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Sons & Daughers of the First Settlers of Newbury

Latest News 

Summary of Annual Meeting at Hope Church August 12, 2017


The business meeting was called to order at 9:30 by President Ed Mair and he welcomed all of those in attendance.


The Registrar’s Report was given.   Applications for the past year included 10 new members, 1 junior member, 2 Life members and 6 supplementals.   Three new applications were then presented, a motion was made and they were voted to accept. 


President Mair brought up the discussion of adding a new membership category of “Friends”.  A Friend would enjoy all the privileges of the society but would not be able to vote or hold office.  A motion was made and it was voted to accept.


Reports of the Jackman Willett house, the Recording Secretary, the Corresponding Secretary and the Treasurer were presented, and all were voted to accept.  Elections of officers for the upcoming term were then made and all were voted to accept.  


Following the business meeting, we had two very interesting presentations:  


      Mr. John Cole, known as the “Old House Whisperer” shared his passion and expertise on the architecture and historical backgrounds of many homes in this area and in Essex County. 

      Local historians, Skip and Marge Motes, gave a presentation of “Newburyport’s Waterfront:  Industrialization, Decay and Rebirth 


At the conclusion of the presentations, everyone enjoyed a delicious buffet luncheon prepared by Middle Street Foods of Newburyport.   Following the meeting, folks were invited to take a tour of the Jackman Willett House of which many participated.

Top: Retired Registrar Cecile Pimental

Middle: Peg Plumer, Corr. Sec., Steph Cobb, Treasurer, Ed Mair, President

Bottom: Linda Tully (left) and other Annual Meeting Attenders

Trails and Sails 2017


SDFSN is again giving tours of the Society’s Jackman Willett House from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM on Sundays September 17 and September 24.  Everyone is welcome to tour the house on Cottage Road in Newbury.

Friends Category of Membership


At our annual meeting we unanimously endorsed a change to the By-laws creating a new class of membership to be called Friends.  A Friend is a dues paying member ($25.00) who is not required to prove their lineage.  A Friend has all the privileges of membership such as attending the annual meeting and receiving the Descend-O-Gram except for voting.  Until further notice applicants for Friend membership should simply send $25.00 plus their name, mailing address, email address, birthdate, and believed joining ancestor to:  Treasurer, SDFSN, P.O. Box 444, Newburyport, MA 01950

The Sons & Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury

Top: Katy Gibbs describes the House to Guests prior to tour

Bottom: Guests leaving Jackman-Willett House after tour

The Sons & Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury
APPRAISAL DAY September 17, 2016
By Sue Gagnon and Ed Mair

Our fourth annual Appraisal Day was held on September 17th at the Newbury Senior Center located at the Newbury Elementary School (the round school). Once again we were pleased to have Jay Williamson from McGuiness Auctions of Amesbury as our appraiser.  SDFSN board members helped take tickets, serve refreshments, welcome guests and in some cases help guests bring items to the appraisal table.  The charge was $10 for one item or $25 for three.   Among the more interesting items appraised were:

  • A silver service for 12 in the Towle Old Mirror pattern.  Jay suggested the value at $360 per setting.  He noted that silver sold to be melted down is worth about $20 per ounce.

  • A Swedish bible from 1889 with a metal lock was valued at $475.

  • A  sea Captain’s telescope  valued at $200—$300.

  • A 1767 powder horn from Haverhill valued at $1200.

  • A Jane Brewster Reid Watercolor Print from the turn of the 19th century $400—$600.

  • A 1985 Gold plated silver carriage miniature (marked 27K)  with opals and pearls stamped by the Franklin mint valued at $1300

There were over 45 items appraised and SDFSN donated over $400 to the Newbury Senior Center from the proceeds.  We received a nice thank you note from the Senior Center!

Above: Jay Williamson, McGuiness Auctioneers, and item being appraised

The Sons & Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury

Top: Deed selling Newbury to First Settlers by Indian Tom

Bottom:  Location of Indian Villages in Newbury area

The Sons & Daughters of the First Settlers of Newbury
Native American, African American, and Women First Settlers
By Ed Mair


“ Col. Moses Little of (West) Newbury, MA, one of the proprietors of the grant that became Newbury, VT, sent his slave - Cambridge Little– to the new town to begin clearing land..  Cambridge did not stay in Vermont but returned to Massachusetts, was eventually freed, and lived in Newburyport until his death in 1825.” (from the Appendix of The Descendants of George Little) Granted Cambridge was probably born too late to be considered a First Settler, but his experience must not be unique.

            “ 1690, citizens of Newbury, Massachusetts, became panic-stricken over the arrest of Isaac Morrill, who was charged with inciting an insurrection among the Negroes and Indians…promising them that the English would be cut off and the Negroes freed. (from The Negro in Colonial New England by L.J. Greene). 

            “In 1675, the estate of Captain White of Newbury included ‘a Negro assessable at 3s 4d” (Greene 1942)

            “Later in 1696, Negro, Indian, and mulatto slaves were placed in the same category as horses, sheep, and swine for the purposes of taxation.

            "The earliest mention of a specific slave in Newbury is one ‘Juggy’, the slave of Captain [Paul] White of Newbury, Massachusetts, who was sentenced to be whipped for fornication in 1660. (Greene, 1942)

            "In 1675 a Negro servant of Mr. Pierce was literally blown up by gunpowder.  She was much shaken up but apparently unharmed. (A Sketch of the History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury by Joshua Coffin 1845)"

            In 1683, “A negro woman named Juniper, came to Newbury this year. She was warned out of town, but refusing to go, the Selectmen appealed to the county court.” (Coffin, 1845)

            We also find “James a negro slave of Mr. R. Dole who with Joseph, Indian slave of Mr. Moody” was named a co-conspirator with the treacherous Isaac Morrill in 1690.

            We know that Native Americans were here when the First English Settlers arrived.  See the map and title deed illustrated on page 5.  In fact, much of the town was purchased in 1701 from Samuel English, believed to be a grandson of the Sagamore Masconomet. 

            Lastly, we know most white male First Settlers had one or more wives who may have survived them or moved with children into town after their husbands died elsewhere.  Surely there were also at least a few babies born out of wedlock during this time.  Nonetheless, descendants of these children may also have contributed to the early Newbury community.

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