Nathaniel Wade House IpswichHouses

Nathaniel Wade

The house at 88 County Rd. in Ipswich was built in 1727 by Captain Thomas Wade. The Wade brothers, Jonathan and Thomas, had acquired most of the land from Argilla Road to the intersection of Essex Road and County Road, known then as “Parting Paths.”

Thomas Wade’s son Nathaniel Wade was educated in the one room school house at what was then known as School House Green. At 26 years of age he was a member of the militia and drilled the “Ipswich Minute Men” on the South Green across from this house. On Dec 19, 1774, the Town appointed its Committee to draw up a contract for men to sign, which reported its scale of wages and form of contract on Jan. 3, 1775. Capt. Wade’s company of minute men signed their contract on January 24:

“We, whose Names are hereunto Subscribed, do voluntarily enlist ourselves, as Minute Men, to be ready for Military operation, upon the shortest notice. And we hereby promise and engage, that we will immediately, each of us, provide for & equip himself with an effective Fire Arm, Bayonet, Pouch, Knapsack, & Thirty round of Cartridges ready made. And that we may obtain the skill of compleat Soldiers, We promise to convene for exercise in the Art Military, at least twice every week; and oftener if our officers shall think necessary.” (Waters, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony)

Captain Wade’s Company included members of the Appletons, Farley, Fowlers, Goodhue, Lakemans, Lord, Ross, Stanwood and several other families. After hostilities began in 1775, he led his unit in pursuit of British soldiers retreating from the battles of Concord and Lexington. Two months later they fought in the battle of Bunker Hill. During the war he commanded troops throughout the campaign in Rhode Island and at Long Island, Harlem, and White Plains. Throughout most of the war he was accompanied by another Ipswich soldier, Joseph Hodgkins, whose letters to his wife Sarah Perkins have been preserved.

Wollen, William Barns, 1857-1936; Battle of Lexington, 19 April 1775
Battle of Lexington

On September 25, 1780, Wade received an urgent correspondence from General George Washington, that he take command at West Point:

“Sir, “General Arnold is gone to the enemy…From this circumstance, and Colonel Lamb’s being detached on some business, the command of the garrison, for the present, devolves on you. I request you will be as vigilant as possible; and, as the enemy may have it in contemplation to attempt some enterprise, even to-night, against these posts, I wish you to make, immediately after the receipt of this, the best disposition you can of your force, so as to have a proportion of men in each work on the west side of the river. You will see or hear from me further tomorrow. I am, Sir, your most observant servant George Washington.”

Headquarters, Robinson’s House, 25 September, 1780. To Col. Nathaniel Wade at West Point

Tombstone of Nathaniel Wade
Tombstone of Nathaniel Wade

 Col. Wade’s company of minute men, and fought at the battle of Bunker’s Hill. He was also at the Battles of Long Island, Harlem Heights, the White Plains, and Princeton; and witnessed the capture of Burgoyne and his Army. Col. Nathaniel Wade stayed in the field throughout the war. On October 19, 1781 General Cornwallis surrendered to the American commanders at Yorktown, ending the last big battle of the Revolutionary War. When news reached Ipswich there was great cheering and bells rang on Meetinghouse Green

In 1787 Col. Wade led the Essex Regiment to Western Massachusetts in the fight against Shay’s Rebellion. In 1789 after Washington had become President he visited New England and passed through Ipswich. Colonel Wade had a part in welcoming him at the Swasey Tavern, where Washington stopped for a “cold collation.” In 1824 Col. Wade received his old friend, Lafayette at the same spot when he returned to Ipswich for a visit. Col. Nathaniel Wade died on October 26, 1826, at 76 years of age.

General George Washington’s order declaring an end to hostilities was read to the Continental Army eight years to the day after the Battle of Lexington, and included instructions that ”an extra ration of liquor is to be issued to every man tomorrow to drink to Perpetual Peace, Independence and Happiness to the United States of America.” On April, 1783, celebrations were held throughout the new country to mark the end of the war. 

The inscription on Nathaniel Wade’s gravestone in the cemetery across the street reads as follows:

Erected to the memory of Col Nathaniel Wade who died Oct 26 1826 aged 77. A distinguished soldier of the Revolution. He commenced his career of Military service in the Battle of Bunker Hill as Capt. of the company of Minute Men, raised in this town and was afterwards in the actions of Long Island Haerlem and the White Plains. Advanced to the rank of Colonel in the Continental Army, he was actively engaged in the whole campaign at Rhode Island. After the establishment of National Independence he was successively called to many important civil offices the duties of which he performed with scrupulous fidelity. To a remarkable equanimity and mildness of temper he united an intrepidity which no danger could subdue. Kind and affectionate, he possessed the Love Of his Friends. Just, open and sincere, he won the respect esteem and confidence of his fellow citizens.”

The Col. Nathaniel Wade house

The name “Pomp” is inscribed in a rafter in the attic, and is said to have at one time been a servant in the Wade family . This is almost certainly a different Pomp from the man who was tried and found guilty of murdering Capt. Furbush of Andover on Aug. 6, 1795. That Pomp was believed to have been born in the early 1760s. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote, “Capt. Thomas Wade, who built the house in 1727, bequeathed to his wife, his negro woman, to his daughter, Elizabeth Cogswell, his negro girl, in 1737…. Timothy Wade, son of Capt. Thomas, gave his wife, Ruth, at his decease, “my negro man, Pomp, except she finds it best to sell him,” in 1763.

Rafters in the Nathaniel Wade house

This house is described in the book by the Ipswich Historical Commission, Something to Preserve. “Colonel Wade’s home, now a large structure of many rooms, has seen many renovations which have left little trace of the original floor plan. It has a magnificent paneled fireplace wall and paneled doors in the grand room on the first floor.”

In the second-floor bedroom there is a fine paneled fireplace wall with molding around the fireplace opening. The attic contains unusual ridge rafters and clear evidence that the roof was raised some years after the original house was built.

In 1994 the Ipswich Historical Commission awarded the owners who painstakingly preserved the house with the Mary P. Conley award. This house is protected by a Preservation Agreement which includes the front and side facades, the original framing, paneling mantlepieces, doors, and other molded details.


4 replies »

    • To Marjorie Dill: very happy to hear from another cousin….Nathaniel Wade was my 4th Great Grandfather. My first American ancestor was Jonathan Wade who descendants have been found throughout the USA. A letter from Col. Nathaniel Wade to his mother during the Revolution shows his deep commitment to the goals of the American patriots. It also shows his love to his mother and his determination to help to win the war.

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