West Newbury Massachusetts, 1890
West Newbury is a remarkably pleasant agricultural town in the northerly part of Essex County, 38 miles northeast from Boston. The Merrimack River separates it from Haverhill and Merrimack on the northwest, and from Amesbury on the north. Newburyport bounds it on the east; Newbury on the southeast; and Groveland on the southwest. Near the middle point of the Merrimack River border, a fine bridge, one third of a mile in length, connects it with Rocks Village, in Haverhill; and a street railroad connects with Haverhill and Groveland The places mentioned, and the Byfield station at the south, afford railroad conveniences. The post-offices and villages are West Newbury (centre) and Artichoke in the eastern section.
Long Hill, Indian Hill, and other eminences, with Crane's and Dole's ponds, beautifully diversify the landscape Indian Brook from the centre, and Artichoke Brook in the eastern part of the town, flow into the Merrimack; and Beaver Brook in the south, into Parker River. The assessed area of the town is 8,107 acres; of which 434 are forest, consisting of pine, maple and birch, chiefly. The frequent orchards, and the numerous elms and maples, from the sapling to the monarch of a century, which adorn many streets and highways, give the town a woody appearance. Merrimack schist (quite slaty) and sienite constitute the geological structure; and iron-ore is found in some localities. The soil is mostly a rich clayey loam.
The value of the products of the 151 farms amounted in 1885 to $183,984. The nursery products made up $10,790 of this sum; apples, $9,558; and strawberries, $8,896. Pears and cranberries also formed considerable items. There were kept 660 milch cows, 95 oxen and 315 horses. The manufactures are chiefly boots and shoes, and combs and other horn goods. For the first, there were two factories, employing 441 persons; and of the latter, three factories employing 51 men. There were other small manufactures; the aggregate product reaching the value of $94,023. The population was 1,899; of whom 532 were legal voters. The valuation in 1888 was $953,137, with a tax-rate of $15 on $1,000. There were 383 taxed dwelling-houses. There are four public school-houses, valued at some $5,000. The schools are graded, and include a high school. Three associations in the town have in the aggregate about 3,000 volumes. The town newspaper is the "Messenger," issued bi-weekly. The Congregationalists have two church edifices; the Baptists, Roman Catholics and Friends one each.
This town was formed from Newbury, February 18, 1819, and incorporated as the town of Parsons; and on June 14, 1820, the name was changed to the one it now bears. The first church was formed in 1698, when the Rev. Samuel Belcher was settled as pastor. West Newbury lost 22 soldiers in the late war for the maintenance of the Union. Cornelius Conway Felton, LL.D. (1807-1862), an eminent Greek scholar, and writer, was a native of this town.
Pp. 689-690 in Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer, 1890