|The Town of 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. The town has a varied terrain, and is situated
between two rivers, the Muddy Creek on the north and the Rowley
River to the south. Bradstreet Farm, owned by the Jewett family
since the 1600's is the nation's second oldest working farm to be
continuously owned and occupied by the same family.
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 (wool) 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.
Seal and narrative supplied by community.