Newburyport, a city, port of entry, and one of the shire towns of Essex co., Massachusetts, situated on the S. bank of the Merrimack river, 3 m. from its mouth, and 34 m. N N. of Boston, in lat. 42 48' 80" N., lon 70° 52' 3" W.; pop. in 1840, 7,160; in 1850, 9,572; in 1860, 13,401; in 1870, 12,595.
The Eastern railroad passes through it, and it is the terminus of a branch of the Boston and Maine railroad. Horse cars run to different parts of the city and to Amesbury, and several lines of stages ply to the adjoining towns. The city is situated on a swell of land rising gradually to the height of 100 ft. from the river, and commands a fine view of the ocean and the surrounding country. The streets are laid out regularly, and finely shaded with trees; and High street, the principal thoroughfare, extending for 3 m. parallel to the river, and about a quarter of a mile from it, is one of the most beautiful streets in New England. In the centre of the city is a fine mall, extending around a beautiful pond of six acres. Near the city is Oak Hill cemetery. The principal public buildings are the custom house, city hall, and court house. Some of the churches are of admirable architecture. Under the Federal street church are the remains of George Whitefield, who died here in 1770. The same church contains a whispering gallery, where a slight whisper can be heard 115 ft. The harbor is formed by the position of Plum island along the mouth of the river, and is safe and commodious. The bar at the mouth of the river is shifting, with 9 ft. of water at low and 17 at high tide.
The value of imports from foreign countries for the year ending June 30,1874, was $227,353; exports to foreign ports, $42,739; entrances in the foreign trade, 19, of 2,530 tons; clearances, 34, of 7,837 tons; entrances in the coastwise trade and fisheries, G33, of 63,405 tons; clearances, 607, of 69,678 tons; engaged in the cod and mackerel fisheries, 33 vessels,of 1,316 tons; belonging in the district, 67, of 12,865 tons. Shi,, building forms a prominent business of the place. Vessels were built here as early as 1680, and in 1766 there were 72 vessels on the stocks at one time. In 1854, 20,000tons of shipping of different kinds were built, the vessels varying from 100 to 1,600 tons, and employing 1,000 men. After that the business was depressed, but is now increasing, and 18 vessels, aggregate tonnage 15,000, were built in 1874, the largest being 1,608 tons. There are four manufacturing corporations, with an aggregate capital of $1,200,000, employing 1,125 hands, running 35,216 spindles, and manufacturing 10,270,000 yards of print cloths and fine sheetings and shirtings annually. There are also manufactories of boots and shoes, combs, hats, steam pumps, paper, iron and brass castings, machinery, jewelry, etc.
The city contains four national banks, with an aggregate capital of $820,000; two savings banks, with deposits amounting to $5,300,000; and an insurance company. It is divided into six wards, and is governed by a mayor, a board of aldermen of six, and a common council of 18 members, and has a police force, a police court, and a fire department. There are several charitable organizations, the most important of which is the old ladies' home of the society for the relief of aged females. The public schools of Newburyport have long occupied a high rank. The female high school was the first of the kind established in the country; the Putnam free school, supported by a fund of $50,000, is open to all without regard to residence; these two have recently been consolidated with the male high school. The number of pupils enrolled in the public schools in 1873 was 2,070; average attendance, 1,579. For an account of the university of modern languages recently established here, see Massachusetts, vol. xi., p. 257. A daily, a semi-weekly, and a weekly newspaper are published. The "Newburyport Herald" was established in 1792. A free library, founded in 1856 by a donation of Josiah Little, contains upward of 15,000 volumes, and is constantly increasing.
There are 16 churches, viz.: Baptist, Christian, Congregational (5), Episcopal, Methodist (2), Presbyterian (2), Roman Catholic, Second Advent, Unitarian, and Universalist. - Newburyport was settled about 1635, but until 1764 formed a part of Newbury. It was distinguished for its patriotic spirit during the revolution. The first tea destroyed was in this town, having been taken from a powder house, where it had been deposited for safe keeping, and burned by the citizens in the public square. The first privateer fitted out in the United States was from this port, and the first volunteer company to join the continental army was here formed in response to an appeal of the clergy. On May 31, 1811, a great fire destroyed a large portion of the town and over $1,000,000 worth of property. In the war of 1812 Newburyport was particularly distinguished for the bravery and success of its privateers. In 1851 a portion of Newbury was annexed to the town, and on May 14 of the same year a city charter was obtained.
For the recent discovery of silver in the vicinity, see Massachusetts, vol. xi., p. 247.