Text by James B. Stone, from Images from the Past , published by the Newbury 350th anniversary Committee.
Featured image: Bridge over the Merrimack River in Newburyport.
When the first settlers arrived in Newbury in May of 1635, there were only Indian trails which wound through the forests. Besides food and shelter, an immediate problem was movement in the new settlement, and they faced a virtual wilderness with an abundance of rivers, streams, creeks, and marshes.
Early roadways were rutted pathways that could be traveled only by foot. Improvements rendered travel by horseback possible, and in time these “roads” came to be designated cart paths for rough two-wheeled carts, or tumbrils, often drawn along by oxen at a bumpy snail’s pace.
Since there were no bridges in the town until Thurlow’s Bridge in 1654. most ancient roads were laid out to avoid waterways and other…
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