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First Settlers of Newbury, Massachusetts, 1635

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  • John Russ, of Andover (aft.1611 - 1692)
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  • John Spencer, of Newbury (bef.1557 - bef.1649)
    John Spencer (?-1648), immigrant to Newbury, Massachusetts on the Mary & John 1634. He returned to England in 1638, where he died."John, of Newbury, Mass.; dignified in the records by the prefix of res...

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6 May 1635

Quascacunquen is allowed by the Court to be a plantation ... and shall hereafter be called NEWBURY


In 1633, Thomas Parker and James Noyes, both nonconformist ministers, with a like-minded group of British subjects, decided to emigrate to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, with the sanction of the Council of New England at Whitehall. At the same time, Richard and Stephen Dummer, Richard Saltonstall, and Henry Sewall and others in Wiltshire had organized a company to establish a stock-raising plantation in the Massachusetts Bay Colony because of the high prices in England for horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs. These men persuaded Parker and his group to join them. Most of these emigrants arrived at Ipswich (then Agawam) and spent the winter of 1634 there before moving farther east. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was then extending its inhabited frontier as far as possible as a bulwark against the "Papist French."

THE LANDING In May of 1635, this small group of immigrants rowed shallops to the mouth of the Parker River (then Quascacunquen) and landed on the north shore east of the present Parker River bridge, at a spot now marked by a commemorative boulder. All was wilderness about them, and the settlers spent the first summer clearing land, building shelters, raising crops, and gathering the natural bounty of fish and berries for the winter. Each man was allotted land for a house, with a planting lot and salt meadow, the size depending on the amount of money the individual or family had invested in the venture. Mr. Dummer and his group had the largest acreage, more than a thousand acres, up river near the falls for their stock raising. Mr. Dummer was granted the right to erect a sawmill on the Newbury falls, and was given fifty acres of woodland to supply the mill. He was allowed to grind corn if he would grind "all the grain the residents might bring him." Later there were two mills in this area, one of which continued operation into the 1980s.

The First Settlers

The settlers of Newbury were much like those of much of what is now northern Essex county. They were not religious enthusiasts or pilgrims who fled from religious persecution in England. They were substantial, law abiding, loyal English tradesmen, of that staunch middle class that was the backbone of England.

Those that settled Newbury came at different times and on different ships, between the end of April, 1634 and July, 1635 ... On May 6, 1635, before the settlers had moved from Ipswich to Newbury, the House of Deputies passed a resolution that Quascacunquen was to be established as a plantation and its name was to be changed to Newbury. So Newbury was named before the first settlers arrived, interestingly Thomas Parker had taught school in Newbury, Berkshire, England before coming to America.

There is no record of how many families arrived in the first year. Houses were erected on both sides of the Parker River. The principal settlement was around the meeting house on the lower green. The first church in Newbury could not have been formed before June, as some of those recorded at its formation are not recorded as having arrived until June.

In the division of land the first settlers recognized the scripture rule, "to him that hath shall be given," and the wealth of each grantee can be estimated by the number of acres given him.

The reason for establishing Newbury, as stated above, was not in fleeing from religious persecution but to utilize vacant lands and to establish a profitable business for the members of a stock-raising company.


This listing was extracted by Joshua Coffin from the proprietor's book of records, folio forty-four. The record is dated December 1642 and is the first known list of the first Settlers of Newbury. (2)

  1. Walter Allen
  2. Nathaniel Badger
  3. Richard Badger
  4. Giles Badger
  5. Christopher Bartlet
  6. Richard Bartlet
  7. John Bartlet
  8. Nicholas Batt
  9. William Berry
  10. Thomas Blumfield
  11. John Bond
  12. John Browne
  13. Richard Browne
  14. Thomas Browne
  15. George Browne
  16. Joseph Carter Possibly referring to this man?
  17. John Cheney
  18. John Clarke
  19. Robert Coker
  20. Thomas Coleman
  21. Thomas Cromwel
  22. Capt. John Cutting
  23. Thomas Davis
  24. Thomas Dow
  25. Richard Dummer
  26. Stephen Dummer
  27. John Emery
  28. Richard Fitts
  29. William Franklin
  30. John Fry
  31. Samuel Gile I
  32. John Goff
  33. Capt Edmund Greenleaf
  34. Thomas Hale
  35. Nicholas Holt I
  36. Abel Huse
  37. John Hutchins
  38. William Ilsley
  39. John Kelly
  40. Stephen Kent
  41. Richard Kent II
  42. Richard Knight
  43. John Knight
  44. Richard Littlehale I - *Updated: Two online references, is wife on My Heritage and he on FamilySearch
  45. John Lowell
  46. Percival Lowell
  47. Henry Lunt & his wife, Anne Hills
  48. John Merrill
  49. John Miller
  50. William Moody
  51. William Morse '~• whose wife was the convicted 'witch' Elizabeth Morse, Witch of Newbury
  52. Anthony Morse These brothers are on the MAP
  53. John Musselwhite
  54. Rev James Noyes
  55. Nicholas Noyes
  56. John Oliver
  57. John Osgood
  58. William Palmer
  59. Henry Palmer
  60. Rev Thomas Parker
  61. Rev Joseph Peasley I
  62. John Pemberton - Could this really be James Pemberton of Boston, made Freeman in Newbury?
  63. Lt John Pike I
  64. John Pike II
  65. Francis Plumer
  66. John Poor
  67. Edward Rawson
  68. Henry Rolfe
  69. John Russ Sr
  70. Samuel Scullard
  71. Henry Sewall
  72. Anthony Short **His father Henry Moses Short I also came over and buried in Newbury, perhaps that is the correct entry?
  73. Henry Short
  74. Thomas Silver, Sr
  75. Thomas Smith
  76. Anthony Somerby
  77. Henry Somerby
  78. John Spencer
  79. Wid. (William) Stevens - could this really be Alice Atkins Stevens, Widow of John Stevens (d 1627)
  80. Sgt John Stevens Son of Alice Atkins and John Stevens, noted above
  81. John Swett
  82. William Thomas
  83. Daniel Thurston
  84. Capt William Titcomb
  85. Abraham Toppan
  86. Henry Travers
  87. Nathaniel Weare
  88. Capt William White
  89. John Woodbridge
  90. Edward Woodman
  91. Archelaus Woodman
  1. Newbury - A Brief History
  2. First Settlers of Newbury
  3. The Sons and Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury - Essays & Articles (Dead link July 2023)
  4. Currier, John J. History of Newbury MA 1635-1902. Boston: Damrell & Upham, 1902
  5. Newbury, Massachusetts: An Historical Journey (Dead link July 2023)
  6. Wikipedia
  7. Official Town of Newbury Website
  8. Stories from Newbury