46 Summer Street, the James Foster house (1720)

James Foster bought this former orchard land in 1720 from Nathaniel Clark who moved to Newbury. The northwest side is the original half-house, which was doubled in size and remodeled to appear Georgian, with the two chimneys, dormers and a symmetrical front. The house was owned by the Soward family in the 19th Century, and partially burned.

Thomas Franklin Waters recorded the history of the house:

“Nathaniel Clark sold James Foster 24 rods, out of the orchard that was his father’s, on Summer St., April 1720. Foster built this house, and sold it to Joseph Emmons and John Leatherland, on Oct. 29, 1733 (72: 91), and Emmons sold his half to John Hodgkhis, Nov. 8, 1738 (81: 65). Sarah Leatherland, widow of John, sold her half to John Soward, March 24, 1770 (156: 293). The other half was owned by Hodgkins at his death and was assigned to his only son, Francis, in 1797 (Pro. Rec. 367: 504). Dr. Francis Hodgkins of Sandwich, sold this to John Manning, Dec. 26, 1797 (239: 239). Manning sold to Rebecca Soward, wife of John, May 23, 1799 (179: 7). Isaac and Eunice Stanwood and widow Elizabeth Perkins conveyed their interest in the northwest or new part of the dwelling, and also in the small corner lot below, to Dr. John Manning, May 9, 1806 (239: 2,39), which was sold by the administrator of Manning’s estate to the widow Sarah Emmons, Aug. 2, 1826 (306: 181). John Soward sold the southeast part to his son, Moses, March 7, 1817 (213: 105). The honse was partially burned in the mid-19th Century, but continued to be known as the “Soward” house.”

The original frame is exposed in places and the chimney girt in the southeast first floor room has simple beveled lamb’s tongue chamfer stops. On the second floor is a rare 2-panel door. Except for the mid-18th century stairs, much early material is concealed. concealed.


  • T.F. Waters, Ipswich in the Mass. Bay Colony, vol. I, p.412 Ibid., vol. II, p.108
46 Summer Street, Ipswich MA
46 Summer Street, Ipswich MA. Photo from the MACRIS site
46 Summer Street, Ipswich MA. Photo from the MACRIS site

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