The plaque on the Joseph Fowler house at 100 High Street states that it was built in 1756, but that is not completely certain. Fowler was a carpenter and bought the lot in 1720. Records indicated that the house may have existed on this spot before Fowler obtained it, although at least one old timer long ago reported that it had been moved to this location from Mineral Street. The house has a 1-1/2 story, gambrel roof with a central chimney. The photo below shows an exposed “gunstock” post in the house. View MACRIS
This house is protected by a preservation agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Protected elements include:
- All front and side exterior elements
- Roof, chimney, central frame primary and secondary
- Wooden architectural elements including paneling, mantelpieces, doors, windows, and other early detail of the original house.
From the Fowler Family History we learn that in 1721 Elizabeth Fowler, widow of Phillip Fowler sold to her son Joseph Fowler “for £3 per year, well secured by bond, halfe of his housing & Lands in said Ipswich, which is reserved in his Deeds of Gifts for me, During the time of my natural Life”
“The Fowler property has been a family inheritance for generations. It was originally in the Tuttle family, and Simon Tuttle sold a house and one and three quarter acres to Joseph Fowler, carpenter, June 30, 1720 (39: 118). He bought the adjoining land in 1745, and for more than sixty years, both estates remained in the Fowler family. The original lot, bought in 1720, still belongs to the Fowler heirs. The original trade of the Fowlers was tanning, and it is said that some of the old vats were found many years ago on the lower end of this lot. The gambrel roofed house, now on the spot, old ‘Sir’ Smith used to say, was moved from Mineral Street to this spot, perhaps a century ago.”
The first Joseph Fowler
Joseph Fowler who built this house was the third generation of the Fowler family. His grandfather or great grandfather was quite a character. Joseph was born about 1629 in England. He married Martha Kimball, who came to America with her parents Richard Kimball and Ursula Scott on the ship Elizabeth when she was about five years old. They had four children, one of them also named Joseph Fowler.
In 1649 this first Joseph Fowler was admonished for drinking in the woods with his cousin and his wife Martha’s brothers. From Essex Court records we read the following: ” “We present Joseph Fowler, Thomas Cooke, Thomas Scott, and two of ye sons of Richard Kimball, for goeing into ye woods, shouting and singing, taking fire and liquors with them, all being at unseasonable time in ye night.” They created such a disturbance that the neighbors went to see what was going on, ” occasioning your wives and some other to go out to them.”
Thomas Franklin Waters had no kind words for this Joseph Fowler: “Offenders of every grade came and went, and some so frequently that their names become familiar. Joseph Fowler, the lawless and defiant insulter of magistrates, assailant of watchmen, brawling disturber of the public peace, was a perennial culprit. In 1647, roustering Joseph Fowler, often at fault, was sentenced to pay a considerable fine or sit in the stocks some lecture day, for saying there were liars in the church and wondering they were not cast out, “and if one would lye soundly he was fit for the church.” Joseph Fowler’s father Phillip had enough, and took Joseph’s child Philip away from Joseph and adopted him in 1651.
Joseph Fowler died May 19, 1676 in Deerfield, Mass during King Philip’s war, killed by the indians on his return from the Turner Falls Fight. His widow married Ezekiel Rogers, nephew of the Rev. Ezekiel Rogers, of Rowley, who disinherited him, as he persisted in wearing his hair long, contrary to his wish.