I love to think of old Ipswich town
Old Ipswich town in the east countree,
Whence on the tide, you can float down
Through long salt grass to the wailing sea.
In 2005 EBSCO Publishing commissioned artist Alan Pearsall to paint a 2,700-square-foot mural on one of the old mill buildings occupied by the company in Ipswich. The mural is the centerpiece of the town’s Riverwalk.
Resistance by the citizens and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the Crown in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, which bears the motto, “The Birthplace of American Independence 1687.”
The Ipswich Company of the Massachusetts State Guard during WWII
Arthur Hans Hardy grew up in Ipswich, On a mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos on March 14, 1972, Hardy’s aircraft was hit and he bailed out nar enemy troops. His body is buried at Highland Cemetery in Ipswich.
Life Magazine, July 16, 1945: The government had taken over the lands for a Wildlife Refuge, and the clam battle was on. Ipswich hunters were afraid of losing their private hunting reserves. Ipswich farmers were afraid of losing their land.
In 1765, Jenny Slew, a slave in Ipswich, successfully sued John Whipple Jr. for her freedom. In the mid-19th Century, divisions between ardent abolitionists, moderate anti-slavery people and those who avoided the discussion divided families, churches and the town of Ipswich.
Lord Timothy Dexter of Newburyport was insane but profited from everything he undertook. He declared himself to be “the greatest philosopher in the known world.” His book, “A Pickle for the Knowing Ones” is a collection of whatever entered his head at the moment, spelling as he wished, and devoid of punctuation.
The Ipswich Museum is hosting a series of “Sunday Strolls” beginning in April. Each guided walk around town will explore a historical theme. Reserve your tickets online or call the museum at 978-356-2811
Walks begin at 2pm departing from the Ipswich Museum Heard House.
By the early 1840s, Essex no longer had its own fishing fleet, but had turned to year-round shipbuilding fostering a symbiotic relationship with the successful fishermen in Gloucester
“Such small piggs as are pigged after the first of February shall have liberty to be about the towne, not being liable to pay any damage in house lotts or gardens, until the 16th of August next.”
In the midst of witchcraft accusations in 1692, Gloucester was invaded by a spectral company for a fortnight. Their speech was in an unknown tongue, and bullets passed right through them.
In 1639, the Colony ordered that a road be laid out from Boston to Portsmouth, to be constructed by each town along the way. The Bay Road made Ipswich an important stagecoach stop. Several milestones to indicate distances are still standing.
In 1900, Raymond Dodge was painting the First Church steeple. Angus Savory bet him five dollars that he didn’t dare to go up and sit on the rooster’s back.
This important book described the process by which the town of Ipswich began to preserve at-risk historic homes after the town rejected efforts to set up a legal historic district.
The stagecoach era ended abruptly when the Salem tunnel opened, and two days later on December 20, 1839, a train from Boston made its first passage through Ipswich. The opening of the railroad and the end of stagecoach travel led to the decline of Ipswich as one of the most important towns of Massachusetts.
The memories of this writer go well back into the 19th Century to a time when life was very simple. First-hand accounts from parents and grandparents added to the understanding of the early days of that century. As this is written, a fine cold snow is coming down in ten degree weather. When those pioneers faced the like of this they had a lot more to do than to turn up the thermostat.
Salt marsh hay is still gathered on the North Shore today. The grass was stacked on staddles to raise it above the high tides, and was hauled away on sleds over the frozen marsh in mid-winter.
In the early 1900s, just about everybody knew Elisha Newton Brown, better known as Nute Brown. He was a prosperous farmer who lived in the Candlewood section of town.
In 1652, the Town of Ipswich voted “For the better aiding of the school and the affairs thereof,” building a grammar school and paying the schoolmaster. By the 19th Century there were 10 grammar schools spread throughout the town, and a high school.
“What mourning Sighs, and loud Outcries comes from the Eastern Towns,
Of Children crying, and others dying,
which makes a doleful Sound.”
During the Salem witch trials, Elizabeth Howe of Linebrook Road was tried and hung. The Ipswich jail was filled with the accused, but the ministers of the town opposed the trials as a delusion. Residents blocked the bridge to prevent the accusing girls from being brought into Ipswich.
The Quartermaster’s house became the scene more than once of violent disorder. The company’s behavior was so scandalous that the whole lot were summoned to Ipswich Court on May 1, 1672.
However benign John Winthrop’s intentions were, the system he tried to construct rested on the discretion, or will, of individual magistrates. However, he was defeated by the Ipswich Connection’s campaign for the “skill” or “rule” of written law; and if we still prize the ideal that government should operate based on laws, not men, we owe that partly to their promotion of the Body of Liberties.
Ipswich boasts a long line of legal luminaries – lawyers and judges – going back to the dawn of the Town’s existence. Not only is this the “Birthplace of American Independence” but the home to many notable statesmen, and the caliber of the bench and bar of a people is in part a measure of the quality of the culture.
I stumbled upon a remarkable family artifact: the crude “signature” that the probable founder of the Grow family in America – my direct ancestor nine generations removed – had put down on paper 326 years earlier. A small, nondescript mark on a long-forgotten document brought history personally alive for me in a way that perhaps only passionately engaged family historians would fully understand.
William Durkee, an indentured Irish Catholic, and Martha Cross, the daughter of Robert Cross of Chebacco parish were servants in the household of Thomas Bishop in Ipswich. When Martha became pregnant by William, they were presented for fornication. The court ruled that they be punished and married.
In the fall of 1928, the Shatswell School Fife and Drum Corps was born. About 18 boys were signed up. All that autumn and through the winter the boys rehearsed in earnest. On May 30, 1929, the Shatswell Fife and Drum Corps made its first appearance in the Memorial Day parade.
“I suspect that thousands of New Englanders have their roots based in Ipswich. Is it possible that I was drawn here by deeply ingrained ancestral memories?” By Thomas Palance
Lillian Eden, one of the founders of Olde Ipswich Days recalls the work and effort that went into running the original fairs.
Isadore Smith (1902-1985) lived on Argilla Road in Ipswich and was the author of 3 volumes about 17th-19th Century gardens, writing under the pseudonym Ann Leighton. As a member of the Ipswich Garden Club, she created a traditional seventeenth century rose garden at the Whipple House.
A story first recorded in the 1940’s about slavery, as told by people who were slaves.
This is the story of the tragic fate of the Laura Marion and her crew, swept under by one fell stroke of the sea, bringing sudden anguish to the hearts of the families who on Christmas eve.
The gilded weathercock at the First Church in Ipswich has graced the steeple of every church at that location since the middle of the 18th Century.
In 1829, Dr. Thomas Manning of Ipswich constructed a 6′ tall dam and mill on the Ipswich River along Topsfield Rd. Workers were provided housing a the large stone house. In 1884 the mill building burned and much of the stone walls for the mill building collapsed.
The Ipswich Town Historian has begun a list of notable people who lived in our community and requests your additional input. These individuals could have resided during any historic time period.
“Know all men by these presents I, Thomas Burnam of Ipswich, do by these presents bargain, sell, sett over and confirm unto the said Robert Dodge, a negro girl known by the name of Patience…To have and to hold said negro girl Patience during her natural life.”
This collection of photos by Coco McCabe is a celebration of Ipswich clammers, a mostly unseen corps of workers whose grit she deeply admires.
In his book, Scott Jewell updates the story of Ipswich in the American Civil War, much of which had been lost over the years and needed to be re-told.
William Sargent embarked on a series of rambles from New Hampshire to Gloucester, and discovered a troubling new environmental catastrophe from the buildup of chemicals that have been steadily accumulating in the lungs of the planet–our oceans.