John Wood bought this corner lot in 1719 (35:156), and inherited his father Samuel’s adjoining lot in 1738. John Wood married Martha Ringe, who was widowed with small children after her husband Daniel disappeared in 1727 while on a fishing expedition to Penobscot Bay, attacked by Indians.
Under Puritan law an adult unmarried woman was a feme sole, could own property and sign contracts. A married woman was a feme covert and could not own property individually. Widows regained the status of feme sole but were allowed to keep only one-third of their property, and the law required them to wait three years until re-marrying. The court allowed Martha Ringe to marry John Wood before the three years had passed “in order to advance her circumstances.”
History of this lot (with Ipswich deed records in parenthesis)
Thomas Franklin Waters recorded that the land was first granted to Mark Symonds. His executor, John Aires, sold a house and three acres, to Edward Chapman, son-in-law of Symonds, Nov. 24, 1659 (Ips. Deeds 3: 351). Chapman sold his son, John, a house and 10 rods on the comer, bounded by his land on two sides, Sept. 1677 (Ips. Deeds 4: 153). Samuel Chapman acquired the balance of the estate. Samuel sold an acre on the northeast side to his neighbor, Abraham Perkins, to enlarge his property, June 23, 1687 (7: 152); an acre and house, fronting on the Street, to Samuel Wood, Dec. 2, 1687 (12: 119); and an acre and a quarter of land in the rear, to Thomas Lull Jr., Dec. 6, 1687 (8: 100).
John Chapman sold his corner and house, his land increased now to 40 rods, to Caleb and John Kimball, April 6, 1719 (36: 22) and they sold the same to John Wood, on April 8, 1719 (35 : 156). By this purchase John became next neighbor to his father, Samuel Wood, and inherited his property (50: 253), apparently in 1738. The exact date of construction of the house is uncertain. John Wood’s widow, Martha, was allotted the northeast part of his estate, bounded by the Capt. Stephen Perkins’ land, and measuring 40 rods on High St., Nov. 19, 1752 (Pro. Rec. 331: 126). Retire Bacon and his wife Margaret acquired possession, and sold a house and one and a half acres, the whole of the John Wood estate probably, to Isaac Martin Aug. 7, 1765 (117: 29). Martin sold to John Lakeman, Oct. 31, 1765 (126: 43), the northeast comer of the property abutting on Nathaniel Foster, and another piece on April 19, 1773 (160: 159). It was owned by Nathaniel Lord, and by his son, Abraham, and the northwest part were still in possession of his heirs at the beginning of the 20th Century. In more recent years this house was the home and physician’s office of Dr. Jewett.