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History of Amesbury, Massachusetts

History of Amesbury, Massachusetts

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Amesbury is situated on the Merrimack River in northeastern Massachusetts, within Essex County, about 25 miles from Boston. The ninety-foot drop in the Powow River provided the power for early industries.Amesbury is believed to have had the first mechanized nail-producing factory in America. And the manufacture of automobile carriages was active until the Great Depression. At one time, the Merrimack Hat Factory produced more hats than any other company in the nation.Josiah Bartlett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Amesbury. John Greenleaf Whittier, a famous American poet, lived most of his live in Amesbury and is buried there. At the Whittier Home, the house and the furnishings remain much as they did when the Whittier family lived there between 1836 and 1892.Amesbury is served by North Essex Community College, whose closest campus is in Haverhill. The history of Amesbury is preserved at the Bartlett Museum, housed in a former schoolhouse. At the Mary Baker Eddy Historic House, the founder of Christian Science did some of her earliest writings. Historic New England acquired the Rocky Hill Meeting House in 1941 and has preserved it as one of the best examples of town meeting houses in New England. Lowell's Boat Shop is a National Historic Site, in addition to being a working museum where boatmaking has entered its third century.

First Settlers of Amesbury, Massachusetts, 1654

Cemetery notes and/or description: Found on Rt. 110 (Macy St.),in Amesbury Massachusetts about a half a mile East. It is the first burial ground in Amesbury but there are no markers.

Memorial to the First Settlers of Amesbury 1654 in Golgotha burial ground

It is possible that some of those mentioned here are not buried here

and their first burying ground Golgotha Amesbury Improvement Association 1903

This cemetery is referred to as AME.800 Golgotha Burial Ground in the "MACRIS survey of Massachusetts Cemeteries".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amesbury was settled in 1655 as a part of Salisbury, but was separated from Salisbury in 1666 and incorporated as the town of Amesbury in 1668.

Originally the boundary between Amesbury and Salisbury was the Powwow River. In 1876 Merrimac was created out of West Amesbury. In 1886 West Salisbury was annexed to Amesbury so the mill area on the Powwow River was unified. See the maps linked below.

Beginning as a modest farming community, it developed an aggressive maritime and industrial economy. The 90-foot (27 m) drop in the falls of the Powwow River provided water power for sawmills and gristmills. Shipbuilding, shipping and fishing were also important. The ferry across the Merrimack River to Newburyport was a lively business until the construction of bridges to Deer Island. Newton, New Hampshire would be set off from Amesbury in 1741, when the border between the two colonies was adjusted.

In the 19th century, textile mills were built at the falls, as was a mechanized nail-making factory, believed to be the nation's first. The Merrimac Hat Company produced more hats than any of its competitors. Beginning in 1853, Amesbury became famous for building carriages, a trade which evolved into the manufacture of automobile bodies. The industry, however, would end with the Great Depression. Amesbury also produced Hoyt's Buffalo Brand Peanut Butter Kisses. In 1876, the town of Merrimac was set off from Amesbury. In 1996, the town changed its status to a city, and adopted the mayor and municipal council form of government, although it retained the title "Town of Amesbury."

The community has an impressive collection of early architecture, particularly in the Federal and Victorian styles. Following a recent restoration of the historic downtown, many new restaurants opened. The "Doughboy", a memorial sculpture by Leonard Craske, stands on the front lawn of the Amesbury Middle School. It was dedicated November 11, 1929. Craske is best known as sculptor for the "Fishermens' Memorial" in Gloucester. There is here a monument erected to Josiah Bartlett, who was born in Amesbury.

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BOOK DESCRIPTION: A comprehensive history of the two towns. A reprint of the original of Merrill's 1880 publication. To the original edition, a portrait and a biography of Joseph Merrill has been added, written by Sara Locke Redford. Biographical data on many area residents has been made fully accessible via a complete index prepared by Teresa Castle, former Amesbury librarian.

The original 1880 edition was published by P.P. Stiles, Haverhill, MA, under the title "History of Amesbury, including the first seventeen years of Salisbury to the separation in 1654, and Merrimac from its incorporation in 1876.

Illustrated with black and white photographs. Includes an historical timeline of the history of Amesbury and map of the town.

An indispensable resource for genealogical studies due to the fine index added to the reprint edition.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A comprehensive history of the two towns. A reprint of the original of Merrill's 1880 publication. To the original edition, a portrait and a biography of Joseph Merrill has been added, written by Sara Locke Redford. Biographical data on many area residents has been made fully accessible via a complete index prepared by Teresa Castle, former Amesbury librarian.

The original 1880 edition was published by P.P. Stiles, Haverhill, MA, under the title "History of Amesbury, including the first seventeen years of Salisbury to the separation in 1654, and Merrimac from its incorporation in 1876.

Illustrated with black and white photographs. Includes an historical timeline of the history of Amesbury and map of the town.

An indispensable resource for genealogical studies due to the fine index added to the reprint edition.

Original Settlers

Following are the names of the original settlers, all having received land in the first division. A brief outline as to their birthplace, occupations etc., is also given. Much of this information, too, is compiled from Hoyt's "Old Families of Salisbury & Amesbury."

1. Samuel Dudley, Rev. & Mr., came to Mass. with his father in 1630. Resided in Cambridge 1631, Ipswich 1635, then in Salisbury. He was a settled minister at Exeter, N. H., from 1650 till his death. Represented Salisbury in the General Court 1641-5.

2. William Worcester, Rev., first minister of the Salisbury Church. It is supposed that he was a preacher in England before coming to this Country in 1639.

3.Ÿrancis Done came from Salisbury, England and returned at an early date. Retained his land here until his death.

4. Henry Biley, "tanner" came from Sarum or Salisbury, Wilts, England.

5. John Eaton, Sen., of Salisbury & Haverhill "cooper." Moved to Haverhill in 1646.

6.৭ward French "tailor" came from Ipswich 1637.

7. Richard Wells, deacon of Salisbury and was a "glov- er'@.

8. John Rolfe of Salisbury and Newbury, "husband- man." Came from Melchitt Parke, England.

9. John Sanders of Salisbury and Newbury "yeoman." He came from Wiltshire County, England. He came in the "Confidence." He moved from Salisbury to Newbury in 1642. Probably returned later. After 1635 removed to sh

England, Weeks, Pari' of Dainton, Wiltshire.

10. Isack Buswell "weaver" of Salisbury.

11. John Severance of Salisbury "planter" "Victualler" and "vinter." He was of Ipswich 1636.

12. Thomas Bradbury, Capt., and Mr. of Salisbury. Came from Wicken Bonant, Essex County, England. One of the most prominent citizens of Salisbury. Town clerk, schoolmaster, justice of the peace. Rep. in General Court seven years. Most of the ancient records of Salisbury and many of the County were written by him.

13. John Hodges, "cooper," was of London, England until 1647 when his agent, John Hanson, sold his house and lot in Salisbury.

14. Josiah Cobbitt moved to Boston 1657 and was a clothier or "webster".

15. Jarrett Haddon of Salisbury and Amesbury "tailor" and "planter." One of the first settlers of Amesbury.

16. John Bailey of Salisbury and Newbury, "weaver" & "husbandman." Came with his father from England. Removed to Newbury about 1644. Was taxed in Salisbury in 1652, was there in 1653 and 4 and one of the original Amesbury commoners in 1654. He died in Newbury 1691.

17. Henry Brown, Deacon of Salisbury. "shoemaker."

18.šnthony Sadler, "shoemaker." Came from South- ampton.

19. Roger Eastman, "housecarpenter" or "planter." He came in the "Confidence" servant of John Sanders. His daughter, Abagail Eastman, was the mother of Daniel Webster. Remains of their old homstead are still to be seen on the Baker Road.

20. John Stevens of Newbury and Andover, probably came over in the "Confidence."

21. Robert Fitts of Salisbury & Ipswich "planter." Moved to Ipswich about 1658.

22. Mr. Samuel Hall "gentleman." Representative and treasurer of Old Norfolk County 1655. Sold his farm in Salisbury to the town in 1657. Returned to England soon after. Made liberal gifts to the poor.

23. John Hoyt, Serg., of Salisbury & Amesbury "planter" or "husband man." Sold his house lot in 1647 and probably then removed to the west side of the Powow River.

24. William Holdrcd "tanner" and "planter" came from the parish of St. Alphage, Cripplegate, London with John Clough. Was in Ipswich 1639. Removed to Salis- bury 1640 and then about 1649 to Haverhill.

25. Robert Ringe of Salisbury "cooper" & "planter" carried on theŸishing business on Ring's Island in 1642. Householder in Salisbury 1677. Probably the Robert Ringe who came as a servant of John Sanders with John Cole, Roger Eastman, William Cottle, John Rolfe & others in the "Confidence" 1638.

26. Thomas Barnet of Salisbury & Amesbury "planter" or "husbandman." One of the first settlers of Amesbury.

27. John Elsley of Salisbury "barber."

28. William Allen of Salisbury "housecarpenter."

29. William Barnes "housecarpenter" of Salisbury & Amesbury. One of the first settlers of Amesbury.

30. Richard North of Salisbury "planter" or "husbandman." He was also pound-keeper and fence-viewer and "Cryer" of the town for the year ensuing (1643) for which he received fifty shillings for two years of service and twenty shillings to ring it one year more.

31.ফraham Morrell of Salisbury "blacksmith." It is thought that he came from Cambridge in 1632.

32. William Osgood of Salisbury "carpenter" and millwright." His name appears among both the Salis-

bury & Amesbury names in 1680. His mill on the Pow-wow River though on the Salisbury side brought him into close relation with the new town. Quite a number of the residents of Salisbury and Amesburv worked for him at different times and his enterprise appears to have drawn young men to that locality from other places. It is said that Symon, the notorious Indian, once lived with him.

33. Mr. William Hooke of Salisbury "planter." He was of York in 1633. Called by Winthrop "a godly gentleman."

34. Mr. John Hall of Salisburv died before 1647. Widow married Rev. William Worcester.

35. Mr. Sam Winsley of Salisbury "planter." One of the twelve who obtained the grant to begin a plantation at Merrimack in 1638.

36.œhristopher Batt, "gentleman" and "tanner." It was he who introduced the tannery business into the town. He was of Salisbury, England, and author of the name of the new town. First came to Newbury but was one of the original twelve grantees of Salisbury. Moved to Boston in 1654. Rep. in Gen. Court 1640, 41, 43 & 50.

37. Robert Pike, Mr. and Major, of Newbury 1635. Formerly of Longford, England. Was the most prominent citizen of Salisbury during the last half of the 17th century.

38. William Patridg of Salisbury.

39. Mr. Thomas Dumer (bro. of Richard & Stephen of Newbury). He returned to England and died in 1650 at Chicknell, North Stoneham, Southampton Co.

40. Mr. Henry Munday "gentleman." One of the largest tax payers in 1650 and 52.

41. George Carr, Mr., "shipwright." The town granted him Carr's Island in 1640 and he established a ferry there in 1641. He built the first bridge across the Merrimack in

1655. It was 270 feet long. For his bridge he received liberal grants of land in the town. He was in Ipswich in 1633 and had house lot there in 1635. The island, until its recent sale, has always been owned by the family.

42. Samuel Fellowes was probably a native of Lincoln- shire,žngland. He was a "planter" and "weaver."

43. William Sargent of Salisbury & Amesbury "sea- man." Is said to have been one of the first settlers of Ips- wich in 1633, afterwards of Newbury. One of the first settlers of Hampton in 1638. Received land in Salisbury in 1640, 41, 42, 43 and 54. Moved early across the Powow.

44. John Harrison of Salisbury and Boston "cordishmaker" or "ropemaker." Lived in Boston after 1643.

45. Phillip Challice., Lieut, of Salisbury and Amesbury planter." Had house lot in Ipswich in 1637. An original settler of Amesbury but seems to have been a member of the S. Church in 1677.

46. Luke Heard "weaver." Sold house and land in Salisbury in 1645. Removed to Ipswich but died soon after.

47.šnthony Coleby of Salisbury and Amesbury "planter." Probably in Boston in 1630. May have come with Winthrop.

48. John Bayley, Jun of Salisbury & Newbury "weaver" from Chippenman Co., Wilte, England. Came in the ship "Angel Gabriel" from Bristol. Held the grant for fishing on the Powow River in 1642. Removed to Newbury in 1650. Died in Newbury. His wife never came to this Country.

49.œhristian Broune, Widow, probably the mother of Henry, William & George. She died in Salisbury in 1641.

50. Richard Singletary of Salisbury & Haverhill "planter." In Salem in 1637 of Newbury the same year. Moved to Haverhill about 1653.

51. Thomas Hauxworth of Salisbury "planter."

52. John Ayres, Sen., moved to Haverhill about 1647.

53. Thomas Rowell of Salisbury, Ipswich and Andover. Of Ipswich 1652-7, of Andover 1659. Died in Andover in 1662.

54. John Dickison of Salisbury "planter" or "husband- man."

55. John Clough "housecarpenter." Probably came in the "Elizabeth" 1635. Died in Salisbury in 1691.

56.৚niell: Lad: of Salisbury & Haverhill "hus- bandman." Came to this Country in the "Mary & John" of London 1633.

57. John Fuller received land in the first division but his name is not on the list of 1650. Probably he was the Fuller of Ipswich about 1637.

58. Thomas Carter of Salisbury "planter" perhaps of IpswichŸirst.

59.žnoch Greneleif "dyer". Said to be a lieut. under Cromwell but he was of Malden in 1665, removed to Boston and living there in 1683.

60. Richard Goodalc of Salisbury "planter" & "turner." Coffin's history of Newbury states that he came from Yarmouth, England to Newbury about 1638. He was a famous hunter.

61. Richard Currier of Salisbury & Amesbury "planter" & "millwright." One of the most prominent men in the new town.

62. Joseph Moyce of Salisbury "joiner." Daughters, Mary and Martha married Maj. Robert Pike and Andrew Greele.

63.šndrew Greele of Salisbury "shoemaker." Probably came from Scotland. Mentioned on Haverhill record as having mill and ferry 1669. Garrison in Salisbury mentioned 1698-1702.

64. Ralfe Blesdale "tailor" of Salisbury. Living in 1648 but dead in 1650. Was in York, Me., 1637-40. He was allowed to mow four acres of meadow for keeping the ordinary. He also rang bell on church for two years and a half for which he received fifty shillings.

65. Robert Codman "seaman" Salem 1637, land in Salisbury in 1641. Removed to Hartford, Ct., about 1650 to Saybrook in 1654 afterwards to Edgartown, where he died in 1678.

66. John Wheler "barber" from Salisbury, England. Early settler of Hampton. Rec'd land in Salisbury in 1641. Removed to Newbury before 1650 but taxed in S. 1652.

67. Thomas Macie "planter" "clother" or "merchant." Came from Chilmark, England to Newbury, Mass., but removed to Salisbury where he received land in 1639, '40 & '42. Received land in Amesbury later but removed to Nantucket in 1659. He was the subject of Whittier's poem, "The Exile."

68. josepth Parker "carpenter." Apparently in Newbury in 1642 but removed to Andover. He was a soldier in King Phillip's war.

69. John Coles of Salisbury. Lived in Andover a short time but died in Salisbury 1682. Came in the "Confidence" with Sanders, Rolfe, Cottle, Eastman, Ring & Whittier.

70. John Clifford "planter." He removed to Hampton before March 1, 1642. Name on early list of 1637 but not on later list of 69.

71. Lewis Hulett was one of the first to receive land in Salisbury. He was of Charlestown in 1631, according to Savage's Genealogical dictionary of New England.

This concludes the list of the men in the first division. But few lineal descendants of these early families remain and the passing years find them growing fewer. The pioneers, themselves, rest peacefully in the old burying ground on the Beach Road, with here and there a stone to mark their resting place.

Historic Map - Amesbury, MA - 1890

View of Amesbury, Essex County, M.A., 1890 / drawn & published by Geo. E. Norris.

This bird&rsquos-eye view print of Amesbury, Massachusetts was drawn by George E. Norris and published by Burleigh Lith. Est. in 1890. The township of Amesbury split off from Salisbury in the 1660's to prosper on its own as a farming and mill town along the Merrimack River. A ferry boat crossing at that point connected Amesbury with the bountiful plantations of Newburyport.

Amesbury became a modern maritime and industrial community in the 1800's with water power provided by the Powow River. West Salisbury was incorporated as part of Amesbury in 1886.

In the late 1800's Amesbury was a major manufacturing town for carriages and sleighs. It was poised for the new automobile age that was nearing. Amesbury&rsquos population in 1890 was 9,798.

The illustration includes labeled streets, buildings, waterways and railroad routes.

Features references to the following locations:

The Biddle & Smart Co., Carriage Mfrs.
Briggs Carriage Co., Briggs Car Co., Carriage, Wagon & Street Car Manufacturers.
W. G. Ellis & Co., Carriage Mfrs.
Amesbury Carriage Co., Carriage Mfrs.
John H. Clark & Co., Carriage Mfrs.
Folger & Drummond, Carriage Mfrs.
A. N. Parry & Co., Carriage Mfrs.
S. R. Bailey & Co., Carriage & Sleigh Mfrs.
Chas. W. Long & Co., Carriage Mfrs.
E. S. Felch & Co., Carriage Mfrs.
G. W. Marden & Co., Carriage Mfrs.
Currier Carriage Co.
Hume Carriage Co.
R. Drummond & Son, Carriage Mfrs.
Osgood Morrill, Carriage Mfr.
S. Rowell & Son, Carriage Mfrs.
N. H. Folger, Carriage Mfr.
J. T. Clarkson, Carriage Mfr.
Dennett & Clark, Carriage Mfrs.
Miller Bros., Carriage Mfrs.
T. W. Lane, Carriage Mfr.
Hagan & Connor, Carriage Mfrs.
G. W. Osgood, Carriage Mfr.
Jacob A. Rowell, Carriage Mfr.
F. D. Parry, Carriage Mfr.
Locke & Jewell, Carriage Mfrs.
Geo. W. Ellison, Carriage Mfr.
J. F. Esten & Sons, Carriage Mfrs.
Herbert F. Chase, Carriage Mfr.
W. S. Eaton, Carriage Mfr.
John L. Davis, Carriage Mfr.
John S. Poyen & Co., Carriage Mfr. Supplies.
Chas. Wing & Co., Carriage Mfr. Supplies.
Brown, McClure & Co., Iron, Steel, etc.
Spofford & Smart, Carriage Woodwork Mfrs.
Currier, Cameron & Co., Carriage Woodwork Mfrs.
Kendall & Lunt, Carriage Woodwork Mfrs.
Francis & Smith, Carriage Woodwork Mfrs.
F. S. Merrill, Carriage Wheel Mfr.
Atwood Bros. Mfg. Co., Carriage Lamps & Mountings, Silver Platers, etc.
Titus & Walker, Gold, Silver & Nickel Platers.
C. B. Aldrich, Dash Stitcher.
Moody & Merrill, Saw Planing & Turning Mill.
A. L. Walsh Mfg. Co.
Hamilton Mfg. Co.
Geo. H. Briggs, Insurance, Carriage Umbrella Mfr.
Geo. E. Batchelder, Attorney.
Jacob T. Choate, Lawyer.
J. Q. Adams, M. D.
J. W. Rand, M. D.
John A. Douglas, M. D.
H. Cooper, M. D.
A. W. Colby, Architect, 58 Main St.
Chas. A. Nayson, Druggist.
C. L. & J. W. Allen, Hardware & Groceries.
Geo. C. Dearborn, Groceries.
E. L. Bartlett, Groceries.
E. E. Sanborn, Groceries.
Geo. H. Sweet, Groceries.
N. E. Collins, Clothing, etc.
Economy Clothing Co., W. J. Murphy, Manager.
H. Livingston, Clothing & Gents Furnishings.
H. G. Hudson, Jeweler.
Harvey B. Locke, Watchmaker & Jeweler.
Samuel J. Brown, Boots & Shoes.
I. F. Littlefield, Stoves & Tinware.
John F. Johnson, Books & Stationery, 24 Main St.
B. F. Fifield & Co., Furniture, etc.
S. C. Patten, Furniture.
T. D. Nelson & Co., Paints, Oils, etc.
Dennett & Stearns, Painters.
M. Keenan & Co., Dry Goods and Notions.
J. F. Woodman, Meat & Provisions.
Burbank Bros., Meat & Provisions.
T. E. Boutelle, Fruit, etc.
S. M. Weare, Fruit, etc., 87 Main St.
C. A. Skeels, Fish Market.
E. P. True, Ice Dealer, 10 Congress St.
H. H. Bean Coal, Wood, Lime & Cement.
E. H. Alexander, Coal Office.
Maxfield & Currier, Lumber.
Geo. F. Pike, Contractor & Builder.
Smith & Maney, Carpenters & Builders.
Andrew Wilson, Roofer.
R. E. Harmon & Co., Plumbers.
O. Boardman, Soap Mfr.
H. L. Bailey, Laundry.
Geo. Wendall, Barber.
C. F. O&rsquoNeil, Barber.
E. H. Hoyt, Barber.
Congregational Church.
Baptist Church.
Free Will Baptist Church.
St. James Episcopal Church.
St. Josephs Catholic Church and Schools.
Methodist Church.
Friends Meeting House.
Opera House.
Post Office, B. L. Fifield, P. M. Bahan&rsquos Block.
Powow National Bank.
Amesbury National Bank.
Amesbury Daily & The Villager.
Amesbury News.
Newburyport Daily News Office.
High School.
American House, A. C. Fowler.
American House Livery, M. T. Bird.
Mechanics Hotel, C. M. Ferry.
Waterworks Pump Station, Bailey Osgood, Engineer.
Reservoir, Powow Hill.
M. D. F. Steere&rsquos Residence.
Frank Stinson, Residence.
W. C. Biddle, Residence.

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BOOK DESCRIPTION: A comprehensive history of the two towns. A reprint of the original of Merrill's 1880 publication. To the original edition, a portrait and a biography of Joseph Merrill has been added, written by Sara Locke Redford. Biographical data on many area residents has been made fully accessible via a complete index prepared by Teresa Castle, former Amesbury librarian.

The original 1880 edition was published by P.P. Stiles, Haverhill, MA, under the title "History of Amesbury, including the first seventeen years of Salisbury to the separation in 1654, and Merrimac from its incorporation in 1876.

Illustrated with black and white photographs. Includes an historical timeline of the history of Amesbury and map of the town.

An indispensable resource for genealogical studies due to the fine index added to the reprint edition.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A comprehensive history of the two towns. A reprint of the original of Merrill's 1880 publication. To the original edition, a portrait and a biography of Joseph Merrill has been added, written by Sara Locke Redford. Biographical data on many area residents has been made fully accessible via a complete index prepared by Teresa Castle, former Amesbury librarian.

The original 1880 edition was published by P.P. Stiles, Haverhill, MA, under the title "History of Amesbury, including the first seventeen years of Salisbury to the separation in 1654, and Merrimac from its incorporation in 1876.

Illustrated with black and white photographs. Includes an historical timeline of the history of Amesbury and map of the town.

An indispensable resource for genealogical studies due to the fine index added to the reprint edition.

Carriage Industry History Amesbury Massachusetts

Amesbury, Massachusetts definitely held the “wheels” when it came to carriage-making. A vehicle stamped “made in Amesbury” was a guarantee that you were receiving the highest quality from a community that took pride in their work. These manufacturers were never willing to risk their reputation or Amesbury’s.

Streeter Smith, a carriage-maker born in 1838 told a reporter on his 99th birthday, “Amesbury was absent of “idlers.” The town's “people worked hard, had rosy cheeks, went to bed at a proper hour, and huddled around the fire together,” he said. The “spry” widow boasted that he lived through four wars, but nothing was more honorable than witnessing the rosy cheeked Bailey form an empire converting sleighs to cash.

Peter Hoyt, a trustee of the Amesbury Carriage Museum said in its heyday, "the thriving carriage industry provided the lifeblood for the citizens as locally manufactured carriages were shipped the world over.”

“Even when faced with challenges like those experienced during the 1888 blizzard or the great Carriage Hill fire, the close-knit carriage community joined together and responded," Hoyt added. "It was in the spirit of cooperation that neighboring businesses made needed space accommodations for the businesses that were affected by these tragic events.”

The early carriage-making in Amesbury can be traced to men like Charles Patten, John F Pierce, and John Coffin (1836) who worked by hand making two-wheeled chaises.

A few years later, the 21-year-old Jacob Huntington would make history by “shaping his ideas into wood, iron, leather, and various articles.” He crafted vehicles which combined “cheapness with beauty.”

Huntington developed a magical formula. His principles were mastered by pioneer carriage builders who spent the early years hammering out the details. The results were phenomenal and put Amesbury on the map.

Hamilton Woolen Mills Corp., powered by the Powow River and steam, owned several carriage businesses. John Hassett had his first position as office clerk there. He worked his way up to private secretary for F. Babcock, one of largest carriage builders.

Hassett eventually formed a partnership with his brother James and George Hodge. At Hassett & Hodge, John ran the office and earned the reputation as one of the best financiers around. He became president of the Amesbury National Bank and was elected president of the National Carriage Builders' Association.

George Briggs, along with John Clarkson, invented a breakthrough umbrella paten for vehicles that automatically held at any desired angle.

Briggs was famous for his Tally-Ho Break, made to carry 20 passengers. Apparently his green thumb held some notoriety as reports from the community garden page noted he picked 253 cucumbers from his small patch and he saw no reprieve. (1872)

Isaac Osgood was Amesbury’s golden boy and mechanical genius. Among his inventions were the fifth wheel and an axle box that would do away with the weekly pilings. At age 84, Osgood still had plenty of vigor. He lectured on his inventions and gave demonstrations to young carriage masters.

Thomas Lane learned the blacksmith trade from his father. There were 11 children in the clan so little Tom adapted strong survivor instincts. He worked for JR Huntington, and while under his employment, invented the Lane cross-spring for carriages.

Lane went into business for himself. His carriages were known throughout the world for their “superb features.” In a 1907 interview with “Motor, Body, & Paint,” Lane noted that his company was prospering and his sales reports were the largest in his career.

Today, there is a beautiful Lane carriage owned by Ken Terry on display at the Amesbury Health Center lobby.

Felix Parry came to the states from Canada when he was 16. He started as a carriage worker until he enlisted in Company H 32nd Massachusetts. When the Civil War ended, Parry returned and started his own carriage manufacturing company. He invented two patents to the carriage-bow, offering significant improvements. (1879)

Parry also built the first South African coaches in America. The six African coaches were noted for strength and durability that could “traverse the whole continent without a break.”

Before William Biddle made his millions in the carriage-making industry he was a clerk in the machine shop of the Salisbury Mills Manufacturing Co.

He moonlighted as a salesman and baker until he rubbed enough dough together to open a small plant in 1870. Biddle began the manufacture of carriage gears and bodies, and general carriage woodwork. A fire destroyed his building (1876) but that did not hinder his strong desire to succeed.

Biddle regrouped and went into partnership with W. W. Smart erecting one of the largest factory buildings of the time. According to “Automotive Manufacturer,” the company continually expanded several times and with each growth spurt added more additional hands. In 1882, the sales of the company ran close to three quarters of $1 million, and the hands numbered 270 in all departments.

Biddle’s son William modernized the structure which became Amesbury Brass and Foundry Co. The enterprise was a transformation into a lucrative automobile bodybuilding business.

Another famous marvel from the Carriage Dynasty were the “ghost trains” which passed through the countryside every night “like fast flying processions of spirits from another world.”

The flat cars were loaded with carriages wrapped in tarpaulin to transport them safely to new worlds. Under the white mysterious mass coverings were name engravings of the carriage gods: Currier, White, Folger & Drummond, Boardman, Chase, Hume, Blanchard, Rollins, Pettingill, Miller, Clark, and many more.

Margaret Rice, in “Sun on the River,” notes that the carriage era was the “high point” for Amesbury. By 1891 there were more than 50 carriage manufacturers. The carriage worker families experienced a comfort, grace, and prosperity that could not be matched.

However, it appears that the atmosphere of ingenuity and enterprise has returned. If John Greenleaf Whittier rode his carriage through Amesbury's Market Square today his verse would still hold true: “I have seen no prospect fairer, In this goodly Eastern land.”

Visitor Information

The City of Amesbury has a long history of innovation, entrepreneurship and art. As you walk through our revitalized downtown, you'll see old mill buildings which used to house our textile-makers, iron workers and carriage builders. Now these buildings are home to restaurants, shops, residences, offices and artist studios.

Amesbury was incorporated in 1668, and our more than 350 years of history are showcased through our historic homes, museums and sites.

We welcome you visit us and see all that Amesbury has to offer. We are conveniently located at the junction of I-95 and I-495, at the border of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Parks & Recreation

We are very proud of our green space, our parks and our recreations areas in Amesbury. We have trails to explore, outdoor youth programming, beaches and boating. We also have a beautiful, paved Riverwalk for pedestrians and cyclists which runs from our downtown area through to Salisbury, Newburyport and beyond.

History & Culture

Amesbury boasts many historic sites, homes and museums. Each tell part of the story of Amesbury's history - we welcome you to visit them all! Some sites are only open on special days or by appointment, please check their website before visiting. Below are links to explore these historical and cultural sites, as well as other resources for more information and events.

Local History Collection

The Local History Collection includes both ready reference which is accessible during regular library hours as well as special collections available by appointment only.

For questions or appointments to review special collections please contact:

Margie Walker, Local History Librarian
[email protected]
978-388-8148 Ext. 610

Meghan Fahey, Archivist
[email protected]
978-388-8148 Ext. 609

The collection focuses on materials about the history of Amesbury, Massachusetts, and the surrounding geographical area including Salisbury and the Merrimack Valley that establish Amesbury within its historical context. Emphasis is also given to the acquisition of those materials which will contribute to a knowledge of the region’s social, civic, religious, economic and cultural life, past and present.

The collection emphasizes material of significant local and historical value and includes materials by and about the people of Amesbury, Amesbury High School Yearbooks, cemetery maps, personal papers, manuscripts, deeds, scrapbooks, books, ephemera, and genealogical information.

The Local History collection includes books, diaries, pamphlets, newsletters, bulletins, periodicals, reports, letters, speeches, newspapers, manuscripts, documents, maps, atlases, clippings, postcards, photographs, photographic negatives, slides, films, videotapes, electronic materials, paintings, posters, stereo views, genealogical records, memorabilia and ephemera such as commemorative programs and advertisements.

Gifts & Donations

The library welcomes donations to its Local History Collection. All donated materials must be free of dirt, mold, moisture, and pests, and should be in good condition. Donors must sign a “Deed of Gift” transferring ownership, and copyright, if applicable, to the Amesbury Public Library. The donor and the library each retain a copy of the deed of gift.

The library reserves the right to decline gift offers. Gifts which are out of scope or which require more resources to preserve and make available than the library can provide will not be accepted. Please do not drop off donations without a prior appointment.

To discuss your donation please contact Margie Walker at 978-388-8148 ext. 610 or email at [email protected] or Meghan Fahey at 978-388-8148 ext. 609 or email [email protected]

The Amesbury Library has a Genealogy Club and also Local History Programs. You can find more information here.

Genealogy Resources
We have provided some resources to help you in your search for local history and genealogy. You can find more information here.

Essex County MA Military Records

NOTE: Additional records that apply to Essex County are also on the Massachusetts Military Records page.

Essex County Military Records

The Essex Antiquarian 1897-1909 (genealogical publication with genealogies wills and land, court, cemetery, and military records) American Ancestors

Veterans Memorials of Essex County Southern Essex District Registry of Deeds

Amesbury Military Records

Andover Military Records

Andover, Massachusetts, in the world war Internet Archive

Andover, Massachusetts, in the world war Internet Archive

Record of death and interment of Andover soldiers and sailors Internet Archive

Soldiers and sailors whose graves have been designated by the marker of the society, 1901 Internet Archive

Beverly Military Records

Bradford Military Records

An historical sketch of Bradford, Mass., in the Revolution : including East Bradford, now Groveland Genealogy Gophers

Danvers Military Records

Essex Military Records

Book of Aid Paid by Town During Civil War Internet Archive

Civil War canvas records (details about soldiers from Essex) Internet Archive

Civil War enlistment records Internet Archive

Ledger book of money paid to families of Civil War volunteers Internet Archive

Roll of members - Essex GAR, 1871 Internet Archive

Georgetown Military Records

Gloucester Military Records

Cape Ann Sailors and Soldiers in the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1782 City of Gloucester

Gloucester Veterans of World War II City of Gloucester

Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1776 City of Gloucester

Veteran Memorials in the City of Gloucester City of Gloucester

Groveland Military Records

Hamilton Military Records

Ipswich Military Records

Lawrence Military Records

History of Lawrence, Massachusetts, with war records Genealogy Gophers

World War II Veterans list Lawrence Free Library

Lynn Military Records

Lynnfield Military Records

Lynnfield's Gold Star servicemen : World War II, Korea, Vietnam Internet Archive

Manchester Military Records

Methuen Military Records

Middleton Military Records

Newbury Military Records

Newburyport Military Records

The prisoners of 1776 a relic of the revolution. Containing a full and particular account of the sufferings and privations of all the American prisoners captured on the high seas, and carried into Plymouth, England, during the revolution of 1776. Also, a Genealogy Gophers

Peabody Military Records

Honorable Discharged Servicemen (Inducted) World War II A thru Z Office List Internet Archive

Records of Military Services Spanish-American and World War I - Assessors Internet Archive

World War I Soldier Records 1917 for Peabody Internet Archive

Rowley Military Records

Salem Military Records

Saugus Military Records

Rebellion Record : complete record of the names of all the soldiers and officers in the military service and of all the seamen and officers in the naval service Internet Archive

Record of service soldiers and sailors from the town of Saugus in the German War Internet Archive

Service Records of Saugus World War Veterans Internet Archive

Veterans Buried in Saugus Internet Archive

Topsfield Military Records

Wenham Military Records

Wenham in World War II : war service of Wenham men and women and civilian services of Wenham people Internet Archive

West Newbury Military Records

How to Use This Site Video

Massachusetts Map

Essex County shown in red

Research Tip

Military records pertain to the military in some way. There are a variety of military records that were created because of the involvement of the United States in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, etc.

History of Amesbury and Merrimac, Massachusetts

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Watch the video: Union Congregational Church Amesbury, Massachusetts Top #7 Facts (August 2022).