Joseph Gould house, 129 Washington St., Topsfield MA (ca. 1710 / ca. 1725)

Joseph Gould house, Topsfield MA

The Capt. Joseph Gould house is an enigma; a substantial early 18th Century house constructed in at least two stages, and the only First Period house in our area believed to have been constructed two rooms deep (aka bays or piles) deep. The 1710 Gould Barn that once sat on this property was dismantled and reconstructed at the foot of Howlett St.

The three bay east side of the house is the oldest, and the house achieved its present appearance when the left side, also of three bays was added c. 1725. Typical of the period, spacing of the windows is irregular, although most are vertically aligned. The chimney on the right original side is more substantial, and the fireplace below it in the downstairs room is the largest in the house. The roof is of substantial principal rafter and common purlin construction on the two sides of the house. In addition to the depth of the house, another transitional feature is the eaves, which appear to have originally featured a plaster cove.

Inside the house, framing is doubled at the junction of the earlier and later sections, and is exposed in several rooms in both sides of the house. Transverse summer beams (instead of longitudinal) are on both sides, measuring 11 1/4″ in general, featuring flat chamfers with “lambs tongue” taper stops. Summer beams in the upstairs of the west side are unchamfered. Story posts in the rear section are elaborately molded, similar to several houses in Salem. Simpler gunstock posts are found in other rooms. Downstairs in the entrance and rear room west (later) part of the house, posts and beams have narrower flat chamfers and simple triangular taper stops. Measurements for the joist spacing is about 25″ on center. A reused chamfered summer beam can be seen in the cellar.

Conflicting studies

  • The MACRIS listing and nomination papers for the Joseph Gould house state that the oldest section was always two rooms deep and dates to before the 18th Century.
  • The “Old House Whisper” John Cole and Eleanor Bailey studied the house, and wrote that the earliest part was a one over one room “half house” structure built for Joseph Gould about 1712 at the time of his marriage to Priscilla Perkins. Cole observed a reused summer beam in the basement, and believes the house was expanded to the west and in the rear around 1751 at the marriage of Joseph Gould 2 to Elizabeth Emerson. He does not, however, reconcile the preponderance of First Period (pre-1725) architecture throughout the house with mid-18th Century.
  • Abbott Lowell Cummings is known to have visited the house but his notes and observations have not been discovered.
  • Kari Ann Federer did a comprehensive study of the house in 1989 which is copied in part below.

Capt. Joseph Gould house
Rear, Capt. Joseph Gould house. The left side in this photo is believed to be the older half.

The Joseph Gould House and barn

Kari Ann Federer, Boston University, December 18, 1989 (excerpt)

INTRODUCTION

This is a study of two late first period buildings in Topsfield, Massachusetts, the Joseph Gould House and the barn which stood on the property, until it was dismantled in 1983. Both house and barn were constructed in two phases, the second doubling the original in size and following its plan and form quite closely.

The resulting six bay dwelling was essentially two end chimney houses built back to back, with chimneys up against each other, creating something like a central chimney house. The barn totaling nine bays, consisted of two classic five bay barns side by side with one bay overlapping.

This double house and a double barn existed by the mid-1700s and were occupied, at that time, by two different, though probably related families. Traditionally, the older half of the house was said to date prior to 1700 and the second half shortly thereafter. The popular tale was that the later section was added to make the house into a duplex for father and son. However, research into deeds and probate records has suggested that both of these traditions are inaccurate.

This study is an attempt to shed light on the history of the Joseph Gould farm by examining the original framing and construction of the house and the barn, as well as the overall layout of the farmyard and the changing uses of these spaces.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE JOSEPH GOULD HOUSE

The eastern half of the Joseph Gould house was the first portion to be constructed. It was initially an end chimney house, two and a half stories high, one room wide and two deep, with the chimney at the west end of the dwelling. The house measured twenty seven and a half feet wide and twenty eight and a half feet deep. The rear rooms were about two thirds as deep as the front ones.

The Gould house is now covered in clapboards, attached with wire nails, which must all be replacements. However, the original house would also have been sheathed in unpainted clapboards. The roof cornice overhangs about a foot along the front of the house and diagonal boarding is said to cover a plaster cove.

The nine over six sash windows now on the Gould house are later eighteenth century replacements. The current configuration of this eastern section of the house is not original, as the chimney has been moved to the east and a room created in what had been the chimney bay. Evidence of this alteration includes Federal mantels on the fireplaces of the southeast rooms upstairs and down, well as the fact the transverse summer beams were off center in these rooms lying closer to the chimney wall than would be expected.

Due to this alteration in the chimney bay of the Joseph Gould house, no evidence of the original entry door, staircase, or fireplaces can be seen. It might be assumed that the configuration of the chimney bay was fairly typical of the late first period. In New England houses of the First Period, the staircase and entry were usually combined, with the stairs rising up across the front of the chimney.

The staircase from the first to second floors of the Gould house may have been a straight run composed partially of winders. The open balustrade, with turned balusters and molded hand railing would have housed within a closed string.

Under the stairs would have been molded vertical sheathing and perhaps a door to the cellar stairs. However, a trapdoor to the root cellar currently exists in the northeast corner room of the house and there is no reason to believe this is not its original location.

In this first half of the Joseph Gould House, the frame would have been entirely exposed, though some members are now boxed. All summer beams are transverse and these timbers are continuous from the front to the back of the house, proving that both stories were always two rooms deep. Joist spacing in this part of the house, is twenty five inches on center; a measurement consistent with the late first period date of the house. Where visible, all summer beams and girts have flat chamfers with lambs tongue stops except for those of the chimney girt in the rear room, which have triangular stops.

As in many other houses with transverse summer beams, the most highly embellished parts of the frame are the story and chimney posts. These have elaborately molded heads with a deep quarter round and two fillets. It seems to be only the rear posts that are fancy, however. Most of the front framing members are now boxed, but the front chimney post can be seen, and this is much simpler with only a very wide flat chamfer on its sides. The rear corner posts are similar to this one, as are all visible posts on the second floor.

In the attic, one can see that both halves of the Joseph Gould house are constructed with a principal rafter, common purlin roof system. Each half of the house consists of four pairs of rafters, bridled at the ridge, creating two three bay sections. On each slope of the roof are five purlins trenched over rafters, with the ridge purlin resting in a notch cut into the upper rafter. Massive long collar beams tie together the rafters in the older (eastern) half of the house. These ties, along with the rafters, are finished with narrow flat chamfers.

The rafters are doubled at the transition point between the two sections of the house. When the second half was added, another complete house frame was built up against the old one. Visible in the ridge between these two frames, are original clapboards from the exterior west gable end of the earlier house. The roofing system of the second half of Joseph Gould house is very similar to that of the first. The frames line up exactly, though the later section has slightly heavier purlins and no collar beams, but struts rising up from tie beam to rafter instead.

In plan, the second half of the Gould house copied the original. However, the west half is about six feet narrower, being only twenty one feet wide. The basic configuration of this half of the house has not been altered. The five foot wide western chimney bay is in its original location, though the chimney stack is now smaller than it would have been.

The stairs from the first to the second floor and also up to the attic, are still in their initial location in front of the chimney. The staircase is typical of the late First Period, with turned balusters, but a plain newel post. Molded paneling under stairs makes it clear that there were never cellar stairs there. A trap door to the root cellar also exists under this half of the house. The staircase was probably a double run with landing, originally. The current unusual configuration was most likely created when the chimney was rebuilt and narrowed. An empty space was left behind the chimney and it was logical to use this as an easier way to reach the rear chamber.

The summer beams are also transverse in this second half of the Joseph Gould house. Much of the frame is now boxed, but it is visible in the rear rooms, upstairs and down, and in the front entry. Typical of the less decorative embellishments of the end of the First Period, very narrow chamfers with taper stops can be seen in rear rooms. The rear story post has a fancy molded head, similar to those in the older half of the house. However, all other posts in the rear room are simple with only very narrow flat chamfers on their sides. In the west front entry hall, the front chimney and corner post can be seen and these are very plain with almost no chamfers at all. Upstairs, the rear posts are undecorated and here the summer beam is the only chamfered member.

Sometime later in the 18th century, the frames in the west front rooms of the Joseph Gould house were boxed and the first floor room was embellished with a corner cupboard. Some of the feather edged panels on the fireplace wall of this room may date from the construction of the house, as this became very popular in the early 18th century. The raised paneling in the west front chamber may also be original. This type of decoration came into use by about 1725 and like other new fashions, was often tried upstairs in the chambers first.

Typical of the First Period, the Joseph Gould house was built facing due south, while the barn backed up to the north west wind.This created a sheltered farm yard in front of house and barn and later outbuildings added between the two protected it even more.First Period barns were often located in front of the house, closer to the road, in order to show off the family’s stock and store of supplies. As the location of man-made structures helped to bring coherence into a chaotic world, the forty five degree angle between the ridgepoles of the Gould house and barn enforced the disjunction between the artificial rational world of man and the irrational dirty world of livestock.

BACKGROUND OF THE GOULD FAMILY AND THE SETTLEMENT OF TOPSFIELD

The area which is now the town of Topsfield, Massachusetts was originally part of the seventeenth century plantations of Ipswich and Salem. During the 1630s and 1640s, large grants of Topsfield land were given to Ipswich Residents. The land where the Joseph Gould house stands was part of the Captain Patrick Grant, which like many of these large land holdings, was soon divided and sold. In 1644, three hundred acres of it were purchased by Zaccheus Gould (1589-1668), who had arrived from England in 1639 and decided to settle in the newly developing community of Topsfield. Twenty years later, in 1664, it is estimated that Zaccheus Gould owned some 3000 acres, 580 in Topsfield and the rest in neighboring Boxford. At this tine, Zaccheus sold his entire estate and house in Topsfield to his only son John Gould (1635-1710), who had come with him from England as a young child. John Gould lived in his father’s house, past which Washington Street was laid out late in the 1660s. He and his wife Sara (Baker), who were married in 1660, raised eight children, one of whom was Joseph, born in 1677.

CONSTRUCTION HISTORY OF THE JOSEPH GOULD HOUSE AND BARN

Although Joseph Gould is traditionally said to have built his original house prior to 1700, there is no recorded deed giving him land until March of 1709. At this time, John Gould, who was nearing the end of his life, divided his estate among his surviving sons. Joseph was given sundry parcels of upland, meadow, and woodland in Topsfield and Boxford. This deed was not specific about the boundaries or acreage of the property, but it should be noted that it did not mention any buildings on the land, nor does it indicate that Joseph Gould owned any of the abutting land previously.

In 1709, Joseph Gould would have been 32 years old, but still unmarried. It seems quite likely that the first half of his house was not constructed prior to this time. This conclusion is supported by a map of Topsfield printed in 1950 for the town Tercentenary, which labels the house “Abbott 1709” (Abbott being the owner at the time). This date also coincides with that which First Period barn expert Robert Blair St. George has assigned to the earlier half of the Gould barn.

In the process of establishing his own farm, Joseph Gould probably built the first halves of his house and his barn in 1709 to 1710. A few years later, in 1712/13, Joseph married 23 year old Priscilla Perkins. The two immediately began a family, Priscilla giving birth to their first child in 1714. The Goulds had eleven children, but only six survived past early childhood. The only surviving boy being Joseph Gould (2).

The second half of the Joseph Gould house was traditionally thought to have been added to the west of the existing house, built between 1700 and 1720. Perhaps the later end of this range is correct. No documentary evidence could be found for the construction date of this portion of the house. According to the probate inventory of Joseph Gould (1) it was certainly in existence by 1753. The features of this western end of the house are typical of the late First Period and thus it is unlikely that it could have been added any later than the 1720s. The second half of the barn was also standing by 1753 and Robert St. George felt it must date from between 1720 and 1750.

The traditional story tells that the second half of the Joseph Gould house was built to make a duplex for father and son. However, as Joseph (2), the only surviving Gould son, was not even born until 1725, it seems impossible that it could have been constructed specifically for his use. None of the Gould girls were grown and married by the 1720s either.

On the other hand, there are no deeds indicating that Joseph Gould sold off a portion of the house, or even any land near his house. It has been suggested that the addition of the western half of the Gould house was simply an unusual way of enlarging the original dwelling. Building two complete frames up against each other makes the house appear to have been constructed as a duplex, but this was not necessarily the case. Perhaps Joseph Gould made the addition to his home during the 1720s in order to house his growing family. He may have had in mind that one of his children would occupy half of the house, later when the family had grown, and thus built the house so it could easily accommodate this purpose.

The farm was indeed being used as a two family home in 1753, when Joseph Gould’s inventory included only the easterly end of the dwelling house and half of the barn. The inventory does not make clear who owned the other halves of the buildings and there is no evidence that Joseph Gould (1) ever sold them to anyone else. Therefore, it does seem probable that Joseph Gould (2), who was married in 1751 at age 24, was the occupant of the western half of the house and barn by the time of his father’s death. This could have been the origin of the story about the father and son duplex. Joseph (2) was willed the remainder of his father’s real estate and by the 1760s was being taxed for the entire farm.

–Kari Ann Federer


Images

Joseph Gould house, Topsfield MA
Joseph Gould house, Topsfield MA
Stair railings and sheathed wall in the Capt. Joseph Gould house
Main stair rail, turned posts and vertical sheathing in the Capt. Joseph Gould house
fireplace, Capt. Joseph Gould house
Living room fireplace Capt. Joseph Gould house
Post and beam in the in the Capt. Joseph Gould house
Post and beam in the in the Capt. Joseph Gould house
Kitchen rear wall, ornamental post in the Capt. Joseph Gould house
Kitchen rear wall, several ornamental posts in the Capt. Joseph Gould house are very similar to posts in the 1675-1693 Stanley-Lake house in Topsfield, the “1675” Jonathan Corwin house in Salem, and the 1679 Balch house in Beverly.
Gunstock post in Captain Joseph Gould house
Gunstock post, beam and girt in the Capt. Joseph Gould house
Capt. Joseph Gould house
Summer beam, rear kitchen in the Capt. Joseph Gould house
Joseph Gould house
Rafters and purlins in the Joseph Gould house.
Window in the Joseph Gould house in Topsfield
Front window in the Joseph Gould house. Angled jambs and casings are similar to those found in the c1730 Richard Nichols house on Franklin St. in Reading.

Capt. John Gould (1635-1709)

John Gould inherited part of the 3000 acres of land owned by his father Zaccheus Gould (1589-1668), whose home is believed to have been nearby on Washington St., and was already an important citizen of the town of Topsfield. During the Revolution of 1686 for which Ipswich claims fame, Capt. John Gould was imprisoned for opposing Gov. Andros. He served as selectman, and gave a depositoin agains Sarah Wilds, his neighbor, who was hung as a witch during the Salem hysteria. Capt. John Gould and his wife Sarah (Baker) Gold conveyed their farmlands to their five sons.

Capt. Joseph Gould (1677-1753)

Joseph, who married Priscilla Perkins, received the homestead. Like his father, he served as selectman, and was elected to the General Court for seven terms. In his will, dated March 1753, Capt. Gould gave his household goods to his wife, and one third of the use of the estate, as was customary at the time, with “the liberty of the Great Room in my Dwelling House and the improvement of half the cellar und Said Room.”

Major Joseph Gould (1726-1803)

At the time of Joseph Sr.’s death, Joseph Jr. was living in the westerly wing with his wife Elizabeth Emerson Gould, and assumed ownership of the farm. Joseph Gould Jr. is said to have played an important role in the Battle of Concord and was made a major in Col. John Cogswell’s Regiment. At his death, the house was inherited by Joseph 3, who married Ruth Porter of Danvers. In 1867, the house passed out of the Gould family.

Joseph Gould house Topsfield about 1900
The Joseph Gould house and the Gould barn, about 1900.

Sources:

The William Livermore House, 271 Essex St. Beverly MA (1671)

William Livermore house, Beverly MA

The original single-cell end of the house is sheathed in vertical boards, while the left addition has horizontal sheathing. The right front rooms of the house exhibit late First Period features. The second-phase rooms to the left, stairway, and the first-phase right chamber exhibit good early second period details, suggesting a circa 1725-30 construction date for the addition.

The house was beautifully restored by Bill Haight and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Deed and genealogical material below provide evidence for the original owner of this house.

Deed for sale of house by William and Elizabeth Livermore to William Hooper April 24, 1697

“By these presents witnesseth that I William Livermore with my wife Elizabeth of Beverly in the County of Essex Have bargained & sold unto William Hooper of the same Town my house which I now live in with all ye out houses and appurtenances therewith belonging as an acre of ground with all the fences and apple trees except six apple trees and three plumb trees for ye said houses of land William Hooper is to pay or cause to be paid to William Livermore or his assignees the full and just sum of thirty five pounds in current pay as followeth, ten pounds in hand and twenty pounds in dry fish to Mrs. Brown or Nicholas Woodbery at or before the last of July next 1670. The wife of William Livermore hath paid to Captain Price one pound thirteen shillings & ten pence & ten pounds more (…..) in year 1674. The remainder of 35 to be paid to William Livermore when my wife doth surrender up to William Hooper or his assignees all ye house and land above mentioned upon ye last of September One Thousand Six Hundred & Seventy& do give him quiet possession our selves and assignees to warrant him against all opposite whatever.

–William Livermore (his mark), Elizabeth E. Livermore (her mark), first day of November, 1676 (Source: Salem Deeds site, book 11, page 236)

William Hopper sold to Joseph Corning, August 17, 1713; one and one half acres of upland in Beverly with house, barn and shop “bounded easterly by land of Dr. Hale, southerly by land of Joseph Morgan, and westerly by the road.” (Source: Salem Deeds site, book 28, page 176.) Although the surname is spelled differently, this is the only Beverly land transfer listed for William Hopper or William Hooper in Beverly during the 1644 – 1799 period. There are no maps for the neighborhood during that time area, so we have no way to be sure that these deeds refer to the present house or land. (note: The Samuel Corning house in Beverly is also first period.)

Livermore Whittredge

William and Elizabeth (Houchin) Livermore had one daughter, Charity (1657-1700).

  • In 1681 Charity married Lt. Thomas Wittridge (1657-1717), a descendant of William Whitredge (1596/97-1668) of Ipswich. William Whitteredge, age 36, a carpenter, came to America in 1635 on the “Elizabeth” with his wife Elizabeth, 30, and son Thomas, 10. He was in Ipswich, Mass. by 1637 and died in December 1668, probably in Ipswich.
  • Thomas and Charity Wittridge had six children, William (1683-1726), Charity (1685-1734), Thomas Whittridge (1687- ), (1689-1755), Elizabeth (1691-1776) and Sarah (1693-1762).
    •  When she was 25 years of age, Sarah Whittredge married John Morgan (1693-1752), son of Samuel, Jr., and Sarah (Herrick) Morgan. John Morgan was a lieutenant at the siege of Louisbourg, the French citadel commanding the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. (*Note that the 1713 deed listed above shows sale of what is believed to be this house shows an abutter as Joseph Morgan.)
  • Lt. Livermore Whittredge was born 1703 in Beverly and died July 28, 1773 in Beverly. He was the son of Thomas Whittredge, Jr. and Thomas, Jr.’s second wife, Sarah Herrick Morgan Whittredge.

This house is traditionally associated with Livermore Whittredge Sr. and Jr, who were members of the Committee of Correspondence and active privateers during the Revolutionary War. The brigantine Fanny, owned in part by Livermore Whittredge, on a voyage from Beverly for Hispaniola with a cargo of fish, was captured May 28, 1781 by the English brig Providence and taken into New York.

The last will and testament of Livermore Whittredge Sr.”yeoman” of Beverly, dated July 23, 1773, names “Mary my well beloved wife. “I Give to my Daughter Rebeckah Mansfield ye use of ye west chamber in my Dwelling house, To Live in for as Long as She Shall Continue a Widow.” The will names four sons — Thomas, William, Livermore, and John Whittredge — and four daughters: Mary Langdon, Rebeckah Mansfield (a widow), Hannah Dodge, and Charity Ford. On August 3, 1773, the will of Livermore Whittredge was presented for probate. His widow signed her own name “Mary Whittrage.” Inventory of the estate included “about 25 acres of homestead” in Beverly, plus other property, for a total of about 83 acres.(*Mary Whitteridge was the daughter of Thomas Gage of Beverly.)…………..

Sally Whittredge who was born there 13 Dec 1786 the daughter of Livermore Jr. and Lydia Herrick Whittredge and married goldsmith Nathaniel Fowler of Beverly. On Feb. 10, 1808, Sally in her right sells Thomas Whittredge “the westerly half of a dwelling house, buildings and land, the late mansion house of Mr. Livermore Whittredge deceased of Beverly..”

Living Room in the William Livermore house
Living Room in the William Livermore house

In his book, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay 1625-1725, Abbot Lowell Cummings wrote: “For the North Shore, the bulk of the earlier houses date to the last three decades of the seventeenth century and the opening years of the eighteenth century. Many of these buildings reveal a stylistic affinity, especially in the prevalence of the transverse ground-story summer beam supported on posts ornamented with carved shoulders. Of ninety examples of this transverse, as opposed to the more common longitudinal positioning of the summer beam located at Massachusetts Bay, fifty-eight are located in Salem or its derivative communities, while an additional seventeen are to be found in Essex County towns just above Salem.” (The Samuel Corning house in Beverly has similar carved posts.)

Fireplace and room in the William Livermore house

In his book, The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay 1625-1725, Abbot Lowell Cummings wrote: “The Hall fireplace measured seven to nine feet on the average in width of opening, and the parlor fireplace six to eight feet. The depth was never more than three and a half feet, and the height of the opening to the bottom of the lintel was between four and five feet. Despite the fact that one is apt to find the rear corners of the workaday hall fireplace squared off, both hall and parlor openings could be enhanced in purely decorative terms by having their rear corners rounded and by the insertion of a panel of brickwork laid up in herringbone fashion at the center of the rear wall behind the smoke panel. The hall fireplace was invariably wider, owing primarily to the presence of an oven. This was followed by a dramatic reduction in the size of the cooking fireplace when, during the second quarter of the eighteenth century, the oven was removed from the opening altogether. Bake ovens were not invariable in the earliest years, although by the later decades of the seventeenth century at Massachusetts Bay the oven in the hall fireplace had become a commonplace fixture.”

Room with fireplace in the William Livermore house
Post head supporting summer beam in the downstairs oldest section of the William Livermore house.
Post head supporting summer beam in the downstairs oldest section of the William Livermore house.
Identical massive arches support the first floor fireplace on the chamber and parlor sides of the William Livermore house.
Identical massive arches support the first floor fireplace on the chamber and parlor sides of the William Livermore house.
william-livermore-house-side-view
Side view of the William Livermore house. The front left corner of the house in this photo is the original house, doubled in width by the early 18th Century. The roof was replaced or altered when the house was extended to become mass scale in depth.

 References and sources:

Edward Browne House, 27 High St., Ipswich

Edward Browne house, 27 High St., Ipswich MA

This is a mid-to-late 17th Century house with 18th Century additions and refinements. The oldest part of the house at 27 High St. is the east side, which began as a one-room-over-one-room floor plan, built at least in part in the second half of the 17th Century. The first floor east side summer beam and chimney girt have beveled chamfers and flat “lambs tongue stops” found almost exclusively in the 17th Century. By the 18th century, summer beam beading was minimal, as found in the 18th century casings surrounding structural elements in the second floor of this First Period house.

Edward Brown was the original owner of this site in 1639 and died in 1659. His widow survived him and married second, July 1, 1660, Daniel Warner. In his will, also affirmed by hers, the house was left to his son Joseph. Joseph died in 1694, and may also have been the original builder. The “e” in the Edward Browne’s surname was dropped in successive generations.

Architectural elements in the west side and the saltbox shed are indicative of the mid-18th Century, and can probably be attributed to the ownership of John Brown (died 1758) or Daniel Brown (died 1796).

17th Century structural elements (east side)

Summer beam and chimney girt in the east side of the Edward Browne house, 27 High St. in Ipswich
The pine summer beam and chimney girt of the main east room have simple chamfers, similar to those found in the Fairbanks House in Dedham, which was constructed in 1641, and are the primary indicators of the age of the Edward Browne house in Ipswich. Similar chamfers and stops are in the c1700 Caldwell house on High St. and the 1688 Thomas Knowlton house on Summer St. in Ipswich. This summer beam had been recently sanded at the time of this photo.
Georgian quirk molding
Quirk molded casing around summer beam, second floor east side of the Edward Browne house. Often the framing on the first floor of First Period houses was chamfered and finished, while the upper floor was left more rustic. Structural elements in the second floor of east side of the Edward Browne house were probably boxed later, with quirk-beaded boards.
“Cox head hinge” in the east side of the Edward Browne house, identical to broken cocks head door hinge from the Chadbourne site, c 1690.It is unknown if this hinge is original; the other hinge on the same door is a more typical strap hinge.
Quirk beaded post and beam casings
East side bedroom: boxed quirk beaded casings around corner post and girt, from remodeling typical after 1720.

18th Century structural elements

In the mid-18th century the west side of the house was built, completing the common central chimney, two-over-two configuration. Later a rear lean to was added, greatly increasing the depth of the house. Most of the present trim dates to the 18th century and early 19th century. The significant architectural features of this house are protected by an agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Commission

The west side downstairs room inside the Edward Brown house is later than the east side.
The west side downstairs room inside the Edward Brown house is later than the east side.
fireplace in the west side of the Edward Browne house, 27 High St. in Ipswich
Fireplace in the downstairs west side of the house
second floor floorboards and joists in the west side of the Edward Browne house, 27 High St. in Ipswich
joists and floor boards, west side of the Edward Browne house. Wide saw marks on flooring are indicative of 17th and 18th Century power-driven band saws
Paneling and fireplace in Ipswich house
Upstairs west side paneling and fireplace, Edward Browne house. This fireplace appears to be a predecessor to 19th Century Rumford fireplaces.
Fireplace, west side of the Edward Browne house, 27 High St. in Ipswich
Fireplace in upstairs west side of the Edward Browne house
Gunstock post, west side of the Edward Browne house, 27 High St. in Ipswich
Somewhat atypical gunstock corner post, west side of the Edward Browne house
Early colonial wallpaper
Early stenciled wallpaper, discovered in the west side of the Edward Browne house.

Attic

Saltbox rafter and purlin framing in the Edward Browne house in Ipswich
Original attic rafters and purlins in the east side of the Edward Browne house are hewn, while the rafters in the west side and the saltbox extension are sawn. The saltbox extension extends from the ridge pole but the original rear rafters remain in the attic, also found in the 1684 Thomas Low house on Heartbreak Road in Ipswich.
Attic ridge pole, Georgian addition to first period house
Rafters and ridge pole in the west side attic of the Edward Browne house
Paneled wall, first period house
Possibly early paneled wall, staircase to attic in the Edward Browne house

Masonry

Bricks in the large early fireplace in the downstairs east side of the Edward Browne house have been parged with cement, and are no longer observable. The house has a massive stone chimney base, found in the 17th-18th Centuries, although arched brick chimney bases are more typical of the Georgian era. The original fireplace on the oldest (east) side is approximately 7′ wide. Three stages of the chimney construction are clearly visible in the attic.

bricks in colonial house, Ipswich MA
Chimney, attic of the Edward Browne house. In the middle is the early First Period chimney, as determined by the large bricks. On the right are additional bricks relating to the west wing. On the left are bricks for the fireplace in the saltbox addition. Brick sizes in the first half of the 18th Century were smaller.
Bricks in the Edward Browne house
Three generations of bricks in the Edward Browne chimney. Clay mortar was used throughout, and lime mortar above the roofline, as is typical.
The oldest bricks in the core of the Browne house chimney vary up to 2 1/2″ in height
Smoke Chamber, first period hosue
Looking up into the smoke chamber in the second floor roof of the east side of the Edward Browne house, 27 High St. in Ipswich. Used for curing meats, accessible through a door in the second floor, east side bedroom.

Bricks

The primary characteristics that help determine the age of this house are property assessments of Edward and Joseph Brown, summer beam chamfers in the downstairs east room, variable sized bricks, up to 2 1/2″ tall in the central chimney core. Large clay bricks were used from 1630, but in 1679 the Massachusetts Court ordered that brick sizes be standardized at “9 inches long, 2 1/4″ thick.” A Massachusetts act in 1711 consolidated all previous brick laws and set the size at 9″ x 4″ x 2 1/2″. Re-used early bricks are found in houses constructed into the 18th Century, and between 1750 and 1780, bricks diminished in size despite the law, with the smallest 18th Century bricks being about 7 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ x 1 3/4″.Modern bricks measure about 7 1/2″ x 3 1/8″ x 2 1/8″. Read: “Early Brick Laws in Massachusetts” by Orville W. Carroll

Mortar

Modern mortar was invented in the 19th Century. Abbott Lowell Cummings wrote in his seminal book, “The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625-1725: “Clay was the only “mortar” in which the bricks of the chimney stack were laid, to the level of the roof at least, and the efficacy of this material is abundantly proved by the soundness and plumb condition of a substantial number of early chimneys…Not until late in the (17th) Century were extensive beds of limestone discovered at Newbury.” Clay mortars continued to be used until the mid-19th century.

Early owners of the Edward Browne house

Early land grants on High Street in Ipswich MA
The Edward Browne lot is on High Street, one of the original land grants in Ipswich, from the book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Edward Browne (through 1659)

Edward Browne came to Ipswich with the original settlers and married Faith Lord. Although he served as a Marshal of Ipswich, he and several other men were brought to court because their wives were seen wearing finery above their station. Puritan law required one to prove 200 pounds in savings to justify such extravagances. He made his will on 9 Feb, 1659 to his wife, Faith; sons Thomas, Joseph and John; and daughters, but no names mentioned, and his brother Bartholomew of whom he purchased the land on which this house sits.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about the Edward Brown house in his book, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Volume I: “The Edward Brown lot of one acre (was) southeast from Bradstreet. He had a son John, who resided in Wapping, England, in 1683, when he sold land in the common fields left by his father Edward, (Ips. Deeds 4: 533).

“Edward Browne was of Ipswich, colony of Massachusetts Bay, between 1654 and 1660, and is the same who from 1656 to 1659 bore the title of “Marshall’* Browne, indicating the office he held in the colony. He died February 9. 1659-60, in Ipswich, leaving a will which read, “My will is that after my said wife’s decease my son Joseph shall have and enjoy my dwelling house & appurtenances & privileges belonging there unto, together with all the rest of my land & meadow.” (The Probate records of Essex County, Massachusetts).

The will mentions his wife Faith and his brother Bartholomew, and his estate was appraised at a little more than £250.00. By comparison, the cost of Massachusetts houses constructed during that era ranged from £12 for modest homes to £200 to finer ones (“Prices and Wages by Decade“). His widow survived him and married second, July 1, 1660, Daniel Warner.” (Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Boston and eastern Massachusetts)

2nd Generation Joseph Brown (through 1694)

The widow Sarah Caldwell’s deed to her son Dillingham gives the eastern bound “land formerly Joseph Brown’s.” From the Probate Records, we learn that Joseph Brown (1) died before 1694, and that his estate was divided to his sons, John and Benjamin (Pro. Rec. 313: 559, 560), in 1721.

Joseph Browne, son of Edward and Faith Browne, born about 1639, was a turner, living in Ipswich, where he died September 30, 1694, at night. His estate inventoried two hundred seventy-five pounds five shillings. He married in Ipswich, February 27, 1671, Hannah Asselbie, who survived him. (Interestingly, the value of the estate of Joseph Brown had not improved significantly over that of his father.)

Third Generation, John Brown (through 1758)

Children of Joseph Brown, all born in Ipswich:

  • 1. Joseph, born February 18, 1672-3; was a cordwainer, and still living in 1742.
  • 2. John, March 12, 1674; yeoman and turner; died May 7, 1758. (inherited the house)
  • 3. Hannah, February 26, 1675-6; married before 172 1, Simon Finder; was a widow in 1740.
  • 4. Thomas, December 26, 1678.
  • 5. Elizabeth, married November 5, 1701, John Holland.
  • 6. Lieutenant Samuel, house carpenter ; married Martha Jacobs of Ipswich (published February 21, 1708) ; died August 16, 1763.
  • 7. Benjamin, yeoman and miller; bought three quarters of the Adams and Farley mill, 1732; married Elizabeth, widow of Thomas Foss, and died February 16, 1733-4.
  • 8. Sarah, married Richard Rindge (published 3, 9 mo., 1716) ; was a widow in 1741. (Genealogical and personal memoirs relating to the families of Boston and eastern Massachusetts)

Fourth generation: Daniel Brown (through 1796)

John Brown, Turner, granted in his will, proved in 1758, to Elizabeth, his wife, “all the household goods she brought to me, and all the linen she hath made since I married her to be at her Disposal;” to his son John, the improvement of the two lower rooms and the northeast chamber and some real estate; to his daughter Esther Adams, and the children of his daughter Mary Lord, the household goods; and all the residue of real estate to his son Daniel (Pro. Rec. 335: 229). The house, barn and land were valued at £60 (Pro. Rec. 336: 17). Daniel Brown bequeathed the improvement of his property to his widow Hannah, during her life or until her second marriage.

Fifth generation: Daniel Smith (through 1844)

Daniel Brown made his nephew, Daniel Smith, his sole heir. The will was approved, Jan. 4, 1796 (Pro. Rec. 364: 232). Daniel Smith’s will, proved in 1844, provided for the division of his estate among his sons, Daniel Brown Smith, Thomas and Benjamin, and the Probate Record contains this interesting item: ‘Daniel Smith was a Revolutionary pensioner, that he died on the 28th day of January, 1844, that he left no widow, and that he left seven children and no more, viz. Daniel B., Thomas, Benjamin, Polly Lord, Elizabeth Treadwell, Sarah Perkins, & Anna Kimball, and that they all of them are living and each of them is of full age” (Pro. Rec. 412: 315, 310).’

Fifth generation: Thomas Smith

Thomas received the homestead, and occupied it until his death at a great age, when he bequeathed it to his nephew Charles Smith, who removed the old buildings and built his present residence in the rear of the site of the homestead. Daniel B. received a part of the house-lot and built a house upon it, which he sold to his son, Nathaniel P. Smith, March 1, 1866 (707: 16).

Resources and further reading:

Richard Rindge house, 5 County St., Ipswich

Richard Rindge house, County St., Ipswich MA
5 County Street, the Rindge-Pinder-Leatherland house (1718)

The history of this house is complicated. The 1832 and 1856 maps show no house at this location. A house first appears in the 1872 Ipswich map, owned by Ignatius Dodge, the same year that the existing house is believed to have been moved from Summer Street to this location. Deeds show that Ignatius Dodge sold it to Nellie W. and Willis S. Auger in 1891.

Early history of the lot

According to Thomas Franklin Waters’ map of settler land grants, the lot at 5 County Street was granted to or purchased by John Warner. Abraham Hammatt wrote about the Warner family: “William Warner with his two sons, John and Daniel, and one daughter who married Thomas Wells, came from England and settled in Ipswich, in the year 1637.” John Warner owned the lot at the corner of County and East Streets, and also obtained and sold two lots on East St. just past Spring Street. Warner then moved to the settlement in Brookfield in 1660 as one of that doomed town’s earliest settlers. Two of his six sons, Samuel and John, remained in Ipswich.

County Street Ipswich MA
County St. left to right: the Caldwell house at 11, the Benjamin Dutch house at 9 , the Thomas Dennis house at 7, the Rindge-Pinder house at 5, and the home that was constructed on the corner of the George Russell lot at 3 County St. It may be a wing that was added to the William Treadwell house that was removed from the corner of East and Spring Streets

Waters wrote that Robert Dutch was in possession of the lots between Summer St. and East Street by 1660. Part of the land was sold to Thomas Dennis, whose 1670 house still stands at 7 County St. The 1714 home of Benjamin Dutch, son of Robert, also still stands, at the corner of County and Summer Streets.

The 1872 village map identifies a building on this lot as “I. Dodge, Shoe Manufacturing” with an empty lot on the corner. At that time Ignatius Dodge owned and lived in the Thomas Dennis house next door at 7 County St.

Daniel Clark bought the old Rindge house on Summer St. and it was moved to this location, which is where his son Phillip operated an undertaker’s and cabinet shop.

Map of settler land grants as determined by Thomas Franklin Waters
Map of settler land grants drawn by Thomas Franklin Waters indicates that the lot at 5 County St. was part of the John Warner grant.

Visual inspection of the 5 County Street house:

  • The height of the basement is less than 4′, and the stone foundation is capped with bricks and mortar.
  • Exposed massive summer beams divide the front room from the rear in the lower and upper floors, terminating with “lambs tongues” indicating First Period construction. All four interior corners of the house have gunstock posts.
  • Framing in the attic is typical purlin and rafter construction. The roof framing on the north side of the house has repairs that may indicate where the location of the original chimney. Lack of the original fireplace and chimney stack helps confirm that the house was moved to this location. The chimney seen in the photo below extends to the basement, with openings in the lower and upper floors for a wood or coal stove pipe.
  • Wide floor boards in the front room also indicate early construction.
5-county-streetview
5 County St., photo courtesy of J. Barrett Co. The 1872 and 1896 maps and the 1893 Ipswich Birdseye Map don’t show the house that adjoins it on the corner of East St. The 1910 village map shows the present configuration of houses.
5-county-inside
Inside the front room at 5 County St., Photo courtesy of J. Barrett Realty.
Summer beam showing "lamb's tongue"
Summer beam showing “lamb’s tongue” at 5 County St.
gunstock corner post
The upstairs of the house features gunstock posts in the corner framing

Original location on Summer Street

Margaret E. Welden wrote the MACRIS record in 1978 that this house is thought to have originally been located at the homestead of Samuel Dutch on Annables Lane (Summer Street). Richard Rindge, cordwainer, purchased that lot. 38 1/2 rods, bounded northwesterly by Nathaniel Hovey and southeasterly by land of Samuel Dutch, for 24 pounds, 16 shillings in 1718 (Salem Deeds (49:259). Dutch had sold the lot to Hovey earlier in the year and sold the other lot to Jonathan Pulcipher, who built the house still standing at 15 Summer St. in the same year.

This establishes the original location of the Rindge house at 13 Summer Street. It is unknown if this was the home of Samuel Dutch, or if Richard Rindge constructed it after he purchased the Summer Street lot. The antiquity of the framing suggests the possibility that this is an earlier dwelling. Read more about First Period construction.

It is assumed that Richard Rindge built the present structure. A search of the Salem Deeds site finds the following.

  • Richard Rindge et al. made an agreement with Nathaniel Hovey, his neighbor, November 1722 regarding sharing the cost of digging a well and the use thereof. (39: 203)
  • Richard Rindge Jr. sold to John Pinder Jr. “a certain menage or tenament” on Annable’s Lane (Summer St.) on February 5, 1760. The abutting neighbors are listed in the deed as Jonathan Pulcipher, Captain Nathaniel Treadwell, and Nathaniel Hovey, with liberty of the well forever. (163; 23) .
  • John Pinder’s widow, Sarah sold”a certain piece of land” on Annable’s Lane to Wm. Leatherland, Jan. 3, 1799 (Salem Deeds 163:256), and it remained in the Leatherland family until 1872, when Daniel Clark bought the property, bounded northerly by existing land of Daniel Clark, at an auction from the estate of Jacob Leatherland, insane, for $1000 (855:157).

The Rindge house is moved to County Street

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote in the book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony published in 1915 that Clark’s son Phillip operated a cabinetry and undertakers business in the 5 County St. house at the time of publication, but it is not clear that he maintained ownership of the house.

county_3-5-7-russell
The house is circled in this closeup from the 1884 Ipswich Village Map. The house at 3 County Street (corner of County and East) was built in the middle of the 19th Century by George Russell, whose extended family lived in or owned the buildings at 3, 5, and 7 County Streets.
county_5_macris
The house at 5 County St. in the 1980’s

Discrepancies and Research Notes

Discrepancies between the maps, the history recorded by Thomas Franklin Waters and the MACRIS site have not been resolved.

Waters wrote the following about the location of the house on Summer Street at https://archive.org/stream/ipswichinmassach00water#page/440/. The book was published in 1905. The problem is that the house he refers to no longer exists at that location he describes. The house standing at that spot now on Summer Street was built in 1872 by Daniel Clark, and served as a funeral home under the ownership of Phillip Clark. That house still stands: https://historicipswich.org/13-summer-street/.

“The next of the original Dutch lots was sold by Richard Ringe, heir of Richard, who had bought in 1718, with a house, to John Pinder Jr., Feb. 5, 1760 (163: 23). His widow, Sarah, sold to Wm. Leatherland, Jan. 3, 1799(163: 256). By order of Probate Court, Chas. A. Sayward as guardian of Jacob Leatherland, insane, sold the property, and it was purchased by Daniel Clark, Feb. 21, 1872 (855: 157). It is now owned by his son, Philip E. Clark, whose cabinet shop and undertaker’s establishment occupies the site of the old house.

Waters wrote that the age of this house on County St is unknown. It seems unlikely that an old house would have been replaced by another old house. https://archive.org/stream/ipswichinmassach00water#page/416/

“Robert Dutch was in possession earlier than 1660, as he mortgaged his house and land in that year to Thomas Bishop (Ips. Deeds 2: 45). He sold a lot to Shoreborne Wilson, a cooper, who built a house and cooper’s shop on it, and sold to William Searle May 19, 1663, his lot being bounded by Dutch’s on three sides (Ips. Deeds 3: 133). Searl sold to Thomas Dennis, Sept. 26, 1663 (8: 69) and Robert Dutch sold Thomas Dennis part of his house lot, Nov. 16, 1671 (Ips. Deeds 3:201). John Dennis sold to Charles Smith, a house and thirty rods, Feb. 28, 1791 (156: 91) ; Smith to Jeremiah Goodhue two and a half acres, Feb. 19, 1798 (165: 140) : Goodhue to Jacob Treadwell, May 11, 1807 (180: 188). Eliza Treadwell, daughter of Jacob, married Ignatius Dodge, and her heirs still own and occupy. The age of the present dwelling is not known.”

The information stating that house was moved comes from research by Margaret Welden in the 1978 for the Massachusetts historic house inventory, MACRIS, where we occasionally errors or unsubstantiated history. http://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=IPS.17. The information may have been provided by Victoria Sandler, who was the owner at that time. Welden gives page 440 of Waters’s book as her source, which is about the house on Summer Street as I mentioned.

The layout of the book may have confused Welden. The Title of of Page 440 is “Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony” and the top of the adjoining page 441 is “County St. West Side.”

“This house is thought to be one built on the south side of Summer St, by Richard Ringe after he bought property there in 1718 (49:259). William Leatherland bought that house in 1799 (163:256), and it remained in the Leatherland family until 1872. Then Daniel Clark bought the property (855:157) and removed the house to its present location on County St. Like the many early 18th century houses remaining on the south side of Summer St., the Leatherland house is a simple artisan’s dwelling.”

The numbers in parenthesis are the deed book and page, which are online at the Salem Deeds site. http://salemdeeds.com/salemdeeds/Default2.aspx

Sources: