Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker; Occupations in Newburyport, Massachusetts from the 1850 Census


In the 1850s, Newburyport, Massachusetts, was a bustling area thanks in part to the shipyards along the Merrimac River and the import of exotic goods from faraway ports. Many books have been written about the area but little is known about the workers in the city, where they came from, and how they helped Newburyport to grow and change.

Using data from the 1850 Federal Census for Newburyport, Margaret P. Motes examines two subjects; the place of birth of all residents born outside of Massachusetts (to demonstrate migration patterns) and the occupations of all of its residents (to demonstrate diversity of skills). The 1850 Federal Census data for occupations lists over two thousand people in the work force, but not surprisingly, few opportunities for women. Margaret P. Motes stated that upon examining the 1850 Newburyport City Directory, women were indeed listed with many varying occupations, though they were not recorded by the census taker. The largest number of immigrants came from Ireland but many came from England and Scotland as well, bringing with them skills and occupations like weaver, carpenter, shoemaker and mariner. Families with long ties to local names in the community might find some of their ancestors here.

Prepared as part of the celebration of the Sesquicentennial of the City of Newburyport, there are over 4,800 individuals listed in this book between the ages of one month to ninety-two years old. Abstracted information includes name, age, sex, occupation, color, place of birth, household and dwelling number and the area within Newburyport. Names are listed alphabetically, then by age. Persons who are not found alphabetically are listed in the surname index. The appendix lists men who went to California, which was found in the 1850 Newburyport City Directory. There are three indices: full-name, occupation, and place of birth.


Margaret P. Motes


(2001), 2012, 5½x8½, paper, alphabetical, index, 210 pp.

ISBN: 9780788418235