The home of Christian Wainwright house originally sat next door to the Nathaniel Treadwell house at 12 North Main Street and no longer exists. Christian was the widow of John Wainwright, son of Col. John Wainwright Senior, a man of great wealth who owned a large estate along East Street down to the wharf. He expanded his estate in 1710 by purchasing property that had passed from one of the early settlers, Thomas Treadwell to his son Nathaniel. It was Colonel Wainwright’s will that the estate should remain in the family forever. John Wainwright Jr. died at age 49 and left his wife Christian with three children.
The great fortune left by the senior Colonel Wainwright was soon greatly reduced, and she was granted relief by an act of the court to sell various properties leading to the Neck in order to care for and educate her children. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote, “Before Ebenezer Smith sold his house (6-8 N. Main) to Ebenezer Stanwood, he had sold an empty lot, with fifty feet frontage, to Daniel Tilton, March 1, 1732-3 (68: 149), “being at ye corner of a homestead adjoining to my Brother Smith’s homestead next the County Road and from thence to extend unto my said homestead by the county Road fifty feet from thence to run northwesterly through my homestead , “together with a barn standing and grounded firmly.”
Tilton sold the lot to Christian Wainwright with “a certain message, bounded southeasterly by ye County Rad Fifty three feet southwesterly by land of Smith northwesterly by Nathaniel Treadwell, containing about forty seven rods more or less,” June 2, 1741 (80: 295). Governor Joseph Dudley came to Ipswich May 15, 1711, and in the evening, “the Court waited on his Excellency at Madam Wainwright’s. He went with Mr. Rev. Rogers to our Lodging about Nine.”
In 1748, this lot with a house was conveyed by Christian Wainwright, widow of John, to Daniel Staniford. Joseph Baker came into possession, April 29, 1845 (355: 215) and moved the old Christian Wainwright house in order to enlarge his own property, which was described as being the historic old Treadwell Tavern, still standing at 12 N. Main St. The new location for the former Christian Wainwright house was next to the original location of the Whipple House at the corner of Market and Saltonstall Streets, where it was used as a tenement for mill workers. After the Historical Society purchased the Whipple House in 1898, they determined that the tenement house was beyond repair and demolished it. The location is now a parking lot for EBSCO.
A description of the Whipple House and the Christian Wainwright house is in the essay, “The Hotel Cluney of a New England Village” published in 1900:
“A sort of thorn in the flesh for the Historical Society, after the completion of its task, was the uncomfortable proximity of a most disreputable-looking old tenement house on the’ rear side, between the ancient mansion and the railway track. But one day Miss Gray had a visit from a Boston friend, a lady whose means enable her to follow her natural inclination to do all sorts of good deeds. The visitor was thoroughly delighted with what had been accomplished, and within a few days Miss Gray received from her a check for $1800 to enable the Society to complete its work by giving its home a suitable environment through getting rid of the adjacent eyesore. With this money the tenement house was purchased and demolished, and a new old-fashioned garden was laid out on its site.”