Saugus Iron Works

Saugus Iron Works and the Appleton house.

Reprinted in part from MASS Moments. Featured image: National Park Service.  When the Great Migration of the 1630s ended, the number of ships bound for Massachusetts fell off steeply. The supply of iron products went down and the price went up.Among the men interested in seeing an iron industry develop in the colony was John Winthrop, Jr., son … Continue reading Saugus Iron Works and the Appleton house.

Pingreys Plain Ipswich map

Pingrey’s Plain, the Gallows Lot

Long before the corner of Mile Lane and High Street became famous for the Clam Box, it was known as Pingrey’s Plain, where the wicked were hung. The story was written by Alice Keenan in Ipswich Yesterday: “Pingrey’s Plain was where the local hangman plied his macabre trade and was set up for the execution in … Continue reading Pingrey’s Plain, the Gallows Lot

William Franklin of Newbury, hanged for the death of an indentured child in 1644

Children in the 17th and 18th Century New England colonies generally arrived with their families, but hundreds of English children were taken from the streets and unwillingly taken without their parents to be indentured as servants. Although the practice was more common in the Southern colonies, Joshua Coffin in his History of Newbury shared a … Continue reading William Franklin of Newbury, hanged for the death of an indentured child in 1644

Ipswich MA Conservation Commission 1958

Ipswich Conservation Commission approaches its 60th anniversary

Conservation commissions are the municipal agencies responsible for protecting the land, water, and biological resources of their communities. In 1957, Representative John Dolan of Ipswich filed a bill in the Legislature (Chapter 223, Acts of 1957) which authorized cities and towns to establish conservation commissions to promote the development of natural resources. This became the Conservation … Continue reading Ipswich Conservation Commission approaches its 60th anniversary

March for our Lives, Ipswich

After a gunman killed 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February 2018, survivors of the shooting have mobilized to launch the #NeverAgain movement, and the March for Our Lives, a nationwide protest on March 24 to protest gun violence. A large crowd participated in the event at the Ipswich … Continue reading March for our Lives, Ipswich

Purple sand at Crane Beach

Why does Crane Beach have purple sand?

Sandy Tilton explains that the purple sand we often see on top of the light-colored sand at Crane Beach and Plum Island is garnet sand. "The mineral garnet comes to us via the streams & rivers from the White Mountains. Water & wind erode the rock & it is carried in the waters here until it meets the ocean & gets deposited on our beaches!

Voices of the Great Marsh

In March of 2001, the Eight Towns and the Great Marsh Committee in cooperation with organizations such as Mass Audubon and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as local citizens and students, produced a short videotape about the Great Marsh. The Committee promotes the value of this resource and place it in the context … Continue reading Voices of the Great Marsh

Market Square Ipswich MA new sign

Market Square, a “sign of the times?”

The traditional English-style wooden directional sign at Market Square has been replaced with something more modern, and I'm sad to see it go.

Ipswich as described by John Greenleaf Whittier

"This is Ipswich...one of those steady conservative villages of which a few are still left in New England. There is not a better preserved or pleasanter specimen of a Puritan town."

The Ipswich Town Flag

Behind the Selectmen in Meeting Room A at Town Hall are the American and Massachusetts flags, and in a frame between them is the Ipswich Town Flag. I found the history of our flag in the 1996 Ipswich Annual Town Report: "This year, the Town Clerk's office was involved in designing a flag for the Town … Continue reading The Ipswich Town Flag

An official announcement of my non-candidacy for Public Office

Well, it's that time again when the Good People of Ipswich await breathlessly for the Annual Town Meeting, the hallowed New England tradition in which we debate transfers of even the smallest sums from one bookkeeping account to another, while being mercifully spared the details of an annual budget of some Fifty Million Dollars which … Continue reading An official announcement of my non-candidacy for Public Office

An Ipswich rose by any other name

In our cold New England winter, ye Ipswich inhabitants and expatriates arm ouselves with keyboards and set out on the battling fields of Facebook to resolve the age-old questions that have long perplexed the Good People of Ipswich. Starting this round is David, a well-meaning person who posted a photo of the "Historic Crane Estate," … Continue reading An Ipswich rose by any other name

Immigration Stories, Wednesday February 21, 2018 at the Ipswich Museum

The Ipswich Museum winter / spring exhibition, Immigration Stories of Ipswich, opens on Wednesday, February 21st at the Heard House on S. Main Street. After the opening day, it will be open on Saturdays and Sundays 1-4pm through the end of April.

John Adams by David McCullough

“John Adams” by David McCullough

Last night I finally finished reading David McCullough's 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, John Adams. Never before have I read a non-fiction in which I so deeply identified with the main characters. John Adams is known as one of the Founding Fathers and the one-term second President of the United States, but that's just the surface. … Continue reading “John Adams” by David McCullough

January 17, 2018 at the Ipswich Museum: The History of the New England Tavern

Wednesday Evening Lectures at the Ipswich Museum, South Main Street, Ipswich MA January 17th at 7:30 pm:  The History of the New England Tavern. Nutritionist and Culinary Historian Joe Carlin talks about the origins of “taverns” and the important role that they played in the country. Free for museum members; $10 for non-members. Held in … Continue reading January 17, 2018 at the Ipswich Museum: The History of the New England Tavern

Abigail Adams to John Adams: “All men would be tyrants if they could.”

John Adams and his future wife Abigail Smith began writing each other during their courtship, as he was frequently away on legal matters from his home in Quincy, often taking him to Salem, Ipswich and as far as Portsmouth. Over the next two dozen years they wrote over a thousand letters to each other, many … Continue reading Abigail Adams to John Adams: “All men would be tyrants if they could.”

Bundling

Bundling

As settlers moved west into the cold New England frontier away from the Puritan strongholds, it was not uncommon for unmarried persons to be invited to sleep in the same bed for warmth. The definition of bundling evolved and developed over time into a ritual of courtship.

Luke and Elizabeth Perkins, notorious Disturbers of the Peace and a “Wicked-tongued Woman”

Featured image: Grape Island, blockprint by Evelyn Goodale Grape Island is a part of the Parker River Wildlife Refuge at Plum Island, and was once a small, but thriving community. Jacob Perkins, Matthew Perkins, William Hubbard, Francis Wainwright, Thomas Hovey, Thomas Wade, Benedictus Pulsifer, Captain John Smith, Samuel Dutch, and Nathaniel Treadwell were among the owners … Continue reading Luke and Elizabeth Perkins, notorious Disturbers of the Peace and a “Wicked-tongued Woman”

Records and files of the Essex County Courts

Records from the Essex County Quarterly Courts, 1636-1692

In 1641, the General Court established four quarter-annual courts kept yearly by the magistrates of Ipswich & Salem, two to be held at Salem & the other two at Ipswich, with jurisdiction in all matters not reserved to the Court of Assistants. Read stories of Ipswich residents who faced the magistrates.

Samuel Symonds, gentleman: complaint to Salem court against his two servants, 1661

Philip Welch and William Downing, both children, were kidnapped from Ireland in 1654, and sold to Samuel Symonds in Ipswich. After 7 years they refused to continue working on his farm and demanded their freedom. They were arrested and brought to trial.