The house on Turkey Shore Road across from the intersection with Green Street was built in 1680 by William Howard on land that he purchased from Thomas Emerson. (Read The Ipswich Emersons. A.D. 1636-1900 : a genealogy of the descendants of Thomas Emerson of Ipswich, Mass., with some account of his English ancestry (1900) by Benjamin Kendall Emerson.)
Thomas Emerson bought this lot in 1638 and built a house. He sold the house and land to Daniel Ringe in 1648 (1:169), and William Howard, felt maker and hatter, bought the same in 1679 (4:289). Architectural evidence reveals that the present house was built about 1680. Thus Howard must have removed the ancient Emerson House and built a new structure shortly after 1679. The house was originally built as a half house. The right side was added in 1709.
William Richard Cutter wrote about Thomas Emerson in his book, Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs, Volume 4.
Thomas Emerson son of Robert Emerson 3 was baptized at Bishop’s Stortford England Hertfordshire July 26 1584. He was collector for the poor in Bishop’s Stortford in 1636 Major General Denison famous in the early military history of the colonies also came from Bishop’s Stortford and Deputy Governor Symotids resided in the neighboring towns of Great Yeldham and Upsfield county Essex. The children were all baptized as given below in St Michael’s Church Bishop’s Stortford.
According to family tradition, Emerson came over in the ship Elizabeth Ann in 1635. He was at Ipswich as early as 1638 when he had eighty acres granted to him adjoining land of Goodman Muzzey. He was a baker by trade but after his coming to America was generally called a yeoman. In 1638, Samuel Greenfield a weaver who had married Susanna Wise, widow of Humphrey Wise of Ipswich sold a farm of one hundred and twenty acres formerly owned by Wise to Thomas Emerson. This was the Turkey Shore property which remained in the hands of the Emerson family several generations. He was a commoner in 1641 and selectman in 1646. He conveyed his farm to his son John.
Thomas Franklin Waters recorded the early history of the land and house in Volume 1 of Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, page 481:
Beyond the Lane, anciently known as Wood’s Lane, now Fruit St., to the road to the Labour-in-vain fields, several grants were made, chiefly for tillage lands. Henry Wilkinson received three acres in 1635 and Robert Hayes the same. Hayes sold to Wilkinson and the latter conveyed the six acres to Thomas Emerson in 1638. It was bounded by the planting lot of Robert Cross on the east, the house lot of John Dane west, the lot of William Wildes, south, and the Town River on the north. The highway was only a cart-path at this period. Mr. Emerson built a house and sold house and land, six acres, to Daniel Ringe, “lying next the dwelling house and land of John Dane towards the south,” 1648 (Ips. Deeds 1 : 169). Uzall Wardell, whose son had married Susanna Ringe, acquired the Ringe homestead and sold it to William Hayward or Howard, April 7, 1679 (Ips. Deeds 4: 289). John Dane is mentioned as abutting on the southwest and southeast. John Howard sold his interest in his father’s house and land, three acres only, to his brother Samuel, March 20, 1714 (41 : 188). The bounds are, northwest, the highway, northeast, Philemon Dane, south, Walter Fairfield, west, highway (then known as Wood’s Lane). Dr. Philemon Dane seems to have acquired part of the original six acre lot of Emerson, Ringe and Howard. Stephen Howard succeeded to the ownership, and Daniel Ringe and others sold to Ebenezer Caldwell, their interest in one half of the house and two acres, our “father Samuel Ringe, bought of Stephen Howard,” April 1, 1769 (129: 22 1).
William Howard was born about 1634 and died at age 75 in Ipswich. He was granted “liberty to fall trees” in 1670. His gravestone reads: “Here Lyes ye Body of William Houeard who died July ye 25th, 1709 in ye 74 year of his age.”
Arthur Wesley Dow was born in Ipswich in On April 6, 1857. After studying art in Worcester and Boston, he enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris. From 1891 to 1906 he and his wife Minnie Pearson ran the Ipswich Summer School of Art from his home (the 1680 Emerson-Howard house) on Turkey Shore Road. He is said to have saved the house from destruction.
In 1899 Dow produced an album of 41 photographs entitled “Ipswich Days” and later published “By Salt Marshes: Pictures & Poems of Old Ipswich.” Dow is known for incorporating Japanese techniques into his work and for his inventive teaching style. He experimented with various forms and styles, producing oil paintings, photographs, ink wash drawings, and Japanese wood block prints. One of his many students was the famous artist Georgia O’Keefe.
In 1899 Dow created a teaching manual entitled Composition: Understanding Line, Notan and Color (Dover Art Instruction. In this very popular book he combines the best of Eastern and Western ideas, exploring the creation of images based on relations between lines, colors, and light patterns.
Dow served as the assistant curator of Japanese Art at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and taught at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, then was the director of the Fine Arts Department at the Teachers’ College at Columbia University in New York City until his death in 1922.
Dow bequeathed eighteen acres of land on upper Spring Street to the town of Ipswich to create Dow Park, adjoining Daniel Boone Park. His widow donated the home on Turkey Shore Road to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities but it was returned to private ownership in 1981.
Stephanie Gaskins is curator of the Arthur Wesley Dow collection at the Ipswich Museum, which includes oil paintings, photographs, wood block prints and other archived elements by the famous native son of Ipswich.
- T.F. Waters, Ipswich in the Mass. Bay Colony, vol.1, p. 481
- Historic American Buildings Survey: Howard-Emerson House