In the 1960's The John Appleton house at the foot of North Main Street was saved from being demolished to build a service station.
In the 1960’s The John Appleton house at the foot of North Main Street was saved from being demolished to build a service station.

In 1707, Col. John Appleton acquired the lot at 2 North Main Street (across Central Street from the Five Corners Deli) after commanding a regiment in the expedition against Port Royal. He built the house still standing, and lived in it for the rest of his life. John Appleton represented the Town in the General Court in 1697, was a member of the Council from 1698 to 1723, served as Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and at the age of eighty-one was made Judge of Probate. Col. John Appleton was one of the leaders of Ipswich who refused to accept Royal taxation in an action known as the “Andros Rebellion.” His death in 1739 was the occasion of many eulogies.

In 1962 the Appleton House was purchased by Exxon, which intended to demolish it and build a gas station on the site. This led to the first successful effort to preserve historic structures in Ipswich, and laid the groundwork for future covenants and formation of the Ipswich Historical Commission. Only by the intervention of a few dedicated people was this historic home saved. It now serves as the Professional Building.

Permission to demolish the house and allow construction of the service station was placed on the shoulders of the selectmen, and the Old Town Hall was packed one evening at a hearing.

View from the foot of North Main Street the morning after the 1894 Central Street Fire. The John Appleton House is on the right.

As Alice Keaton noted, “the hearing droned on for some time, the arguments pro and con dutifully heard and recorded, the smiling representative from the oil company listing all the benefits that the town would accrue– and all the preservationists disputing him every step of the way.” The assembled crowd was shocked when the selectmen cast their vote with the oil company.

Taking matters into her own hands, Kay Thompson spearheaded formation of the Ipswich Heritage Trust under the aegis of the Ipswich Historical Society (now known as the Ipswich Museum). After long negotiation, the oil company relinquished title for a payment by the Trust of the full purchase price plus attorney’s fees and other costs. With the help of outside donations, the project was financed. Within two years, and at a price far less than cost, the house was sold for use as a professional center, with deed restrictions assuring the trustees that no significant changes would be made to the structure’s frame and outer appearance. Read more about the John Appleton house

The many John and Samuel Appletons

Almost every generation of the Appleton family in Ipswich had a John and a Samuel, It appears that both the John Appleton who owned this home and his father may have both been arrested after participating in the revolt against Andros. Copied below are excerpts from The Memorial of Samuel Appleton. He writes, 

  • “In this opposition of the town of Ipswich, three of the Appletons appear to have been parties. Capt. John, at whose house the meeting was held the evening previous to the town meeting; his son, Lieutenant John, who was town clerk and selectman; and Major Samuel, who had been Assistant previous to the arrival of Sir Edmund Andros.

Samuel Appleton, emigrant, the First Generation

Samuel Appleton , the common ancestor, so far as known, of all of the name in New England, was bom in 1586, at Little Waldingfield, Suffolk county, England. He emigrated to America in the year 1635. He settled at Ipswich, where he had a grant of lands; a building lot of eight acres in the town, on the Topsfield road, running down to the river; also four hundred and sixty acres, constituting what are now called the farms, lying on the line of the town of Hamilton, and bounded on one side by Ipswich River, and on the other by Mile Brook. A large portion of this farm is now in possession of his descendants. He was Deputy at the General Court, 17th May, 1637, and was chosen with Captain Daniel Denison to assist at the particular Court at Ipswich.

Samuel Appleton married Mary Everard, (or Everett) but nothing farther is known of her, than that the family of Everard was a highly respectable one in the County of Suffolk. She accompanied her husband, with their five children, to this country. Samuel Appleton died June 1670, at Rowley, Massachusetts, where he was buried, and where it is probable he had resided with his daughter, Mrs. Phillips, during the latter part of his life. By Mary Everard he had the following children

  • John
  • Samuel
  • Sarah
  • Judith, who married Samuel Rogers, 1657, son of the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers of Ipswich, and brother of John, President of Harvard College,
  • Martha, m. Richard Jacob of Ipswich, who died 1672. Their children were Richard, d. 1676, Thomas , John, Martha, and Judith.

John and Samuel Appleton of the Second Generation.

John Appleton was born 1622, at Little Waldingfield. He was the eldest son of the preceding, and came to New England with his parents, at thirteen years of age. He was Deputy to the General Court as Lieutenant John Appleton, from the year 1656 to 1664, when he has the title of Captain, and was Deputy by that title, during the years 1665-67-69-70-71-74-78. In the year 1687, during the administration of Sir Edmund Andros, the town of Ipswich determined to resist his arbitrary measures in that ill mode of raising money without a General Assembly.This was decided on at a meeting of several of the principal inhabitants assembled at the house of Mr. John Appleton, the evening before the town meeting called for the purpose of carrying the illegal edict into effect. The town meeting was held, when the following vote was passed :

“At a legal town meeting, August 23, 1687, assembled by virtue of an order from John Usher, Esq., Treasurer, for choosing a Commissioner to join with the Selectmen to assess the inhabitants, according to an act of his Excellency the Governor and Council, for laying of rates; the town then considering that the said act doth infringe their liberty as free-born English subjects of his Majesty, by interfering with the statute laws of the land, by which it was enacted that no taxes should be levied upon the subjects without consent of an Assembly chosen by the Freeholders, for assessing the same : They do therefore vote that they are not willing to choose a Commissioner for such an end, without said privilege, and moreover consent not that the Selectmen proceed to lay any such rate, until it be appointed by a genuine Assembly concurring with the Governor and Council.”

On the 17th September a warrant was issued for the apprehension of John Wise of Chebacco, together with Thomas French, John Andrews, Sr., John Appleton, Robert Kinsman, and William Goodhue, Jr. They were brought to answer for it without privilege of habeas corpus, to a Court at Boston, where the parties were severally sentenced.

John Appleton was sentenced not to bear office, a fine of £50 money, to pay cost, and enter into a thousand pound bond for good behaviour one year. John Appleton died 1699. His will is dated February 16th, 1697-8, and was proved March 27th, 1700. He married Priscilla Glover, 1651. Their children were, John, Samuel, and Jose.

Major Samuel Appleton, who emigrated with his father in 1635 at the age of eleven years, is the one who fills the largest space in this memorial. The perseverance with which he held out under the persecution of Sir Edmund Andros is a circumstance to which his descendants may refer with some degree of pride. The opposition made by the town of Ipswich to the arbitrary act of Sir Edmund Andros and his council in levying a tax without an assembly, or in other words, to the principle of taxation without representation, has hardly received the notice in history to which it seems to be entitled. It was in fact the premonitory symptom, the shadowing forth of that greater struggle for the same principle, which resulted in the independence of the country.

At length, on the 19th October, Major Appleton was brought before the Governor and Council, and was ordered to stand committed until he give bond in the sum of one thousand pounds to appear at the next Superior Court, at Salem, to answer what shall be objected against him, and in the mean time to be of good behaviour.” This bond he refused to give, whereupon, at a Council on the 30th November, he was ordered to be imprisoned in Boston jail. “Major Samuel Appleton was kept in prison till the Supreme Court at Salem, March 7, 1688, when by giving bond for 1000 pounds to appear at the next Court to sit there, and to be of regular behaviour, and pay unreasonable charges, he was released.

John Appleton of the Third Generation

John Appleton, b. 1652. It appears by the proceedings of Sir Edmund Andros vs. the Town of Ipswich, that he was town-clerk at the meeting on the 23rd August, 1687, and some circumstances make it probable that he was the person imprisoned and fined, and not his father, as heretofore stated. He was Deputy to the General Court in 1697, with the title of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was of the Council from 1698 to 1702; from 1706 to 1715; and from 1720 to 1722. He was for many years Judge of Probate, and sustained through life a most excellent character. His death gave occasion to two funeral sermons, one by the Rev. John Rogers, entitled, ” The perfect and upright Man characterized and recommended,” another by the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers, entitled, “The Character, Commendation, and Reward of a faithful Servant of Jesus Christ.”

He married Elizabeth Rogers, November 23rd, 1681. She was daughter of President Rogers, was born 1663, and died 1754. John Appleton died 1739. Their children were Elizabeth, Rev. Nathaniel, Margaret, Daniel, Priscilla, and Samuel Appleton, b. 1654. From 1680 to 1688 he resided at Lynn, carrying on the iron works. These works were situated on Saugus River, near the old meeting-house. He afterwards removed to Boston, where he carried on the business of merchandise.

John Appleton's grave at the Old North Burying Ground, section C88
John Appleton’s grave at the Old North Burying Ground, section C88

Source: The Memorial of Samuel Appleton.

A presentation by Thomas Franklin Waters to the Ipswich Historical Society, 1907

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