The Stephen Boardman house at the corner of Turkey Shore and Labor in Vain Roads was built between 1720 and 1725. The late First Period home is a 2 story, end gable house, timber frame house with clapboard siding. The wide pine board floors in the house are original, and 4 restored fireplaces share a central chimney. Very early in the history of this town the land on which this house was built belonged to Daniel Hovey, whose house and wharf were a short distance away on the extension of Turkey Shore Road known as Tansey Lane.
Stephen Boardman is believed to have been born in 1717 in Ipswich, the son of Thomas Boardman and Sarah Langley. He and his wife Elizabeth Cogswell had one child. He moved to Stratham, NH where he made a name for himself as an opponent of Tory loyalists and a vocal supporter of the expected American revolution. Stephen Boardman died in 1776 in Stratham, NH. Subsequent owners of the house included:
- Benjamin Wheeler or Thomas Hovey (85:. 229) purchased the house in 1744. Of Wheeler we know little other than that he was a trader and was fined in in 1750 for selling rum without a license. (Although we don’t know of a connection, John Heard established a rum distillery on Turkey Road in 1770, processing barrels of molasses from the West Indies. It made Heard and his family wealthy. The Ipswich Museum is located in the Heard mansion on South Main Street.)
- Mager Woodbury, a Revolutionary War hero and his wife Mary purchased the house in 1784. On March 18, 1802 their 15 year old son Samuel drowned when he went down to the river and stepped out on the ice. Mary was the daughter of Isaac Appleton. She was born in 1749 and died in 1828 as a widow. Majer Woodbury and several other farmers organized as the Proprietors of the Argilla Enclosure for the purpose of creating a dike in the salt marsh so that they could harvest salt marsh hay.
- James and Mary Galbraith, both born in Ireland, purchased the house in 1864. He died in 1875, she in 1888. They are buried at the South Green cemetery.
- Isaac H. and Rebecca Foss moved to Ipswich in 1870 from Rockingham, NH and purchased this house. Foss also owned the elegant Gothic Revival house next door as well as the old Daniel Hovey property on Tansey Lane. It is said that their daughter Becky who they adopted in 1899 contracted polio. She married in 1930 and moved to Hamilton.
This house has a preservation agreement wtih the Ipswich Historical Commission. The house was restored in 1968 – including the pilastered chimney and plaster cove cornice. Original paneling and chamfered frame are still intact.
- T.F. Waters, Ipswich in the Mass. Bay Colony, vol. I, p. 482.