Nathaniel Hodgkins house, Ipswich MA

Nathaniel Hodgkins house, Ipswich

The house at 48 Turkey Shore Road is believed to have been built by Nathaniel Hodgkins in 1720 on land formerly owned by Daniel Hovey. The gambrel roof indicates early Georgian era construction, and the rear ell was almost certainly constructed at the same time as an attached kitchen and utilitarian building. A second floor was added to the ell in the 19th Century. The house stayed in the Hodgkins family until 1813, and in the Andrews family for the next half Century. In 1886, Benjamin Fewkes purchased, and it remained in possession of the Fewkes family until 1948.

For thirty years, Prudence Fish has recorded the small gambrel roof houses of the Gloucester fishermen that dotted the shoreline of Cape Ann in the 18th century. All of the houses she has studied, including this one, were constructed facing south. Of approximately 350 that were constructed in the 18th century, there are about 50 still standing. This gambrel cottage is one of only three in Ipswich, including the Joseph Fowler house (1720 – 1756) at 100 High Street (which is believed to have been moved from Mineral St.), and the nearby Francis Merrifield – Mary Wade house (1792), at 9 Woods Lane.

Most if not all of the Cape Ann gambrel cottages found in Gloucester and Rockport are 3 or 4 bays, while the three gambrel cottages in Ipswich area are uniquely 5 bay houses (4 windows and a door) with almost identical footprints. The wealthier coastal towns of northeastern Massachusetts, especially Newburyport and Marblehead have a wealth of surviving two-story gambrel roof houses constructed in the period after 1850.

Rear ell in its present form, as seen from the river side of the house

Daniel Hovey

Daniel Hovey, an early settler of Ipswich, owned land from this point to the end of Tansey’s Lane and built one of the town’s first wharves along the river. When the Hovey homestead including half anacre was sold by Thomas Hovey ) to William Fuller, Jan. 18, 1719-20, the deed specified that it was bounded on the west “by a narrow lane that goes down to Nathaniel Hodgkin’s land.” Thomas Franklin Waters in his book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, indicated that this portion of the old Hovey farm had been sold to Nathaniel Hodgkins, who he suggested must have built the house.

The last will of testimony of Daniel Hovey grants “to Abigel Hodgkins wife of Thomas Hodgkins y’ brafe pan and a putter falfeller, my part of y* mare and colt to granchild Daniell and lvory. “

Nathaniel Hodgkins

Nathaniel Hodgkins, son of John Hodgkins and grandson of settler William Hodgkins, was born January 29, 1684, married Joanna Giddings, 1706. He was also related to Abigail Hovey, the daughter of Daniel Hovey and Esther (Treadwell) Hovey, who married Thomas Hodgkins, the brother of John Hogkins.

Nathaniel Hodgkins died August 22, 1740. His son Nathaniel (4) married Martha Smith, and was lost at sea while fishing on Canso Bank April 7, 1737.

Thomas Franklin Waters noted that “a narrow lane goes down to Nathaniel Hodgkin’s land and so by his land that was bought of Daniel Hovey Sr. to the River.” Waters suggested that Nathaniel Hodgkins may have built the house, which was afterward conveyed by Hanna Hodgkins, spinster, to William Fuller “except one lower room and one quarter acre during my life and then it will go to William Fuller and Lucy Hodgkins.”

Col. Joseph Hodgkins

Col. Joseph Hodgkins ( 1743 -1829) was the son of Thomas Hodgkins, born 1692, who was the son of Thomas Hodgkins and Abigail (Hovey) Hodgkins. Col. Hodgkins was the last of the Hodgkins family to have ownership of this house. The deed included 1 1/4 acres, a house, barn, and joiner’s shop.

Col. Joseph Hodgkins conveyed the same1 1/4 acre property to David Andrews, April 23, 1813 with a house, barn and a joiner’s shop. The transfer of deed states that Hodgkins was “lawfully seized,” establishing clear title.

Also of interest is Col. Hodgkins’ sale of two acres from the former homestead of Thomas Hodgkins on Turkey Shore near Woods Lane to John Appleton (156:34). Mr. Appleton had previously acquired part of the Thomas Hodgkins estate from the other heirs. (Waters, Vol 1, page 480).

Col Joseph Hodgkins, a cordwainer, married Sarah Perkins (1750 –1803), and served under Captain Nathaniel Wade in the Revolutionary War. His first wife, Joanna Webber, and four of their five children had all died.

The Letters between Joseph Hodgkins and his second wife Sarah Perkins during the war are preserved and provide important insights into the war and its relationship to the local community. After the war he returned to their home, the Perkins-Hodgkins house on East St. He remained in Ipswich throughout the rest of his life, and served in various political capacities in the town, as a colonel in the Massachusetts Militia and in the Massachusetts Legislature. After Sarah died in 1803, Hodgkins married his third wife, Lydia Treadwell, relict of Elisha Treadwell, and daughter of Deacon John Crocker.

David Andrews

In the early 19th Century, William F. Andrews was in possession of the ancient Daniel Hovey house and farm on the adjoining property at Tansy Lane. Daniel Hovey’s wife was Abigail, daughter of Robert Andrews, For a period of time, the Hovey house was known as the ” Old Andrews House,” having been in possession of members of the Andrews family many decades.

Col. Joseph Hodgkins conveyed the 1/4 acre property at 48 Turkey Shore to William’s son David Andrews, a farmer, April 23, 1813 with a house, barn and a joiner’s shop for $675.00. David’s wife was Mehitable Pearson. The Andrews family remained in possession for the next half century.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that, “The Daniel Hovey homestead was sold to William Fuller Andrews, Sept. 30, 1807 (182: 229)…. David Andrews sold the (Hovey) house and land to Mark Foss, April 7, 1853 (477: 147). The (Daniel Hovey) house fell into decay, and was used by Mr. Foss for the storage of hay, until it was destroyed by fire.”

Benjamin F. Fewkes

Benjamin F. Fewkes Jr. the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth Fewkes, purchased this house in 1886 and operated a nursery at this house. He was born in 1852 and died in 1915, aged 63 years. The 1893 Ipswich annual town report shows the following real estate and property tax valuation for Benjamin Fewkes at this location: horse $75, 2, cows $60, swine $10, 20 fowl $10, carriage $50, boat $25, house $1000, barn $100, green houses $400. The house stayed in the Fewkes family until 1948.

The 1893 Birdseye Map of Ipswich shows the Benjamin Fewkes house at 48 Turkey Shore, with the attached wing, a barn, windmill and greenhouses. Behind it is the ancient Daniel Hovey house (#31) no longer standing. The shed on the back of the barn is shown in the photo below.

early photos from Ipswich Massachusetts, shucking clams
Shucking clams on the Ipswich River behind the Benjamin Fewkes house at 48 Turkey Shore Rd.
Image from the The Agawam manual and directory: a directory of the Agawam district: first part, Ipswich, Rowley, and Hamilton, 1888 by M. V. B. Perley. At that time, Turkey Shore had been renamed Prospect St. (The earlier name was later restored).
nathaniel_hodgkins_front-family-barn
c1900 photo found inside the home, labeled “Benjamin Fewkes house.” The barn on the left is no longer standing. Behind it, covered in vines is a windmill, also shown in the 1893 Birdseye Map of Ipswich.
Fewkes and Darling Greenhouse, County Road Ipswich MA
The Fewkes and Darling families of Ipswich were related by marriage. Edward C. Darling operated a floral business in the rear of 78 County Rd, which was continued by Benjamin J. Fewkes in the late 19th Century. The Ipswich Public Library has a voluminous genealogical compilation covering over 200 early Ipswich families compiled by Jonathan Fewkes and Edward Lee Darling,

Benjamin Fewkes Sr.

benjamin_fewkes_knitting

Fewkes’ father, Benjamin Fewkes was born in England Apr 13, 1788. Benjamin Fewkes Sr. emigrated from England to the United States in 1818. He was a lace maker by trade and in 1822 introduced to Ipswich the first lace-making machine to arrive in America, said to have been smuggled in a box of salt, in violation of an English embargo. His shop was on High Street behind the Phillip Lord house.

Benjamin Fewkes Sr. died Dec. 27, 1869 aged 81 yrs. His wife was Elizabeth Wilkins Fewkes. His fourth son, Jesse Fewkes was born in 1826 and presented a paper titled “Fine Thread, Lace and Hosiery” before the Ipswich Historical Society in 1905. Read also, Ipswich Hosiery, Page 3.

florence_fewkes_haskins_1898
The back of this photo from the dining room reads, “This is Florence Haskins, one of the Fewkes’ daughters. She married a banker and moved to Worcester, I’ve been told. Note “’98” date.”

1910 Ipswich map showing the intersection of Prospect St. (Turkey Shore) and Labor in Vain Road
1910 Ipswich map showing the intersection of Prospect St. (Turkey Shore) and Labor in Vain Road

Structural observations

The front entry of the gambrel is spacious with what appears to be newer stairs, although the newel and railings may be reused. It is probable that an original central fireplace and chimney were removed to accommodate a larger entry and stairs. The inside wall of the half-cellar indicates the existence of a massive stone fireplace base, and an examination of the first and second floor flooring should present evidence of the fireplace and chimney removal. The present fireplaces are smaller with modern bricks, on either end of the gambrel.

A flat panel door in the Nathaniel Hodgkins house has through-mortises and tenons connecting the stiles, rather than “stopped.” Flat panel doors and windows replaced raised feather edged panels around 180. Molding was often applied to panels, as is found in the wainscoting in the left side of the house.
The front gambrel section has eight gunstock corner posts, found in First Period construction and into the 18th Century. The suspected date of construction is confirmed by how the posts were decorated. For a brief period beginning about 1710, frames were often finished with “quirked beading” along the exposed edges of the timbers. By about 1725, the frame was likely to be boxed instead of decorated and exposed, as the Renaissance influence of the Georgian style reached New England. Quirked beading continued to be used, but on the boards boxing the framework.
nathanie_hodgkins_raftes_cut
When a large addition was added to the rear, sections of the gambrel roof rafters were cut off, and butt into the wall of the rear ell addition.

Rear ell

View of the house and ell from Turkey Shore Rd.

The gambrel house appears to have been originally constructed with an attached single floor ell, possibly a kitchen, and a connected utilitarian structure that serves as the present kitchen and rear entry. The foundation of the ell is continuous with the foundation of the gambrel, although not as wide. We don’t see an obvious break in the stone pattern that would suggest it was added later.

Illustration of an old Connecticut gambrel house with attached kitchen ell, from page 38, Reclaiming the Old House” (1913) by Charles Edward Hooper

The yard slopes steeply toward the river; thus the river-side foundation of the ell has a ground-level entry as well as one or two larger openings that have been filled in. The ell was converted, possibly under the Bachelder ownership in the mid-1860’s to a two-story residential ell over an attached side porch facing the river. The roof of the porch inadequately supports the cantilevered second floor, causing the floors to roll downward at the outside wall. This structural defect will most likely require replacement of the 19th Century ell.

The cellar of the gambrel and original ell sections are connected and continuous. This diagram shows how the ell may have functioned.

The diagram above is how the gambrel and ell may have been originally laid out, consisting of the gambrel roof house, a single floor kitchen ell and a carriage house, wood house, barn or other outbuilding at the rear, sharing a continuous cellar. Incorporation of the cistern into the rear cellar wall accommodated access and kept water from freezing.

The slope of the terrain at 48 Turkey Shore allowed incorporation of grade-level access to the cellar from the side of the ell facing the river. The side of the ell facing Turkey Shore Rd. is at grade level and could have served as a carriage house or storage bay for wagons. Thomas Hubka’s description of the Tobias Walker farm in Kennebunk Maine is an excellent example of the evolution of a cottage with attached buildings into a large New England connected farmstead. In the outskirts of rural communities throughout New England, connecting buildings facilitated small-scale mixed agricultural and home-industry applications.

Cellar

The front cellar wall is topped with brick on the inside and faced with granite on the outside

The cellar is of standable height, constructed with mortared stone and rubble, and topped at ground level with brick. The gambrel section of the house has a half cellar, but we see what appears to be the side of a large stone fireplace base under the section without a cellar. The gambrel and ell cellars are connected, with no obvious indication of one preceding the other. An ever-present danger in connected farmsteads was the spread of fire from the barn. Charred beams in the ell basement at 48 Turkey Shore indicate that at least one such fire did occur.

Cistern

The rear of the ell foundation overlaps an intact cylindrical domed brick cistern. Masonry cisterns were frequently built against or into the home’s foundation and water was drawn with a hand pump or from a tap located low on the basement wall. The warmth of the cellar may have helped prevent the water from freezing. Rainwater cisterns were used from the mid-17th to 19th century primarily for laundry and other domestic chores and agricultural needs. A similar rainwater cistern was constructed in the Tobias Walker cellar in Kennebunk, as was suggested in the agricultural journals of that time. Cisterns went out of vogue at the beginning of the 20th Century with the advent of indoor plumbing. The 1893 Ipswich Birdseye Map shows a windmill on the property, which would have been used for pumping water.

Small barn at 48 Turkey Shore, with the Ipswich River behind

Deed history

When Roger Preston arrived in Ipswich, he first purchased this lot along the river, across from what is now the intersection of Turkey Shore and Labor in Vain Roads. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote in Ipswich in the Massachusets Bay Colony (1905) that “evidently the neighborhood did not prove popular” and by 1644 every lot had been transferred. Records next show the lot belonging to William Lamson, who died Feb. 1, 1658. Waters notes: “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, now owned by Mr. Benjamin Fewkes (in 1905), prior to 1644.”

turkey_shore-labor_in_vain
Early map of Turkey Shore Road and Labor in Vain Road, shows that William Lampson owned the property between 1644 and 1658

Thomas Franklin Waters recorded the deed record through the 19th Century in his book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

Daniel Hovey owned land from this point to the end of Tansey’s Lane where he built a wharf. “The Daniel Hovey homestead, which had been owned by his heirs for many years, was sold by Thomas Hovey (1668-1719) to William Fuller, “my house he now lives in,” with half an acre, Jan. 18, 1719-20.

The deed of Thomas Hovey to William Fuller of the land now owned by Mr. Josiah Mann specifies that it was bounded on the west, “by a narrow lane that goes down to Nathaniel Hodgkin’s land, and so by his land that was bought of Daniel Hovey Sr., to the River.” Jan. I5, 1719-20 (38: 272)”). Waters concludes, “The Fewkes estate as it appears from this, was originally part of the Daniel Hovey land, and was purchased by Nathaniel Hodgkins. He may have built the house.”

The house was conveyed by Hannah Hodgkins, spinster, to William Fuller, beginning at the south corner on the Town road opposite widow Elizabeth Ringe, “except one lower room and one quarter acre during my life and then it will go to said William Fuller and Lucy Hodgkins,” June 2, 1786, 1 1/4 acre with a dwelling house, for 65 pounds. (book 152, page 260)

Col. Joseph Hodgkins conveyed the same1 1/4 acre property to David Andrews, April 23, 1813 with a house, barn and a joiner’s shop for $675.00 (246: 54). The 1832 and 1856 Ipswich maps show this lot owned by David Andrews.

Andrews sold to Mrs. Annie P. Batchelder, wife of Calvin Batchelder, yeoman (farmer), April 5, 1865 a dwelling house with other buildings thereon (754: 48) for $1000.

Calvin and Annie P. Batchelder sold to Daniel Newell, March 4, 1870 (794: 30) with a dwelling house and other buildings thereon, for $2500. (*Note: The cemetery at the South Green has a grave for Calvin Batchelder, born Oct., 1811 d. Feb. 23, 1886. The 1888 Agawam directory of Ipswich lists Annie P. Batchelder, widow, living on Poplar St). *The 250% increase in the price of the house in 5 years suggests that the Bachelders added the rear wing before they sold to Newell.

The 1872 Ipswich map shows the rear ell and the owner as S. Newell. Newell sold to Gustavus Kinsman, Aug. 16, 1875; (935: 203) for $1900, with a dwelling house and other buildings.

Gustavus Kinsman sold to Benjamin Fewkes, Sept. 1886 for $2200, with a dwelling house and other buildings. (1181: 258)

Bemjamin Fewkes sold to Louis A. Fewkes, Jan. 3, 1911, for $1.00, with a dwelling house and other buildings. (2061: 230)

The estate of Lora Fewkes sold to Alice P. Lowry, April 29, 1948 for $9000, a certain parcel of land with the buildings thereon (3603:396)

Rear entry of the house at 48 Turkey Shore Rd.

Summary

The 1720 gambrel-roof cottage at 48 Turkey Shore Rd. is one of only a handful of rare 5 bay, story-and-half gambrels, three of which are in Ipswich, especially unique as a “transitional” early Georgian house with late First Period quirk-molded gunstock posts. The house is significant as a home for members of two prominent Ipswich families, Hodgkins and Fewkes, and offers one of the most commanding views of the domestic and natural landscape along the Ipswich River.

The attached rear ell lost much of its historic and architectural value in 19th Century when it was enlarged and converted into a residential wing. Removal of the second floor would accommodate restoration of the full gambrel roof and original single-floor kitchen ell. Post and beam framing from what may have been a carriage house is encapsulated and exposed in the rear half of the ell, and could be preserved on a new location or used as supportive/decorative features in a replacement addition to the building. If such alterations occur, efforts should be made to preserve the 19th Century domed brick cistern.

Sources and further reading

Hodgkins Genealogy (from Geneanet)

Nathaniel Hodgkins’ father John Hogkins was the son of Ipswich settler William Hodgkins II(1622-1693) and Grace Dutch (1633-1694).

John Hodgkins, father of Nathaniel Hodgkins

Thomas Hodgkins, Nathaniel’s cousin

Thomas Hodgkins’ father Thomas, and Nathaniel’s father John were sons of William Hodgkins II, who was a son of Ipswich settler William Hodgkins. Thomas Hodgkins’ four-acre lot was nearby on the south side of Turkey Shore, west of Woods Lane (Waters, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Vol. 1)

Daniel Hovey sold a lot to Thomas Hodgkins. In his will dated 1692, Hovey bequeathed to his daughter, “Abigail Hodgkins wife of Thomas Hodgkins the brass pan and pewter salt seller; my part of the mare and colt to grandchild Daniel and Ivory.” An old tombstone at the Old North Burying Ground reads “Mrs. Abigail Hodgkins, Relict of Capt. Thomas Hodgkins, who died Oct. 22,1837, Aged 87.” Thomas Hodgkins was commander of the 60 ton schooner “John” owned by John Patch.

A deed from Jeremiah Hodgkins to Daniel Hodgkins (sons of Capt. Thomas, jr.), June 5, 1741 for 45 pounds, ceded rights to the “homestead of my Honorable Father (Thomas) Hodgkins…and is now improved by my Mother Hodgkins as her right of thirds to my father’s estate,” consisting of a dwelling house and 4 acres on the south side of the river, (81:273).

The Ipswich River flows behind the house at 48 Turkey Shore.

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