Category: History

The Commons

When the Town of Ipswich was established, ownership of a house and land within the town bounds carried with it the right of pasturage beyond the Common Fence. In 1788, the commoners voted to resign all their land interests to the town, toward the payment of the heavy town debt incurred during the Revolution.

The Pillow Lace Tercentenary plaque on High Street in Ipswich

Ipswich Pillow lace

In the late eighteenth century, Ipswich had 600 women and girls producing more than 40,000 yards of lace annually. In the 1820’s Ipswich industrialists opened a factory and imported machines from England to mechanize and speed up the operation, which destroyed the hand-made lace industry.

Daniel Hovey's house on Tansey Lane

Daniel Hovey

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.

The Agawam House in Ipswich

The Treadwell Inns

In 1737, Captain Nathaniel Treadwell opened an inn in the house still standing at 12 N. Main St. Nathaniel Treadwell of the next generation built the second Treadwell’s Inn at 26 N. Main St. For over one hundred years it was the town’s first-class hotel. Guests at the two inns included John Adams, President Monroe, Daniel Webster and the Marquis de LaFayette.

Acadian exiles in Ipswich, 1755

Massachusetts men played a conspicuous part in the French and Indian War, which resulted in wholesale destruction and deportation in French-speaking Nova Scotia. Surviviors were exiled to the Colonies, their children taken from them and distributed to English families as “nothing more than slaves.”

Ipswich hosiery advertisement

Ipswich Hosiery

In the mid-18th Century, Ipswich women started making lace with distinctive patterns. After the first stocking machine was smuggled from England to Ipswich in 1822, immigrants arrived in Ipswich to work in the cotton and hosiery mills, contributing to the town’s diverse cultural heritage.