Pope night in Newburyport MA

November 5: Guy Fawkes Day (“Pope Night,” “Gunpowder Day,” “Bonfire Night”)

The Puritans who settled Massachusetts abhorred holidays, but they turned a blind eye to Guy Fawkes Day, November 5, a British tradition which celebrated the failed attempt by Guy Hawkes, a Catholic, to blow up the king and members of Parliament and thus remove Protestants from government. On the evening of November 5, 1605, Sir … Continue reading November 5: Guy Fawkes Day (“Pope Night,” “Gunpowder Day,” “Bonfire Night”)

Newburyport colonial houses

Newburyport Colonial homes

The HABS and the HABs NOTS Documenting the Architecture of Newburyport in the Historic American Buildings Survey Newburyport, MA was settled in 1635 as part of the town of Newbury. In 1764, the General Court of Massachusetts passed "An act for erecting part of the town of Newbury into a new town by the name … Continue reading Newburyport Colonial homes

“Newburyport and its Neighborhoods,” Harpers Magazine 1875

Excerpt from "Newburyport and its Neighborhood" by Harriet Prescott Spofford, July 1875, the New Harper's Monthly Magazine. "The history of Newburyport, and of her mother Newbury, much of which has become incorporated with herself, is replete with striking facts and marvels. She had not only the first of our ships upon the Thames, as has … Continue reading “Newburyport and its Neighborhoods,” Harpers Magazine 1875

Postcards from Newburyport

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Bombshell from Louisbourg

Mounted securely to a stone post at the corner of Middle and Independent Streets in Newburyport, there was for many years a large cast-iron bombshell, thrown from a mortar at the Second Siege of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia in 1758. It was brought to Newbury by Nathaniel Knapp, who served as a soldier, carpenter and ship-caulker with the … Continue reading Bombshell from Louisbourg

The Great Newburyport fire, May 31, 1811

A fire commenced about nine o'clock in a stable in Mechanic Row in Newburyport on the evening of May 31st, 1811. (The description below is from The Fireman's Own Book by George P. Little, 1918.) The fire soon extended to the Market and to State street, and spread in such various directions as to baffle all exertions to subdue … Continue reading The Great Newburyport fire, May 31, 1811

Joppa Flats, Newburyport

In the late 19th Century, clam shacks proliferated along a stretch of the Merrimack River in Newburyport known as Joppa Flats, providing clams to the Boston area. Photos in this slideshow were provided by Laurie Jarvis Short. Visit her Joppa Flats page on Facebook.

“A Good Heat,” a short tale from Newburyport

From Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian, by Sarah Anna Emery In the latter half of the 18th Century, Mr. Gordon had a shipyard forge between Atkinson Common and Cashman Street. This gentleman was somewhat economical in his household and shop. At that period, cheese was a customary appendage of the dinner table, being considered an accessory … Continue reading “A Good Heat,” a short tale from Newburyport

Lord Timothy Dexter

Timothy Dexter was born on January 22, 1747, and was undoubtedly the most eccentric person of his time. He aspired to join the upper classes of society, as many a fortunate blockhead had done before him, but he could not keep his mouth shut, and made no headway in his attempted progress to join the aristocrats … Continue reading Lord Timothy Dexter