The inhabitants of the part of Ipswich known as Chebacco (now Essex) built a meetinghouse in 1674 and established their own parish in 1679, after encountering considerable resistance from the mother church in Ipswich. Chebacco residents were still residents of the town of Ipswich. The word “Chebacco” was a Native American name for the lake that lies between Essex and Wenham.

Chebacco had a thriving shipyard, and a movement for complete separation gained strength in 1818. The legislature approved the request on the condition that the citizens of Chebacco settle accounts with the town of Ipswich. They named their town Essex, and it was incorporated on Feb. 5, 1819.

Historic houses of Essex, Massachusetts - The inhabitants of the part of Ipswich known as Chebacco (now Essex) established their own parish in 1679, but were still residents of the town of Ipswich. Among its early residents were many of the most important and influential people in Ipswich history.On April 6, 1818, two hundred and six men of Chebacco petitioned the Legislature for incorporation, and the town of Essex … Continue reading Historic houses of Essex, Massachusetts
Taking to the air in Ipswich, 1910-11 - In 1909, W. Starling Burgess joined with Augustus Moore Herring to form the Herring-Burgess Company, manufacturing aircraft under a license with the Wright Brothers, thus becoming the first licensed aircraft manufacturer in the United States. Burgess took the initial flight of his first plane in 1908 at Chebacco Lake in Hamilton, MA.  Burgess had been offered $5,000 by Charles Parker … Continue reading Taking to the air in Ipswich, 1910-11
Invention of the fried clam, 1916 - (This article is from the New England Historical Society.) On July 3, 1916, Lawrence ‘Chubby’ Woodman invented the fried clam. It was a hot, steamy day in Essex, Mass. Chubby Woodman and his wife Bessie had opened a small concession stand on Main Street two years earlier. On weekends they sold small grocery items, homemade potato chips … Continue reading Invention of the fried clam, 1916
Choate Island and Rufus Choate - Featured image: Painting of the Choate homestead by E. Choate Kane, courtesy of Joyce Patton Choate Island was originally known as Hog Island. In the Records of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it is recorded that keeping hogs on islands or in fenced enclosures during the planting season was the law from the 1630’s, and each … Continue reading Choate Island and Rufus Choate
Horse-drawn trolley, Ipswich MA The trolley comes to Ipswich, June 26, 1896 - The brief era of horse-drawn trolleys apparently never materialized in Ipswich. Electric trolleys occupied the streets of Ipswich in the early 20th Century. A trolley line from Beverly through Hamilton to Essex and Gloucester opened in 1895, and on June 26, 1896, the first car on the branch that followed Candlewood Road to Ipswich arrived … Continue reading The trolley comes to Ipswich, June 26, 1896
Essex shipyards and the age of the Gloucester schooners - Over 4000 wooden vessels were launched from Essex, including many schooners that sailed from nearby Gloucester, once the largest fishing port in the United States. View below, “Legacy: Shipbuilders, Fishermen and the Age of the Gloucester Schooners” (58 minutes).
1793 and 1818: the “Burden of the Poor” divides Ipswich into three towns - The increase in the size of ships and the consequent decline of the fishing industry in Ipswich during the latter half of the 18th Century deprived many families of their means of support and compelled an increasing number of the inhabitants to ask relief from the Town.  The town responded by ordering the Sheriff to serve … Continue reading 1793 and 1818: the “Burden of the Poor” divides Ipswich into three towns
The Great Colonial Hurricane and the wreck of the Angel Gabriel, August 25, 1635 - Featured image: Pemaquid Point plaque commemorating the wreck of the Angel Gabriel On the last Wednesday of May, 1635, the Angel Gabriel, a 240 ton ship set out from England, bound for New England. The ship had been commissioned as the Starre for Sir Walter Raleigh’s last expedition to America in 1617. It was stout … Continue reading The Great Colonial Hurricane and the wreck of the Angel Gabriel, August 25, 1635
Chebacco women build a meetinghouse The women of Chebacco build a Meeting House, March 21, 1679 - In 1679, the men of Chebacco Parish (now Essex) began building their own meeting house. Ipswich authorities obtained an order from the general court that “No man shall build a meeting house at Chebacco.” Abigail Proctor saw a glaring legal loophole in the order.
Old Graveyard 1680, Essex MA The Body Snatcher of Chebacco Parish - The Old Burying Ground in Essex was established in 1680 for inhabitants of Chebacco Parish, the former part of Ipswich which broke away and became the town of Essex in 1819. It was in that year that people in the parish began noticing lights moving about at night in the graveyard. It was soon discovered … Continue reading The Body Snatcher of Chebacco Parish
Building a ship in Essex - This very entertaining mid-20th Century documentary is shown at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, just a short drive from Ipswich. Viewing time: 12 minutes.
The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich - The concepts of freedom about which Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence came from the pulpit and pen of the Rev. John Wise of Ipswich, Massachusetts. “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. The end of all good … Continue reading The Rev. John Wise of Ipswich