66 Labor in Vain Rd., the John Gould house (c.1860)

Joshua Giddings - Weatherall house, 66 Labor in Vain Rd., Ipswich
Giddings – Weatherall house, 66 Labor in Vain Rd., Ipswich

Abigail Cogswell, (1776-1851), the daughter of Joseph and Abigail (Patch) Cogswell of Ipswich, married, May 24, 1797, Major Joshua Giddings, who was born in Hamilton. They built a residence near the Labor in Vain bridge in Ipswich. Both died in 1851. Their son, David, was born July 24, 1806. About about 1832, he became a pioneer settler in Sheboygan Falls, Wis. He was a civil engineer, and surveyed much of the land in Chicago, Green Bay, and that region. He married Dorothy C. Trowbridge in 1842. Mr. David Giddings became a prominent citizen and a man of wealth, residing in Fond du Lac, Wis. In 1847, Joshua Giddings sold to William Giddings four parcels, including eight acres with the buildings thereon for $370.00, bordered by the Ipswich River and Labor in Vain Creek. (Salem Deeds, book 430, page 012).

Goulds Bridge
Gould’s Bridge by George Dexter (1862-1927), with the house at 66 Labor in Vain in the background. This was the appearance before the photo below was taken.
Goulds Bridge cyanotype by Arthur Wesley Dow
Goulds bridge, in an 1899 cyanotype by Arthur Wesley Dow, with the house at 66 Labor in Rd. in the background. The image shows substantial alterations. The side porch and some windows and side entrance had been removed, and a second floor had been added to the rear ell, which was also discovered during 20th Century renovations.

Goulds Creek Ipswich
View of the Ipswich River in the distance from the Goulds Creek Bridge

John J. Gould ownership

The 1872 Ipswich map shows the owner of a house at this location as J. J. Gould. Previous to that, the tidal creek near the house had been known as Labor in Vain Creek, but is still referred to today as Gould’s Creek. In February 1887, John J. Gould (1817-1912) sold to Richard Russell (see deed) ninety-five acres with the buildings thereon, including of three acres along both sides of Labor in Vain Rd. and the creek for a sum of $2500.00. (see deed book 1192, page 58). It identifies the parcels as having been bought by Gould from Giddings in or after 1850 (Book 430, page 12). Deacon John James Gould, born in Ipswich in 1817, the son of Amos and Mary Gould, died in 1912 and is buried with his wife Laura at the Wenham Cemetery.

After Russell’s death, the executor of his estate received a discharge of the mortgage from Gould to Richard Russell in 1895 (book 1436, page 143). In subsequent deeds of the same year, the various properties and mortgage were assigned to George and Susan L. Lakeman.

Thanks to Bob Weatherall for helping identify the structural history of the existing house. The house does not have a bake oven in the chimney stack, and was originally heated with coal. The entire structure has balloon framing, which although invented by 1840, did not become prevalent in New England until after the Civil War, thus dating the house to about 1850 or later.

Weatherall ownership

In more recent years, this has been the home of the McMillan, Nichols and Weatherall families. Mary Pennington married first, the author John Updike, and lived in the “Polly Dole” house on East, Street in Ipswich. In 1970, the family moved to Labor-in-Vain Road, a house she lived in for the next 48 years until her passing. She married her second husband, the late Robert Weatherall, there, in l982, and it was here that her painting career flourished.