Amesbury is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Though it officially became a city in 1996, its formal name remains "The Town of Amesbury." In 1890, 9798 people lived in Amesbury; in 1900, 9473; in 1910, 9894; in 1920, 10,036; and in 1940, 10,862. A former farming and mill town, Amesbury is today largely residential. It is one of the two northernmost towns in Massachusetts (the other being neighboring Salisbury). Amesbury was settled in 1655 as a part of Salisbury, but was separated from Salisbury in 1666 and incorporated as the town of Amesbury in 1668. Beginning as a modest farming community, it developed an aggressive maritime and industrial economy. The 90-foot (27 m) drop in the falls of the Powwow River provided water power for sawmills and gristmills. Shipbuilding, shipping and fishing were also important. The ferry across the Merrimack River to Newburyport was a lively business until the construction of bridges to Deer Island. Newton, New Hampshire would be set off from Amesbury in 1741, when the border between the two colonies was adjusted.