Georgetown Massachusetts, 1890

Georgetown is a prosperous agricultural and manufacturing town in the central part of Essex County, 31 miles north of Boston by the Danvers and Newburyport Railroad; the Haverhill Branch forming a junction with this at the Georgetown station. The other stations are South Georgetown and Byfield; and the other villages are South Byfield and Marlboro.

Georgetown is hounded on the northwest by Groveland, northeast by Newbury, southeast by Rowley, and southwest by Boxford. The assessed area is 7,548 acres. The flora is varied; and in the 2,285 acres of forest there appears nearly or quite every kind of indigenous tree found in New England. The soil is very good, with a clay bottom. The rock is sienite. The land is undulating; and at the west is a hill called Bald Pate (said to be the highest in Essex County), which commands a splendid view of the surrounding country. The landscape is beautified by Pentucket and Rock ponds, somewhat north of the central village, about 200 and 150 acres respectively, and Sorag or Bald Pate Pond, near the western border, also of nearly 200 acres. Hesseltine Brook, from Boxford, discharges into the western pond; and this into the next, which in turn empties into Pentucket Pond, whose outlet is Parker's River, which reaches the sea at Plum Island, east of Newbury.

These streams afford some motive power in Georgetown, which has served to run three saw mills and a flouring mill. The principal business at present is shoemaking, for which there are ten factories. About 1,000 persons are employed. There are also a woollen mill, two or three carriage factories, cordage, furniture, wearing apparel, metallic goods and food establishments, two or three tanneries, stone quarries, and other industries, whose aggregate product, for the year of the last Industrial Report, reached the value of $668,837. The farms number 172, but are generally small. Their largest products proportionally were wood, vegetables and fruit; the latter including cranberries and strawberries. There were sold of the last 41,300 quarts, amounting to $3,904. The aggregate farm product was $94,796. The Georgetown National Bank has a capital of $50,000. The savings bank, at the close of last year, held deposits to the amount of $408,854. The valuation of the town in 1888 was $1,015,049; with a tax of $15.50 on $1,000.

The population is 2,229, 645 being voters; and these find shelter in 482 dwelling-houses of ample proportions. The principal villages are handsomely built, and have their streets beautifully shaded in part by elm, maple and horse-chestnut, mostly of forty years' growth, There are a good town-hall, and a public library building, presented, together with 3,000 volumes, by the late George Peabody; whose sister, Mrs. J. R. Daniels, was resident in the town. The library has now grown to about 7,000 volumes. The schools are all graded, and occupy eleven buildings, valued at about $15,000. The "Georgetown Advocate " is an enterprising journal, and has the favorable regard of the people.

The Memorial Congregational Church, of beautiful design in the Norman style, and constructed of brick with freestone trimmings, was erected by George Peabody and his sister in memory of their mother. The other Congregational churches are the First and the Byfield. There are also one Baptist and a Roman Catholic church, The most noticeable mortuary monuments are that to the memory of Mr. John Perley, constructed of Italian marble, and one of granite to the 49 Georgetown soldiers lost of the 123 sent into the late war. This town, it is said, was represented on fourteen battle-fields for the Union.

For a long period Georgetown remained a part of the town of Rowley, and was known as "New Rowley." It was not incorporated under its present name until April 21, 1838. The Rev. James Chandler, first pastor, was ordained October 18, 1732, and died April 16, 1788. He was followed by the Rev. Isaac Braman, who was ordained June 7 1797, and died December 26, 1858; making these two terms of the pastoral office more than 116 years.

Among the leading citizens held in eminent esteem by the community is Mr. John Perley, who left $50,000 to found a school in the town, to be called "The Perley Institute."

pp. 326-327 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890