Author Archives

Gordon Harris

Gordon Harris is the town historian for Ipswich Massachusetts.

The farm at Wigwam Hill

Symonds Epes bought a large tract in 1726 and built a substantial farm and orchards at Wigwam Hill, named for a group of destitute Indians who briefly camped there. The protecting pitch pines were later cut for lumber, and the farm became a large dune.

Treatment of 1918 flu victims

Lessons from historic epidemics

In 1347, Officials in Ragusa kept newly arrived sailors in isolation for a “quartino” (40 days), the origin of the word quarantine. In 1800, Dr. Thomas Manning of Ipswich broke Benjamin Waterhouse’s monopoly on the smallpox vaccine created by Edward Jenner. Transfusion of blood plasma from survivors of the 1918 Spanish Flu reduced mortality in patients. In 2020, people learned that Science is real.

Frequency of the world wide hum

The “Hum”

The Hum is an unexplained low frequency rumbling sound heard by about 2% of the population from inside their homes during the late evening hours. I began noticing the Hum when I moved to Ipswich. Do you hear it?

The Miles River in Hamilton

The Miles River

Known in Colonial times as Mile Brook, the Miles River is a major tributary of the Ipswich River but has been diminished in volume by upstream use as a water supply. Evidence of the old Potter and Appleton mills can still be found near County Rd.

The Eben Lord farm that once sat at the intersection of Linebrook and Pineswamp Roads

The Lord-Ellsworth farm

The Ipswich Public Safety Facility Committee has reached an agreement with the Boston Catholic diocese to purchase four to five acres of church-owned land at the intersection of Pine Swamp and Linebrook roads that was originally a hay field across from the old Eben Lord farm.

Thomas Lord house Ipswich

Homes of the Lords

Robert Lord, his wife Mary Waite and their four children arrived with the first settlers of Ipswich in 1634, where he was appointed town clerk. Almost every house on High Street has been lived in by a member of the Lord family.

Good luck cricket

The Cricket

“They are the housewife’s barometer, foretelling her when it will rain and are prognostic. Sometimes she thinks of ill or good luck of the death of a near relation or the approach of an absent lover. By being the constant companions of her solitary hours they naturally become the objects of her superstition.”

Ipswich Illumination

Ipswich Arts and Illumination

Ipswich Arts and Illumination is the Town’s annual performing and visual arts festival, brought to you by the Ipswich Cultural Council. Parts of the river will be illuminated Friday and Saturday nights. The 33rd Annual Ipswich Art Show and Sale is held through the weekend at Town Hall.

Laughing Lion gift shop Ipswich MA

Ipswich Pine

There is a local tradition that the wood stain known as Ipswich Pine originated with Carman Woodworking, which operated behind the Laughing Lion gift shop on Essex Road and specialized in Early American pine reproductions.

Chasm at the Old North Burying Ground

The Chasm

The 1893 Birdseye map shows a serious washout just to the east of the Old North Burying Ground, forming a deep gully. A late 19th Century photo taken by Arthur Wesley Dow shows rocks and soil pushed up against a barn and sheds that once stood below.