Summer Street Ipswich MA circa 1900People

Heritage and genealogy tourism in Ipswich

Oscar Handlin wrote in his 1979 book, Truth in History:

“The distinctive cultural development of the New World made history one of the early forms of American literature…Americans always had to explain who they were in a sense rarely compelling to other men who took for granted a connection that ran to a time out of mind, between a specific place and themselves and their families. Lacking identification with place, they searched the past to account for their presence where they were.”

Many people trace their roots back through several generations to Ipswich, one of the earliest towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. I receive frequent inquiries about genealogy as well as occasional requests for genealogy tours, a fast-growing market in vacation travel. They want to travel to the land of their ancestors to re-create a link with their past and “walk in the footsteps of their forefathers.”

County Street Ipswich MA

Left to right: 11 County Street, the Bennett – Caldwell house(1725), 9 County Street, the  Benjamin Dutch house (1705), 7 County Street, the Thomas Dennis House (1663), 5 County Street, the Rindge-Pinder-Leatherland house (1718), 3 County Street (1850)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines heritage tourism as “traveling to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present.” Communities identify local or regional points of interest for visitation, and develop informational materials for distribution to travelers and tourists. Genealogy Tourism, sometimes called roots tourism, provides visitors with resources as they search their family history.

Ipswich is the country’s best-preserved Puritan town, and its residents have been the proud custodians of its history. Many Ipswich homes were built before the Revolutionary War, including at least fifty during the First Period of Colonial construction (1620-1720). The Old North Burying Ground and the South Green cemetery have some of the earliest gravestones in the country. We live in a very old and real town.

Unlike Concord and Salem, Ipswich has never been overwhelmed by commercial tourism, yet no community in this country is a more fulfilling destination for the genealogy tourist. The stories of the town’s Puritan settlers and their homes are shared on this site. made possible in no small part by the founder of the Ipswich Historical Society, Thomas Franklin Waters and his two-volume set, “Ipswich In the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

17th Century houses in Ipswich, Massachusetts - View also: 18th Century Ipswich houses 19th Century Ipswich houses 20th Century Ipswich houses
Ipswich online Genealogy Resources - Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, Massachusetts, by Abraham Hammatt. Vital Records Vital Records to 1850 Hathi Trust 1814 Parish Census 1678 Commonage Rights (list of settlers) Nutfield Genealogy American Ancestors Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of the state of Massachusetts by Cutter, William Richard Volume I Volume […]
First Period houses of Essex County - This is a list of houses designated "First Period" by area historic organizations. Undesignated houses Information may not be current. Most houses have dates based on historical records or tradition and have not been dated by dendrochronology.
Ancient houses of Essex County - Historic houses in Amesbury, Beverly, Boxford, Danvers, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Groveland, Marblehead, Merrimac, Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Salem, Topsfield, Wenham and West Newbury.
Old North Burying Ground - The Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich, Massachusetts was established in 1634 and is one of the oldest cemeteries in North America.
Early settlers of Ipswich - The Puritan settlers of Ipswich arrived during the “Great Migration. Sources include "Early Inhabitants of Ipswich" by Abraham Hammatt, "Vital Records to 1850," and "Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony" by Thomas Franklin Waters.
Ipswich burying grounds - Old North Burying Ground, Highland Cemetery, Old South Burying Ground, Leslie Road Burying Ground, Old and New Linebrook Cemeteries, Immigrant’s Cemetery, Locust Grove, and Chebacco Parish.
Leslie Road Burial Ground, 169 Leslie Rd., Rowley MA - The following study and information is provided by Bruce Laing: In Memento Mori, authors Johnson and Elbridge were ambitious, thorough, and accurate. There were indeed three Burial Grounds in the Linebrook Parish, even though only two were commonly known by town historians, and only two were seen by […]
New Linebrook Cemetery - Description of the New Linebrook Cemetery and the comprehensive listing, provided by Bruce Laing, 2006 Download as PDF View gravestones at the New Linebrook Cemetery (FindaGrave) This cemetery is about 100’ wide by 275’ deep. There is an antique house just to the east, and a modern house […]
Old Linebrook Cemetery - The Old Linebrook Cemetery was first used in 1725, but most burials date from 1768 to about 1900. Family names include Chapman, Conant, Ellsworth, Foster, Howe, Morse, Perley and Potter.
Immigrants Cemetery Ipswich MA Immigrants Highland Annex Cemetery - The Highland Annex Cemetery, better known as the Immigrants, Greek or Polish Cemetery, is located on Fowlers Lane in Ipswich. This cemetery was used for the burial of immigrants to the town, from about 1913 until about 1939. Most came to Ipswich to work at the Ipswich Mills and the Brown Milll. This page lists the names and other information about those who were buried here, including a young Greek woman, Νικολεττα Παντελοπουλος who was killed by police bullets during the Ipswich Mills strike of 1913.
Ipswich Old South Cemetery - The Old South Cemetery has approximately 1000 interments, and was used from 1756 till 1939. It sits between the South Green and the Ipswich River and is an easy walk from downtown. This page includes maps and comprehensive records created by the WPA.
Tombstones of the settlers of Ipswich Massachusetts - The Old North Burying Ground at the intersection of High Street and Rt 133/1A was established in 1634 upon the founding of the town of Ipswich. The following photos are graves from the Old North Burial Ground in Ipswich, and houses or other places associated with those persons. A complete list […]
Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony - The authoritative source for Ipswich history from its founding in 1633 up to the 20th Century.
Shatswell house, High Street, Ipswich MA 88-92 High Street, the Shatswell house (before 1690) - The oldest section of the Tuttle – Lord – Shatswell house was built before 1690 for Deacon John Shatswell, who joined the Ipswich settlement in 1633 with his wife and four children. It remained in the family and was the home of Col. Nathaniel Shatswell, famous for his command of Union troops during the Battle of Harris Farm during the Civil War.
Walking tours of historic Ipswich - The historic neighborhoods of Ipswich offer well-preserved streetscapes of 17th to 19th homes. Walking tours of historic Ipswich are led on weekends by Gordon Harris, the Town Historian.
33 High Street, the Waldo-Caldwell house (1660) - In 1654, Cornelius Waldo sold to John Caldwell for £26 the house and land he bought of Richard Betts. Caldwell removed the old house and built the present house as a two-over-two-room, central chimney plan house with massive summer beams, a huge fireplace, and heavy chamfered frame, a very substantial house of the 1660’s.
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.
Summer Street Ipswich MA circa 1900 Heritage and genealogy tourism in Ipswich - Oscar Handlin wrote in his 1979 book, Truth in History: “The distinctive cultural development of the New World made history one of the early forms of American literature…Americans always had to explain who they were in a sense rarely compelling to other men who took for granted a […]
Lakeman's Lane and Fellows Road Ipswich Lakemans Lane and Fellows Road - by Charlotte Lindgren One hundred years ago, Lakemans Lane was a narrow dirt road lined by stone walls. About a mile beyond Parting Paths, then called Whittier’s Corner (for the now demolished homestead of the large Whittier family), the lane connected County and Essex Roads. It was bisected […]
Moses Jewett house, 307 High St. Homes of the Jewetts - Deacon Maximilian Jewett was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, baptized Oct. 4th, 1607. He with his wife Ann, and his brother Joseph sailed from Hull, England in 1638 in the ship John, with a colony under the leadership of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers. They arrived at […]
Thomas Lord house Ipswich Homes of the Lords - Featured image: The Thomas Lord house on High Street in Ipswich dates to 1658. Robert Lord arrived with the first settlers of Ipswich in late 1634 or early 1635, probably from Sudbury, Suffolk, England, where he was born in 1603. Soon after his arrival, Robert Lord was appointed Ipswich Town […]
Great Sorrows: The Deadly “Throat Distemper” of 1735-36 - Featured image: Tombstone of the daughters of Dr. Thomas Berry: Elizabeth age 5 years, and Mary, age 18 months, who died in December 1735 of the “throat distemper.” Photo by John Glassford An epidemic of “throat distemper” raged in New England between 1735 and 1740. The contagion struck first […]
The Holyoke-French house Colonial houses of Boxford - Houses built during the Colonial era in Boxford, Massachusetts. Listings and images provided by the MACRIS site of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, and by Vision Properties for the Town of Boxford, with additional historical information from The Dwellings of Boxford, by Sidney Perley BOX.48, Dr. William Hale, Rev. William P. […]
A town of immigrants - Puritans founded Ipswich during the “Great Migration” of the early 17th Century. Many residents of the town descend from immigrants who arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work in the mills.
Deacon Thomas Stevens house Colonial-era houses of Merrimac Massachusetts - Merrimac sits on the Merrimack river abutting the southeastern border of New Hampshire. Settled by the English in 1638 as a part of Salisbury and later as a part of Amesbury around the village of Merrimacport, it was known throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries as an agricultural and […]
Ipswich Riverwalk mural mill strike 1913 American Town - American Town, the History of Ipswich, Massachusetts EBSCO Publishing commissioned artist Alan Pearsall to paint the history of Ipswich on a 2700 sq. ft. mural at the Riverwalk, behind the EBSCO complex. Having done extensive research for the mural, they then commissioned him to write, illustrate and design American Town, […]
The John Ward house in Salem MA First Period houses of Salem, Massachusetts - Salem, MA has about 18 First Period houses (built during the first century of English settlement, approximately 116-20-1720). In his landmark studies, “Massachusetts and its First Period Buildings” (1979) and The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725 (1979), architectural historian Abbott Lowell Cummings demonstrated that eastern Massachusetts contains […]
The oldest houses in Gloucester, MA - The area that is now Gloucester MA was inhabited briefly by European settlers briefly around 1626. The settlement was abandoned, but people returned slowly, and the town was founded as Gloucester in 1642, taking its name from a city in South-West England. Although farming was an important occupation, […]
The ancient houses of Rowley, Massachusetts - The 1677 Platts-Bradstreet House is located on Rt. 1A, 233 Main St. in Rowley, owned, maintained and operated by the Rowley Historical Society. The Plattss-Bradstreet house faces south, has nine over six windows with Indian shutters and a large center chimney. The original two-story rectangular house with four […]
17th and 18th Century houses of Topsfield, Massachusetts - Topsfield originally was part of the 17th-century coastal plantations of Salem and Ipswich, with large tracts of its territory granted to residents of Ipswich between 1634 and 1642. At first known as the “newe medowes at Ipswich,” but was given its present name in 1648. In 1650, it had enough […]
Colonial houses of Hamilton, Massachusetts - The part of Ipswich known as the Hamlet (now Hamilton) was “set off” as a separate parish (church) in 1714-15. The Hamlet was incorporated by the name of Hamilton on June 21, 1793. Rev. Cutler of the Congregational Church in the Hamlet had served in Congress before becoming one of the town’s longest-serving […]
Linebrook Church 1930, Ipswich Ma Linebrook Parish - This remote area was originally known as Ipswich Farms. After the residents began pressing for their own church, the Massachusetts General Court on June 4, 1746, created the Linebrook Parish, the boundries of which were defined by 6 brooks and lines connecting them. The community had a church, store, school and its own militia.
The early homes of the Shatswells - The oldest section of the Tuttle – Lord – Shatswell house at 88 High Street in Ipswich is said to have been built before 1690 as the home of John Shatswell, who came to join the Ipswich settlement in 1633 with his wife and four children. He was granted this piece of land and built […]
Jewett Hill, Ipswich Village map Ipswich Village (Upper High St.) - Featured image: “Ipswich Village” in the 1832 Philander map of the town of Ipswich. The following narrative includes excerpts from Ipswich Village and the Old Rowley Road. by Thomas Franklin Waters in 1915. “At the very beginning of the Town, High Street was the road to Newbury or ‘the pathway […]
Homes of the Wades - Jonathan Wade arrived in Ipswich in 1635 with the first wave of Puritan settlers. He came into ownership of land along the South Green originally granted to the Rev. Nathaniel Ward, and left an estate valued at £783. In the 19th Century, the Wade family of housewrights built several homes on for […]
Candlewood Rd., Ipswich Ma Candlewood Road - “Why and when the name was given is largely a matter of conjecture. Pastor Higginson of Salem wrote to friends in England of the primitive way in which the earliest settlers often lighted their houses by burning thin strips of the pitch pine trees. The suggestion is natural […]
Gold Coast negro slaves for sale Names of the Ipswich slaves - In 1641 the Massachusetts Bay Colony adopted a code of laws that made slavery legal. In 1755, the slaves in this town above the age of sixteen numbered sixty-two, but within ten years, public opinion began turn against slavery. In 1780, the present Constitution of Massachusetts was adopted, its first article asserting that all men are born free and equal.
Drunkards, liars, a hog, a dog, a witch, “disorderly persons” and the innkeeper - As the young boys who arrived with the first settlers of Ipswich approached adulthood, they developed a fondness for hard liquor and rowdiness, which frequently landed them in court. The words of accusers, witnesses and defendants provide an entertaining narrative.
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 […]
The defiant Samuel Appleton - In 1687, a warrant was issued for the arrest of several Ipswich men for being "seditiously inclined and disaffected to his Majesty's government." The 62-year-old Major Samuel Appleton scorned the appearance of submission and remained imprisoned in the cold Boston Jail through the winter.
Mathison painting, "Examination of a Witch" trial of Elizabeth Howe of Ipswich The Witchcraft Trial of Elizabeth Howe - Elizabeth Howe and her husband James resided on outer Linebrook. James Howe lost his sight at about the age of 50 and Elizabeth assumed the dual responsibility of managing the family and the farm. There was long-standing friction between Elizabeth Howe and her neighbors Samuel and Ruth Perley. Elizabeth Howe was charged with bewitching her neighbor’s child, was arrested on May 28, 1692. She was hung in Salem on July 19, 1692.
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 […]

Categories: People

Tagged as: ,

15 replies »

  1. I will visit Ipswich for the first time next September 24, 2018. My 8 x Great Grandfather was Lieutenant Thomas Burnham who arrived on the Angel Gabriel. The next 7 generations of Burnhams were obviously proud of the name. When my Grandma got married and lost her Burnham surname, she kept the name alive by giving my father, Colonel Charles Burnham Milliken, the middle name Burnham. Growing up, family referred to him as just “Burnham.” My dad was General George Patton’s finance officer during WWII, reporting to his Chief of Staff. He named my older brother (d. 1959) Robert Burnham Milliken. When my daughter had a Grandson last summer she asked me for a list of interesting names from our family tree, and from that list she chose to name him Ethan Thomas Doan, after Lt. Thomas Burnham. Anyone want to meet me and my wife for coffee the morning of Sept 24, before we spend the day exploring the Ipswich area?


  2. I did a talk at the Ipswich Museum two years ago on the topic of family history, with the slant on
    visiting those places that one’s ancestors came from – walking those paths, going to those
    churches, breathing that air and listening to the accents gives you some insight into their lives that you
    don’t get by merely doing genealogical charts.
    Field trips, especially to other countries, can be greatly rewarding!!.


  3. i visited ipswich in may 2017. i am a direct descendant of john cogswell. i visited cogswell’s grant and many other places. i loved my time in ipswich. i hope to return sometime.

    sandy harrigan


  4. I would love to visit someday! 9th great grandfather, Palmer Tingley, was granted 8 acres for service in the Pequot War in 1639. I’d love to be able to trace where the land was and see if I can find out more about him. I’m excited with all of the research material mentioned in your article. I inquired about him at the Historical Society a few years ago – never heard anything back. Such is life – I’m sure they are busy. Another oddity, I went to Marietta College. The name Putnam is all over the place, but at the time I wasn’t aware of the connection. Small world!
    Thank you so much for this article!


  5. I visited Ipswich several years ago while during genealogy research in Essex County and thoroughly enjoyed the early houses, the cemeteries, and the history. My Lovering ancestors lived there for several generations. I also really enjoy your posts. You do a fantastic job of educating those of us interested in Ipswich history.


  6. Mr. Harris,

     My wife and I visitedIpswich in September 2016 and loved every minute we were there.  I’vespent years exploring my genealogy roots and have known for some time thatGiles Birdley, (Burley Burleigh) came to Ipswich around 1640 and died there in1668.  He is my 7x great-grandfather and is the main reason I visitedIpswich.

      During our visit my wifeand I spent many hours exploring The Old North Burying Ground hoping to findhis grave site.  We never found it, and I was wondering if there isanother place we should have looked?   

     By the way, sincevisiting Ipswich, I’ve enjoyed your Historic Ipswich onlinestories and articles.   Thank you for all you do to keep Ipswich’shistory alive and accessible to everyone.  


     William Burley



Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.