Rowley, Massachusetts

Rowley was founded in 1639 by the Reverend Ezekiel Rogers and a band of 20 families from Rowley, Yorkshire, England. The group sailed on the ship "John of London" bringing with them the first printing press to be used in America, the famous "Daye Press" which was to be set up in Cambridge. The land area of Rowley originally included what is now Boxford, Bradford, Georgetown, Groveland, and a part of Middleton.

Rowley is home to the nation's oldest stone arch bridge and the "Turning Place" (now the Rowley Common) where in 1775 a battalion of Benedict Arnold's musket men encamped enroute to Quebec. The Revolutionary War cannon, "Old Nancy", is one of the town's most prized possessions. The cannon was taken by Rowley soldiers from the British ship "Nancy", which was captured off Gloucester.

In 1643, the first fulling mill in the colonies was established in Rowley, which later proved to be a contributing factor to the War of Independence as the mill was perceived as a threat to England's dominance in supplying wool to the colonies. Rowley's only other major industry was the Foster Shoe Company that began operations in 1850.

Today, Rowley is in a transition from its historical farming roots to that of a residential community. The town maintains its historical charm, however, and may be the quintessential New England hometown with its 350th anniversary commemorative bandstand sited on the town common green, numerous stately, colonial era homes lining Main Street, and several tall white steeple churches standing nearby.

Rowley Neighbors:


Rowley USGenWeb Project is maintained by Stephen Gauss;
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Updated: November 2011