Thursday, August 21, 2014

Robert Laird Newburyport Brewery

If you have any information on Laird family please contact me at  In 1828 in the Spofford Gazette article it stated that Robert Laird's Brewery produced 5000 barrels of beer a year. Euphemia Vale Blake in History of Newburyport asserts that Robert Laird's beer, porter and ale, were famed throughout the country.
From Newburyort News November 20 2013  On this day in 1785, James Ferguson and Robert Laird set up a brewery opposite to Somersby’s Landing in Newbury-port where they claimed to brew the best porter and strong beer to be sold “at the most reasonable rate” and believed that their liquor would “equal that which comes from the best English Breweries.”
— Information provided by the Historical Society of Old Newbury

Firebucket from Robert Laird's Brewery, Green Street, Newburyport. 1822. One of the most dramatic scenes on a firebucket that I have ever seen. Peter Eaton Antiques

Brewery, Robert Laird Saturday, April 1, 1797 Impartial Herald (Newburyport, MA) Page: 4

 A view of Green Street Newburyport from Newburyport News 

In History of Newburyport Vol 2 J J Currier notes Laird sold ice--ad in the Newburyport Herald Oct 1815
Although the cutting and storing of ice for summer use was not an established industry in Ncwburyport until 1840, as stated on page 226 of the first volume of this history, the following advertisements indicate that a limited supply of that useful commodity could be obtained at a much earlier date:—
Ice may be had at Robert Laird's brewery on Green street every morning (Sundays excepted), from six to eight o'clock, at three cents per pound.
Families can be accommodated with ICE for the season (on moderate terms), and should enough apply to make it an object it will be sent according to the wish of those supplied.
A thank you for Laird's fine spirits

Advertisement Date: Friday, March 5, 1819 Paper: Newburyport Herald (Newburyport, MA) 

A fire in 1839 recorded Destructive Fire at Newburyport  August 31, 1839 Portsmouth Journal of Literature and Politics (Portsmouth, NH)
Laird Genealogy Newburyport
From History of Ryegate, Vermont, from its settlement by the Scotch-American company of farmers to present time; (1913)

From Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (Online Database:, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001-2010).

1814, writing reads Margaret Laird Newburyport , September 5, 1814 McCord Museum - M966.92.8

Just In from Newburyport Archival Center
Rolfe papers on Robert Laird. Yes he was married to Margaret Waddel of VT.
Robert Laird
a Scotchman, came to Newburyport about 1785 and with James Ferguson established a brewery opposite Somersby’s Landing near the foot of Green St. Later on he sold ice there for 3ct a pound between 6 and 8 o’clock in the morning. He married Margaret Waddel of Bernard, Vt., published Jan. 6, 1787. She died Nov 24 1824 aged 59 (O.B.H. 614) Gr 2. He married 2nd Oct. 25, 1825 Mrs Elizabeth Tilton. He died May 17, 1847 a 84 Sec L-5 Lot 6 Gr 1 (613)
They had children: -
1. Nancy Laird b Nov. 16, 1787; died Nov. 27, 1787 a 13 das Gr 5 (617)
2. Rebekah Laird b Oct. 30, 1788; d June 20, 1795 a 6y 8m Gr 6
3. Margaret Laird b Oct. 21, 1790; m Oct. 19, 1817 Daniel Moody
4. Nancy Laird, 2d, b Dec. 8, 1792; d June 13 1794 a 1y 6m Gr 4 (616)
5. Nancy Laird, 3d, b Jan. 12, 1795; m Sept. 19, 1819
Charles Wade of Boston
6. Rebeckah Laird b Jan. 5, 1797; m March 9, 1830
W. H. Tyler of Calais, Me.
7. John Laird b June 25, 1799; d Oct. 20, 1821 a 23y Gr 3 (615)
8. Robert Laird b Dec. 15, 1800; d April 6, 1801 a 4 mos ?? Gr 7
9. Robert Laird b June 21, 1802; m Oct. 19, 1826
Elizabeth Ann Follansbe
10. Elizabeth Laird b June 12, 1804; m Amos Toppan May 22, 1828
11. Mary Ann Laird b Jan. 15, 1807; m Feb. 17, 1829 Moses Davenport Jr.
12. Harriot Laird b Dec. 24, 1808


  1. What an interesting time in the history of Newburyport, thank you for sharing.

  2. I have a letter from Paul Kent to his brother Moody in 1819 concerning the sale of the brewery to Robert Laird. I'm not sure if local history shows the Kent's owning the brewery... very interesting.

  3. So would this put Laird's brewery at the approximate location of the Police Station today, and his later holdings (corner of pleasant and green) where City Hall is? Note that the text about the fire in 1839 noted that it stopped across the street from Laird's, which I assume would be that it stooped on the easterly side of Green, making Laird's the westerly side of Green St...

    That would be interesting that both those public buildings are built on old breweries!

  4. Fabulous story and research. Stunning photos.