History

Ipswich at war

Featured image: Civil War veterans at the Choate Bridge

The Civil War memorial on the North Green

James Appleton Post, reunion of Civil War Veterans, circa 1900.

Some American wars in which Ipswich citizens have fought

General Michael Farley - In 1774, the Town of Ipswich chose Captain Michael Farley, a tanner, as a delegate to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Farley fought for the Continental Army and was appointed major-general of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1777. He is buried at the Old North Burying Ground beside his wife Elizabeth. His house was demolished in the 20th Century, replaced by a service station that is now the Richdale store.
The Essex Convention The Ipswich Convention and the Essex Result - Delegates met in Ipswich in 1774 and 1778 to deliberate a Constitution for Massachusetts. Their “Exceptions” were published in the 60-page “Essex Result,” and included an ominous warning to future generations: In 1774, in retaliation for the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, General Gage was sent to Boston […]
The “Detested Tea” - From Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, by Thomas Franklin Waters In 1767, the Townshend Acts were passed, one of which provided for a tax on wine, glass, tea, gloves, etc, imported into the Province. During the winter, the General Court issued a Circular Letter, which was sent to the […]
The “Commonwealth” - An irony of the recent presidential election is the millions of people who felt abandoned by the government and left out in today’s economy, and yet chose as their presidential candidates two very wealthy people. This brought me to reflect on the word “commonwealth,” defined as a state or collection […]
Memorial on South Green Ipswich ma The Arnold Expedition arrives in Ipswich, September 15, 1775 - A memorial sits in the intersection between the South Green and the site of the former South Congregational Church in Ipswich. It reads, “The expedition against Quebec, Benedict Arnold in command, Aaron Burr in the ranks, marched by this spot, September 15, 1775.” In September, 1775, Gen. Montgomery […]
Ipswich and the Breach with Britain - On June 10th, 1776, the men of Ipswich, in Town-meeting assembled, instructed their Representatives, that if the Continental Congress should for the safety of the said Colonies Declare them Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, they will solemnly engage with their lives and Fortunes to support them in the Measure.
Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the fate of the American Revolution - I listened today to an interview with author Nathaniel Philbrick on NPR, and was impressed with his fresh take on the social dynamics of the Revolutionary War, portrayed in his book, Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution. His account of the Revolution and the tragic […]
A “Revolutionary” Christmas dinner, 1823 - On Christmas day 1823, Gen Benjamin Pierce of Hillsborough, NH held a reunion of twenty-two citizens of the town who had served in the War of Independence. An account of this notable gathering is preserved in the handwriting of General Pierce. The oldest attendee was Ammi Andrews, born in […]
Paul Revere’s not so famous ride through Ipswich, December 13, 1774 - Capt. Michael Farley and Mr. Daniel Noyes represented Ipswich at the First Provincial Congress, which met in Salem on Friday, October 7, 1774. A resolution was adopted that companies of Minutemen be organized and that “each of the minute men not already provided therewith, should be immediately equipped with […]
John Calef house Ipswich MA Fall 1774: Ipswich mob attacks Loyalist John Calef - The people of Ipswich have a long tradition of heated debate at Town Meeting. In 1687 Samuel Appleton and other town leaders called an emergency town meeting to debate new taxes imposed by the Crown. They were imprisoned for their refusal to appoint a tax collector, an act for […]
The Letters of Joseph Hodgkins and Sarah Perkins - The Perkins-Hodgkins house is located at 80 East St on the corner with Jeffreys Neck Road. This First Period timber-frame house was rebuilt in 1709 after the original 1640 thatch roofed home burned when an indentured servant dropped ashes from her pipe on the straw roof. Ownership passed […]
Great Ispwich Fright, John Greenleaf Whittier The Great Ipswich Fright, April 21, 1775 - A rumor spread that two British ships were in the river, and were going to burn the town. The news spread as far as New Hampshire, and in every place the report was that the regulars were but a few miles behind them, slashing everyone in sight.
5-7 Poplar Street, the Dr. John Calef house (1671) - This house was built on South Main St. between 1671 and 1688 by Deacon Thomas Knowlton. In the 1700’s the house was owned by Dr. John Calef. who was Representative from Ipswich to the General Court, and lost favor with the town when he sided with Loyalists. In 1777 John Heard moved the house to its present location in order to build his elaborate Federalist home which now houses the Ipswich Museum. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Nathaniel Wade house, County Rd. Ipswich 88 County Road, the Col. Nathaniel Wade House (1727) - This house was built in 1727 by Captain Thomas Wade. On September 25, 1780, his son Nathaniel Wade received an urgent correspondence from General George Washington that General Arnold had "gone to the enemy" and to take command at West Point. The house is protected by a preservation covenant with the Ipswich Historical Commission.
Ipswich, Slavery and the Civil War - In 1765, Jenny Slew, a slave in Ipswich, successfully sued John Whipple Jr. for her freedom. In the mid-19th Century, the lines between ardent abolitionists, moderate anti-slavery people and those who avoided the discussion divided families, churches and the town of Ipswich.
In Congress, July 4, 1776 - Featured image: “Declaration of Independence,” oil on canvas by John Trumbull, 1818. IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776   The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected […]
Civil War Memorial in Ipswich MA The Civil War Monument - Photograph by George Dexter, circa 1900; story by Harold Bowen, “Tales of Old Ipswich,” 1975 Each Memorial Day for the last 15 years it has been my job to decorate the different monuments in town early in the morning. This year, I couldn’t help but think of the many […]
We the People Constitutional Convention The Constitutional Convention and establishment of the Electoral College - Many of our founding fathers had little trust in the instincts of the common man. John Adams observed that “Pure democracy has also been viewed as a threat to individual rights,” and warned against the “tyranny of the majority.” Alexander Hamilton, one of the three authors of the “Federalist Papers” defended the system […]
The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard jack William Clancy, WWI hero - Featured image: The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard Jack Harold Bowen wrote in Tales from Olde Ipswich that William Clancy’s family lived in the Old Post Office on North Main Street. Thomas Franklin Waters spoke about historic actions by William Clancy in a 1917 address to the Ipswich Historical Society, […]
Ipswich during World War II - WWII scrap metal collection in Ipswich To build tanks, ships, and planes during WWII, scrap metal drives were held across the country, and Ipswich was no exception. Do you recognize this location?   The Proximity Fuze: How Ipswich women helped win WWII The former Ipswich Mills, now owned by EBSCO, was the site of one of the […]
The British attack on Sandy Bay - On the wall of a building at Bearskin Neck in Rockport, MA is the sign shown below. Rockport experienced one of the oddest invasions in U.S. history during the War of 1812 when British sailors faced the town’s stubborn and fearless residents. I don’t know if the people of Rockport […]
Ghosts of Independence Day - My wife and I were reminiscing of Independence Days long past, when our children were little, some of our parents still alive and our families mostly living nearby. Backyard cook-outs scheduled around shifts at Beverly Hospital or the I.P.D., Betty Dorman’s Recreation Department Fourth of July Children’s Parade […]
Massachusetts protest against the Vietnam War April 1, 1970: The Massachusetts Legislature challenges the Vietnam War - On October 16, 1967, over 5,000 opponents of the Vietnam War rallied on Boston Common and marched to the the Arlington Street Church.  At the end ofa service broadcast to the crowd, over 280 men turned in or burned their draft cards. On January 5, 1968, indictments were […]
The Proximity Fuze: How Ipswich women helped win WW II - The former Ipswich Mills, now owned by EBSCO, was the site of one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Second World War. The VT proximity fuze (variable time fuse) resembled tubes found in radios, and made it possible to detonate antiaircraft shells in the proximity of their target, rather than on impact. Fearing that the […]
Acadian exiles in Ipswich, 1755 - A lesson for our times: The French and Indian War, as it is now known, began in 1754 and ended with the French defeat in 1763. Expeditions were planned against the French strongholds on Lake George, Fort Niagara; and against the Acadian settlers in Nova Scotia. Massachusetts men played a […]
The “Dungeons of Ipswich” during the War of 1812 - On June 17,1812, President Madison declared war with England. The New England states were bitter in their opposition, because of the trade embargo and their vulnerability to British war ships. The Town of Ipswich adopted a resolution on June 25, 1812 declaring its alterable opposition to the embargo and “Mr. […]
To the Inhabitants of the Town of Ipswich, from Thomas Jefferson, September 2, 1808 - The people of Ipswich were united in their opposition to the Embargo Act of 1807, and petitioned Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States.
Bombshell from Louisbourg - Mounted securely to a stone post at the corner of Middle and Independent Streets in Newburyport, there was for many years a large cast-iron bombshell, thrown from a mortar at the Second Siege of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia in 1758. It was brought to Newbury by Nathaniel Knapp, who served as […]
Birthplace of American Independence - Resistance by the citizens and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the Crown in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, which bears the motto, "The Birthplace of American Independence 1687."
WWII scrap metal collection in Ipswich - To build tanks, ships, and planes during WWII, scrap metal drives were held across the country, and Ipswich was no exception.The location is Market Square across from Market Street.
Captain Arthur H. Hardy, 1972 - Arthur Hans Hardy was born in Marburg Lahn, West Germany on November 7, 1948, the son of Gordon E. and Inger Hardy of Highland Avenue, Ipswich. He graduated from Ipswich High School in 1966, lettering in football, basketball and track. As a student, “Bo” Hardy was well-liked, is said […]
The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State Guard The Ipswich Company, Massachusetts State Guard, 1942 - (Thanks to Larry Collins for sharing this  document) With substantially 15,000 man hours of practice, procedure and training under their military belts, the Ipswich Company of the Massachusetts State Guard is rapidly being whipped into shape as a trained military unit for the protection of life and property […]
Thomas Ellsworth, Ipswich Civil War hero, November 30, 1864 - Thomas Foulds Ellsworth was one of four soldiers who earned the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle at Honey Hill, South Carolina, on November 30, 1864. Under a heavy fire he carried his wounded commanding officer, who had become trapped under his horse, saving his life […]
Daniel Denison - Daniel Denison was born in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, England in 1612, and came to America with his parents William Denison and Margaret Chandler on the ship “Lyon” in 1631. When Daniel Denison’s son John died unexpectedly, Denison left an autobiography for his grandchildren, which told about the journey to […]
Leslie's Retreat mural in Salem MA Leslie’s Retreat, or how the Revolutionary War almost began in Salem: February 26, 1775 - In our struggle for Independence, the British military received its first setback from the inhabitants of Salem in an episode that could not have been more ludicrous or entertaining if it had been written for Monty Python.
Ipswich Civil War veterans Joseph Stockwell Manning, a Civil War hero from Ipswich - Private Joseph Stockwell Manning of Ipswich was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on December 1, 1864, a year and two days after an incredible act of bravery at Fort Sanders, Tennessee. His citation simply reads “Capture of flag of 16th Georgia Infantry (C.S.A.)” but the story is […]
Stopping nuclear, 1967-1970 - 1967: Ipswich Nuclear Missile Site 1970: Nuclear Power Plant In 1970 a proposal was made to build a nuclear power generating plant on the site of the former town dump at the end of Town Farm Road in Ipswich. MEPP Inc., an organization of 29 Massachusetts Municipal Electric […]
The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich - The concepts of freedom freedom which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence came from the pen of the Rev. John Wise of Ipswich: "The first human subject and original of civil power is the people...and when they are free, they may set up what species of government they please.
The Life of Daniel Hovey - At the foot of Hovey Street on Water Street along the Ipswich River is a plaque dedicated to the memory of Daniel Hovey, placed there by his descendants. The original wharf on the river in Ipswich was Hovey’s Wharf at this approximate location. Daniel Hovey was born in […]
Ipswich in the World War - On the afternoon of Thursday, November 7, 1918, a rumor spread through Ipswich that an armistice had been arranged. News of the end of the war was received on Monday morning, November 11. Ten blasts on the fire alarm whistle proclaimed the news, church bells began to ring, whistles were blown, all business was suspended, and the streets were filled with people.

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