30 East Street, Ipswich MA

The Francis Jordan house, 30 East St. (c. 1680)

Francis Jordan arrived with the settlers of Ipswich in 1634 at the age of 24. He married Jane Wilson in 1635, with whom he had six daughters. In 1650 he was appointed as the officer to execute corporal punishment, being allowed 20 pounds per year.” In other words, he was the “town whipper.”

Jordan bought a lot near this location and expanded it through subsequent purchases. At his death in 1678, the estate was valued at £262, including a house, barn, pasture and his planting land in the Common. By custom, we can assume that one of her married daughters resided with the widowed mother and assumed responsibility for the property. This was probably Lydia Jordan, born Feb. 14, 1643 who in 1664 married Thomas Simson, and after his death married George White on Apr. 5, 1671. Some part of the present house appears to have been constructed or greatly altered at this time. Structural evidence indicates that the house was built in two stages, and that the west (left) side is the ealier section.

In Jane Jordan’s will, dated Dec. 10, 1689, the widow made provisions for her own maintenance and bequeathed her lands and belongings in 6th parts to her daughters and grandchildren. She died four years later, on Oct. 30, 1693. It was not until 1708 that the widow’s executor Richard Belcher, who had married Lydia Jordan’s daughter Mary Simpson, sold “the messuage or tenement that was formerly Francis Jordan’s deceased,” to John Potter, for £88. Daniel Potter sold the house and lot to Thomas Hovey 3d, fisherman, March 31, 1741 for £270. (The first half of the 18th Century was a period of rapid inflation, and the tripling in value cannot be interpreted to mean construction of a new house.) The timbered frame of this house is observationally similar to the oldest part of the William Howard House at the intersection of Turkey Shore and Green St., which was constructed in 1680. The specific dates of construction for this house cannot be determined without dendrochronology (tree ring dating).

Chamfered summer beams in the Francis Jordan house
30 East Street in 1949, when the original saltbox extension was removed

The original lean-to was removed in the mid-20th Century, and the present lean-to and gable porchwee added in 1968 by Hollie Bucklin, who restored the interior of the house to a 17th Century appearance. In 2023 the house is being restored by its new owner, Sarah Winderlin. Read more about this private residence at the Historic Ipswich site.

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