“A priceless reservoir of early American history”

Ipswich, Massachusetts was founded in 1634, and is America’s best-preserved Puritan town. Opposition by the people and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, with the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.”

Recent Posts - The most recent posts on this site by the Town Historian and other contributors.
Birthplace of American Independence - Resistance by the citizens and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the Crown in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, which bears the motto, "The Birthplace of American Independence 1687."
First Period and other Colonial-era houses of Ipswich - There are more remaining first Period houses (1625 through 1725) in Ipswich MA than any other town in the country.
Engraving of Market Square in Ipswich from John Warner Barber’s Historical collections: being a general collection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc. relating to the history and antiquities of every town in Massachusetts,” published in 1839 Meeting House Green Historic District - The North Green was once the religious, governmental and commercial center of Ipswich, and where the town's most successful businessmen built fine Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian homes.
South Green Historic District - The South Green dates from 1686, when the town voted that the area be held in common, and became known as the School House Green. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
High Street Historic District - High Street was on the "Old Bay Road" and has the largest concentration of “First Period” houses in America The Old Burying Ground is on High Street near Lords Square.
The East End Historic District - The East End includes the seafaring portion of the original village of Ipswich and offers an architectural history of the town’s development.
Ipswich Old South Cemetery - The Old South Cemetery has approximately 1000 interments, and was used from 1756 till 1939. It sits between the South Green and the Ipswich River and is an easy walk from downtown. This page includes maps and comprehensive records created by the WPA.
Early settlers of Ipswich - The Puritan settlers of Ipswich arrived during the “Great Migration. Sources include "Early Inhabitants of Ipswich" by Abraham Hammatt, "Vital Records to 1850," and "Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony" by Thomas Franklin Waters.
Old North Burying Ground - The Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich, Massachusetts was established in 1634 and is one of the oldest cemeteries in North America.
Legends of the North Shore - 400 years of legends and remarkable stories from Ipswich and other historic communities on the Massachusetts North Shore
Ipswich in the 17th Century - Ipswich was settled in 1633 in an area the Native Americans called Agawam. The Town resisted the King in 1684 and its leaders were jailed. The Town experienced the pain of the Salem Witch Trials.
Engraving of Market Square in Ipswich from John Warner Barber’s Historical collections: being a general collection of interesting facts, traditions, biographical sketches, anecdotes, etc. relating to the history and antiquities of every town in Massachusetts,” published in 1839 Ipswich in the 18th Century - The Town devoted manpower and resources to the French and Indian Wars & the War for Independence. The town sank into economic decline and the Hamlet became the Town of Hamilton.
Ipswich in the 19th Century - Chebacco Parish becomes the Town of Essex. The Eastern Railway and Ipswich Mills bring a resurgence of prosperity and the population doubles. After two downtown fires in 1894 the town builds a water system.
Ipswich in the 20th Century - In 1903 the Electric Light System was built. Workers went on strike at Ipswich Hosiery Mills in 1913. The town suffered through the Great Depression and two World Wars. The Old North and South Churches were destroyed by fires in 1965 and 1975.