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Choate Island and Rufus Choate

Choate Island was originally known as Hog Island, and is the largest island in the Crane Wildlife Refuge and is the site of the Choate family homestead, the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage, and the final resting place of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Crane. There are great views from the island summit of the Castle Neck dunes and Plum Island Mount Agamenticus in Maine.

Diamond Stage and Treadwells Island in the 1832 Ipswich map

Diamond Stage

In 1673, two fishermen from the Isles of Shoals, Andrew Diamond and Harry Maine, arrived together in Ipswich. Mr. Diamond built a platform for salting and shipping fish, and became quite successful. The location is still known today as Diamond Stage.

Bob Cratchit

“A Christmas Carol” – the Back Story

When Charles Dickens was twelve, his feckless father was imprisoned for three months in Marshalsea Prison in London for debt. The boy had to leave school and work in a boot blackening factory to support the family, a humiliation he never forgot. Nevertheless, Dickens rose to fame quickly as a young novelist becoming “an international celebrity, famous for humor, satire, and keen observation of character and society.”

Freedom for Jenny Slew

Jenny Slew was born about 1719 as the child of a free white woman and a black slave. She lived her life as a free woman until 1762 when she was kidnapped and enslaved by John Whipple. Jenny Slew is believed to be the first person held as a slave to be granted freedom through trial by jury. In November of 1766 the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff and ordered Whipple to free Jenny Slew. She was awarded £4 in damages and £5 in costs.

Summer Street landing, Ipswich

Images of Water Street

Today’s Water and Summer Streets are the town’s oldest public ways, and were in the early years called simply, “the Way to the Meeting House” or “the Way to the River.” On either side of the River, a public way was sedulously preserved from any encroachment.

Sullivan’s Corner: What Remains

As more years pass, what little is left of the farm will decay further and fade away with the memories of one who wandered those fields and woods — memories so indelible, of such ordinary things, that they could only have formed during the years of childhood.

Sullivan’s Corner: The Land

Hard as it must have been selling the cows off, this was probably worse. Animals could be replaced, but the fields they were parting with contained all of the potential for any continuation of real farming. Still, Nellie was content. Frank was provided for. And, beyond her remaining property, the fields would continue to be open land, as she had always known them. And, she had held on to that part of the place which meant the most to her — something to leave behind as her legacy.

Sullivan house, Mill Road Ipswich MA

Sullivan’s Corner: The House on the Corner

During the first half of the century, and for another decade or two beyond, the junction of Mill Road with Topsfield Road was known all around as Sullivan’s Corner. In 1951, the post office needed nothing more than that to get mail to anyone at the farm — and much of what came was addressed that way.

Kate Sullivan, Winthrop School Ipswich Ma 1941

Sullivan’s Corner: Putting Hay In

Frank hadn’t set out to be a farmer. He grew up in a farming community in the neighboring town of Rowley — smaller, and more agrarian than Ipswich — but sometime after high school, he had gone to a two-year business college, and, following that, worked at a store in Ipswich. That’s where he and Nellie met. Following their marriage, Frank returned to a life that he knew very well.

Sullivan’s Corner: Who Was There

A wire rack beside the front door of the newer house held two quart bottles of milk. The Hood man had taken back two empties and continued on his route. An aging refrigerator in the older house across the way contained a pitcher of milk that was actually fresher, and Frances could have had all she wanted of that, for free, if she were willing to forego the benefits of dairy processing and trust her family’s welfare to milk straight from the cow.

Manitou in Context by Mary Ellen Lepionka

Manitou in Context

The creator power was regarded as the equal of other powers in the skyworld and the underworld, but it is Kitanitowit’s Gitchi Manitou that ascended to prominence under the influence of Christianity. Of all the great spirits, it most resembled the Christian God and was transformed accordingly during the Contact Period.

Boats and houses in an early 20th Century photo of Plum Island, near Newburyport MA

The Northern End of Plum Island

Nancy Virginia Weare spent 33 years at her family’s summer camp at Plum Island. After the Parker River Wildlife Refuge was established, she moved to a home on Great Neck in Ipswich overlooking the island. In 1993, after Nancy retired, she wrote “Plum Island: The Way It Was.”