The town of Newbury originally included what are now Newburyport (until 1764) and West Newbury (until 1819). In the beginning the town was called the First Parish of Newbury. Early settlers were largely involved in agriculture and stock herding. As the townspeople spread along the Merrimack River, some built wharves and docks where shipbuilding as well as domestic and foreign trade flourished. Eventually, these waterside people petitioned the General Court and became a separate town.
Today the Town of Newbury is mainly residential with three distinct areas of the town; Byfield, Plum Island, and Old Town. Byfield was mainly a mill village centered around the falls where where Central Street now crosses the Parker River. The nation’s first preparatory school was founded in Byfield in 1763; The Governor’s Academy (formerly Governor Dummer’s Academy) is one of the premier private schools in the country.
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