Benjamin Fellows house, Ipswich

27 Lakeman’s Lane, the Benjamin Fellows house (c. 1719)

The Benjamin Fellows House at 27 Lakemans Lane won the Honorable Mention for the Mary Conley Award in 1993. The Ipswich assessors provide a date of 1719, perhaps based on the division of the estate of Ruth Fellows, widow of Joseph Fellows in 1718 to her sons Joseph and William. (Salem Deeds 35:109)

In Candlewood, an Ancient Neighborhood in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Thomas Franklin Waters included genealogies of John Brown, William Fellows, and Robert Kinsman:

“On the east side of the Bay Road, the great tract of pasture, tillage land, meadow and swamp, bounded by the Bay Road, Essex Road, the Candlewood Road, Fellows Lane and Lakeman’s Lane was a part of the Common land of the Town, and when the great area of Common lands was divided into Eighths in 1709, it became part of the division known as the South Eighth and was known as The Inner Common of the South Eighth. About 1720, the proprietors of the Inner Common apportioned individual shares, division lines were run and individual titles were then established.”

Waters believed that the Benjamin Fellows house was constructed in 1740, and wrote a history of this house in Candlewood, an Ancient Neighborhood:

“Benjamin Fellows,4 son of Joseph Fellows,3 acquired some landed property before his father’s death: On July 1, 1728, Joseph Whipple deeded to Thomas Wade, “in the South Eighth on the south side of highway laid out from ye saw mill to Braggs hill, about seven acres, bounded west on Thomas Manning, south land laid out to William Fellows, east land laid out to Thomas and Jonathan Wade, north from a stake by corner of sd Thomas and Jonathan Wade standing on the south side of highway aforesaid, on a strait line to the corner of Mr. Manning’s land . . . reserving to myself so much of the land bounded as shall be at any time hereafter laid out for a way to William Fellows” July 1, 1728 (58: 194).

“Timothy Wade sold to Benjamin Fellows 11 acres, which included the Joseph Whipple lot, bounded south by William Fellows, north, the Hamlet road, east by Dr. Joseph Manning and west by John Manning, the other containing 8 acres, bounded south and east by Joseph Fellows, west by Joseph Manning and north by the Hamlet road, “reserving out of the first piece a way 1£ rod wide, from ye gate next ye road leading from y* saw mill to Chebacco, to William Fellows land,” Nov. 24, 1740 (89: 119). The intervening lot, then owned by Dr. Manning, was also acquired by Benjamin Fellows. “

Waters concluded that on this lot, Benjamin built his dwelling, about 1740. Structural observations, including purlin construction and exposed summer beams with “lambs tongue stops” but a balanced facade suggest a transitional house c 1720, which coincides with the traditional construction date of 1719.

Pine summer beam with lambs tongue stops are found throughout the house at 27 Lakemans Lane. Abbot Lowell Cummings wrote, “Later in the (17th century) pine is not infrequently found as part of the frame, particularly in the case of girts and summers. The balance sifts during the first half of the eighteenth century in favor of pine, which ultimately replaces oak to a large extant.”
Principal rafter and common purlins at 27 Lakemans Lane. The purlins are noticiably undersized. Abbot Lowell Cummings observed a “slender quality” of many of the late seventeenth-century principal rafter and common purlin roofs at Massachusetts Bay, and that some purlins, including the 1707 Matthew Perkins house on East St., bowed and snapped. “Beginning with the second quarter of the eighteenth century and continuing into the nineteenth, there is a marked return to more amply dimensioned roof timbers.”

Subsequent owners

by Thomas Franklin Waters

“Ephraim Fellows,5 son of Benjaimin,4 received his father’s homestead at his death and half the farm in 1796. Ephraim was a private in Captain Thomas Burnham’s Company which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775, fighting in the Battle of Lexington. He was at Saratoga and Burgoyne’s surrender in 1777. He fought under Col. Johnson’s Regiment and also that of Col. Samuel Gerrish under Capt. Jenkins and Capt. Dodge. He saw further service probably from December 9, 1777 to February 3, 1778. DAR records list him as a private from Ipswich, MA.

“At his death, Ephraim Fellows divided his estate by will between his widow Eunice and his children. To his widow he gave the northeast end of the dwelling and land adjoining, and 2 acres in the birch lot, also the orchard west of the house, and wood land in Low’s Island.

“To his daughter Elizabeth, the southwest half of the dwelling and land; will proved, April 3, 1810 (Pro. Rec, 379: 174) division filed April 2, 1825 (Pro. Rec. 404: 593). Elizabeth Fellows married John P. Lakeman. Execution was granted Oliver Underhill and possession was given him of all that she inherited from her father, Feb. 14, 1863 (Exec. No. 12: 15) and Aug. 13, 1863 (Exec- No. 12:36).

“The widow’s third was owned then by Aaron F. Brown, who sold her portion and also the east field, assigned to Oliver Appleton, April 17, 1849 (410: 253). Appleton apparently sold the half house to Mr. Underhill. Catherine P. Underhill sold the house and land about it to Aaron Lord, June 15, 1878 (1000: 102). He sold to Jacob Scanks, June 17, 1878 (1000: 103), who sold to Daniel W. Appleton, Feb. 2, 1882 (1075: 216).

“Mr. Appleton sold the buildings and 5 acres of land to William J. Cameron, Oct. 28, 1885 (1161: 236). The old chimney has been removed and the outer appearance were changed by Mr. William J. Cameron), and a general look of newness has dispelled all signs of its venerable age. The old road from the present Lakeman’s Lane turned in east of the house originally. It was used apparently in 1728 but in 1740, it was well defined and a gate was hung across it, as was common with many ways.”

1910 map of Ipswich showing the William J. Cameron property, which includes the house at 27 Lakemans Lane, said to have been built by Benjamin Fellows
Exposed framing in the right room in the Benjamin Fellows house. A portion of the exterior wall was removed and the post was inserted when the room beyond was added, probably around the beginning of the 20th Century.


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