Newburyport, Essex Co., MA
[Transcribed by Dave Swerdfeger]
In this volume I have attempted to trace the history of some of the ancient houses and notable places within the limits of "Ould Newbury," and have also endeavored to embody in brief biographical sketches some of the facts and incidents connected with the mercantile, literary, and political life of the town.
I have been compelled to leave unnoticed many buildings and places of historic interest, and have found it impossible to sketch, even briefly, the work and influence of the distinguished men and women of Newbury birth and parentage who are now living in this community, or elsewhere, without very materially increasing the size of this volume, which is already too large for convenient use. I trust, however, that a more comprehensive work, giving the history of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury from their incorporation down to the present time, will soon be undertaken by some competent and careful writer, who will collect and preserve for future generations the names of the men that are necessarily excluded from these pages, with a full and detailed account of the important events in which they have participated.
The facts and incidents contained in these sketches have been gathered from every available source; but my thanks are especially due to Sidney Perley, Esq., of Salem, Mass., and to John Ward Dean, A. M., librarian of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society of Boston, for valuable advice and assistance in preparing them for the press. I desire also to acknowledge my indebtedness to Abner C. Goodell, Jr., commissioner for the publication of the Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay; to Walter K. Watkins, secretary of the Massachusetts Society of Colonial Wars, Boston, Mass.; to William Little, Esq., president of the Historical Society of Old Newbury; and to Messrs. Lothrop Withington, Isaac W. Little, Oliver B. Merrill, and many other citizens of Newburyport, for similar service in the examination of parish, town, and State records.
Great pains have been taken to verify every statement and to give the facts as they exist without exaggeration or embellishment. Many errors will undoubtedly be discovered in the text.
In some instances names and dates will be found incorrect, owing to discrepancies between town and family records. The authorities that are relied upon to corroborate and support the conclusions reached in these sketches are mentioned, in order to facilitate investigation; and the titles to estates can be verified by consulting the Essex registry of deeds, the book and page of reference being given.
Most of the topics selected for consideration in this volume are more or less intimately connected with the growth and development of the town, and have been arranged in chronological order, so far as possible, beginning with the "Landing at Parker River " and ending with " Oak Hill Cemetery." There is necessarily some repetition of statement in these pages, inasmuch as each sketch is intended to be complete in itself, and in a measure independent of those that precede it.
The illustrations are from negatives taken by Messrs. Robert E. Mosely, Carl Meinerth, Hiram P. Macintosh, Selwyn C. Reed, William C. Thompson, Edward E. Bartlett, and John Osgood.. Some of these negatives were made expressly for this work, while others are more than thirty years old and represent views and scenes that cannot now be obtained by the use of the camera.(note- illustrations are not included in this document)
I have found the task of collecting the material and preparing this book for publication somewhat difficult and laborious, and have felt obliged to omit many topics that would naturally find a place in a work of this description; but, notwithstanding its many imperfections and deficiencies, I venture to offer it to the public as my humble contribution to the history of my native town.
OAK HILL CEMETERY.
In the month of January, 1842, Rev. Thomas B. Fox, pastor of the First Religious Society of Newburyport, aided by several interested members of his own parish and by other prominent citizens of the town, formed an association for the purpose of providing and maintaining a cemetery of suitable proportions, to be tastefully arranged and properly cared for. May 13, 1842, the subscribers to the association bought an estate on the southeasterly side of the Newburyport turnpike (now State Street), belonging to the heirs of the late Moses Brown, at the rate of $200 per acre. On the twentieth day of June, 1842, the association was organized and incorporated under the Revised Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The grounds, made attractive with flowers and shrubbery, and provided with suitable avenues and walks, were consecrated, in the presence of a large audience, Thursday afternoon, July 21, 1842. The exercises, held under the shade of stately and venerable oak trees still standing on the hillside, were simple and impressive.
Four days after the consecration, Charles Lord, a young son of Moses Lord, was buried near the spot where these exercises were held; and a day or two later another grave was made in that immediate vicinity to receive the body of Sarah Miles Greenwood, wife of Hon. George Lunt. Other interments soon followed. The total number of burials in the cemetery to Jan. 1, 1896, exceeds thirty-six hundred.
In 1855, a new entrance, more convenient and accessible, was made by constructing a short avenue from the old turnpike, nearly opposite Greenleaf Street, through land purchased by the proprietors for that purpose. This new entrance was subsequently improved and ornamented by an imposing granite gateway, erected by John S. Tappan, Esq., of New York City, at his own expense.
The cemetery has been enlarged from time to time by the purchase of adjoining land and now covers an area of twenty-five acres. Well-graded walks and driveways, sculptured monuments of artistic design and workmanship, ornamental plants and shrubbery, render the place interesting and attractive during the summer months. From the summit of the hill, looking westward, a wide and extended view of the surrounding country may be seen, while the eastern outlook reveals, half hidden through the trees, glimpses of the river and the sea beyond.
A new avenue, leading from Parker Street, and connecting with other driveways in the cemetery, was laid out in 1894. At the entrance to this avenue a gateway has recently been erected by John T. Brown, Esq., of Newburyport, in memory of his wife, who is buried within sight of this memorial gift of stone and bronze.
The number of graves in this silent city of the dead is constantly increasing. Many who have been prominent in the mercantile, professional, or social life of Newburyport rest from their labors in this consecrated ground.
A few names and dates, taken from the monuments standing there, read as follows: