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Postcard of the Cate-Jewett house

The Aaron Jewett House at 321 High Street in Ipswich near the Rowley town line was built in 1780 and has many well-maintained historic elements, including the original beams and paneling, plus five fireplaces.  The house was owned by several generations of farmers and served as “The Rose Tree Inn” in the early 1900’s. Take a virtual tour

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The Aaron Jewett house in 1780

Aaron Jewett was born in Ipswich on May 27, 1744. He married on April 20, 1769, Hannah Pearson who died Sept. 7, 1793. He married second. May 29, 1796, Elizabeth Bradstreet of Ipswich, daughter of Nathaniel and Phoebe (Jewett) Bradstreet. He was a soldier in the Revolution from Ipswich, and served two or more enlistments with Capt. Moses Jewett’s troop of horse, Col. John Baker’s (3d Essex Co.) regt., which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775, to Medford and was a Corporal in the Company which Capt. Moses Jewett led Nov. 29, 1775, from Ipswich to Gloucester, 26 miles.

The Aaron Jewett house today
The Aaron Jewett – Mark Cate house today

Aaron Jewett was a cabinet maker and farmer in Ipswich, and died there. His will dated June, 1826, mentions wife Elizabeth, Hannah Hale a daughter ; Jonathan, dec’d, Edward, Jeremiah dec’d, Lavinia Lowell a daughter, Elizabeth Cate, Abigail Palmer a daughter, Aaron and Moses, Jr., sons. His widow died April 20, 1834, aged 73 years. (from the History and genealogy of the Jewetts of America).

Alice Keeton wrote, “The town’s reluctance to slice off yet another piece of upper High Street to Rowley kept the 1780 Aaron Jewett House firmly and permanently in Ipswich. Known for generations as the “Cate House” (Aaron’s daughter, Eliza, having married Mark Cate of Rowley) it remained in that family until 1912 when Miss Sarah Houghton bought it and “repaired the venerable landmark with excellent taste and opened a popular and well visited tea-room known as “The Rose Tree Inn.” A lovely rose-embowered place it was. It still stands, somewhat closer to the road and some refer to it as “The Ghost House.” Supposedly, bureau drawers open and shut at will, chains clank across floors, the ghost of a Hessian soldier roams around, and weird rappings are heard, but if any ghosties abound we admire their taste for the house is a delight”

The Cate-Aaron Jewett house on the Massachusetts Historical Commission site
The Aaron Jewett – Mark F. Cate house on the Massachusetts Historical Commission site

Margot Fisher Sherwood heard ghost stories about the “brown saltbox on outer High Street” where the Stevens used to live, just before the Rowley line (the Aaron Jewett House).  Joe Prosser agrees: “The Stevens house definitely has a ghost. I stayed there many times since our families were close friends. I remember locking the attic door myself and getting up in the night and seeing it open and then close by itself. It was a friendly ghost! I Love that house!

A room in the Aaron Jewett house
A room in the Aaron Jewett house in “Ipswich Village,” High Street in Ipswich.

Tetrault’s Jewelers on Market Street in Ipswich is in a small building also known as the Aaron Jewett House. In the early 1800’s it was one of only three on the south side of Market St. That Aaron Jewett was the son of John Cole Jewett and Elizabeth Smith.