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flag  History of Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

Journey back in time to Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

Visit Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA - Parson Capen House, Topsfield, Mass., 1684

Topsfield, Essex, Massachusetts, USA

The Agawam tribe inhabited Topsfield prior to and during the British colonization in the early seventeenth century. They were one of the Algonquian peoples.

The General Court of Massachusetts renamed the place Topsfield in 1648, undoubtedly after Toppesfield, England, a small parish in the county of Essex north of London.
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Topsfield includes: Sweeneyville and Town Hill.


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There is MUCH more to discover about Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA. Read on!

Topsfield Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards


Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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"Parson Capen" House, Topsfield, Mass., 1684
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Lamson Bridge Over Ipswich River, Topsfield, Mass., Built 1814
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Lamson Bridge Over Ipswich River, Topsfield, Mass., Built 1814
A Part of Main Street, Topsfield, Mass., 1905
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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A Part of Main Street, Topsfield, Mass., 1905
Academy, 1909
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Academy, 1909
The Common
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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The Common
South Main Street
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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South Main Street
Town Hall and Congregational Church
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Town Hall and Congregational Church
Congregational Church
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Congregational Church
B & M Depot
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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B & M Depot
Town Hall
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Town Hall
Hood's Pond
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Hood's Pond
Public Library
Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Public Library

Discover Topsfield: History, News, Travel, and Stories

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In 1803, Governor Caleb Strong chartered the Newburyport Turnpike Corporation, a profit-making venture that proposed building a toll road straight from Newburyport through Topsfield to Boston.
Proponents of the turnpike claimed it would be a far more efficient way between the two endpoints, cutting travel time from six to four hours. Work on the Turnpike began in August 1803 and involved immense amounts of manual and animal labor. When the Newburyport Turnpike opened for business on February 11, 1805, its builders claimed it was the best in the nation. The turnpike had tollhouses located in Newbury, Topsfield and Chelsea, each with a large gate that swung open and closed across the way. Stagecoaches ran regularly carrying passengers, mail and freight, though not without difficulty over Topsfield's steep hills. Accidents were common. The Newburyport Turnpike Corporation was never particularly profitable and became less so with the advent of the railroad. The corporation ceased operations around 1847 and sold the turnpike to Essex County in the early 1850s.
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1818 - Topsfield Fair
The Topsfield Fair was established in 1818 by the Essex Agricultural Society.
1839 - Topsfield
Topsfield, Massachusetts
Essex county. This is a very pleasant town, watered by Ipswich river and its branches. The surface is agreeably diversified by hills and valleys. There are some fine tracts of intervale in the town, and the uplands possess a strong soil, rendered productive by industrious and skilful farmers. The principal manufacture is that of boots and shoes, in which between 500 and 600 hands are employed, making annually about $100,000 in value. This town lies 21 miles N. by E. from Boston and 9 N. by W. from Salem. Population, 1837, 1,049.

Topsfield was first settled about the year 1642. It was incorporated in 1650. Among the names of the first settlers were Peabody, Perkins, Clark, Cummings, Bradstreet, Gould, Town, Easty, Smith, and Wildes; many of whose descendants now cultivate the soil of their progenitors.
The New England Gazetteer containing descriptions of all the states, counties and towns in New England: also descriptions of the principal mountains, rivers lakes, capes, bays, harbors, islands and fashionable resorts within that territory. Alphabetically arranged. By John Hayward, author of the Columbian Traveller, Religious Creeds, &c. &c. Boston: John Hayward. Boyd & White, Concord, N.H. 1839
1845 - TOPSFIELD. [Pop. 1,059. Inc. 1650.]
Topsfield, before its incorporation, was a part of Salem, and called New Meadows.
The soil is hilly, although the chief village is pleasantly situated on a plain.

Boots and shoes are the chief manufacture.

Distance from Salem, 9 miles; from Boston, 21.
An Elementary Geography for Massachusetts Children by William Bentley Fowle and Asa Fitz, 1845
1868 - Interesting Marriage
The Salem (Mass.) Gazette says: "On Tuesday of last week Mr. Wm. Blodgett, a resident of Topsfield, who severed creditably in the army in the late war, and is looking for a pension for support, called in at the public house of Mr. Parkinson, where a woman was staying who had been soliciting charity form the inhabitants. Blodgett said to her, in substance, 'I am going West. I have lost my wife, and wish to obtain one to accompany me.' The woman replied that she was a widow, with two children to support, having lost her husband during the war, and that she would become his wife. Whereupon both repaired to the town clerk's, and procured a certificate, going afterwards to the house of Rev. M. McLoud, where they were lawfully married."
St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
June 27, 1868
Topsfield Massachusetts, 1890
Topsfield is a pleasant old farming town in the central part of Essex County, 25 miles from Boston on the Danvers and Newburyport line, Western Division, Boston and Maine Railroad, which passes through the midst of the town, north and south. Ipswich bounds it on the northeast, Hamilton on the east, Wenham on the southeast, Danvers on the south, and Middleton and Boxford on the west.

The assessed area is 7,380 acres; of which about 1,000 consist of pine forests. The surface of the town is agreeably diversified with swelling hills and pleasant valleys. Many oaks, hickory, maple and ash trees, often of large growth, are found along the village streets. and about the fine old mansions and neat farm-houses which are scattered along the town highways. Pingree's Hill, River Hill, Town Hill and Bear Hill are names of the chief elevations. Some of these afford sea-views; and the last looks down upon Pritchard's Lake (otherwise Hood's Pond) in the northwest part of the town, about 60 acres... Read MORE...

1906
Topsfield, a post-village in Topsfield township (town), Essex co., Mass., near the Ipswich River and on the Boston and Maine R., 25 miles N. by E. of Boston. It has manufactures of boots and shoes. Pop. of the town in 1900, 1030.
Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906
2023 - Here's a list of places to go and things to do in Topsfield:
Topsfield Fairgrounds: This is perhaps the most famous attraction in Topsfield. The Topsfield Fair is one of the oldest agricultural fairs in the United States, dating back to 1818. It's held annually in early October and features everything from carnival rides to livestock exhibits, live music, and delicious fair food. Even when the fair isn't in town, the fairgrounds host various events throughout the year, so be sure to check their schedule.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary: Located on Perkins Row, this sanctuary is a nature lover's paradise. It offers several miles of trails for hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife observation. You can spot various bird species, turtles, and other wildlife as you explore the beautiful landscapes of wetlands, forests, and the Ipswich River.

Bradley Palmer State Park: Just a short drive away in nearby Topsfield, this state park offers even more opportunities for outdoor recreation. It features miles of scenic trails for hiking, horseback riding, ... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Topsfield Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

We currently have information about 359 ancestors who were born or died in Topsfield.

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Ancestors Who Were Married in Topsfield, Massachusetts, USA

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Genealogy Resources for Topsfield

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Our Topsfield Gift Ideas


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Updated: 9/15/2023 5:07:55 PM