Thomas Dennis (1638–1706), came to Ipswich from Devonshire, England. His home at 7 County Street still stands, and is where he practiced his trade as a joiner and master carver. The furniture of Thomas Dennis took on the status of historic treasure, and over time more pieces were attributed to him than he could have produced in his lifetime.
The Rev. Nathaniel Ward emigrated to Massachusetts in 1634 and served for two years as the minister in Ipswich. His “Body of Liberties” established a code of fundamental principles of government for the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Ward’s book “The Simple Cobler of Aggawam in America” was published in England in 1647.
Ipswich is home to two groundbreaking masterworks of early eighteenth century America, a paneled wall and a pulpit. Both were made by Abraham Knowlton (1699- 1751), a woodworker who is less well known than he deserves to be.
Rockport experienced one of the oddest invasions in U.S. history during the War of 1812 when the town’s fearless residents stopped the British with rocks and anything they could get their hands on.
In 1778, a number of prominent Essex County men gathered in Ipswich, and became the backbone of the Massachusetts Federalist Party. President John Adams, also a Federalist coined the name “Essex Junto” for the adversarial group.
In the late eighteenth century, Ipswich had 600 women and girls producing more than 40,000 yards of lace annually. Ipswich industrialists imported machines from England to mechanize and speed up the operation, which destroyed the hand-made lace industry.
Excerpt from Mass Moments On February 22, 1860, thousands of striking shoe workers filled Lyceum Hall in Lynn. By choosing to begin their protest on Washington’s birthday, the strikers were invoking the memory of their revolutionary forefathers. Lynn had been a shoe making town since the early 1800s. […]
Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow (1857 – 1922) was one of the town’s most famous residents. View his ink prints and a slideshow of over 200 cyanographs
In 1803, a group of Newburyport investors incorporated as the Newburyport Turnpike Corporation in a commercial venture to build a straight toll road from Boston to Newburyport, which is today’s Rt. 1
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.”
The Asbury Grove Methodist Camp Meeting on Asbury St. in Hamilton is listed in the National Register of Historic Districts, and has a collection of historic buildings that were built between 1870 and 1960. 12,000 people, most from Boston, attended the first camp meeting in 1859.
The “Blizzard of ’78” raged from Sunday evening February 5 through Tuesday evening February 7. Over a billion dollars of damage occurred, including the loss of 11,000 homes and the lives of 29 Massachusetts residents. The highest total snowfall was 43.7 inches in Ipswich.
Stories about historic storms to hit the coast of Massachusetts
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.”
This remote area was originally known as Ipswich Farms. After the residents began pressing for their own church, the Massachusetts General Court on June 4, 1746, created the Linebrook Parish, the boundries of which were defined by 6 brooks and lines connecting them. The community had a church, store, school and its own militia.
On January 12, 1912, the labor protest later known as the “Bread and Roses” strike began in Lawrence, MA. Violent methods were used to suppress the protest, but the strikers maintained their solidarity.
The Cold Friday on Jan. 19, 1810 brought terrible winds and frigid temperature. Many people froze to death while traveling along the highways. Houses were blown down or broken to pieces.
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 resigned all their land interests to pay the heavy town debt incurred during the Revolution.
In 1773, the selectmen ordered all houses where the disease had appeared to be closed, and dogs to be killed immediately. The fears of the inhabitants increased when permission was granted to build a smallpox hospital on Cat Island.
Early in the morning of Jan. 13, 1894, several businesses on Central Street went up in flames. Three months later the other end of Market St. burned, and the town finally voted to build a water system.
The house was festooned with greens, the tables were laden with food and wine, the burning tapers reflected in the sparking silver and crystal. The War was over and the father of the family had returned safely.
Puritans shunned Christmas for its pagan roots, allowing only Thanksgiving as a time for feasting, and imposed a five-shilling fine on any persons found “observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way.” A Cambridge Unitarian minister’s family had the first Christmas tree in Massachusetts.
The fascinating history of stage and railroad travel was written in 1878 by Cyrus Mason Tracy in the “Standard History of Essex County.”
An estimated 1,500 cases of the so-called “Spanish flu in Ipswich resulted in at least 66 deaths. It is believed that the country reached herd immunity after the virus mutated to a less lethal variant. By the end of the pandemic, the average life expectancy had been shortened by 12 years!
Teddy Roosevelt, a grandstanding performer with plenty of rhetoric but fewer accomplishments, campaigned from the caboose of a train in New England.
On December 17, 1847 the brig Falconer, loaded with bituminous coal, wrecked at Crane Beach during a fierce winter storm. A dozen of the crew and passengers are buried in a common grave at the Old North Burying Ground.
Three gales of unequaled fury and destructiveness swept along our coast carrying desolation and death in their stormy pathway, and overwhelming many families in the deepest mourning.
Among America’s most beloved renderings of Thanksgiving Day are Currier & Ives lithographs, Grandma Moses’s paintings, Lydia Marie Child’s “Over the River and Through the Wood” and Norman Rockwell’s paintings.
“It was a poor time in which to build a dam. The winter was very severe and at times the temperature was below zero. The center of the dam was soon washed away, and by spring the new structure had almost disappeared.”
Two hundred Boston colonists succumbed in the winter of 1631, but by 1633, 1500 Puritans had arrived and settled in Boston and outlying areas. The band of a dozen men who John Winthrop Junior to establish the Ipswich settlement at Agawam were better prepared.
The Great Boston Fire of 1872 occurred on November 9-10, 1872 and destroyed the city’s business district, burning uncontrolled for more than 12 hours with such heat that it created a raging firestorm. Starting in a building at the intersection of Summer and Kingston Streets, the flames leaped from one wooden roof to another, leaving a smoldering pile of rubble between the Common and the waterfront.
In 1777, the Ipswich Selectmen and the Committee of Correspondence and Safety, acting under the authority of the General Court, issued a schedule of prices covering all articles of food, clothing, wages of labor of every kind, entertainment at hotels, shipping rates etc.
Trouncing three male contenders, including the incumbent, Mrs. Elizabeth S. Cole of Argilla Road swept into office Monday, poling 1401 of the 3364 ballots cast by an estimated 57.5 per cent of the town electorate.
Baseball’s popularity grew quickly after the Civil War, and Bialek Park was once the town’s semi-professional ballpark, In 1912 the town purchased the two private lots that had been the ballpark, constructed a public playground, and removed the fence.
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.
In March 1934, Congress passed the Civilian Conservation bill, creating the Works Progress Administration and the Civil Conservation Corps which accomplished several projects in Ipswich.
In August 1635, the 240-ton Angel Gabriel sank in Pemaquid Bay after sailing into the most intense hurricane in New England history. Among the survivors were members of the Cogswell, Burnham and Andrews families, who settled in an area of Ipswich known as Chebacco.
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.
In the latter part of September, 1841, was a long, unbroken spell of uncomfortable weather, which culminated in a violent and cold storm of wind, snow and rain on the night of October 2, continuing four days.
On the morning of Tuesday October 9, 1804, the temperature fell very suddenly, and a storm of rain and snow, accompanied by thunder and lightning, began. A schooner wrecked on Ipswich bar, and all seven persons on board perished.