6 Hovey Street, the Thomas Foulds Ellsworth house (1866)

6 Hovey Street, the Thomas Foulds Ellsworth house (1866)

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that Thomas Newmarch sold the lot at the corner of Hovey and Water Streets to Nathaniel Mansfield in 1773, and that “they and the old house near the modern dwelling are well remembered.”

The 1856 map identifies this lot as “B. Ellsworth.” Benjamin Noyes Ellsworth, born in Rowley, was appointed keeper of the Ipswich Range lighthouse on Crane Beach by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 and remained in the post until his death in 1902. He was responsible for several rescues of shipwreck victims during his long stay. After his wife died, he was accompanied at the Lighthouse by his daughter Susan Treadwell Ellsworth. The Ellsworth family in Ipswich are descendants of Jeremiah Ellsworth, who was born in Cambridgeshire, England in 1626 and settled in Rowley.

The 1872 Ipswich village map shows the owner to be “T. Ellsworth.” Searching the Salem Deeds site we find that Thomas F. Ellsworth sold the property with a house to Howard C. Dodge in 1887 for $2650.00, noting a separate mortgage to Ruth Prouty (book 01205, page 538), “being the same premises conveyed to said Thomas F. Ellsworth by Richard Russell (book 716, page 84) for $233.00, December 1866, “known as the Mansfield Estate.” Carolyn Heard Peatfield (1913-2009) noted that Charles Austin Ellsworth was born Dec 11, 1864 and Mary Louisa Ellsworth was born Jan 13 1853, both in “the old house on Hovey St. The new house is now owned by Raymond Dodge.”

Thomas Foulds Ellsworth

Captain Thomas Foulds Ellsworth was born on November 12, 1840. Three Ellsworth brothers fought in the Civil War. After the Civil War, Ellsworth worked as an officer of the Boston Custom House. In the 1890s, he moved to Pasadena, California where he and his son ran a contracting business. The Medal of Honor was awarded to Captain Ellsworth in 1895.

Thomas Foulds Ellsworth was one of four soldiers who earned the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Battle at Honey Hill, South Carolina, on November 30, 1864. Under a heavy fire he carried his wounded commanding officer, who had become trapped under his horse, saving his life and preventing him from being captured.

Captain Ellsworth was selected to serve as an officer of a company in one of the first regiments made up of “colored soldiers” in the Union Army, the Massachusetts 55th infantry, which along with the 54th Infantry was referred to as the ‘overflow unit’ for the infamous 54th of “Glory’ fame.

Brig. Gen, A. S. Hartwell was rescued by Captain Ellsworth, the act for which the medal was awarded. He later wrote a letter Ellsworth (partially copied below):

“Concerning your leaving the service for disability incurred in the line of duty, I desire, with my wishes for your future and my thanks for your valuable services. Since you left the ranks of the 2d Massachusetts infantry, and, with a fine name for bravery and good conduct entered the 552nd infantry as a second lieutenant,you have faithfully discharged every duty, and in addition to your regular promotion, have been promoted out of order for gallant and meritorious conduct in battle. It is impossible to express the gratitude I feel to you for doing what few men would, or could do for another, and for saving me, at the least, from being left to the rebels- I am deeply thankful that my safety was not bought at the cost of life or limb to you. I remember your words when I said something to you about leaving me: `I will die first.’ I thought then you would, but I saw from your looks there was no use in arguing the point.”

In another incident during the Civil war in which a volunteer was needed to manage a dangerous river crossing, Ellsworth’s fellow soldiers called out, “Ellsworth can do it– he was born in a boat!” After the war, Ellsworth worked as an officer of the Boston Custom House. In the 1890s, he moved to Pasadena, California where he and his son ran a contracting business. The Medal of Honor was awarded to Ellsworth in 1895.

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to


Rank and Organization: Captain, Company B, Massachusetts Infantry.
Place and Date: At Honey Hill, S.C., 30 November 1864.
Birth:, Mass.
Date of Issue: 18 November 1895.
Citation: Under a heavy fire carried his wounded commanding officer from the field.

The Ellsworth house, 6 Hovey St., Ipswich
The Thomas Ellsworth house soon after it was constructed in 1867
Photo by Sharon Scarlata

Captain Benjamin Ellsworth

(from Descendants of Jeremiah Ellsworth of Rowley)

Captain Benjamin Ellsworth, son of William,was born in Rowley, Mass., January 13, 1813 died in Ipswich Beach, Mass., February 21, 1902.

  • He married (1st) January 29, 1837, Susan Treadwell, who was born on April 9, 1812 and died August 3, 1839, aged 27 years, the daughter of Capt. Moses and Mary Treadwell.
  • He married (2nd) April 12, 1840 Mrs. Lanus (Titus) Ellsworth of Salem, Mass., born September 11, 1810 and died in August 1867, the widow of Timothy Jewett Ellsworth.
  • He married (3rd) June 26, 1869, Jane (Nash) Rowell, widow of William Rowell. She died in January 1895.

Children by first wife:

  • Benjamin Franklin Ellsworth, born September 30, 1837
  • Susan Treadwell Ellsworth (1) buried October 8, 1839; aged about 4 months.

Children by second wife:

  • Thomas Foulds Ellsworth born November 12, 1840
  • William Merrill Ellsworth born April 15, 1842; drowned June 15, 1845
  • Wilbur Fiske Ellsworth, born March 20, 1843
  • William Merrill Ellsworth born May 3, 1845. His house still stands on Summer St.
  • Jason Lee Ellsworth born June 8, 1847
  • Susan Treadwell Ellsworth (2) born September 10, 1848. After her mother died, she lived with and assisted Benjamin Ellsworth as the Lighthouse keeper.
  • Charles Austin Ellsworth born December 11, 1851
  • Mary Louisa Ellsworth born January 13, 1853
  • Abram Ellsworth born September 22, 1854; died October 6, 1854.


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