38 North Main Street, the Old Post Office (1763)

The Old Post Office at 38 North Main Street was built in 1763 and is part of the historic Dr. John Manning property. Probably originally built as a barn or warehouse, it became the post office in 1790.

This building also served as the shop of Daniel Rogers, a master gold and silversmith who later moved to Newport RI. Silver spoons in a collection attributed to Smith have been sold for $400 each.

In 1962 the John Appleton House at the corner of North Main and Central Street was purchased by Exxon, so they could build a gas station on the site. The Ipswich Heritage Trust was formed, the first successful effort to preserve historic structures in Ipswich, and laid the ground for future covenants and formation of the Ipswich Historical Commission. The Trust then purchased this building and the Dr. John Manning house next door, which were both in deplorable condition. They were repaired and sold as a unit with deed restrictions covering interior detail as well as framing and outside appearance.

Old Post Office, North Main St., Ipswich MA
Old Post Office, North Main St., Ipswich MA


William G. Clancy, WWI hero

Harold Bowen wrote that William G. Clancy grew up in this house. He enlisted early in World War I in the Royal Field Artillery of the Foreign Legion in England. He was wounded in the battle of Loose, and again at the battle of Somme. On April 9, 1917 Clancy went over Vimy Ridge with a small American flag attached to his bayonet, and four days later was seriously injured when a German shell exploded near him. His charge was recognized as the first appearance of the U.S. flag in action during the war. He went back to the battlefields in France, survived, and returned to the U.S. in 1919. He took a job that year with the Boston police force and was shot and killed two months later by an armed young man at a dance in Charlestown. Clancy was laid to rest at Highland Cemetery with full military honors.

In the Publications of the Ipswich Historical Society we read the following:

“Ipswich pride was stirred by the story that found place in London papers and in the New York Sunday magazines that William Clancy, Boston-born but a resident in Ipswich since he was three years old, who had enlisted in the English Army, claimed to be the first American to carry the Stars and Stripes into action. On April 1917, at the famous battle of Vimy Ridge, in a charge on the enemy, he had fastened a small American flag on his bayonet. He was severely wounded, and while in an English hospital his story became known, and a picture in a London paper showed him in the act of being congratulated by the American Ambassador, Mr. Walter Hines Page, in the presence “of his fellow soldiers.”

The Old Post Office is in the center, and the Dr. John Manning house is to its left. Both were saved by the Ipswich Heritage Trust.
The Old Post Office is in the center, and the Dr. John Manning house is to its left. Both were saved by the Ipswich Heritage Trust.

Documents and sources

Old Post Office 38 North Main Street Preservation Agreement
(Ipswich Hertitage Trust, assigned to Ipswich Historical Commission)

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