this chair in 1848, when he was honored with the title of 
Emeritus Professor of Law in the University. 

* The town passed in 1782 a vote of thanks to Mr. Greenleaf, " for his long 
and faithful services," as their Representative to the General Court. 


" As an instructor he was greatly beloved, and his lectures and 
teachings were clear, distinct and practical. His connection with 
the Law School marked a season in its history of great prosperity. 
Indeed, it is greatly owing to the influence of his instructions, joined 
with those of his illustrious associates, that this department of the 
University has attained to its present state of prosperity. His mind 
had been carefully trained to habits of patient thought, and he was 
eminently fitted, by the discipline through which he had passed, to 
lead those who sought his instruction into the mysteries of the 
department over which he was called to preside. As a counsellor 
he was clear, safe and practical. His advice was always character- 
ized by a weight of common sense as well as legal skill, which was 
sufficient to secure confidence while it gave direction. As a man, 
he possessed a weight of character, which insured for him the esteem 
of all who enjoyed his society or came within the circle of his influ- 
ence. Afiable, polite, courteous, frank, and liberal minded, he 
secured the confidence of his fellow citizens and neighbors, who 
sincerely mourned his loss as that of a good man." * 

He died on Thursday, October 6th, 1853. 

To this family of Greenleafs, belong the Rev. Jonathan Green- 
leaf, settled in Brooklyn, N. Y., and the Principal of the Brooklyn 
High School, Alfred Greenleaf, A. M. 

Nathaniel Tracy, a distinguished merchant previous to, and 
during the Revolutionary war, was born at Newbury, afterwards 
Newburyport, about the year 1749. He was the son of Patrick 
Tracy, who was an opulent merchant in that place, and having a 
proper view of life, gave his sons the best education the country 
aiforded. Nathaniel graduated at Harvard College in 1769, and com- 
menced business in his native town in company with Jonathan Jack- 
son, an accomplished gentleman and thorough merchant. The 
house was prosperous, and extended its concerns to a wonderful 
magnitude for that day.* During the war of 1775 his privateers 
were for several years numerous and successful. He was generous 
and patriotic, and assisted the Government with money and articles 
of clothing, and other necessaries for carrying on the war. He 

* Cambridge Chronicle, October, 1853. | See page 106. 



lived in a most magnificent style, having several country seats or 
large farms, with elegant summer houses and fine fish-ponds, and all 
those matters of convenience and taste that a British nobleman might 
think necessary to his rank and happiness. Eis horses were of 
the choicest kind, and his coaches of the most splendid make. He 
expended as if fortune would be always propitious. But in the last 
years of the war, the enemy had grown wise and sent a large pro- 
portion of small frigates and heavy gun brigs, and swept the Ameri- 
can privateers from the ocean. The Government failed to pay him ; 
his debtors, who were numerous, had encountered similar difficulties, 
and in 1786 he was minus some millions of dollars. He was a gen- 
tleman of polished manners and fine taste. In looking upon his 
houses and works of amusement at the present time, when most of 
them are in a state of decay, you still see the hand of taste in every 
thing he did. Does not some of the surplus revenue of our country 
belong to those who brought their property to the shrine of their 
country in the hour of darkness and peril, and threw it down at the 
altar as a free-will offering to secure our liberty and independence ? 
Such men saved the nation, — must they be forgotten ? 

William Bartlett, for half a century a prominent merchant of 
Newburyport, was born in that place, January 31, 1748. He 
received in early life no more education than the common schools of 
the town then afforded ; but what he lacked in school education, was 
made up to him in the possession of a large share of common sense, 
a qualification which is an excellent substitute for book-learning, as well 
as auxiliary to it, especially for the successful prosecution of business. 
Mr. Bartlett was distinguished for prudence and industry during the 
period of his apprenticeship ; * a period of life at which too many 
young men act as if they had no responsibiUties ; and at the close of 
this period, at the age of twenty-one, he had accumulated sufficient, 
by the sale of small articles, to purchase a share in a vessel then 
going to sea, on what proved a successful voyage ; and this sum, 
earned by extraordinary diligence, and saved by equal prudence, 
proved the germ of his great future wealth. His active mercantile 
life continued for more than fifty years ; and during a period when 

* Mr. Bartlett long preserved a lap-stone, -whicli lie was wont to call the 
" foundation stone " of his great fortune. 


our commerce was a continual prey to the belligerent powers of 
Europe, by some of whom, France particularly, Mr. Bartlett was a 
heavy loser. Yet despite these drawbacks wealth flowed in upon 
him, so that having enjoyed the pleasure of giving away many 
thousands of dollars while living, he still left ample fortunes to the 
surviving members of his family, besides bequests to religious insti- 
tutions. As a citizen of Newburyport, Mr. Bartlett was ever ready 
to devise and execute plans for its essential prosperity ; and at a 
time when temperance, as now understood, was almost unheard of, 
he exerted his influence both by personal example and arrangements 
for those in his employ, to eradicate the evils of habitual indulgence 
in spirituous liquors. All the great benevolent and Christian asso- 
ciations of the day met with his cordial support. He was a friend to 
Foreign Missions, to the Bible and Tract Societies, to Associations 
for Education, &c. His favorite object on which he seemed to 
delight to lavish the accumulations of a long life, was the Theologi- 
cal Seminary at Andover. Like his townsman, Moses Brown, Esq., 
he was one of the associate founders of that Institution, and in his 
first gift bestowed an equal gratuity with him, $10,000, to which, 
soon after, another $10,000 was added. But his beneficence did 
not stop here ; not a want of the Seminary could be named but Mr. 
Bartlett stood ready to step forward and supply it. The " com- 
modious chapel and convenient hall,"* provided for the students, are 
lasting mementos of his generosity to this institution, while no small 
part of the select and valuable library, may be traced to the same 

His religious opinions were in accordance with the strict Calvin- 
ism which he made the basis of his donations, should be taught 
at Andover ; to them he was decidedly and inflexibly attached ; he 
reverenced the Sabbath, and was punctual in his observance of the 
public services of the day. In the First Presbyterian church where 
he worshipped, stands a beautiful and costly cenotaph, erected to 
the memory of Whitfield by his ardent admirer, Mr. Bartlett. 

In a vote of the Board of Trustees of Andover Theological Semi- 
nary, passed in April, 1841, Mr. Bartlett is designated as the 
" most generous and long continued benefactor " of the Institution. 

* Dr. Dana's Sermon, delivered before the Trustees, Board of Visitors, and 
students at AndoTer, April 19, 1841. 


Havino; laid tlie foundation of his fortunes with the labor of his 
own hands, and having to the latest period of his life retained those 
habits of thrift and untiring industry which marked his early career, 
Mr. Bartlett was ever the uncompromising enemy of idleness and 
extravagance. The dilatory and inaccurate habits of many of the 
laboring classes, numbers of whom were constantly employed by him, 
excited his strong disapprobation, and it was matter of conscience 
with him to exact under all circumstances, a strict fulfilment of his 
orders, and to expect from the poor as well as rich, a prompt com- 
pliance with contracts to which he was a party. In this he fre- 
quently did a lasting service to individuals by instilling and encour- 
aging correct business habits ; but this is a kind of benefit which 
rarely excites gratitude in the recipient. He was discriminate in 
his generosity, preferring to help those who had a disposition to help 
themselves, sometimes sacrificing a valuable consideration for this 
purpose. Thus when young Patrick Tracy Jackson, (late of Bos- 
ton,) who was an apprentice of his, had an opportunity of bettering 
his prospects by going to India, Mr. Bartlett freely released him 
from the residue of his apprenticeship. The subsequent success 
of young Jackson justified his judgment in this case. 

There was something in Mr. Bartlett's mode of giving and 
exacting, which reminds us of Harry Percy, (King Henry IV, Act 
III, Scene I,) when mapping out England with his co-revolutionist, 
Glendower, cavilling closely enough on a bargain, but ready to 
" give thrice so much land to any well-deserving friend." It was 
these strongly marked mental qualities, of which exacting justice 
was the most prominent feature, which controlled his religious faith, 
making it impossible for him to be anything in creed but a Calvinist. 

Mr. Bartlett was a man of iron frame, as well as nerve, and lived 
to the advanced age of ninety-three. 

Brigadier General John Boyd was born in Newburyport in 
1764, and at the age of twenty-two was appointed an ensign in the 2d 
American Regiment ; the army being disbanded soon after, he was 
appointed (by John Hancock) lieutenant of a company in Boston. 
But parting for active service, and his country having no demands 
upon him, he determined upon an Oriental experience, and pro- 
vided with highly flattering letters of recommendation to the 


English Consul residing at the Court of Madras, Lieutenant Boyd 
sailed for India in 1788, being then but twenty-four years of age. 
He was formally presented to His Highness, the Nizam, an ally of 
England, who committed to his command a troop of infantry of 
1000 men. The war in progress was that destructive one waged 
against Tippoo Sultan ; in the course of which he was once taken 
prisoner. He continued in the English service in India many 
years, but returned to his native country in time to engage in the 
war of 1812. He was appointed a Brigadier General in the United 
States service by President Madison, and commanded a detachment 
of 1,500 men at the battle of Williamsburg, U.C., in the fall of 1813, 
and subsequently at the defence of Fort George and the battle of 
Tippecanoe ; in all of which engagements he distinguished himself 
by his courage and knowledge of military tactics. Under Presi- 
dent Jackson, he was appointed Naval Officer of the Port of Boston, 
but survived the appointment only a few months. He died October 
4th, 1830. 

Captain Moses Brown, U. S. N. Born January 23, 1742, at 
Salisbury, immediately opposite Newburyport, with which latter 
place he was identified from the age of fifteen years, when he was 
apprenticed to Captain William Coffin, with whom he made his first 
voyage, and vrith whom he remained until his majority, and in whose 
employ he first took command of a vessel. 

When only sixteen, he, in the course of his profession, made a 
voyage to Louisburg, and was present at its surrender ; and during the 
months he remained there probably acquired his first knowledge of 
gunnery, and the tactics of naval warfare, which afterwards ren- 
dered him so formidable an antagonist on the water. At the age of 
eighteen he was promoted to the responsible office of mate, though 
still an apprentice, and the next year sailed in the schooner Phoebe, 
with Captain Robinson, in His Majesty's service, for Halifax. On 
arriving there, they found that the fleet which they had expected 
to join had already sailed for New York, to which place they 
followed them. Here, having taken on board a company of Frazier's 
Highlanders, they sailed in company with the fleet for the West 
Indies. But being separated from the convoy during a gale, they 
fell in with two French privateers, both of whom they engaged and 


beat off, with the loss of their lieutenant and seven men, the 
captain and several others wounded ; Mr. Brown receiving a gun- 
shot wound in his arm above the elbow, a wound which confined him 
for two months in the hospital at Guadeloupe, where the Phoebe put 
in two days after the engagement. On rejoining his vessel, which had 
taken in troops for the capture of Martinique, he sailed for that 
port, but the schooner springing one'of her masts, was considered 
as unfit for the service, and Mr. Brown returned to Newburjport, 
after a disastrous voyage, and an absence of sixteen months. 

In 1764 he married, and on his next voyage was taken sick at 
sea with the small-pox, and was laid out for dea4 ; the ship's com- 
pany were assembled, and the supposed corpse placed on the sailor's 
cofiin — the board and tarred sheet — preparatory to committing 
his body to the waves. But the preparations were premature ; the 
captain was satisfied that life was not extinct, and interfered to 
prevent his being launched overboard ; by his orders he was again 
carried below to his berth, where, contrary to the expectations of 
the crew, he revived, and finally recovered ; thus narrowly escaping 
a premature burial. 

In 1767, he took command of the schooner Phoebe, and after- 
wards a vessel for his old master. Captain Cofiin-^ The perfectly 
good understanding which always subsisted between them is ample 
evidence of the skill and faithfulness of the boy Moses Brown as 
well as the man. In Captain Coffin's employ he continued till a son 
of his owner wished to take the vessel, when Captain Brown relin- 
quished it to him. In a voyage which he made to the West Indies, 
in 1773, his vessel sprang aleak, and he was obliged to take to his 
boat ; the schooner sank in about thirty minutes after she was 
abandoned. After being tossed about on the ocean with his crew 
for seven days, he was relieved from his perilous situation by a 
vessel from Philadelphia (Captain May) bound to St. Croix, where 
he was safely landed. From thence he took passage for Rhode 
Island, but on his voyage home was cast away on Sanquish Beach, 
where, he says in his journal, " I took my land tacks and arrived 
home January, 1774. 

After making a long freighting voyage, and on his return putting 
into Philadelphia, he took a sulky from there to return home by 



land ; but, sailor-like, did not succeed so well with land craft ; lie 
overturned the sulky, dislocating his right shoulder. 

In April, 1777, he took command of the brig " Hannah," and 
sailed for the West Indies, but the second day out he was captured 
by the British frigate Diamond, of thirty-two guns, and was placed on 
board a prison-ship stationed at Rhode Island, where he remained 
until July. On his return h(5me, he took command of the ship 
General Arnold, but a conspiracy being discovered among the crew, 
who designed to take possession of the ship and carry her to Hali- 
fax, the men were arrested and committed to prison, and Captain 
Brown altered his^ ship to a privateer of eighteen six-pounders ; 
then shipping a new crew, he sailed on a cruise, and after capturing 
one brig, returned.* He afterwards commanded the ship Intrepid, 
of twenty twelve-pounders, and the Hercules ; but the particulars 
of his successes in these vessels we have not obtained, nor of the 
letter-of-marque §hip of twenty-two guns to which he was commis- 
sioned by Samuel Huntington, President of United States Congress 
in February, 1781. 

In 1798, he Avas appointed to the command of the " Merrimac,"f 
mounting twenty nine-pounders, and eight six-pounders, 460 tons 
burden, and rated by her builders as a sloop-of-war. In the Navy 
Department she was rated as a twenty-four. In the latter part of 
the year she sailed on her first cruise to the West Indies, and joined 
the squadron under Commodore Barry. Returning once to renew his 
crew, Captain Brown remained abroad until the peace, during which 
time he captured the large brig Brilliante, of sixteen guns, and the 
Magiciene, of fourteen guns and one hundred and twenty-eight 
men, and the Phoenix, and Le Bonaparte, each of fourteen guns and 
one hundred and twenty-eight men ; besides recapturing many 
American and British vessels which had been made prizes of by the 

It is to be regretted that Captain Brown's extreme modesty pre- 
vented his recording the particulars of his numerous brilliant 
achievements ; the memory of many of them has passed away 
with the brave participators in them, and it is now impossible to 

* For account of his next cruise in the Arnold, see page 110. 
t Seepage 156. 


recover the account. In regard to the capture of the Brilliante, 
we have the testimony of Mr. Benjamin Whitmore, of Portland. 
He says, in a letter addressed to Colonel S. Sweet, of Boston, " I 
was a midshipman on board the Merrimac, and find, after looking 
into my journal, that in addition to several others, the brig BrilUante 
was captured by our ship. She was one of a banditti which made 
a descent on the island of Curacoa, at a time when the French and 
Dutch were at amity." This piratical fleet, twelve or thirteen in 
number, took Outra Banda, on the west side of the river, and plun- 
dered the inhabitants. ' " Our ship," continues Mr. Whitmore, " with 
the Petapsco, was ordered there, and on our appearance at the 
island, they alt cut and run, but before they reached Guadeloupe, 
whence they sailed, we captured the Brilliante. * * Captain Brown 
was a brave man, and a good disciplinarian, but exhibited much good 
feeling for the crew under his charge, and was much respected by 
all his subordinates." 

As an evidence that his crew were equally attached to him, the 
fact may be stated, that a sailor in the West Indies wished to enter 
in the Merrimac, and his Captain made the proposition of an 
exchange of men with Captain Brown, who consented, but upon 
questioning the crew, not one could be found willing to quit the ship, 
though he would thus have the prospect of a speedy return home. 

Captain Brown acted as Commodore of the naval force which 
relieved Curacoa and expelled the French from that island. 
Notwithstanding his services, and the respect in which he was held 
by the community of which he was a citizen, as well as by the officers 
of the naval service, Captain Brown was dismissed from office by 
President Jefierson, with many other brave men, after the peace ; 
and he was obliged again to resort to mercantile voyages for his 
support. After forty-seven years of unremitting toil on the ocean*, 
having fought in the early and later battles of the country, having 
been shipwrecked in his mercantile adventures, and twice a prisoner 
to the British, he was on the 2d of January, 1804, in the vicinity of 
Martha's Vineyard, while on a voyage home, seized with apoplexy, 
and died suddenly at the age of sixty-two. *His remains were com- 
mitted to the keeping of the ocean, on which so great a portion of 
his life had been passed. 

Captain Brovm was exceedingly averse to the then common pun- 


ishment of flogging in the Navy, and never, except when it was abso- 
lutely unavoidable from the emergency of the case, resorted to it. He 
was equally remarkable for his efforts to inculcate temperate habits 
among his crew ; and the perfect neatness and order of his ship were 
the subject of common remark. He was in the constant practice of 
periodically fumigating and cleansing his ship when in sickly ports, 
by the application of vinegar and lime juice, and the benefit of this 
he found in an almost total exemption from sickness among his crew, 
when others were suffering fearfully at the West Indies from the 
prevalence of yellow fever. 

Colonel Edward Wigglesworth, a native of Ipswich, was a 
descendant of Rev. Michael Wigglesworth, a famous divine, and 
author of the " Day of Doom." In early life he removed to New- 
buryport, where he resided, with brief intermissions, till his death. 
Mr. Wigglesworth was a man of liberal education, having graduated 
at Harvard University in 1761,* and subsequently entered into 
mercantile business, in the employ of Messrs. Jackson & Tracy, 
part of the time as shipmaster. 

In June, 1776, Mr. Wigglesworth received a commission from the 
" Council of the Massachusetts Bay in New England," appointing 
him colonel of a regiment to be raised for the service of the Con- 
tinent, in the Counties of Essex, York and Cumberland ; (the two 
latter are now included in the State of Maine.) This is dated 
Watertown, June 24th, 1776. In November of the same year his 
commission was renewed by the authority of the Congress, and is 
signed by the President, John Hancock. 

Under the first. Colonel Wigglesworth had led his men to the 
army under the command of Major General Gates, and received 
from him the following instructions, in regard to joining the little fleet 
on Lake Champlain, from which it will be seen that Colonel Wig- 
glesworth's character had gone before him, and that he was favorably 
known to General Gates by reputation, if not personally. 
" Instructions to Colonel Wigglesworth, going on board the fleet of 

the United States on i^ake Champlain. 

" The character which I have constantly heard of you as an 

* Boston Gazette, 1825. 


experienced, active and determined officer, has induced me to 
in trust the important post of third in command, on this lake to you, 
in preference to any other person. I have not a doubt that your 
conduct -will justify the idea I have formed. 

" The Hon. Brigadier General Arnold has the first command of 
the fleet. General Watcrbury has the second. Your conduct is to 
be governed by the orders you may receive from them. You will 
go on board the Royal Savage schooner, or such other vessel as 
General Arnold shall direct. You will command a division of the 
fleet ; and if by any misfortune your two superiors shall be taken ofi", 
the command of the whole by that means devolves on you. You 
will then take their instructions, and act conformable to them, or to 
the exigencies of afiairs. 

" I need not tell you that in going down to the fleet it will be 
proper to keep the middle of the lake, to avoid going on shore, and 
to be as expeditious as possible ; your own good sense and experience 
will dictate every thing of this kind. 

" On your joining the fleet your are to show these instructions to 
General Arnold, and receive his orders. 

" Wishing you success, happiness and victory, and commending 
you to the protection of Heaven, 

" Horatio Gates, Major General. 

" Given at Head Quarters, Ticonderoga, this 6th day of Septem- 
ber, 1776." 

From a journal which Colonel Wigglesworth kejit, from his first 
connection with the fleet until the disbandraent of his regiment in 
December, we have been enabled to make the following extracts : it 
will be recollected that the little American armament destined to the 
defence of lakes Champlain and Greorge was long awaiting the 
British force, which finally appeared in such strength upon those 

" On the 11th of October," Colonel Wigglesworth writes, " the 
guard boats gave the alarm that the enemy's fleet was in sight, coming 
down the lake ; at half past nine. General Arnold ordered me into 
the yawl to go to the windward and observe their motions ; returned 
at ten and informed him that they were round the island of Valcour. 
In half an hour they began to fire upon the Royal Savage, which had 
gone to land, for at my return the three galleys and two schooners 


were under sail standing across the lake, between the island and the 
main. * * * ^[-^q enemy came on with one ship of eighteen 
twelve-pomiders, two schooners of sixteen guns each, one bomb and 
a floating battery of twenty-two brass twelve and twenty-four 
pounders, and eighteen flat-bottomed boats carrying each one 
eighteen or twenty-four pounder, besides howitzers ; when there 
ensued a most terrible fire without the least intermission till half past 
five, P. M., when the enemy drew oS". Our fleet received consid- 
erable damage, and we had about fifty killed and wounded. * * 
Upon consultation with Generals Arnold and Waterbury, I was 
ordered to get under way as soon as it was dark, and show a light 
astern for the gondolas, in order to retreat up the lake as fast as 
possible. It being calm, we rode out clear of the enemy, without 
being discovered. * * * On Saturday 12th, I was up with 
Schuyler's Island, and came to anchor under Ligoni's Point to wait 
for the fleet, stop our leaks, and secure our mainmast, which was 
split in two." 

The shattered remains of the little fleet joined him at sunset Sat- 
urday evening. 

" On Sunday 13th," the journal continues, " at nine o'clock Gen- 
eral Arnold sent his boat aboard to desire me to lie by for the fleet, 
which I did, by stretching across the lake. At ten, A. M., the enemy 
began to fire upon the two galleys in the rear, (near Split or Cloven 
Rock.*) I soon discovered that the Washington galley, in which was 
General Waterbury, had struck, and that General Arnold was 
engaged with the ship and two schooners, and that he could not get 
clear. I thought it my duty to make sail and endeavor to save the 
Trumbull galley if possible. About one o'clock General Arnold 
run his galley ashore, with four other gondolas, and blew them all up." 

This exploit of Arnold's is considered by some historians as the 
most brilliant and masterly of his many brave and daring feats ; 
that he saved his men in the presence of such a superior force, even 
at the sacrifice of his vessels, was regarded as evidence of extraor- 
dinary generalship, yet in the face of this very foe Colonel Wiggles- 
worth, brought off his own vessel, the Hospital sloop, the schooner 
Revenge, and a gondola. 

* Allen's History of the Revolution. 



He says, " We double manned our oars and made all the sail we 
could, and by throwing over our ballast got off clear. * * As the 
lee cutter was missing, we supposed her taken, which, with one gon- 
dola and the Washington, was all the enemy got possession of. * 
* * Arrived at Ticonderoga at sunset, went ashore, waited on 
Gates, and informed him of our affairs, and that I believed General 
Arnold would be in in the morning, which he accordingly was." 

Here, it will be remembered, the Americans employed themselves 
in constructing a boom across the lake, in superintending which 
Colonel Wigglesworth was actively engaged ; and here they waited 
in expectation of another attack from the enemy, the size and 
condition of their fleet forbidding any aggressive movement. 

" November 7th. Received orders to prepare to go to St. John's 
with a flag of truce, and set out at five o'clock, with Lieutenant 
Evans and a Frenchman, prisoners. Landed at Crown Point. 

" 8th. It rained all day and I encamped three miles below Split 

" 9th. Between Valcour Island and the main, saw the ship, (proba- 
bly the Inflexible,) and went aboard to deliver our prisoners, but were 
detained prisoners ourselves." 

Colonel Wigglesworth was thus, though bearing a flag of truce, 
detained until the 16th inst., when he was released, and returned to 
Ticonderoga on the morning of the 17th, and the next day, in com- 
pany with Generals Gates, Arnold and Brickett, set out for Fort 
George, on their way to Albany, where he arrived on the evening of 
the 21st. To keep Albany from falling into the hands of the 
enemy, was now the great desideratum, as the possession of this 
post would give them an almost uninterrupted communication from 
Canada to New York, thus separating the Eastern from the Middle 
States. Here Colonel Wigglesworth expected orders to send his 
regiment home, but an entry in his journal, under date of November 
30, shows the state of discipline in the army at that time, and is 
characteristic of the men. 

" Paid off the men — expected orders to send them home — hut 
they went without leaved 

Colonel Wigglesworth soon after returned to Newburyport, and 
recruited another company during the winter of 1777, as we learn 
by a letter written on the 3d of December, by General Gates, 


requesting Colonel Wigglesworth to rendezvous his regiment " on the 
new estahlishnent,^^ at Concord, Massachusetts, by the 1st of 
January, 1777. But such was the distress of the times, that 
recruits could not easily be raised, or, if raised, equipped ; and on 
the 22d of February Ave find Major General Heath, in consequence 
of express orders from General Washington, requesting Colonel 
Wigglesworth to march with the men he had already obtained, and 
not to wait for a full company ; and the rendezvous now appointed 
was Ticonderoga. 

Of this winter's campaign, and following, we find no jour- 
nal extant, but from other evidence we have learned that he was at 
the battle of Monmouth, where, as at all other times, he acquitted 
himself to the perfect satisfaction of the Commander-in-Chief. Of 
the estimation in Avhich he was held by Washington, we have suffi- 
cient official proof. 

The loss of Forts Montgomery and Clinton on the Hudson, which 
were surrendered by Governor Clinton, appeared to demand an oflS- 
cial inquiry; and by an order issued from his Head Quarters at 
Valley Forge, in 1778, (March 17th,) General Washington 
appointed Colonel Wigglesworth one of a Court of Inquiry, to be 
held at Peekskill, in April. The other members of the Court, were 
Major General Alexander MacDougall and Brigadier General Jedi- 
diah Huntingdon. Of this Court of Inquiry, Colonel Wigglesworth 
was President, as Ave find by another letter of Washington, dated 
10th June, 1778, and addressed to " Colonel Edward Wigglesworth,* 
President of a Court of Inquiry," in Avhich some suggestions are 
made as to the mode of obtaining Colonel Green's evidence. 

During the winter of 1779, Colonel Wigglesworth appUed to the 
Commander-in-Chief for leave to resign. Washington rephes, under 
date of 26th February : 

* * " I have referred your letter for leave to resign, to Con- 
gress ; as soon as I receive their determination I shall transmit it, 

* For this, with all tlie other official documents, and the journal, Ave are 
indebted to Colonel Wiggles worth's daughter, Mrs. Dole of this tOAvn, and 
another relative, E. Wood Perry, Esq., of New Orleans. 


and should it be accepted, accompany it with testimonials of 
your services, hoivever Imay regret the loss of a valuable officer, 

" I am, su', 

" Your very humble servant, 
" George Washington. 
" Colonel Wiggles worth." 

On the 10th of March, 1779, Congress passed the folloAving 
resolve : 

" Resolved, That Colonel Wigglesworth's resignation be accepted, 
and that General Washington give him such a certificate of his past 
services as he shall have merited." 

In accordance with this resolve. General Washington furnished 
Colonel Wigglesworth with the following official certificate : 

" I certify that Edward Wigglesworth, Esq., hath served in the 
army of the United States of America, with the rank of Colonel, 
commanding a Regiment belonging to the State of Massachusetts 
Bay, and that he uniformly supported the character of an attentive, 
brave and patriotic officer. 

" Given under my hand, at Head Quarters, Middle Brook, this 
19th day of March, 1779. 

" George Washington." 

Accompanying this we find another friendly and unofficial letter 
of General Washington, addressed to his late officer. 

" Head Quarters, Middle Brook, 19th of March, 1779. 
" Sir : I yesterday received the enclosed resolve of Congress, 
accepting your resignation, and directing me to give you a certificate 
of your services, which I also enclose. I hope your success in the 
line of life you are about to pursue, will fully compensate for the 
losses you have sustained in the service of your country, and am, 

" Your most obedient servant, 

" George Washington." 

But Colonel Wigglesworth's pecuniary prospects were already 
ruined by his devotion to his country. On the complete organiza- 
tion of the Federal Government, he was appointed by Washington 
Collector for the Port of Newburyport, which office he retained 
until ill health unfitted him for its duties. 


In his old age he received a pension from the Government, through 
the personal friendship of President ^lonroe, who was serving as a 
Lieutenant Colonel in the army in the Jerseys, when Mr. Wiggles- 
worth held the rank of full Colonel over the same troops. 

Captain Ezra Luxt was a native of Newburyport, and raised 
the first volunteer company enrolled in the town for the pm-pose of 
joining the Continental army. Previous to the outbreak of the 
Revolution, in 1774, he commenced running the first four horse stage- 
coach* line between this place and Boston, and was also editorially 
connected with the paper started by Isaiah Thomas. 

His company, (which consisted of sixty men,) being the senior of 
all others in the town, of coui'se took rank of them all. He was 
subsequently promoted to the rank of Major, and was Commissary 
to that part of the Continental army in Little's Regiment. They 
left Newburyport on the 10th of May, 1775, and on the 12th 
arrived at Cambridge, where they remained attached to the army 
until the 16th of June, when they went to Charlestown, and 
intrenched on a hill beyond Bunker's. While they were securing 
theii" position a regular fire was kept up from the enemy's ships and 
from Copps hill. On the 17th they were engaged in the glorious 
battle of that day. Mr. Lunt was afterwards at the battle of INIon- 
mouth and through the Jersevs ; he stood verv near when General 
Washington rode vip to meet General Lee, in that most memorable 
disorderly retreat, and heard distinctly the words of both,f and says 
that Washington, in a quick but dignified style, said, " General Lee, 
why this disorderly retreat, sir ? " and that Lee in a passionate 
manner rejoined, " By G-d, sir, American soldiers can't fight Brit- 
ish grenadiers." Washington, most justly provoked at this, retorted 
with equal warmth, exclaiming with emphasis, at the utmost stretch 

* Who was Mr. Limt's successor in this business "we do not know ; but about 
1794 Mr. Jacob Hale and sons ran a four horse coach between the towns, and 
cnntinued the business till the Eastern Stage Company was formed. The late 
Benjamin Hale, of this city, drove the first coach which ever entered the East- 
ern Stage-yard in Boston. In 1826 this Company had thirty-five coaches 
and twelve chaises — all the vehicles for the Company being constructed in 

f From Narrative of Henry Lunt, Esq., of Boston. 


of his voice, " By G-d, sir, they can fight any soldiers upon the 
face of the earth ;" and that he then immediately gave the order to 
the army to " face right about, and not turn their backs on the 
enemy ; " which orders run instantly like a flash of lightning 
through the whole line. The result was victory and honor, instead of 
disgrace to the .Continental troops. 

Captain Lunt was also stationed at Fishkill, near the head quar- 
ters of General ^yaslungton, in the spring of 1781. Here his 
brother Henry, after leaving the service of Paul Jones, called on his 
way home from Philadelphia to visit him. It was four years since 
they had seen each other. 

The late Governor Eustis, who was a surgeon in the Continental 
army, was well acquainted with Captain Ezra Lunt, and said that he 
was esteemed a good officer. 

Just after the war, Mr. Lunt opened a tavern in Federal street, 
and the " Recommendation," which innholders Avere then obliged to 
have, is preserved in the Massachusetts Records of the day. At 
the period of Shay's rebellion, . he was, with a drafted company, 
ordered to march to the scene of insurrection. About a year later, 
Captain Lunt moved to Ohio, upon the jVIiami, to take up the land 
granted for militai-y services. He deceased about 1803. 

He had been a much respected member of the Rev. Mr. Parson's 
church ; was possessed of an excellent voice, and for some years 
led the singing at his meeting-house ; his temper was of rather an 
impatient quality — more quick to discern the faults of others than 
to feel his own. 

His personal appearance was manly and comely ; he was about 
five feet nine inches high, of a soldier-like deportment, with ruddy 
complexion, light brown hair. He was much esteemed by all the 
members of his company. 

The followmg facts connected with Henry Lunt are principally 
derived from a written narrative of his son, (still living,) who 
remarks as follows : " I was personally acquainted with some on 
board the Dalton ; among them was a Mr. Paul Noyes, Samuel 
Cutler, and Mr. John [Charles] Herbert, afterwards a block-maker 
on the Upper Long wharf, Newburyport." As corroborative of 
Mr. Herbert's journal, and of the career of Captain Moses Brown, 


and illustrative of the spirit which animated him and them, we have 
not hesitated to add the narrative of Henry Lunt, Jr., to notices 
already given to the men of the Revolution. 

Henry Lunt was the youngest brother of Ezra Lunt. In the 
autumn of 1776, he embarked in the privateer Daltou, commanded 
by Captain Eleazer Johnson. She was fitted out by Stephen Hooper, 
a wealthy citizen of the town. 

The Dalton was captured by a British man-of-war the December 
following, and her officers and crew thrown into Mill Prison, where 
Mr. Lunt remained over two years, suffering the greatest possible 
privations. His peculiar rigorous treatment was in consequence of 
his twice having made the attempt to escape. On one of these 
occasions he received a severe wound in his thigh, in trying to force 
himself through the grating of the prison sewer ; being caught, he 
was put into the " black hole," Avhere his wound receiving no atten- 
tion, mortified so that the flesh was obliged to be cut away, and the 
bone scraped. He finally obtained his release by a cartel nego- 
tiated by Benjamin Franklin, theji in France ; where Mr. Lunt 
went on obtaining his liberty, which was in the spring of 1779, and 
soon after, he entered on board the ship Bon Ho7nme Richard, which 
was then fitting out at L' Orient, under the command of J. Paul 
Jones. He entered as a midshipman, but was speedily promoted to 
the station of second lieutenant, and continued in that capacity 
under Commodore Jones in all his cruises in the Bon Homme 
Richard, and afterwards in the ship Alliance, of which Jones sub- 
sequently took command ; and later, in the ship Ariel, which left 
France for Philadelphia in 1781, where she arrived in February of 
that year. On the passage, the Ariel had a severe engagement 
with a British ship of superior force ; and Jones always spoke in 
terms of high praise of the conduct of his young officers during that 

" In the spring Mr. Lunt left Philadelphia for his native place, 
Newhimjport* at which time Commodore Jones tendered to him an 

* In the Narrative of Henry Lunt, Jr., lie speaks of his father as a " native 
of Newbury]Dort." Mr. Coffin speaks of him as a native of Newbury. The 
seeming discrepancy is reconciled by recurring to the fact that Newburyport 
was not incorporated until Henry Lunt was about ten years old. 


open letter of recommendation. Upon his arrival home, after an 
unbroken absence of four years and seven months in the service of 
his country," he entered as first lieutenant of the ship Intrepid, 
a new vessel, pierced for twenty guns, fitted out by Nathaniel 
Tracy, Esq., and commanded by Captain Moses Brown. The In- 
trepid was a letter-of-marque ship, and bound on a cruise against 
the common enemy. She was built by the celebrated Ilackett, who 
also built the Alliance. 

It was soon after the Intrepid sailed that Commodore Jones came 
to Newburyport to inquire for his second lieutenant, Mr. Lunt, 
wishing that he might again enter the Government service with him in 
a new seventy-four gun ship then building for Jones at Portsmouth, 
and expressed his regret at not finding him. The ship Intrepid was 
absent about a year and a half with good success, when she was 
sold at Havana, after having safely brought from L' Orient to Balti- 
more, a cargo valued at half a million of dollars. Mr. Lunt then 
returned to Newburyport and entered as master into the merchant 
service, in the employ of Mr. Tracy, and subsequently other prom- 
inent merchants of the place. 

The following is copied from the original letter which Jones gave 
to Mr. Lunt : 

" The bearer hereof, Mr. Henry Lunt, has served under my com- 
mand on board the Continental ship Bon Homme Richard. He was 
first employed by me as a midshipman at L' Orient, in the summer 
of 1779. He had been released from an English prison by a cartel. 
I soon promoted him to the station of a second lieutenant, and he 
continued with me in that ship as such, and was afterwards with 'me 
in the ship Alliance from the Texel to France, and also from thence 
with me in the ship Ariel to this port, as second lieutenant. Mr. 
Lunt has been with me in many trying circumstances, and has 
always behaved like a good officer, for which he has my best wishes. 
He had not the good fortune to be on board at the time of the 
engagement with the Serapis till the close of the action. He is 
included in the vote of thanks which I have been honored with 
by the Congress since my return to this country. 

" Given under my hand at Philadelphia, May, 1781. 

" Chevalier Paul Jones," 


Some naval historians have inadvertently included Henry Lunt 
in their condemnation of those subordinate officers who failed to 
support Paul Jones in his engagement with the Serapis, because he 
was unfortunately absent when the engagement commenced. 

How he came to be absent during the fight was thus : " Some 
time before the engagement, and when none was expected, he with 
a number of picked men was ordered into a pilot-boat to reconnoitre 
some merchant vessels far in the offing ; while absent on this duty, 
the Serapis and those with her hove in sight, and Jones immedi- 
ately bore away for them, not waiting for the return of the boat, 
(in which there were fifteen or sixteen men,) but making a signal 
for her return. When the boat came up, the cannonading was in 
full blast from all the vessels ; the only thing left for those unfor- 
tunately in the boat, was to wait for a lull, and save themselves for 
use at the critical moment of expected surrender, as they did, just 
as it was altercating which was victor and which was vanquished. 
Particularly opportune was the assistance of the pilot-boat's crew, as 
they were reliable men, while there were many prisoners and others 
untrustworthy, who needed to be looked after at the time of the 

Cooper (Vol. 4, p. 200,) thus speaks of the closing scene of the 
engagement. "By this time, Mr. Lunt, the 2d Lieutenant, who had 
been absent in the pilot-boat, had got alongside and was on board 
the prize. To this officer Mr. Dale (the 1st Lieutenant,) now con- 
signed the charge of the Serapis, the cable was cut and the ship 
followed the Richard as ordered. Although the protracted and 
bloody contest had now ended, neither the dangers nor the labors of 
the victors were over. The Richard was both sinking and on fire ; 
the flames had extended so as to menace the magazine, while the 
pumps in constant use, could barely keep the water at the same 
level. In this manner did the night of the battle pass, contending 
with the flames till the 24th. The following night and morning of the 
succeeding day, about 10, the Bon Homme Richard wallowed heavy, 
gave a roll and settled into the sea, bows foremost." 

In the year 1800, at New London, Mr. Henry Lunt of Boston, 
son of Lieutenant Lunt, met Lieutenant (then Captain) Dale, who 
remarked to him, " Well, my young friend, your father and I have 
been in many trying situations together ; he always did his duty well, 
and was a good ofiicer." 


But all doubt on this subject must be set at rest by the fact that 
though Commodore Jones publicly charged some of the commanders 
with " keeping back," he never uttered a word of complaint against 
his young lieutenants, Henry and Cutting Lunt, but always spoke in 
favor of them. On the occasion when he meditated a descent upon 
the town of Leithe, he was overruled by the other commanders in the 
squadron; but he says emphatically, "My young lieutenants on 
board the Bon Homme Richard, gave to this plan their hearty 

The solution of the conduct of the insubordinate captains lay in 
their jealousy of the Commodore, whom they could not bear to see 
bearing off all the honors. Mr. Henry Lunt was accustomed to say 
" they hated Jones, and misrepresented him because he knew more 
than all of them together." In the early naval history of this 
country we find a degree of insubordination in the navy, perfectly 
incompatible with proper discipline on shipboard. 

Mr. Lunt's affidavit was made use of against the Captain of the 
Alliance, " for firing into the Richard while lashed to the ^erapis, 
disobedience of orders, &c." 

The following is an- extract from an affidavit made by the late 
Moses Davenport, Esq., before a justice of the peace in this town, 
and which was taken for the purpose of securing the pension to 
Lieutenant Lunt's widow : 

* * " Said John Paul Jones called on me and made inquiry 
after the said Lunt. On being informed that he was absent by sea, 
Captain Jones expressed great regret. He stated that he was then 
on his way to Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, on business for the 
Government, respecting a large ship of seventy-four guns, then, as 
I understood him, about to be built there ; that his object in making 
inquiry at that time for Captain Lunt, was to ascertain whether the 
Government might not avail themselves of his services. He spoke 
of him in his service on board the Bon Homme Richard, and 
remarked that he should prefer him as an officer in the service, to 

any he had ever known. * * * 

" Moses Davenport. 
" Newburyport, October 4th, 1838." 

Captain Brown was wont to say that Mr. Lunt was " one of the 
best seamen and officers he had known," and his experience was by 


no means limited. After the peace, Mr. Lunt sailed as commander 
for Mr. Tracj, while the latter continued in business, and afterwards 
for Messrs. Brown & Bartlett, Faris & Stocker, and others, making 
some twentj-five voyages as commander ; in all, about sixty. 

After Mr. Lunt returned from his cruises in the Intrepid, he 
became a member of St. John's Lodge, when Stephen Hooper was 
the presiding officer. " Many of its members," says the narrator, 
" I recollect seeing in their processions ; among them was Bishop 
Bass, Nathaniel and John Ti'acy, Dr. J. B. Swett, Colonel Wiggles- 
worth, Captain Moses Brown, Eleazer Johnson, (Captain of the 
Dalton,) Joseph and Samuel Cutler, General Titcomb, &c. After 
this he became a member of the Marine Society of Newburyport, 
composed only of sea-captains. Among the members of this Soci- 
e"y was Captain William Coombs, (whose memory, for his virtues, 
should always be venerated,) Eleazer Johnson, Nicholas Johnson, 
Moses Brown, Abraham Wheelwright, Wilham P. Johnson ; a more 
worthy association of shipmasters could not be mentioned." 

The widow of Mr. Henry Lunt received a pension from Govern- 
ment, and the claim made by her for prize money was admitted, 
agreeably to the muster-roll adjustment, made up at the Marine 
Department in France, in 1784, under the advice and direction of 
Commodore Jones, who placed against Mr. Lunt's name the same 
sum as was paid the highest grade of officers, except the Com- 
mander. Mr. Lunt died in 1805. He was a lineal descendant of 
Henry Lunt, one of the original grantees of Newbury. His wife 
was also descended from one of these original grantees — Henry 
Short. The land then allotted to him (1635) has descended in 
unbroken inheritance, (these 200 years,) and is now owned by 
his posterity of the same name. Mr. Lunt's early education was 
scanty, but he possessed himself of much useful knowledge, partic- 
ularly what was necessary to make a complete shipmaster, and he 
spoke French with facility. There is a miniature of Henry Lunt, 
painted by Peel, in Philadelphia. He and Paul Jones were so 
nearly of a size, being of medium height, that their clothes would 
suit each other. 

The pension to Henry Lunt's widow to the time of her decease, 
(1838,) was received by their son, to the amount of $1,435.60. 
The amount due him for prize money from the captures made 


while Jones commanded the squadron, in the Bon Homme Richard, 
was fr.4,089 12 5. But of this, only $387.40 was paid, (though 
the full sum was admitted,) because the " Prize Fund," so called, 
failed, the sum named being all that was left, at the time of the 
application, in the hands of the auditor. 

Daniel Lunt, the second brother, was previous to the Revolution 
master of the brig Lively, of Newburyport, and is honorably men- 
tioned in an article, published by request of the town authorities 
in the Essex Journal, April 19, 1776. In this year he also embarked 
in the privateer Dalton, and was fellow-prisoner with his brother 
Henry in Mill Prison. After the peace he sailed as commander 
for David Coates, of this town. He died in 1787. 

Cutting Lunt (second cousin to the brothers Ezra, Daniel and 
Henry,) while third acting lieutenant of the Bon Homme Richard, 
while in pursuit of a boat's crew which had deserted, was enveloped 
in a dense fog and lost sight of. It is supposed that the men forci- 
bly carried the boat ashore and landed, and that Cutting Lunt was 
returned to Mill Prison, from which he had escaped. After much 
suffering, he returned to his native place, Newburyport, before the 
war was ended, and made a short cruise in a privateer called the 
" America," belonging to Joseph Marquand. On her second cruise, 
the America was lost and never heard of more ; Cutting Lunt 
being on board, was of course also lost, and no more heard from. 
His heirs received the prize money due him. 

Captain William Farris, a native of Belfast, Ireland, but a 
resident of Massachusetts from the age of twelve years, and long a 
citizen of Newburyport, early engaged as an officer in the navy of 
the United States when the war of the Revolution called on every 
man to make his election between liberty and slavery. Mr. Farris 
joined the American army in that glorious, though romantic expe- 
dition, under Arnold and Montgomery, against Quebec, and was 
employed by the former in many responsible stations. He had 
committed to him the care of the supplies, and of sundry vessels, 
together with the command of the schooner Isabella, a transport 
for supplies to the troops then stationed at Montreal, where he 


remained till the middle of June, when the expedition being aban- 
doned, he obtained passports from Colonel Buit and returned home. 
In the same year, he joined the frigate Boston, at Newburyport, 
as midshipman, and made a cruise in her, and afterwards served 
the American cause* in the Hancock, and subsequently as lieutenant 
and commander of several privateers, until the peace. He was 
more than once captured, and experienced all the suflferings of a 
rigorous confinement on board the prison-ships of the enemy. 

At the close of the war, having been for a brief period in the 
employ of those well-known merchants, Jackson and Tracy, he 
commenced his mercantile career under the firm of Farris & 
Stocker.* Mr. Farris was for some time President of the Marine 
Insurance Company of Newburyport, and for several successive 
years represented the town in the Legislature of the State, and so 
much to the approbation of his constituents, that his unsought 
resignation, induced by the approaching infirmities of age, alone 
put a period to his pubhc services in this capacity. He died at the 
age of eighty-four, leaving an unsullied reputation as a man and an 
ofiicer. ♦ 

John Barnard Swett, M. M. S. S., who commenced practice 
as a physician and surgeon in Newburyport in 1780, was born in 
Marblehead, 1752, but was descended from John Swett, one of the 
ninety-one original grantees of Newbury, who was admitted to the 
freedom of the Massachusetts Colony as early as the 18th of May, 

Dr. Swett graduated at Harvard in 1767, and was destined by 
his guardian, the Rev. John Barnard, of Marblehead, for the min- 
istry ; but about the time of his receiving his degree he was 
accidentally present at the post mortem examination of some persons 
who had come to a violent death ; and was so interested that it fixed 
his choice of a profession, and he determined to study surgery ; for 
which purpose he went to Edinburgh, where he remained three years 
under the instruction of Dr. William Cullen, enjoying the best 
society which the literary capital of Scotland could afford, particu- 

* It was -with this firm tliat Oliver Putnam, the founder of the " Putnam 
Free School," received his mercantile education. 

•f Vide pamphlet entitled " Mementos of the Swett Family," p. 6. 


larlj- that of Mr. Hume and Dr. Robertson. He afterwards perfected 
his medical education hj attending on the hospitals of France and 
England, and returned to America in 1778, where he joined the 
American army, under Sullivan, as a surgeon, at the time of the 
expedition to Rhode Island, and was in the tent with one of the 
General's aids, John S. Sherburn, Esq., when a cannon ball took off 
the leg of the latter. Dr. Swett's name is included in the order 
book of General SuUivan under date of September 27, 1778, in 
which the commander-in-chief takes the opportunity " to return 
his most sincere and cordial thanks for the unwearied care and 
attention which the surgeons paid to the wounded of the army," 
and to whose " unparalleled exertions and skill " is ascribed the 
preservation of many valuable lives and brave officers, whose wounds 
must otherwise have proved fatal. 

Dr. Swett was the next year in the disastrous expedition to 
Penobscot, and when the army was disbanded and left officerless, 
with his surgical instruments in his knapsack, he travelled over 
fifty miles, through an unbroken wilderness, to the settlements on 
the Kennebec, and from thence he came to Newburyport, to which 
place he was invited by several of the leading men in the town, to 
some of whom he was also allied by birth. Here he rose rapidly 
in his profession, and soon surrounded himself with a large circle of 
admiring friends. He was eminently social in his temperament, 
which greatly facilitated his professional progress. He was a mem- 
ber of the Masonic Fraternity, whose convivial habits suited his 
ardent disposition. Through his influence, mainly, the first Encamp- 
ment of Knights Templars was formed in the United States. He 
was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 
and for several years Corresponding Secretary of the Massachusetts 
Medical Society. 

In the summer of 1796, when our town was visited by the then 
unknown disease to this vicinity, yellow fever, Dr. Swett exposed 
himself without reservation to its malignant influences ; to him many 
of the suffering looked for relief, and no personal consideration of 
safety could induce him to desert them in this extremity. He was 
constantly called among the victims of this terrible disease ; and 
with fidelity exerted all the resources within his reach for their 
relief. The consequence was, he himself took the disease, which 


was neither thorougHy understood by himself nor other physicians 
then here, and died — a martyr to his professional duties. He left 
a wife, daughter of Hon. William Bourne, and four sons, to share 
with the town and his native place the deep grief experienced at 
his loss. 

Right Rev. Edward Bass, D. D., the first Bishop of Massachu- 
setts, was a native of Dorchester,* Massachusetts, and received his 
collegiate education at Harvard University, which he entered at the 
age of thirteen, and where he graduated in 1744. After leaving 
college, and while -pursuing his theological studies, he was much of 
the time engaged in teaching. He was for some time connected 
with the Congregational denomination, and accepted a license to 
preach from them. But becoming dissatisfied with this connection, 
he turned his attention to the church to which he subsequently con- 
formed, and was in 1751 chosen by Mr. Plant, then minister of the 
church, ^s his assistant. The next year he visited England, for the 
purpose of Episcopal ordination, which he obtained, and soon after 
returned to Newburyport, under the patronage of the Society for 
Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Here, on the death of 
Mr. Plant, in 1753, he succeeded to the Rectorship of St. Paul's. 

On the breaking out of the Revolution, Mr. Bass, in common 
with the Episcopal clergy of that day, was called upon to make his 
election between the ecclesiastical authority which he had been 
accustomed to revere, and his country, which claimed his talents and 
his influence. Eminently a man of peace, Mr. Bass would, in this 
controversy, have been willingly overlooked, and allowed quietly to 
proceed with his accustomed duties, without taking a decisive stand 
on either side, though disposed, according to his own account, to 
favor the royal cause. Appointed to his office by the Society in 
London, he must doubtless have felt himself under pecuhar obliga- 
tions, which were not laid upon the rest of the community. But he 
was not permitted to indulge his predilections in quietude ; the 
question Avith him soon assumed a practical shape. Enghsh prayer 
books were in. the hands of his parishioners, but the request soon 

* On being asked wliy he left Dorchester, he replied, " The brooks there are 
not large enough for bass to swim in." 


came, " that he should omit the prayers for the king ; " then came 
" East days," appointed by the Provincial Congress, which he dared 
not omit to observe, and lastly came the Declaration of Independ- 
ence, which he was required to read in the church. What could 
our loyal minister do under these circumstances ? We Avill let him 
tell his own story. He had been accused to the Society in London 
of having " favored the rebellion." The following is an extract 
from his reply, dated December 29th, 1783 : 

* * " That I show'ed a readiness to keep all the Congress fasts, 
as Dr. Morice hath been informed, is not true. I complied with much 
reluctance. It is indeed true that I did generally open my church 
on those dajns, but not in consequence of orders, or demands, from 
any rebel authority whatever, none of whose papers I ever once 
read in church, but at the earnest request of my parishioners, who 
represented it to me, as the only probable way of saving the church 
from destruction, while people in general were in such a frenzy." 

But his disclaimers were not satisfactory to the Society in Lon- 
don, several persons having represented to them that Mr. Bass had 
favored the rebellion, and the climax of the argument against him 
was, his remaining ifi Neiohuryport ! The Secretary of the Venera- 
ble Society says, (January, 1782,) in reply to one who had tried to 
convince them of Mr. Bass's loyalty, " If Mr. Bass had been truly 
loyal, I can't see how it was possible for him to stay at Newbury- 
port, a place so much in favor of the other part." * 

Fortunately for the church worshippmg at St. Paul's, the argu- 
ments of his enemies prevailed, and the London Society refused him 
all further aid, and he was thus thro-\vn on the generosity of his 
parishioners, who, rightly estimating his valuable quahties as a man, 
a scholar and a divine, gave him at once their cordial support ; 
Avillingly forgetting his disposition to pray for the king, and his neg- 
lect of the provincial fasts. Six years later, in 1789, the degree of 
D. D. was conferred on Mr. Bass by the University of Pennsylvania ; 
and in 1796 Dr. Bass was elected Bishop of Massachusetts, (being 
the first person who attained to that office in this State,) and was 
consecrated by Bishop White, at Philadelphia. He retained his 

* Appendix to the " Frontier Missionary," by Rev. William S. Bartlctt. 


connection with St. Paul's cliurcli, Newburyport, for fiftj-one years. 
He died in 1803, aged 77. 


Of the Rev. George Whitfield, who exerted so great and per- 
manent an influence in Newburyport, we do not design to speak at 
length, as his memoirs may readily be obtained by all interested in 
the details of his eventful life. 

He preached for the first time in Newbury, (now Newburyport,) 
September 30th, 1740 — then a young man about twenty-six years 
of age. He delivered his first sermon in the old meeting-house 
belonging to the First Society, (Rev. J. Lowell's,) then standing in 
Market square. Having made a brief visit to the District of Maine, 
he returned here, and preached again, with his usual extraordmary 
effect ; and from this time forward, made frequent, and several 
lengthy visits to Newburyport. The week previous to his death, he 
preached four times in Portsmouth, N. H., and on the Saturday 
afternoon at Exeter, and then rode to Newburyport, where he 
expected to preach on the Sabbath. But it was ordered otherwise. 
His violent exertions brought on a paroxysm of asthma, a complaint 
to which he "was subject, and he died early on the ensuing Sabbath 
morning, September 30th, 1770 — just thirty years from the date of 
his first visit to the town. 

Plis death excited much interest throughout the country. When 
the news of his decease reached Portsmouth, where he had so 
recently preached, the bells were tolled from eleven o'clock A. M., 
to near sunset.* 

The house where he died is situated on the lower side of School 
street, the second from the church, where his tomb was built and his 
bones still rest ; they being placed in a vault under the pulpit of the 
First Presbyterian church, in which he had usually preached when 
in this town, and which was mainly brought into existence through 
his influence. 

Mr. Whitfield's friends in England were exceedingly anxious that 
his remains should be returned to his native place for interment ; 
and some years subsequent, an individual having visited his tomb, 

* Annals of Portsmouth. 


abstracted from the coffin the bones of the right arm, which has 
since caused the remains to be guarded with the strictest vigilance. 
In September, 1849, the pastor of the First Presbyterian church. 
Rev. Jonathan Stearns, received from Enghmd a mysterious box, 
which on opening he found to contain the lost members, accompanied 
by a letter, satisfactorily explaining how they came mto the writer's 
possession, and vindicating the genuineness of the restoration. In 
the presence of the Session and Elders of the church, the stray 
bones were restored to their proper place in the coffin ; from which 
there is little chance of their again escaping. 

Rev. John Murray, the second pastor of the First Presbyterian 
Church in Newburyport, Avas a native of Ireland, but received his 
education at Edinburgh, removing to this country after obtaining his 
license 40 preach. He was first settled at Booth Bay, from which 
place, he was sent as a delegate to the Provincial Congress in 1775, 
which met in that year at Watertown. He was at one time Presi- 
dent pro tern, of that body, and also acting Secretary, and was also 
while a member, Chairman of the Committee for reporting rules and 
orders for Congress ; and his reports bear evidence of his thorough 
acquaintance with Parliamentary usage. The basis of these reports 
are still preserved in the rules observed in the Legislature of the 
Commonwealth. It was during the Revolutionary Avar (1781) that 
Mr. Murray removed to Newburyport, and Avas installed as the suc- 
cessor of Jonathan Parsons. At the peace in 1783, he published 
a statistical sermon, showing the expenses of the war to Great 
Britain, which he had laboriously and skilfully arranged, and printed 
in tabular form. Statistical works were not then so common as they 
have since become, and this was considered at the time a very won- 
derful performance. Mr. Murray was an orator of no ordinary 
abilities, and was particularly eloquent when portraying the terrors 
of eternal punishment, in which, in accordance Avith the tenets of 
the denomination to which he belonged, he was a firm believer. We 
have heard an attendant on his ministry, I'elate that when a child, 
his blood had run cold through his veins and his little limbs trembled 
as he listened to the terrible denunciations dealt out by the fervent 
and excited preacher. IMr. Murray Avas at the zenith of his fame 
when the celebrated John Murray was preaching the new theme, 


(to American ears,) the doctrine of universal salvation. To distin- 
guish these eminent theologians, the adherents of the latter bestowed 
upon them the definitive appellations of Salvation and Damnation 
Murray. At that period the preacher in Newburyport had the 
popular side of the argument. 

On one occasion, when visiting one of the public schools, and, as 
was the wont of the clergy in those days, examining the scholars in 
the Bible and Catechism, a little fellow who had a taste for drawing 
liknesses, made an excellent sketch of the reverend gentleman's 
face on a blank leaf in his Testament ; the irregularity was reported 
to the master, and the boy called out to receive correction for 
" drawing pictures in school," when Mr. Murray took the book from 
the boy's hand, and was quite astonished to find an excellent likeness 
• of himself, gown and wig included. He interfered to save the boy 
from punishment, and subsequently interested himself in having him 
placed under the instruction of a portrait painter. 

Mr. Murray died in 1793, leaving a widow, the daughter of 
Colonel Lithgowe of Maine. He was almost idolized by a large por- 
tion of his parishioners, but from some irregularity in his ordination 
papers, involving an imputation of his veracity, he never met with 
that cordial reception among the clerical fraternity of the town to 
which his talents and social qualities entitled him. 

The Rev. Charles William Milton was born in London, in 

1767, on the 29th of November. He was one of the proteges of 

Lady Selina Huntingdon, by whose munificence many young men 

were educated for the Christian ministry. Soon after his ordination 

he came to the British Provinces to preach, and from there was 

invited to Newburyport by the Rev. John Murray, then pastor of 

the First Presbyterian Society in this town, who probably little 

anticipated the result of his invitation, A portion of Mr. Murray's 

flock became so interested in the young preacher, that they withdrew 

from the Presbyterian connection, and formed a party under Mr. 

Milton, subsequently uniting to form the Fourth Religious Society, 

with him as their pastor. He was installed into this office March 20th, 

1791, and continued to preach to them forty-three years. 

Mr. Milton's fame has been spread abroad by the eccentricities of 
his character ; but beneath these there was a substantial substratum 

from aPauibnf l^y CoIe 


of good natural sense and fervent piety. His style of preaching 
■^as earnest, energetic, and subject to impassioned flights of oratory, 
not unfrequently dealing in original, totally unexpected, and 
grotesque illustrations, which indelibly imprinted the thing to be 
remembered, on the minds of his hearers. Like most of the 
preachers of that day, he dealt liberally in the discussions of 
doctrinal points in his preaching ; and in his treatment of these there 
was no temporizing. He expressed his convictions, which were evan- 
gelical, in a manner at once lucid and decided. 

His ideas of preaching were somewhat exclusive. The modern 
fashion of introducing social and political themes into the Sabbath 
day services, appeared to him an impropriety, and a swerving from 
the true intent of the gospel ordinance of preaching. Towards the 
close of his ministry the discussions of slavery and temperance 
began to invade the church, and, as he thought, were made paramount 
to the inculcation of harmonious Christian doctrine. To one who 
inopportunely pressed one of these subjects upon him, and urged 
him to use his influence " as a Christian minister," he rather tartly, 
but with much truth, replied, " When I first came here, the business 
of a Christian minister was to preach the gospel and to save souls ; 
now it is all rum and niggers." *Yet he was not apt to deceive 
himself with professions of godhness without good evidence in the 
life. On one occasion, at a convention of ministers, where each gave 
some account of the state of their respective churches, and many 
had unhesitatingly spoken of the addition to their churches, as so 
many souls saved from perdition, Mr. Milton bemg called on, rose 

and remarked, " The present year persons have professed 

religion in my parish ; the Lord only knows whether they have got 
it or not." 

He was apt to express his feehngs without circumlocution, and 
sometimes curtly ; as when a young graduate having preached in 
his pulpit during the morning and afternoon service, — discourses 
which he deemed devoid of all pith and substance, — he on rising to 
give out the notices, said with great emphasis, " There will be a 
meeting here this evening, at early candlehght. I shall preach 


Mr. Milton was unfortunate in his domestic relations, his wife 
being neither remarkable for spirituality nor amiability of temper ; 


his life-long journey through, his feet were pierced with the thorns 
that grow in a disunited household. This circumstance not unfre- 
quently placed him in positions unfavorable to the exercise of those 
hospitable, friendly and neighborly offices to which his disposition 
would have prompted, had domestic sympathy permitted, and also 
helped to develop that brusque manner of speaking, not originally 
mingled with acerbity. Yet those who were intimately acquainted 
with him never doubted his piety, though strangers were often more 
impressed with his oddities. An individual who had been fully 
aware of his domestic trials, on hearing of his death, immediately 
exclaimed, " ^¥hat a change ! — from pitching skillets, to handling 
harps." And this was the general feehng of the community. 

In person he was short and stout, his features (as may be seen in 
the engraving,) strongly marked ; and he wore his hair, which was 
black, in long, thick curls around his neck. A peculiar hat which he 
at one time wore, with a long overcoat reaching almost to his heels, 
Avith a capacious waistcoat and knee breeches, presented a tout 
ensemble which was not inaptly compared to the "Jack of Clubs." 
Indeed, he was so commonly called "Jack," that many persons who 
knew him for years, supposed his name to be John. He died sud- 
denly and unexpectedly, though he had been ill and confined to his 
bed for some weeks, on the 1st of May, 1837, aged 70, leaving 
one son and three daughters. His eldest daughter, named SeUna in 
honor of his benefactress, the Countess of Huntingdon, died young. 

Jacob Perkins was born at Newburyport, July 9th, 1766, being 
descended from one of the first settlers of Ipswich. He early 
showed traits of that mechanical genius which distinguished him in 
after life. At twelve years of age he was apprenticed to a gold- 
smith, a Mr. Davis, of Newburyport, who died when young Perkins 
had been with him but three years, which circumstance, though it 
deprived him of much instruction he would otherwise have received, 
furnished an opportunity for the exercise of something nobler than 
genius — a self-denial and generosity, rare, and perhaps unequalled, 
in one of his age. He was but fifteen, yet the widow and children 
of Mr. Davis looked to him as the means of their support ; and he 
did not disappoint them. ReHnquishing the opportunity Providence 
had thrown in his way of shortening by six years his term of service, 
he nobly devoted himself to the interests of his late master's family, 


carried on the business successfully and profitably, giving up all of 
its emoluments to their support. The principal articles manufac- 
tured were gold beads and shoe-buckles. For these latter, Perkins 
discovered a noAV mode of plating, by which he made as good an 
article, at a less price than they could be imported for. And now 
commenced that long series of inventions which has linked the 
name of Perkins with so many articles of ornament and utility. 
Before the adoption of the Federal Constitution, each State issued 
its own coin ; die-making was then a new art in America, but at the 
age of twenty-one, Jacob Perkins, on account of his improvement 
in dies, and his skill in executing, was employed by the Government 
in the issue of copper coin, an office in which several older and 
more experienced men had failed. Three years later he invented a 
■ machine for cutting and heading nails by one simple operation. But 
this, which deserved and promised a speedy and abundant rewai'd, 
was the means of reducing the young inventor to the brink of 
pecuniary ruin. He formed a copartnership with a couple of 
designing adventurers, who succeeded in securing to themselves the 
first and only profits of the factory they established, and finally left 
the country, and their debts, to be paid by their unsuspecting, 
because perfectly honest, partner. By the assistance of friends, 
however, the creditors were pacified, and the business recommenced 
under better auspices. 

Mr. Perkins's next important invention was a check-plate for the 
purpose of preventing the possibility of counterfeiting bank bills. 
So valuable was this considered that the Legislature passed a law 
making Mr. Perkins's stereotype plate the only legal plate on which 
to print bank bills for this Commonwealth. Very few attempts were 
ever made to counterfeit them, and none were successful, no 
indictment having been made for an imitation of this plate, though 
counterfeiting in other States was peculiarly successful during this 

But perhaps his discovery of the compressibility of water was 
the most valuable result of his researches. And this led him 
to the invention of the bathometer, an instrument with which 
to measure the depth of water ; and another, peculiarly interesting 
to the nautical man, the pleometer, by which the exact velocity of a 
vessel through the water may be ascertained. A mere enumera- 


tion of Mr. Perkins's inventions and improvements would occupy 
more space than vfe have to give ; thej are fortunately preserved 
in various works accessible to the curious in such matters. 

Perkins was a man of compact and athletic frame, and descended 
from a family of remarkable longevity. That he by his enthusiasm 
sometimes deceived himself, may be true, but never did he wilfully 
or intentionally impose upon the ignorance of others ; but like so 
many of the class of inventive geniuses, let slip, through want of 
sufficient care, the opportunity of profitmg pecuniarily by many of 
his inventions ; which were thus greedily snatched up and appro- 
priated by others. But of this he never complained; a more 
unselfish man does not grace the list of our biographical annals. He 
left Newburyport in 1816, and resided for some time in Philadelphia, 
from whence he went to England, where his inventive talents met 
with more encouragement and profitable employment. He was 
recognized there by the title of the " American Inventor." He 
died in London, at the house of his son, in Regent's Square, on the 
11th of July, 1849, aged 84. 

The names of Stephen and Ralph Cross were eminent amon<T 
the active men in the town for many years after its incorporation. 
Stephen was the first selectman chosen by the town.* When about 
twenty-five years of age, he was employed by the (colonial) Gov- 
ernment to assist in the construction of a flotilla for the lakes, 
(1756,) and was taken by the French at the siege of Fort Oswego, 
when he was carried prisoner to France. 

Both he and Ralph were ship-builders, and conjointly built for 
the State the frigates Hancock, Boston, and Protector. They were 
both members of the Committee of Safety and Correspondence, and 
were actively engaged in public affiiirs during the Revolutionary 
war. Stephen died in 1809, aged 78. 

Ralph, born in 1738, was a captain in the militia, and joined the 
northern army in 1777. He joined the camp at Stillwater on the 
14th of October, and was in the battle which preceded the surrender 
of Burgoyne, and was early engaged in the action. After the 
peace, he was made a Brigadier General, and filled other honorable 
offices. He died in 1800. 

* See Town Records. 


From the original journal ■which Stephen Cross kept, we learn 
that the following persons accompanied him to Fort Oswego, under 
contract to build vessels there for the Government, viz. : James Bagley 
(or Bayley), Benjamin Chandler, Joseph Goodhue, Jesse Worces- 
ter, Matthew Pettengill, Phillip Stanwood, Ebenezer Swazj, John 
Wyett, Abner Dole, Paul Currier, John INIitchell, John Nowell, 
Joseph Wormwell, William Coombs, Moses Cross, Robert Mitchell, 
and Phillip Coombs ; the two last named were uncles of Stephen 
Cross, and Moses Cross was also a relative. They were employed 
for some time on the Mohawk river, making boats, in which to trans- 
port provisions to Fort Oswego, (on the eastern shore of Lake Onta- 
rio,) and accompanied an expedition thither, reaching the fort on 
the 14th of May, 1756. Here they commenced building vessels 
for the fleet. Being continually annoyed by hostile Indians hover- 
ing round, and subject to incursions of small parties of them, while 
engaged in cutting timber, in the woods, many were killed or taken 
prisoners while thus engaged. On the 24th of May, it being a very 
dark night, the Indians attacked the fort, but after some hard 
fighting, were repulsed. A drunken soldier who had laid out in the 
woods over night, came into the fort in the morning tvithout Ms 
scalp ; but could give no account of how he lost it ! In August, a 
French fleet was" collected on the lake, and on the 12th kept up 
a continual fire on Fort Ontario, (this was a secondary kind of fort, 
which helped to protect the main fort, Oswego,) which was aban- 
doned the next day. A little fort, a short distance from the others, 
built so badly as to be called Fort Rascal, answered for a temporary 
shelter for a few hours ; but on the 14th, the French fire told with 
such effect on Oswego, (the commandant. Colonel Mercer, being 
killed,) that the besieged were reduced to capitulate, and no better 
terms could be obtained than the unconditional surrender of the fort, 
all the garrison (including the carpenters,) to be prisoners of war. 

On the 19th of August the men were embarked in small boats, 
to be sent to Quebec. On the passage, one of the Newbury men. 
Chandler, died ; and while encamped at Montreal, Jesse Worcester 
died. The rest reached Quebec, where they were placed in stone 
barracks, at the north-west part of the city. Here they remained 
for some weeks. On the 29th of September, three Newbury men, 
Stephen Hunt, John Blake and John Platts, with others, were 


drafted out and sent to England. On the 14tli of October, tlie 
Newbury carpenters were drafted out and sent to France ; one 
hundred and forty-four men being crowded into a small vessel, of 
about 500 tons. 

Mr. Cross graphically describes this voyage, complaining only of 
the company into which they w^ere thrust. They were kept short 
of provisions and closely confined ; but for this latter he says, " we 
could not blame them, for we had determined to rise on them, if any 
opportunity occurred promising success." But seventy of the soldiers 
were of Shirley's regiment, enlisted at the South, and Mr. Cross 
judged from their conduct, were transported British convicts. The 
Newbury carpenters, with some other New Englanders, refused to 
associate with them, dividing the ship's steerage into two compart- 
ments, and not suffering a soldier to cross the line. In all their diffi- 
culties, in which appeal was made to the officers, Mr. Cross says, 
'• we had the advantage, for uncle Phillip Coombs could speak French 
well, and none of the soldiers could." 

On November 14: they landed at Brest, and were from thence, 
after some detention, removed to Dijon. All through their journey, 
and in the last named prison, the Newbury men begged the privi- 
lege of their guard, to be allowed to have separate quarters from 
those disorderly soldiers at night ; " their conduct being such," says 
the journal, " that there was no sympathy between us, though we 
were fellow sufferers." While in prison, Mr. Cross wrote to Mr. 
Witter Cummings,* in England, (who had a business partner in 
Newbury,) for whom his father, Mr. Ralph Cross, had built many 
vessels, for money to aid them in buying food, as they were kept 
extremely short on the government allowance. " Most of us being 
personally known to Mr. Cummings," says the narrator, "I thought 
he would be the most likely of any one to help us." 

At Dijon a fatal sickness broke out among the prisoners. On 
December 30th, Mr. William Coombs went to the hospital sick ; then 
in succession Joseph Goodhue, Moses Cross, Joseph Bagley, John 
Wyett, Mr. Phillip Coombs, and Robert Mitchell, and on the 22d 
of January, Mr. Cross and Paul Currier went together. The first 
thing the narrator saw on entering the hospital, was a man turning 

* See page 72. 


off the cloth from a body, to show to an attendant that the individual 
was dead, and this corpse, to his grief and horror, he found was 
his uncle Phillip Coombs ; and his record of his feelings at this 
sight, is a touching testimonial to the beautiful chai'acter of the 
deceased, "to whom," says the journalist, "I looked up as to a 
father, for advice in all things." 

On being removed to the ward room, which he and Mr. Currier 
were to occupy, he found there his relative, Moses Cross, in a vio- 
lent fever, and quite senseless. 

Here the journal ceases, Mr. Cross's illness probably preventing 
his writing more. That he recovered, was returned to his native 
country, and did good service to his native town, the early records 
of Newburyport amply witness ; while the records of the First Pres- 
byterian church, of which he was a member, also testify to his 
liberality, and the interest which he felt in all that pertained to the 
prosperity of the " Old South." 

Charles Herbert, son of John Herbert, of Newburyport, was 
taken prisoner on the capture of the privateer Dal ton, by the Brit- 
ish man-of-war Reasonable, on the 24th of December,* 1776. The 
crew were can-ied immediately to England, and kept on board prison 
ships for some months, till sickness broke out among them, when 
they were removed to the hospital, and those that recovered were 
then transported to the Old Mill Prison at Plymouth. From a jour- 
nal kept by Mr. Herbert, from the 15th of November, when the 
Dalton sailed from Newburyport, we learn that the crew were all 
tried for treason, and committed to prison to take their trial at some 
future time. During the whole period of their incarceration, the 
government allowance of food was so short, that rats were caught 
and eaten, snails picked out of the walls of the prison yard and 
boiled for food, and on one occasion, a dog belonging to some of the 
officials was killed, cooked, and eaten by these starving men. Some 
of them, among whom was Mr. Herbert, immediately set to work 
making ladles, boxes and other small wooden things, for sale to vis- 
itors, Mr. Herbert having first persuaded a carpenter who came to 
see them to furnish him with wood for the purpose. By this occu- 

* See page 114. 


pation the journalist made enough money to clothe himself comfort- 
ably, buy some books, — (he learnt navigation while in prison,) — and 
to assist others who were less fortunate or competent than himself. 

Reports frequently came to them of disasters to the American 
arms, but Mr. Herbert steadfastly refused to believe that his country 
could ever be conquered ; and on the 4th of July, 1778, having 
then been over eighteen months in prison, the crew of the Dalton, 
with others, celebrated the anniversary of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, by making miniature American flags for their hats, with 
patriotic inscriptions attached, mustering in the prison yard, drawing 
up in thirteen divisions, and giving thirteen cheers, and then all 
uniting heartily in the same. They also heard, while there, of the 
capture of Burgoyne, and celebrated the anniversary of that event. 
But there were some few, whom Mr. Herbert calls " chiefly incon- 
siderate youths," who, for the sake of getting out of prison, 
petitioned to go on board His Britannic Majesty's ships of war. 
Whereupon it was decided to draw up a Declaration of Allegiance to 
the American Congress, and to renewedly plight their mutual faith, 
never to desert the patriot cause. This Mr. Herbert signed, as did a 
majority of the others. The whole of this journal is exceedingly inter- 
esting, but the press of other matter forbids our making extracts 
from it, which is the less to be regretted, as it is in print, and may 
therefore be easily procured.* Mr. Herbert was finally released, 
and went to France, where he shipped with J. Paul Jones in the 
Alhance, and continued in his service until August, 1780, when he 
returned to Newburyport, having been absent nearly four years, 
and between two and three years a prisoner. 

Enoch Titcomb, a native of this town, and a descendant of 
William Titcomb, one of the first settlers of Newbury served as a 
brigade major under General Sullivan, during the campaign in Rhode 
Island ; after the peace he held various town offices, and was subse- 
quently Representative and Senator during a long term of years. 
He deceased in 1814 at the ase of 62. 


Jonathan Titcomb, the first naval officer in this District, 
(appointed by Washington in 1789,) also commanded a regiment of 

* Published by Pierce, Boston. 


militia in the expedition to Rhode Island, and attained the rank of 
brigadier general. He was a member of the Convention for forming 
the State Constitution, and was a member of the first General Court 
held in Boston after its evacuation by the British. 

Others, whom our limited space obliges us briefly to enumerate, 
will prove 'valuable material for the future biographer ; among whom 
stands prominently Dudley A. Tyng, LL. D., who in 1795 vfas 
appointed by Washmgton, Collector for the District of Newburyport. 
He was a man of strong mind, eminently practical and benevolent. 
While Collector, his attention was drawn to the condition of the 
Isle of Shoals, by the supposition of the people there, that they were 
attached to his district, and he took active measures, (in connection 
with other benevolent individuals) to renovate the condition of the 
inhabitants. The Rev. Stephen A. Tyng, Rector of St. George's 
church in New York, is his son, and was born in Newburyport, as were 
also the Rev. Charles Coffin, President of Greenville College, Ten- 
nessee ; Amos Pettengill, tutor of Yale College ; WiUiam Boyde, 
the poet, and Samuel H. Parsons, son of the Rev. Jonathan P. 
Parsons, who was a major general of the Revolutionary army and 
an aid to Washington, by whom he was subsequently appointed Gov- 
ernor of the North-west territory ; Stephen Hooper, son of Stephen 
Hooper, a distinguished merchant of Newburyport, and a graduate 
of Harvard College, who at the early age of twenty-five was chosen 
Representative to the General Court'; Mieajah Sawyer, D. D., 
Michael Hodge, Br. Francis Vergenis, Moses Broivn, Esq., an 
eminent merchant, founder of the Brown Grammar School in New- 
buryport, and an associate founderofAndover Theological Seminary, 
and others. 

Among the living TiQ may mention three Professors of Harvard 
University, Thcophilus Parsons, Cornelius C. Felton, and George 
R. Noyes ; also Leonard Woods, Jr., President of Bowdoin College, 
and Benjamin Hale, President of Geneva College. The names even, 
of the clergymen, teachers and editors throughout the country, who 
belong to Newburyport, would make too long a list for our limits ; 
while the business men, who like Stetson of New York, William 
Wheelwright in Chili, Dr. Joseph Whitmore in Peru, and Gunnison 
on the Amazon, with others of like enterprise, scattered over the 



face of the earth, -will show that the past generation have left worthy 
successors who claim Newburyport as their birthplace. 

Of writers Newburyport can produce fair specimens in different 
departments of literature : as a jurist, the Attorney General of the 
United States, Hon. Caleb Gushing ; as a Polemical writer, Daniel 
Dana, D. D. ; as a poet, Hon. George Lunt ; as a translator. Rev. 
Thomas Tracy, whose versions of the German have received the 
meed of praise from critical linguists ; while others of more or less 
note may be found in other departments of literature. 

On reviewing our biographical list we are struck with the marked 
difference between the men and women of Newburyport. Compara- 
tively few women natives of, and educated in Newburyport, have 
attained any literary distinction. The contrast is remarkable, and 
the cause equally obvious. The history of the public schools is the 
sufficient explanation. Until within the last dozen years, no female 
was liberally educated by the town. And the provisions for educa- 
tion by a town are unequivocal evidence of the state of the public 
sentiment in it, which was, until this recent period, adverse to the 
liberal education of females. The natural consequence was the 
almost entire absence of literary talent among the female portion of 
the community. We meet with evidence continually, of the exist- 
ence of women whose natural talents evidently fitted them to take 
the first place in intellectual circles, but their minds were not so 
quickened by suitable instruction as to dare utterance ; this they 
were forbidden by the leaden atmosphere which surrounded and 
restricted them to a lower strata in the intellectual world, than was 
accorded to their sons and brothers, their mental gifts being 
allowed to rust out in the monotony of a circumscribed life, and a 
narrow circle of ideas. And so, generation after generation of these 
" mute, inglorious " Sapphos have passed away and left not a trace 
behind. Of the few who have broken through the trammels of 
fashion, and devoted themselves to literature, we shall make brief 
mention. And while recording the fact of the paucity of literary 
females, we may justly add another, — that though the tone of public 
opinion was depressing to any efforts of this kind, the social, moral, 
and benevolent character of the women of Newburyport, stands 
intrinsically and comparatively high ; women of sound sense, pohshed 


manners and Christian lives, have successively adorned the domestic 
circle, and the next, if not the present generation, bid fair to o'bliter- 
ate all those mental inequalities which have heretofore resulted from 
inadequate educational faciUties. 

Miss Hannah Crould is by far the most popular authoress that 
Newburyport has produced, but her |)en is still active and prolific, 
and needs no eulogy from ours. The late Miss Anna Cahot Loivell, 
a daughter of Judge Lowell of Newburyport, was a woman of fine 
talents, and both a poetical and prose writer. Mrs. G-eorge Lee 
(now of Boston,) a daughter of Dr. Micajah Sawyer of this place, 
has also given to the world some volumes, few in number, but of 
meritorious design and well executed. The late Miss Lucy Hooper, 
daughter of Joseph Hooper, Esq., of Newburyport, was a poetess 
of rare merit, whose early death (in her twenty-fifth year) blighted 
the hopes of a large circle of friends who anticipated much from her 
pen when her early gifts should have ripened into maturity. Her prose 
writings Avere collected in two volumes, and her " Poetical Remains " 
form one volume of large size. This contains many poems of much 
merit; one, on the Daughter of Herodias, was included in Mr. Bry- 
ant's collection of " American Poetry." 

Lucy Hooper was born in Newburyport in February, 181G. Her 
father was a highly respectable merchant, who yet found leisure from 
the cares and anxieties of business, to devote some portion of his 
time to hterature ; he was a person of considerable cultivation, and 
a justifiable pride in the early indications which his daughter gave 
of unusual ability, made it his most grateful occupation to superin- 
tend her education. The opportunities afforded her were eagerly 
improved, so that it became necessary to restrain her inclination for 
study, rather than by any means to incite her to mental application. 
But she was apparently unconscious of her own powers, and like 
many a child of genius who has early sunk into a " laurel crowned 
tomb," was always of a fragile constitution and of delicate health. 

When she was about fifteen years of age the family removed to 
Brooklyn, New York, but Lucy always retained a passionate love 
for her native town, and frequent visits to it helped to keep alive 
the associations formed in her early youth. Many of her poems 
have reference to scenes and persons in Newburyport. The Merri- 
mac was ever " the bright river of her heart," and St. Paul's 


church, where her early religious impressions were received, was the 
shrine *to which her memorj turned as the birthplace of her reli- 
gious faith, and Dr. Morse was the ideal Rector which no after 
observation or wider experience could dim or supplant. Shortly 
after talcing up her residence at Brooklyn, ]\liss Hooper became an 
occasional contributor to the g^lumns of the " Long Island Star," 
under the simple initials of L. H., and these contributions were 
greatly admired and widely copied. Her style was pure and her dic- 
tion strong, while her copiousness of language was much augmented 
by her knovdedge of the Latin, French, and Spanish languages, and 
her extensive historical readings, and acquaintance with classic 
English literature, placed her early productions in the same rank 
with efforts of much more mature minds. In 1840 she published a 
volume which met with wide acceptance, entitled " Scenes from Real 
Life," and about the same time received a prize for an Essay upon 
Domestic Happiness. These were subjects calculated to draw forth 
her best efforts, for all her characteristics were eminently womanly. 
Genuine maidenly modesty shone in every vford and deed. To her 
own home, and to her familiar friends, her memory is hallowed by a 
thousand thoughts which no language can convey. 

She had been a contributor to the " New Yorker," and during 
her last illness was engaged in preparing a work for the press, en- 
titled the " Poetry of Flowers," which did not appear until after 
her decease. She had also projected and partly prepared a volume of 
Tales and Essays, and another of Religious and Moral Stories for 
the young. Her fatal complaint was consumption. She died on 
the 1st of August, 1841. 

Jij-s. Ann E. Porter, a pleasant writer for youth, whose " Letters 
to a Young Mother " have recently been published, is a native of 
Newburyport, and sister of the late Rev. John E. Emerson. 

Mrs. Jane Greenleaf, whose memoirs have recently been com- 
piled and published by her daughter, was a woman of superior 
natural gifts ; but these were diverted by outward circumstances 
from taking a purely literary form, and were turned almost exclu- 
sively into benevolent and religious directions, as was that of the 
subject of the next paragraph. 


IWari/ B. CrocJce?', -wife of Rev Wm. Crocker, of Newburyport, 
was a devoted missionary of the Baptist Board, wlio in civilized and 
heathen lands was equally the devoted servant of Christ, and a 
bright intellectual ornament of the circles which were favored with 
her presence. 


North East Massacliusetts first visited bj Cabot, 149T 

" " " " " " Gosnold, 1602 

" " " " " " Martin Priiig, 1603 

" " " " " " Captain John 

Smith, 1614 

Pawtuckets overrun by Tarratines and Pequods, 1615 

Destructive epidemic sickness among Indians, 1617 

Sale of territory to a company of six gentlemen, 1628 

Merrimac visited by Wood, author of N, E. Prospect, 1630-4 

Newbury settled on Quascacunquen river, 1635 

First record (extant) of selectmen chosen in Newbury, 1636 

Pequod war, 1637 
Rowley incorporated, part of which had belonged to 

Newbury, 1639 

Salisbury, on the nortl^side of the Merrimac, settled, 1639 
New land laid out by Newbury, including what is now 

township of West Newbury, 1642 

Massachusetts divided into counties, 1643 

" New town," or what is now Newburyport, laid out, 1644 

Southerly part of Water street laid out, 1644 
Plum Island divided by the General Court, to Ipswich 

two-fifths, Newbury two-fifths, Rowley one-fifth, 1649 
Curious Sumptuary LaAvs against dress by General 

Court, 1651 

First wharf built in Newburyport, 1656 

King Philip's war, 1675 


Case of witchcraft, 1680 

Sir Edmund Andres arrives in New England, 1686 

Newburyport ferrj across the Merrimac established, 1687 

Newburj lands claimed by Robert Mason, 1687 

William and Mary proclaimed. 1688 

French and Indian, or Castine's Avar, ' 1688 

Fatal attack of Indians on John Brown's family, 1695 
Limestone discovered in Newbury, (kiln built foot of 

Muzzey's lane,) 1697 

Name of Quascacunquen river changed to Parker, 1697 

Remarkably mild winter, 1700 

Old Tenor currency introduced, 1702 

Water lots laid out, 1703-4 

Byfield parish incorporated, 1710 

Unusual quantity of snow fell in winter, 1717 

Aurora Borealis first seen in New England, 1719 

Cottle's lane (Bromfield street) laid out, 1719 

Potatoes and tea came into use about 1719 

Unusual high tide, 1723 
Sebastian Ralle, the French ally of the Norridgewock 

Indians, killed by Lieut. Jaques, of Newbury, 

(Ms death closed the Avar,) 1724 

First meeting-house raised in Newburyport, 1725 
Newbury toAvn-house built on High street, near head of 

Marlborough street, 1731 

Great destruction of vegetation by caterpillers, 1735 

Fatal throat distemper prevailed, 1735-6 
Boundary line settled between New Hampshire and 

Massachusetts, 1737 

Rev. George Whitfield arrived, 1740 

Unusual high and destructive tides this year, October, 1743 

Expedition to Louisburg, 1744-5 

Peace with the French, (by treaty of Aix la Chapelle,) 1748 

Old Tenor currency made illegal, 1750 
The First Church in Newburyport vote to have the 

Scriptures read in public on the Sabbath, 1750 

Expedition to Crown Point, 1755 

Fifty slaves in Newbury, including Indians and negroes, 1755 


T\Yenty-five Quakers in Newbury, 1755 
A Fire Engine imported from London, bj Michael Dal- 

ton and others, 1761 

Town-house built corner of State and Essex streets, 1762 
First general census of the Province of Massachusetts 

taken 1763 

Dummer Academy opened, 1763 
Newbury voted, October 20th, that they were opposed 

to the division of the town, -1763 

Newburyport Ixcorporated, January 28th, 1764 

First town meeting, February 8th, 10 A. M., 1764 

Three schools for boys estabhshed, Marcli, 1764 

Daniel Farnham, first Representative to General Court, 1764 

Town resent Stamp Act, September, 1765 

Distillery set up in Newburyport, 1767 

Town agrees to the non-importation of English goods, 1769 

First Newspaper in Newburyport, 1773 

Committee of Correspondence appointed December 16, 1773 
Permanent Committee of Correspondence and Safety 

appointed September, 1774 

Tea excluded from the town by general consent, 1774 

Minute-men raised by town, March, 1775 

Company march for Lexington, at midnight, April 19, 1775 

" Ipswich fright," April 21, 1775 
NeAvburyport companies join in the battle of Bunker 

HiU, June 17th, 1775 
Two Representatives sent to General Court at Water- 
town, July, 1775 
Town grant leave to Eb. Morrison to set up a pottery 

kiln, north-west side of Burying Hill, March, 1775 
Fort buUt on Salisbury shore and Plum Island, 1775 
Saltpetre factory established, September, 1775 
Arnold's detachment for Canada bivouac in Newbury- 
port, 16th of September ; embark the 19th, 1775 
Census of the Province of Massachusetts taken, 1776 
Town of Newburyport anticipate the Declaration of 

Independence, and approve May 31, 1776 
Declaration of Independence read in the meeting- 
houses, August 11, 1776 


Town raise in August one-sixth of all her able-bodied 

men for the Continental army, 1777 

Mourning garments and entertainments at funerals very 

generally discarded. 1777 

To'ivn approve the Confederation of the States, Jan- 
uary 12, 1778 
Town propose County convention to consider the pro- 
posed Constitution for the State, March, 1778 
The " Essex Result," a poAverful political pamphlet by 

Theophllus Parsons, pubhshed, 1778 

The proposed State Constitution rejected, June, 1778 

Trees first set out by order of the town, 1779 

School committee " to serve through the year " first 

chosen, 1780 

Town approve Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, 

May 15, 1780 

Accept State Constitution, but appoint special delegates 

to procure amendments, May, 1780 

Dark day, May 19th, 1780 

Green street laid out, land given by private individuals, 1781 
Bells ordered to be rung at 1 P. M. and 9 P. M., 1781 

Engine companies exempt from training, except in 

" alarm-bands," 1781 

Town instruct their Representatives to Congress, Jan- 
uary 7th, to make right to the fisheries an in- 
dispensable article in the treaty of peace, 1782 
Vote of thanks of the town to Jonathan Greenleaf, for 

long and faithful services as a Representative, 1782 
Union and Fair streets laid out, 1782 

Vote of thanks for public services to Nathaniel Tracy, 

May 13, and to Tristram Dalton, May 16, 1783 

Two beacons erected on Plum Island, 1783 

Orange street laid out, 1783 

Rufus King, Representative from Newburyport to Gen- 
eral Court, July, 1783 
Exceedmg high tide, November, 1784 
General Jonathan Titcomb, Naval Officer for the Port, 1784 
Town petitions General Court to be reimbursed for 

expenses incurred in defending harbor. May 13, 1785 


Massachusetts Stamp Act passed, 1785 

River frozen over, April 13, 1785 

Laird & Ferguson's Brewery opened in fall, 1785 

Ezra Lunt heads a company against Shay's men, 1786 • 

Name of Fish street altered to State, May, 1787 
Town grant leave to William Bartlett to appoint a man 
to live in the fort on Plum Island, and take 

care of the lights, 1787 
A great spinning match held in April, at house of 

Rev. J. Murray, 1787 
Federal Constitution approved by the town, September, 1787 
Westerly wind prevailed, with but four bi-ief interrup- 
tions, from November 30, 1787, to March 20, 1788 
Kent street laid out, 1788 
Name of King street changed to Federal, March, 1789 
Tristram Dalton elected to U. S. Senate, and Benja- 
min Goodhue to House of Representatives for 
this District, 1789 
Washington visits Newburyport, October 31, 1789 
Stephen Cross, Collector for Port, Jonathan Titcomb, 

Naval Officer, Michael Hodge, Surveyor, 1790 

Burying ground by Frog Pond enlarged, 1790 
Dames' schools for young female children established 

by town, 1791 
A canal from north side of Merrimac river to Hamp- 
ton, N. H., opened in summer, 1791 
Town of Newbury remonstrated against erection of 

Essex Merrimac Bridge, January, 1792 
Town again petition General Court, (as per May 13, 

1785,) 1792 

Essex Merrimac Bridge opened to public, November, 1792 

Names of streets first put up by order of town, 1793 

Pubhc stocks removed, 1793 

Small-pox hospital built in Common pasture, 1793 

Town by vote (August) support neutrahty of U. S., 1793 

New work-house built, 1793-4 
Woollen factory incorporated, machinery all made in 

Newburyport, 1794 


Embargo of thirty days ordered by Congress, approved 

by town, May, 1794 

Newburyport Library in operation, 1794 

By-laws passed by town against smoking in the 
streets ; and forbidding owners of water fowl 
to allow them to frequent Frog pond, 1794 

Conduits sunk by town, 1794 

Act passed incorporating the several religious societies 
then existing in the town, viz. : Rev. Thomas 
Carey's, Rev. J. Murray's, Rev. Sam'l Spring's, 
Rev. C. W. Milton's, Rev. Edward Bass's, and 
amending the mode of taxation, 1794 

State survey of Newburyport ordered and taken, 1794 

An organ placed in the church in Market square, 1794 

Great change took place in the harbor bar, 1795 

Pleasant, Harris, Broad and Essex streets laid out, 1795 

Brick school-house at southerly end of Mall, built 1796 

Fatal malignant fever prevailed, summer and fall, 1796 

Lime, Beck, Ship and Spring streets laid out, 1797 

Night watch appointed, 1797 

Town present patriotic address to President on difficul- 
ties with France, 1797 
Citizens of Newburyport propose to build a ship for 
United States, June 1st. She was completed,' 
named Merrimac, and launched October 12, 1798 
United States brig Pickering built in Newburyport, 1798 
Proprietors sue town for right in Frog pond and land 

adjoining, 1799 

Washington dies December 14, 1799. Funeral cere- 
monies observed in Newburyport, eulogy by 
Robert T. Paine, January 2d, 1800 

Timothy Palmer appointed surveyor of highways, 1800 

Captain Edmund Bartlett gave fourteen hundred dollars 
to improve the Mall, which then received the 
name of " Bartlett Mall," 1800 

Town, with the aid of voluntary contributions, purchased 
the land on which Rev. T. Carey's church stood, 
(now Market square,) for $8,000, 1800 


Essex Junto excites political animositj, 1800 
Market square laid out, 1800 
Four stages employed (on a daily line,) between Bos- 
ton and Newburjport, 1800 
Circulating Library in operation with fifteen hundred 

volumes, 1800 

Washington street laid out, 1800 

Rope-walk in South street struck by lightning, July, ' 1800 

Pubhc bathing-house opened, 1800 

A Rehgious Library established, 1800 

Mackerel fishing commenced about 1800 
Labrador fishery commenced by Newburyport vessels 

about 1799-1800 

Travel suspended with Boston eight day^, in March, on 

account of deep snow, 1802 
Town of Newbury instruct their Representative to op- 
pose a charter for Newburyport turnpike and 
Newburyport bridge, asked for by New- 
buryport, 1802 
The road from Newburyport fine to Essex Merrimac 
bridge, laid out and completed by town of New- 
bury, 1802 
Spring and Roberts streets laid out, 1802 
Vaccination introduced, 1803 
Active Fire Society organized, 1803 
Stone jail built, 1803-4 
Stage line established with Haverhill, 1803 
Public entertamment to Rufus King, September, 1804 
Destructive storm, October, 1804 
Female Charitable Society incorporated, 1805 
Court House on Mall built, 1805 
Drought of thirty days, July and August, 1805 
Newburyport Social Library instituted, 1805 
Newburyport turnpike opened for public travel, 1805 
Charter street laid out, 1805 
Plum Island turnpike and bridge open to the public, 

July, 1805 

Newburyport Academy incorporated, 1807 


Town purchase the County's right in old Court House ^ 1807 
To^Yn corresponds with Norfolk, Virginia, on affair of 

Chesapeake and Leopard, July, 1807 

xNinety men raised in anticipation of war, by order of 

the President, l^^J 

Embargo, December 29, 1^07 

Newburyport Mechanic Association formed, 1807 

Additional Acts of Embargo, in winter, 1808 

Town petition President United States to suspend Em- 
bargo, August,- 1808 
Light-houses on Plum Island blown down by violent 

tornado, June, 1808 

Remarkably hot Sunday, July 17, 1808 

Another address to President United States on Embar- 
go, October, 1808 
Judge Livermore, Representative to Congress, 1808 
Dr. "spring preached (Thanksgiving) against Embargo, 

December, ■ ^^^^ 

Anniversary of first Embargo derisively celebrated, 

December, ^^^^ 

Town memorialize State Legislature on distressed state 

of the country, January, 1809 

Soup houses for relief of poor established in winter 1809 

Merrimac Bible Society instituted, 1809 

Embargo repealed ; Non-Litercouse Act substituted, 

March, 1^^^ 

Upper story added to school-house, south end of Mall, 1809 
Old wooden Town House, corner of State and Essex 

streets, torn down. May, 1809 

Brick Town House built on same site, 1810 

Committee appointed to see that all inhabitants are vac- 
Athenaeum incorporated, 
Essex Merrimac bridge rebuilt, being the first in New 

England, with chain draw, 1810 

Town propose compromise measures with Proprietors, 1810 
Great fire. May 31, ^^^^ 


Act passed by Legislature against erecting wooden 

buildings over ten feet bigh, June, 1811 

Brick block on State and Inn streets, and soutb west- 
erly side Market square, built in fall, 1811 
An Act for appointing Constables in Newburyport, 

passed in June, 1811 

Town petition for repeal of law against wooden buildings, 1812 
Association of Disciples of Washington, or Washington 

Benevolent Society formed, 1812 

Another Embargo Act, to hold for ninety days, April 4, 1812 
War declared, June 18, 1812 

Public fast appointed by Governor Strong, July, 1812 

Town address Governor and Council on the war, 

June 25, 1812 

" Republican Citizens " hold public meeting, and express 

sentiments in favor of the war, July, 1812 

Franklin Library instituted, 1812 

Town memorializ'e Legislature on situation of country, 

February, 1813 

Observatory erected on Lunt's Hill, near head of Brom- 

field street, July, 1813 

Citizens organize for defence of town, summer, 1813 

Extensive repudiation of mourning garments and expen- 
sive funerals, 1813 
Temporary fort erected on Plum Island, summer, 1813 
Selectmen give notice that a hearse is provided for use 

of town, 1813 

British ships of war lying off the harbor, November, 1813 
United States sloop-of-war Wasp, built, and laimched 

September 18, 1813 

Embargo Act in December, to continue (unless peace 

was concluded,) till 1815, 1813 

Alarm posts established, 1814 

Public illuminations and ringing of bells on abdication 

of Napoleon, June 17, 1814 

Merrimack Military Society, organized August, 1814 

The New England States unite in general thanksgiving, 

December 1, 1814 



Direct tax difficult to collect, 1814 
Pulic rejoicings on news of peace with Great Britain, 

February 14, 1815 
Five missionaries ordained, (June) and four sailed for 

Ceylon and Calcutta, in September, in brig 

Dryade, viz. : Messrs. Poor, Richards, Bardwell 

and Meigs, 1815 

Cool summer, 1815 

Thespian Club formed, December, * 1816 

President Monroe visited town June 12, 1817 

Society for " emigrating West " formed, 1817 

Sabbath School and Tract Societies formed, 1817 

Fishing company started winter of 1817 

Cold Friday, January 13, 1818 

Howard Benevolent Society formed, 1818 

West Newbury incorporated, 1819 

Methodism introduced, 1819 

Stoves introduced into meeting-houses about 1819 

Convention to amend State Constitution, 1820 

Linnean Society instituted, 1820 
Merrimac Mission and Translation Society formed. T. 

M. Clark, President, . 1820 
Maine separated from Massachusetts and admitted to 

the Union, 1820 
Piratical fleet appear in Bahama channel and greatly 

annoy our commerce for several years, 1820 
Stephen M. Clark, of Newburyport, aged 17, executed 

in Salem for arson. May 10, 1821 

Intensely cold January 24-26, _ 1821 
Newburyport Debating Society get up Fourth of July 

celebration, 1822 

Marine Bible Society formed, 1822 
Society for promoting religious welfare of the Isles of 

Shoals formed, 1822 

Market Hall built, 1823 

Town pay the pilotage of foreign wood coasters, 1823 
Vote of thanks by the town " to Mr. John Porter, for 

unprecedented energy in collecting the taxes," 1824 


La Fayette visits the town August 31, 1824 

Jail empty, May 31, 1825 

National Independence not celebrated July 4tli, 1825 

A lottery got up to aid Canal project, December 2d, 1825 

Two circulating libraries open, 1826 

Peace Society in operation, 1826 

The town petition for a bank to assist Canal project, 1826 

Fifitietli Anniversary of American Independence cele- 
brated with unusual splendor, and a Eulogy 
pronounced on Adams and Jefferson by Caleb 
Cushing, July 4th, 1826 

Proprietors seek to eject town from Market House, 1826 

Cushing's History of Newburyport published August, 1826 
Proprietary claims extinguished, 1826 

Special survey of harbor ordered by United States 

completed, 1827 

Mozart Society formed, 1827 

Jonathan Gage brought a suit against the Assessor of 
the Fourth Hehgious Society for the recovery 
of his parish tax ; plaintiff sustained by Supreme 
Court on ground that there existed no written 
form of membership, in spring, 1827 

Harriet Livermore, (daughter of Judge Livermore, of 
Newburyport,) preached at Tammany Hall in 
New York, 1827 

Water temporarily deepened on the bar, 1827 

Newburyport Bridge opened to public, September 7, 1827 
Newburyport Lyceum established, 1829-30 

A breakwater "built by order of Congress, (1828,) not 

completed till ' 1831 

Brown Grammar and town Latin schools united, forming 

the present male Brown High School, 1832 

Public fast in view of approach of cholei-a, June, 1832 

Daily Herald commenced, 183:^ 

Coal coming into general use, ^ 1832 

Richmond Circle organized (to support schools in 

Greece,) 1832 

Collections made for Cape de Verde sufferers, 1832 


Meeting of citizens to express anti-nullification senti- 
ments, 1832 

William Lloyd Garrison refused opportunity of speak- 
ing on slavery in Newburyport, 1832 

A library of three hundred and ninety volumes collected 

for use of male High School, 1832 

Henry Page found dead in his shop in Liberty street, 

having been twice stabbed, January 13, 1832 

Town vote that the law forbidding the erection of 
wooden buildings over ten feet high " is preju- 
dicial to the interests of the town," and ought 
to be repealed, 1832 

Plum Island Bridge washed away, 1832 

Committee appointed to organize new Fire Department, 

March, 1833 

Town ordered bells to be rung at sunrise, 1833 

Margaret Atwood's legacy to necessitous poor, out of 

the almshouse, received by selectmen, 1833 

Petition presented to Congress to rebuild Plum Island 

Bridge, 1833 

Old " beacon oak " on High street, fell down Sunday, 

July 21, 1833 

Whaling Company formed, 1833 

Newburyport Horticultural Society Exhibition, Sep- 
tember, 1833 

John Quincy Adams revisits Newburyport, 1833 

Town (majority in meeting,) request selectmen not to 

grant retail liquor licenses, 1833 

Act conferring full religious freedom, April 1, 1834 

Meeting of Essex County Freemasons, at Topsfield, 
September, to consult on expediency of surren- 
ing their charters, 1834 

"A safe " procured for the safe-keeping of the Town 

Records, 1834 

Washington Light Infantry disbanded March, 1834 

Considerable emigration to Texas from Newburyport, 

in sprmg, 1835 




Celebration of " Second Centennial Anniversary of set- 
tlement of Newbury," observed in Newbury- 
port, May 26, 

Society for Relief of Aged Females organized, 

Cotton manufacture introduced, 

Museum opened, 

Granite Custom House built. 

Steamboat excursions on Merrimac river, summer, 

Wm. Wheelwright, of Newburyport, obtains exclusive 
right to the steam navigation of ports and rivers 
of Chili, 

Bill introduced to Legislature to incorporate Newbury- 
port Silk Company, 

Relief Act for mackerel fishers passed Congress, 

Great shifting of the " bar," 

Plum Island bridge rebuilt, 

Bartlett's woollen yarn, cotton batting, and wicking fac- 
tory, foot of Market street, burned, November, 

Tithing-men dispensed with, 

Surplus revenue received, 

Centre Female Grammar School continued through 
the year, 

Plum Island Lights rebuilt. 

Notifications for town meetings advertised in the Herald, 
instead of being " nailed on the First Parish 

Water brought in pipes from Frog pond to Brown's 

Great storms, December 15th, 24th and 30th, 

Property qualification for Senatorial voters abolished, 

Lyceum Institute (academy for young ladies) opened, 

Winter female schools established, 

Music by band on the Mall, summer evenings. 

New channel opened through Salisbury beach, Decem- 

County convention held, and public dinner given to Hon. 
Caleb Cushing, Webster, and other distinguished 
men present. J. Q. Adams sent a toast. A 











soir(^e was given in the evening to some three 
thousand persons, in the fall of 1840 

Eastern Railroad opened to Newburjport, June 16, 1840 

Funeral ceremonies observed for the late President Har- 
rison, May 3, 1841 
Collections made for sufferers by storm at Rockporfc, 

November, amounting to $288.43, 1841 

Oak Hill Cemetery laid out, consecrated July 21, 1842 

Surplus revenue appropriated, June 1st, 1843 

Explosion of steam-boiler in Wormsted's patent cordage 
factory, between Bromfield and Marlborough 
. streets ; one man killed, another dangerously 
wounded, October 19, 1843 

Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the ordination of Rev. 
Dr. Dana observed by religious services at Fed- 
eral street church, and social gathering of his 
friends in the evening, November 19, 1844 

Newburyport Museum closed, 1845 

Coffin's History of " Ould Newbury, West Newbury, 

and Newburyport," published, 1845 

Steamers on the Merrimac in summer, 1846 

War with Mexico, 1846 

First Directory of Newburyport pubhshed, containing 

2162 names, 1846 

Houses first numbered, 1847 

Collections for Ireland, winter, 1847 

Magnetic Telegraph office opened December 25, 1847 

Bells tolled, flags at half-mast, for death of J. Q. Ad- 
ams, February 26, 1848 
Athenaeum Library sold and dispersed, 1849 
" Father Matthew " in town, September, 1849 ^ 
Newburyport Railroad opened to Georgetown, May 22, 1850 
Corner-stone of the Town Hall (present City Hall) laid 

July 4th, 1850 

A man named Cutler mobbed for publishing a state- 
ment " that many mackerel fishermen took out 
papers for the cod fishery, to secure the bounty," 
November 26, 1850 


" Bromfield fund " income applied to improvement of 

streets, 1851 

Part of Newbury annexed to Newburyport, April 16, 1851 
Annual Marcli meeting held in new Town Hall, 1851 

City Government organized June 24, 1851 

North Essex Horticultural Society, Wiliam Ashby, 

President, organized October, 1852 

Union Mutual Marine Insurance Company, incorporated 
April 10, I. H. Boardman, President, J, J, 
Knapp, Secretary, 1852 


Earthquakes have occurred in Newburyport and the inamediate 
vicinity, in the following years : 
1638, June 1st, P. M., (fair day.) 
1643, March, early morning. 
1663, January, February, and July. 
1685, February 8th, Sabbath, P. M. 

1727, October, November, and December. 

1728, January, at intervals till May. 

1729, March, September, October, and November. 

1730, February, April, July, August, November and December. 

1731, January, March, May, July, August, and October. 

1733, October 19th. 

1734, January, October, and November. 

1735, February 2d, 6 P. M. 

1736, February, July, October, and November. 

1737, February and December. 

1741, January. 

1742, March and September. 

1743, August. 

1744, May and June. 

1747, January and December. 

1755, November 18, and December 19. 

1756, March. 
1760, February. 

1768, January and June. 

1770, February 24th, snow-storm. 


1779, December. 

1780, November, midnight. 
1783, November. 

1786, January and December. 
1810, November. 
1817, October 5tli, Sunday. 
1846, August 25th, at 5 A. M. 
1852, November 27th, night. 


Agawam, 5, 10. 

Andros, Sir Edmund, 38, 39. 

Architecture, alteration of style, 174. 

Annexation, proposals for, 237. 

Annexation, Act of, 243, 246. 

Andrews, Rev. John, 304. 

Adams, J. Quincy, 324. 

Adams, " Reformation John," 313. 

Anniversary, Second Centennial, 224-227. 

Arnold in Newburyport, 91, 92. 

Act regulating prices of goods, 95. 

Act for " Better Regulation of Province," 67. 

Allen, Ephraim W., 257. 

Bar harbor, 9, 239. 

Books, scarcity of, 16. 

Belleville Congregational Society, 307; parish, 272. 

Brown family attacked by Indians, 40. 

Burying grounds, 233. 

Boston Port Bill, 76. 

Boston Massacre, 75. 

BiU for better regulation of Province of Massachusetts, 78. 

Bunker Hill, 87-91 ; monument, 231. 

Brown, Capt. Moses, U. S. N. 110, 111, 112, 352. 

Brown, Moses, 217, 385. 

Bass, Bishop Edward, 121, 372. 

Bread, size regulated, 151. 

Bartlett, William, 349, 153. 

Bartlett, Edmund, 158. 

Bridges, 171, 216, 234. 

Banks, 213, 282. 

Bromfield, John, 209. 

Blunt, Edmund M., 256. 

Bradbury, Judge Theophilus, 345, 


Boyd, Brig. Gen. John, 351. 
Benjamin Franklin, letter of, 45. 
Breakwater erected, 223. 
Charter of King Charles, 7. 
Court House, 168. 
Court, Police, established, 223. 
Church, 1st, of Newbury, 12, 13, 58. 

" 2d " " 43. 

« 3d " " 45. 

" Protestant Episcopal, 299. 

" 1st Congregational In Newburyport, 302. 

u 2d " " " 30^- 

" 1st Presbyterian " " 304. 

a 2d " " " 310. 

" Belleville Congregational, 307. 

" 4th " 310. 

" Roman Catholic, 316. 

" Second Advent, 317. 

" Christian, 315. 

" Baptist, 1st, 311. 

» " 2d, 317. 

Methodist Episcopal, 1st, 313. 

Methodist Episcopal, 2d, 314. 

Universallst, 315. 

Whitfield Congregational, 318. 
Chase, AquIUa, 20. 
Cattle in Newbury, 1 7. 
Cemetery, 233. 

Charitable Society, (General) 294, 
Coffin, Joshua, 319; Rev. Charles, 385. 
Caterpillars, plague of, 46. 
Captures, 197. 
Coombs, William, 293. 
Common Pleas, Court of, 63. 
Committees of Correspondence and Safety, 75, 81. 
Constitution, adoption of State, 94. 
Congress, Provincial, 93 ; Continental, 83. 
Continental money, description of, 105 ; depreciation of, 104. 
Canal project, 207. 

Contributions for soldiers' famiUes, 96. 
Contributions, benevolent, 169, 189, 217. 
Coolidge, "Master," 216. 
Cushing, Hon. Caleb, 235, 248. 
Cold, intense, 218. 
California emigration, 236. 


City expenses, 250. 

City Hall, 239. 

City Charter, 24 7 ; ordinances, 249 ; officers, 248. 

City Arms, 250. 

Cross, Stephen and Ralph, 155, 380. 

Coach stage started, 71. 

Convention at Ipswich, 94. 

Convention, State, (1820) 212. 

Currency, change in, 148. 

Dummer Richard, 13. Academy, 295. 

Donahew, Capt., 47. 

Duties on goods, 209. 

Dark day, 103. 

Debt, public, 125. 

Dalton, Hon. Tristram, 71, 129, 344 ; letter from, concerning President Wash- 
ington, 132. 

Democrats, 137, 200. 

Denmark molests our conmierce, 162. 

Dexter Timothy, 174-178. 

Distilling, 170. 

Dress, 173 ; laws regulating, 19. 

Emigrants, early character of, 13, 18. 

Education, 16. 

Expedition to Lake George, 50 ; Louisburg, 48 ; Penobscot, 118 ; Rhode Island, 

Episcopal Church, 121, 299. 

Earthquakes, 51-55 ; list of, 404. 

Essex County, 22. 

Essex Junto, 158. 

Exports, 65, 183, 232. 

Embargo, 167, 180; derisive celebration of, 181. 

Ecclesiastical sketches, 296. 

Factory, first woollen incorporated, 153. 

Fast, 193. 

Farris, Capt. "William, 369. 

Fisheries, 208 ; whale, 223 ; loss of fishing fleet, 240. 

Fishing, 224. 

French settlement, 1 1 . 

French neutrals, 63. 

French aggressions, 192. 

French presumption and influence, 136-139, 192. 

France, defensive measures against, 155. 

Ferries, 17. 

Franklin, Benjamin, letter of, 45. 

Fort Merrimac, 82. 


Fort on Plum Island, 82. 

Fort Phillip, 203. 

Fire Department, 252. 

Federalists, 137, 200. 

Fire, "great," 185-191. 

Fire, by-laws to prevent, 151, 152. 

Fever, epidemic, 154. 

Grantees of Newbury, 13. 

Great Britain, aggressions of, 143, 163. 

Greenleaf, Capt. Steph., 41 ; Prof. Simon, 24 7 ; Hon. Jonathan, 80, 346. 

Gunpowder, vinnecessary use of, 83. 

Gas, 252. 

Garrison, Wm. Lloyd, 261, 

Gates, Gen. Horatio, letter of, 357. 

Green street, donors of land, 120. 

Hodge, Michael, 385. 

Howard Benevolent Society, 294. 

Hair, orders against long, 19. 

Hooper, Stephen, 385; Lucy, 231, 387. 

Hooper, Madam, 35. 

Herbert, Charles, 114,383. 

High street, 271. 

Hosiery manufactured, 21 7. 

Hodge, Michael, 92. 

Indians, 5-8, 10, 15. 

Independence, Declaration of, anticipated, 84. 

Independence, Declaration of, read in meeting houses, 93. 

Indictment, witch, 37. 

Incorporation of religious societies, 149. 

Ipswich fright, 84. 

Insurance Companies, 72. 

Insurance policy, (ancient,) 72. 

Inoculation for small-pox, 134. 

Inoculation, regulations of hospital for, 135. 

Impressment of seamen, 163, 166, 

Internal improvements projected, 206. 

Imports, 159, 232. 

Ireland, relief for, 236. 

Jones, John Paul, 114; letter of, 365. 

Jackson Family, 337-344 ; Hon. Jonathan, Judge Charles, Dr. James, Patrick T. 

Johnson, Capt. Nicholas, 123. 

King, Rufus, 325. 

Knapp, Samuel Lorenzo, LL. D., 826, 

Land, division of, 12-13. 

Lands, undivided, 64. 


Lightning, damage by, 45. 

Louisburg, siege of, 48. 

Lexington, 8G. 

Lunt, Ezra (Capt), 86, 127, 362. 

Lunt, Henry, 363 ; Cutting, 369 ; Daniel, 369. 

Lunt, Micajah, 118. 

La Fayette, visit of, 218. 

Lowell family, 330-337 ; Kev. John, Judge John, John, LL. D., Francis C. 

Lace School, 217. 

Lyceum, 253. 

Libraries, 168, 253. 

Longevity, instances of, 272. 

Limestone discovered, 42. 

Masonic Lodges, 289. 

Merrimac river, 8-10; clearing, 154 ; frozen, 21S. 

Mycall John, 126,256. 

Mason, Robert, claim of 38. 

Masconomo, 5, 6, 8. 

Massachusetts divided into counties, 22. 

Massachusetts, claims, 220. 

Meeting-houses, 13, 23 ; at Pipe Stave Hill, 43 ; Quaker, 4 7. 

Meeting-house, seating the, 26. 

Macy, Thomas, 23. 

Morse house, 29. 

Monroe, President, visit of, 209. 

Mob, 69. 

Mlitia, 128. 

Military division of town, 83. 

MiUtary companies, 81, 82, 99, 288. 

Merrimac, ship, 156. 

Merrimac Humane Society, 292. 

Medical Association, 294. 

Merrill, Orlando B., 155, 199. 

Maine, State of, divided from Massachusetts, 213. 

Market square, 215 ; Hall, 215. 

Manufactures, 224, 228. 

Murray, Rev. John, 375. - 

Milton, Rev. Charles W., 376. 

Moody, "Master," 320. 

Mills, cotton, 228, 285. 

Mackerel inspected, 241, 242. 

Marine Society, 82, 291. 

Newbury settled, 10; incorporated, 11 

Newbury, eminent men of, 57, 58. 

Noyes, Rev. James, 13. 


Norfolk street, 304. 

Norfolk County, 22. 

Norfolk, Va., correspondence with, 1 79. 

Newburyport incorporated, 60, 61. 

Newburyport made port of entry, 129. 

Newburyport, general description of, 267. 

Newburyport, population of, 61,267, 237. 

Newburyport, salubrity of, 271. 

Newburyport, boundaries enlai'ged, votes for, 237. 

Newburyport, city government organized, 249. 

Newburyport, distinguished men of, 385. 

Newburyport, women of, 386. 

Nichols, Capt. William, 191, 194, 196 

Navy, British, 193. 

Napoleon, injurious measures of, 192. 

Napoleon, rejoicings at abdication of, 203. 

Navigation act, 215. 

Non-importation, 74. 

Non-intercourse, 183. 

Newspapers, 254. 

Odd Fellows, 290. 

Old Tenor currency, 148. 

Old Tenor, death of, (poetry,) 148, 149. 

Observatory erected, 202. 

Plum Island, general description of, 273. 

Plum Island, eighteen lights, 130 ; turnpike, 169. 

Parker, Rev. Thomas, 13, 57. 

Parsons, Theophilus, 94, 320. 

Parsons, Rev. Jonathan, 86 ; Samuel H., 385. 

Parker river, 57. 

Puritans, 300. 

Parishes, rehgious, 39. 

Post Office, 84. 

Pettingell, Amos, 385. 

Pierce's farm, 268. 

Political Parties, 137. 

Pond, frog, 234, 270. 

Plant, Rev. Matthias, 43, 301. 

Presbyterianism,297; 1st Church, 304 ; 2d Church, 310. 

Proprietary claims, 64 ; extinguished, 222. 

Piers sunk, 82 ; built, 106. 

Perkins, Capt. Benjamin, 87. 

Perkins, Jacob, 378. 

Pearson, Amos, 98, 99. 

Privateering, 105, 197. 


Privateers, Dal ton, 114. 

Prisoners, American, list of in Mill Prison, 116. 

Prisoners, American, in Algiers, 147. 

Peace of 1783, 123. 

Peace of 1814, 205. 

Pilotage, regulations for Newbury port, 131. 

Pilotage, town pay that of wood coasters, 207. 

Pilots, limits for Newburyport, 131. 

Pickering, United States ship, built, 155. 

Palmer, Timothy, 171. 

Poetry, 159. 

Poor, town's, 62, 63, 214. 

Putnam, Oliver, 346; School, 251. 

Pike, Capt. Albert, 235. 

Paine, Robert Treat, 326. 

Pike, Nicholas, 93, 327. 

Preaching, unlicensed, 23. 

Potatoes introduced, 44. 

Periodicals published, 254. 

Quascacunquen river, 10. 

Quascacunquen lodge, 290. 

Quakers, 24 ; Quaker field, 47. 

Quebec, rejoicings on surrender of, 50. 

Queen Ann's chapel, 301. 

Revolution, American, 84-121. 

Revolution, French, 136. 

Rebellion, Shay's, 127, 

Republican party, 137. 

Religious Freedom, 149. 

Robbery, sham, 210. 

Revenue surplus, 229. 

Railroads, Eastern, 233 ; Newburyport, 240. 

Rawson, Edward, 17. 

Seating the meetinghouse, 26. 

Seizures of vessels, 140-146, 160, 161, 162, 163, 165. 

Sagamores, 5. 

Selectmen, 15. 

Schools, 16, 62, 84, 149, 232; Female, 101 ; Lancasterian, 216 ; African, 216. 

Slavery, 55 ; extinct in Massachusetts, 56. 

Stocks, town fined in default of having, 1 7. 

Ship-building and principal ship-builders, 262. 

Shipping, 65, 224. 

Stetson, Mr. Prince and Charles A., 219, 

Sturgeon in Merrimac, 26. 

Streets laid out, 43. 


Stamp Act — (British) — its several specifications, 67-70. 

Stamp Act— (Mass.)— » " " 126. 

Supreme Court, attempts to secure sitting of, 168. 

Sewall," Master," 100. 

Small-pox, dread of, 134-136. 

Swett, Dr. J. Barnard, 370. 

Smuggling, 180. 

Silver Greys, 202. 

Sea Fencibles, 203. 

Steam navigation, 239. 

Social manners, 171, 172. 

Storms, 240, 274, 277. 

Spring, Kev. Dr., 91. 

Sawyer, Dr. Micajah, 385. 

Trees planted, 120. 

Town expenses, 242. 

Towns, residents of, to be approved by general consent, 63. 

Tonnage table, 266. 

TitHngmen, 21. 

Titles, 42. 

Tunes, variety of introduced, 44. 

Tea, introduction of, 44, 75, 77. 

Tax on tea, 74 ; tax, direct, 208. 

Tea, smuggling of, 76, 77. 

Throat distemper, epidemic, 46. 

Transport, capture of, 108. 

Tides, high, 274, 277. 

Titcomb, Col. Moses, 48 ; Enoch, 384 ; Jonathan, 384. 

Tories, 95, 

Tracy, Nathaniel, 106, 348. 

Time, computation of changed, 5. 

Temperance, 217, 229. 

Telegraph, magnetic, 235. 

Town House built, 50. 

Town Hall, 239. 

Thomas, Isaiah, 255. 

Turnpikes, Newburyport, 169 ; Plum Island, 169. 

Tyng, Dudley A., (Judge,) 156. 385. 

United States, adoption of Constitution by Mass., 94; prejudice against ceding 

land to, 129. 
United States vessels built, 155-156. 
Yellow or " malignant fever," great fatality from, 154. 
Vergenis, Dr. Francis, 385. 
Vessels, list of taken by British, in 1794, 142. 
Valuation of Newburyport, 232, 251. ' 


Winthrop, Governor, 11 ; John, 10. 
War, Pequod, 15. 

" King Phillip's, 27. 

" Castine's, or French and Indian, 40. 

" Revolutionary, 8G-121 ; expenses of, 121. 

" with Great Britain, (1812,) 192-203. 

" Avith Mexico, 235. 
Wolves, 55. 
Wigs, 49. 
AVItchcraft, 28-37. 
" Water-side " interests, 60, 239. 
Wharves, 24, 64. 
West India trade, 66. 
AVhitfield, Rev. George, 48, 374. 
Water lots laid out, 64. 
Washington, visit of, 132, 133; monument to, 170 ; death of, 157 ; letters of 

to Col. Ed. Wigglesworth, 361 ; to N. Pike, 327. 
Wrecks, 159, 274, 276. 
Wasp, U. S. sloop, 198. 
Water, analysis of, 272. 
Walsh, "Master," 347. 
Wigglesworth, Col. Edward, 356. 
West Point, Richard Titcomb's Company at, 104. 


Page 22, foot note should not be credited to County Records . 
" 28, third line from bottom, read odor for order. 
" 64, second line from bottom, read omit it. 
" 177, in note f, for Esq., read M. D. 
" 198, for Capt. Wells, read Wills. 
" 214, ninth line from top, for three, read one. 
" 216, for Summer street, read Strong. 
" 267, for Atley, read Alley. 

" 268, fifth line from foot, for Pierice, read Pierce. 
" 303, thirteenth line from foot, read 1725 for 1735. 

" 281, the Union Mutual Marine was accidentally omitted in list of Insurance 
Offices. [See Chronological Index.]