Essex county. This town was first settled by a party of industrious and pious persons from Yorkshire, Eng., in 1639. They erected the first fulling mill in New England, and manufactured the first cloth in North America. There are a great variety of soils in the town; a large part is salt meadow, and the residue is fertile and productive. It comprises a part of Plum island, and large tracts of wood land. It is watered by Rowley river, which rises from several ponds in Boxford. This river affords a water power, and before its junction with Plum Island Sound, forms a harbor for vessels of moderate draught of water, and in which many vessels have been built.
Ancient Rowley was divided in 1838: its western part was detached and incorporated by the name of Georgetown. Since this division Rowley possesses but little manufacturing interest, but a valuable agricultural one, to which its inhabitants are principally devoted.
This ancient town is very pleasant, and has been the birth place of many learned men. It lies 30 miles N. from Boston, 16 N. by W. from Salem, and 25 E.N.E. from Lowell. Population, 1838, about 1,000.