The First Period Perkins-Hodgkins house is believed to have been built in 1700 on the foundation of the earlier Jacob Perkins home. The house has been greatly expanded and modernized over the years, but the original asymmetrical structure continues to anchor the corner with Jeffreys Neck Road. Notable are the cellar joists, which are laid sideways instead of with the long side up, a construction style found in the early 1600s.
From Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony: “From the Lakeman place to the corner of the Road to Jeffreys Neck, there were two original lots, John Sanders, next to the Lakeman place, and then John Perkins, the elder, but Perkins bought of Sanders, his lot, an acre and three rods, in 1639.
John Perkins, “Taller” and Matthew Perkins, weaver, the sons of Jacob Perkins 3rd, agreed to divide the paternal estate. Jacob received the “mansion next to widow Hodgkins” in 1695. Jacob Perkins, in his will probated 1705, bequeathed his sons, John and Jacob, and his daughter, Elizabeth, his houses and lands, and his son Elisha, is also included. “John Perkins’ will survives to this day, and the 1693 Hodgkins-Lakeman house nearby still stands as well.
Jacob Perkins’s occupation was farmer. His son Jacob married Sarah Treadwell, daughter of Thomas Treadwell and Sarah Titcomb, granddaughter of Thomas Treadwell and Mary Wilson, early settlers. Jacob continued the farm and looked after his father in his old age. Ownership of this house has passed through generations of the Perkins-Hodgkins family to the current owners, remaining in the original family after over 300 years, the current owner being Tyler Fahey, and before him Wynne Hodgkins Fahey and Carter Fahey.
Amazingly, this house has never been sold. The house is protected by a preservation agreement between the owners, the town of Ipswich and the Ipswich Historical Commission. Protected elements include the exterior of the building and the frame, including principle and secondary members. View MACRIS
John Perkins Outwits the Tarentines
In 1633, Quartermaster John Perkins Jr. owned an island, “Perkins Island” that is today called Treadwell’s Island. The Tarratine or Abenaki Indians were mortal enemies of the native people in Agawam (Ipswich). On the evening of August 8, 1631 the Sagamore Masconomet’s encampment near Castle Hill was attacked by a band of one hundred Tarratine men who had paddled down the coast from Maine.
The Abenaki apparently planned to attack and destroy the small Ipswich colony in the same undertaking. That element of the story was related by the Rev. Thomas Cobbett, the second minister of Ipswich: “A credible man informs me, namely, Quartermaster John Perkins, that the Tarratines or Easterly Indians had a design to cut them off at the first, when they had but between 20 and 30 men, old and young belonging to this place called Ipswich. In that instant most of the men had gone into the bay about their occasions, not hearing thereof.”
It was thus that Robin, a friendly Indian, came to John Perkins when he was younger, living in a little hut upon his father’s island (Perkins Island) on this side of Jeffreys Neck, and told him that on Thursday morning early, there would come four Indians to draw him to go down the hill to the waterside in order to trick him and all who went with him, so that they could be cut off. They would arrive in 40 birch canoes, would lie out of sight in the brow of the Hill, full of Armed Indians for that purpose.
Of this Mr. Perkins forthwith acquainted Mr. John Winthrop, who then lived there in a house near the water, who advised him if such Indians came, when their backs were turned to strike up the drum he had with him beside his two muskets to alert six or eight young men, who would be in the marshes having their guns ready to charge the invaders. The Indians would perceive their plot was discovered and haste away to the sea again. This was accordingly so acted and took like effect, for he told me that after this he discovered 40 such canoes being carried from the knoll by the Hill, making as fast as they could to sea. No doubt many godly hearts were lifted up to heaven for deliverance at Ipswich.”
Joseph Hodgkins’ Letters to his Wife
Col. Hodgkins was a lieutenant in Capt. Nathaniel Wade’s company of minute men and fought at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, in the Battle at Long Island, Harlem Heights, the White Plains, Princeton,and at the Capture of Gen. Burgoyne and his Army.
His first wife and four of his five children had all died of disease before the war began. He was quite torn between his allegiance to the cause and his concern for the welfare of his family back home. “Our people are almost bewitched about getting home,” he wrote, “I hope I and all my townsmen shall have virtue enough to stay all winter as volunteers, before we will leave the line without men. For our all is at stake, and if we do not exert ourselves in this Glorious Cause, our all is gone.”
After the War of Independence he served as a Colonel in the Militia and in some of the most important town offices. He was for several years in the state Legislature and was with the reception committee that welcomed Lafayette on his visit to Ipswich in 1819.
Perkins-Hodgkins House, 80 East St. Preservation Agreement
This house has a preservation agreement with the Ipswich Historical Commission
- The Family of John Perkins of Ipswich Massachusetts
- Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Thomas Franklin Waters
- Something to Preserve, Ipswich Historical Commission
- The Devil in the Shape of a Woman by Carol F. Karlsen
- In the Shadow of Salem by Donna Gawell
- Records and files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Massachusetts, Vol. IV
- American Family History