Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Book Review: "Memories of Newburyport, Massachusetts"

It's too bad my hubby and I have no ancestors who were born, married, died, worked, or sojourned in Newburyport from the 1850s to 1950s. 

Even though we don't know anyone from that place and that period, I really enjoyed reading "Memories of Newburyport, Massachusetts by Henry Bailey Little, 1851-1957," compiled by Margaret Peckham Motes. 

This is a charming recent reprint from Clearfield Company/Genealogical Publishing.

The memories of Henry Bailey Little, originally published in the late 1950s, evoke a fascinating, engaging picture of the changes taking place from the mid-19th century to beyond the turn of the 20th century. 

Little had a front-row seat for changing times in Newburyport, raised on a farm and later serving as president of a major savings bank for more than five decades. 

Of the shipping industry, once a huge economic engine in the area, Little recollects: 

"With the exception of the cotton mills, practically all the business of the town was on the river-bank, the shipyards, and the wharves. The shipyards have disappeared and been forgotten and the wharves are in a state of decay. The last square-rigger was built here in 1884 and while there were a few small vessels built later, after that date shipbuilding was for the most part ended."

The accompanying illustrations shepherd readers through the town's past, including those shipyards, the mills, and even a few gravestones of note. 

Of special interest to anyone with ancestral roots in or near Newburyport: the book has a detailed index of names, places, industries, and businesses. 

In short, check out this book if your ancestors had even a minor connection with the area!

*Note: sent me this book free, for review purposes. The opinions here are entirely my own!

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