15 Summer Street, the Jonathan Pulcifer house (1718)

Jonathan Pulcifer built this house in 1718 on Summer Street, one of the “oldest ways” in Ipswich. He was a descendant of Benjamin Pulsipher, an early settler of Ipswich who died in 1695. The son of the builder of this house, Jonathan Pulcifer Jr. is listed as a sailor in the French and Indian War.

Thomas Franklin Waters mentioned this house in Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (1915), referencing the recorded sales in the Salem book of deeds:

We observed that Jonathan Pulcifer purchased the next lot in 1718, when the Samuel Dutch property was divided into house lots, and another in 1724. He seems to have owned a continuous frontage to the corner now occupied by Miss Sarah P. Caldwell’s residence. His heirs apparently sold the house now owned by Theodore H. Howe to Richard Lakeman, May 14, 1796 (176: 263). He sold to Daniel Lakeman (176: 263), and Daniel transferred to Jane Gould, wife of Elisha Gould, Oct. 23, 1811 (196: 44). The Goulds sold to Elizabeth Fuller, Nov. 23, 1827 (246: 194), and Reuben Daniels sold it to Chas. H. Howe, May 16, 1867 (726: 63).

Original architectural features have been re-exposed by the owners, including beams & posts, summer beam, gunstock posts.

I was told that a few years ago as a realtor was getting ready to leave, he looked at the top of the stairs and saw the distinct ghostly form of an old woman looking back at him. View a slideshow of this house.

Photo courtesy Ipswich Museum

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote the history of four houses on this side of Summer Street in Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Samuel Dutch in the year 1718 mortgaged his dwelling on County Street to Joseph Boles and John Gains (30: 105) and divided his orchard land on Summer Street into four building lots:

  • 11 Summer St.: Nathaniel Hovey bought the lot about midway of the Lane, Nov. 5, 1718 (33: 260). Hovey enlarged his lot by the purchase of eleven square rods, from Alexander Lovell, in the rear of the land sold to William Donnton, in 1739 (88: 277).
  • 13 Summer St.: Richard Ringe bought the adjoining lot on the southeast on the same day in 1718. (49 : 259). Richard Ringe, heir of Richard, sold to John Pinder Jr., Feb. 5, 1760 (163: 23). His widow, Sarah, sold to Wm. Leatherland, Jan. 3, 1799(163: 256). By order of Probate Court, Chas. A. Sayward as guardian of Jacob Leatherland, insane, sold the property, and it was purchased by Daniel Clark, Feb. 21, 1872 (855: 157), and the present house was erected. By the beginning of the 20th Century it was owned by his son, Philip E. Clark, whose cabinet shop and undertaker’s establishment occupied the site of the old house, which was moved to 5 County Street, where it still stands.
  • 15 Summer St: Jonathan Pulcifer acquired the lot southeast of Ringe on Nov. 17th, 1718 (34:205)
  • 17 Summer St: Deborah Lord, spinster, bought the next lot on Nov. 18, 1718 (35: 80).

Samuel Dutch died soon after, and his mortgagees sold his mansion-house, warehouse and part of his homestead, twelve rods in length on Dutch’s Lane, as it was commonly called, now County street, April 3, 1722 to Anthony Attwood (40: 76).

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