39 Summer Street, the Foster – Grant house (1717)

39 Summer St., Ipswich MA
39 Summer Street, the Foster – Grant house (1717)

The Foster-Grant House at 39 Summer Street is believed to have been built in 1717 and has many well-preserved original elements. Summer beam construction and reused shadow molded sheathing on the attic door are the architectural highlights of this house.

Early history of the house

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote the following:

“Nathaniel Knowlton sold a small lot of seventeen rods to James Foster, Oct. 25, 1717 (35: 63). Jacob Foster conveyed the same apparently to William Foster, June 3, 1741 (84: 17). Rebecca Sutton, widow, and Abigail Foster, single woman, conveyed to Ephraim Grant, house and land, three rods fifteen links on the Lane, reserving to Joseph Wait, the east half of dwelling, June 30, 1826 (243: 252). This is known as the Grant house.”

From the Foster Genealogy:

Deacon Jacob Foster lived in the house built by his father Reginald on the south side of the Ipswich River near the stone bridge The house was given by Reginald Foster at his death to Deacon Jacob, his son. Among Jacob’s children were James, born 12 Nov. 1682.

James Foster married Anna Cross 15 May, 1706-7, but left no issue. His will, dated 20 April, and proved 6 May, 1751, gives the use of his estate, valued at £165 to his wife Anna during her life, afterwards to the children of his brothers Jacob, Abraham and Joseph, and brother-in-law John Caldwell. His widow was published to Benjamin Fowler, of Rowley, 23 July, 1756.

The MACRIS site states that James Foster was the first postmaster, but according to the Genealogy of the Foster Family, that James was the son of this James Foster’s brother Joseph (James-Joseph-Jacob-Reginald) who was born in Ipswich, March 4, 1716. He removed to Boston, returned to Ipswich, and was admitted in 1766 to the church at Chebacco. His wife was Sarah Hart, to whom he was published in Ipswich, 25 June, 1746. She was still living in 1803. He was postmaster of Ipswich, being succeeded by Daniel Noyes, 23 June, 1775.

39 Summer St., Ipswich MA
Front right room in the Foster-Grant house, 2018
39 Summer St., Ipswich MA
Front left room of the Foster- Grant house
39 Summer St., Ipswich MA
The Foster-Grant house circa 1980, from the MACRIS site. Note the single windows on the right side.
foster-grant-house-1960
The Foster-Grant house in 1960. The house was lived in by two families with separate entrances at that time.
39 Summer St., Ipswich MA
Late 19th Century photo of Summer Street by Edward Darling–the Foster-Grant house is on the right.
39 Summer St., Ipswich MA
2018 photo of the Foster-Grant house on Summer Street in Ipswich

Sources: 

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