Records indicate that the house was built by Jacob Peabody (1) between 1685 when he reached the age of 21 and no later than 1689 when he died. The listing with the National Register of Historic Places estimates circa 1700, with structural indication of 17th Century construction. The 1985 MACRIS inventory with the Massachusetts Historical Commission written by Ann Grady gives a construction date of 1680 – 1700.
The massive frame, deeply jowled corner posts and tall summer beams are also found in Topsfield’s 1683 Parson Capen House and the Zaccheus Gould House, a unique feature of local architecture. The First Period Buildings of Eastern Massachusetts resource sheet states, “On the basis of nearly identical molded post-heads in two Topsfield houses, we can assign both the ca. 1670 Zaccheus Gould House and the Stephen Foster House to one unknown carpenter.”
Until the end of the 20th Century, this small house sat on a stone foundation that is well-preserved in the front of the present extended building. A substantial stone shelf in the rear may have been used for keeping dairy products cool. After the house was moved to its current location a few yards to the right, the present owners turned the old foundation into a wildflower garden.
Although the old foundation has the dimensions of the preserved structure, cut-off purlins at the right end of the attic indicate that the house was once extended. A small addition on the right was removed when the current owners moved the house a few feet to make it part of their larger house on a modern concrete foundation.
Listing on the National Register of Historic Places
The house is listed in the National Register as the Stephen Foster house after an 18th Century owner who married the sister of Jacob Peabody III. Ann Grady wrote the documentation for this house when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980:
“The house is unusual in that it retains on the exterior the First Period single cell massing usually obscured by later additions. The retention of a branch on the rear plate to serve as a brace is an unusual example of vernacular carpentry practice. While related to the occasional use by First Period carpenters of ships’ knees to strengthen the frame, the branch brace represents the inventive solution of a single carpenter. A straight-run staircase has replaced the original chimney in the chimney bay at the right hand end. On the second floor, the summer tie beam is embellished with 1 3/4” flat chamfers and a stylized variant of the chamfered taper stop.
Roof framing visible in the attic is comprised of principal rafters bridle jointed at the ridge, four large purlins per slope and a purlin at the ridge. The purlins, 5 l/2″-6″ wide and 3″ deep, are hewn, like the major framing members. The roof over the chimney bay was rebuilt probably at the time that the central chimney was removed in the late 19th century. The cut off ends of the purlins which spanned the chimney bay remained trenched behind the rafters over the chimney beam.
The collar beam over the chimney tie was lapped and was a foot lower than the tenoned collar beams which remain in the two left hand-most sets of rafters. In the left end wall, the studs are lapped behind the collar beam. Although traditionally dated c. 1700, the house has a completely oak frame of substantial dimensions. These characteristics of the frame might suggest either an earlier construction date or retardataire methods.”
Matching faces on the undersides of the wide second floor floorboards are scribed with Roman numerals, sometimes partially hidden by the supporting floor joists.
In 1717 Jacob Peabody II transferred some of the property to Jacob Foster, who married Rebecca Peabody (1). Their Son Stephen married Rebecca Peabody (2).
Jacob Peabody 1, Born 28 Jul 1664 in Topsfield, Son of Francis (Pabodie). Died 24 Nov. 14, 1689. He married on Jan. 12, 1686, Abigail, daughter of Edmund and Mary (Browning) Towne, born Aug. 6, 1664. He died Nov. 24, 1689. His brother Isaac was joined with the widow in the administration of the estate. She maintained the children and paid their portions in due time. She married second, Jan. 14, 1696, Thomas Perley.
Rebecca Peabody (2) (Jacob, Jacob, Mary (Foster) Peabody, Reginald Foster) married Stephen Foster of Ipswich on Apr 21, 1737. Rebecca Peabody, born 3 Feb. 1714/5, died 23 Mar 23, 1790. (Topsfield Vital Records).
Deacon Stephen Foster, born February 3, 1715, in Topsfield. died January 7, 1781 at about 71 years of age. (Caleb, Abraham, Reginald), born Ipswich, Mass., Apr. 24, 1710; married Apr. 21. 1736/7, Rebecca Peabody, daughter of Deacon Jacob and Rebecca (Barker) Peabody. He died January 15, 1781. There is no settlement of his estate on record.
The Will of Francis Peabody (aka Pabody, Pebody)
On March 7, 1671, the town voted that it was “willing that Lieut. Peabody shall set up a saw mill provided it does not do damage to any of the townsmen in their meadows.” The saw mill was built in 1672 on Howlett Brook at this location. (Read more)
Francis Pabody died in 1697/98. In his last will and testimony, he gave his mill and a dwelling house on the south side of Howlett Brook to his son Isaac. He gave the home of his son Jacob, deceased, to his grandson Jacob II, who was born only a few days before his father’s death in 1689. This suggests that the Jacob Peabody house was constructed by Jacob Peabody (1) between 1685 when he reached the age of 21 and no later than 1689 when he died.
Item: I do give to my son Isaac Pebody all the land y’ I do now live upon which I bought] of Mr. Simons & my will is y’ my son Isaac shall have all y’ said Land which lyeth on [ye] south side of ye brook.
Item: I do give to my Grand child Jacob Pebody y* son of my son Jacob Pebody deceased, y* house which his father dwelt in together with all y* upland on y* North side of y* aforesaid brook, as also all y* meadow on y* same side of y* brook & y* bridge & so upward.
“Franklin Magraw, North St.: This two-story house was built for Stephen Foster in 1748 and was owned by Nathaniel Foster in 1798. In 1877, a part of the old house was taken down and the remaining part was remodeled by John H. Potter, who came into possession of the property by way of exchange with John Smith, the owner for the house on Central street which he had just built. About five hundred feet in a northwesterly direction from the Magraw house is the cellar of the old Stephen Foster house. It is about one hundred and fifty feet over the Ipswich boundary line and is still a very deep cellar. The house was probably taken down not long after the new house was built.”
Potter sold to Franklin Magraw in 1901, Bk.l660, pg.438.
Magraw sold to Gerrish in 1902, and he to Mary Tarbox, Bk.1692, pg.226.
Tarbox sold to Fred Deering in 1906.
Fred Deering put the property in joint ownership with his wife, Della, who was the daughter of Francis Frame, and sister to the two Tilton wives, whose farms adjoined on Boston Street. Fred’s daughter, Lila, married James Wildes.
In 1944 the Deerings conveyed the property to Louis Greenwood, dog trainer, who has occupied the house for forty years and maintained dog kennels there.
The 1910 Topsfield map shows F. W. Deering as the owner of this home. and Franklin MacGraw owning a house on North St. near Ipswich Road across from Mill Pond.
On Mar. 12, 1637, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered that “every town shall present a man, to be allowed to sell wine and strong water, made in this country; and no other strong drink to be sold.” Taverns were located on all of the main roads leading out of Boston, including the Bay Road, where there were taverns in Salem, Wenham and Ipswich, among other towns.
Until the 18th Century inns and taverns were called an “ordinary” because guests would be served whatever was being prepared that day. The license for keeping a tavern was conditional on being near meetinghouse, for the convenience of reconvening after services to the more comfortable tavern. Also known as “Publik houses,” they served as rest spots for travelers and were where Court was kept into the 18th Century.
Young John Sparks apprenticed to Obadiah Wood, the “Biskett baker” and began his trade in the house of Thomas Bishop, just below where the Ipswich Public Library now stands. Records also spelled his name Spark, Sparke, or Sparkes. He rented the Bishop property for his bakery, and there ran an ordinary, with the license in Bishop’s name. Thomas Bishop’s Publick house was probably where Lydia Wardwell was whipped in 1663 after she was “presented in court for coming naked into the Newbury Meeting House.”
Thomas Bishop died in 1670, and on Feb. 15, 1671, Sparks purchased from Thomas White, two acres that had originally belonged to William Fuller, including a “house, barn, orchard, garden and paddock or inclosure of earable land adjoyning.” (Ips. Deeds 3: 216). At this location, which is today’s 6-8 N. Main St., he established his own business, where he is styled “biskett-baker.”
Responding to a special petition of the citizens that Sparks has been unfairly treated by Bishop, the Selectmen granted license to John Sparks to draw and sell beer at a penny a quart, “provided he entertain no inhabitants in the night, nor suffer any person to bring wine or liquor to be drunk in his house.”
Sparks perhaps operated at first out of the house he had purchased from White, but it’s almost certain that he constructed a larger building for his ordinary, which seems to have been in the northeast corner of the lot facing the Meeting House. He quickly gained success and kept his hostelry, known far and near, for twenty years. Men of renown tarried about the well-spread board and drink at Sparks’, and soldiers were quartered there during threats of Indian attacks.
As there was no Town House or Court house until the 18th Century, the Ipswich Quarterly Court met at Sparks’ to hear cases. On Center St. in Danvers, Ingersoll’s ordinary served an identical purpose, and according to historian Charles Upham, Ingersoll’s dwelling house was also separate from his ordinary. In March, 1680, the Selectmen of Ipswich ruled that John Sparks’ license for an ordinary be enlarged for retailing wine.
Wednesday Feb. 11, 1684-5: Joshua Moodey and self set out for Ipswich. I lodge at Sparkes’s.
Next day, Feb. 12, go to lecture which Mr. Moodey preaches, then I dine with Mr. Cobbet, and so ride to Newbury.
At Wenham and Ipswich, as we went, we were told of the Earthquake in those parts and at Salem (Feb. 8), the Sabbath before about the time of ending Afternoon Exercise; That which most was sensible of was a startling doleful Sound; but many felt the Shaking also.
Tuesday Feb. 17, I and Brother, sister Stephen Sewall Ride to Sparkes’s by the Ferry, great part in the Snow; Dined with Ipswich Select Men. I Lodged there; the Morn was serene
Tuesday, March 18, 1687-8: “Waited on the Judges to Ipswich, Mr. Cook and Hutchinson going up the river. I lodged at Sparkes’s whether Mr. Stoughton and Capt. Appleton came to see me in the evening.”
The Court of Common Pleas, sitting at Ipswich, Sept. 28, 1686, renewed licenses to John Sparks and Abraham Perkins, who succeeded Quartermaster Perkins at his ordinary on High St. “Liberty to sell drink without doors” was granted to Mr. Francis Wainwright, Mr. John Wainwright and Mr. Michael Farley, the Town’s leaders. Having paid for their licenses, Sparks and Perkins proceeded to bring illegal sellers to judgment.
On the 8th of August 1689, Capt. Simon Willard with a company of soldiers arrived, and remained at the inns of Sparks and Perkins until the 2nd of September. The following February, the two taverners petitioned the General Court that they were entitled to more than the proposed three pence a meal, “having already set as low a price as we could possibly do, to wit six pence a meal for dinners and suppers beside the great expense of fyerwood, candle and other smaller matters we mention not,” The soldiers had been “entertained with good wholesome diet as beefe, pork and mutton, well dressed to ye satisfaction of both officers and soldiers who gave us many thanks for their kind entertainment when they went from us.”
Sparks’ license was renewed annually, but in March 1692, “provided he pay his excise duly as the law requires.” In that year, licenses were granted to John Sparks, Mr. Francis Wainwright, Mr. John Wainwright, Francis Wainwright, Jr., Capt. Daniel Wilcomb, Mr. Abraham Perkins, Mr. Goodhue Senior and Mr. Michael Farley, “men of the best character.” The innkeepers were put on notice that they “shall not suffer any unlawful play or Games, in said house, garden, orchard or elsewhere, especially by men servants or apprentices, common laborers, Idle persons, or shall suffer any Town Inhabitants to be in said house drinking or tipling on ye Saturday night after ye sunset or on ye Sabbath day, nor wittingly or willingly admit or receive …. any person notoriously defamed of for theft, Incontinency or drunkenness …. nor keep or lodge there any stranger person above ye Space of one day and one night together, without notice thereof, first given to such Justice or Selectman as above said.’”
On May 1, 1691, Sparks sold 1 1/2 acres of the two-acre lot he had bought from William White twenty years earlier. The buyer was Col. John Wainwright (1649-1708), one of Ipswich’s leading and wealthiest citizens. The deed (Book 12, p. 118) indicates that included in the sale was Sparks’ bake-house and barn, as well as a “messuage” or tenement. It is unclear if the bake-house was the same building as the tavern. Sparks retained his dwelling house on the remaining half-acre of land .
Sparks’ license was renewed one last time in 1692. In April of that year, a summons was issued to several individuals to “Make personal appearance before ye Worshipful Major Samuel Appleton Esq., & ye Clerk of ye Court to be at ye house of Mr. John Sparks in Ipswich on ye 22d Day of This Instant April, at two o’clock afternoon. It’s doubtful that a court session with this many people would be held in the small house that Sparks purchased of Thomas White in 1671. Did he still possess and live in the ordinary? He is no longer referred to as taverner or inn-keeper, but as “Mr.” which was used for men of wealth or esteem.
The summoned individuals were ordered “Then and There to Give in Your several respective Evidences in behalf of their majesties concerning the clearing up of ye Grounds of Suspicion of Rachell Clinton’s being a witch, who is Then and Their to be upon further Examination. So make Your appearance according to this Summons, fail not at your peril,” Ipswich, Dated April 21st, 1692. Damning depositions were made against Rachel Clinton by several Ipswich residents, and the following month she was thrown in the jail, shackled with iron fetters. The Rev. Hubbard of First Church and Rev. John Wise of Chebacco Parish made formal appeals for the accused, and Major Appleton stepped down from the court in opposition to the proceedings.
The Court Record of March, 1693 bears the entry, “John Sparks, ye Tavern keeper in Ipswich, having laid down his license and ye house being come into ye hands of Mr. John Wainwright, license is granted for keeping of a tavern there to any sober man whom Mr. Wainwright may secure.” Mr. Wainwright enlisted the services of John Rogers the saddler, who was licensed to sell drink and keep a public house. Rogers’ “Black Horse inn” was identified in Joseph Felt’s “History of Ipswich, Essex, and Hamilton” (1834) as formerly the inn of John Sparks.
On March 12, 1704, Sparks’ wife’s brother John Roper, acting as executor of John Sparks’ estate, sold to Col. Wainwright the remaining half-acre and dwelling house “formerly in possession of Mr. John Sparks, now in possession of Mary, widow of John.” (Ipswich deeds, Vol. 18, p. 16) . The sale included included an additional “two roods (1/2 acre) of ground which I [John Roper] bought of Thomas Metcalf of Ipswich, adjoining the land on which the house stands.” A condition of the sale was that Mary Sparks could remain in the home during the remainder of her life.
On February 6, 1707, Col. Wainwright sold the whole property to Deacon Nathaniel Knowlton (Ipswich Deeds Book 20, p. 145). This deed at this date stated that there were two houses on this lot, a “messuage or tenament now occupied by Thomas Smith, innholder,” and one occupied by the widow, Mary Sparks, “which she is to possess during her natural life, with a garden plot as it is now fenced in, and is situate at the southeast corner of said tenement.” Wainwright died unexpectedly the following year, leaving his wife Christian a widow with children.
Deacon Knowlton’s son-in-law Thomas Smith, “Inn-holder,” was the next to keep a public house in this vicinity. In December, 1710 Knowlton divided the property among family members, transferring to Ephraim Smith, tailor, the son of Thomas Smith, a lot on the northeast side abutting Potter’s lot. (*Waters indicated the Potter lot across from the Meeting House at approximately #14 -18 N. Main St.)
On the same day, Nov. 20, 1710, Knowlton sold to Ebenezer Smith “and his new wife Deborah Knowlton,” a small dwelling bordering on Col. John Appleton. (Salem Deeds book 23, page 22). This “small dwelling” can be identified with the former residence of John and Mary Sparks which Sparks had purchased from Thomas White. In the following deed, Knowlton also granted to John Smith, son of Thomas Smith, “one small tenement or house and land bounded south by land of Ebenezer Smith and northerly by land of Ephraim Smith.” (Salem Deeds book 23, page 22).
John Smith sold to Jacob Boardman, March 28, 1734, “one certain messauge or tenement situated lying and being on the Northerly side of ye Meeting House Hill” …containing about half an acre more or less,” (69: 198).” After passing through several ownerships in short succession, Anthony Loney sold the lot to Nathaniel Treadwell, May 15, 1742 (84:263). The Taverner Smith lot can be identified as a level area in the rear of #12 N. Main Street. Nathaniel Treadwell had opened his well-known inn at #12 N. Main in 1737. It appears from these transactions that Sparks’ tavern was behind Treadwell’s Inn and was being used as a boarding house. It disappears from the records after Treadwell’s purchase.
Treadwell’s Inn gained the same renown and importance as the earlier Sparks’ Inn. It was once believed to have been the old Sparks’ tavern, but seems certain to have been constructed in the 18th Century. Jacob Treadwell inherited from his father Nathaniel, and his administrator sold to Moses Treadwell, the house and land, “being all that said deceased owned in that place, commonly called the old Tavern lot.”
From this it seems that the Sparks-Rogers-Smith tavern was at or near where the lots at #6, 8, 10 and 12 meet in the rear, which has been greatly filled and grading over the years. Repurposed foundation stones and crude stone steps at that location may be remnants of the old Sparks’ Tavern. Early maps above show a straighter N. Main St., without its present curve. The area of N. Main between the Civil War monument these houses was filled and reconfigured in the 19th Century. We are told that the Town elevated the houses at #12 – 16 N. Main St. by as much as 6 ft., and faced the foundations with granite slabs. They did likewise on a section of High St.
Thomas Franklin Waters wrote: “Following the fortunes of Sparks’ Inn… John Rogers, the saddler, was licensed to sell drink and a public house in 1696, and Mr. Wainwright was ordered at the same Court to procure a suitable tenant to live in the house ‘where John Rogers is now an innholder.’ His inn was called ‘The Black Horse.’ Thomas Smith, Inn-holder, kept a public house nearby in 1707, which came later to John Smith, ‘the Taverner,’ and in 1737 Nathaniel Treadwell opened his inn. Benjamin Dutch, at the sign of ‘The White Boy’ received license, in 1719. (*at the approximate location of #16 N. Main St.)”
The Sparks house
Thus the exact location of the old Sparks’ Tavern, obscured by local tradition and debated by historians, seems to have been at the rear of the lot John Sparks purchased of Thomas White in 1671. The will of Mary Sparks was proved July 26, 1712. In the probate court appointment of her executor, Mary’s name is spelled “Spark.” Their residence seems to have been the left side of the house still standing at 6 North Main St.
The “small dwelling house” was transferred by Knowlton to Edward Smith in 1710. Ebenezer Smith purchased it in 1717, and the present house at 6-8 N. Main seems to have taken its present larger form under the Smith ownership. In 1747, Ebenezer Smith deeded half a dwelling house, land, etc. with a line running through the front door, with privilege of a cart-way on the northeast end, and a spring in the cellar, etc.” to Ebenezer Stanwood, peruke maker for £200. Salem Deeds book 90 page 203. The description matches the present duplex structure, which has a cistern in the cellar and a driveway on the right.
Stanwood sold to Daniel Rogers, for £189, Nov. 8, 1766 (Salem Deeds book 120 page 81) His heirs sold the left half of this property to Moses Lord, July 5, 1833 (271: 39), and the right half to Steven Warner, Aug. 21, 1835 (338: 253). In the early 20th Century, the right side of the building had a small pharmacy attached to the front, owned and run by C. W. Brown. In 2014, when the house was renovated, a dilapidated rear ell was removed and was replaced with a large addition. The reconstructed building is still a two-family house.
The Christian Wainwright house
Before Ebenezer Smith sold his house to Stanwood, he sold a lot, with fifty feet frontage, to Daniel Tilton, March 1, 1732-3 (68: 149). Tilton sold the lot with “a certain messauge” to Christian Wainwright, June 2, 1741 (80: 295). Her husband, John Wainwright Jr. (1690-1739) had died at age 49 and left his wife Christian with three children. The great fortune left by his grandfather Colonel Francis Wainwright became greatly reduced, and the widow was granted relief by the court to sell various properties in order to care for and educate her children. Her house was in the presently empty small lot between 8 and 12 North Main Street, and can be identified as the house and possibly the tavern of Ebenezer Smith.
Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that in 1845, Joseph Baker bought the Christian Wainwright house and moved it to the intersection of Market and Saltonstall Streets, in order to enlarge his own property, which is described as being the historic old Treadwell Tavern, still standing at 12 N. Main St. The former Christian Wainwright house was being used as a tenement, fell into decay, and was removed by the Ipswich Historical Society after they purchased the Whipple House at its original location on Saltonstall St. The Whipple house was moved to the South Green in 1927.
(*Links to the Salem Deeds site will work only after you initiate a search session.)
Salem Deeds book 18, page 16: John Roper to Col. John Wainwright, a “certain dwelling house which was previously in the tenure of John Sparks,” for £40, March 27, 1705. (*It appears that Sparks owned at least two buildings at this location.)
Salem Deeds book 20, page 14: John Wainwright to Deacon Knowlton, for £220, “a certain annuity payable by John Smith to Mary Sparks, widow,” April 2, 1708
Salem Deeds book 90 page 203: Ebenezer Smith to Ebenezer Stanwood for £200, half a dwelling house, land, etc. with line running through the front door, with privilege of a cart-way on the northeast end, Oct. 1747.
“The c. 1718 frame, characteristic of late First Period treatment in its minimal decoration, nevertheless embodies certain features which link to earlier buildings in the Topsfield area, and even to the earliest buildings in Massachusetts. The massiveness of the frame and the use of beams which are deeper than they are wide relate the structure to the Parson Capen house of 1683. The deeply jowled corner posts are found also in the Stephen Foster house and the Zaccheus Gould house of c. 1700, suggesting a persistent local style of post treatment. The framing of door posts for interior doors into chimney girts and tie beams is a structural technique found in the earliest houses in Massachusetts including the Fairbanks house and directly derived from English practices. Normally superseded by other methods of framing doors in later houses, the use of such door posts in the French Andrews House is a rare and conservative expression of direct transfer framing practices.
“The house is also significant for the survival of original finish in situ. The fireplace trim in the left-hand room and particularly the wide board feather-edged sheathing in the right-hand chamber are noteworthy and up-to-date examples of late First Period finish. On the basis of these features and the minimal chamfering of the frame, Cummings felt that the house was built after Joseph Andrews of Boxford acquired the property in 1718, although earlier there was a single cell house on the site owned in 1693 by John French Sr.
“The structure was restored in 1919 under the direction of George Francis Dow to its present First Period appearance. Diamond-paned, leaded glass casement windows were installed and the chimney rebuilt from the attic floor with a decorative exterior pilaster modeled after the one on the Parson Barnard House in North Andover. First Period features are found in all four front rooms and the lobby. During the 1919 restoration later finishes were removed and the framing exposed. Remaining original finish was carefully preserved and new finishes matching the old ones were installed in many areas. The frame is a particularly massive one, the summer beams and tie beams being c. 8 inches wide and 12 inches deep. In both upstairs and downstairs rooms, front, rear and end beams show peg holes for the studs which flanked the original windows. The original windows at the center of each wall were approximately 28 inches wide. Joist spacing in the First floor ceilings is 21 inches on centers, while those of the second floor are spaced 25 inches on centers.
“In the left-hand room, the large kitchen fireplace with rear ovens appears to retain its original trim. Boards with a wide bead at the edge cover the jambs and lintel of the fireplace which is recessed about 8 inches, and is 58 inches high by 107 inches wide. The chimney girt and post are covered with boards also finished with a broad bead in this case almost a quarter round, at the edge. The rest of the framing is exposed. The summer beam has 2 inch wide flat chamfers and taper stops, while the girts are plain. The horizontal feather-edged sheathing which covers the outer walls was presumably installed during the restoration in 1919.
“In the lobby, vertical feather-edged sheathing enclosed the staircase, again presumably restoration finish of 1919. Cummings noted that posts for interior doors are framed into the chimney girts and tie beams, a very conservative construction technique. The door posts are molded along the outer edge. he attic displays a principal rafter, common purlin roof. In the cellar, there are two massive spanning beams each similarly decorated with 2 inch wide flat chamfers but for unexplained reasons running in different directions. There is a large fireplace with ovens in the right-hand cellar. Much of the firebox appears to have been rebuilt during the 1919 work. Because of the slope of the land, the right-hand cellar is at ground level.
“The house is associated with the early preservation movement, having been restored in 1919 under the supervision of George Francis Dow for Thomas Emerson Proctor. Dow, who was restoring the Parson Capen house further down Howlett St. at the same time was associated for many years with the society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. Dow made careful observations of the structure during restoration, recording the presence of early red paint or stain on the cover board of the plate hidden under a later cornice and the presence of an original attic window frame, “nailed to the exterior under-boarding through horns at the corners of the frame.” Dow installed a great deal of feather-edged sheathing in the house, both horizontal and vertical which resembles the surviving original finish to the extent that it is sometimes difficult to tell new from old. Most of what appears to be new sheathing, however, has an extra small molding on the feather-edge. Possibly Dow was sophisticated enough to add the extra molding as a label so that the new sheathing could be readily distinguished from the old. “
“#86 HOWLETT STREET🙂 J. H. Towne writes concerning this site: “A one story house built for John French stood upon this site about 1675. In 1718 it was sold to Joseph Andrews and, some time before 1798, it was raised to two stories and the easterly end was added. In the spring of 1693 H0wlett Street was laid out as a town way which passed (between Corp. French, his house, and barn). The barn originally stood in the orchard on the westerly side of the road. Towne does not give any information on the house during the 19th century, but it was still in the Andrews family when he was writing, and in the 1908 valuation it was assessed to Joseph E. Andrews’ heirs. About the time of World War I, it was purchased by Thomas E. Proctor and added to his extensive holdings, which included all of Great Hill on both sides of the Turnpike. After Mr. Proctor’s death, the Trustee for his estate sold the house and four acres of land in 1949 to Chalmer J. Carothers Jr., who had to do considerable work to make it livable. In 1955 John Healey, Jr. acquired title and occupies at this writing. “(1989)
“Here stands the French-Andrews house, a one-story house built for John French stood upon this site about 1675. In 1718 it was sold to Joseph Andrews and some time before 1798 it was raised to two stories and the easterly end was added. In the spring of 1693, Howlett Street was laid out as a town way which passed “between Corpll French his house and barne.” The barn originally stood in the orchard on the westerly side of the road. Here is where Thomas French’s son John lived. He was b. ca. 1637 in Ipswich, MA, and died ca. 1706 in Topsfield. Photos below are dated 1987 before remodeling.
“The French home of Thomas French and later belonging to his son John in Topsfield, MA, was built in 1675, and probably the second to the oldest standing French home in the country. The oldest French house in the U.S. is that of Richard French in Marshfield, MA. John was a tailor and moved to Topsfield, MA, about 1664. The house is located on Howlett St. This first period antique saltbox colonial house built in 1675 has been extensively restored. It is considered the oldest continuously occupied house in the town and is also part of the National Historic Registry. The home is very privately situated on 4 lush, botanical acres. Diamond leaded glass windows, 5 fireplaces, exposed beams and brick, wide pine floors, wide paneled wood walls and a wood roof all provide historical ambience. Each bedroom has its own full bath! A separate wing can be used as an in-law potential or as an extended master suite. The grounds are set up for entertaining and are professionally landscaped. ” House was for sale in 2006. and was again renovated. The House sold again in 2019.”
Architectural survey by Abbot Lowell Cummings, Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts, September 1974:
“TOPSFIELD: FRENCH-ANDREWS HOUSE (so-called), 86 Hewlett Street c. 1718: John French, Sr., had a dwelling here by 1693, presumably the same conveyed with his farm to John French, Jr., on December 2, 1701, in return for support throughout the balance of the elder French’s life. An agreement among the latter’s heirs on August 25,1707, would suggest that the dwelling deeded in 1701 was still in existence. That structure, however, as described in 1701, seems to have had but a single chamber, whereas the present house is of two-room, central-chimney plan and in terms of style and character of construction was probably not built until Joseph Andrews of Boxford bought the property from John French, Jr., on June 16, 1718. The house was purchased on October 11, 1917, by Thomas Emerson Proctor and restored in 1919 under the direction of George Francis Dow, at which time a modern leanto was added (although nineteenth-century photographs reveal the presence of an earlier leanto and a one-and-a-half-story ell at the west end) and a new chimney top constructed, modeled on that of the Parson Barnard House in North Andover. Privately owned.”
The farm at 204 Dodge Rd. in Rowley is associated with several mills on the nearby Mill River. A chamfered First Period summer beam indicates that the oldest part of the house was constructed by Isaac Platts in the late 17th Century. The rare New England Dutch gambrel-roof barn has a ceramic tile silo. Nearby on the Mill River, several water-powered mills were constructed.
“The estate was granted to Isaac Platts (1672-1711), and sold by his grandson Isaac Burpee in 1764 to Jonathan Burpee (105-151). Jonathan and Jeremiah Burpee in 1764 sold the estate of 40 acres with buildings, including the cyder mill to Rufus Wheeler (127-122). “Rufus Wheeler built the present house after he bought the place. The heirs of Mr. Wheeler sold the estate to Charles and Caleb Chaplin in 1856 (722-219). Just beyond where the Daniels road enters, the lot was sold in 1830 by Matthew Stickney to Calvin and Caleb Chaplain (258-200).”
“Caleb Chaplin in 1892 sold the estate to Brotherton Martin (1363-351). He in 1912 sold it to Fred W. Stuart of Beverly for a summer home (2180-416). Phineas Dodge sold (an additional) 17 acres in 1913 to Mr. Staurt (2192-457). He moved that house to a point near his house. The mill site and saw buildings were sold by Ernest and Sybel Walton to Fred W. Stuart (2204-70). With this purchase Mr. Stuart owned all of the land between the bridge and the southern side of the Chaplin Estate. All this he sold in 1929 to David H. Howie (2818-597).”
A house is shown at this location in the 1794 Plan of Rowley, with a sawmill some distance behind it. In the 1830 Rowley map, the owner’s name is Wheeler. In the 1856 and 1872 Rowley maps, the owner is “C. Chaplin.” The Chaplin family developed and grew the property from the 1830s until the end of the 19th century. Their deeds refer to part of it as the Stickney Farm. The ancient Stickney mill was along the Mill River behind the property.
Stickney family history in Rowley
Benjamin Stickney, born 4 Apr., 1673, moved to Rowley before 1694, and lived with Daniel Tenney on Long Hill Road, Byfield Parish. From 1699 to 1726 he purchased of various owners, land at Long Hill and built a house on top of the hill in 1700. This was his home throughout the remainder of his life and his eleven children were born here, nearly all of whom married into Rowley families. His son Samuel built, in 1733, a cloth mill, and soon after, a sawmill, on the site of what was in later years been known as Dummer’s sawmill. In 1735, he built a house near the mill, which was his home during the remainder of his life. He died 4 Apr., 1778. His great grandson Matthew Stickney sold a part of the estate between this property and Daniels Rd. in 1830 to Calvin and Caleb Chaplin.
The 1677 Platts-Bradstreet House is located on Rt.1A, 233 Main St. in Rowley is home to the Rowley Historical Society. The name of Jonathan Platts first appears in 1690 as a keeper of cows at that end of Town. Eight children were born to Jonathan and Elizabeth Platts. His son, Isaac Platts (1672-1711) had a daughter Hannah who married Jonathan Burpee. Isaac Burpee in 1764 sold this property to Jonathan Burpee, who in the same year sold the estate of 40 acres with buildings, including the cyder mill to Rufus Wheeler.
In the 1830 Rowley map, the owner’s name is Rufus Wheeler. His ancestor David Wheeler is said to have been brought to America in the ship Confidence, sailing from Southampton, England, April 24, 1638. He removed to Rowley, Mass., before 1669, the year his son Joseph was born. At a meeting of the Inhabitants of the Towne of Rowley, March 16, 1702-3, it was voted that the inhabitants of the Towne of Rowley living in the neighborhood near Long hill could join with the farmers of Newbury could build a new Meeeting House in what became the parish of Byfield. The Wheeler family were prominent members of the parish, and several settled in a nearby part of Rowley that is now part of Georgetown known as Wheeler’s Corner.
All branches of the Rowley branch of the Chaplin family are descended through the sons of Hugh Chaplain, Joseph, John and Jeremiah. The oldest section of the Chaplin–Clarke House at 109 Haverhill St. was built c. 1670 by Joseph Chaplin. John Chaplin, born 11 December, 1646 and his brother Jeremiah removed to the better farming area in the western part of the town at today’s intersection of Rt. 1 and Rt. 133. The neighborhood came to be known as Chaplinville, from the number of their descendants who have lived there. John Chaplin joined with his neighbors in setting off Linebrook Parish in June, 1746. He became a prosperous landowner, and lived to a great age, dying 24 January, 1767, in his ninety-third year.
Caleb Chaplin Sr., born 20 Mar 1764, was the son of John Chaplin and Hepsibah (Jewett) Chaplin. His son Caleb Chaplin (1783 – 1856) married Sarah Davis (1783 – 1857 ) of Topsfield. They had two daughters, Betsy and Sarah, and three sons, Charles, Caleb, and Calvin (1805-1879). On May 31, 1866 Calvin and Hannah Chaplin deeded half of their land and house to Charles Chaplin (Salem Deeds 704, 288). Charles and Calvin Chaplin are both listed in County records as living at Rooty Plain, occupation farmer. Rooty Plain was a small community on Rt. 133, in the vicinity of Dodge Rd., Boxford Rd. and the Mill River.
Stuart, Howie and subsequent owners
The barn and silo were constructed by Fred W. Stuart of Beverly, who owned the farm after the Chaplins, from 1892 until 1929. Stuart owned the patent for a “shoe last” with his son, Maxwell A. Stuart, and owned the F. W. Stuart & Co. at 16 Congress St. in Beverly, manufacturer of shoe lasts. Stuart’s accumulated properties included the Pearson Stickney and Dummer mill site on Glen St., as well as the nearby properties at 45 Long Hill Rd. and 66 Long Hill Rd. The 1920 tax assessment for Fred Stuart, from the Annual Report of the Town of Rowley, shows the value of the new barn being considerably more than the house. In the 1910 assessment, the house was valued at $850, but the larger of two barns was valued at $300, the same as in 1900. David Howie’s 1940 evaluation was $1000 for the house, and $2800 for the barn
He sold the farm and surrounding properties in 1929 to David and Harriet Howie, who owned the property from 1929-1951. Mr. Howie was employed in Boston and they lived in Rowley in the Summer. Rowley tax assessments for the period show a long list of properties throughout out the town that Howie owned. David Howie sold to James and Anna Hall, August 1951. The property was sold to Anne and Richard Harnett as Rowley Farms Trust in 1980, who sold it to the present owner in 2009.
Outwardly, the original front of the house faces away from the driveway and barn, but the opposite side has been modified so that it appears almost identical. The present downstairs hall is continuous from each of these doorways. An 18th or 19th Century stairway to the second floor descends toward the doorway opposite the barn and driveway. Although much of the early fabric has been removed, surprisingly, a First Period chamfered summer beam with a lambs tongue stop is exposed in the right upstairs bedroom, confirming that part of the present house dates at least to the 1735 home of Samuel Stickney.
The image in the 1794 Rowley map indicates a five bay house with a central chimney. A massive stone foundation for a central fireplace exists in the cellar. Based on these observations, the right side was a one-over-one very late First Period half house that was doubled in width after Rufus Wheeler purchased it in 1764. The central fireplace and chimney were later removed to create a central hallway during ownership by the Chaplin family. Further modifications and additions date to after the property was purchased by Fred Stuart in 1913, and by David and Harriet Howie, who owned the property from 1929-1951.
Barn and silo
By the late 19th Century, this property had become a large and profitable farm. The tall gambrel roof barn measures approximately 36′ wide x 60′ long and is in unusually good condition, with 20 oversized stalls, and an attached glazed tile silo of the same period. The present owner was told that the barn was built in the 1920s during the depression and took 5 years to build. The owner at that time hired out-of-work people to build it. Rowley tax assessments show that the barn was constructed during the ownership by Fred W. Stuart between 1910 and 1920.
There are two forms of gambrel barns, the Dutch gambrel, in which the eaves flare slightly upward past the walls, and the English gambrel, which appeared in the late 19th and early 20th Century, and has straight eves. The gambrel barn became popular in rural farm areas. The development of balloon-frame construction and the use of trussed rafters allowed clear spans above the stalls for large amounts of hay, using mechanized hay trolleys that came into favor. Driven by the need for massive hay storage, the English gambrel roof barn style had its “heyday” between the first and second world wars. Most of the approximately 600 American Dutch-style gambrel barns date to the 18th and 19th century, many concentrated in the Hudson Valley. It is unusual to see a large Dutch style gambrel roof barn in the North Shore area. A large gambrel barn is at Appleton Farms in Ipswich, but does not have the Dutch curves at the ends of the rafters.
Attached to the barn is a silo with glazed ceramic tile walls. Intensive dairying operations in New England during the late 1800s resulted in a switch from hay to corn. Silaging made possible the fermentation of the crop while it was green, instead of waiting for it to dry in the fields. Round masonry silos were structurally suited for the high pressures exerted by tall stacks of heavy wet corn; They resisted wind, eliminated dead corners, and made the threat of fire negligible. For a few decades, companies offered gas-fired ceramic hollow blocks in various color schemes for silos and surrounding buildings. Commercialization of these kits proved to be short-lived, as farmers found them overly expensive, and in the early 20th Century, farmers began using more-affordable concrete blocks.
Ada Martin to Fred Stuart 14 acres with the buildings thereon, “8 acres conveyed to me by Charles Chaplin, and all the real estate that was conveyed to me by Caleb S. Chaplin by his deed dated December 5, 1892” Salem Deeds 2180/461
George Brainard Blodgett in Early settlers of Rowley, Massachusetts wrote that the Mighill – Perley House at 100 Main St. was built for Capt. Nathaniel Mighill (1684 – 1762) at about 1737. A deed search finds that Nathaniel Mighill made dozens of land purchases in Rowley during the period when he presumably constructed the house.
Historian M.V. B. Perley was told that the house was constructed in 1769 by John Perley (1748 – 1811), who married Capt. Nathaniel Mighil’s daughter Hannah. The tradition is not born out by a search of purchases by John Perley during that period, and it is likely that John Perley inherited the house from his wife’s father. The house originally had a central chimney, which was replaced by John and Hannah’s son Captain Nathaniel Mighill Perley (1781-1836) with paired chimneys in a major renovation that included corner quoins and central hallway, sometime in the early 19th Century.
Members of the Mighill family played an important role in the Town during the American Revolution. On December 30, 1772, a town meeting was held regarding a letter from members of the Boston Committee of Correspondence concerning the rights of British American colonists now known as the “Boston Pamphlet. The Town appointed a committee of a dozen men, including Stephen, Nathaniel and Thomas Mighill to take into consideration the said letter and pamphlet, and to report to the town, at an adjourned meeting, “what they shall think proper for the town to do relative thereto.” Nathaniel Mighill, Esq., was chosen in July, 1775 to represent the town in “the Great and General Court to be holden at Watertown” on July 19, known as the Third Provincial Congress.
“John Perley, son of Samuel, was born in Linebrook Parish, Ipswich, 22 Nov., 1743, and was a 5th generation descendant of Ipswich settler Alan Perley. He removed to Rowley shortly after 3 Jan., 1769, and there made his home. It is said that Mr. Perley’s residence was located at the southern corner of the Common, on the right going south, and that the house now located there is the same; it has a curb roof, and in Mr. Perley’s day had an immense chimney in the center, which, it is said, his son Nathaniel removed when he thoroughly repaired the old mansion, running through it from front to rear door a wide and attractive hall, after the English pattern, erecting the two chimneys and covering its frame entirely new.
“John Perley was called captain. He might have been a sea captain, as one of his brothers and his son were. He married Lucy Holland, daughter of Joseph and Mary, in Linebrook, 2 May, 1765. She was born in Ipswich, where she was baptized 7 Jan., 1738. She died in Linebrook, 21 Feb., 1766. He married, second, Hannah Mighill of Rowley, 21 Sept., 1769. He was drowned, 28 Nov., 1811, at the age of sixty-eight years. His widow survived him only about ten months, dying 8 Sept., 1812, at the age of fifty-nine years. His first child was born in Linebrook, the other children in Rowley. Hannah’s descent was honorable. Her father, born 17l5, was Nathaniel Mighill, Esq., and her mother was Elizabeth Appleton, daughter of Col. Samuel Appleton. Her grandfather, born 1684, was Capt. Nathaniel Mighill, active against the Indians, and her grandmother was Priscilla Pearson, a descendant of John who built the first fulling mill and clothier’s works in America. Her great-grandfather, born 1651, was Stephen Mighill (son of Thomas the immigrant and his wife Ellen), who married Sarah Phillips, daughter of Rev. Samuel Phillips, second minister of Rowley, and Sarah Appleton, daughter of Samuel Appleton of Ipswich.
Captain Nathaniel Mighill Perley
CAPTAIN NATHANIEL MIGHILL PERLEY was born 6 July, 1781, in Rowley, the son of John Perley and Hannah Mighill. The residuary part of his mother’s estate fell to him and his brother John. He died in 1836 at age 55, and the Mighill-Perley house remained in the possession of his brother.
Captain Nathaniel Mighill Perley built the ship, “Country’s Wonder” in 1814 across the street on the common. This ship was then hauled with 100 yoke of oxen to the warehouse landing. This was a remarkable feat of the times, the vessel being of 100 tons burden, and the Warehouse Landing being over 2 miles from the common, where it was built. An account of the “Country’s Wonder” was published in both the “Essex Register,” a newspaper published at Salem under date of 7 May, 1814 and the “Salem Gazette” of 10 May, and a folksy quotation from The Bodleys on Wheels” by Horace Elisha Scudder, mixing the stories of Nathaniel Mighill Perley and his father:
“Captain Burly was a great man about here. He was a mighty smart man. Why, that fellow had command of a merchant vessel before he was twenty-one, and that meant something in those days. It meant that he was a merchant as well as a captain. He carried his cargo to the East Indies and sold it, and bought a cargo and brought it home. It took a good deal to make a captain in those days. Well, he had about the most iron-bound will of any man that was ever born, I guess. He had thirteen children. I knew ’em; stiff, unyielding men and women that knew their minds and could stand up to anybody. I never saw their like, but they bent like reeds before “Captain Burly.” Captain Burly wanted a snip, and he said he wasn’t going down to the river to build it. He’d build it by his own door, on Rowley Common. People laughed at him, and said they guessed Captain Burly was one too few this time, but the more they said the more he stuck to it. The people shook their heads, and some said he was Noah building an ark; and others said he was Robinson Crusoe that built his boat and couldn’t launch it ; but the old man knew better. When he was all ready, he went and hired all the oxen in the country round. Yes, sir, he had a hundred yoke of oxen here, and he hitched ’em to the vessel, and by the jumping gingerbread he hauled it down to the water. Pretty much all the country was there to see it.”
The house at 202 Main St. was constructed on the 18th Century Ezekiel Northend estate. Nathaniel Mighill’s son Thomas Mighill and Ezekiel’s daughter Sarah Northend were married November 13, 1750.
William Kilham and Lucy Ann Perley
Captain Nathaniel Perley’s brother John Perley married 4 Dec, 1817, Ann D. Haskell of Newburyport. Her death came by her own hand 22 Sept., 1842. He died of cancer, 24 Feb., 1861. In 1845, William Kilham of Boston, a 40 year old merchant, married the daughter of John and Anna, 25 year old Lucy Ann Perley, who survived her husband. The 1872 Rowley map and the 1880 directory show the owner of 100 Main St. as “Mrs. Lucy Killam.”
From the 1920s to the 1960s the owner were Dr. and Mrs. Oliver R. Fountain, who were listed as resident members of the Rowley Historical Society in 1920, and mentioned as owners of the house on Main St. in 1932 in the Mighell Kindred of America. Dr. Oliver R. Fountain is also listed as a resident at 40 Dudley St. in Boston, in the Clarke’s Boston Blue Book of 1908. Dr. Fountain, was the defendant in a 1929 case involving a patient’s visits to Cable Hospital in Ipswich and the hospital in Lynn, and a subsequent leg amputation. The outcome of that case is not known. The 1940 Census lists Oliver R. Fountain, a man born in 1881 in Maine, 59 years old at the time of the census, and living in Rowley.
The next owners in our records are Marjorie and Gordon Story, who moved to Rowley in 1964. Mrs. Story became active in the Rowley community where she belonged to the Congregational Church, the Garden Club, the Historical Society and was active with the Council on Aging. She was a member and past Treasurer of the Florence Jewett Society and was also the Rowley Representative for the Cable Hospital Auxiliary. In 1986 ownership was transferred to their son, Douglas Story and his wife.
June 12, 1897: Lucy Ann Kilham (of Boston) to Charles H. Mooney of Rowley, in consideration of one dollar, a tract of land by the land of Grantor, near the stone monument. (Salem Deeds book 1515, page 472)
December 11, 1897: Lucy Ann Kilham, “a widow and not married”, pasture land “formerly of Todd,” to David and Roscoe Perley (Salem Deeds book=1540 page 401)
June 3, 1899: Frank E. Simpson, from the Estate of Lucy Ann Kilham, deceased, “being part of the homestead of Hannah Perley, a certain parcel of land on the southeasterly side of Main St. near Rowley Common, previously conveyed to grantor by Lucy Ann Kilham”, transferred for one dollar to Charles H. Mooney. (Salem Deeds book 1576, page 552)
The land on which this house sits was given to Nathaniel Rogers, the second minister in Ipswich. His great grandson Daniel Rogers sold the Rogers homestead, “a certain messauge” to John Baker in 1761 for £160. (110:94). Thomas Franklin Waters believed that Baker built the present house, but it is more likely that he purchased the lot with the home of the recently deceased Rev. John Rogers, and remodeled the inside with Georgian features.
The appearance of the house suggests that it was constructed earlier, but there is no written documentation. The house has an asymmetrical front facade with two over two bays, the left rooms being larger. A single window is on the end of each room. The exterior shows a steep pitched roof with minimal eaves. This style of construction was common during the First Period during the late 17th Century Century and suggests a house constructed between 1680 and 1720.
While many First Period half-houses were double in width with the right and left sides of different proportions, it was also often the case that central chimney First Period houses were constructed intentionally with the “hall” side larger than the “parlor.” In a 1638 letter to John Winthrop Jr., Samuel Symonds gave instructions for how his house should be constructed: “Concerning the frame of the house…It makes no great matter though there be no partition upon the first floor; if there be, make one bigger than the other.” The Rogers-Brown house at 83 County Rd. has a similarly asymmetrical facade, and originally sat nearby facing the South Green. Several Ipswich and Essex County First Period Houses built in the era between 1680 and 1720 share a similar size and configuration.
The original, front part of the house is typical of the timber-framed hall-and-parlor style which began in post-medieval England. In this style, the two adjoining rooms are separated by a massive chimney, the entrance and stairway to the second floor rooms. The larger of the two downstairs rooms is the hall, which is the family room and was also used for cooking before rear additions were added. The smaller of the downstairs rooms is the parlor, a more private living space sometimes used as a bedroom. Because of the different sized rooms, the windows viewed from the front of the house are often asymmetrically placed. Common dimensions for a hall and parlor house were between 16 to 20 feet deep and up to 40 ft. wide for a central chimney house.
Exterior Structural Observations
The outward appearance of the house suggests that the frame of the house was constructed within a couple of decades of the beginning of the 18th Century based on the following observations:
Asymmetrical front facade is typical of houses built in the First Period. The Georgian era begins in approximately 1720, and within a short period of time almost all houses were being built with the door centered.
The roof pitch is steep, typical of First Period houses. The lack of a significant overhang or cornice is found in houses of the 17th Century.
The original house is a single bay deep, the traditional early hall and parlor layout, only 19′ deep, and with a single window at the end on each floor. The layout and size are almost identical to the Rogers and Brown Bed and Breakfast at 83 County Rd. That house was constructed before 1710 at its original location facing the Green, across from the John Baker House. It was purchased in 1750 by Samuel Rogers, and was moved to its present location in 1837 when the South Church was built.
The frame appears to be entirely of oak. By the middle of the 18th Century pine was being used more frequently. The earliest timbers were pit sawn, which show irregular saw marks. The saw cuts in the timbers in this house were produced by a saw mill, which were in use well before the 18th Century.
The Asher Benjamin front doorway is a Greek Revival alteration, similar to the Hodgkins-Lakeman house at 79 East. St.
Asymmetrical Hall and Parlor Framing
The John Baker house is one room deep with single windows, suggesting that it is an earlier house that was “Georganized” in the mid-18th Century.
All of the framing is boxed, which probably occurred when John Baker conducted a major aesthetic renovation to provide the interior of the house with fine Georgian features.
The left downstairs room has a recently boxed-in transverse summer beam, usually found on the second floor, or in the halls of single story houses. It would be simple to remove the boards to examine the beam for signs of a chamfer, or to conduct dendrochronology. Abbot Lowell Cummings noted that the distribution of transverse summer beams before 1725 occurred primarily in the area extending from Marblehead through Salem to Topsfield and Ipswich, and is rarely found in First Period houses in other areas.
Fireplaces and Chimney
The massive central chimney is typical of First Period and early 2nd Period houses. By the late Georgian era and in the Federal era it was more common to have two chimneys set in about a couple of feet from the two ends of the house. Cummings wrote that arched brick chimney vaults were invented in the last quarter of the 17th Century, and they are found throughout the 18th Century. The 1680 Ambrose Gale house in Marblehead has an arched brick chimney base. The 1776 Heard-Lakeman house at 2 Turkey Shore Rd. has an unusually large arched chimney base.
The massive kitchen hearth at the rear of the house faced a rear addition shown in an old painting of the South Green. The bricks appear to be of the earlier style. In 1679 the Court at Massachusetts Bay decreed that “the size of bricks be nine inches long, two and one quarter inches thicke, and four and a halfe inches broad.” Today the standard size is 8″ x 2 1/4″ x 3 1/2″.
The bake oven is inside the hearth. Edward P. Friedland, author of “Antique Houses, Their Construction and Restoration” wrote “Bake ovens of the earliest fireplaces appear in the rear wall of the firebox, a location that eventually shifted in the first quarter of the eighteenth century to the more convenient location at the side of the fireplace.” The book, “Something to Preserve” notes that in the 1720 Smith House on Argilla Road, “The large kitchen fireplace is located in the keeping room area in the rear, and smaller fireplaces are in the front areas.”
The First Period Phillip Call house on High Street also has a rectangular and very similar fireplace which previous owner Paul McGinley believed was added in 1725. Large brick hearths are found as early as the 1669 Joseph Wilcomb house, and continued to be used until adoption of the Rumford fireplace in the early 19th century.
The inside of the house has much original material, including Georgian paneling. Fireplace paneling in the two front rooms have wooden doors that cover bake ovens. The kitchen fireplace is in a newer room where an addition was originally added, and has the earlier design of bake ovens inside a massive hearth.
“Eared” moldings around the fireplace and in the door frames of the Baker House are noted around fireplaces in the Heard-Lakeman house on Turkey Shore Rd. and its neighbor the 1730 Burnham-Patch house. Cornice moldings at the Heard-Lakeman house and the Col. Baker house are also very similar.
In June 1636 Nathaniel Rogers sailed with his wife and family for New England, and was ordained pastor of Ipswich, Massachusetts, on 20 Feb. 1638, succeeding Nathaniel Ward as co-pastor with John Norton. He took the oath of freedom at Ipswich, and was one of a body deputed to reconcile a difference between the legalists and the antinomians. He died at Ipswich on 3 July 1655, aged 57.
August Caldwell in the Antiquarian Papers published in 1881 wrote, “The first Rev. Nath’l Rogers, 1638, built a house where the residence of the late David Baker now stands. A pail of that early Rogers house was incorporated into the house built by Thomas Baker, — the residence for many years of Mrs Mary Ann Choate. A silver cup with the initials N. R. was dug up in laying the foundation of the David Baker house.”
The will of the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers, Pastor of the Church at Ipswich, taken from his own mouth, July 3, Anno Domini 1655, was proved in court at Ipswich, 25-7-1655. He reckons his estate in Old and New England at about twelve hundred pounds, four hundred pounds of which ‘is expected from my father Mr. Robert Crane in England. He makes the portion of John, though his eldest son, equal only with the others, viz. Nathaniel, Samuel and Timothy, and gives to each one hundred pounds out of his estate in Old England and one hundred pounds out of his estate in New England. To his son Ezekiel he gives twenty pounds, which he may take in books if he pleases. To his daughter he has already given two hundred pounds. To his three grandchildren, John, Nathaniel and Margaret Hubbard, he gives forty shillings each. To his cousin, John Rogers, five pounds, in the hands of Ensign Howlett. To Elizabeth, Nathaniel, John and Mary, children of his cousin John Harris, of Rowley, he gives twenty shillings each. To Harvard College, five pounds. The remainder he leaves to his wife Margaret, whom he appoints executrix.
John Rogers 1
Although he was never ordained as a minister or trained as a physician, John Rogers ((January 11, 1630—July 12, 1684), the eldest son of minister Nathaniel Rogers, lived in Ipswich most of his life practicing medicine and assisting in the ministry of his brother-in-law William Hubbard, who served as Ipswich pastor for 50 years. He appears to have been the successor owner of the Rev. Nathaniel Rogers estate. John Rogers was appointed President of Harvard in 1682 but died two years later at the age of 54. After the death of President Rogers, his widow came back to Ipswich to live. She was a daughter of Gen. Daniel Denison, and lies buried near him at the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich. The inscription on the tombstone of President John Rogers in Cambridge reads:
“To this mound of earth is committed a treasury of benevolence, a storehouse of theologic learning, a library of the choicest literature, a living system of medicine, an embodiment of integrity, a repository of faith, a pattern of Christian sympathy, a garner of all virtues, in other words: the mortal remains of the Very Reverend John Rogers, son of the Very Learned Nathaniel Rogers of Ipswich in New England, grandson of Mr. Rogers of Dedham in Old England, whose name is illustrious throughout the world. He was a favorite and deservedly admired President of Harvard College. His immortal part was borne away from us July the 20th, A. D. 1684. His very dust is dear. ‘Tis all we have.”
Major John Whipple was the eldest son of Captain John Whipple Senior, and made his will in 1683. He gave to the wife of the minister John Rogers his slave, Hannah
John Rogers (2)
Salem Deeds (book 10, page 90) filed in 1694 is an indenture providing division of the estate of John Rogers between Samuel, Sarah, and John Rogers (2). The Rogers mansion went into the possession of Rev. John Rogers (1666 – December 28, 1745, age 79), son of the President, and likewise Pastor of the Church. He began his ministry as colleague with Mr. Hubbard in 1686 in his twentieth year, but was not ordained for several years. At the age of nineteen, Martha, daughter of William Whittingham and Mary Lawrence in Boston, married Rev. John Rogers on Mar. 4, 1690, in Ipswich. Martha survived her husband by 14 years, passing away at the age of 88 years, in Ipswich on Mar. 9, 1759.
The two Rev. John Rogers successively continued ownership of the property of Nathaniel Rogers, and a finer house was apparently built on that location by one of them during the late 17th or early 18th Century. When the South Church was built in 1746, the location was stated to be at the South Green “between the homestead of Mr. Jonathan Wade and the homestead of ye late Rev. John Rogers.” Mr. Rogers died of palsy in 1745 in his 80th year, after serving the church as its minister for 56 years.(*ref:Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Vol. II).
John Rogers (2) conveyed to his son Samuel, “all y’ part of my homestead or old orchard lying before the land that was Mr. Francis Crompton’s, from the South corner of sd Crompton’s land, by a strait line to ye street or highway, about one half acre, with all buildings, trees etc.,” May 6, 1734 (95: 181).
John Rogers gave to “my dear wife Martha Rogers all my personal effects…all my household goods and furniture….one half of my house, gardens, orchards and privileges…for the rest of her natural life.”
To his son Nathaniel he gave “half of my dwelling house, out houses….”
To his son John he gave “all of my land between Thomas Manning on the North, and (unreadable) Smith on the South, having the river on the west and the highway on the east.”
To his son Richard he gave the “easterly part of my orchard aside Crompton’s land.”
Dr. Samuel Rogers
Dr. Samuel Rogers succeeded in the office of Register and continued in office the rest of his life, from August 26, 1762 to Dec. 21, 1772. He was the son of Rev. John Rogers and grandson of President John of Harvard. A Harvard graduate of 1725, he served the Town and Colony in many positions of honor and usefulness, as physician, Town clerk. Colonel of a regiment. Justice of the Court of Sessions and Representative to the General Court. His home was originally opposite the home of his grandfather at the intersection of South Main, County and Poplar Streets, but was moved further down County Rd. to accomodate construction of the South Congregational Church. That house still stands at 83 County Rd.
Daniel Rogers, son and heir of Rev. John Rogers (2): Daniel Rogers was born at Ipswich Mass July 28 1707. He graduated at Harvard College, 1725, and was for many years one of the tutors of the college. In August 1748 he was ordained pastor over a newly gathered Church at Exeter in New Hampshire and in the same year married ) Anna Foxcroft, daughter of Rev Thomas Foxcroft of Boston. He continued his ministry in Exeter until his death on 10 December 1785.
The heirs of John Rogers transferred their rights to the property to Daniel Rogers on Oct. 19, 1748 (Salem Deeds book 84, page 272) Daniel Rogers sold the Rogers homestead with land and “a certain messauge” to John Baker in 1762 (110:94).
Col. John Baker’s date of birth is given as Feb. 2, 1721. Me married Eunice Pope on Nov. 4, 1745. Date of death was June 9, 1785. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote,
“The whole western portion of the original Argilla farm seems thus to have come into the possession of John Baker. Colonel Baker died Aug. 1, 1734, aged forty-four, and left the farm to his son John. The latter became a man of large influence and great public usefulness. He was Town Clerk for many years, one of the Committee of Correspondence and Inspection during the Revolution, Colonel of a regiment, feoffee of the Grammar School, and Justice of the Sessions Court, and not least of all, father of twelve children. His town residence was the substantial dwelling on the Heard property, facing the South Green. He took an active part in the leadership of the town, speaking out against the British Parliament in steps that led the Town into the Revolutionary War.”
The extended Baker family owned this side of the South Green. Aaron Smith, who built the house to the right of the Baker house married Lucy Baker. Her nephew David bought and tore down the old Compton Choate Inn that was located on the present site of the Whipple House. Behind the Col. John Baker house is the Gables, a fascinating Gothic Revival home designed by mathematician David Baker and built between 1832 and 1846.
Thomas Franklin Waters’ map of original land grants at the South Green, showing that the John Baker lot was granted to Nathaniel Rogers.
The Col. John Baker house is on the left side, looking in the direction of downtown in this old painting of the South Green
Col. John Baker House South Village Green Preservation Agreement
This house has a preservation agreement with the Ipswich Historical Commission.
The house at 44 Fellows Rd. is listed by the Ipswich Historical Commission as having been constructed in 1734 by Joseph Fellows Jr. The downstairs framing is exposed, showing rough-sawn pine beams and framing of a utilitarian construction. The stairway and upstairs of the house have casings and trim apparently from the 18th Century.
Fellows Road was known in early days as Fellows Lane, and is where William Fellows, who settled in Ipswich in 1635, is believed to be buried. Joseph Fellows, Jr. was born in 1678, the son of Joseph Fellows, Sr. and Ruth Fellows. His siblings were Mary Brown and Abigail Fellows. Joseph Fellows Jr. and his wife Sarah had two sons, Joseph Fellows and Benjamin Fellows. He died on September 8, 1762.
“In the ancient way, now known as Fellows Lane (*Fellows Road). Richard Saltonstall owned a forty acre ox pasture, which extended to Mile Brook. Thomas Firman owned a large pasture adjoining Saltonstall’s, which he sold to Thomas Low and Edward Bragg in 1647.
Joseph Fellows, son of William, began to purchase land here in 1681, and in due time acquired the Saltonstall and Firman pastures, and land owned by Nathaniel Jacobs. His son, Joseph, greatly enlarged the farm, until it included most of the land on both sides of the road. Generations of the Fellows line had their homes on various portions of this great domain.”
John Brown, son of John Jr. sold a small lot to Joseph Fellows June 13, 1732 (Salem Deeds, Book 67, Page 113). The deed following it describes a lot transferred from William Fellow to Joseph Fellows.
Dec 12, 1734: “Joseph Fellows son of Joseph (3) a tailor known as Joseph Jr. received from his father by gift or purchase 2 acres, bounded southeast and northeast on John Brown west and south on the homestead, always reserving a cart path through the premises. (Ipswich deeds 72: 258).
March 1756: Joseph Fellows’ father conveyed him an acre adjoining and another acre near the sheep pasture (Ipswich deeds 101:279). “He built his house on this spot, a small low dwelling still standing and owned in recent years by Thomas Roberts and Samuel M. Haskell…..We have identified (the Joseph Fellows lot) with the 20 acre field now owned by Mr. John H Brown.” (*Thomas Roberts is shown as the owner of a house on this lot in the 1872 map, but the description of a “small low dwelling” does not match the current structure.)
William Fellows, 6 son of Isaac, 5 sold to Capt.’ Joseph Gardiner of Boston, Oct. 27, 1832 (268: 14). Capt. Gardiner bought 3 acres adjoining of Ebenezer Cogswell, part of the old Nathan Brown farm, Jan. 4, 1737 (296: 294). Capt. Gardiner sold the house and 11 acres to Thomas Roberts, of Gloucester, shoemaker, Aug. 26, 1837 (302: 91.) Thomas and John Roberts bought of Tristram Appleton, 10 acres, part of the old Nathan Brown farm, including the cellar of the ancient dwelling, April 10, 1861 (620: 297). John Roberts and Sally sold to Samuel M Haskell, June 11, 1890 (1283: 514). It was sold under foreclosure of mortgage to John H. Brown, April 9, 1901 (1637: 277) who conveyed to Alphonso M. Knowlton and Frank C. Richardson, April 10, 1901 (1637: 279)
Waters’ detailed study of subsequent deeds to members of the Fellows family indicates that the Joseph Fellows house was inherited by more than one descendant, and was thenceforth owned and sold as two separate halves of the house in subsequent deeds.
In February, 1836 John B. Lakeman sold to his neighbor John Brown Jr. “in consideration of the sum of $350.00….one half of a certain dwelling house, being the westerly half thereof…with a small piece of land under and adjoining, bounded westerly by the heirs of John Brown deceased, being the same which was conveyed to me by Langley Brown and Francis Brown, and which was formerly owned by Abraham Brown. Also a certain piece of land containing 20 acres with a barn and other buildings thereon. (previously conveyed by the same parties).” (Salem Deeds book 289, page 56)
After passing through multiple owners, the house lot again became part of the John Brown farm and estate. The lot at the intersection of Fellows and Candlewood Roads was assigned in the mid-17th Century to John Brown. His descendant Josiah Brown built the house at that location, 56 Candlewood Road in 1812. For over two hundred and forty years after John Brown bought the farm,it remained by inheritance in the Brown family through successive generations. The Brown family extended the great farm on Candlewood beyond Chebacco Rd into Hamilton.
On the east side of the Bay Road, the great tract of pasture, tillage land, meadow and swamp, bounded by the Bay Road, Essex Road, the Candlewood Road, Fellows Lane and Lakeman’s Lane (*now known as “Parson’s Way) was a part of the Common land of the Town, and when the great area of Common lands was divided into Eighths in 1709, it became part of the division known as the South Eighth and was known as The Inner Common of the South Eighth. About 1720, the proprietors of the Inner Common apportioned individual shares, division lines were run and individual titles were then established.
In exploring the history of the building at 31 S. Main St. in Ipswich, I uncovered a tale of two families, one most fortunate, and the other less so.
A different house on the lot can be traced back to Isaac Fitts, a hatter, who petitioned for forty feet on the River bank in 1726, that he might set a dwelling thereon, which he accomplished in 1727. The house was purchased by Timothy Souther in 1794, and stayed in the Souther family until 1860. It was long known as the “Souther” house, and was taken down in 1917.
In 1928, The Dr. Joseph Manning house, also built in 1727 just a few doors down the street, was moved to this location so that an automobile dealership could be constructed across from the Old Town Hall. In 1928, Richard W. Davis sold the lot to Millard J. Patterson with the condition that he could maintain the right to enter the building and conduct repairs until it was removed from the lot to its present location.
Doctor Joseph Manning
In 1726, Dr. Joseph Manning built a fine early Georgian home on South Main Street opposite the intersection with Elm Street.
The first of the Manning family to arrive in Ipswich were John, who arrived in 1634 and Thomas, who came two years later. All that I know of them is that they were swineherds, and played a prank on poor Mark Quilter, wreaking havoc on his small house by dropping a calf down the chimney. Nonetheless, the Manning family prospered and became distinguished leaders of the town and pioneers in medicine. The Ipswich High School once bore the family name, and a street still does.
Joseph Manning was born in 1703 in Ipswich. He graduated at Harvard College in 1725 and returned to his native town where he served for more than 50 years as a physician, eminent and favorably known. Doctor Manning was the father of the legendary Dr. John Manning, whose home on North Main Street still stands.
“Dr. Manning owned the lot which is nearly opposite to the present town house (the Old Town Hall on South Main) and put up the square edifice still standing there. To make a substantial wall upon the riverside he needed large stones. In the river bed a mile or so down (the lower falls by the County Street Bridge) there were boulders in abundance. Selecting at low tide one of these he would put a chain about it and so mark its position as to be able to find it with no other light but the stars and moon. At night the ebbing tide would find the wily doctor with his boat anchored over the rock which would soon after be grappled to the little skiff. Then as the sea wave came the lifting and wafting force of the water was all that was needed to place the boulder in the very spot where he wished to have it. Small wonder that passersby on the following morning, seeing a large stone lying where no stone had been the night before and looking like a vast meteorite which had fallen from the sky, should turn their eyes askance as the young doctor passed, and almost fancy they detected a whiff of brimstone in the air.”
“Erected to the memory of Doc. Joseph Manning and Elizabeth, his amiable Partner in Life upwards of 46 years who died Jan. 30, 1779, in the 71st year of her age. He mourned her loss until the 8th of May, 1784, and then died in the 80th year of his Age. The toil of life and pangs of death are o’er And care and pain and sickness are no more. They both were Plain and unaffected in their Manners, steady and Resolute in their Conduct Humane,temperate, Just, and Bountiful.”
I don’t know if Dr. Manning knew Timothy Souther, an unfortunate young man who arrived in town in 1763, unwelcome and unwanted. In the 18th Century, towns were responsible for the poor people within them, and measures were sometimes taken to relieve the town of responsibility for residents who were unable to provide for themselves. Timothy Souther arrived with his wife in 1763, and was “warned out.” The town’s lack of hospitality did not serve him well, and in the book Memento Mori, a grave at the Old North Burial Ground at location D-41 tells us his sad story: “Here lies the remains of Mr. Timothy Souther who departed this life August 5th, 1766, in the 27th year of his age.” His widow, Sarah Morton Souther was only 23 years old. She married widower Paul Little of Newbury on August 30, 1772, and died in Windham, Maine on September 26, 1797.
Almost 40 years later in 1792, we read that another Timothy Souther, a native of Haverhill was also “warned out.” In the previous year he married Elizabeth Badger, daughter of Daniel Badger and Phoebe Lakeman, from an old Ipswich family. Timothy Souther was able to buy part of a small house near the Choate Bridge for his family, but things did not go well for him. A grave at the Old North Burial Ground for three-month-old Charles Souther, who died in 1799 shows his parents as Timothy Souther and Elizabeth Badger.
This Timothy Souter died in the West Indies at 36 years of age in 1804. By then he had sold “half of the half” he owned, but his wife Elizabeth Badger Souther continued living in the northwest corner of the house until her death on December 31, 1841 in Ipswich at age 74.
Their son, also named Timothy Souther, was born in Ipswich on April 7, 1800. He appears to have done much better, and at one time owned a home on Meeting House Green where the Kaede Bed and Breakfast is today. He involved himself in the affairs of the town, and in 1829 this Timothy Souther became the collector of customs for the district and inspector of the revenue for the port of Ipswich at the old Custom House.He was caught up in a payback scandal, and in 1842 Souther moved with his family of five sons and two daughters to Alton, Illinois, where he served as the postmaster of that city from 1846 to 1854.
A mystery unraveled
The old Souther house near the bridge, or at least part of it, stayed in the family until 1860, and was always known as the Souther house. Thomas Franklin Waters stated that the Souther house was torn down shortly before 1917. In 1928, the lot with Dr. Joseph Manning’s fine old home on it was sold by Richard W. Davis to Millard J. Patterson with the condition that Davis would still own the building and would have the right to maintain the foundation and eaves, enter the building and conduct repairs as long as the building remained on the lot (2814-20). By 1930 the house had been moved and a new automotive dealership had taken its place. That building now is home to AnnTiques.
Based on architectural evidence, family history and deed research, the oldest (center) part of this house appears to have been the home of Lot and Elizabeth Conant, the first of that family in Linebrook, constructed in 1717. This would make it an addition to the approximately 60 First Period houses in Ipswich. The Ipswich assessors site gives a date of approximately 1700 for the house, which was supported by structural observations. In the summer of 2019, the purlin roof and central chimney and fireplace were removed in a major reconstruction, and only a few beams in the ceiling remain of its original appearance.
In July 1717, Lot Conant sold his property in Beverly and moved to this location. This house is one of a cluster of homes built by the extensive Conant family in the Linebrook. It appears to have originally been a two-bay-wide, story-and-one-third cottage with the chimney in the right-hand bay. A fireplace with a brick oven is in the oldest section, supported in the cellar by a stone foundation.
The attic framing of the central original single-cell portion has gunstock posts supporting collar beams that were cut off after the additions were added on either side. The walls are plank construction with diagonal wind braces.
The original roof was of principal rafter and purlin construction, unique to the English colonies of New England during the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.
The unusually small purlins that were in this house are found in roof construction around the years 1690-1720, as found in the 1701 Matthew Perkins house on East Street and the 1696 Harris-Stanwood house on Water Street. Abbot Lowell Cummings wrote that earlier First Period houses had move massive purlins, and that in the second quarter of the 18th Century, builders returned to using them well into the 19th Century.
The walls in the oldest section of the house are wide-plank construction with windbraces, a construction form found in the early 18th Century.
The Records of the Town of Manchester demonstrate the era of plank framing. About 1690, John Knight built a house “of one story, 18 feet long on the front… The frame was of oak, covered with one and a half-inch plank.” And in 1719 the town of Manchester voted to build a new meetinghouse, and that “the hous shall be planket and not studed.”
Abbot Lowell Cummings noted a high concentration of plank framed houses with wind braces in Wenham, originally part of Beverly, more or less from the same decade, and that “it can thus be argued that the plank frame was a known structural variant in New England by the late Seventeenth Century, although the majority of carpenters in all parts of the area clung to the traditional English method of framing walls with studs and nogging.” (The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725, pp 89-92).
There was a one-room addition to the right by 1860, with typical post and beam construction. Before 1900 a lean-to had been added to the rear of the building. Over the right-hand addition the principal rafters are butted together, suggesting an approximately 1850 construction date. Two bays were added to the left end of the house c. 1900 with modern stick construction, and the lean-to was extended behind it with a concrete slab floor.
The Conant family in Linebrook
Lot Conant was a direct descendant of Roger Conant, who founded Salem MA in 1626. In July 1717, Lot and Elizabeth Conant sold their property in Beverly and moved to the Linebrook area. On the 30 July, 1717, he bought the homestead of Daniel Foster, of Ipswich, for £460, containing 90 acres of upland and 17 acres of fresh meadow; “also one old common right in the common land of Ipswich.” (Essex Deeds, Vol. 33, p. 16.) Daniel Foster, born in 1660, was the son of Isaac Foster, and grandson of Reginald Foster the settler.
Item. I Give to my beloved wife Elizabeth all my indoor moveables, viz. Corn of all sorts: and wool and flax and Cider as well as other household goods to use and dispose off as she shall think most convenient and I give her the improvement and benefit of one-third part of my Real Estate both buildings and lands as fully as she could have it if I made no will, and give sd. wife the use and profit of one-third part of my live stock which shall be Left after my Debts and funeral charges shall l)e paid, During her natural Life and she is to have her firewood brought to the door and cut lit for the tire one half thereof by my son Joshua and the other half by my son William so long as she shall remain my widow, and my said sons Joshua and William are to find a horse for my said wife to ride to meeting on and other where as she shall have occasion so Long as she shall continue my widow, furthermore I give to my said wife all my money or bills of Public credit that be left at my Decease for her own use.
Item. I give to my son Jonathan all my buildings and Lands in Beverly and all my interest in Land Lying in Marblehead.
Item. I give to my son Joseph one hundred pounds in old Tenor bills of Credit or so much in money or bills of Public Credit as to be equal thereto and to be paid by my son Joshua within live years after my Decease.
Item. I give to my son Joshua one half of all my Lands and meadow lying in Ipswich and Topsfield both for Quantity and Quality with half of the buildings thereon and half of my utensils of husbandry only reserving liberty in my now Dwelling house as may hereafter be mentioned for my daughter Elizabeth.
Item. I give to my son William one half of all my Lands and meadow lying in Ipswich and Topsfield with half the buildings thereupon reserving liberty in my now Dwelling house as may hereafter be mentioned for my daughter Elizabeth and I give to my son William half of my Utensils of Husbandry and all Sheep that shall be left at my Decease.”
Joshua, , b. 19 Oct., 1707, in Beverly, moved to Ipswich with his parents; was a farmer. He died intestate 3 Apr., 1749, and his wife was appointed administratrix. She presented an account 30 May, 1757, and an additional account 6 Dec, 1763, in which she charges herself with various sums paid, including to Joshua’s brother William, for interest in his father’s house. The estate was appraised at £604. (*A history and genealogy of the Conant family, page 184). This shows that the house built by Lot Conant was still standing.
The 1744 will of Lot Conant granted land and buildings in “Topsfield and Ipswich” to his sons William and Joshua. William Conant purchased or obtained 53 acres with land and buildings from his brother Joshua. In 1765 he was appointed guardian of his brother Joshua’s sons. He died in 1784; his will lists sons William, Moses and Aaron, and daughters Eunice and Elizabeth.
The owner in the 1872 Ipswich map is Joseph Conant, born 6 Nov. 1811, and died 20 Oct. 1885. He was a farmer and shoe-maker in Linebrook, without issue. The local newspaper wrote of him: “He was a quiet man, a good, obliging, social and esteemed neighbor. In his manhood’s prime he was identified with parish affairs, serving it in various capacities. He was one of the proprietors of the church edifice, and assisted very materially in its erection. His active life earned him a comfortable property, and his sobriety and kindness a good name.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Benjamin Fewkes Sr.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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)
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.
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).