This month’s tale concerns the four Emery sisters (Mary Elizabeth, Louisa, Frances, and Georgianna) who in 1905 received disbursement of an unexpected inheritance worth about $30 million in today’s dollars. These religious and civic-minded siblings viewed their windfall not so much as their own but rather as a gift from God to be held in trust. They spent the ensuing half-century using their wealth to transform West Newbury for the better—even when, thanks to a dispute over a potential use of what is now called the Carr Post, the Town managed to spurn offered gifts including a free water distribution system using waters from the Artichoke
Click here to read all about it.
See more stories below—
January 2020 The Historical Commission highlighted a new historical marker and launched 2020 Minute Histories about important people in Town history. The new marker, to be installed in front of Town Hall, 491 Main Street, notes the location where, in 1952, the citizens of West Newbury elected Julian D. Steele as the Commonwealth’s first African-American Town Moderator. This story is one of a civic and religious leader who championed such causes as civil rights and affordable housing and who was “[k]nown and respected in Washington, responsible and influential on Beacon Hill, [but] still reserved time for participation in local government as moderator of the town of West Newbury.”
February 2020 This story is about Frances Keegan Marquis, who was born and raised in West Newbury, and who—notwithstanding her fame, remarkable career, and life in New York City—always maintained ties to her old hometown. In her mid-40s, she left her successful career as an executive in premier women’s organizations to join the first Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps officer training class in 1942. She was chosen to lead the country’s first women’s expeditionary force to serve in General Eisenhower’s North African Headquarters. Upon returning to civilian life, she volunteered in women’s organizations, including as an official observer at the United Nations. Frances Keegan Marquis became a life member of the West Newbury Historical Society, which houses some of her medals and papers.
John Appleton Brown- Living New England Artists
March 2020 This story concerns John Appleton Brown, who depicted West Newbury and its environs in all their natural beauty. Brown's modest West Newbury family identified and promoted his artistic talent and appreciation of nature from an early age. He became a successful artist and prominent member of society who returned to West Newbury in summers to reconnect with and sketch the beauty of his birthplace. In paint and pastels, Appleton Brown captured the gentle hills, open fields, blossom-laden orchards, meandering streams, and marshes of West Newbury and its surrounds in pictures that “make[ ] you think of the happy places that you have seen, and the happy events that have occurred in your summer days….”