Wilbur Trask house, High St., Ipswich

84 High Street, the John Smith house (c 1830)

The charming little house at 84 High Street in Ipswich was built between 1820 and 1832. It first appears on the 1832 Philander map of Ipswich in the possession of John Smith. In later years the owner is listed as Mrs. J. Smith, his widow. The 1884 Village map shows the owner as C. Smith. Between this lot and the Shatswell lot to the north was once a house built by Joseph Smith. It disappeared many years ago. Thomas Franklin Waters notes that this lot had previously belonged to Captain Perkins, Nathaniel Hart, Moses Lord, his sons Jacob and Moses Lord, and Joseph Smith.

The Ipswich Chronicle wrote a long obituary for Joseph Smith:

“Joseph Smith, on his mother’s side, descended from John Shatswell; and from his mother he inherited a part of the original Shatswell house lot on the High street, and the original Shatswell home, which he took down, and on its site he placed the house which stood where Mr. John Lane’s now stands. It had been owned by John Cole Jewett, who died about 1806; Mr. Smith bought it of Capt. David Lord, the executor of Mr. Jewett. In this old house he lived seventy-three years. It was then taken down, and the land was purchased by John Edward Lord.”

Original lots allocated to the early settlers of Ipswich. from “Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.”

In the book, “Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony” we read the following about this lot:

“The middle part of the Brewer lot came into Francis Sawyer’s possession. The executors of Capt. Perkins sold him their interest in the third division, abutting on the Shatswell property, June 27, 1734. Sawyer sold Moses Lord, chair-maker and turner, “a certain messuage near a place called Brewer’s Corner, from Nathaniel Hart’s land by the County Road, 4 rods 7h ft.,” to Shatswell’s line, Nov. 3, 1757 and on Dec. 21, 1770, he sold Lord the rear land, which was not included in the earlier sale. Lord built the ancient house that still stands (editor’s note: in 1905), probably about the year 1757. It was owned later by his sons Jacob and Moses, and Jacob sold his interest to his brother, July 21, 1818. It was owned at a later date by John Lane. Sometime later than 1770 part of this homestead was sold to Joseph Smith, and his house was built between the Moses Lord and Shatswell houses. It disappeared many years ago. There is an interesting story about Joseph Smith and his encounter with a fortune-teller.

In 1958 this became the home of Wilbur Trask, who moved to Ipswich with his parents, nine brothers and two sisters. In 1932 he was given his first Kodak Brownie box camera and began a lifetime hobby of photography. He was unable to serve during WWII due to his hearing impairment, but worked on proximity fuses at Sylvania (now the location of EBSCO publishing), and continued for four decades with the company.

Wilbur Trask’s home is in the middle of this photo of the 1943 Memorial Day parade, heading north on High Street. On the far left is Burnham’s Grocery, where Dunkin Donuts is now.

Many of Wilbur Trask’s photos can be seen in the books “Ipswich” and Ipswich Revisited” and in this blog. He died in 2012.

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