Merrimac Massachusetts, 1890

Merrimac is a thrifty and attractive manufacturing town situated on the north bank of the Merrimack River, and bounded by Amesbury on the east, West Newbury and Haverhill on the south, and Newton in New Hampshire on the northwest and north. The West Amesbury (Merrimac) Branch Railroad connects this town with the Western Division of the Boston and Maine Railroad.

The villages are Merrimac, near the centre, Merrimacport on the river, and Birchdale, near Amesbury. The first two are post-offices. The assessed area of the town is 4,969 acres, including 786 acres of woodland. The town is pleasantly diversified with hill, valley and plain, with a fine pond (Kimball's) at the northeast side, 90 feet above the sea, and covering 498 acres. From it flows Powow River, forming the divisional line with Amesbury, and turning several mills in that town. There is an extensive plain near the central village, marked by a meeting-house, and a burying-ground, noted for the old fort and the militia trainings; and another plain equally large near the eastern cemetery, noted for great trainings and Indian relics. Brandybrow Hill, west, and Red Oak Hill, north of the centre , are the chief elevations, and afford extensive and beautiful views. The geological formation is chiefly Merrimack schist. The noble Merrimack River makes a deep curve in the southern side of the town. It is navigable for schooners to Merrimac; and during the warmer part of the year it presents an animated scene, from numerous sailing crafts and small steamers bearing pleasure parties from the busy cities above to favorite points on the river, or out on the sea. Cobbler's Brook, gathering its waters in the northwestern part of the town, flows through both villages to the large river, furnishing valuable power.

The principal business is carriage-making, in the different departments of which, in numerous shops, some 500 men are engaged. The aggregate value of the product in the last State census year (1885) was $621,935. There were also a boot and shoe factory employing 16 persons; two saw mills, a tannery, an earthenware factory, a printing office and others. The food preparations amounted to $24,100. The value of the aggregate manufactures of the town was $708,498. The product of the 50 farms amounted to $44,084. There is a national bank with a capital of $ 200,000; and the Merrimack Savings Bank, at the beginning of the present year, held deposits to the amount of $400,996. The valuation in 1888 was $1,337,739, with a taxation of $18 on $1,000. The dwelling-houses numbered 492; the population 2,378, including 641 legal voters. The town-hall, a handsome building with a tower containing a clock, and costing about $25,060, was presented by William P. Sargent, Esq., a wealthy carriage manufacturer of the town, but residing in Boston. The public library, opened in 1877, had in 1885, 4,000 volumes. A further source of entertainment and instruction is the " Budget," issued weekly. The town has primary, grammar and high schools, occupying eight buildings, valued at nearly $20,000. The Congregationalists, Baptists and Universalists each have a church edifice at the centre village, and the Methodists nd Baptists have each one at Merrimacport.

The Congregational church here was organized in 1726. This town was formerly the west parish of Amesbury, and was set off and incorporated, April 11, 1876.

pp. 456-457 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890

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