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Newburyport, Massachusetts: Founded 1764 (from Newbury)
The history of Newburyport prior to 1764 is largely the history of Newbury. As a farming community, Newbury expanded rapidly, outgrowing the land along the Parker River. In 1642, a "New Town" was laid out beside the Merrimack River and residents were offered new lots there in exchange for their old land near the Parker River.
By 1700, New Town was still predominantly rural although the waterfront was becoming a commercial center for ship building, trading, and live stock butchering and fishing. Between 1681 and 1714 over 100 vessels were built in Newbury.
During these years, trade with the West Indies and Europe developed a commercial relationship that dominated Newbury Port's economy, for better and for worse, until the early 1800's. Lumber, fish and other goods left Newburyport while sugar and molasses for the distilleries were a major import.
In support of the shipping related businesses, Newbury Port attracted merchants, traders and artisans, people whose interests conflicted with the farmers in the rest of Newbury. By 1764, a dispute over the location of a new meetinghouse resulted in the granting of a petition to establish a separate town of Newburyport. With 2900 residents and bounded by today's Bromfield and Oakland streets, the community of 640 acres was important far beyond its physical size.
Newburyport became the commercial center for the towns of southern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts. Ship building continued with 72 ships under construction in 1766 and as many as 90 launched in 1772.
The city's first commercial setback came with the Revolutionary war. English ports were closed and British firms could no longer use American ships for transportation. Newburyport switched to privateering with mixed success. Some 24 ships and 1,000 Newburyport men were lost during the war.
Newburyport became a city in 1851 and annexed a large portion of Newbury, extending the city boundary from Plum Island to the Artichoke river. The next century was marked by economic surges and declines, the latter best remembered in the depression. Textiles and shoe making had surpassed ship building in importance and when the mills began closing, as they did through out the Merrimack river valley, Newburyport suffered along with the rest of the Northeast.
- Newburyport High School is one of the oldest public high schools in the United States.
Profiles for this Project are NOT limited to the Wikipedia list that follows.
- Raymond Abbott (1942-), author
- John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), president, resided in Newburyport 1787-88
- Caleb Cushing (1800–1879), diplomat and politician
- "Lord" Timothy Dexter (1748–1806), eccentric
- Andre Dubus III (1959-), novelist
- William Lloyd Garrison (1805–1879), abolitionist
- Adolphus Greely (1844–1935), polar explorer
- Charles Tillinghast James (1805–1862), mechanical engineer, designer, Senator
- Mark Johnson (1912–1989), writer
- Rufus King (1755–1827), diplomat and politician
- Thomas B. Lawson (1807–1888), artist
- Francis Cabot Lowell (1775–1817), manufacturer
- John Lowell (1743–1802), congressman and federal judge
- John P. Marquand (1893–1960), author
- Donald McKay (1810–1880), shipbuilder
- Johnny Messner (1970-), actor
- Theophilus Parsons (1750–1813), jurist
- James Parton (1822–1891), biographer
- Edmund Pearson (1880–1937), librarian and true crime writer
- Jacob Perkins (1766–1849) early American inventor
- Timothy Pilsbury (1789–1858), congressman from Texas
- Harriet Prescott Spofford (1835–1921), writer
- Charles A. Spring (1800-1891), influential Presbyterian leader in Iowa and Illinois
- Rev. Gardiner Spring (1785-1873), author of the Gardiner Spring Resolutions, which gained Abraham Lincoln the support of the Presbyterian Church
- Rev. Samuel Spring (1746-1819), religious leader, chaplain in Benedict Arnold's army
- William Albert Swasey (1863-1940), renowned architect
- Matthew Thornton (1714–1803), signer of the Declaration of Independence
- William S. Tilton (1828–1889), Civil War brigade commander at the Battle of Gettysburg
- Peter Tolan (1958-), television/film producer and writer
- William Wheelwright (1798–1873) sea captain, US consul in Chile, steamship and railroad promoter in South America