There was great excitement in Ipswich upon the visits of President George Washington and General Lafayette. Chebacco Parish withdrew from the town and became the Town of Essex. In 1828 the Ipswich Female Seminary was opened by Zilpah Grant and Mary Lyon. The Ipswich Manufacturing Company was established in that same year, later to become Ipswich Mills and now the site of EBSCO. The Eastern Railway sends its first passenger train through town in 1840. The Industrial age brought a resurgence of wealth to the town. Fires at Central Street and Depot Square in 1894 convinced the town to develop a public water and electrification system.

Thomas Jefferson Jefferson’s Warning to the White House - From an article by Nancy Gibbs,  Time Magazine, February 6, 2017:  Jefferson’s Warning to the White House During the campaign of 1800, a Federalist newspaper article stated that with Jefferson as president: “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the … Continue reading Jefferson’s Warning to the White House
19th Century: Religion divided the town - Excerpts from Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Thomas Franklin Waters The Congregational Church The Congregational Church, founded by the first settlers, maintained the old order for many generations in undisputed supremacy. From time to time, as the population increased, as has been noted, new Parishes within the Town limits had been established, in … Continue reading 19th Century: Religion divided the town
Hammers on Stone, the story of Cape Ann granite - Kitty Robertson’s book The Orchard includes a sorrowful tale by old Mr. Patch about Mr. Brown and his team of horses who drowned in Ipswich Bay as he dragged a sled loaded with Rockport granite across the frozen surface. Whether itr happened, we may never know, but in searching for more information, I found the fascinating and often tragic story … Continue reading Hammers on Stone, the story of Cape Ann granite
The boy who fell beneath the ice, March 19, 1802 - The Rev. Joseph Dana served the Second Congregational Church at the South Green from 1765 until his death in 1827 at age 85. His tombstone in the Old South Cemetery reads: “In memory of the Rev Joseph Dana D. D., for sixty two years, Minister of the South Church. His protracted life was eminently devoted to … Continue reading The boy who fell beneath the ice, March 19, 1802
The Great Snow Hurricane of October 9, 1804 - At about nine o’clock in 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. In the southern portion of New England the rain fell in extraordinary quantities until the wind grew less violent, when snow began to fall, continuing … Continue reading The Great Snow Hurricane of October 9, 1804
Newburyport Turnpike opens, February 11, 1805: “Over every hill and missing every town” - 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 (the highway we call Rt. 1). The intent was to bypass Salem and promote Newburyport as a commercial destination. Proponents claimed it would cut travel time by a … Continue reading Newburyport Turnpike opens, February 11, 1805: “Over every hill and missing every town”
Roads to Paradise - Paradise Road follows a shallow peninsula bordered by Muddy Brook and the Egypt River. In 1807, the ancient path was laid out by the Town as a road from Pingrey’s Plain near the Clam Box, which served as the hanging grounds, to the Muddy River Bridge and the Egypt River. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote: “The early farm of Mr. Charles Day … Continue reading Roads to Paradise
To the Inhabitants of the Town of Ipswich, from Thomas Jefferson, September 2, 1808 - The Embargo Act of 1807, sponsored by President Thomas Jefferson, made illegal any and all exports from the United States. The embargo was imposed in response to violations of U.S. neutrality by the French and English during the Napoleonic Wars. By 1808, New England ports were at a standstill and its cities and towns were … Continue reading To the Inhabitants of the Town of Ipswich, from Thomas Jefferson, September 2, 1808
Hannah and Samuel Loring, a Christmas romance and tragedy, 1809 - Hannah Gwinn Loring (1791 – 1847) kept a diary when she was living in Salem, Massachusetts with her parents, Thaddeus and Mercy Gwinn. In September 1807, Hannah wrote: “I left school with regret. My parents think it is time for me to commence assisting in domestic affairs for they think it very essential for a female to … Continue reading Hannah and Samuel Loring, a Christmas romance and tragedy, 1809
The Merchant Princes, Cyrus Wakefield and George Peabody - by Helen Breen Question: What Do Wakefield and Peabody Have In Common? Answer: Both renamed their Essex County towns in the mid 19th century to honor their “favorite sons” and benefactors – Cyrus Wakefield (1811-1873) and George Peabody (1795-1869). The 19th century “merchant princes” of Boston were ambitious, clever men who made their fortunes in … Continue reading The Merchant Princes, Cyrus Wakefield and George Peabody
The Cold Friday of 1810 – New England Historical Society - In 1857, Henry David Thoreau wrote about the Cold Friday of 1810, the coldest New England winter of the 19th century, with heavy snow, brutal cold and violent winds from mid-December until late April. On Jan. 19, 1810, the weather had been warm on the preceding day, but then a snow squall came up and the temperature … Continue reading The Cold Friday of 1810 – New England Historical Society
The Great Newburyport fire, May 31, 1811 - A fire commenced about nine o’clock in a stable in Mechanic Row in Newburyport on the evening of May 31st, 1811. (The description below is from The Fireman’s Own Book by George P. Little, 1918.)
The British attack on Sandy Bay - On the wall of a building at Bearskin Neck in Rockport, MA is the sign shown below. Rockport experienced one of the oddest invasions in U.S. history during the War of 1812 when British sailors faced the town’s stubborn and fearless residents. I don’t know if the people of Rockport actually fought the British with stockings and … Continue reading The British attack on Sandy Bay
The “Dungeons of Ipswich” during the War of 1812 - On June 17,1812, President Madison declared war with England. The New England states were bitter in their opposition, because of the trade embargo and their vulnerability to British war ships. The Town of Ipswich adopted a resolution on June 25, 1812 declaring its alterable opposition to the embargo and “Mr. Madison’s War.” Ironically, the reputation of the … Continue reading The “Dungeons of Ipswich” during the War of 1812
The Gerrymander is born in Essex County, February 11, 1812 - Elbridge Gerry was born in Marblehead in 1744 and spent almost all of his life in government service. He promoted colonial opposition to the British Parliament’s colonial policies, and served in the Second Continental Congress from February 1776 to 1780. Gerry was elected as a Massachusetts representative to the United States Congress in its first … Continue reading The Gerrymander is born in Essex County, February 11, 1812
Great Storm of 1815 Jane Hooper, the fortune teller - This story is adapted from the Reminiscences of Joseph Smith and Reminiscences of a Nonagenarian and brings together no less than four incredible old tales. Jane Hooper was in 1760 a Newburyport “school dame” but after she lost that job she found fame as a fortune teller and became known in our area as “Madam Hooper, the Witch.” The Madam had very bright … Continue reading Jane Hooper, the fortune teller
1816, the year without summer - Featured image: View from Town Hill by George Dexter, circa 1900 The year 1816 was known as “The Cold Year,” and “The Year Without a Summer.” In our area it was called “Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death” and “the Summer of Mittens.” Throughout New England there was frost in every month of the year. The winter … Continue reading 1816, the year without summer
The Ipswich Town Farm, 1817-1928 - Ipswich established its first poorhouse in 1717, and until then the poor and incapacitated were simply let out to the lowest bidder. There was a growing movement in Massachusetts during the early 19th century for establishing rural working town farms for the poor. Caring for the poor in Ipswich became such an issue that the affluent remote … Continue reading The Ipswich Town Farm, 1817-1928
President Monroe’s brief visit to Ipswich - From the journal of Miss Eunice Jones, 1793-1825. Journal, July 12 1817: “This morning about nine o’clock the President of the United States, Monroe, passed through Ipswich. He was attended by a large concourse of people; they paid him all the honor possible. The gentlemen and ladies of the town decorated our street and bridge … Continue reading President Monroe’s brief visit to Ipswich
Old Graveyard 1680, Essex MA The Body Snatcher of Chebacco Parish - The Old Burying Ground in Essex was established in 1680 for inhabitants of Chebacco Parish, the former part of Ipswich which is now Essex. In 1819 people in the parish began noticing lights moving about at night in the graveyard. It was soon discovered that the body of 26-year-old Sally Andrews who had died of … Continue reading The Body Snatcher of Chebacco Parish
The Choate Bridge in Ipswich, photo by George Dexter Battles of the bridges - Excerpts from Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, by Thomas Franklin Waters The stone bridges which span the Ipswich river with their graceful arches are picturesque and interesting, but the readiness with which the Town proceeded to build the latter two stone bridges is in singular contrast with the belligerent opposition to the earliest ones. The … Continue reading Battles of the bridges
The Fox Creek Canal - This article is by John Fiske, chairman of the Ipswich Historical Commission. Memorial Day, 2014: 76º, humid, hazy clouds, and the end of a long spell of unseasonably cool weather. Just the day for our first cruise of the season, puttering among the salt marshes in our little boat. One of our favorite routes is go … Continue reading The Fox Creek Canal
The Plum Island Salt Company - In the Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society I read the forgotten story of the Plum Island Salt Company. All traces of its existence have disappeared. In the  1820’s a Frenchman, Gilshenan by name made examination of many localities along the American coast to erect a salt works. Coming at last to the Ipswich Bar at the end … Continue reading The Plum Island Salt Company
The Fox Creek Canal - The Fox Creek Canal is the oldest man-made tidewater canal in the United States, dug in 1820. The following was written by Thomas Franklin Waters: “As early as 1652 a move was made toward cutting a passage way for boats through the marshes from Ipswich River to the River of Chebacco to avoid the long … Continue reading The Fox Creek Canal
A tragic story from old Gloucester - In 1821, the Annisquam woods was the scene of a murder. Gorham Parsons, while chopping wood, struck and instantly killed a boy of 10 years, named Eben Davis, the act being done with a hatchet. The boy had given offense by singing a song. After committing the deed Parsons took the boy on his back … Continue reading A tragic story from old Gloucester
A “Revolutionary” Christmas dinner, 1823 - On Christmas day 1823, Gen Benjamin Pierce of Hillsborough, NH held a reunion of twenty-two citizens of the town who had served in the War of Independence. An account of this notable gathering is preserved in the handwriting of General Pierce. The oldest attendee was Ammi Andrews, born in Ipswich, MA, aged 89 years. General Pierce requested … Continue reading A “Revolutionary” Christmas dinner, 1823
Lafayette returns to Ipswich - When the First Provincial Congress met in Salem Massachusetts on Friday October 7, 1774, Ipswich was represented by General Michael Farley. At 56 years of age, Farley was “too advanced in years to take the field” but rendered great services to the town and the new country throughout his life. In 1777 nineteen year old … Continue reading Lafayette returns to Ipswich
Adams and Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 An Amazing Coincidence on July 4, 1826 - by Helen Breen (Header photo courtesy: examiner.com) Regarding the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote from Philadelphia to his wife Abigail in Braintree, Massachusetts: “It ought to be celebrated as a day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty … with pomp and parade, with shows, games, and sports, … Continue reading An Amazing Coincidence on July 4, 1826
The Ipswich Female Seminary - The Ipswich Female Seminary was established in April 1828 by Zilpah Grant and 24-year-old Mary Lyon for the secondary and college-level education of young women. Girls were prepared for careers as teachers and provided with rigorous studies in academic subjects and “standards of personal conduct and discipline.” It was the first endowed seminary for women … Continue reading The Ipswich Female Seminary
A town of immigrants - Featured image: Immigrant workers at the Ipswich Hosiery Mill, by Ipswich photographer George Dexter. The earliest evidence of habitation in Ipswich was discovered in the 1950’s at the Bull Brook Paleoindian site, where hundreds of stone instruments were recovered, made by early Native Americans who migrated here after the ice age glaciers receded. The Agawam Indians who greeted the first … Continue reading A town of immigrants
Boston Irish Long Remembered the 1834 Charlestown Convent Fire - Featured image: Woodcut image of the 1834 burning of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Catholics and fair minded Bostonians were dismayed by the tragedy. by Helen Breen This week marks the 183th anniversary of the burning and ransacking of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts on August 11, 1834. The outrage would smolder in the … Continue reading Boston Irish Long Remembered the 1834 Charlestown Convent Fire
The Ipswich lighthouse - Benjamin Ellsworth was appointed keeper of the Ipswich lighthouse by Abraham Lincoln in 1861. With his daughter Susan, he remained at the station until his death in 1902. In 1837 the U.S. government erected two 29′ towers for guidance to the mouth of the Ipswich River along with a lightkeeper’s residence. The lighthouses were aligned … Continue reading The Ipswich lighthouse
Awful Calamities: the Shipwrecks of December, 1839 - Featured image: Ships off Liverpool in the Great Storm of 1839, painted by Samuel Walters. From: “Awful calamities: or, The shipwrecks of December 1839: “It has probably never fallen to the lot of the citizens of New England to witness or record so many terrible disasters by sea in the short period of fourteen days as have transpired … Continue reading Awful Calamities: the Shipwrecks of December, 1839
Wreck of the Hesperus, January 6, 1839 - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem was inspired by the Blizzard of 1839, which ravaged the North Shore for 12 hours, starting on January 6, 1839. Twenty ships and forty lives were lost during the storm. The probable subject of the story is the schooner Favorite, which sank on a rock called Norman’s Woe off the coast of Gloucester, … Continue reading Wreck of the Hesperus, January 6, 1839
The Railroad comes to Ipswich, December 20, 1839 - The stagecoach era ended abruptly when the Salem tunnel opened, and two days later on December 20, 1839, a train from Boston made its first passage through Ipswich. It arrived about 9 o’clock on a Friday morning with 50 passengers, taking only 34 minutes from Salem. Townspeople were delighted, but the opening of the railroad … Continue reading The Railroad comes to Ipswich, December 20, 1839
Ipswich MA lighthouse Wreck of the Deposit, December 23, 1839 - The lighthouse located on Crane Beach was moved nine times because the channel to the harbor shifted, before finally being moved to Martha’s Vineyard. Every light keeper feared that at some time, especially at a critical time, the station would fail to provide guidance. The Ipswich Lighthouse The story as told by Susan Howard Boice: I … Continue reading Wreck of the Deposit, December 23, 1839
Patronage and Scandal at the Ipswich Customs House - The Ipswich Custom House The exact location of the Ipswich Custom House has never been verified. Shown above is a photograph of the Town Wharf area taken by Arthur Wesley Dow, sometime between 1905 and 1910. Alice Keenan wrote that the small building on the right had been the customs house. Later photos show a sign … Continue reading Patronage and Scandal at the Ipswich Customs House
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
Glover’s Wharf and the Ipswich coal industry - John S. Glover opened a wharf on Water St. in 1847, receiving shipments of coal and cement, along with maritime salvage. His wharf was a short distance from the home be built on East St. around 1872 across from the present-day Town Wharf, which was demolished recently.  The business was sold to Charles Lovell in 1910. Many of the Glover family … Continue reading Glover’s Wharf and the Ipswich coal industry
Pigeon Cove The ”October Gale” of 1841 - A strong hurricane stayed offshore of the Carolinas in early October, 1841  As it continued moving north, it pulled cold air into its circulation and intensified as an extra-tropical storm, with a direct hit on New England on October 3. The Georges Bank fishing fleet was destroyed with the loss of 81 fishermen’s lives. The storm wrecked at least 190 vessels … Continue reading The ”October Gale” of 1841
Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim “A Christmas Carol” – the Back Story - Featured image: Bob Cratchit and his son Tiny Tim represented the London poor with whom Charles Dickens sympathized. (painting by Jessie Wilcox Smith) by Helen Breen LONDON  1843 “Marley was dead to begin with,” the opening line of “A Christmas Carol,” was conceived by Charles Dickens as he walked the cold, damp streets of Manchester after … Continue reading “A Christmas Carol” – the Back Story
Wreck of the Falconer, December 17, 1847 - On December 17, 1847 the brig Falconer, loaded with bituminous coal, wrecked at Crane Beach (known then as Patch’s Beach), bound for Boston from St. John, New Brunswick. 36 crew members were rescued but 17 were lost at sea. Captain Joseph Rowlinson and his son, master Charles Robinson were buried in Belfast, Maine. Three bodies … Continue reading Wreck of the Falconer, December 17, 1847
Joseph Ross Ipswich MA Joseph Ross, 19th Century Ipswich bridge builder - Joseph Ross (1822-1903) began his working life as a house carpenter in Ipswich, his native town. He is best known for designing the first movable span bridge in the country, which he patented in 1849 at the age of 26. According to his obituary, “he has been engaged in some of the largest engineering enterprises … Continue reading Joseph Ross, 19th Century Ipswich bridge builder
Arthur Wesley Dow Arthur Wesley Dow - Ipswich artist Arthur Wesley Dow was born on April 6, 1857 and grew up in the Matthew Perkins house on East Street. He was one of the town’s most famous residents and a founding member of the Ipswich Historical Society. The Ipswich Museum owns the largest single collection of works by Arthur Wesley Dow, including oil … Continue reading Arthur Wesley Dow
Victorian Ipswich - In the mid to late 1800’s Ipswich was undergoing an economic renaissance with hundreds of people employed in the mills and bankers doing quite well. North Main Street and the neighboring area became the fashionable place to build your new “in-town” house. The second half of the 19th Century marked an abrupt change from the … Continue reading Victorian Ipswich
1854: Anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party sweeps Massachusetts elections - The American Party, better known as the “Know Nothing Party,” emerged in 1843, originally named the “Native American Party” with the intent of preventing Irish Catholic immigration. Anti-Catholic activists formed secret groups to support their cause, and when asked about their activities, members were instructed to reply “I know nothing.” The movement first made news in 1834 with the burning of … Continue reading 1854: Anti-immigrant Know Nothing Party sweeps Massachusetts elections
“Hatchet Hannah” leads raid on Rockport liquor establishments, July 8, 1856 - In 1919, the manufacture and sale of all alcoholic beverages was prohibited by the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It was repealed by the 21st Amendment 14 years later. Rockport, MA remained a dry town until 2005, and liquor stores are still not allowed. On the morning of July 8, 1856, two hundred women, three … Continue reading “Hatchet Hannah” leads raid on Rockport liquor establishments, July 8, 1856
Isinglass Mill, Ipswich MA The Mill Road Bridge and the Isinglass Factory - Library of Congress records state that the triple stone arch Warner Bridge that connects Mill Rd. in Ipswich to Highland St. in Hamilton was built in 1856, designed by architect Henry Hubbard. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that it was first constructed in 1829, and Ipswich town history records that it was “rebuilt” in 1856. In 1931, the roadway was raised; stone parapets … Continue reading The Mill Road Bridge and the Isinglass Factory
Christmas comes to New England, 1856 - With its “story book” downtown, Ipswich would seem like the natural setting for a colonial-era Christmas, but here in Massachusetts, the Puritans shunned Christmas for its pagan roots. In this raw frontier they dedicated themselves to their labors and God, allowing only Thanksgiving as a time for feasting. In 1659, a law was passed by … Continue reading Christmas comes to New England, 1856
Asbury Grove Methodist Camp Meeting, Hamilton MA - 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. The land is owned by the Association, while the houses owned individually by the residents. 12,000 people, most from Boston, attended the first camp … Continue reading Asbury Grove Methodist Camp Meeting, Hamilton MA
Lynn shoe workers strike 1860 Lynn Shoeworkers Strike, Feb. 22, 1860 - Mass Moments On February 22,  1860, thousands of striking shoeworkers 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 shoemaking town since the early 1800s. Hard times had now caused management to cut wages and speed … Continue reading Lynn Shoeworkers Strike, Feb. 22, 1860
Gravel Street Ipswich Ye Gravel Street: Washington and Liberty Streets - Gravel Street and the gravel pits are shown in the 1832 Philander map of Ipswich. One of the older established ways in town, Washington Street may have started as a footpath for Native Americans long before John Winthrop and the first settlers arrived. Today’s Washington Street was called once called Bridge Street, and for two decades was known as Gravel … Continue reading Ye Gravel Street: Washington and Liberty Streets
Pemberton Mill in Lawrence collapses and burns, killing workers; January 10, 1860 - On Tuesday afternoon January 10, 1860, the Pemberton Mill in Lawrence buckled and crashed, killing dozens instantly and trapping the workers inside. Rescue teams rushed in, only to find “faces crushed beyond recognition.” Around 9:30 p.m. an oil lamp was knocked over, and flames spread quickly, leaving only “brick, mortar and human bones … promiscuously … Continue reading Pemberton Mill in Lawrence collapses and burns, killing workers; January 10, 1860
County Street, Sawmill Point, and bare hills - The County Street bridge was built in the mid 19th Century and for half a century was the town’s newest industrial area. The following story is from Ipswich Yesterday by Alice Keenan, written in 1982. When we first viewed this picture some years ago we must admit it was a complete puzzlement to us until we discovered … Continue reading County Street, Sawmill Point, and bare hills
Hay Scales - By the time of the Civil War, Fairbanks’ scales were the best known American product in the world. Erastus and Thaddeus Fairbanks were now joined by their younger brother, Joseph. The modest one-building operation expanded to 40 buildings with more than 20 acres of floor space by 1910. E & T Fairbanks & Company offices … Continue reading Hay Scales
Ipswich Civil War veterans Joseph Stockwell Manning, a Civil War hero from Ipswich - Private Joseph Stockwell Manning of Ipswich was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on December 1, 1864, a year and two days after an incredible act of bravery at Fort Sanders, Tennessee. His citation simply reads “Capture of flag of 16th Georgia Infantry (C.S.A.)” but the story is fascinating.
Thomas Ellsworth, Ipswich Civil War hero, November 30, 1864 - Thomas Foulds Ellsworth was one of four soldiers who earned the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle at Honey Hill, South Carolina, on November 30, 1864. Under a heavy fire he carried his wounded commanding officer, who had become trapped under his horse, saving his life and preventing him from being captured. Captain Ellsworth … Continue reading Thomas Ellsworth, Ipswich Civil War hero, November 30, 1864
Revere trainwreck 1871 The Great Revere Train wreck, August 26, 1871 - On the evening of August 26, 1871, the Eastern Railroad’s Portland Express slammed into the rear of a stopped local train in Revere, Massachusetts. It is reported that the night was very dark and the engineer of the express thought the lights on the rear car of the stopped local train were from the station’s … Continue reading The Great Revere Train wreck, August 26, 1871
The Great Fire of Boston, November 9-10, 1872 - 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 … Continue reading The Great Fire of Boston, November 9-10, 1872
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
“Newburyport and its Neighborhoods,” Harpers Magazine 1875 - Excerpt from “Newburyport and its Neighborhood” by Harriet Prescott Spofford, July 1875, the New Harper’s Monthly Magazine. “The history of Newburyport, and of her mother Newbury, much of which has become incorporated with herself, is replete with striking facts and marvels. She had not only the first of our ships upon the Thames, as has … Continue reading “Newburyport and its Neighborhoods,” Harpers Magazine 1875
Adrift on a Haystack legend Rowley Adrift on a Haystack, 1876 - A remarkable northeasterly storm on the 4th of December, 1786 caused most of the salt hay along the North Shore to be set afloat and lost in the tide. Samuel Pulsifer and Samuel Elwell, both of Rowley were digging clams on the flats in Plum Island Sound and got caught in the storm. The Rev. Ebenezer Bradford … Continue reading Adrift on a Haystack, 1876
The steamship “Carlotta” - The excursion boat Carlotta was built in 1878 at Rogers Point Boar Yard at the end of Agawam Avenue, and sailed from the Town Wharf to points on the Neck and Plum Island for 35 years. William J. Barton wrote about the Carlotta: “From Brown’s Wharf, the steamer Carlotta, a local steamboat owned by Nathaniel Burnham … Continue reading The steamship “Carlotta”
The North Shore and the Golden Age of Cycling - The American popularity of bicycles originated in Boston, which held the first U.S. bicycle race on May 24, 1878. In 1883, Abbot Bassett of Chelsea set out on the first recorded 100 mile bike ride, meandering on an adult tricycle along the North Shore to Ipswich and back home. George Chinn of the Beverly Citizen … Continue reading The North Shore and the Golden Age of Cycling
“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.
Play Ball! Bialek Park - Bialek Park was once the town’s semi-professional ballpark, used by our local teams. Baseball’s popularity grew quickly after the Civil War, and there was an Ipswich team in the last few decades of the 19th Century. The 1884 Ipswich Birdseye map shows the park as an empty lot with what appears to be the high fence … Continue reading Play Ball! Bialek Park
Discovery of native American shell heap on Treadwell’s Island, 1882 - Early in September 1882, Mr I. J. Potter, owner and publisher of the Ipswich Chronicle, called the attention of the officers of the Peabody Academy of Science to a shell heap which he had observed on the shore of Ipswich River on Treadwell’s Island, formerly known as Perkins Island. In one spot at the depth … Continue reading Discovery of native American shell heap on Treadwell’s Island, 1882
Ipswich Chronicle Report on the 250th Anniversary of the founding of Ipswich Massachusetts Ipswich Chronicle Report of the 250th Anniversary Exercises, August 16, 1884 - In March 1872, Edward L Davenport and Frederick W Goodwin began publication of the Ipswich Chronicle. Several years later, I.J. Potter became the proprietor. He and his brother J. M. Potter created a chain of papers which included the Ipswich Chronicle, Amesbury Villager, Lynn Reporter, Lynn Bee and the Yankee Blade of Boston. *Source: Municipal History of Essex … Continue reading Ipswich Chronicle Report of the 250th Anniversary Exercises, August 16, 1884
Burke Heel Factory, Brown's Square, Ipswich Hammatt Street, Brown Square and Farley’s Brook - Until the second half of the 19th Century, much of the area bounded by Central Street, Washington Street, Mineral Street and Market Street was a wetland with an open sewer known as Farley’s Brook running through it. Brown Square developed as an industrial area beginning around 1885. The railroad came to Ipswich in 1839, changing the town forever. Stagecoaches … Continue reading Hammatt Street, Brown Square and Farley’s Brook
Killed by a swordfish, August 19 , 1886 - The schooner Venus out of Cape Porpoise, Maine frequently fished off the coast of Massachusetts, and was captained by Franklin D. Langsford of Lanesville, MA. On Monday morning, August 19 1886, Captain Langsford sailed out from Cape Ann in pursuit of swordfish. Around 11 a.m. he spotted a swordfish about eight miles northeast of Halibut Point in Ipswich Bay. The … Continue reading Killed by a swordfish, August 19 , 1886
The Great White hurricane, train surrounded by snow The Great White Hurricane, March 11, 1888 - The Great White Hurricane of 1888 struck on the night of March 11 and continued furiously for two days, dumping as much as 60 inches of snow on parts of the Northeast.
A Chronology of Ipswich Public Works: Telegraph, Telephone, Gas, Water, Electricity, Trash, Sewer and Wind - 1847: Telegraph Samuel Morse obtained a patent for his telegraph invention in 1838. It came into practical use about 1843. The first use of the telegraph was to coordinate the arrival and departure of trains. The Boston line was extended to Portland in 1847 and brought Ipswich into faster contact with the whole country. The Atlantic cable … Continue reading A Chronology of Ipswich Public Works: Telegraph, Telephone, Gas, Water, Electricity, Trash, Sewer and Wind
Wreck of the Lucy M. Collins, August 19, 1891 - When you’re walking on Crane Beach near Steep Hill  Coal, you might be surprised to see lumps of coal lying on the sand. This would be quite a mystery were it not for the tragic history of brigs and schooners transporting coal in the 19th century. Wreck of the Lucy M. Collins It is almost certain that … Continue reading Wreck of the Lucy M. Collins, August 19, 1891
Dow Brook and Bull Brook Reservoirs - Featured image: Dow-Bull Brook Trail, from the Essex County Trail Association site Harold Bowen wrote that two downtown fires in 1894 accomplished something that numerous Town Meetings had failed to agree upon. For several years the town had tried to provide a municipal water system, without success. “The farmers up in Linebrook fought it. It … Continue reading Dow Brook and Bull Brook Reservoirs
Central Street in ashes, January 13, 1894 - Three Business Blocks and Three Dwellings Destroyed in Ipswich January 14, 1894,© The New York Times. Flames were discovered soon after 1 o'clock this morning in the photograph rooms of George Dexter, in the upper portion of the Jewett Block, on Central Street. The wind was blowing a gale, and the temperature registered nearly at … Continue reading Central Street in ashes, January 13, 1894
The Green Street Bridge - The Green Street bridge in Ipswich was built in 1894 by Joseph Ross of Ipswich and designed by Charles A. Putnam of Salem. Robert Cronin, who recently shared  his collection of photos by 19th /early 20th Century photographer George Dexter, wrote the following: “Among the lost prints was an explanation of how the large vessels were … Continue reading The Green Street Bridge
The Year that Ipswich Burned - The Central Street Fire, January 13, 1894 Late in the night on January 13, 1894 townspeople were awakened to the church bells sounding the alarm that downtown was on fire. Firefighters struggled with their equipment in gale-force winds as the temperature dropped to 16 degrees below zero. The Ipswich Chronicle, January 19, 1894 Business Blocks … Continue reading The Year that Ipswich Burned
Horse-drawn trolley, Ipswich MA The trolley comes to Ipswich, June 26, 1896 - The brief era of horse-drawn trolleys apparently never materialized in Ipswich. Electric trolleys occupied the streets of Ipswich in the early 20th Century. A trolley line from Beverly through Hamilton to Essex and Gloucester opened in 1895, and on June 26, 1896, the first car on the branch that followed Candlewood Road to Ipswich arrived … Continue reading The trolley comes to Ipswich, June 26, 1896