The most recent posts on the Historic Ipswich site.
Linebrook Parish - This remote area was originally known as Ipswich Farms. After the residents began pressing for their own church, the Massachusetts General Court on June 4, 1746, created the Linebrook Parish, the boundries of which were defined by 6 brooks and lines connecting them. The community had a church, store, school and its own militia.
Abigail Adams to John Adams: “All men would be tyrants if they could.” - March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams to John Adams: "In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors."
My father’s letter, Feb. 10, 1948 - In honor of Martin Luther King Day, this is a letter to the Atlanta Journal from my father David Aubren Harris, a Mississippi native, in support of President Truman's civil rights initiatives. He received a vicious racist letter in response.
The Ipswich Sparrow - The Ipswich Sparrow, a subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow, was first identified on Crane Beach in 1868.
Winter photos - If you don't go outside, what's the point of winter?
The Ice House - Lathrop Brothers Coal and Ice Company harvested on the Ipswich River between Upper River Road and Haywood Street. The ice was then floated to the ice house where it was cut into blocks.
The women of Chebacco build a Meeting House, March 21, 1679 - When Chebacco Parish (now Essex) began building their own meeting house, Ipswich authorities obtained an order that “No man shall build a meeting house at Chebacco.” Abigail Proctor saw a glaring legal loophole.
2021 Mary Conley Award - The Ipswich Historical Commission presented the 2021 Mary Conley Award for historic preservation to Tess & Tom Schutte, owners of the William Howard house at 41 Turkey Shore Rd.
The Cold Friday of January 19, 1810 - The Cold Friday on Jan. 19, 1810 brought terrible winds and frigid temperature. Many people froze to death while traveling along the highways. Houses were blown down or broken to pieces.
How will sea level rise affect Ipswich? - Sea levels rose about 8 inches globally and about 1 foot on the Eastern Seaboard in the past century. What will happen to Ipswich if catastrophic predictions for the 21st Century are realized?
The Marblehead smallpox riot, January 1774 - In 1773, the selectmen ordered all houses where the disease had appeared to be closed, and dogs to be killed immediately. The fears of the inhabitants increased when permission was granted to build a smallpox hospital on Cat Island.
Central Street in ashes, January 13, 1894 - Early in the morning of Jan. 13, 1894, several businesses on Central Street went up in flames. Three months later the other end of Market St. burned, and the town finally voted to build a water system.
Hogmanay, the traditional Scottish New Year’s Celebration - These customs going back hundreds of years are believed to originate with Viking rituals. The traditions inspire hope for health, prosperity, and new beginnings in the New Year.
2021 stats for the Historic Ipswich website - This was the tenth birthday for what began as a hobby blog about our scenic and historic community. This year for the first time there were over 300,000 site visits and more than half a million page views.
A very old pear tree grows in Danvers - A pear tree in Danvers was planted before 1640 by the Massachusetts governor John Endicott. President John Adams enjoyed the flavor of its fruit, and Longfellow admired its longevity. The tree has survived hurricanes, earthquakes, cows, development and vandalism but continues to thrive and bear fruit.
George Washington returns to Mount Vernon, Christmas Eve 1783 - The house was festooned with greens, the tables were laden with food and wine, the burning tapers reflected in the sparking silver and crystal. The War was over and the father of the family had returned safely.
Oh, Wintry Christmas of My Youth! - It's popular Ito wax nostalgic of a time and place where the winters were colder, the snows deeper, and the pace of life more manageable. For those of us lucky enough to grow up in Ipswich, these things were mostly true.
How Christmas came to Ipswich - Puritans shunned Christmas for its pagan roots, allowing only Thanksgiving as a time for feasting, and imposed a five-shilling fine on any persons found “observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way.” A Cambridge Unitarian minister's family had the first Christmas tree in Massachusetts.
Politics of the Archives Redux: Indigenous History of Indigenous Peoples of Essex County, Massachusetts - This essay is about attributions of ethnic identity in the Indigenous history of Essex County, Massachusetts. Will Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars be able to retell Indigenous history as it was real?
Meeting House Green plaque commemorates Lafayette’s visit to Ipswich - In 1824 citizens of Ipswich heard with "unfeigned pleasure" that General LaFayette, "the undeviating defender of rational freedom and the rights of man, the illustrious friend of America" would be passing through our area. The town prepared the most elaborate tribute it had ever paid to a visitor.
The stagecoach - The fascinating history of stage and railroad travel was written in 1878 by Cyrus Mason Tracy in the "Standard History of Essex County."
Strong drink - Colonial liquor licenses were granted to Ipswich men of highest esteem. They were bound “not to sell by retail to any but men of family, and of good repute, nor sell any after sunset; and that they shall be ready to give account of what liquors they sell by retail, the quantity, time and to whom.”
The 1918 flu epidemic in Ipswich - An estimated 1,500 cases of the so-called "Spanish flu in Ipswich resulted in at least 66 deaths. It is believed that the country reached herd immunity after the virus mutated to a less lethal variant. By the end of the pandemic, the average life expectancy had been shortened by 12 years!
The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich - The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich enters Willowdale State Forest and continues north through the town-owned Dow-Bull Brook preservation land. A branch continues from Willowdale through Bradley Palmer S.P to New England Biolabs.
A Very Ipswich Christmas - There is something special about the holiday season in Ipswich. From town traditions to icy weather, no one does December quite like we do.
Teddy Roosevelt’s Ipswich “whistlestop,” December 1912 - Teddy Roosevelt, a grandstanding performer with plenty of rhetoric but fewer accomplishments, campaigned from the caboose of a train in New England.
Wreck of the Falconer, December 17, 1847 - On December 17, 1847 the brig Falconer, loaded with bituminous coal, wrecked at Crane Beach during a fierce winter storm. A dozen of the crew and passengers are buried in a common grave at the Old North Burying Ground.
Paul Revere’s not so famous ride through Ipswich, December 13, 1774 - On the cold icy morning of December 13, 1774, Paul Revere headed out on a 60 mile gallop from Boston along the Old Bay Road through Ipswich to warn the citizens of Portsmouth that British troops may be landing.
Death in a snowstorm, December 1, 1722 - On December 1, 1722, Daniel Rogers was returning to Ipswich from a court case in Hampton and took a wrong turn that led deep into Salisbury marshes. His body was found a few days later near Salisbury beach. Suspicion fell on one Moses Gatchel but no charges were filed, there being a lack of solid evidence.
Awful Calamities: the Shipwrecks of December, 1839 - Three gales of unequaled fury and destructiveness swept along our coast carrying desolation and death in their stormy pathway, and overwhelming many families in the deepest mourning.
Lieutenant Ruhama Andrews and the Battle of Quebec - On Christmas Day 1823, Gen Benjamin Pierce of Hillsborough, NH held a reunion of twenty-two citizens who had served in the War of Independence. The oldest attendee was Ammi Andrews, born in Ipswich, MA, aged 89 years.
Fortitude, Rectitude and Attitude. Remembering the Life and Times of Ipswich Police Sergeant Frank Geist - The long and productive life of Frank Geist lends credence to the maxim that character is fate and renders his a story is worthy of telling.
Traditional American Thanksgiving in Art and Song - Among America’s most beloved renderings of Thanksgiving Day are Currier & Ives lithographs, Grandma Moses’s paintings, Lydia Marie Child’s “Over the River and Through the Wood” and Norman Rockwell's paintings.
Yankee dictionary; a compendium of useful and entertaining expressions indigenous to New England - In 1963 Charles F. Haywood published the Yankee Dictionary, dedicated to his parents “both of whom loved Old New England, its life, its people, its history, its customs and its speech.”
Summer Street - Summer Street may be the oldest public way in Ipswich, and in the earliest days of the settlement was called Stony Street, Annable's Lane, or simply "The Way to the River. "
Nancy Weare - Nancy Virginia Weare spent 33 years at her family's summer camp at Plum Island. In 1993, after Nancy retired, she wrote "Plum Island: The Way It Was."
The boy who fell beneath the ice - The Rev. Joseph Dana served the Second Congregational Church at the South Green from 1765 until his death in 1827 at age 85. Rev, Dana’s tombstone in the Old South Cemetery reads: “In memory of the Rev Joseph Dana D.D., for sixty-two years, Minister of the South Church. […]
The Green Street dam - "It was a poor time in which to build a dam. The winter was very severe and at times the temperature was below zero. The center of the dam was soon washed away, and by spring the new structure had almost disappeared."
Election night in Ipswich - "The climax of petty officialdom might well have been reached in 1797 when the list of officers chosen at the Town meeting included Selectmen, Overseers, Town Clerk and Treasurer, Tithing-men, Road Surveyors, Fish Committee, Clerk of the Market, Fence Viewers, Haywards, Surveyors of Lumber, Cullers of Fish, Sealers of Leather, Hog-reeves, Gangers of Cask, Sealers of Weights, Measurers of Grain, Corders of Wood, Firewards, Packer of Pork, and Cullers of Brick.”
What our ancestors ate - "Most of them had pea and bean porridge, sometimes hasty pudding, both morning and evening. A lady of eighty, after having partaken of Thanksgiving dainties, was heartily glad to return home and set a meal of her favorite broth."
The First Winters in Ipswich - Two hundred Boston colonists succumbed in the winter of 1631, but by 1633, 1500 Puritans had arrived and settled in Boston and outlying areas. The band of a dozen men who John Winthrop Junior to establish the Ipswich settlement at Agawam were better prepared.
Ipswich woman survived two train crashes on February 28, 1956! - Every day Charlotte Lindgren boarded at Ipswich Depot for her commute to Boston and back. On February 28, 1956, she was unfortunate to be in two horrible train crashes in the same morning, but survived them both unscathed.
Postcards from Newburyport - A n online collection of postcards from the early 20th Century
The Great Fire of Boston, November 9-10, 1872 - The Great Boston Fire of 1872 occurred on November 9-10, 1872 and destroyed the city's business district, burning uncontrolled for more than 12 hours with such heat that it created a raging firestorm. Starting in a building at the intersection of Summer and Kingston Streets, the flames leaped from one wooden roof to another, leaving a smoldering pile of rubble between the Common and the waterfront.
An autumn walk in the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary - Twelve miles of trails weave through an amazing mix of forests, meadows and wetlands, with great views of the Ipswich River from the central drumlin and two eskers that were left by retreating glaciers only 15,000 years ago.
The Price Act, passed at Ipswich, February 1777 - In 1777, the Ipswich Selectmen and the Committee of Correspondence and Safety, acting under the authority of the General Court, issued a schedule of prices covering all articles of food, clothing, wages of labor of every kind, entertainment at hotels, shipping rates etc.
Elizabeth S. Cole elected as first female Ipswich selectman, March 10, 1970 - Trouncing three male contenders, including the incumbent, Mrs. Elizabeth S. Cole of Argilla Road swept into office Monday, poling 1401 of the 3364 ballots cast by an estimated 57.5 per cent of the town electorate.
Joppa Flats, Newburyport - In the late 19th Century, clam shacks proliferated along a stretch of the Merrimack River in Newburyport known as Joppa Flats, providing clams to the Boston area.
Kings Rook and the Stonehenge Club, when Ipswich rocked! - In the 1960's, music could be heard in Ipswich at the King's Rook. In 1969, Phil Cole purchased the business and renamed it Stonehenge, Tom Rush, Judy Collins. the Paul Butterfield Band. Bo Didley, Al Kooper, Bonnie Rait and many other famous musicians played there before it closed in 1972.
Play Ball! Bialek Park - Baseball's popularity grew quickly after the Civil War, and Bialek Park was once the town's semi-professional ballpark, In 1912 the town purchased the two private lots that had been the ballpark, constructed a public playground, and removed the fence.
November 2, 1915: Massachusetts women are denied the right to vote - On November 2, 1915, Massachusetts men rejected universal suffrage with only 35% voting yes. Four years later, Massachusetts was the eighth State to ratify the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, with the MA Senate voting 34 aye, 5 no.
November 5: Guy Fawkes Day (“Pope Night,” “Gunpowder Day,” “Bonfire Night”) - After Guy Hawkes, a Catholic, attempted to blow up the king and members of Parliament, effigies of Guy Fawkes were burned every year on Nov. 5, accompanied by a day of odd activities. The tradition was continued by English settlers in America.
Ipswich in the Great Depression - In March 1934, Congress passed the Civilian Conservation bill, creating the Works Progress Administration and the Civil Conservation Corps which accomplished several projects in Ipswich.
David Tenney Kimball, pastor of First Church, 1805 – 1855 - Serious difficulties were in store for the young pastor, who stayed for fifty years. Forbidden by his own congregation from mentioning slavery from the pulpit, Mr. Kimball maintained his great love of the pastorate even as they reduced his salary.
Portraits from Ipswich a century ago - Many of the glass plate negatives taken by George Dexter (1862-1927) and Edward Darling (1874 - 1962), were stored away for almost a century.
Haunted houses of Ipswich - Old Ipswich tales, and some stories shared on social media.
The Great Colonial Hurricane and the wreck of the Angel Gabriel - In August 1635, the 240-ton Angel Gabriel sank in Pemaquid Bay after sailing into the most intense hurricane in New England history. Among the survivors were members of the Cogswell, Burnham and Andrews families, who settled in an area of Ipswich known as Chebacco.
The Spectre Ship of Salem - On the fourth day after the ship left port, the sun came out and in the distance could be seen the same ship sailing effortlessly back into port directly into the wind. As the Noah’s Dove approached, its passengers including the young couple were visible but ghost-like.
The Mill Road Bridge and the Isinglass Factory - The triple stone arch Warner Bridge that connects Mill Rd. in Ipswich to Highland St. in Hamilton was constructed in 1829, and rebuilt in 1856. The isinglass mill sat on the downstream Ipswich side of the bridge.
Ipswich mob attacks Loyalist Representative Dr. John Calef - Dr. John Calef was among a handful of members of the Massachusetts Assembly who voted to retract the "Massachusetts Circular Letter" which was adopted in response to the 1767 Townshend Acts. Ipswich citizens' anger at Calef lingered as war with England approached.
Ipswich Village (Upper High St.) - This Ipswich neighborhood has historically had a close social connection with neighboring Rowley. Jewett's mill was created in the 17th Century, and historic houses still line the street.
Nathan Dane - Nathan Dane, a native of Ipwich was a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress, where he helped draft the Northwest Ordinance, which was enacted in 1787. Dane’s amendment banning slavery in the territory, which would become five new states was accepted into the Ordinance. His amendments to the Articles of Confederation helped lead to adoption of the United States Constitution and a Bill of Rights.
The October Gale of 1841 - In the latter part of September, 1841, was a long, unbroken spell of uncomfortable weather, which culminated in a violent and cold storm of wind, snow and rain on the night of October 2, continuing four days.
The Great Snow Hurricane of October 9, 1804 - On the morning of Tuesday October 9, 1804, the temperature fell very suddenly, and a storm of rain and snow, accompanied by thunder and lightning, began. A schooner wrecked on Ipswich bar, and all seven persons on board perished.
Public safety - Voters at the 2021 Special Town Meeting and Election voted to replace our century-old fire and police facilities with a modern structure.
Ipswich Illumination - Ipswich Illumination, Saturday, September 18, 2021, 5-10 PM Saturdays, October 2, 16 & 30, 2021 5-9 PM
Saving John Appleton’s house - In 1962 the historic house at the corner of Central and North Main Streets was purchased by Exxon to demolish and build a gas station on the site. The Ipswich Heritage Trust was created to save it.
Nightmare on Washington Street - A developer would construct a 16 unit wall of condominiums at the site of the car wash.
Block prints from the 1950 IHS calendar: Old Time Ipswich - Ipswich High School "Old Time Ipswich." featuring block prints created and printed by the students for each month of the calendar.
Moses and Aaron Pengry and their descendants - Two brothers, Moses and Aaron Pengry both resided in Ipswich by 1641. and were active in town affairs. The surnames of their descendants are alternatively spelled Pingree, Pengre, Pengrey, Pengry, Pingre, Pingrey, Pingry.
The story of Agnes Surriage, the Marblehead tavern maid - In 1742, the 26-year-old king’s collector visited Marblehead and fell in love with the young tavern maid, a poor fisherman's daughter ten years younger than himself.
General Michael Farley - In 1774, the Town of Ipswich chose Michael Farley, a tanner, as a delegate to the Provincial Congress. He was appointed major-general of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1777. Farley is buried at the Old North Burying Ground beside his wife Elizabeth. The site of his home is now the Richdale store on Market St..
The grand hotels of Gloucester and Cape Ann - At the beginning of the 20th Century, Cape Ann was a popular destination for tourists. Gloucester's grand hotels were the subject of "The Summer Hotel Guide," published in 1905.
The Arnold Expedition arrives in Ipswich, September 15, 1775 - A memorial sits in the intersection between the South Green and the site of the former South Congregational Church in Ipswich. It reads, “The expedition against Quebec, Benedict Arnold in command, Aaron Burr in the ranks, marched by this spot, September 15, 1775."
Mehitable Braybrook, who burned down Jacob and Sarah Perkins’ house, married John Downing and was arrested for witchcraft - She was charged with burning down her master's house and was arrested years later during the witchcraft trials. Her husband had been captured and indentured by Cromwell's forces in Ireland.
Hurricane Carol, September 6, 1954 - The1954 storm knocked down trees and power lines all over Ipswich. Hurricane Carol devastated the Massachusetts south coast and Rhode Island, and was responsible for 65 deaths. On September 11, Hurricane Edna hit New England with additional destruction.
Strandbeest Invasion - The Strandbeests came to Crane Beach in the summer of 2015, but the bigger news was the largest invasion of people the town of Ipswich has experienced in recent memory.
Thomas and Susan French of Ipswich, their sons and daughters - The largest contingent to arrive in Ipswich from the same village were 15 men and women from Assington, Suffolk, including Thomas French and his family.
Abolition and the Underground Railroad in Essex County - A network of the Underground Railroad ran north along the coast from Boston to Salem, where it split into three trails; one continued through Beverly, Ipswich, Newburyport and West Newbury to Amesbury where escaped slaves were escorted into New Hampshire.
Early Ipswich, “A paradise for politicians” - Due to the small scale of the settlement, the settlers of Ipswich reproduced an English form of government from a far earlier time. The first public officials were the clerk, lot-layers and "The Seven Men" (selectmen). By the end of the next century, every industry was supervised by some public functionary.
Peg Wesson, the Gloucester witch - An old legend about the Gloucester witch Peg Wesson is often mentioned, but never was it told in such detail as in this story published in the Boston Evening Transcript, October 14, 1892. It was carried in papers throughout the country.
Bungalows of Ipswich - The Eastern Bungalow style was popular between 1910-1940, which included the Depression years, and were an affordable and practical adaptation of California’s Arts and Crafts movement.
Killed by a swordfish in Ipswich Bay, August 19, 1886 - Captain Franklin D. Langsford sailed from Cape Ann in pursuit of swordfish. After harpooning one in Ipswich Bay, the fish turned and thrust its sword through the boat and the Captain. Not yet realizing that he was wounded, he seized the sword and exclaimed, "We got him anyway!"
Wreck of the Watch and Wait, August 24, 1635 - Many ships and lives were lost in the Great Colonial Hurricane, including 21 passengers who had set out from Ipswich on August 21, 1635 on a small bark named "Watch and Wait." As they rounded Cape Ann they were suddenly met by the force of the winds.
Descendants of Robert Kinsman of Ipswich - Robert Kinsman, the immigrant, was a glazier by trade, and received a grant of an acre of land on Green St. His son Robert 2 played a part in the resistance to Gov. Andros in 1687 for which Ipswich is known as the Birthplace of American Independence.
Descendants of John and Judith Gator Perkins of Ipswich - John Perkins, who identified himself as "the Elder," and his wife Judith Gator were the immigrant ancestors of the Ipswich Perkins family from the mother country.
Homes of the descendants of John Baker of Ipswich - John Baker owned, by grant, a large lot on the north side of East St. between North Main and County St. To his son Thomas, he conveyed the house where he lived and the remainder of his land, June 14, 1698 (35: 44). John Baker the settler was […]
Land grants, homes and gravestones of the early settlers of Ipswich - Photos of houses and tombstones of the early inhabitants of Ipswich and their descendants, with maps of the lots granted to the settlers.
The Middle Green - A mild controversy has arisen in the town of Ipswich about what to name the grassy lawn between the Old Town Hall and the Ipswich Museum. Depending on who you ask, it's the Middle Green, Memorial Green, Veterans Green, or the Visitor Center Lawn, and I'll add "Augustine Heard's back yard" just to add to the confusion.
Hall-Haskell House 2021 art schedule - The Hall-Haskell House Gallery at 36 South Main St. in Ipswich is open Seasonally, May - December with different artists showing each week.
Hannah Jumper leads raid on Rockport liquor establishments, July 8, 1856 - On the morning of July 8, 1856, two hundred women, three men and their supporters gathered in Rockport's Dock Square and unfurled a banner with a black hatchet, determined to destroy all the alcohol in the town. The leaders of the mob was a 75-year-old seamstress named Hannah Jumper.
The Muster Murder of 1787 - During the Boston Muster of 1787, Daniel Foster of Rowley participated in the customary celebration of shooting musket balls into the air, and accidentally killed Amos Chapman of Ipswich. A jury ordered his execution, but Governor John Hancock opposed capital punishment and pardoned Foster.
Ipswich in the Revolutionary War - On June 10th, 1776, the men of Ipswich, in Town-meeting assembled, instructed their Representatives, that if the Continental Congress should for the safety of the said Colonies Declare them Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, they will solemnly engage with their lives and Fortunes to support them in the Measure.
Market Square - Market Square is the intersection of North Main, South Main, Market and Central Streets in Ipswich, and is sometimes referred to as Five Corners
The Great Revere Train wreck, August 26, 1871 - The Eastern Railroad's Portland Express slammed into the rear of a stopped local train in Revere, Massachusetts. Some trapped passengers were burned alive as coal-oil lamps ignited the wreckage. Approximately 29 people died..
Homes of the descendants of Daniel Rindge and Mary Kinsman of Ipswich - Daniel Rindge (aka Ringe) was in Ipswich, in 1648. He married Mary Kinsman, the daughter of Robert Kinsman who came to Ipswich in 1635.
My Ipswich connections - "I suspect that thousands of New Englanders have their roots based in Ipswich. Is it possible that I was drawn here by deeply ingrained ancestral memories?" By Thomas Palance
Homes of the Jewetts - Generations of the Jewett family made their homes on upper High Street, and the area near the Rowley town line came to be known as Ipswich Village.
Homes of the Appletons - Appleton Farms was gifted to the Trustees of Reservations by Francis and Joan Appleton in 1998. Originally granted to Ipswich settler Samuel Appleton, it is the oldest continuously operating farm in America. The farm continued in family ownership for seven generations, and the extended family built homes along Waldingfield Rd. and the nearby vicinity.
Homes of the Wades - Jonathan Wade arrived in Ipswich in 1635 with the first wave of Puritan settlers, and came into ownership of land across from the South Green. In the 19th Century, the Wade family of housewrights built several homes on County Rd., and throughout the town.