Christian Wainwright house, Ipswich MA

The Christian Wainwright house, demolished

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.

Dr. John Perkins, son and heir of Capt. Beamsley Perkins, sold his estate at the intersection of N. Main and Market Streets, reserving an eighth of an acre on Col. Appleton’s line, to John Wainwright, April 13, 1725 (49: 231). (This lot is now the location of Central St.) 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. After his untimely death, Wainwright ‘s administrator sold to Richard Rogers, “a dwelling house and land in present possession of Mrs. Christian Wainwright,” about five and a half acres. May 6, 1741 (80; 302) and Dr. Perkins sold his eighth of an acre to Rogers, Oct. 14, 1741 (80: 303)

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 Road 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.

Rear view of the Christian Wainwright from Saltonstall Street. The white house on the right is across the tracks, belonging to J. C. Underhill, close to the present Farragut Rd.

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.”

The corner of Market and Saltonstall Streets
The same view of the corner of Market and Saltonstall Streets today
Closeup from the 1884 Ipswich town map
Closeup from the 1884 Ipswich town map
Closeup from the 1884 Ipswich Birdseye map. Saltonstall Street was known as Winter St. at that time.
Closeup from the 1893 Ipswich Birdseye map. Saltonstall Street was known as Winter St. at that time.
Location of the Christian Wainwright house before it was moved to Market St.
Location of the Christian Wainwright house before it was moved to Market St.
Ipswich mill strike
The Greek Hotel was on the other corner of Saltonstall and Market Streets. This photo was taken during the 1913 Ipswich mill strike. The Whipple house is on the right. The Christian Wainwright house was demolished about a dozen years earlier.

4 thoughts on “The Christian Wainwright house, demolished”

  1. Hi Gordon, Great piece. I truly appreciate the time and effort you put into the history of our town.


    Sent from my iPad


  2. Hi Gordon, very interesting piece. It never ceases to amaze me how often these old homes were “moved” from one location to another. There is a lovely house on my street that was “moved” in the 50s from South Lynnfield during the construction of Route 128. No home has been moved since then in our town. Hey, we have enough traffic problems as is, right?

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