Jenny Slew was born about 1719 as the child of a free white woman and a black slave. She lived her life as a free woman until 1762 when she was kidnapped and enslaved by John Whipple. Jenny Slew is believed to be the first person held as a slave to be granted freedom through trial by jury.
Gordon Harris is the town historian for Ipswich Massachusetts.
Photos from the late 19th and early 20th Century are embedded in the Google map below at the location the photo was taken. Zoom in or out and click on any image icon on the map to view the photo.
The Thomas Manning house on North Main Street has a fugitive slave hiding place in the basement, and a door to the roof, providing this colorful fall view of downtown Ipswich. Read the history of the Thomas Manning house and view more photos
On November 2, 1915, Massachusetts men rejected universal suffrage with only 35% voting yes. Four years later, Massachusetts was the eighth State to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, with the MA Senate voting 34 aye, 5 no.
The inhabitants of Newbury perceived bee-keeping as a new and profitable industry, but needed someone with experience. John Eales, an elderly pauper who had been sent away to Ipswich, was returned by the Court to Newbury to assist them in their efforts. The Town was instructed how much to charge him for his upkeep.
The triple stone arch Warner Bridge that connects Mill Rd. in Ipswich to Highland St. in Hamilton was constructed in 1829, and rebuilt in 1856. The isinglass mill sat on the downstream Ipswich side of the bridge.
A mild controversy has arisen in the town of Ipswich about what to name the grassy lawn between the Old Town Hall and the Ipswich Museum. Depending on who you ask, it’s the Middle Green, Memorial Green, Veterans Green, or the Visitor Center Lawn, and I’ll add “Augustine Heard’s back yard” just to add to the confusion.
This handwritten narrative from 1682 is the personal memoir of John Dane, who immigrated to Ipswich by 1638.
In 1774, the Town of Ipswich chose Michael Farley, a tanner, as a delegate to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Farley fought for the Continental Army and was appointed major-general of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1777. He is buried at the Old North Burying Ground beside his wife Elizabeth. His house was demolished in the 20th Century, replaced by a service station that is now the Richdale store.
This Ipswich neighborhood has historically had a close social connection with neighboring Rowley. Jewett’s mill was created in the 17th Century, and historic houses still line the street.
The Embargo Act of 1807 put New England ports at a standstill and its towns into a depression. The Ipswich Town Meeting petitioned the President to relieve “the people of this once prosperous country from their present embarrassed and distressed condition.” The town found Jefferson’s answer “Not Satisfactory.”
Historic quotes from Ipswich leaders supporting the free press.
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.
At the foot of Hovey Street along the Ipswich River is a plaque dedicated to the memory of Ipswich settler Daniel Hovey, whose home and wharf were across the river on what is now Tansey Lane.
On June 9, 1954, before a nationwide television audience, Joseph Welch of Waltham replied to Joseph McCarthy, “Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.”
Rebecca Rawson of Newbury became one of the most popular young ladies in Boston society. She married a charming but cunning young man who left her desolate in London. On her return to America, the ship was swallowed by a tsunami.
After John Winthrop Jr. founded the town of Ipswich, he returned to England to find investors for the first iron works in the colonies. In the 1680’s, Samuel Appleton of Ipswich owned the Iron Works.
Long before the intersection of Mile Lane and High Street became famous for the Clam Box, it was known as Pingrey’s Plain, and was where the wicked were hung.
Nathaniel Sewell, a child taken from England, was with continual rigor and unmerciful correction, exposed in the winter season with diverse acts of hardship.
More than 50% of land in Ipswich is protected by the town, state and non-profit organizations, including Ipswich Open Space, Willowdale State Forest, Appleton Farms, Crane Beach and other Trustees of Reservations properties.
The 1941 Ipswich Town Report included a tribute to the late Water and Light Commissioner Walter G. Brown without mentioning that he murdered his former girlfriend Phyllis Chisholm and committed suicide.
In the 1700’s two of the finer inns in town were run by women, a mother and daughter both named Susanna. Although the two houses are both on corners of County Street, they were separated by the river.
This short videotape about the Great Marsh promotes the value of this resource and places it in the context of the historical landscape,
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.
A rumor spread that two British ships were in the river, and were going to burn the town. The news spread as far as New Hampshire, and in every place the report was that the regulars were but a few miles behind them, slashing everyone in sight.
Underneath the Town scene, in the blue water, are the large gold letters that read: “The Birthplace of American Independence – 1687.” In the border around the Town scene, are the large gold letters that read: “Ipswich Massachusetts – Incorporated 1634.”
In 1642, a dam and fulling mill were built on the Mill River in Rowley. The stone arch bridge on this property was constructed between 1850 and 1870.
Mark Quilter was a cow-keeper on the north side of town with a reputation for drinking. When Goodwife Shatswell visited Goodwife Quilter and insulted both of them, Quilter lost his temper.
The Annual Town Meeting is a 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 the annual budget.
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.
The town of Ipswich is fortunate to have a considerable number of barns still standing behind the houses in its Architectural Preservation District. While many of the barns date to before the 20th Century, this barn appears to be one of the oldest.
The story of Sarah Dillingham, wife of John Caldwell is of a loving and most thoughtful life.One of the first children born in Ipswich, and then orphaned, she became a “woman of qualities” that caused her name to never be forgotten. The years entrusted them with eight children and countless Ipswich descendants. Their home on High Street still stands.
March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams to John Adams:. “In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.”
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 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.
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.
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.
In 1939 the children were all assembled at the Ipswich Lighthouse, waiting for Fying Santa Edward Snow, who was running a bit behind schedule. Hearing the sound of an airplane the keeper called up to his wife, “Has Santa arrived yet, dear?” Immediately he heard the Christmas bundle crashing through the skylight, upon which his wife yelled down, “Yes, dear. We can start the party now.”
Nancy Virginia Weare spent 33 years at her family’s summer camp at Plum Island. In 1993, after Nancy retired, she wrote “Plum Island: The Way It Was.”
The story of the Great Ipswich Fright on April 21, 1775 was widely told, and memorialized by John Greenleaf Whittier. Mrs. Alice P. Tenney in 1933 provided an amusing story of the fear that struck Rooty Plain, also called “Millwood,” a thriving little mill community along today’s Rt. 133 […]