When Roger Preston arrived in Ipswich he first purchased a lot along the river across from what is now the intersection of Turkey Shore and Labor in Vain Roads. The earliest town records show the lot belonging to William Lamson, who died Feb. 1, 1658. In Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Thomas Franklin Waters notes: “William Lampson and William Story, who owned adjoining lots there, sold their property prior to 1644.”
From Descendants of William Lamson of Ipswich published in 1917 by William J. Lamson we read the following:
“William Lampson was born in England, and came to this country in 1634. Of his arrival we know nothing, but he went to Ipswich soon after he landed, and the records show that on Feb. 5, 1637, there was “granted unto William Lampson six acres of planting ground, between Paul Williamson’s meadow and Goodman Andrews, ten acres near the upper end of Labour-in-Vayne Creek.” In 1640,he received another grant of land, and in that year it was voted that “the highway to Chebaco beneath Heartbreak Hill (Argilla Road) forever be repayred by the benefit of the grass yearly growing upon the same,” and John Leigh was to enjoy all the profits for “maintaining the highway from Rocky Hill to William Lampson’s lot.” (editor’s note: Old England Road).
“On the bank of the Ipswich River, on a point jutting out into the stream at the end of the road leading to Labour-in-Vayne meadows, William Lampson was granted a house lot “in the beginning” and it was expected that this attractive locality, called the Turkey Shore, would become a compact neighborhood; but the houses disappeared, however, and some lots were never utilized. William Lampson and William Story, who owned adjoining lots there, sold their property prior to 1644, and the neighborhood evidently did not prove popular. He also had a grant of about one and a half acres a little further up the river on the Turkey Shore, bordering on Hunt’s Cove, and this was sold to Deacon Whipple.In 1649. There was also granted to “‘Wm. Lamson 6 acres of salt marsh near Hog Island by John Dane, his Island.’ There is a hill in Ipswich named Lamson’s Hill since 1678, and perhaps earlier. His farm is still owned by his descendants.” (editor’s note: The farm referred to is the Lampson Homestead that still stands in Bradley Palmer State Park. Perhaps Lamson’s hill is Blueberry Hill, which rises near the house.)
“Thus we see that William Lamson was early a man of property, and from the extracts from the town records we find him to have been a man of considerable standing in the community and interested in town affairs. His name appears on a list of Freemen of Ipswich, May 17, 1637. This shows that he was a member of the church in good standing and thereby entitled, after taking the oath of allegiance, to vote for the officers of the Colony and take part in town affairs. In 1641 he was entered as a Commoner on the Town Book of Ipswich, which showed that, owning a house and land within the bounds of the town, he was entitled to the right of pasturage for his cattle in the wide domain beyond the Common fence. These Commoners, from the very beginning, met in Commoners’ meeting, had their own records and legislated with reference to all the duties and privileges of Commoners and voted on all questions relating to the common lands.
In 1657 it was “ordered that Wm. Lamson (and others) pay 12d y head to the cow keeper for their cowes going on the Common according to an order made in March last.” One of the earlier offices which he held was that of Pounder, and the duties were to care for stray animals, shut them up in the public pounds and collect the fines due.
The estate of William Lampson of Ipswich is recorded in the Essex Probate Docket # 16264 and 16265. Administration on the estate of William Lampson of Ipswich was granted Mar. 29, 1659, to widow Sarah. Inventory was taken Feb 11, 1658, by William Goodhue and Robert Lord. It included the house & ground about it, two acres of marsh,
He left eight children, four sons and four daughters. The eldest son sixteen years last November, the eldest daughter fourteen years, the second son nine and three quarter years, the second daughter seven, third daughter five and one half, fourth daughter four, third son two years last November and youngest son twenty four weeks old. Administration was granted to the widow and ordered that she pay or cause to be paid to the children as they came to age or marriage with her consent, and that the house and land stand engaged to make good the legacies. Essex County Probates Files, Docket 16,264
The widow Sarah Lampson apparently married again, and combined her estate with the estate of her second husband, Thomas Harteshorne of Reading, in order to provide the payments to the children, according to Ipswich court record of Mar. 19, 1659. “It was agreed that before marriage he should sign and seal a writing to give our sayd sister power & liberty to dispose of the one halfe of the estate she brought to him by way of will (of which there is sufficient witness besides our selves) but by providence that writing being neglected to be finished before marriage (though then promised it should be done after) but it is now refused and thereby the children of our Brother William Lampson like to suffer.”
Thomas Hartshorne of Redding tendered as security, instead of the land at Ipswich, his house in which he dwells, and fifteen acres of land in Redding, bounded on the north by land of James Pike, on the south by land of Walter Fairefield, on the east and west by the common; also three acres of meadow at Reeva in the same town, bounded on the north by the meadow of Henry Felch and by the commons on the other three sides; also four acres of meadow in the great meadow in the bounds of Lynn, bounded on the north by the meadow of Edward Hutcheson, on the south by the meadow of Isaack Harte, on the west by the common, and on the east by Isaack Hart’s farm. Accepted 11:10:1661
The Lamson family multiplied in the Ipswich area, and within a few years we find the family name listed on Linebrook Road near Topsfield, and in the Hamlet (now Hamilton).
Bradley Webster Palmer (1866–1946) was a prominent U.S. attorney and businessman. He was involved with the creation and development of multiple corporations, including the United Fruit Company, Gillette Safety Razor Corp., and International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation. He was also part of the American delegation at the Paris Peace Conference following the First World War.
Around 1891 Palmer began to acquire over 10,000 acres near the Ipswich-Topsfield line. In 1898 Palmer purchased the hereditary farm holdings of the Lamson family, some 747 acres and built a stone mansion near the Lamson house, leaving it standing. He named the estate Willowdale. In the years 1937 to 1944, Palmer donated all of the property to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, leasing back the 107 acres surrounding his mansion. The state established Bradley Palmer State Park and Willowdale State Forest on the properties.