Recent Posts

The most recent posts on the Historic Ipswich site.

Central Street in ashes, January 13, 1894 - Early in the morning of Jan. 13, 1894, the businesses on Central Street from the corner of Market St to Wildes Court went up in fire. Three months later the Damon Block burned, and the town finally voted to build a water system.
Arrival of English Puritans in New England Arrival of the English - Within three years of the arrival of the Winthrop fleet to New England, so many immigrants had arrived in Massachusetts Bay that Boston Neck could not hold them all. Perceiving a threat from the French, thirteen men arrived in 1633 to establish the town that would be named Ipswich a year later.
Puritans warned out Warned Out - At the beginning of the 18th century, the Town of Ipswich set itself resolutely to the task of guarding against undesirable prospective citizens. The practice of "warning out" strangers was finally abolished in 1793.
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.
Hogmanay For “Auld Lang Syne” – Hogmanay, the traditional Scottish New Year’s Celebration - The Scotch celebrate Hogmanay on January 1 with family celebrations, street festivals, fireworks and customs going back hundreds of years. Believed to originate with Viking rituals, the traditions inspire hope for health, prosperity, and new beginnings in the New Year.
A Clam Town Christmas - The young cop watched the grey Jeep straddle the median as it rounded the curve at Eagle Hill. The Jeep was moving well below the speed limit; a good thing since the roadway was slick with an inch of light, fluffy snow. The tracks in the snow had been what had caught the cop’s attention.
Zampognari at Christmas Buon Natale – The Rich Christmas Traditions of Italy - Italians celebrate Christmas for a full month from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8 through the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6. Although some regional differences exist, the month basically is devoted to religious observances and spending time with family and friends.
Wreck of the Deposit in Ipswich Bay Wreck of the Deposit, December 23, 1839 - Dec. 23, 1839 two days before Christmas a storm caught the schooner "Deposit" on her passage out of Belfast, Maine. Capt. Cotterall was lost, and several of the crew were buried at the Old South Cemetery.
The Railroad comes to Ipswich, December 20, 1839 - The stagecoach era ended abruptly when the Salem tunnel opened, and two days later on December 20, 1839, a train from Boston made its first passage through Ipswich. The opening of the railroad and the end of stagecoach travel led to the decline of Ipswich as one of the most important towns of Massachusetts.
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.”
Tombstone at the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich from the wreck of the Falconer in Ipswich Bay 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. In the cold and wet, fifty-three men, women, and children were confined as in a tomb. 36 were rescued, but a dozen of the crew and passengers are buried in a common grave at the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich.
Paul Revere's ride handing out handbills 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.
Ipswich town wharf circa 1930, photography by Edward Darling Along the Ipswich River - Historic photos of the Ipswich River from original glass negatives taken by early Ipswich photographers Arthur Wesley Dow, George Dexter and Edward L. Darling.
Stamp Act protest in New Hampshire The Conscience of a Loyalist - An angry mob surrounded the Haverhill home of Col. Richard Saltonstall, a Loyalist, who opened his door and stated that that he was bound to discharge the duties of the office.
John Wise Tercentenary sign, Rt. 133, Essex MA The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich - The concepts of freedom about which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence originated from the pen of the Rev. John Wise of Ipswich: "The first human subject and original of civil power is the people...and when they are free, they may set up what species of government they please."
Early American Gardens - Isadore Smith (1902-1985) lived on Argilla Road in Ipswich and was the author of 3 volumes about 17th-19th Century gardens, writing under the pseudonym Ann Leighton. As a member of the Ipswich Garden Club, she created a traditional seventeenth century rose garden at the Whipple House.
The Foster-Grant house on Summer Street in Ipswich 2018 Mary Conley Award - At the Select Board Meeting on Monday evening, the Ipswich Historical Commission presented the 2018 Mary Conley Award to Peter Bubriski and Richard Spalding, owners of the 1717 Foster-Grant house at 39 Summer Street.
Paul McGinley and Cathleen McGinley of Ipswich 2017 Mary Conley Award - At the Selectpersons Meeting on Monday evening, the Ipswich Historical Commission presented the 2017 Mary Conley Award to Paul and Cathleen McGinley for preservation of the Philip Call House, and a lifetime of service to the Town of Ipswich.
Execution of Mary Dyer Mass Moments: Quakers Outlawed, December 3, 1658 - Magistrates in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were alarmed by Quaker teachings of direct personal revelations from God. The courts passed a series of laws forbidding residents from housing Quakers. Quakers themselves were threatened with whipping, arrest, imprisonment, banishment, or death.
Ships off Liverpool in the Great Storm of 1839 Awful Calamities: the Shipwrecks of December, 1839 - Featured image: Ships off Liverpool in the Great Storm of 1839, painted by Samuel Walters. From: “Awful calamities: or, The shipwrecks of December 1839: “It has probably never fallen to the lot of the citizens of New England to witness or record so many terrible disasters by sea in the […]
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.
The brass rooster atop the First Church steeple in Ipswich MA Saving the Rooster - The gilded weathercock at the First Church in Ipswich has graced the steeple of every church at that location since the middle of the 18th Century.
Cartoon portraying Loyalist John Calef as a calf Ipswich mob attacks Loyalist John Calef - Dr. John Calef was among only seven 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.
Sea Serpent at Egg Rock in Nahant The Nahant Sea Serpent - The annals of Nahant are inseparably associated with stories of a sea serpent. Words are inadequate to describe the wide-spread consternation which the apparition of such a monster created among the hardy population of our New England seaboard.
Ipswich Riverwalk Mural by Alan Pearsall “A priceless reservoir of early American history” - Ipswich, Massachusetts was founded in 1634 in an area the Native Americans called "Agawam," and is America’s best-preserved Puritan town.
Women during the Revolutionary War The Letters of Joseph Hodgkins and Sarah Perkins - Throughout the Revolutionary War, Joseph Hodgkins sent letters home from the battlefronts to his wife, Sarah Perkins Hodgkins, detailing the desperate troop conditions and longing for home. The letters were preserved and can be read online.
Two dunes and Crane Beach Photos from Crane Beach and Castle Neck - After weeks of rain and a record-breaking cold spell, this was a beautiful day for a hike at Castle Neck, returning along Crane Beach.
Tercentenary plaque, the Andros Rebellion Ipswich MA The American Revolution of 1689 - On August 23, 1687, the citizens of Ipswich, led by the Reverend John Wise, denounced the levy of taxes by the arbitrary government of Sir Edmund Andros, and from their protest sprang the American Revolution of 1689.
Jenny Slew gains her freedom 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.
National Guard tents at Cable Hospital in Ipswich Ma during the 1918 flu epidemic Influenza 1918 - Influenza made its appearance in Ipswich in September of 1918. The state authorities took over the hospital that Oct. 6, and erected 50 tents. The 15th Infantry was put to the task. It was estimated that there were at least 1,500 cases of the flu in Ipswich during the height of this disease.
Roof view of Ipswich Ma View of Ipswich from a roof - The Thomas Manning house on North Main Street has a fugitive slave hiding place in the basement, and a door to the roof, providing this colorful fall view of downtown Ipswich. Read the history of the Thomas Manning house and view more photos
Massachusettts women who opposed woman suffrage 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.
The Goat Ghost of Ipswich - by Lorraine Page In the summer of 2016, we continued the process of updating the old plumbing in our ancient house in Ipswich, Massachusetts. We realized we needed to completely replace all the plumbing in our downstairs bathroom, and, in the process, we opened up the floor. We […]
Medieval beehive John Eales, Beehive Maker - The inhabitants of Newbury perceived bee-keeping as a new and profitable industry, but needed someone with experience. John Eales, an elderly pauper who had been sent away to Ipswich, was returned by the Court to Newbury to assist them in their efforts. The Town was instructed how much to charge him for his upkeep.
How do we name a 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.
Temptations of John Dane The temptations of John Dane, a Declaration of Remarkable Providences - This handwritten narrative from 1682 is the personal memoir of John Dane, who immigrated to Ipswich by 1638. In England he was acquainted with the Rev. Norton, who also became a minister in Ipswich. His home was on Turkey Shore Road near the Green Street Bridge on land he […]
General Michael Farley - In 1774, the Town of Ipswich chose Captain Michael Farley, a tanner, as a delegate to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Farley fought for the Continental Army and was appointed major-general of the Militia of Massachusetts in 1777. He is buried at the Old North Burying Ground beside his wife Elizabeth. His house was demolished in the 20th Century, replaced by a service station that is now the Richdale store.
John Adams: "The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in the state." The Free Press - We hold it therefore our duty and safety whilst we are about the further establishing of this Government to collect and express all such freedoms as for present we foresee may concern us, and our posterity after us, And to ratify them with our solemn consent." Nathaniel Ward, pastor of Ipswich, in The Massachusetts Body of Liberties (1641)
Ipswich, Slavery and the Civil War - In 1765, Jenny Slew, a slave in Ipswich, successfully sued John Whipple Jr. for her freedom. In the mid-19th Century, the lines between ardent abolitionists, moderate anti-slavery people and those who avoided the discussion divided families, churches and the town of Ipswich.
Mary Perkins Bradbury charged as a witch Mary Perkins Bradbury, charged as a witch - Mary Perkins was born in 1615, the daughter of Sergeant John Perkins, Sr. and Judith Perkins. She became the wife of Capt. Thomas Bradbury of Salisbury, and was sentenced to death as witch in 1692, but was not executed. Over a hundred neighbors testified in her support.
Red Cross carrying Spanish Flu victims 100 years ago – The Spanish Flu epidemic raged in Massachusetts in 1918 - by Helen Breen “John F. Boland, Jr., was born in Lynn and attended Cobbet Grammar School. While in school he was active in athletics and played football and baseball on the school teams. He was a leather sorter by trade, working at times for Stephenson & Osborne, a […]
The Coolidge family at their Swampscott estate “In the Good Old Summer Time” – Swampscott Estates - In the 19th Century, wealthy professionals and businessmen who chose to construct lavish summer homes in Swampscott for themselves and their families to enjoy its sea breezes and ocean views.
“Ipswich Town” by James Appleton Morgan - I love to think of old Ipswich town Old Ipswich town in the east countree, Whence on the tide, you can float down Through long salt grass to the wailing sea. Where the Mayflower drifted off the bar, Sea-worn and weary, long years ago, And dared not enter, but sailed away Till she landed her boats in Plymouth Bay.
Saugus Iron Works Saugus Iron Works and the Appleton house. - Reprinted in part from MASS Moments. Featured image: National Park Service.  When the Great Migration of the 1630s ended, the number of ships bound for Massachusetts fell off steeply. The supply of iron products went down and the price went up.Among the men interested in seeing an iron industry develop in […]
Pingreys Plain Ipswich map Pingrey’s Plain, the Gallows Lot - Long before the corner of Mile Lane and High Street became famous for the Clam Box, it was known as Pingrey’s Plain, where the wicked were hung. The story was written by Alice Keenan in Ipswich Yesterday: “Pingrey’s Plain was where the local hangman plied his macabre trade and […]
Hanging of a Puritan for abuse of a child William Franklin of Newbury, hanged for the death of an indentured child in 1644 - Children in the 17th and 18th Century New England colonies generally arrived with their families, but hundreds of English children were taken from the streets and unwillingly taken without their parents to be indentured as servants. Although the practice was more common in the Southern colonies, Joshua Coffin […]
Ipswich MA Conservation Commission 1958 Ipswich Conservation Commission approaches its 60th anniversary - The Town of Ipswich established the state's first Conservation Commission in 1958. Commissions were given responsibility to administer the Wetlands Protection Act, and by the mid-1980s, every city and town in the Commonwealth had established a conservation commission. 
March for our Lives protest against gun violence Ipswich MA March for our Lives, Ipswich - After a gunman killed 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February 2018, survivors of the shooting have mobilized to launch the #NeverAgain movement, and the March for Our Lives, a nationwide protest on March 24 to protest gun violence. A large crowd […]
Route the murderer took Unrequited love and an Ipswich murder-suicide - The 1941 Ipswich Town Report included a tribute to the late Water and Light Commissioner Walter G. Brown without mentioning that he murdered his former girlfriend Phyllis Chisholm and committed suicide.
Ripples in the sand at Crane Beach Crane Beach - Crane Beach belongs to the Trustees of Reservations and is part of the historic Crane Estate. The property includes Crane Castle, miles of shoreline, and over 5 miles of marked trails through the dunes at Castle Neck and Steep Hill Beach, open year-round.
Voices of the Great Marsh - In March of 2001, the Eight Towns and the Great Marsh Committee in cooperation with organizations such as Mass Audubon and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as local citizens and students, produced a short videotape about the Great Marsh. The Committee promotes the value of this […]
Market Square Ipswich MA new sign Market Square, a “sign of the times?” - The traditional English-style wooden directional sign at Market Square has been replaced with something more modern, and I'm sad to see it go.
What could be more funner than working in the summer. - The tittle refers to the bygone memory that many of us have of entering the work world as young kids, fourteen and fifteen years old. Then as now, children under the age of fourteen were protected under child labor laws from working any job except as news carriers, […]
Ipswich as described by John Greenleaf Whittier - "This is Ipswich...one of those steady conservative villages of which a few are still left in New England. There is not a better preserved or pleasanter specimen of a Puritan town."
The Tragedy of the Wilderness: The Colonists and Indian Land, Part 4 - Native Americans and settlers managed to impoverish themselves through overexploitation of the wider environment. At the same time, they both also selectively protected species, custom-designed habitats for them, and practiced common-sense conservation of trees, soil, fish stocks, and water
The Ipswich Town Flag - Behind the Selectmen in Meeting Room A at Town Hall are the American and Massachusetts flags, and in a frame between them is the Ipswich Town Flag. I found the history of our flag in the 1996 Ipswich Annual Town Report: “This year, the Town Clerk’s office was involved […]
Disorder in the Corn Fields: The Colonists and Indian Land, Part 3 - by Mary Ellen Lepionka. Featured image: the Moses Jewett house on upper High Street. In Massachusetts Bay Colony, Native Americans as well as colonists were required to fence their cornfields, and colonists were required to help them. Soon after, everyone was also responsible for fencing the commons to […]
The visit of Samoset to the Plymouth pilgrims “Brought to Civility” — The Colonists and Indian Land, Part 2 - Featured image: Samoset, visiting Wampanoag chief Massasoit, entered the settlement at Plymouth on March 16, 1621 and greeted the colonists in English. by Mary Ellen Lepionka The idea of private property was alien to Native Americans, but the practice of private ownership apparently was not a feature of colonial life […]
This mural at the Winchester Public Library depicts the sale of the land on which Winchester stands to the colonists by the Squaw Sachem. It was painted by Aiden Lasalle Ripley (1896–1969) in 1934. “That we may avoid the least scrupulo of intrusion” – The Colonists and Indian Land, Part I - by Mary Ellen Lepionka. Featured image: Winchester Public Library “Purchase of Land From the Indians” by Aiden Lasalle Ripley Children today are told that the colonists robbed the Native Americans of their land, that their means of livelihood was stolen from them. This isn’t really true though, at least not […]
An official announcement of my non-candidacy for Public Office - Well, it’s that time again when the Good People of Ipswich await breathlessly for the Annual Town Meeting, the hallowed New England tradition in which we debate transfers of even the smallest sums from one bookkeeping account to another, while being mercifully spared the details of an annual […]
An Ipswich rose by any other name - In our cold New England winter, ye Ipswich inhabitants and expatriates arm ouselves with keyboards and set out on the battling fields of Facebook to resolve the age-old questions that have long perplexed the Good People of Ipswich. Starting this round is David, a well-meaning person who posted […]
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.
Native American Influence on English Fashions - In contact situations in the early 17th century, Europeans were quick to grasp the essential humanity of Native Americans and admired their appearance and physical fitness. Soon, upper-class English wore American feathers and furs, Native Americans prized English woven fabrics and garments, especially tailored shirts.
“We’re Here For a Good Time, Not For a Long Time.” Remembering the Celebrated Life of Ipswich Police Officer Ed Walsh. - Retired Ipswich Police Officer Edward Walsh, who died recently, worked for the Town nearly fifty years, beginning in 1969 as a rookie patrolman.
Summer in the Greenland coast circa year 1000 by Jens Erik Carl Rasmussen (1841–1893) The Cape Ann Vikings - Featured image: Summer in the Greenland coast circa year 1000 by Jens Erik Carl Rasmussen (1841–1893) by Mary Ellen Lepionka, January 15, 2018 It seemed a simple enough question: Who came here prior to English settlement and what did they discover? Other than Champlain, I expected to confirm the landfalls […]
The Battle of Middle Ground - Nearly one year ago, retired Ipswich Police Officer Charlie Schwartz died in his adopted state of Florida at the age of seventy-four. His passing represented a great loss not only to his family and community, but also to the Ipswich Police fraternity who worked with him for so […]
Abigail Adams to John Adams: “All men would be tyrants if they could.” - John Adams and his future wife Abigail Smith began writing each other during their courtship, as he was frequently away on legal matters from his home in Quincy, often taking him to Salem, Ipswich and as far as Portsmouth. Over the next two dozen years they wrote over […]
Bundling in Colonial America Bundling - As settlers moved west into the cold New England frontier away from the Puritan strongholds, it was not uncommon for unmarried persons to be invited to sleep in the same bed for warmth. The definition of bundling evolved and developed over time into a ritual of courtship.
Luke and Elizabeth Perkins, notorious Disturbers of the Peace and a “Wicked-tongued Woman” - Featured image: Grape Island, blockprint by Evelyn Goodale Grape Island is a part of the Parker River Wildlife Refuge at Plum Island, and was once a small, but thriving community. Jacob Perkins, Matthew Perkins, William Hubbard, Francis Wainwright, Thomas Hovey, Thomas Wade, Benedictus Pulsifer, Captain John Smith, Samuel Dutch, […]
Records of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County MA Stories from the Courts - In 1641, the General Court established four quarter-annual courts kept yearly by the magistrates of Ipswich & Salem, two to be held at Salem & the other two at Ipswich, with jurisdiction in all matters not reserved to the Court of Assistants. Read stories of Ipswich residents who faced the magistrates.
Samuel Symonds, gentleman: complaint to Salem court against his two servants, 1661 - Philip Welch and William Downing, both children, were kidnapped from Ireland in 1654, and sold to Samuel Symonds in Ipswich. After 7 years they refused to continue working on his farm and demanded their freedom. They were arrested and brought to trial.
Ipswich MA lighthouse Santa hits the Ipswich lightkeeper’s house, December 24, 1937 - In 1939 the children were all assembled at the Ipswich Lighthouse, waiting for Fying Santa Edward Snow, who was running a bit behind schedule. Hearing the sound of an airplane the keeper called up to his wife, "Has Santa arrived yet, dear?" Immediately he heard the Christmas bundle crashing through the skylight, upon which his wife yelled down, "Yes, dear. We can start the party now."
Plum Island the Way it Was Nancy Weare - Nancy Virginia Weare passed away in Exeter on December 12 of this year at the age of 92. She taught at the Brown School in Newburyport for 17 years. She spent 33 years at her family’s summer camp was at Plum Island, and after the Parker River Wildlife Refuge […]
Santa at the Vermont Country Store The Vermont Country Store catalogue evokes Christmas nostalgia - by Helen Breen “Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find since 1946” reads the masthead on the Vermont Country Store catalogue mailed to thousands of American homes regularly. BEGINNINGS Although founders Vrest and Mildred Orton opened their store in Weston, Vermont right after World War II, the firm’s origins […]
Rooty Plain near Rowley MA Flight from Rooty Plain - The story of the Great Ipswich Fright on April 21, 1775  was widely told, and memorialized by John Greenleaf Whittier. Mrs. Alice P. Tenney in 1933 provided an amusing story of the fear that struck Rooty Plain, also called “Millwood,” a thriving little mill community along today’s Rt. 133 […]
Oh, Wintry Christmas of My Youth! - It’s popular to recall – albeit with questionable accuracy, the Christmases of our childhood. Poets, songwriters and silly memoirists love to wax nostalgic of a time and place where the winters were colder, the snows deeper, and the pace of life more manageable. Yet, for those of us […]
Winslow Homer, the Christmas Tree 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.
Norman Rockwell Depicted an Idealized Version of American Thanksgiving - By Helen Breen “Maybe as I grew up and found the world wasn’t the perfect place I had thought it to be, I unconsciously decided that if it wasn’t an ideal world, it should be, and so painted only the ideal aspects of it.” So wrote Norman Rockwell […]
Appropriations of Native Identity: Pocahontas and the Last Wampanoag - Originally posted on Enduring Gloucester:
Mary Ellen Lepionka Frederick Mulhaupt (1871-1938) painted “Native American Life on Cape Ann” for the old Maplewood School in 1934. It was later moved to its current location at the O’Maley Middle School. Erasure narratives, in which the Indians disappeared, reached even into…
November 5: Guy Fawkes Day (“Pope Night,” “Gunpowder Day,” “Bonfire Night”) - 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.
Summer Street Ipswich MA circa 1900 Heritage and genealogy touring in Ipswich - Many people trace their roots back through several generations to Ipswich, one of the earliest towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. No community in this country is a more fulfilling destination for the genealogy tourist.
Daniel Low, Salem Daniel Low’s Silver “Witch Spoons” among Salem’s First Souvenirs - By Helen Breen Daniel Low & Co. started on the bottom floor of the First Church, Unitarian, 231 Essex Street at the corner of Washington Street in Salem. The jewelry company purchased the church in 1923, elegantly refitting the structure as an appropriate setting for its luxurious merchandise. […]
The hanging of John Williams and William Schooler, July 1637 - In 1637, two men convicted on separate counts of murder were executed in Boston on the same gallows.  John Williams was convicted of killing John Hoddy near Great Pond in Wenham on the road to Ipswich. William Schooler was tried in Ipswich and found guilty of killing Mary Scholy on the path to Piscataqua.
Lydia Wardwell on her presentment for coming naked into Newbury meeting house - In 1661,  Lydia Perkins of Newbury had become a Quaker, and the church issued demands that she appear and give reasons for her withdrawal. Her angry response was to appear naked in the Meeting House. She was ordered to appear at the Salem court, and was then taken to Ipswich and severely whipped.
The same photo of East Street about 100 years later The “new” houses on East Street - We have been researching the identities of five small houses on East Street on the south side, between North Main and County Streets, constructed after 1856. The Google Maps screenshot below is above. The identities of most of the houses on these pages are tentative, based on the […]
farm family in Ipswich MA Horses and Equestrians - Photos and stories from our archives…
To secure a competence - The following remarks were made by the Ipswich Historical Commission chairman John Fiske, on accepting the 2014 Community Service Award from the Ipswich Democratic Town Committee on January 31, 2015: As Chair of the Ipswich Historical Commission, I know how pleased and proud we all are that you […]
Last Roundup at the Lazy-K Ranch - Oh, nostalgia, that sentimental longing for things past, whether it be moments, people or places. Like many of you marching into the golden years, your arthritic affiant occasionally finds himself knee-deep in this spongy, emotional swampland. For me, experiences gained as a humble public servant steering a bulky […]
Stagecoach Ipswich MA The stagecoach in Ipswich - The first stagecoach in Essex County, drawn by four horses, was established in 1774 and connected Newburyport with Boston via Salem and Ipswich. By the early 1800’s, up to seventeen stagecoaches and four post chaises passed through town each day, most of them full to overflowing. In 1803, the Newburyport […]
County Street Ipswich MA The APD: A balance between the community and the individual - By Ipswich Historical Commission chairman John Fiske: Don’t we all get a slightly guilty thrill at peeking into someone else’s room? It’s a bit like listening to their secrets. Now here’s a room that is actually meant to be peeked into – you can tell that by how […]
The Great Dying--Native Americans in the early 17th Century The Great Dying 1616-1619, “By God’s visitation, a wonderful plague” - Featured image: Drawn by a French missionary of Abenaki in Maine during a smallpox epidemic in 1740 The arrival of 102 Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower at Plymouth in 1620 and the settlements by the Puritans in Boston, Salem and Ipswich a decade later were accompanied by the demise of […]
The Glazier house on Water Street, Ipswich The Old Tann Flats - John Fiske is chairman of the Ipswich Historical Commissionand lives in the Glazier-Sweet house on Water Street in Ipswich.  This article first appeared in the September 2013 Antiques Journal.   We have a dear friend who has moved three or four times since we’ve known her. And each time, […]
Ipswich at war - Featured image: Civil War veterans at the Choate Bridge Some American wars in which Ipswich citizens have fought 1634: Settlement and the early military annals 1636-1638 Pequot War 1675 -1676 King Philip’s War 1689-1697 War of William and Mary (King William’s War) 1690 Battle of Quebec 1702-1713 Queen […]
The Preston-Foster house, Ipswich MA Something to Preserve - Featured image: the Preston-Foster house on Water Street. Something To Preserve was published by the Ipswich Historical Commission in 1975 and is a report on historic preservation by the acquisition of protective agreements on buildings in Ipswich, Massachusetts. This important book described the process by which the town of […]
The First Church Clock - By Ipswich Historical Commission chairman John Fiske: It’s not often that a major purchase in 1762 turns into a major headache in 2017. But that is what happened with the First Church’s clock in Ipswich. The First Church (uppercase C: the institution) built its first church (lowercase c: […]
Boston Irish Long Remembered the 1834 Charlestown Convent Fire - Featured image: Woodcut image of the 1834 burning of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Catholics and fair minded Bostonians were dismayed by the tragedy. by Helen Breen This week marks the 183th anniversary of the burning and ransacking of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts on August 11, […]
Keeping My Bearings in Changing Times - As the title suggests, keeping my bearings, following directions and distinguishing right from left pose increasing challenges as I enter the dark side of mid-life (Or is it the lighter side of old age?) I know that many of you find yourselves in the same bucket of sorrow, […]
Henry David Thoreau;s cabin Thoreau July Bicentennial Celebrated in Concord and Around the World - by Helen Breen. Featured image: replica of Thoreau’s cabin, Wikipedia “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, […]

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