Pulsifer house, Waldingfield Rd., Ipswich MA

11 Waldingfield Road, “Applefield,” the Oliver Appleton Farm (1759 and earlier)

The Ipswich Historical Commission lists the construction date for the house at 11 Waldingfield Rd. in Ipswich as 1759 with the name “Applefield.”

This property was part of the farm of Samuel Appleton, early settler of Ipswich. The land and the old Appleton house were passed on through four generations of men by the name Samuel Appleton, but the estate became insolvent after Samuel 4 died in 1728, and was sold to Captain Isaac Smith, who had been active in the French and Indian War. Smith’s son Samuel succeeded in ownership, and the Appleton estate was sold in pieces to many owners. Much of the farm on the south side of Waldingfield Rd. was bought back by the Appleton Family, and is now owned by the Trustees of Reservations.

The Oliver Appleton Farm

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote a history of this property in The Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society, Volume 12:

Oliver Appleton succeeded his father Major Samuel in the ownership of the saw mill, the ox pasture and other lands. He built a house for himself on the corner of Waldingfield Road and County Road, from which the Aaron Lord house was removed (in the early 20th Century). He attained the venerable age of 83, which was common in his family line, and died Jan. 9 1759. His will, proved March 20, 1759 divided his estate. To his son Oliver he gave the mill and part of his land, the rest to his other son, Nathaniel.

The Oliver Appleton / Underhill / Lord house

Nathaniel received the Oliver Appleton (senior) homestead. After his death the homestead was attained by purchase from his other heirs by his daughter Susanna, wife of Jeremiah Choate Underhill. Their son Oliver Underhill succeeded him and his heirs sold to their sister Catherine E., wife of Aaron Lord on Aug 30, 1878 (1004 190)

Catherine Lord sold to Ruth Appleton Tuckerman, daughter of Daniel F. Appleton and wife of Charles S Tuckerman the house and land adjoining, Oct 23, 1901 (1656 40) and the remainder of the land to Francis R. Appleton Oct. 23, 1891 (1324 512).

*The date of construction of the original Oliver Appleton homestead is unknown. Oliver Appleton was born in 1676 and died in 1759. A conservative estimate of 1730 would assume that he built the house when he was in his 50’s. It appears that this is the house that Nathaniel Appleton inherited, was moved in 1901 and joined to the Oliver Appleton Jr. house to become the Applefield estate.

The 1759 Oliver Appleton Jr. house

Oliver Appleton, son of Oliver built a house for his residence on the south side of the present Waldingfield road. His son Oliver, the third of the name, bought the holdings of the other heirs May 5, 1803 (370 107). He sold to his sons Tristram and Nathaniel Mar. 31 1823 (232 71). They conveyed to Oliver Underhill April 18, 1832 (265 66) who sold to Henry Wilson June 13, 1835 (284 41) including the mill privilege. Mr. Wilson bequeathed the estate to his grandson Joseph R., son of his son Henry, who sold 20 acres at the RR crossing to Fanny Appleton, wife of Francis R., Jan. 31 1896 (1470 123); 9 acres to Randolph M Appleton April 4, 1900 (1606 248) and the Middle Gate Lot 41 acres on County Road to Mrs. Francis R. Appleton on the same date (1606 249). His widow Annie M. sold his estate to Francis R. Appleton, April 23, 1901 (1646 57) who transferred 11 acres on the north side of the road to his brother-in-law Charles Tuckerman.

Mr. Tuckerman removed both the Henry Wilson (Oliver Appleton Jr.) house and the Underhill (Oliver Appleton Sr.) house from their original foundations to a new site on the hill and combined these in one large mansion which they named “Applefield .” (The present owners believe the rear wing of the house which faces Waldingfield Rd. is the older section.) Thus the ancient Appleton grant (became) almost entirely in the possession of the direct descendants of the emigrant ancestor Samuel Appleton.

1834 Ipswich map, closeup of Waldingfield and County Rds.
The 1832 Ipswich map shows the Oliver Underhill and Oliver Appleton houses that were moved in the early 20th Century and joined to create 11 Waldingfield Rd.
The 1856 Ipswich map still shows the owner of the house on the north side of the intersection as Oliver Underhill, but the Oliver Appleton house is now owned by H. Wilson. The 1872 Ipswich map shows the same owners.
1884 ipswich map showing Waldingfield and County Roads
The 1884 Ipswich, showing Aaron Lord owning the section of the house that was on the north side of the intersection, and A. Wilson owning the part of the house on the south side of Waldingfield Rd.
1910 Ipswich map showing Waldingfield Rd.
The 1910 Ipswich map shows the owner of the property that includes this house as Mrs. C. S. Tuckerman. The house had the same configuration as the present home of Nat and Holliday Pulsifer at 11 Waldingfield Rd.
Map from Recollections of a New England Boyhood 1886-1908 By Arthur Russell Lord. The Lord and Wilson houses are shown as dots on the map, in the same locations as the 1910 Ipswich map above. The Lord and Wilson houses were moved to the current location (shown as corn and potatoes in the map above) and joined to create the house at 11 Waldingfield Rd.

Arthur Russell Lord prepared the map above in his Recollections of a New England Boyhood 1886-1908, and wrote the following about growing up in part of this house.

“On my mother’s side the earliest settler was a gentleman, Samuel Appleton, of Waldingfield, England, who arrived in 1632. He had a large family. Having worn out one wife in child-bearing, he brought with him only his second wife and her children. He felt that he needed a lot of land and Ipswich gave him a town lot of five acres and a farm of more than a square mile (on a portion of which I was born.) The Appletons were militarily inclined and headed many of the expeditions against marauding Indians. The head of the clan when I was a boy was General Daniel Fuller Appleton (civil war). While my branch of the family stayed poor in Ipswich, most of the others sought and won fortunes in Boston and New York and came back to build summer houses on parts of the old farm.”

“I do not rightly know just how much of the original Appleton farm my mother owned when I was born. But it was a large farm by New England standards. Five acres of pears, ten acres of apples, a big gravel pit up the Lane, extensive wood lots and hay meadows all about, a big patch of corn and potatoes, a large cow pasture along Miles River, and good sized vegetable and flower gardens. Perhaps a hundred and twenty acres in all, but that steadily decreased as we sold off pieces for summer homes. Finally, in 1901, we sold the house and our last forty acres and moved to town. Our house was moved to the old potato patch and there joined to the equally old Wilson house to make yet another summer home.”

Sources and further reading:

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