15 County Street, the Rev. Levi Frisbie house (1788)

The house at 15 County Street was built in 1788 and is Federal in style. Rev. Levi Frisbie was Rev. Lev. Frisbie, who was installed as pastor of First Church in Ipswich on Feb. 7, 1776. He remained in that post for thirty years, and this was his home.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about the history of this property and the Rev. Frisbie:

“John Dutch conveyed it to Dr. John Manning, July 30, 1783, who sold it to Rev. Ebenezer Dutch of Boxford, Feb. 12, 1788. The Rev. Ebenezer sold to his fellow clergyman. Rev. Levi Frisbie, Pastor of the First church. June 11, 1788 and in his hands, this property, which had been so long in swift transition, remained in quiet use as a parsonage for many years. He removed or took down the old house and erected the present dwelling.

Mr. Frisbie began to preach as a colleague with Rev. Nathaniel Rogers in 1775, and was installed Feb. 7, 1776. If he began his housekeeping when he purchased the house, the new parsonage was the scene of a great sorrow, as his young wife died on Aug. 21, 1778, after an illness of only six days, in the thirty-first year of her age. He continued in the pastorate thirty years and died Feb. 25, 1806, having received Rev. David Tenney Kimball as a colleague. His widow, Mehitable, daughter of Rev. Moses Hale of Newbury, whom he married in 1780, survived him many years. She died in 1828, and bequeathed her estate to her niece Hannah, and nephew Joseph Hale. Joseph Hale sold it to Charles Bamford, March 2, 1842.

Hearth and paneling in the Levi Frisbie house
Hearth and paneling in the Levi Frisbie house
This huge brick arch in the basement supports all of the fireplaces and the chimney.
This huge brick arch in the basement supports all of the fireplaces and the chimney.


Rev. Levi Frisbie was born in Branford, Connecticut, 6 July 1748. He graduated with the first class at Dartmouth in 1771, studied theology under the Rev. Eleazar Wheelock at Hanover, and was ordained there in 1772. He at once engaged in missionary service among the Delaware Indians, and afterward labored with the Canadian tribes, and among those in Maine. The mission was ended by the Revolutionary war, and in 1776 he was installed pastor of the 1st Congregationalist Church at Ipswich, Massachusetts. He published “Sermons and Orations.”He died in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in 1806.

Rev. Levi Frisbie gravestone
Rev. Levi Frisbie gravestone, Old North Burying Ground, Ipswich MA.

His son, Levi Frisbie, was born on 15 September 1783, graduated from Harvard in 1802, and and died in Cambridge, 9 July 1822, was graduated at Harvard in 1802, in 1817 He became professor of natural religion, moral philosophy, and civil polity. He died in Cambridge in 1822.

Rev. Frisbie, Zerviah, Mehetabel and their children are laid to rest in the oldest section of the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich.

C — 152 — Sacred to the memory of the Rev. Levi Frisbie who was for thirty years Pastor of the First Church and Congregation in Ipswich.

Ingenious, Learned, Eloquent, He ably inculcated the precepts of Christianity: Humble, Pious, and Benevolent, He successfully exhibited its amiableness in his life. His gentleness of Disposition, And purity of Morals Inspired Esteem, Reverence, and Affection. In the height of usefulness. And matured in Virtue, He died Feb. 25, A.D. 1806, Aged 58.

C — 196 — Erected in memory of Miss Mary Frisbie, the only child of the Rev. Levi Frisbie by Mrs. Zerviah, his late wife, who died April 6th, 1794, Aged 16 years and 11 Mo.

Ah precious flower! was it the frown Of Heaven, that cut thee early down? Or did the hand of sovereign love Raise thee to bloom in Paradise above?

C — 150 — Erected in memory of Mrs. Mehetabel Frisbie, relict of the late Rev. Levi Frisbie and daughter of the late Rev. Moses Hale of Newbury. She died April 6, 1828, Aged 77 years.

She was distinguished by a sacred regard for the principles and duties of Christianity. Humility, resignation, fortitude, Integrity, Discretion, Industry, and maternal affection were conspicuous traits in her character. To the sick and afflicted she was eminent in affording consolation.

C — 197 — Erected to the memory of Miss Mehetable Frisbie, daughter of the late Rev. Levi Frisbie and Mehetable, his wife, who died May 15, A. ,D. 1822, Aged 30 years and 6 months.

Stop, gentle reader, haste not heedless by, Let drops of sorrow fill thy pitying eye. But wisely weep: thy days so swiftly flee. Soon mourning friends shall pour sad tears for thee.

C — 198 — Erected to the memory of Miss Sarah Frisbie, daughter of the late Rev. Levi Frisby and Mehetable his wife, who died July 23, A. D. 1827, Aged 45 years and 8 months.

Children of dust, who read with pensive eye This lettered Stone, where mortal relics lie; Think as you sigh, because they live no more. Soon you shall drop, and be what you deplore.

C — 195 — Memento Mori Erected to the memory of Mrs. Zerviah Frisbie, the amiable and virtuous consort, of the Rev. Levi Frisbie, who departed this life on the 21st day of Aug A.D. 1778. Aged 31 years and 5 Months.

Prudent and meek she pass’d thro’ various woes,
Belov’d by friends, uncensur’d by her foes;
Yet worth like this, could not avail to save
One favour’d mortal from an early Grave:
Chear’d with fresh hopes life’s future bliss to gain,
She drop’d, — and told us all this world is vain.
Peruse ye happy pairs this speaking stone,
And think her fate ere long may be your own.

Writings by or about the Rev. Levi Frisbie

copy of Declaration of Independence created by Boston printer Ezekiel Russell
On July 17, 1776, the Massachusetts Bay Council resolved to order an official printing of the Declaration of Independence. This copy of that printing, created by Boston printer Ezekiel Russell was sent to the Rev. Lev. Frisbie.

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