When Chebacco Parish (now Essex) began building their own meeting house, Ipswich authorities obtained an order that “No man shall build a meeting house at Chebacco.” Abigail Proctor saw a glaring legal loophole.
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.
By the early 1840s, Essex no longer had its own fishing fleet, but had turned to year-round shipbuilding fostering a symbiotic relationship with the successful fishermen in Gloucester
“Know all men by these presents I, Thomas Burnam of Ipswich, do by these presents bargain, sell, sett over and confirm unto the said Robert Dodge, a negro girl known by the name of Patience…To have and to hold said negro girl Patience during her natural life.”
Choate Island was originally known as Hog Island, and is the largest island in the Crane Wildlife Refuge and is the site of the Choate family homestead, the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage, and the final resting place of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Crane. There are great views from the island summit of the Castle Neck dunes and Plum Island Mount Agamenticus in Maine.