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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Amesbury (Massachusetts)

AMESBURY, a township of Essex county, in N.E. Massachusetts, U.S.A., situated on the Merrimac river, about 6 m. above its mouth. Pop. (1890) 9798; (1900) 9473, of whom 2448 were foreign-born; (1910, U. S. census), 9894. Amesbury is served by two divisions of the Boston & Maine railway, and is connected by electric line with Haverhill and Newburyport, Mass., and with Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, and Salisbury Beach, Mass., two summer resorts. The township covers a land area of about 13 sq. m. The surface is hilly. The Powow river, a small stream, passes through the centre of the township. There is a public library. Among Amesbury's manufactures are hats, cotton goods, carriages, automobile bodies, carriage and automobile lamps, thermometers, brass castings and motor boats. In 1905 the factory products were valued at $3,614,692. Amesbury was settled about 1644 as a separate part of Salisbury, and in 1654, by mutual agreement of the old and new “towns," became practically independent, although not legally a township until 1666 (named Amesbury, from the English town in Wilts, in 1667). It suffered repeatedly in the course of the colonial Indian wars. Quakers settled here as early as 1701. Josiah Bartlett (1729-1795), a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born here, and is commemorated by a statue (1888) by Karl Gerhardt. Shipbuilding was an important industry in the 18th and especially the first quarter of the 19th century, and the U.S. frigate “Alliance” was built at Salisburypoint in 1778. A nail factory, one of the earliest in the country, was built on the Powow in 1796. The manufacture of iron began about 1710, of hats in 1769, of carriages in 1800 and of cotton goods in 1812. Paul Moody, who with F. C. Lowell constructed in 1814 at Waltham the first successful power-loom in America, was engaged in the manufacture of cotton goods in Amesbury. The township was the home of John G. Whittier from 1836 to 1892; here were written most of the poems of his middle and later life, many of which describe the surrounding country. In 1876 Merrimac township was created out of the territory of Amesbury; in 1886 the west part of the old township of Salisbury was united to Amesbury.

See Joseph Merrill, History of Amesbury (Haverhill, 1880); S. T. Pickard, Whittier-land, A Handbook of North Essex (Boston, New York, 1904).