This county is bounded north-west by Rockingham County, New Hampshire
; south-west by Middlesex County
, south by Suffolk County
, east and north-east by the Atlantic Ocean
, and south-east by Massachusetts Bay
is one of the most historical in the State
, and the birthplace of many wise and great men. It has an extensive sea-coast, indented with numerous bays, inlets, and harbors; it has many delightful farms and beautiful ponds; it is to Eastern Massachusetts
what Berkshire County
is to Western Massachusetts
,—a place of pleasant resort in the warm months of summer, to those who love the sea more than they do the valleys and the mountains.
In former years the chief interests of Essex County
were foreign commerce and the fisheries.
At the present day, although the fishing interest holds its place, the foreign commerce of the county has in a great measure been transferred to Boston
and New York.
It is now largely devoted to manufactures.
At the commencement of the present century, the school-books in their enumeration of large commercial places always spoke of Marblehead
, which, although it is now larger than at any previous time, has been outstripped by Gloucester
as a fishing and commercial town, and is as much interested in the manufacture of shoes as in commerce and the fisheries.
The number of municipalities in the county is thirty-four; of these Gloucester
, and Salem
are large and flourishing cities.
In 1860 the population of the county was 165,611, in 1865 it was 171,192, being an increase in five years of 5,581.
The population of the county in 1870 was 200,843, which is an increase in five years of 29,651.
The valuation of the county in 1860 was