Harris-Sutton house, Water St.

8 Water Street, the Pengry-Harris-Sutton House (1677-1743, completely reconstructed in 2000)

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote in “Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony” (1905) that Abner Harris bought the lot and probably built the house in 1743. The administrator of his estate conveyed it to Dr. John Manning in 1787, and Manning sold the house to Captain Ebenezer Sutton in 1816. This residence has been called the Sutton House ever since, but the house is older than Waters thought.

Ship engraving
One of several ship images that were carved into the sheathing on the house at 8 Water St.
Carving of a ship on a wall
A carving of a ship on the wall sheathing at 8 Water St.
Carving of a ship on wall sheathing

When timber framer Jim Whidden began disassembling the frame, architect Matt Cummings and architectural historian Sue Nelson discovered evidence dating the eastern part of the house to 1677. The location had been a shipyard owned by Moses Pengry. Etchings of schooners on the house sheathing confirmed a “record of what kinds of ships were being built at the time.” The house is now called the Pengry-Harris-Sutton house.

The late James Whidden, who was the master joiner on the project, described the house: “The Sutton House was originally a ‘one over one’. The posts are jowled with the common English tying joint. The frame is completely White Oak and the Hall Summer is chamfered with a simple lambs tongue termination, crudely executed. The roof framing is of principal rafter/trenched purlin design with some purlins being replaced apparently when the building was added to on the south side, becoming a center chimney ‘2 over 2’. The roof had a generous gable overhang, as the overhanging top plates on the south side were intact, albeit mortised to pick up the top plates of the (parlor) addition.”

Jim and Patsy Faria embarked on a 2 1/2 year project that required stripping the house to the post and beam framework in order to rebuild. The original layout was maintained and original features maintained or reused, including floors, halls, doors, staircases, fireplaces, and even the original nails.

Closeup of the downstairs summer beam at 8 High St.
The Harris-Sutton house in the late 20th Century

A new addition to the house replaces a previously added southerly ell that was determined to not be of historic value. The house was sold to new owners in the summer of 2014.

Siding being stripped so that the Harris Sutton house frame could be disassembled
The frame of the Harris-Sutton house being re-erected after restoration of the members.
The Harris-Sutton house today
The Harris-Sutton house is at the corner of Summer and Water St. in this late 19th Century photo by Edward Darling, but is partially obstructed by trees.
The Harris-Sutton house is in this similar 1910 photo by George Dexter but the view is even more obstructed by the trees.
Summer St. by Arthur Wesley Dow

Thanks to Mark Harrison for the following information about his ancestor, Capt. Richard Sutton:

Capt. Richard Sutton, B – Ipswich – 20 Apr 1780; D – Buenos Aires, Argentina – 23 Aug 1857.

  • Captain Richard Sutton married Lucy Lord, – 13 Dec 1802 in Ipswich; B – Marblehead – 15 Aug 1781, D – Buenos Aires, Argentina – 2 Apr 1781.
  • Lucy Lord’s father – Dr. Josiah Lord: B – Ipswich – 1751, D – Ipswich – 12 May 1794
  • Dr. Josiah Lord’s father – Samuel Lord, Jr.: B – Ipswich – 27;,Jul 1729, D – Ipswich – 29 Mar 1819
  • Samuel Lord, Jr.’s father – Samuel Lord, Sr., B – Ipswich – 28 Oct 1700, D – Ipswich – Dec 1772
  • Samuel Lord, Sr.’s father – Nathaniel Lord, B – Ipswich – 1653, D – Ipswich – 18 Jan 1733
  • Nathaniel Lord’s father – Robert Lord, Sr. ,B – 1603 – Sudbury, Suffolk, England, D – Ipswich – Aug 1683

William Sutton – father of Lt. Richard Sutton, B – Ipswich – 5 Oct 1699, D – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia during the Siege of Louisburg, April/May 1745

  • His wife, Susanna Kimball , B – Ipswich – 10 June 1701, D – Ipswich – 31 Aug 1772
  • Susanna’s father – Moses Kimball, B – Ipswich – Sep 1672, D – Ipswich – 23 Jan 1749
  • Moses Kimball’s wife– Susanna Goodhue, B – Massachusetts – 1676, D – Ipswich – no date
  • Moses’ father – John Kimball, B – Rattlesden, Mid-Suffolk Dist, England – 1631, D – Ipswich – 6 May 1698
  • John Kimball married Mary Bradstreet in England and came to America about 1665

William Sutton’s father – Richard Sutton, B – Reading, MA – 5 Aug 1674, D – Ipswich – 3 Apr 1702

  • Married Susannah Pulcifer
  • Richard Sutton’s father – Corp. Richard Sutton, B – Roxbury, Suffolk, MA – 1650, D – Ipswich – 23 Apr 1702, Married Faith Swan
  • Lt. Richard Sutton’s wife – Elizabeth Foster, B – Ipswich – 1 Dec 1736, D – Ipswich – 29 Oct 1805

5 thoughts on “8 Water Street, the Pengry-Harris-Sutton House (1677-1743, completely reconstructed in 2000)”

  1. I had a picture at one time of Nathan Dane’s birthplace (house on Appleton Farms now marked by a stone memorial). Would love to receive another coy of this house in that this is my Dane family home. My direct ancestor is Daniel Dane, Nathan’s brother who removed to New Boston NH.

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