One of the shire towns of Essex county. This is considered one of the most beautiful towns in New England. It lies on a gentle acclivity, on the south bank of the Merrimack, at the union of that river with the ocean. In point of territory, it is the smallest town in the commonwealth, being only one mile square. It was taken from Newbury in 1764. Population, in 1837, 6,741. This place has been and now is considerably noted for its commerce and ship building. Some of the old continental frigates were built here, and in 1790, the tonnage of the port was 11,870 tons. Of late years the foreign commerce of the place has diminished, in consequence of a sand bar at the mouth of the harbor. This place has considerable inland and foreign commerce. It has four whale ships, and a large amount of tonnage engaged in the freighting business and the cod and mackerel fisheries. Tonnage of the district, in 1837, 22,078 tons.
The manufactures of Newburyport consist of cotton goods, boots, shoes, hats, bar iron, iron castings, chairs, cabinet and tin wares, combs, spirits, vessels, snuff, segars, organs, soap and candles: annual amount about $350,000. The product of the whale fishery, the year ending April 1, 1837, was $142,982. During the same period, this town and Newbury had 128 vessels employed in the cod and mackerel fishery, employing 1,000 hands: product of that year, $177,700.
Newburyport lies 34 miles N. by E. from Boston, 20 N. from Salem, 24 S. by W. from Portsmouth, N.H., and 2 miles S.E. from Essex bridge. Lat. 42°47' N.; lon. 70°47' W. From the mouth of this harbor, Plum Island, extends to the mouth of Ipswich river.
The Hon. William Bartlett and Moses Brown, Esq., distinguished for their enterprise and integrity as merchants, were natives of this town.
The celebrated George Whitefield, one of the founders of the sect of the Methodists, and one of its most eloquent preachers, died in this town, Sept. 21, 1770.
A handsome monument has been erected to his memory by the Hon. William Bartlett.