The Burnham-Andrews farmhouse at 50 Argilla Road was built in approximately 1815 at the end of the Federal era. Two large additions on the rear right appears to be pre-1900’s.

In the 1832 Ipswich map, Thomas Burnham owns the ancient 1660 Giddings-Burnham house which still stands at 43 Argilla Rd. The Burnham farm at one time stretched both sides of Argilla Road. Theodore Andrews’ farm is shown at the location of the 1690 James Burnham House at 45 Heartbreak Road, also still standing. But no house is shown at this location in the 1832 map or the 1910 map.

j-h-burnham-house-rocky-hill
The J. Howard Burnham house in the 1893 Ipswich Birdseye Map. Preliminary evidence indicates that it was moved to 50 Argilla Road after 1910.

There is an old story that this house was moved to this location in the late 18th or early 19th Century. In the 1910 Ipswich map, the home of J. H. Burnham is shown on the slope of Rocky Hill with a driveway that curves down to the intersection of Argilla and Heartbreak Roads. A tennis court is at that location now. The shape of the house on that map also shows an addition on the rear right. The J. H. Burnham house is shown in the 1893 Ipswich Birdseye map, and appears to be to the farmhouse at 50 Argilla Road. The J. H. Burnham house is shown at the same location in the 1872 Ipswich map.

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Thomas Franklin Waters recorded the history of the J. H. Burnham in his 1909 booklet, “A History of the Old Argilla Road”:

“The original grantees seem to have disposed of their holdings at an early date. William Fuller removed to Hampton, and sold his grant to his brother John. His lot was bounded by the Simon Tompson lot on the north and may be identified with the location now occupied by Mr. J. Howard Burnham.”

“John Fuller seems to have been living in the vicinity of Mr. J. Howard Burnham’s residence in 1658. His son James sold his interest in his father’s house and land to his brothers Thomas and Joseph, 1679. Ebenezer Fuller sold five acres with the buildings to Isaac Burnham in 1768 (*Essex Co. Deeds, 151:253). Later it was owned by Aaron Burnham and Theodore Andrews.”

The December 15, 1889 Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester NY ran an article stating that “J. Howard Burnham of Ipswich MA recently sold for large prices exclusive rights for using a carpet cleaning machine in New York City.”

Theodore Andrews was described as a “Lace Manufacturer” who bought the Philemon Dean house on South Main Street at auction, and sold it to the Ipswich Manufacturing Company in 1837. The building came to be known as “The Old Lace Factory.” He and Ebenezer Burnham were among a group of men who founded the Unitarian Church of Ipswich in 1830.

Further evidence and deed research are needed, but it appears that the J. Howard Burnham house was moved to this location. Architectural features may be why the house was dated to 1815 by the Ipswich Historical Commission. Further observations are needed to determine who built the house, when it was constructed, and the date it was moved.

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