Here are a few highlights of Newburyport history and beyond.

Year Event
1614 Northeast Massachusetts visited by Captain John Smith
1634 William Woods' New England's Prospect published in London
1635 Newbury settled on Quascacunquen (Parker) River
1636 First record of selectman chosen in Newbury
1638-1852 There were at least 64 earthquakes recorded in Newburyport and the surrounding communities
1639 Rowley incorporated, part of which had belonged to Newbury
1639 Colchester, shortly after named Salisbury, settled
1639 New land laid out by Newbury, including what is now West Newbury
1643 Massachusetts divided into counties
1644 "New town" or what is now Newburyport laid out
1649 Plum Island divided by the General Court, to Ipswich two-fifths, Newbury two-fifths, Rowley one-fifth
1656 First wharf built in Port of Newbury
1688 French and Indian War or Castine's war
1697 Name of Quascacunquen River changed to Parker River



1706 January 17, Benjamin Franklin is born in Boston
1710 Byfield parish incorporated
1719 Cottle's Lane (Bromfield) laid out
1719 Potatoes and tea come into use
1720 The population of American colonists reaches 475,000. Boston (pop. 12,000) is the largest city, followed by Philadelphia (pop. 10,000) and New York (pop. 7000).
1720 By the 1720s, burials begin in a burying ground now known as Belleville Cemetery
1725 First meeting house raised in the Port of Newbury or "Waterside," location of Market Square
1729 Old Hill Burying Ground established behind the Frog Pond
1731 Newbury town house built on Merrimac/Country Road, near head of Marlborough
1732 February 22, George Washington is born in Virginia
1742 First burial at St. Paul's Church graveyard
1755 50 slaves in Newbury, including "Indians and negroes," and 25 Quakers in Newbury
1761 A fire engine imported arrives from England funded by Michael Dalton and other citizens
1762 Town house built on corner of Essex and State Streets
1763 Dummer Academy opens in Byfield
1763 Newbury voted on October 20th, that they were opposed to the division of Newbury
1764 Port of Newbury now Newburyport, incorporated January 28
1764 Newburyport population - 2,882; 357 houses
1767 First distillery in business
1769 Town agrees to the non-importation of English goods
1772 The Newburyport Marine Society established
1773 First newspaper in Newburyport
1775-1783 American Revolution or American War of Independence
1775 Minute-men raised by Town
1775 Company marches for Lexington, at midnight, April 19
1775 Fort built on Salisbury and Plum Island
1775 Benedict Arnold's detachment for Canada bivouac in Newburyport, 16th of September; embark on the 19th
1776 Town of Newburyport anticipates the Declaration of Independence, and approved May 31
1776 Declaration of Independence read in the meetinghouses, August 11
1777 Town in August musters one-sixth of all her able-bodied men for the Continental Army
1779 Trees first set out by order of the town
1780 First school committee chosen
1780 Town approves Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, May 15
1780 Town accepts State constitution
1781 Green Street laid out, given by individual land owners
1783 Two beacons erected on Plum Island
1785 Laird and Ferguson's Brewery opens at bottom of Green Street
1787 Federal constitution approved by the town
1787 Two lighthouses built on Plum Island
1789-1797 President of the United States George Washington
1789 President George Washington visits Newburyport
1790 Lighthouses ceded to Federal Government. President George Washington appointed Abner Lowell as first Superintendent of lighthouses on Plumb (sic) Island
1790 Newburyport population - 4,837; houses 616; Boston population - 18,320
1791 Schools for young female children established by town
1791 United States Revenue Cutter Massachusetts built in Newburyport - first revenue cutter to enter active service
1792 Essex Merrimac Bridges open - Newbury to Deer Island to Salisbury Point
1793 Public stocks removed
1793 Small pox hospital built in common pasture
1794 Woolen factory incorporated, machinery all made in Newburyport
1794 Newburyport library in operation
1794 By-laws enacted - forbidding owners of water fowl to allow them to frequent Frog Pond
1797-1801 President of the United States John Adams
1799 George Washington dies; funeral services observed



1800 Newburyport Population - 5,946; houses 806
1800 Captain Edmund Bartlet gave fourteen hundred dollars to improve Mall, which then received the name of "Bartlet Mall"
1800 Town purchases land under Reverend Carey's meetinghouse for $8,000, now Market Square; new meetinghouse completed on Pleasant Street in 1801
1800 Four stage coaches employed between Boston and Newburyport
1800 Public bathing house opened
1800 New Hill Cemetery established, now known as Highland Cemetery on the corner of Hill and Pond Streets
1801 First Religious Society, Unitarian Church completed on Pleasant Street; meetinghouse in Market Square razed
1801-1809 President of the United States Thomas Jefferson
1805 Court house built on Bartlet Mall
1805 Newburyport turnpike opened
1805 Plum Island turnpike and bridge opened to public
1808 Lighthouses on Plum Island blown down by violent tornado
1809-1817 President of the United States James Madison
1809 Soup houses for relief of poor established in winter
1809 Old wooden Town House, corner of State and Essex Streets, torn down in May
1810 Newburyport population - 7,634
1810 Brick Town House built on same site - corner of State and Essex Streets
1810 Essex Merrimac Bridge rebuilt, being the first in New England with chain draw
1811 Great Fire May 31, destroying downtown Newburyport
1811 June, Act passed by Town against erecting wooden buildings over ten feet high
1812 War declared June 18, with Great Britain and ends in 1815
1813 Observatory erected on Lunt's Hill, now March's Hill, to watch the shoreline for enemy ships
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
1815 Peace with Great Britain announced
1817-1825 President of the United States James Munroe
1817 President Munroe visits Newburyport
1818 Howard Benevolent Society formed; still exists today
1819 West Newbury incorporated
1820 Newburport population - 6,852
1820 Maine separated from Massachusetts and admitted to Union
1820 Institution for Savings Bank incorporated
1823 Market Hall (firehouse) built
1824 General Marquis de Lafayette visits
1829-1837 President of the United States Andrew Jackson
1826 Caleb Cushing's The History and Present State of the Town of Newburyport published
1827 Special survey of harbor ordered by United States completed; water temporarily deepened on the bar
1827 Newburyport Bridge to Salisbury opened
1830 Newburyport population - 6,375
1832 Coal coming into general use
1832 William Lloyd Garrison refused a second opportunity of speaking on slavery in Newburyport
1832 Town vote that the law forbidding the erection of wooden buildings (downtown) over ten feet high "is prejudicial to the interests of the town," and ought to be repealed
1832 Plum Island Bridge washed away; 1837 rebuilt
1835 Custom House on Water Street built and designed by Robert Mills
1835 Society for Relief of Aged Females organized; later managed the Wheelwright Home for Aged Women
1837-1841 President of the United States Martin Van Buren (first President of the United States to be born an American citizen, rather than a British subject).
1838 Notifications for town meetings advertised in the Newburyport Herald instead of being "nailed on the First Parish meeting-house," (location now Market Square)
1839 Water pipes laid from Frog Pond to Brown's Square
1840 Newburyport population - 7,161
1840 Female schools established during the winter season
1840 Band music on Bartlet Mall during the summer evenings
1840 Eastern Railroad opened to Newburyport
1841 President of the United States William Henry Harrison (Harrison delivered a marathon inaugural speech, caught a cold, and died a month later)
1841-1845 President of the United States John Tyler
1842 Oak Hill Cemetery consecrated
1845 Joshua Coffin's History of Ould Newbury, West Newbury, and Newburyport, published
1845-1849 President of the United States James K. Polk
1846 Steamboats on Merrimac in operation
1846 First Directory of Newburyport published, containing 2,162 names
1847 Houses first numbered
1847 Magnetic Telegraph office opened December 25
1847 A Relic of the Revolutionn, a diary by Charles Herbert of his stay in Mill Prison, Plymouth, England, 1776-1779
1849-1850 President of the United States Zachary Taylor (died in office)
1850 Newburyport population - 9,572; Boston population - 136,881
1850 Cornerstone of the new Town Hall (City Hall) on Pleasant Street, laid July 4; completed 1851
1850-1853 President of the United States Millard Filmore

1851 Parts of Newbury annexed to Newburyport, west of Oakland Street, Grasshopper Plains, and Joppa.
1851 Newburyport City Government organized June 24
1851 Caleb Cushing elected as first Mayor of Newburyport
1853-1857 President of the United States Franklin Pierce
1854 Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank incorporated
1854 Mrs. E. Vale Smith publishes History of Newburyport
1857-1861 President of the United States James Buchanan
1860 Newburyport population - 13,538
1861-1865 President of the United States Abraham Lincoln (assassinated just five days after Confederate armies surrendered).
1861 Civil War begins and ends in 1865
1865-1869 President of the United States Andrew Johnson
1869-1877 President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant
1870 Newburyport population - 12,595
1871 A U.S. Life Saving Station was built on Plum Island in 1871, about a mile below Plum Island Center.
1876 St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery consecrated
1877-1881 President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes
1879 The Noyes family moves their comb business to Chestnut Street from Water and Pike Streets
1879 Sarah Anna Emery publishes, Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian.
1880 Newburyport population - 13,538
1880 Towle Manufacturing established on Merrimac Street
1881 President of the United States James A. Garfield (shot and died eleven weeks later)
1881-1885 President of the United States Chester A. Arthur
1881 Bartlet Steam Mills on Pleasant Street destroyed by fire
1881 Caleb Haskell's Diary, May 5, 1775-May 30, 1776, published
1881 Plum Island U. S. Life Saving Station was moved near the lighthouse and a second station was added at Knobbs Beach in 1891.
1882 Shipbuilder John Currier, Jr. launches the ship, Mary L. Cushing, 1573 tons, the last vessel of that class built in Massachusetts
1886 Atkinson Coal Company opens on Water Street
1886 Statue of Liberty dedicated
1885-1889 President of the United States Grover Cleveland
1890 Newburyport population - 13,934
1897 Dalton Club, (private) organized, former home to the Dalton family and Moses Brown
1898 Spanish American War begins and officially ends in 1899 with Treaty of Paris
1889-1893 President of the United States Benjamin Harrison (grandfather was President of the United States William Henry Harrison)
1891 A second Plum Island U. S. Life Saving Station was added at Knobbs Beach, now in the area of the wildlife refuge
1893-1897 President of the United States Grover Cleveland (only President to be elected to two non-consecutive terms)
1896 John J. Currier publishes OULD NEWBURY Historical and Biographical Sketches.
1897-1901 President of the United States William McKinley (only moments after handing a girl his "lucky" red carnation, President McKinley was shot and died six days later).
1898 William and Edward Safford of Safford Jewelers journey to Canada to find their fortune in the Klondike gold rush
1898 Present Plum Island Lighthouse completed
1900 Newburyport population - 14,478; Boston population - 560,892



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