Mary Appleton, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Appleton married, first, Mager Woodbury at 67 Turkey Shore Rd., and had two children. He died in October 1837 and she married, second, her neighbor Thomas McMahon on Labor in Vain and had four children. She continued to own the old Abraham and Elizabeth Soward house at this site. (see Waters, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony).
Mary McMahon and her daughters Elisabeth McMahon and Priscilla Choate, wife of John Choate, sold “A certain piece of land with buildings thereon, containing 10 acres more or less…bordering on the land of Otis Glover, Turkey Shore Road, our day pasture, and the land of Mark Foss” to James Galbraith in 1864 (Salem Deeds book 678, page 21). He sold the 18th century house and 10 acres on the property to Isaac Foss in 1870 (802:115). Isaac Foss moved the old Soward house to the back side of the property on Labor in Vain Rd. and built this one. (The Soward house is no longer standing.)
The Foss House is the finest example of the Gothic Revival era in Ipswich. The steep front gables on this home shows the influence of a romantic movement in architecture inspired by medieval design, a departure from the classical Federal and Greek Revival styles popular earlier in the century. The vertical wooden decorative pieces reflect the “stick” style of Victorian architecture. Key features include stick work in the central pavilion, window surrounds of beaded recessed panels, and porch posts of octagonal cross-section. The double doors suggest that the house was originally a two-family dwelling.