By the end of the 17th century, approximately 300 people lived in the present-day West Newbury area.
Each Sunday, residents were required to travel to Newburyport for worship services. The distance became too great for some and in 1693, a group petitioned for permission to hire their own minister. By 1711, approximately 50 families lived within one-half mile of the First Parish meeting house and 96 families lived “above the Artichoke River.” By 1729, 181 houses containing 183 families lived in the area.
In 1759, land was purchased at 806 Main Street and a new meeting house was constructed. In 1840, a new building was constructed on the same site. Residents of the Way to the River Area were predominately farmers, with the exception of Moses Ridgway’s carriage shop at 801 Main Street.