Ipswich, Massachusetts was founded in 1634 in an area the Indigenous people called “Agawam.” The historic neighborhoods of Meeting House Green, High Street, the East End, and the South Green are well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 19th-century residences. Opposition by the people of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the King is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, with the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.”
Over 50% of the land in Ipswich is protected, with forested rolling hills, salt marshes, sandy dunes and one of the most beautiful beaches in New England.
Norm Abram and Matt Diana go inside two of the oldest houses in Ipswich
The 1677 Whipple House and the 1694 Paine house at Greenwood Farm are two well-preserved First Period houses in Ipswich that are occasionally open to the public.
Unrequited love and an Ipswich murder-suicide
The 1941 Ipswich Town Report included a tribute to the late Water and Light Commissioner Walter G. Brown without mentioning that he murdered his former girlfriend Phyllis Chisholm and committed suicide.
A visit to the Whipple House with Paul Valcour & Gordon Harris
In the second half of this Council on Aging video, Paul & Gordon step inside the Ipswich Museum’s 1677 Whipple House to examine its unique architectural features.
Four old houses that stood on High St.
The Jacob Manning house, the Caleb Lord house, the Nathaniel Lord house at the corner of High and Manning Streets, and the thatched roof William Baker house at the corner with Mineral Street.
Kamon Farm-Turkey Hill hike
This 3 mile hike starts at the new Essex County Greenbelt property, Kamon Farm on Pineswamp Rd. and connects to the Turkey Shore Conservation area with a connector trail.
A walk in the dunes
Gordon Harris kicks off the first episode of Ipswich ICAM’S “Destination Ipswich” series with a walk in the sand dunes at Castle Neck.
Mark Quilter, upon complaint against him for striking Rebeckah Shatswell
Mark Quilter was a cow-keeper on the north side of town with a reputation for drinking. When Goodwife Shatswell visited Goodwife Quilter and insulted both of them, Quilter lost his temper.
The “Great White Hurricane,” March 11, 1888
The Great White Hurricane of 1888 struck on the night of March 11 and continued furiously for two days, dumping 60 inches of snow on parts of the Northeast.
Women in Ipswich history
Stories on this site about women in local history from the early days of the settlement through the Twentieth Century.
Ipswich Arts Association
The Ipswich Arts Association held its organizational meeting on February 26th at 2pm at the Ebsco Hall (5 Peatfield Street, We hope you’ll join us in becoming a founding member! Join at https://www.ipswichartassociation.org/shop
As settlers moved west into the cold New England frontier away from the Puritan strongholds, it was not uncommon for unmarried persons to be invited to sleep in the same bed for warmth. The definition of bundling evolved and developed over time into a ritual of courtship.
“Dalliance and too much familiarity”
William Row v. John Leigh, Mar. 28, 1673: “For insinuating dalliance and too much familiarity with his wife and drawing away her affections from her husband, to the great detriment both in his estate and the comfort of his life.”
The Price Act, passed at Ipswich, February 1777
In 1777, the Ipswich Selectmen and the Committee of Correspondence and Safety, acting under the authority of the General Court, issued a schedule of prices covering all articles of food, clothing, wages of labor of every kind, entertainment at hotels, shipping rates etc.
Leslie’s Retreat, or how the Revolutionary War almost began in Salem, February 26, 1775
In our struggle for Independence, the British military received its first setback from the inhabitants of Salem in an episode that could not have been more ludicrous or entertaining if it had been written for Monty Python.
Newburyport Turnpike opens, February 11, 1805: “Over every hill and missing every town”
In 1803, a group of Newburyport investors incorporated as the Newburyport Turnpike Corporation in a commercial venture to build a straight toll road from Boston to Newburyport (the highway we call Rt. 1).
When the Town of Ipswich was established, ownership of a house and land within the town bounds carried with it the right of pasturage beyond the Common Fence. In 1788, the commoners resigned all their land interests to pay the heavy town debt incurred during the Revolution.
February film series
Ebsco Hall, 5 Peatfield St., Ipswich. Every Thursday evening at 6pm
Stories from the Courts
In 1641, the General Court established four quarter-annual courts kept yearly by the magistrates of Ipswich & Salem, two to be held at Salem & the other two at Ipswich, with jurisdiction in all matters not reserved to the Court of Assistants. Read stories of Ipswich residents who faced the magistrates.
The Keeping of Cattle on Jeffreys Neck
In Ipswich, cows would be put to pasture on the Neck in the spring, and every October they would be rounded up and herded into a pen. Many of the town’s laws regarding land use, property rights, labor and sanitation grew from issues surrounding the keeping of livestock.
Hurricanes and winter storms
Massachusetts has the highest probability of all of the states to be hit by an ocean storm, which includes hurricanes and nor’easters.
Nathaniel Ward (1578-1652)
Ward emigrated to Massachusetts in 1634 an served for two years as the minister in Ipswich. His “Body of Liberties” established a code of fundamental principles of government. Ward’s book “The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America” was published in England in 1647.
Measuring Time–by an hourglass
Kitty Robertson’s Measuring time—by an hourglass is an exquisite collection of essays, reflections on a 20th century life in small town New England that first were published in the Ipswich Chronicle. Kitty was also the author of “The Orchard: A Memoir”.
Old Roads and Bridges of Newbury and Newburyport
Published by the Newbury 350th anniversary Committee.
Flight from Rooty Plain
News arrived in Rooty Plain that the Regulars had come in to Ipswich, and every man was called for, to meet the enemy. One aged man. Mr. Stephen Dressr thought he would sit down a while and smoke his pipe, and waited but they didn’t come, and had quite a comfortable nights sleep.
This remote area was originally known as Ipswich Farms. After the residents began pressing for their own church, the Massachusetts General Court on June 4, 1746, created the Linebrook Parish, the boundries of which were defined by 6 brooks and lines connecting them. The community had a church, store, school and its own militia.
The Cold Friday of January 19, 1810
The Cold Friday on Jan. 19, 1810 brought terrible winds and frigid temperature. Many people froze to death while traveling along the highways. Houses, barns and vast numbers of timber trees were blown down or broken to pieces.
Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials
During the Salem witch trials, Elizabeth Howe of Linebrook Road was tried and hanged. The Ipswich jail was filled with the accused, but the ministers of the town opposed the trials as a delusion. Residents blocked the bridge to prevent the accusing girls from being brought into Ipswich.
Arthur Wesley Dow’s images of Ipswich
Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow (1857 – 1922) was one of the town’s most famous residents. View his paintings, ink prints,and a slideshow of over 200 cyanographs.
George Dexter’s early photos of Ipswich
Perhaps the best-known early Ipswich Photographer was George Dexter (1862-1927). His photographs along with those of Edward Lee Darling (1874-1962) and Arthur Wesley Dow provide a visual history of the town of Ipswich.
The Peat Meadows
Deep in Willowdale State Forest is a bog which in the 1832 Ipswich map is the “Peat Meadows.” “Turf” as it was also called, became a commonly-used fuel when local forests were depleted and until anthracite coal became widely available.
Lieutenant Ruhama Andrews and the 1775 Battle of Quebec
On Christmas Day 1823, Gen Benjamin Pierce of Hillsborough, NH held a reunion of twenty-two citizens who had served in the War of Independence. The oldest attendee was Ammi Andrews, born in Ipswich, MA, aged 89 years.
One of the most progressive citizens of Ipswich, Dr. John Manning opened a practice in 1760, and began inoculating members of his family for smallpox, incurring the wrath of the Town. An epidemic of smallpox spread through Boston during the British occupation of the city at the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
Ipswich and the breach with Britain
On June 10th, 1776, the men of Ipswich, in Town-meeting assembled, instructed their Representatives, that if the Continental Congress should for the safety of the said Colonies declare them Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, they will solemnly engage with their lives and Fortunes to support them in the Measure.
Saving the Rooster
The gilded weathercock at the First Church in Ipswich has graced the steeple of every church at that location since the middle of the 18th Century.
Photos of Market St. from the present day back to the early days of photography.
Photos of the dunes late on a winter afternoon
Photos by Sharon Scarlata Related Posts
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