285 High Street, the Daniel Nourse house (1809)

285 High Street, the Daniel Nourse house (1809)

This house was listed with the Massachusetts Historical Commission in 1982, which can viewed at IPS.221, containing the following entry:

Of the three Federal houses built between 1808 and c. 1812 in Ipswich Village, this one preserves the most original finish and is the only one to incorporate a front-to-rear stair hall. There is a frontispiece with delicately reeded pilasters and a row of dentils in the entablature over the door. Interior finishes include a mantelpiece in the right hand room with pilaster strips and a broad frieze, wide board dado with molded cap, Federal window and door trim, and a staircase with turned newel post and round balusters. A large milestone from the early 18th century has been incorporated into the foundation in the cellar. It bears the inscription “B 30 N8.”

Daniel Nourse house, High St. Ipswich
The Daniel Nourse house in 1982, from the MACRIS site

This property is part of the first grant made in Ipswich Village in 1634 to Robert Muzzey. The original mid-17th century buildings were some distance eastward on the Egypt River. Presumably the buildings were near the “ould road to Newbury” which ran through the Muzzey property, and which was superseded as the main route to Rowley and Newbury by the present Route 1A laid out in 1640.

In 1654, the property was purchased by Joseph Jewett, “the great landed magnate of his time” who owned nearly all of what today is Ipswich Village. It remained in the Jewett family until 1748. The property passed to Nehemiah Smith who built a house closer to the present highway.

Daniel Nourse, a farmer, bought the property in 1790 and built the present house in 1809. Daniel Nourse had been a soldier in the French and Indian Wars. The property remained in the Nourse family for generations. In the late 19th and early 20th century, John W. Nourse, farmer and civil engineer, lived here. Nourse did some work in connection with the new pumping station. He did much of the original research on the Egypt River Grants and helped Waters in his publication on Ipswich Village. The milestone in the cellar is one of those set out on the highway in the early 18th century.

Daniel Nourse house on High St.
The Daniel Nourse house has fallen further into disrepair in this 2018 photo.
Nourse family cemetery, High St., Ipswich. The deserted house is also owned by the Lane family.

The small Nourse Cemetery contains about 15 graves and is located a couple of hundred feet north of the house on High Street. The cemetery was founded by the Nourse family on property purchased by Daniel Nourse in 1790 and is owned by members of the family .

The Jewett family book in its history of Rowley refers to a milestone in the cellar wall of 1809 house in Ipswich Village inscribed with “B 29 / N 9.” This is the Daniel Nourse house at 285 High St.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about this man and some interesting history related to his house:

“Some rods back from the highway at the Village, on the farm of John W. Nourse, a few years ago, the ploughshare disclosed a cache of finely-fashioned stone spearheads, some forty or more, the buried treasure, perchance, of an Indian brave, or some armorer of the centuries past. A series of diagrams has been prepared by our townsman, Mr. John W. Nourse, a skilful surveyor and an enthusiastic antiquarian student.”

Late in the 20th Century more artifacts were discovered nearby at Bull Brook, the oldest Paleo-Indian site in North America.

285 High Street, the Daniel Nourse house
The Daniel Nourse house in 1982, before it was allowed to become dilapidated.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s