The temptations of John Dane, a Declaration of Remarkable Providences

This handwritten narrative from 1682 is the personal memoir of John Dane, who immigrated to Ipswich by 1638. In England he was acquainted with the Rev. Norton, who also became a minister in Ipswich. His home was on Turkey Shore Road near the Green Street Bridge on land he bought of Daniel Hovey. He also had … Continue reading The temptations of John Dane, a Declaration of Remarkable Providences

General Michael Farley

In 1774, the Town of Ipswich chose Captain 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.

William Franklin of Newbury, hanged for the death of an indentured child in 1644

Children in the 17th and 18th Century New England colonies generally arrived with their families, but hundreds of English children were taken from the streets and unwillingly taken without their parents to be indentured as servants. Although the practice was more common in the Southern colonies, Joshua Coffin in his History of Newbury shared a … Continue reading William Franklin of Newbury, hanged for the death of an indentured child in 1644

Immigration Stories, Wednesday February 21, 2018 at the Ipswich Museum

The Ipswich Museum winter / spring exhibition, Immigration Stories of Ipswich, opens on Wednesday, February 21st at the Heard House on S. Main Street. After the opening day, it will be open on Saturdays and Sundays 1-4pm through the end of April.

John Adams by David McCullough

“John Adams” by David McCullough

Last night I finally finished reading David McCullough's 2001 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, John Adams. Never before have I read a non-fiction in which I so deeply identified with the main characters. John Adams is known as one of the Founding Fathers and the one-term second President of the United States, but that's just the surface. … Continue reading “John Adams” by David McCullough

Native American Influence on English Fashions

In contact situations in the early 17th century, Europeans were quick to grasp the essential humanity of Native Americans and admired their appearance and physical fitness. Soon, upper-class English wore American feathers and furs, Native Americans prized English woven fabrics and garments, especially tailored shirts.

The Battle of Middle Ground

Nearly one year ago, retired Ipswich Police Officer Charlie Schwartz died in his adopted state of Florida at the age of seventy-four. His passing represented a great loss not only to his family and community, but also to the Ipswich Police fraternity who worked with him for so many years. Charlie was one of life's … Continue reading The Battle of Middle Ground

Abigail Adams to John Adams: “All men would be tyrants if they could.”

John Adams and his future wife Abigail Smith began writing each other during their courtship, as he was frequently away on legal matters from his home in Quincy, often taking him to Salem, Ipswich and as far as Portsmouth. Over the next two dozen years they wrote over a thousand letters to each other, many … Continue reading Abigail Adams to John Adams: “All men would be tyrants if they could.”

Samuel Symonds, gentleman: complaint to Salem court against his two servants, 1661

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.

Nancy Weare

Nancy Virginia Weare passed away in Exeter on December 12 of this year at the age of 92. She taught at the Brown School in Newburyport for 17 years. She spent 33 years at her family's summer camp was at Plum Island, and after the Parker River Wildlife Refuge was established, she moved to a home … Continue reading Nancy Weare

Norman Rock well Thanksgiving

Norman Rockwell Depicted an Idealized Version of American Thanksgiving

By Helen Breen "Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn't the perfect place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that if it wasn't an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it." So wrote Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), American painter extraordinaire, reflecting back on … Continue reading Norman Rockwell Depicted an Idealized Version of American Thanksgiving

Heritage and genealogy tourism in Ipswich

Oscar Handlin wrote in his 1979 book, Truth in History: "The distinctive cultural development of the New World made history one of the early forms of American literature...Americans always had to explain who they were in a sense rarely compelling to other men who took for granted a connection that ran to a time out … Continue reading Heritage and genealogy tourism in Ipswich

Horses and Equestrians

Photos and stories from our archives...

Last Roundup at the Lazy-K Ranch

Oh, nostalgia, that sentimental longing for things past, whether it be moments, people or places. Like many of you marching into the golden years, your arthritic affiant occasionally finds himself knee-deep in this spongy, emotional swampland. For me, experiences gained as a humble public servant steering a bulky Ford police cruiser along the streets of … Continue reading Last Roundup at the Lazy-K Ranch

Henry David Thoreau;s cabin

Thoreau July Bicentennial Celebrated in Concord and Around the World

by Helen Breen. Featured image: replica of Thoreau's cabin, Wikipedia “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (Walden, … Continue reading Thoreau July Bicentennial Celebrated in Concord and Around the World

Abbott Lowell Cummings, author of “The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay”

Featured image: Abbott Lowell Cummings, photo courtesy of Historic New England. From Antiques and the Arts Weekly: Abbott Lowell Cummings, 94: Abbott Lowell Cummings, the leading authority of Seventeenth and early Eighteenth Century (“First Period”) architecture in the American Northeast and author of The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay (Harvard University Press, 1979) died early May … Continue reading Abbott Lowell Cummings, author of “The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay”

Moses Jewett house, 307 High St.

Homes of the Jewetts

Deacon Maximilian Jewett was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England, baptized Oct. 4th, 1607. He with his wife Ann, and his brother Joseph sailed from Hull, England in 1638 in the ship John, with a colony under the leadership of Rev. Ezekiel Rogers. They arrived at Boston about the first of December, 1638, … Continue reading Homes of the Jewetts

Homes of the Lords

Featured image: The Thomas Lord house on High Street in Ipswich dates to 1658. Robert Lord arrived with the first settlers of Ipswich in late 1634 or early 1635, probably from Sudbury, Suffolk, England, where he was born in 1603. Soon after his arrival, Robert Lord was appointed Ipswich Town Clerk and Clerk of the Court of … Continue reading Homes of the Lords

JFK was greeted enthusiastically throughout Ireland during his 1963 visit.

A St. Patrick’s Day Reflection

Homecoming: JFK in Ireland, June 1963 by Helen Breen DUBLIN Two years ago while in Dublin, I took a tour of Leinster House, a magnificent ducal residence now the seat of the Irish Parliament. At the end of our visit we were guided up an impressive marble staircase. There hung a beautiful green silk ceremonial … Continue reading A St. Patrick’s Day Reflection

Living descendants of the Agawam Indians

Living Descendants of the Native Americans of Agawam

by M. E. Lepionka 3/6/17. Mary Ellen is a publisher, author, editor, textbook developer, and college instructor with a Master's degree in anthropology from Boston University and post-graduate work at the University of British Columbia. In 2008 she retired to research the prehistory of Cape Ann and the Native Americans who lived here and to document … Continue reading Living Descendants of the Native Americans of Agawam

Dirigo Ice Cream Ipswich ma historic photos

Portraits from Ipswich, a century ago

Many of the glass plate negatives taken by George Dexter (1862-1927) and Edward Darling (1874 - 1962), were stored away for almost a century.

“Kiss of Death” at New England textile mills

The weaver, after loading a new pirn wrapped with thread into a shuttle, drew the loose end through the hole with her breath. Certainly no one connected this habit with the observation, made sometime in the nineteenth century, that weavers were dying of what was then called consumption at a higher rate than the general public.

A town of immigrants

Puritans founded Ipswich during the “Great Migration” of the early 17th Century. Many residents of the town descend from immigrants who arrived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to work in the mills.

The Man in Full: Honoring the Life and Times of Ipswich Police Officer Officer Charles B. Schwartz

By Gavin Keenan Retired Ipswich Police Officer and local legend Charles Benjamin Schwartz passed away on January 19, 2017. Charlie had struggled with cancer this last year and as he would say, “Gave it as good as I got.” Although I am relieved for him that his suffering has ended, I’m saddened by the passing … Continue reading The Man in Full: Honoring the Life and Times of Ipswich Police Officer Officer Charles B. Schwartz

Martin Luther King

An MLK Day Reflection – “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

by Helen Breen Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was first established as a national holiday by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. THE LAST SPEECH On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., flew into Memphis, Tennessee to support striking African American sanitation workers in the midst of a bitter strike. Rumors of death … Continue reading An MLK Day Reflection – “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

Moll Pitcher, the fortune-teller of Lynn and Marblehead

By Sidney Perley, published March 1899 in the Essex Antiquarian "Moll Pitcher," the famous fortune-teller of Lynn, has no birth record. So the place of her first appearance in life cannot be thus determined. The tenement house, known as the " Old Brig," situated at the junction of Pond and Orne streets in Marblehead, is the reputed birthplace. The … Continue reading Moll Pitcher, the fortune-teller of Lynn and Marblehead

Lowell Offering

The Lowell Offering

The Lowell Offering was a monthly periodical, first published in 1840, which featured poetry and fiction by female workers at textile mills in Lowell, MA. Known as the Lowell Mill Girls, they often wrote about situations in their own lives, including labor unrest in the factories. The Offering ceased publication in 1844 but was revived from 1848 to 1850 as the New … Continue reading The Lowell Offering

Jake Burridge, the sailor

Featured image: 2014 photo of Jake Burridge, courtesy Ipswich Chronicle. Original color photo by Kirk Williamson. In October, 2016 I was privileged to speak with Jake Burridge, a legendary 99-year-old Ipswich native. His wife Marsha graciously shared photos for this story. Jake grew up on Linebrook Rd., where he received his earliest education at the one-room Linebrook School. … Continue reading Jake Burridge, the sailor

The Laces of Ipswich

In its lace making heyday in the late eighteenth century, Ipswich, Massachusetts boasted 600 lace makers in a town of only 601 households. George Washington himself, a lace afficionado, paid a visit to Ipswich in 1789 to support its extraordinary domestic textile industry. In The Laces of Ipswich: The Art and Economics of an Early … Continue reading The Laces of Ipswich

George Washington and Family by Thomas Pritchard Rossiter, 1858-1860. Gift of Nanine Hilliard Greene

George Washington returns to Mount Vernon, Christmas Eve 1783

Featured image: George Washington and Family by Thomas Pritchard Rossiter, 1858-1860. by Helen Breen   General George Washington welcomed back to Mount Vernon on Christmas Eve 1783 at the end of the Revolutionary War (mountvernon.org) The dramatic painting of "Washington Crossing the Delaware" launching a surprise attack on the Hessian foe on December 25, 1776 is … Continue reading George Washington returns to Mount Vernon, Christmas Eve 1783

The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard jack

William Clancy, WWI hero

Featured image: The Battle of Vimy Ridge by Richard Jack Harold Bowen wrote in Tales from Olde Ipswich that William Clancy's family lived in the Old Post Office on North Main Street. Thomas Franklin Waters spoke about historic actions by William Clancy in a 1917 address to the Ipswich Historical Society, reprinted from the Publications of the Ipswich … Continue reading William Clancy, WWI hero

Ralph W. Burnham, Antiques and Hooked Rugs

In the late 19th Century, hooked rugs gained immense popularity, partly due to a Maine Peddler and rug hooker named Edward Sands Frost, who introduced preprinted hooked-rug patterns on burlap. In 1876, when Frost sold his business, he had about 180 patterns. Frost’s patterns included a wide variety of natural objects along with geometric patterns.  As commercial rug … Continue reading Ralph W. Burnham, Antiques and Hooked Rugs

Edgar Allen Poe statue Boston

Remembering Poe

Edgar Alan Poe Returns to Boston – A Halloween Reflection by Helen Breen Poe’s stories of horror and suspense, along with his melancholy poetry, are part of Halloween traditions in America. The writer, who was born in Boston in 1809, maintained a love/hate relationship with the city during his lifetime. But in 2014, Bostonians reclaimed … Continue reading Remembering Poe

Teddy Roosevelt’s “whistlestop” in Ipswich, 1912

Campaigning as the vice-presidential nominee with William McKinley in 1900, Theodore Roosevelt conducted one of the most famous political campaigns in U.S. history, traveling by train and making 480 stops in 23 states. Following the assassination of President McKinley in September 1901, Theodore Roosevelt, at age 42, succeeded to the Presidency, the youngest man to hold the office … Continue reading Teddy Roosevelt’s “whistlestop” in Ipswich, 1912

Lucretia Brown and the last witchcraft trial in America

In 1875, the last charge of witchcraft in this country was brought to trial in Salem. Lucretia Brown, an invalid living on the South Green in Ipswich was a disciple of Mary Baker Eddy, and when she suffered a “relapse” in 1875, Mrs. Eddy convinced her that Daniel Spofford of Newburyport, (whom Mrs. Eddy had recently excommunicated) … Continue reading Lucretia Brown and the last witchcraft trial in America

Nathaniel Ward: The Simple Cobbler of Agawam in America

Nathaniel Ward (1578–October 1652) was a clergyman born in Haverhill, Suffolk, England. Known for his caustic temperament he was a key player in the Puritan movement. Reprimanded by the Bishop of London for his activism and fervent espousal of theocratic polities, Ward emigrated to Massachusetts in 1634. Already in his 60's, he served for two years … Continue reading Nathaniel Ward: The Simple Cobbler of Agawam in America

1910 Ipswich census and maps

The 121 handwritten 1910 Federal Census survey forms for Ipswich provide a wealth of information about the population of Ipswich during its greatest period of industrial growth, which included the arrival of hundreds of immigrants to work in the Ipswich Mills. Survey forms for Ipswich are provided through Archive.org. The lists below begin on the first page of Ipswich … Continue reading 1910 Ipswich census and maps

Thomas Dennis, legendary Ipswich joiner

In 1937, Irving P. Lyon published a series of six articles about Thomas Dennis, joiner of Ipswich, analyzing numerous articles of furniture and family documents. 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. In 1960, … Continue reading Thomas Dennis, legendary Ipswich joiner

Abraham Knowlton, “Workman of rare skill”

By Ipswich Historical Commission chairman John Fiske: 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. William Knowlton, born in England in 1615, was the first of the family to settle … Continue reading Abraham Knowlton, “Workman of rare skill”

The old tool guys Jake Burridge and Jim Giannakakis visit the Heard House

Paul Valcour heads down to the Ipswich Heard House and gets a lesson on old farm tools from Jake Burridge & Jim Giannakakis. Presented by Ipswich ICAM.