The house at 164 Argilla Road is on the farm granted to Daniel Denison, the early leader of the Ipswich. The house was built by Francis Cogswell or one of his descendants after he purchased the property in 1743, but the date of construction is uncertain.
“Daniel Denison, the soldier of the Town, was fortunate enough to receive a grant of 150 acres on the slope and breezy summit of the hill, which very strangely never was honored with a name. He attained high honor as the General in command of the Colonial troops, and filled many important public offices in the Town and Colony. The highland farm remained in the Denison family for more than a century.
- John Denison sold in 1743 (Sept. 21), to Francis Cogswell, Tanner, ” the full two-thirds part of ye farm called Dennison’s farm, whereon I said Francis now live, containing about one hundred and thirty-eight acres — bounded northeast by Jacob Smith’s land, south by Stephen Smith’s land.” The deed does not mention a building. (Salem Deeds: 88; 17)
- Francis Cogswell bequeathed his wife Elizabeth the use and improvement of one-half his real estate, but gave all his real estate to his son Francis.
- The second Francis remembered his sons Francis and Joseph with his real estate.
- The third Francis left a wife Anstice and two sons Francis and Joseph, to whom his estate was divided in 1793.
- Joseph died in 1791, and his half of the estate continued to his heirs, Ebenezer and Joseph.
- The brothers, Ebenezer and Joseph, succeeded, and Ebenezer’s sons Ebenezer and Joseph owned and occupied the estate for many years. Sidney Shurcliff wrote “It is an undisputed fact that two feuding Cogswell brothers lived there for years without speaking to one another, each in his own end of the double house.”
- The farm passed from generation to generation of the Cogswell line and was sold to Herman H. Story, April 11, 1884.
- He conveyed it to Dr. Herman F. Vickery on March 3, 1902, who occupies the Cogswell homestead on the slope of the hill, now Island Hill, as his summer home. He sold a portion on Sept 30, 1903 to Dr. Francis B. Harrington, who erected his fine residence on the very summit commanding a broad and beautiful landscape.” A great number of Native American skeletons and relics were discovered during the excavation.
Salem Deeds: Herman F. Vickery to Warren K . Blodget, March 1911 (2072; 405) “a certain farm owned by Major General Daniel Denison and later known as Cogswell Farm containing 140 acres, about 85 acres being upland, containing a dwelling house, being the same premises conveyed to me by Herman H. Story.”