30 East Street, the Francis Jordan house (c 1665)

30 East St, Ipswich, the Francis Jordan house
30 East St, Ipswich, the Francis Jordan house

Deeds, written history, photos and recent site visits by this author indicate that the house at 30 East St. in Ipswich was probably built in the 1660-80 time period. It’s massive timber frame from the First Period (1620-1720) of construction in the English colonies is fully displayed throughout the house. Dendrochronology is needed to determine the actual age of the timbers. The c1665 reassignment of the date of construction is speculative and tentative.

In a Publication of the Ipswich Historical Society and in Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Volume 1, Thomas Franklin Waters referred to the “well-preserved old mansion beneath the spreading elms on the corner of East street and Hog Lane, later known as Spring St.” Waters theorized that the present house was built subsequent to Anthony Potter’s deed of 1708, but noted that the architecture appeared to be from an earlier period. The exact date of construction is unknown, but based on deeds and structural observations, this two story hall and parlor house appears to have been constructed after Francis Jordan, who immigrated to Ipswich in 1634 and was established at this location in 1648, expanded the property through purchases from adjoining owners.

Thomas Franklin Waters noted that in the 19th Century, an old foundation was discovered on the east slope behind the present house, along with old spoons of a type dating prior to the 18th Century. It seems likely that the discovery was Francis Jordan’s first house at this location, and the present one was constructed during the time frame in which he expanded his property holdings through purchases in 1657, 1661, 1664 and 1671. (See deed and land registry notes below). J

Francis Jordan (1610 – 1678) arrived in Ipswich in 1634 at 24 years of age and was grated a lot on today’s Agawam Ave. / Spiller’s Lane adjoining the lots of John Perkins Jr. and Thomas Hardy(Essex Quarterly Courts, 7:85; Miner Descent). “Given and Granted unto John Pirkins Jun’r that he shall have six acres of Land, more or less, in equal share with Thomas Hardy and Francis Jordan, lying East and West of him, unto his heirs and assigns forever.” (Schofield, The Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich, published in 1899).

In approximately 1641 he purchased a lot with a house lot in the vicinity of 30 East St. from Samuel Bowman (Boarman?) “containing about one acre more or less situated in Ipswich which I bought of Edward Ketcham.” [Ipswich Land Records 3:188].

30 East Street, the Jordan - Snelling - Potter house
1980 photo from the MACRIS site
30 East Street in 1949
30 East Street in 1949, when the original saltbox extension was removed.
1966 postcard, “Hovey House, built before 1641, Home of Francis Jordan.”
1966 postcard, “Hovey House, built before 1641, Home of Francis Jordan.” The house was owned by the Hovey family for over 100 years in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

This house was purchased in the 1950s by Hollie Bucklin, a historical enthusiast who also owned and operated a book store in the adjoining property at 3 Spring Street. Bucklin greatly renovated both buildings, exposed the First Period framing in this house, and added a post-medieval revival cross-gable to the front of the house.

A room inside 30 East St. in Ipswich
Reconstructed fireplace in the downstairs right side room at 30 East St. in Ipswich. Although it has the larger fireplace, it is the smaller of the two rooms.
Left side downstairs fireplace with rare rounded corners and an unusual smoke shelf. Rounded corners are also found in the original 2 rooms of the Hart House, constructed in 1678, which are now on display at the Metropolitan and Winterthur Museums. Richard Irons noted that the unusual form predates Puritan colonization, and is found in only a few finer early First Period homes.
Early settlers of Ipswich MA map
Francis Jordan’s lot is circled in Waters’ map #3 of early settlers of Ipswich.

Historic ownership and deeds

With notes from Thomas Franklin Waters: Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Volume 1

  • April 3, 1646: John Newman, husbandman, sold to William Goodhue, weaver, April 3, 1646, a house in Brook Street, between the dwelling house of Francis Jordan and Joseph Morse. This establishes the early residence of Francis Jordan near or at this location. (Salem Deeds book 14, page 53), (Hammatt, Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, p. 232).
  • 12 April 1651 – Samuel Bowman deposed that he sold unto Francis Jordon of Ipswich about ten years ago my house and house lot containing about one acre more or less situated in Ipswich which I bought of Edward Ketcham [Ipswich Land Records 3:188]. Recorded 19 April, 1671. (Reference: Miner Descent). This establishes the approximate date of 1641 for Francis Jordan at this location.
  • In 1657 (day and month not given), John Morse of Ipswich sold to Francis Jordan “a parcel of land of fifteen or sixteen rod or thereabout out of a six-acre lot that was formerly my father’s Joseph Morse’s.”[Ipswich Land Records 2:212]. (Reference: Miner Descent)
  • September 24, 1664: John Morse (2) sold to Thomas Jordan, September 24, 1664, property which is described as “land that formerly was my father’s Joseph Morse’s.” (Hammatt, Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, pp. 229-230)
  • April 29, 1671 – Theophilus Shatswell of Ipswich sold to Francis Jordan “my right that I had in two acres of land at the upper end of Brook Street or Hog Lane, this land I had in lieu of a house lot I had where Goodman Lord now dwells, which Mr. Ward did desire to build on and had it.” (Ipswich Land Records 3:188: re: Miner Descent). This land is further up the street from Jordan’s residence.
  • Francis Jordan died April 24, 1678. His will is dated April 23, 1678. He gives all his estate to his wife, Jane, to dispose of it to his children and grandchildren. His estate was valued at £262, 6s and included a house, barn and house lot, plus two acres of pasture and 4 1/2 acres planting land, of which £157 10s. was real estate: house and barn and home lot, £100. Ipswich Land Records, 4:195, 210-11; Essex County Probate Records, 3:245-46. Re: Miner Descent
  • In her will, dated Dec. 10, 1689 and proved upon her death, Oct. 30, 1693, Jane Jordan of Ipswich, widow & relict of Francis Jordan deceased, late of said town, appointed Richard Belcher her executor, made provisions for her own maintenance and bequeathed lands and belongings in 6th parts to her daughters and grandchildren. The inventory of the goods & estate of Jane Jordan of Ipswich, relict of Francis Jordan, who deceased 4 Oct. 1693, taken 20 Oct. 1693, totaled £159 18s. 6d. In the account is the item, Paid Richard Belcher for keeping her 4 years 4 mos., 2 weeks at £14 per Anno & her funeral expenses, £60. 18′. 9d. (Essex County probate, 15244)
  • The executor of Jane Jordan’s estate, Richard Belcher of Charlestown, sold the house and land it sat on to John Potter, Dec. 22, 1708; “the messuage or tenement that was formerly Francis Jordan’s deceased,” about 2 acres, “bounded west by the lane commonly called Hog Lane (*Spring St.), and east by land of John Harris(20: 199). The deed specifies “the old house and new out houses.” The 15 year period between the widow’s death and her executor’s sale of the house may be because one or more of her daughters continued to occupy the house.
  • Daniel Potter sold the house and lot to Thomas Hovey 3d, fisherman, March 31, 1741 “a certain messuage or tenement” for the sum of 270 pounds. (81: 176),
  • At Hovey ‘s death, half the house and land was set off to his widow Rebecca, and the other half was sold by John Hovey to Ebenezer Hovey, April 29, 1777 (135: 122).
  • “Michael Hodge of Newburyport brought suit against Ebenezer Hodge, and execution was made upon his estate in favor of Hodge, Aug. 1787 (147: 31). Hodge sold to Ebenezer Hovey Jr., July 14, 1796. John Hohnes Hovey quitclaimed to Stephen Hovey,, his interest in the house of his father, Ebenezer, “near Hovey ‘s Bridge,” July 21, 1827 (247 : 230).
  • “John H. and Izette Hovey sold the west half of the house to James Scott Jr., Oct. 29, 1870 (812: 221). Asa Lord sold the east half of the house to Perley Scott, . . . April, 1840 (537:227). The ancient house, still a comfortable dwelling, is now owned by Mr. James Damon, and Mrs. Edward Damon. The Town owned a gravel pit on the east side of the house in 1840, and used it, as long as the limits of the lot permitted.” (Waters)

Francis Jordan

Francis Jordan, born about 1610, immigrated to Ipswich, married Jane Wilson in 1635 ,and is named as an abutter in a land grant to John Perkins Jr. in 1641. At a court in 1650, Francis Jordan was appointed as the officer to execute corporal punishment, being allowed 20 pounds per year.” (Essex Court Files 1: 188.) Waters referred to him as the “town whipper.”

The following is an excerpt from Abraham Hammat’s Early Inhabitants of Ipswich:

“JORDAN, Francis, commoner, 1641, one of Major Denison’s subscribers, 1648 ; had a share in Plum Island, &c., 1664; surveyor of Highways, 1675. Died April 24, 1678. His will is dated April 23, 1678. He gives all his estate to his wife, Jane, to dispose of it to his children and grandchildren; and “may give it to them who behave themselves best towards her;” with liberty “to sell what part she may have occasion for her comfortable maintenance.”

Francis Jordan’s estate was valued at £262, 6s and included a house, barn and house lot, plus two acres of pasture and 4 1/2 acres planting land. The will of his widow, Jane Jordan, (who was commoner 1678) is dated Dec. 20, 1689, and was proved Oct. 28, 1693. She appoints Richard Belcher, who was probably her son-in-law, executor. She mentions a granddaughter, “Mary Simson, so called before marriage,” and a daughter, Jane Ward. She then directs her estate to be divided into six equal parts, and given to her granddaughters, Mary Belcher, Sarah George; daughters, Hannah Fowler, Mary. Kimball, Lydia White, each one sixth part; and one sixth part to the children of Deborah, late wife of Benjamin Goodridge, viz., Benjamin, Joseph, Daniel, Josiah. She mentions having paid John Kimball more than any of the rest. Inventory, Lieut. Symon Stace and John Harris, sen’r, overseers.

Children:

  1. Sarah Jordan, born Nov. 8, 1636, married James George by 1659.
  2. Hannah Jordan, born March 14, 1638 , married Thomas Fowler at Ipswich on April 23, 1660. 
  3. Mary Jordan, born 7 Apr 1639: died in August, 1639. 
  4. Mary Jordan, born May 16, 1641, married John Kimball on Oct. 8, 1666.
  5. Lydia Jordan, born Feb. 14, 1643 married first by 1664, Thomas Simson; married second George White on Apr. 5, 1671.
  6. DeborahJordan, born Dec. 4, 1647, married Benjamin Goodridge of Newbury on September 8, 1663, died at Newbury, Massachusetts on Nov. 28, 1676.

Structural observations

The frame of the house has massive 12″ x 12″ summer beams with beveled corners and First Period chamfer stops. The downstairs summer beams on both sides of the house are longitudinal, and are mortised into massive 16″ high beams in front of the fireplaces, an unusual configuration. The upstairs summer beams are transverse. The steep roof pitch is found only in 17th Century houses. The left side fireplace has rounded inside corners, found only in a few Ipswich houses, including the 1640 Hart house (1678) and the Shoreborne Wilson – Samuel Appleton house (1685) on S. Main St.

The west side has a cellar, while the east side does not, and it is possible that the west side is the earliest portion. Based on deeds and structural observations, the original two story hall and parlor house appears to have been constructed in the period from 1655 – 1670.

The original lean-to was removed in the mid-20th Century, and the present lean-to was added in 1967; a 2-story enclosed post-medieval gable porch was added to the front in 1968, both by the owner at that time, Hollie Bucklin. Bucklin also removed much of the plaster and other interior modifications that had been added in the 18th -20th Centuries.

Photos

30 East St., Ipswich MA right elevation
30 East St., Ipswich MA right elevation
Summer beam and girt, 30 East St., Ipswich
Summer beam and girt, 30 East St., Ipswich. The windows date to the 1960s.
Original stairway, looking from above, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Original stairway, looking from above, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Stair post, winder and chimney block at front entrance, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Stair post, winder and chimney block at front entrance, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam, transverse beam and rebuilt fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam, chimney girt and rebuilt fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam with chamfer stop, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam with chamfer stop, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Reconstructed right side fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich
Reconstructed right side fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich
Corner oven, right side fireplace, 30 East St.
Corner oven, right side fireplace, 30 East St.
Girts, beam and gunstock post, second floor, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Girts, beam and gunstock post, second floor, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Horizontal and transverse beam, 30 East St., Ipswich
Upstairs west side summer beam and rear beam, 30 East St., Ipswich
Left side rounded fireplace with smoke channel. Summer beam intersection with transverse beam, 30 East St.
Left side rounded fireplace with smoke channel. Summer beam intersection with chimney girt, 30 East St.
Summer beam intersecting transverse beam at fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich
Summer beam intersecting chimney girt at fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich
joist, floor boards and summer beam, 30 East St., Ipswich
joist, floor boards and summer beam, 30 East St., Ipswich
Upstairs fireplace with clay mortar, 30 East St., Ipswich
Upstairs fireplace with clay mortar, 30 East St., Ipswich
scribe marks and saw marks under floor boards are found throughout 30 East St.
Scribe marks and saw marks under floor boards are visible throughout 30 East St.
Principal rafter and common purlin roof construction, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Principal rafter and common purlin roof construction, 30 East St., Ipswich MA

Sources:

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