Dow Brook and Bull Brook-Bull Brook originates in Willowdale, crosses Linebrook Rd. and merges with Dow Brook at the Ipswich Utilities site on Rt. 1A. From that point the combined stream becomes the Egypt River.
The Ipswich clam-Ipswich is known as the home of the fried clam, although the claim has long been disputed by the town of Essex. The mud in the salt marshes along the Ipswich, Eagle, Essex and Parker Rivers is what gives our clams their wonderful taste. Ipswich was also home to Soffron Bros which produced clam strips for Howard Johnsons restaurants.
The Legend of Goody Cole-Some said that Goody Cole took the shapes of eagles, dogs, cats and apes. At last she lay under sentence of death in the Ipswich jail for changing a child in its cradle.
Samuel Goodhue’s pier-In the early 20th Century, Samuel Goodhue operated a canoe rental business on the Ipswich River at the end of Peatfield St in the area known as Pole Alley.
Joseph Ross, 19th Century Ipswich bridge builder-Joseph Ross (1822-1903) is best known for designing the first movable span bridge in the country, which he patented in 1849 at the age of 26, and became the most common railroad bridge type in the Boston area. His corporation Joseph Ross & Sons was highly successful.
The “Detested Tea” and the Ipswich Resolves-From Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, by Thomas Franklin Waters In 1767, the Townshend Acts were passed, one of which provided for a tax on wine, glass, tea, gloves, etc, imported into the Province. During the winter, the General Court issued a Circular Letter, which was sent […]
Dustbane–sawdust in a can!-Dustbane Products was founded in 1908 by two entrepreneurial Canadians who managed to convince people to buy pine-scented sawdust for cleaning floors. U.S. Manufacturing plants were established in Chicago and Ipswich.
“Ipswich Town” by James Appleton Morgan-I love to think of old Ipswich town
Old Ipswich town in the east countree,
Whence on the tide, you can float down
Through long salt grass to the wailing sea.
April 1, 1970: The Massachusetts Legislature challenges the Vietnam War-On April 1st, 1970, both houses of the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill known as the "Shea Act," which declared that no inhabitant of Massachusetts "shall be required to serve" abroad in an armed hostility that has not been declared a war by Congress, under Article I of the U.S. Constitution.
The Ipswich Riverwalk mural-In 2005 EBSCO Publishing commissioned artist Alan Pearsall to paint a 2,700-square-foot mural on one of the old mill buildings occupied by the company in Ipswich. The mural is the centerpiece of the town's Riverwalk.
Depot Square-The Eastern Railroad ran from Boston to Portland, continuing to Canada and was the primary competition of the Boston and Maine Railroad until it was acquired by the B&M in the late 1880's to become the B&M's Eastern Division. The Ipswich Depot sat at the location of the Institution for Savings at Depot Square.
Charles Wendell Townsend, Ipswich naturalist-Charles Wendell Townsend, M.D. was attracted by the natural beauty of Ipswich. He built a summer house overlooking a wide expanse of salt marsh with open sea to the east. From here he wrote a number of books, including Beach Grass, Sand Dunes and Salt Marshes, and the Birds of Essex County.
The “Birthplace of American Independence”-Resistance by the citizens and leaders of Ipswich to a tax imposed by the Crown in 1687 is commemorated in the seal of the town of Ipswich, which bears the motto, "The Birthplace of American Independence 1687."
Captain Arthur H. Hardy, 1972-Arthur Hans Hardy grew up in Ipswich, On a mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos on March 14, 1972, Hardy's aircraft was hit and he bailed out nar enemy troops. His body is buried at Highland Cemetery in Ipswich.
A tragic story from old Gloucester-In 1821, the Annisquam woods was the scene of a murder. A youth, Gorham Parsons, while chopping wood, struck and instantly killed a boy of 10 years, named Eben Davis with a hatchet.
Clam Battle!-Life Magazine, July 16, 1945: The government had taken over the lands for a Wildlife Refuge, and the clam battle was on. Ipswich hunters were afraid of losing their private hunting reserves. Ipswich farmers were afraid of losing their land.
Ipswich, Slavery and the Civil War-In 1765, Jenny Slew, a slave in Ipswich, successfully sued John Whipple Jr. for her freedom. In the mid-19th Century, divisions between ardent abolitionists, moderate anti-slavery people and those who avoided the discussion divided families, churches and the town of Ipswich.
Eunice Stanwood Caldwell Cowles-Eunice Caldwell attended Ipswich Female Seminary from 1828 to 1829, where she began a lasting friendship with Mary Lyon. She married the Reverend John Phelps Cowles in 1838, and returned to Ipswich in 1844 to reopen the Seminary, which they ran until it closed in 1876.
The Amazing Story of Hannah Duston, March 14, 1697-Hannah Duston was born in Ipswich in 1657 while her mother was visiting her relatives the Shatswells. A bronze statue in Haverhill honors her daring escape, killing and scalping a dozen Abanaki captors.
Haselelponah Wood-Obadiah Wood married 35-year-old widow Haselelponiah, whose scriptural name means "A shadow falls upon me," the only person in modern history with that name. Haselelpony Wood's tombstone is located at the Old North Burial Ground in Ipswich.
Lord Timothy Dexter-Lord Timothy Dexter of Newburyport was insane but profited from everything he undertook. He declared himself to be "the greatest philosopher in the known world." His book, "A Pickle for the Knowing Ones" is a collection of whatever entered his head at the moment, spelling as he wished, and devoid of punctuation.
Ipswich Museum Sunday strolls, April – May, 2021-The Ipswich Museum is hosting a series of "Sunday Strolls" beginning in April. Each guided walk around town will explore a historical theme. Reserve your tickets online or call the museum at 978-356-2811
Walks begin at 2pm departing from the Ipswich Museum Heard House.
Troubles with Sheep-Thomas Granger of Duxbury was hung for sodomy in 1642, the first execution in the Colony. With great speed the court issued an edict suggesting spinning and weaving as suitable occupation for boys and girls to avoid idleness and immodest behavior.
Police open fire at the Ipswich Mills Strike, June 10, 1913-On June 10, 1913, police fired into a crowd of protesting immigrant workers at the Ipswich hosiery mill. A young Greek woman named Nicholetta Paudelopoulou was shot in the head and killed by police. Fifteen persons, including the local leaders of the I.W.W. were taken into custody.
Four-year-old Dorothy Good is jailed for witchcraft, March 24, 1692-On March 24, 1682. a child, Dorothy Good of Salem was taken custody, and interrogated by the local magistrates for two weeks. Hungry, cold and missing her mother, Dorcas broke down and told the inquisitors what they wanted to hear, that her mother was a witch, and consorted with the devil.
Daniel Denison-Daniel Denison became Major General of the colonial forces and represented Ipswich in the general court. He was remembered with high esteem by the people of Ipswich well into the 19th Century. You can visit Denison's grave at the Old North Burial Ground.
Building a ship in Essex-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
The North Shore and the Golden Age of Cycling-The invention of the Columbia Safety bicycle in 1886 enabled a cyclist from Newton to ride round-trip to Ipswich on the Newburyport Turnpike (Rt. 1) in 9 hours 50 minutes, setting a new record for a 100 mile ride.
1793 and 1818: the “Burden of the Poor” divides Ipswich into 3 towns, Ipswich, Hamilton and Essex-As the people of the Hamlet were financially stable, the burden of taxation for the support of the poor in the old town of Ipswich was considered to be an unjust imposition. The leaders of the parish petitioned Ipswich to be allowed to incorporate as the new town of Hamilton. 25 years later, the men of Chebacco petitioned the Legislature for incorporation as a separate town, and to not be held for any part of the new establishment for the relief of the poor in Ipswich. The following year, Chebacco Parish became the Town of Essex
1639: “The pigs have liberty”-"Such small piggs as are pigged after the first of February shall have liberty to be about the towne, not being liable to pay any damage in house lotts or gardens, until the 16th of August next."
The Clammer-It had to be a tough decision for Tom Pappas to hang up the clamming fork after a lifetime of use.
Wreck of the Edward S. Eveleth, October 1922-In October 1922, the sand schooner Edward S. Eveleth rolled over when a wave rushed over her deck and pushed her onto the edge of Steep Hill Beach. Filled with sand, each tide buried her deeper. Her remains were visible for several years. The skeleton of the hull is just off-shore a short distance from the wreck of the Ada K. Damon.
The Spectre Leaguers, July 1692-In the midst of witchcraft accusations in 1692, Gloucester was invaded by a spectral company for a fortnight. Their speech was in an unknown tongue, and bullets passed right through them.
Along the Old Bay Road-In 1639, the Colony ordered that a road be laid out from Boston to Portsmouth, to be constructed by each town along the way. The Bay Road made Ipswich an important stagecoach stop. Several milestones to indicate distances are still standing.
Wrecks of the coal schooners-Walking near Steep Hill Beach, you might be surprised to see lumps of anthracite coal lying on the sand. This would be a mystery were it not for the tragic history of brigs and schooners transporting coal in the 19th century.
A short history of Ipswich dog laws-In 1644, the Town of Ipswich ordered, "If a man refuse to tye up his dogg's legg and hee bee found scrapeing up fish in a corne fielde, the owner thereof shall pay twelve pence damages, beside whatever damage the dogg doth. But if any fish their house lotts and receive damage by doggs the owners of those house lotts shall bear the damage themselves."
The Ipswich River-The 35-mile Ipswich River flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Ipswich Bay. The Ipswich River Water Association works to protect the river and its watershed. Foote Brothers Canoes on Topsfield Rd provides rentals and shuttle service from April to October.
The Ipswich Convention and the Essex Result-Delegates from 67 towns arrived in Ipswich on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 1774 and began deliberations regarding a Constitution for Massachusetts. "Surely a state of nature is more excellent than that in which men are meanly submissive to the haughty will of an imperious tyrant."
One Third for the Widow-Under Puritan law an adult unmarried woman was a feme sole, and could own property and sign contracts. A married woman was a feme covert and could not own property individually. Widows regained the status of feme sole but the Right of Dower entitled them to keep only one third of their property. When a woman was left a widow some men like vultures were ready to take the other two thirds.
1894: the Year that Ipswich Burned-At about 1:30 am, Police gave the alarm that Central Street was on fire.The citizens of Ipswich tumbled out from their beds and faced as wicked a night as the town has ever seen. Four months later the other end of downtown burned.
A Wager on the Rooster-In 1900, Raymond Dodge was painting the First Church steeple. Angus Savory bet him five dollars that he didn't dare to go up and sit on the rooster's back.
The Christian Wainwright house, North Main St., moved to Market St., demolished-The home of Christian Wainwright house originally sat next door to the Nathaniel Treadwell house at 12 North Main Street. In 1845 Joseph Baker moved it to the corner of Market and Saltonstall Streets. The Ipswich Historical Society tore down the house in order to create a better view of the Whipple House before it was moved to the South Green.
“Dalliance and too much familiarity”-William Row v. John Leigh, Mar. 28, 1673: “For insinuating dalliance and too much familiarity with his wife and drawing away her affections from her husband, to the great detriment both in his estate and the comfort of his life.”
Little Neck-Photos of Little Neck in Ipswich from the 19th through the 21st Century.
Emma Jane Mitchell Safford-Emma Jane Mitchell Safford was a descendant of Massasoit, Sachem of the Wampanoag. Her daughter, also Emma, tried to help her relatives regain land taken from them on the reservation.
The Ipswich lighthouse-In 1881, a 45-foot cast iron lighthouse was erected at Crane Beach, replacing an earlier structure. By 1913, the sand had shifted so much that the lighthouse was 1,090 feet from the high water mark. Use of the light was discontinued in 1932 and in 1939 the Coast Guard floated the entire lighthouse to Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard.
The missing dunes at Castle Neck-The "Great Dune" at the end of Castle Neck has disappeared, the point is retreating, and the opening to Essex Bay between Castle Neck and Wingaersheek Beach has widened.
Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the colony’s first published poet-Often alone in Ipswich while her husband Simon was engaged in government, Anne Bradstreet wrote a collection of poems published in London in 1650 titled, "The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America...by a Gentlewoman in these Parts."
History of Great Neck-Before the settlement of Ipswich was begun in 1633 by John Winthrop, William Jeffrey, who had come over in 1623, had purchased from the Indians a title to the glacial drumlin which bears his name. By 1639 the whole tract was set apart as a common pasture by the new town, and in 1666 the General Court gave Jeffrey five hundred acres of land elsewhere. After the early eighteenth century, the Necks remained as the only common lands retained by the Commoners.
The Great Ipswich Fright, April 21, 1775-A rumor spread that two British ships were in the river, and were going to burn the town. The news spread as far as New Hampshire, and in every place the report was that the regulars were but a few miles behind them, slashing everyone in sight.
Persecution of Quakers by the Puritans-Beginning in 1656, laws forbade any captain to land Quakers. Any individual of that sect was to be committed at once to the House of Correction, to be severely whipped on his or her entrance, and kept constantly at work, and none were suffered to speak with them. In Ipswich, Roger Darby his wife lived on High St, and were warned, fined and dealt with harshly.
Bombshell from Louisbourg-Mounted securely to a stone post at the corner of Middle and Independent Streets in Newburyport, there was for many years a large cast-iron bombshell, thrown from a mortar at the Second Siege of Louisbourg, Nova Scotia in 1758.
Moll Pitcher, the fortune teller of Lynn and Marblehead-Soon after her marriage she was known as a fortune-teller, her clients increasing during the fifty years that she afterwards lived. Her fame reached every fireside in New England, and her successful predictions were the themes of many midnight vigils and story-tellers.
The ghost of Harry Maine-Harry Maine — you have heard the tale; He lived there in Ipswich Town; He blasphemed God, so they put him down with an iron shovel, at Ipswich Bar; They chained him there for a thousand years, As the sea rolls up to shovel it back; So when the sea cries, the goodwives say "Harry Maine growls at his work today."
Candlewood Road-An Ancient Neighborhood in Ipswich, Massachusetts, written by Thomas Franklin Waters, with genealogies of John Brown, William Fellows, and Robert Kinsman)
Soffron Brothers Ipswich Clams-Soffron Brothers were the exclusive suppliers of clams to the Howard Johnson chain for 32 years, which featured Ipswich Fried Clams on the menu. The four brothers, Tom, George, Pete and Steve, were the children of Greek immigrants who came to work at the Ipswich mills. Their Ipswich factory was at Brown Square in the building that now houses the Ipswich Ale Brewery.
The reluctant pirate from Ipswich, Captain John Fillmore-John Fillmore of Ipswich was taken prisoner in 1723 by the pirate Captain Phillips. After many months he and three other prisoners overcame their captors, seized command and sailed the ship into Boston. "Captain" John Fillmore became a legend in his own time.
A photographic history of the Ipswich Mills Dam-Until 350 years ago, the Ipswich River ran unencumbered from its origin 35 miles upstream, carving its way through a 148-square-mile watershed. Herring, shad, salmon and alewife swam upstream to spawn. Thomas Franklin Waters noted that, “Great shoals of alewives came up the river in the Spring and […]
The Strand Opera House and Theater-The Strand Opera House was built in 1909 on Market Street in Ipswich and hosted operas, plays, travelling shows and even the Boston Symphony. In 1930 the Strand burned and re-opened as a movie theater.I n November, 1985 the Strand Theater was demolished. In it’s place was constructed the First National Bank of Ipswich.
John Updike, the Ipswich years-In 1957, John Updike moved to Ipswich, where he and his family lived in the Polly Dole house on East Street for seventeen years. Updike's 1968 novel Couples and several of his short stories were based in the fictional community Tarbox, which everyone knew was really Ipswich.
“Preserve and protect”-Alice Keenan: "Naturally when we moved to Ipswich my antiquarian cup ranneth over. This lovely old town, its long history, ancient houses and interesting people became almost an obsession"
The Ipswich Townie Test-In 2008 the Ipswich Chronicle ran a series of articles called "The Townie Test". Readers responded with their answers.
John Winthrop Jr., here and gone-John Winthrop the younger was the son of Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop, and led the settlement of Agawam in 1633 (renamed Ipswich in 1634), accompanied by 11 men.
Glover’s Wharf and the Ipswich coal industry-John S. Glover opened a wharf on Water St. in 1847, receiving shipments of coal and cement, along with maritime salvage. His wharf was a short distance from the home be built on East St. around 1872 across from the present-day Town Wharf.
Early Ipswich, “A paradise for politicians”-Due to the small scale of the settlement, the settlers of Ipswich reproduced an English form of government from a far earlier time. The first public officials were the clerk, lot-layers and "The Seven Men" (selectmen). By the end of the next century, every industry was supervised by some public functionary.
Something to Preserve-This important book described the process by which the town of Ipswich began to preserve at-risk historic homes after the town rejected efforts to set up a legal historic district.
The steamship “Carlotta”-The excursion boat Carlotta was built in 1878 at Rogers Point boat yard, and sailed from Town Wharf to the Neck and Plum Island for 35 years. The small hotels at Little Neck, Ipswich Bluff and Grape Island were favorite destinations for tourists and locals.
Sarah Goodhue’s advance directive, July 14, 1681-On July 14, 1681, Sarah Whipple Goodhue left a note to her husband that read: "Dear husband, if by sudden death I am taken away from thee, there is infolded among thy papers something that I have to say to thee and others." She died three days after bearing twins. This is the letter to her husband and children.
The Railroad comes to Ipswich, December 20, 1839-The stagecoach era ended abruptly when the Salem tunnel opened, and two days later on December 20, 1839, a train from Boston made its first passage through Ipswich. The opening of the railroad and the end of stagecoach travel led to the decline of Ipswich as one of the most important towns of Massachusetts.
Around the fireplace-The memories of this writer go well back into the 19th Century to a time when life was very simple. First-hand accounts from parents and grandparents added to the understanding of the early days of that century. As this is written, a fine cold snow is coming down in ten degree weather. When those pioneers faced the like of this they had a lot more to do than to turn up the thermostat.
Gathering salt marsh hay-Salt marsh hay is still gathered on the North Shore today. The grass was stacked on staddles to raise it above the high tides, and was hauled away on sleds over the frozen marsh in mid-winter.
The shipwrecks at Ipswich Bar-The Ipswich Bar has a long history of tragic shipwrecks. Its swift currents and shallow waters are especially dangerous during storms, and many ships have gone aground. The hull of the Ada K. Damon sits on Steep Hill Beach.
The Middle Circumferential Highway (that never happened)-In1968, Mass DPW proposed an additional beltway around Boston that would have cut through the Ipswich River Sanctuary, Bradley Palmer State Park, Appleton Farms, the Pingree Reservation and Manchester-Essex Woods. Plans were eventually abandoned because of resistance from communities that would have been affected.
The Hayes Hotel-The Hayes Hotel was constructed in 1842 as a woolen goods factory. Converted to a tavern and hotel in 1885, the building was being used as a rooming house when it burned in 1969 with a loss of life.
1893 Birdseye map of Ipswich-Panoramic maps depicting cities and towns were popular during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Also known as bird's-eye views, the drawings were created as if viewed from the air. Click on the 1893 map of Ipswich, and keep clicking to zoom in and find your house!
The Blizzard of ’78, February 5, 1978-The "Blizzard of '78" raged from Sunday evening February 5 through Tuesday evening February 7. Over a billion dollars of damage occurred, including the loss of 11,000 homes and the lives of 29 Massachusetts residents. The highest total snowfall was 43.7 inches in Ipswich.
Ipswich Red Raiders, “a melting pot of awesome contenders!”-“A melting pot of awesome contenders were the Ipswich Red Raiders, members of a semiprofessional football league active during the late 1930’s and 1940’s. The Ipswich Red Raiders won the division championship in 1935. Made up of Ipswich men in their twenties and early thirties, they played teams […]
The Caning of Senator Charles Sumner-Shortly after the Senate adjourned on May 21, Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina. attacked Sumner, yelling out, “I have read your speech, a libel on South Carolina.” and began slamming his metal-topped cane onto Sumner's head.
Photos from the Great Snow of 2015-Images from the blizzard, January 27, 2015 and the series of snowstorms that followed. Many photos are from the I Love Ipswich Facebook group. Featured image: the road into Crane Beach, by Diane Young.
The Postman Only Rang Once…….-What was forwarded to me was a shocking eye-opener of national proportions, I promised to keep it under my hat, so consider yourselves among the very privileged few to have this access. Please don't tell anyone...
Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials-During the Salem witch trials, Elizabeth Howe of Linebrook Road was tried and hung. The Ipswich jail was filled with the accused, but the ministers of the town opposed the trials as a delusion. Residents blocked the bridge to prevent the accusing girls from being brought into Ipswich.
The Peat Meadows-Deep in Willowdale State Forest is a bog which in the 1832 Ipswich map is the "Peat Meadows." "Turf" as it was also called, became a commonly-used fuel when local forests were depleted and until anthracite coal became widely available.
Dogtown, its history and legends-Dogtown is a five square mile area of Gloucester and Rockport strewn with glacial boulders. Visitors to Dogtown find cellar holes of abandoned houses, and boulders emblazoned with inspirational messages.
The Ipswich Museum is hosting a series of "Sunday Strolls" beginning in April. Each guided walk around town will explore a historical theme. Reserve your tickets online or call the museum at 978-356-2811 Walks begin at 2pm departing from the Ipswich Museum Heard House.