This history of Jeffreys Neck is from the Agawam Manual and Directory by M.V.B. Perley, published in 1888.

The business of fur-trading and fishing along the New England coast received a new impetus about the beginning of the seventeenth century. In 1604 Agawam was the center of Arcadia, so-called in the French patent of November 8, 1603. For a century or more, no attempt at settlement had been successful in this section, but traffic and barter with the Indians and the fisheries had been remunerative.

In 1606 King James I was prevailed upon to divide Virginia into North and South by patent, and granted them respectively to the Plymouth and the London companies, each with a government of thirteen members. A Council was established at Plymouth, in the County of Devon, “for the planting, ruling, ordering and governing of New England in America.’ This patent covered the territory lying between 40° and 48° of north latitude and extended from ocean to ocean, and was the basis of all subsequent grants of land in New England. The company retained the power vested in them by the Crown till 1635, when they resigned their charter, about the time that John Winthrop the younger came to Ipswich.

Jeffreys Neck is surrounded on three sides by the Eagle Hill River, the Ipswich River, and Plum Island Sound. There were scattered settlements by European “adventurers” before the arrival of the Massachusetts Bay Company with its charter. William Jeffreys, a native of Chiddingly, Sussex, England, established a successful hunting and fishing operation near the mouth of the river in 1623, but was instructed to leave by the Puritan colonists. Colony records for 1630 note that “a warrant shall presently be sent to Agawam to command those that are planted there forthwith to come away.”

John Winthrop Jr. arrived in Agawam with the first dozen settlers in 1633, and in 1634 the town was incorporated as Ipswich. Jeffreys reluctantly departed, but left his name at Jeffreys Neck and Jeffreys Ledge, a shoal that extends from Cape Ann north into the Gulf of Maine.

At the same time, William Jeffries (Jeffreys) had a right which he obtained of the Indians, covering the tract now known as Jeffries’ Neck. Jeffries was derived from good stock from Chittingly, and he had a brother Robert, who settled in Newport, Rhode Island. Jeffries was an agent of the Plymouth company and is believed to have been here in 1614 when Captain John Smith found here twenty-seven fisheries and trading posts. Winthrop called Jeffries “an old planter,” Jeffries occupied and improved, and by 1625 he owned the territory of the present town.

The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633,

Jeffries’ right seems to have been derived from the Indians, and presumably from Masconomet. It was also said that he had derived a title to land here in 1622 from John Mason, who spent £20,- 000 in attempts for settlements, but found it advisable to give up the effort and accept a the loss.

Jeffries was an Episcopalian, and so fared hard in the hands of the Puritans.The court in 1630 made “a final issue of all claims by virtue of any grant heretofore made by any Indians whatsoever, commanding those “planted at Agawam forthwith to come away.” Mr. Jeffries, however, remained till about May 1638, when the magistrates had power to remove him. Ipswich thus became free to the Puritan settlers.

Jeffries removed to Newport, RI by 1638, and by 1655 had became a prominent official. The settlement of his claim to Jeffreys Neck is recorded*:

“‘In answer to the petition of Willjam Jefferay, making claim to Jefferay’s Neck, near Ipswich, it is ordered, that the petitioner shall have liberty to make good his plea before the whole Court, at such time as the Court shall see meet.”

The case was settled on October 16, 1660:

“In answer to the petition of Mr. W[illiam Jefferys, the Court judgeth it meet to grant him five hundred acres of land, to be laid out in such place as he shall find it, on the south side of our patent, & that to be a final issue of all claims by virtue of any grant heretofore made by any Indian whatsoever.”

William Jeffries died in Newport, January 2, 1675 at the good age of 84 years. The location of his grave is unknown.

Resources: 

2 Jeffreys Neck Road, Ipswich MA 2 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Merrill-Kimball house (1839) - Abigail Holland sold Ezra Merrill, a mariner, 3/4 of an acre in 1839 (333:259) and he built the present house shortly thereafter. The house was conveyed to his daughter, Kate M. Kimball, upon his death in 1901 (.1633:320).  An interesting feature in this house is the presence of an oven on the second floor, indicating … Continue reading 2 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Merrill-Kimball house (1839)
30 Jeffreys Neck Road, The Searle estate (1910) - The summer estate of Charles P. Searle on Jeffreys Neck Road, which he named Inglisby, was built in 1910. It is situated on an expansive terrace where one could look out beyond the fields at the extensive salt marshes. The mansion was designed in the form of a Florentine villa, and the living room and … Continue reading 30 Jeffreys Neck Road, The Searle estate (1910)
Nathaniel Scott house, Jeffreys Neck Rd., Ipswich MA 31 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Nathaniel Scott house (1838) - At 31 Jeffreys Neck Road is the Nathaniel Scott house, on property deed by King Charles II. Thomas Treadwell owned and operated a farm here for the latter part of the 17th century, and the farm continued in the Treadwell line for nearly two hundred years. Nathaniel Scott succeeded, and for 24 years, Mr. Scott … Continue reading 31 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Nathaniel Scott house (1838)
Dodge house at Greenwood Farm, Argilla Rd., Ipswich MA 47 Jeffreys Neck Rd., Dodge house, Greenwood FArm (1870) - The Paine House, located on Jeffrey’s Neck Road at Greenwood Farm is owned by the Trustees of Reservations which offers occasional tours. The house became part of Greenwood Farm, an early 20th Century summer retreat for the Robert G. Dodge family, and sits on the same property as the 1694 Paine-Dodge house, owned by the Trustees … Continue reading 47 Jeffreys Neck Rd., Dodge house, Greenwood FArm (1870)
47 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Paine house (1694) - The Paine House, located on Jeffrey’s Neck Road at Greenwood Farm is owned by the Trustees of Reservations which offers occasional tours. The house became part of Greenwood Farm, an early 20th Century summer retreat for the Robert G. Dodge family. This saltbox was built in 1694, a well-preserved example of First Period architecture. This house … Continue reading 47 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Paine house (1694)
48 Jeffreys Neck Rd. Ipswich 48 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Hannah Aspell house, 1854 - The Nathaniel Treadwell farm Thomas Franklin Waters wrote in his book, “Jeffreys Neck and the Way Leading Thereto,” that the ancient Nathaniel Treadwell farm continued in the family line for nearly two hundred years. “Deacon Treadwell sold a two-acre lot on Jan. 9, 1850 (422:212) to Nathaniel Scott, Trustee for Hannah Lumbur Aspell, wife of Larry … Continue reading 48 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Hannah Aspell house, 1854
52 Jeffreys Neck Rd. Ipswich Ross Tavern 52 Jeffreys Neck Road, Ross Tavern – Lord Collins house (c 1690) - The Ross Tavern, also known as the Lord-Collins House, is now located at Strawberry Hill on the former Wendell Estate on Jeffreys Neck Road. The structure was built in about 1690 in downtown Ipswich. In 1735 it was moved to the south-east side of the Choate Bridge where it remained until 1940 when it was … Continue reading 52 Jeffreys Neck Road, Ross Tavern – Lord Collins house (c 1690)
52 Jeffreys Neck Road, Shatswell Planters Cottage (c 1646) - The Shatswell family is one of the earliest to arrive in Ipswich. A small building that was moved to the Collins-Lord property on Jeffreys Neck Road is believed to have been the original planters cottage of John Shatswell or his son Richard. It may have been built as early as 1646, in which case it would be … Continue reading 52 Jeffreys Neck Road, Shatswell Planters Cottage (c 1646)
6 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Oliver L. Sanborn house (1855) - Francis Treadwell lived in the old Treadwell estate on East Street, and had two daughters, one of whom, Mary,  married Oliver L. Sanborn. Deacon Francis Caldwell sold a lot measuring 61 ft. on the road and 290 ft. deep on Jeffreys Neck Road to Oliver L. Sanborn, October 25, 1854 who built this house in … Continue reading 6 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Oliver L. Sanborn house (1855)
68 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Captain John Smith house (c 1740) - The Captain John Smith house at 68 Jeffreys Neck Road was constructed in approximately 1740. The asymetrical construction suggests that it may have started as a smaller house that was enlarged. Captain John Smith was born on January 03, 1706 in Ipswich, the son of John Smith and Mercy Adams Smith. He married Hannah Treadwell, daughter … Continue reading 68 Jeffreys Neck Road, the Captain John Smith house (c 1740)

A presentation by Thomas Franklin Waters to the Ipswich Historical Society, 1912.

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