Hometown Tuesday ~ Newbury, Essex County, Massachusetts

hometown tuesdayThe town of Newbury began as a Plantation. In 1635 it was settled and incorporated after a group of over 100 pioneers who had arrived from Wiltshire, England landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts. They were led here by Rev. Thomas Parker and his cousin Rev. James Noyes as well as James brother Nicholas, wanting to obtain religious freedom. They had set sail from England aboard the ship “Mary and John” on March 26, 1634. After staying in Ipswich for about a year Rev. Parker obtained leave from the general court to remove themselves to the Plantation. In the colonial records, it is noted:

May 6th, 1635.

Quascacunquen is allowed by the court to be a plantation…

and the name of the said plantation shall be changed,

and shall hereafter be called Newbury.

The immigrants left Ipswich and rowed small boats known as shallops to the mouthi-mon-1st-landing-stone-o3new Newbury of the Quascacunquen River. They came ashore at a spot on the north shore, east of the present Parker River Bridge. A commemorative boulder at the end of Cottage Road now marks the spot. When they arrived they found that the land was fertile and there was an abundance of game and fish. All was wilderness around them, and they spent the first summer clearing land, building shelters, raising crops, and gathering fish and berries for the winter. Each man was allotted land for a house, with a planting lot and salt meadow, the size depending on the amount of money each had invested in the venture.

i-chu-firstparish1699 NewburyQuascacunquen means “waterfall” in the language of the Pawtucket Indians who originally occupied this part of Massachusetts. There were many waterfalls along the river and the settlers built the first water-powered mill in 1636. They also constructed Gristmills and sawmills and the little town began to flourish. In the beginning, the town was one parish called the First Parish of Newbury. In 1702, the residents of the “Falls” area built a meeting house because they were so far from the First Parish meetinghouse. Thus began the parish of Byfield (for a short time called “Rowlbury”), extending for two miles in all directions from the Falls. This portion of Newbury was officially set off in 1706 as a separate parish for “so long as they maintain an Orthodox minister among them.” It was, and still is, a part of the town of Newbury.

The town continued to grow and sometime before 1709, Margaret Bartletts’ family moved to Newbury. Margaret was born on February 3, 1709, to Thomas Bartlett and his wife (currently unknown). Margaret is my 6x Great Grandmother. Nothing is known of her early years but I do know she married my 6x Great Grandfather Joseph Francis Register (1700-1783) on October 2, 1731, at the New Haven Quakers Meeting in Talbot County, Maryland.

I only have a record of one child being born to Margaret and Joseph and that is my 5x Great Grandfather Joseph Francis Jr who was born in July of 1732. Sometime before the death of Margaret, their small family moved south to Duplin County, North Carolina. She died in 1777.

One of the wonderful things about writing a weekly “Hometown Tuesday” blog is it forces you to really look at an ancestors’ life from the perspective of where they were born or where they made their home. With Margaret, I don’t have a lot of information about her life or her family. However, I can imagine the type of life that she led by the towns that she lived in. It also gives me more incentive to research her “forgotten” line and discover who she was.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s