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Amesbury

Trip Planner USA  /  Massachusetts  /  Amesbury
(4.5/5 based on 140+ reviews for 3 attractions)
Things to do: outdoors, fun & games, historic sites
Amesbury is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, located on the left bank of the Merrimack River near its mouth, upstream from Salisbury and across the river from Newburyport and West Newbury. The population was 16,283 at the 2010 census. A former farming and mill town, Amesbury is today largely residential. It is one of the two northernmost towns in Massachusetts (the other being neighboring Salisbury).HistorySettlement periodIn 1637 the first English settler in the Salisbury-Amesbury region, John Bayly, crossed the Merrimack River from the new settlement at Newbury, built a log cabin, and began to clear the land for cultivation. He intended to send to England for his wife and children, but they never did rejoin him. He and his hired man, William Schooler, were arrested shortly for a murder Schooler had committed. The latter was hanged for it. Bayly was acquitted. Given the fishing rights on the river by the subsequent settlement, provided he would sell only to it, he abandoned agriculture for fishing.On September 6, 1638, the General Court of Massachusetts created a plantation on behalf of several petitioners from Newbury, on the left bank of the Merrimack, as far north as Hampton, to be called Merrimac. They were given permission to associate together as a township. Middens of shells and arrowheads marked the former locations of native villages. They had fallen victim to smallpox. The area remained in possession of the tribes along the Merrimack, who hunted and fished there. The settlers formed a militia to counteract the possible threat of conflict. One especially abundant site of middens at the top of a hill, from which a river cascaded, was called by the settlers Powawus (Pow-wow), from the native congress believed to have been held there, and the river, the Powawus River. The hill is part of the left bank of the Merrimack and the river originates in New Hampshire. Today this cascade, sometimes called falls, remains sunken in an urban environment, from which it tends to collect debris.
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