Nathan Dane was born in Ipswich to Abigail and Daniel Dane, a farmer and descendant of John Dane who immigrated to Massachusetts from England in 1636. He worked at the family farm that at the decease of John Appleton had passed from his son to Benjamin Patch, and then to Daniel Dane, and to his son Nathan Dane. D. F. Appleton reacquired the land, and now the Appleton Farms CSA store at 219 County Rd. is at or near the the location of the Dane home.
Nathan Dane graduated from Harvard College in 1778. Dane married Mary Brown and was admitted to the bar, setting up a legal practice in Beverly. He was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a Federalist, where he served until 1785. He was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress, where he helped draft the Northwest Ordinance, which was enacted in 1787. Dane’s amendment banning slavery in the territory which would become five new states was accepted into the Ordinance. His amendments to the Articles of Confederation helped lead to adoption of the United States Constitution and a Bill of Rights. Dane was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate from 1790 to 1791 and from 1794 to 1794, and served on a commission that reviewed and codified the laws of Massachusetts. In his legal practice he worked on behalf of vocational education and humane treatment of prisoners, and helped establish the American Temperance Society. Dane was a representative to the Essex Junto in Ipswich and a delegate to the Hartford Convention during the War of 1812.
The Dane house
Thomas Franklin Waters wrote:
“John Appleton, son of Major Samuel, died in 1724, at the age of 29, and by his will, proved June 8, 1724 (Pro. Rec. 315:107-9) devised his estate to his son Benjamin. Benjamin’s widow, Elizabeth (Wade), was appointed administratrix, March 1, 1731 (Pro. Rec. 318:74). The heirs sold to Daniel Deane or Dane, Jan. 13, 1752 (97:322).
Mr. Dane conveyed it to his son Nathan Dane, the famous Professor of Law at Harvard, April 4, 1780 (139:57). He was born in the year 1752, and he may have seen the light, as it has been affirmed, in the ancient dwelling which still (stood in the early 20th Century) though the timbers of the house indicate that it (was) not the original dwelling built by John Appleton. Nathan Dane enlarged his farm by the purchase of about 31 acres with a dwelling on the east side of County Road, bounded by the land of Oliver Appleton, north, and Mile River, east, from the guardian of Jacob Brown, a person non compos mentis, June 30, 1790 (152: 33).”
- Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society, Vol. XV The Old Bay Road from Saltonstall’s Brook and Samuel Appleton’s Farm
- Wikipedia: Nathan Dane
- 1832 Ipswich map showing home of Benjamin Patch (later Daniel /Nathan Dane)
- Dane farm location determined from Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Thomas Franklin Waters.
- Google Maps: Appleton Farms CSA