Landing Place of First Settlers of Newbury


The venturesome company that embarked in the “Mary and John” and planted the colony on the bank of the Quasacunquen entered upon a domain which, however virgin and primeval in its physical character, was already chartered in most comprehensive form, being contained within a tract granted in 1627 to Sir Henry Rowell, John Endicott, and others, extending “from a line three miles north of the Merrimack river to one three miles south of the Charles river, and from the Atlantic ocean to the Pacific Ocean,” which they held as the “Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England.” The Lateral range of this territory does not appear to have been greatly appreciated, as the land actually availed of may almost be said to be that in sight of the Atlantic.

As to the wisdeom of the choice made by those whose fortunes we would follow we have the testimony of William Wood, aughter of “New England’s Prospect,” published in London in 1634, that: “Agowamme is nine miles to the North from Sale, which is one of the most spatious places for a plantation being neare the sea, it aboundeth with fish, and flesh of fowles and beasts, great Meads and Marches and plaine plowing grounds, many good rivers and harbours and no rattle snakes. In a word, it is the best place but one, which is Merrimache, lying 8 miles yeond it, where is a river 20 leagues navigable; all along the river side is fresh Marshes, in some places 3 miles broad. In this river is Sturgeon, Sammon and Basse, and divers other kinds of sih. To conclude, the Countrie hath not that which this place cannot yield. So that these two places may containe twice as many people as are yet in New England; there bieng as yet scarce any inhabitants in these two spacious places. Three miles beyond the river Merrimache is the outside of our Patent for the Massachusetts Bay. These be all the Twones that were begun, when I came for England, which was the 15 of August, 1633.”

While the town may have been considered to be “begun” by the occasional fisherman attracted by the bountiful waters of the Merrimack, no real settlement existed when the party under the leadership of Rev. Thomas Parker removed from its abiding place at Ipswich and ended its momentous journey under the hills of the new land.

Important occasions to the settlement soon arrived, and the town of Newbury was incorporated by “the Great and General Court of Massachusetts.”

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Courtesy of Nancy Benton

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