"The Old Town of Berwick” is Sarah Orne Jewett’s history of her hometown, South Berwick, Maine, with an emphasis on the years before 1814 when the name Berwick applied to present-day Berwick, South Berwick and North Berwick. The essay was published in 1894 in New England Magazine with the illustrations that appear here. We are grateful to Terry Heller of Coe College for typesetting this document. Further notes on this essay are at the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project .
Throughout Jewett’s writings, her descriptions of the physical landscape are often very accurate. Taking her father’s advice, she wrote about what she knew, and her short stories sometimes read like 19th century travelogues. Her purpose in writing “The Old Town of Berwick” was to keep alive the places and people and stories which were familiar and dear to her. However, a few references in her essay here are not historically accurate. Because “The Old Town of Berwick” is often read as a local history, there has been a need to point out a few important inaccuracies in Jewett’s account. These will be mentioned in the notes accompanying the essay.