12 Warren Street, the Louisa Wells house (c1700)

12 Warren St.
12 Warren St.

The small saltbox Cape cottage at 12 Warren Street in Ipswich is listed on the town assessors site as having been built in 1700. It was apparently moved to this location, which had been the site of the town pound in the 18th and 19th Century. The seems to have been the small home of “Mrs. Wells,” widow of Stephen Wells, listed in the 1888 Agawam Directory of Ipswich. The house is shown in the 1892 Birdseye map, slightly farther back on the lot and facing the other direction.

The Town Pound

After Manning Street was constructed, Warren St. was extended and the old Town Pound was removed. This house was later transferred to a new foundation on the Town Pound lot facing Warren St.

The first Town Pound in Ipswich was located at 12 Meeting House Green. It was simply a fenced in area where stray animals were herded to prevent damage to fields and gardens. The lot was deeded by John Heard in 1832 to be used as the First Church Vestry or Meeting House.

In 1719, a large log almshouse was constructed “near the Town Pound on Loney’s Lane.” In the 1832 village map, the enclosed animal pound is located at the corner of Warren St. and Loney’s Lane.

Loney’s Lane

Loney’s Lane is named for Anthony Loney, who owned the lot at 12 N. Main St. from 1739 to 1742. He sold that lot to Nathaniel Treadwell, who opened a well-known inn.

The homes of Symon and Thomas Pindar are shown on this 1717 hand-drawn map.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote,”Loney’s Lane, as it has been called, but formerly Pinder’s Lane, was originally an open thoroughfare which descended the hill back of the North Main Street Lots. Originally the Old Pinder Lane crossed the present Central St. and led across the low lane to the ancient Bridge street.” A hand-drawn map from 1717 shows six house lots on the west side of Pindar’s Lane but there were only two houses, Symon Pinder’s and Thomas Pinder’s, which stood at 3 Loney Lane where the Aaron Well’s house is located.

In the 1856,1872, and 1884 Ipswich Village maps, there are two small structures at the rear of this lot facing Loney’s Lane but no building is shown on the corner. In the 1910 Village map this house appears on the corner, and was owned, perhaps incidentally, by Mary and Albert P. Hills, the Town Pound keeper, who resided at 9 Manning St., the Albert P. Hills house (c. 1890) They sold several lots on Manning Street when it was created in the second half of the 19th Century. This lot and house was sold by Mary E. Hills to Walter and Ethyl Poole, who then sold it in 1921. (Deeds, book 2494, page 350).

1832 Ipswich map
The 1832 Ipswich map shows this as the location of the town Pound. In the 1910 Ipswich map, the house was owned by Albert P. Hills, the official pound keeper.
1872 Ipswich map

Screenshot from the 1872 Ipswich map. The house now at 12 Warren St. may have been the small home of “Mrs. Wells” shown in the 1892 Birdseye map. The 1888 Agawam Directory of Ipswich shows at this location Louisa, widow of Stephen Wells.

Wells house, Loney's Lane Ipswich
The Aaron Wells house on Loney’s Lane is circled in this closeup from the 1893 Ipswich Birdseye map. The large buildings behind it were the barn and stable for the Agawam Inn. On the left is Warren Street. The smaller building beside the Aaron Wells house is labeled “Mrs. Wells” in the 1892 Ipswich Birdseye Map, and appears to be the same house now facing Warren Street.
1910 Ipswich map
1910 Ipswich map showing the locations of houses on Warren St. and Wells Court (Loney’s Lane) as they are today.

Jonathan Wells

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about an early owner of this lot in his two-volume set, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

“Jonathan Wells enlisted in Capt. Abraham Dodge’s company on May 3, 1775, and took part in the battle of Bunker Hill on June 17th. He enlisted again January 1st, 1776. He was a seaman in the brigantine five months and fourteen days in 1777, being discharged July 31st. He was in the privateer “Fair Play” in December, 1777, in the “Black Prince” in July, 1778 and in the “Gen. Wadsworth’ ‘ in February, 1781. It is a family tradition that Mr. Wells was wounded during his first enlistment. While at home, recovering from his wound, he went one day to the Meeting House Green, where recruits were being enrolled, and was so fired with enthusiasm, that he re-enlisted and marched away with his arm in a sling. Entering the navy, he passed from ship to ship, without being allowed an opportunity to return home and see his family. He used to say that he thought he had seen war before he became a seaman in the navy, but his land service was not to be compared with the fight between the “Bon Homme Richard” and the “Serapis.” He stood at his gun when nine men and a boy lay dead around him. He always expressed great admiration for John Paul Jones, telling how small a man he was, and of his brilliant ability and dauntless courage. On his return home after this battle, his house was besieged for days with friends and neighbors, who desired to hear from his own lips the story of the great sea-fight. His wife picked the powder from his face with a fine cambric needle.”

12 Warren St., photo from Zillow
12 Warren St., photo from Zillow
Inside 12 Warren St.
Inside 12 Warren St.

Sources:

  • Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Thomas Franklin Waters
  • Hammatt Papers, Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Massachusetts

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