321 High St., Ipswich MA

321 High Street, the Aaron Jewett – Mark Cate house (1780)

The Aaron Jewett House at 321 High Street in Ipswich near the Rowley town line is believed to have been constructed about 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.

The site was purchased by Captain Moses Jewett in the third quarter of the 18th century when he extended his holdings northward from his house at 257 High St. to the Rowley line. Aaron Jewett, Moses’ son, married Hannah Pearson of the farm across the street in 1769 and built a house on the site about 1780. In 1792, Moses deeded to Aaron the acre of land “with the house and barn said Aaron built.”

At Aaron’s death in 1826, the northwest end of the house was assigned to Aaron’s widow and after her death to Eliza, wife of Mark F. Cate, and the southeast end to Hannah Jewett Hale, Eliza’s sister. By 1832, Cate owned the entire house. Reference is made to Cate’s currier’s shop on the property in a deed. Whether or not the shop is one of the two outbuildings which survive nearby is uncertain. Cate’s unmarried daughters lived there all their lives. Caroline Cate Colazo became the owner in 1911.

Before 1914 Sara S.G. Houghton bought the house, restored it and transformed it into “The Rose Tree Inn.”

The house has many well-maintained historic elements, including the original beams and paneling, plus five fireplaces. Take a virtual tour of this beautifully preserved house.

Aaron Jewett house in 1780
An early image of the Aaron Jewett house looks similar to its appearance today

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 regiment., 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 Keenan 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.

Further reading:

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