Beverly Massachusetts, 1890

Beverly is an old agricultural, nautical and manufacturing town, beautifully situated on rising ground on the southern shore of Essex County. It is bounded on the north by Wenham, east by Manchester, south by Salem Harbor, and west by Danvers. A bridge 1,500 feet long connects Beverly village on the southwestern point with Salem, across the inner harbor, called Beverly Harbor. It is 18 miles northeast of Boston by the Eastern Railroad, which has stations at Beverly and North Beverly ; and on the Gloucester branch road, following Beverly station, are Montserrat, Pride's Crossing and Beverly Farms. The post-offices are Beverly and Beverly Farms ; and the villages are these and North Beverly, Centerville, Cove and Ryall's Side. The streams are East (or Bass) River, in the western part of the town, and Chubb's Creek, which partially separates it from Manchester, on the eastern side. The most elevated points are Bald Hill in the northeast, and Cherry and Brown hills in the northwest. Near the last is Wenham Lake, of 225 acres lying across the line between Beverly and Wenham, and about equally in each. From this, by means of an aqueduct, Beverly village and Salem are supplied with water. About half-way between the lake and Beverly Farms is Beaver Pond, containing about 20 acres. Another feature of note is Beverly Rock, which may be considered the half-way mark between Beaver Pond and Beverly Farms. The scenery in most parts of the town is picturesque and charming, both for sylvan and sea views. The portion directly opposite Salem is the most populous, and has many well-shaded streets and handsome public and private buildings. The number of dwellings in the town in 1885 was 1741. North Beverly is a pleasant village between East River and Wenham Pond. Beverly Farms, romantically situated in the easterly section of the town, has a very beautiful street overlooking the islands of the bay. Elegant mansions extend along the shore on either hand, and press back upon the agricultural domain of the interior ; and there is a general look of finish throughout the town. The area of Beverly, aside from highways and water surfaces, is 8,604 acres ; and of this 1,235 acres are woodland. The geological structure is sienite ; in which are found, here and there, specimens of polymignite, tin ore, green felspar and columbite. The farms number upwards of 160 ; and the product of the dairies, in 1885, was valued at $57,729 ; the poultry product at $12,291 ; vegetables, $57,947 ; the aggregate product being $206,111. Beverly Harbor admits vessels of considerable size, and both shipbuilding and fisheries are prosecuted with regularity. The catch of food fish alone by the fishermen of this port in 1885 was $35,436. The chief income of the people, however, is from the manufactures. Food preparations, in the year mentioned, yielded $72,998 ; metallic and wood work, 30,536; clothing, $67,393 ; building $302,638 ; leather, $225,000 ; boots and shoes, $3,567,743. The latter manufacture employed 31 establishments ; and the total number of all kinds in the town was 123 ; the value of the aggregate product being $4,415,069. The valuation , in 1888, was $13,859,225, with a tax of $14 on $1,000. The Beverly National Bank, by the last report of the Comptroller, had assets to the value of $684,139, including the paid-in capital of $200,000 ; and the savings bank held deposits to the amount of $1,038,044. The public schools were accommodated by nine school buildings, valued at $100,000. A private kindergarten school is also sustained here. The New England Industrial School for Deaf-mutes, having buildings valued at $5,000, is located in this town. There are twelve libraries accessible to the public, having in the aggregate about 20,000 volumes. The town public library has some 12,000 ; a private circulating library 1,000 or more ; and the remainder are Sunday-school attachments. There are two valuable weekly papers published here, the "Citizen " and the "Times." There are ten churches -- belonging to the first and second Baptist ; the Dane Street Congregational, the Second Congregational (North Beverly) and the Washington Street Congregational ; the Methodist Episcopal ; the Protestant Episcopal (Saint Peter's) ; the Roman Catholic (Star of the Sea) ; the First Parish (Unitarian) ; and the Universalist.

The territory of this town was originally a part of Salem, and bore the name of Bass River ; which was incorporated in 1668 as Beverly, probably in reference to the town of that name in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. In 1753 another tract was annexed from Salem ; and in 1857 part of Beverly was annexed to Danvers. In 1671 Roger Conant and thirty-four others petitioned to have the name changed, "because," he averred, "we being but a small place, it has caused us a constant nickname of 'beggarly.'" He desired to have the place called Budleigh, in honor of the town from which he came ; but his petition was not granted. The first meeting-house was erected in 1656 ; and on the 20th of September, 1767, Rev. John Hale was ordained the first minister. It was the duty of the sexton, in 1665 and later, to "ring the bell at nine o'clock every night a sufficient space of time," and to "keep and turn the glass," which was to guide the minister during his services ; it being under stood that his sermon would occupy just one hour. Capt. Thomas Lothrop, commander of a company called "The Flower of Essex," most of whom, with their leader, fell at Bloody Brook in Deerfield, in 1675, was from this town. The number of enlistments in Beverly for the late war was 988 ; and about 100 of these lost their lives in the service of their country. There are now 80 residents of the town who are over 80 years of age ; 35 who are past 85 ; and five who are over 90.

Distinguished men having Beverly for their birthplace are Col. Robert Hale (1703-1767), a brave soldier, physician and legislator ; William Baich (1704-1792), an able divine and author ; Israel Thorndike (1759-1832), an eminent merchant ; Sidney Willard (1780-1856), author, and professor of Hebrew in Harvard University; William Bingham Tappan, an excellent poet, author of the familiar lyric, commencing, "There is an hour of peaceful rest;" Robert Rantoul (1805-1852), a distinguished lawyer and politician ; Isaac Ray, M.D. (1807), an eminent physician ; Andrew Preston Peabody, D.D. (1811), an able and elegant scholar, Plummer professor in Harvard University.

pp. 146-148 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890