Generations of the Jewett family made their homes on upper High Street, and the area near the Rowley town line came to be known as Ipswich Village.
Gordon Harris is the town historian for Ipswich Massachusetts.
Jonathan Wade arrived in Ipswich in 1635 with the first wave of Puritan settlers, and came into ownership of land across from the South Green. In the 19th Century, the Wade family of housewrights built several homes on County Rd., and throughout the town.
The boatyard, constructed in 1954, burned in a spectacular fire, and has since been replaced by a residential building.
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.
The weaver, after loading thread into a shuttle, drew the loose end through the hole with her breath. No one connected this habit with the observation that weavers were dying of consumption, known now as tuberculosis.
Nicholas Manning immigrated from England to Salem, MA, as early as 1662. He was later joined by his youngest brother Thomas, who became the common ancestor of the prominent Manning family of Ipswich.
Grape Island was once a small but thriving community, and briefly a popular summer resort. In 1941, 3000 acres of Plum Island including Grape Island were purchased by the U.S. government to establish the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge.
Luke Perkins and his wife, Elizabeth were notorious disturbers of the peace in 17th Century Ipswich, and she had a “venomous tongue.” It was a happy day for the town when Luke and Elizabeth loaded their belongings into a boat and set sail for the solitary island farm owned by his father on Grape Island.
“When you swim a saltwater creek as the tide nears high, you have a visceral sense of what could happen if the tide just kept on rising.”
In September 1740, two Massachusetts Land Banks organized and issued 50,000 pounds of notes of varying amounts, without legal authorization of the Crown. An Act of Parliament declared all the transactions of the two Bank Schemes illegal and void.
Elizabeth Howe and her husband James resided on outer Linebrook. She was charged with bewitching her neighbor’s child and was arrested on May 28, 1692. She was one of the five women hung in Salem on July 19, 1692.
In 1846, British writer John Ross Dix visited Ipswich and recorded his observations in “Local Loiterings, and Visits in the Vicinity of Boston, by a Looker-on”
On October 30, 1789, Washington passed through Ipswich on his ten-day tour of Massachusetts. Adoring crowds greeted the President at Swasey’s Tavern (still standing at the corner of Popular and County Streets) where he stopped for food and drink.
We sadly learned of the recent passing of John Fiske, a long-time member of the Ipswich Historical Commission. At our June meeting, the Commission unanimously voted to grant the 2021 Mary Conley Preservation award to our esteemed former chairman for his exceptional service to the Town of Ipswich, and granted him the honorary title of Chair Emeritus.
The youngest daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Lull, Sr married William Caldwell in 1714. The wives of his brothers, John and Jacob, were her nieces, being the daughters of Thomas Lull Jr. The Caldwell family became prominent, while the Lull family name disappeared from Ipswich.
It is said that the Rev. Belcher was dependent on his neighbors’ kindness in his later life. Much to the supposed discredit of the parish, the story was often told that when he grew old and unable to preach, his parishioners cast him off and carted him back to Ipswich, his native place.
In 1868, the Ipswich Mills built a “fine mansion” for the use of its superintendent. By 1910 the building had become a tenement upstairs and coffee shop downstairs. The house was replaced by a succession of three diners, but the lot is now a parking lot.
Mary Perkins was born in 1615, the daughter of Sergeant John Perkins, Sr. and Judith Perkins. She became the wife of Capt. Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, and was sentenced to death as witch in 1692, but was not executed. Over a hundred neighbors testified in her support.
On May 23, 1692, a complaint for witchcraft was filed against Sarah Buckley and her widowed daughter Mary Witheridge. The “bewitched” girls of Salem Village claimed that the women’s specters had attacked them. Held in shackles in the cold crowded jail, both were acquitted in January,1692
The factory at Brown Square burned after volatile glues burst into flames. In the adjoining lot was the Canney Lumber Co. where the building lumber were destroyed. The smaller brick building on the right survived and is now the Ipswich Ale Brewery.
In 1778, sixteen-year-old Ezra Ross of Ipswich was condemned to death for the murder of Joshua Spooner of Brookfield. Spooner’s wife Bathsheba became the first woman executed in the newly-created United States of America. Ezra Ross is buried in an unmarked grave at the Leslie Road Cemetery.
A raging fire a half-mile mile wide and a mile-and-a-half long burned a swath through the city. Almost half of the population of 48,000 people lost their homes.
Elizabeth Morse of Newbury was accused and found guilty of being a witch. She was initially sentenced to be hanged, but after spending a year in the Boston jail, she was sent home
Google Maps used to show “Nancy’s Corner” at the intersection of Highland Street and Cutler Road in Hamilton. I wondered who Nancy was and discovered an amazing story.
Sally’s Pond on South Main St. is dedicated to the memory of Sally Weatherall, who volunteered many hours to her Town as a member of the Conservation Commission and helped achieve development of the Open Space Plan.
It was a sad day for Ipswich when on June 13, 1965, lightning hit the steeple on the sanctuary of the First Church on Meeting House Green and the building was destroyed by fire. The building was more than a century old and was considered to be one of the […]
Revivalist Rev. John N. Maffit held a “protracted meeting” which was undoubtedly the most extraordinary episode in the history of the churches of Ipswich since the days of George Whitefield and Gilbert Tennent, preaching sixty nights to congregations which occupied every inch of the meeting-house.
“We turn our eyes below and at our feet, Lies in peace old Pudding Street, So named because a pudding left to dry Was stolen by some tipsy passers by.
These later years from vulgar names have shrunk, And called it High because the thieves were drunk.”
The American Elm tree at the corner of County and East Streets succumbed to Dutch Elm disease in 2012, but a polished cross section is on display at the Ipswich Town Hall.
“I desire to have the house in your bargaining to be as completely mentioned in particulars as may be, & as speedily done also as you can.”
In 1896, the first trolley from Beverly arrived in Ipswich, and a year later, the Georgetown, Rowley and Ipswich Street Railway opened. By 1919, Mr. Ford’s Model T ended the brief era of the street railway.
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At between 6.0 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, the1755 Cape Ann Earthquake remains the largest earthquake in the history of Massachusetts, and caused great alarm. The Rev. Leslie of Linebrook Church recorded the earthquake’s effect: “Between ye hours of four & five in ye morning there happened a most surprising shock of ye earthquake, which was afterwards succeeded by several others, though non equal to ye first in ye Town of Ipswich. Much damage was done to many houses, yet through ye goodness of God no hurt was done either to ye lives or ye limbs of any persons. On Nov. 19 several shocks were heard, tho but small compared to ye first.”
Nearly 250 buildings burned, and upwards of ninety families lost their homes and the means of furnishing themselves with the necessities of life.
Fourteen inches of rain fell between May 14 and May 16, 2006, creating the historic 2006 Mothers Day Flood. Water flow levels in the Ipswich River were 27% higher than recorded in previous epic floods.
The former Ipswich Mills, now owned by EBSCO, was the site of one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Second World War.
The Ipswich Chronicle wrote, “In Ipswich is the one woman whose face has been portrayed to more men, women and children in this nation than any other woman alive, with the possible exception of the President’s wife. The face of the ‘Little Old Lady from Ipswich’ has been viewed by more than 80,000,000 people in America, Canada, Great Britain and Australia,”
The landscape surrounding Strawberry Hill on Jeffreys Neck Rd. invokes a time when saltwater farms were common in Ipswich. Across the street is Greenwood Farm and the First Period Payne House, owned by the Trustees of Reservations.
In 1909, W. Starling Burgess joined with Augustus Moore Herring to form the Herring-Burgess Company, manufacturing aircraft under a license with the Wright Brothers, thus becoming the first licensed aircraft manufacturer in the United States. Burgess took the initial flight of his first plane in 1908 at Chebacco Lake in Hamilton, MA. Flight tests of Burgess biplanes were conducted in November and December, 1910 near Essex Road in Ipswich
Everything about Rachel Clinton’s life went wrong, and in her old age she was an easy target for the witchcraft hysteria that spread from Salem throughout Essex County.