44 Mill Road, Holiday Hill, The William and Violet Thayer house (1897)

Information and photos provided by David Thayer. 


“My grandparents, William And Violet Thayer viewing a solar eclipse, in Ipswich, ca. 1934. The second man from the right is William G. Thayer. The woman on the left is Violet. Next to her is her sister, Daisy Otis Smith. The man on the far right is Uncle John Suydam, married to Margaret Thayer. He taught at St. Marks and was a member of the class of 1905. The man on the left and the woman sitting next to grandpa, are espoused and he was also a teacher at St. Marks.”


This house was built by William and Violet Thayer in 1897. Rev. John Cotton Smith and his wife, Harriette, were my grandfather’s uncle and Aunt. My grandfather’s mother was Harriette’s sister, Hannah Fuller Appleton. John Cotton Smith was the rector of the Church of the Ascension, on 10th St. & 5th Avenue, in Manhattan. They summered in Ipswich and lived at Briar Hill, a house at Appleton Farms that was demolished in the 1920s.

Closeup from the 1910 Ipswich map

John Cotton Smith founded Ascension Church in Ipswich. His son, Roland Cotton Smith, became an Episcopal minister, as did my grandfather. Uncle Roland and grandpa shared summer sermons at Ascension, around the turn of the last century. Uncle Roland married my grandmother’s sister and the two families bought 50 acres, on Mill Rd, in 1896.

Holiday Hill was built the next year and the Smith’s summer home, Cottonfield, at 30 Mill Rd., Was built in 1905. These were both summer homes. My grandfather was headmaster of St. Mark’s School, in Southborough, and Uncle Roland was first, chaplain, at Smith College, then rector of St. John’s Church, in Washington DC.

Harriette Appleton Smith and her family at Briar Hill
Rev. John Cotton and Harriette Appleton Smith
Golfing in Ipswich are 4 Episcopal ministers. William G. Thayer, William Lawrence Wood, who’s mother, Ellen Appleton Smith, was sister to the next man, Roland Cotton Smith. On the right is Rev. Perry, rector of Ascension, Ipswich.

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