Merrill, 1928, reprint 1983
in the Seventeenth Century - Chapter VI,
was settled by a company of Englishmen largely from Wiltshire,
who arrived in Boston on the ship Mary and John in May,
1634. The party, numbering about one hundred, at once
removed to Ipswich, then called Agawam, where they remained
through the following Winter. Ipswich had been settled
the previous year. Perhaps it already seemed crowded.
At all events, in the Spring of 1635 the General Court
granted liberty to the new-comers to remove to Quascacunquen,
and their settlement was given the name Newberry.
or Wessacucon, was the Indian name for the waterfall on
the Parker River, in the Byfield parish of Newbury, and
the same name was often applied to the river itself. Shortly
after receiving authority to remove to Quascacunquen the
migration took place. The party made the journey of seven
or eight miles from Ipswich to Newbury by boats, landing
on the north shore of Parker River, about a quarter of
a mile below the present
bridge at the Lower Green. The landing place has been
marked, in recent years, by a boulder, suitably inscribed.
map for zoomable Acrobat version.
first settlement in Newbury was at Oldtown, on the
Newbury originally included Newburyport and West
Salisbury originally included Amesbury and Merrimac;
also Seabrook and South Hampton, N.H.
Haverhill originally included Plaistow and other
territory now in New Hampshire.
Rowley originally included Georgetown, Groveland,
Bradford and Boxford.
boulder, shown in the illustration,
is flanked on either hand by modest Summer cottages, which
line the river bank. These cottages are owned for the
most part by people in Newburyport, the city being only
three miles distant. On the Lower Green a more pretentious
in 1905, capped by a representation in bronze of an ancient
ship, commemorates the first settlers of the town, and
bronze tablets give the names of the first American ancestors
of many old New England families.
settlers of Newbury included artisans from some of the
Wiltshire towns, and husbandmen from various rural communities
in the South of England. There were weavers, tanners,
shoemakers, mariners, besides two ministers and a physician.
How many families settled in Newbury in 1635 is not known,
but it is certain that John and Nathaniel Merrill were
not among those who arrived that year. The date when the
brothers came to New England is a matter of conjecture.
John Meriall was a settler in Ipswich as early as 1636,
but while it is probable that Nathaniel came to America
with him, no record
is found of Nathaniel's residence in that town.
earliest grants of land to John and Nathaniel Merrill
in Newbury were on the "Neck," south of the
Parker River. The Neck is a piece of upland, of moderate
extent, bordering on the river, but surrounded by salt-marsh
on the other sides. In the Proprietors' Records, folio
38, a grant appears: "To John Merrill an House-Lott
of four acres on the neck over the Great River be it more
or less & is Bounded by John Pemberton on the east
John Caley on the west the River on the north and the
way on the south." Under date of 23 July, 1638---"There
is granted to John Merrill's brother four acres in the
neck for an house lott next his brother Jno. Merrill."
Here no doubt were the earliest homestead sites of the
two men in the town.
you have further information on Newbury and would like
to share it with others, please contact