How one house became two

68 and 74 Essex Rd. in Ipswich

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote in “Candlewood” that the lots at 68 and 74 Essex Rd in Ipswich were part of the original grant to Rev. Nathaniel Rogers, who was ordained pastor of Ipswich, Massachusetts, on 20 Feb. 1638, succeeding Nathaniel Ward as co-pastor with John Norton. He died at Ipswich on 3 July 1655, aged 57. As was customary, desirable residents were granted a lot for a house in town, and a larger lot beyond the town commons for a farm. The farm was inherited by Rogers’ two sons, John Rogers who had become president of Harvard College, and Samuel, who received a house and 8 acres (Ips. Deeds 5: 146).

68 Essex Rd., Ipswich MA
The house at 68 Essex Rd. in Ipswich was built in 1832

In March 1832, George W. Heard sold an acre and a half to Levi Brown, who had bought a half acre from his father. The Brown family were prominent settlers of the Candlewood area. He built a dwelling that stands at 68 Essex Rd., and is known as the “Levi Brown house.” Brown quitclaimed to his brother Francis, who sold to Henry S. Holmes, 2 acres and buildings, March 9, 1842 (330: 18). Holmes sold to Willard B. Kinsman, April 1, 1851 (456: 112), who enlarged the 1832 house by building a connected new house facing the highway.

The Patch family of Ipswich was related to the Brown family of the Candlewood neighborhood through marriage. Margaret Patch deeded property with a building thereon to Emily Patch in 1897. The 1910 Ipswich map shows a house just to the east of 68 Essex Road occupied by “Miss Patch.” Emily G., Patch, a single woman acquired the property from her mother Margaret Patch in 1897, and appears to have lived in the house for her entire life. The property was willed to Anne Bell Burrage by the will of Emily G. Patch in 1950.

74 Essex Rd., Ipswich MA
74 Essex Rd. in Ipswich was originally added to the house at 68 Esseex Rd in 1851.
Anne Burrage
Anne Bell Burrage

In 1953, the front part of 68 Essex Rd. was separated from the rear section and was moved to the adjoining empty lot at 74 Essex Rd., purchased by an Anne Bell Burrage, wife of Albert Cameron Burrage Jr. from Neil C. Raymond. The combined Burrage property was referred to as the “Patch Trust.” Mr. Burrage was the son of Albert Burrage, a wealthy industrialist residing in Boston who became president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1921 and was the founding president of the American Orchid Society. In 1933, seven women met at the Ipswich home of Mrs. Albert C. (Anne) Burrage, Jr. and formed the Herb Society of America for the intent of research and study.

The house still standing at 68 Essex Rd. is owned by the Raymond family under the title “Buttonwood Trust.” The 1832 front addition that was moved to 74 Essex Rd. in 1953 or 1954 is the Willard B. Kinsman house.

1832 Ipswich map
1832 map showing the house of Levi Brown.
74 and 68 Essex Rd. in Ipswich when they were two halves of the same house.
68 Essex Rd.
68 Essex Road as the front section was being prepared for its move to #74. The house at #68 was restored and the central chimney was added at that time.
74 Essex Rd. being moved from 68 Essex Rd.
74 Essex Rd. when it was still in front of 68 Essex Rd.
74 Essex Rd. being moved from 68 Essex Rd.
74 Essex Rd. being prepared for the move from 68 Essex Rd.
74 Essex Rd. being moved from 68 Essex Rd.
74 Essex Rd. being moved from 68 Essex Rd.
74 Essex Rd. being moved from 68 Essex Rd.
The front section from #68 Essex Rd. being moved to its new location at #74. The truck is a 1945 Ford pickup.
74 Essex Rd. being moved from 68 Essex Rd.
The house at its new location at 74 Essex Rd. after being moved from 68 Essex Rd.
68 and 74 Essex Rd. in Ipswich
Aerial view of 68 Essex Rd. on the left, and 74 Essex Rd. on the right

Sources:

30 East St., Ipswich MA, the “Francis Jordan house”, c. 1670

30 East St., Ipswich, the Francis Jordan house
30 East St, Ipswich, the Francis Jordan house
30 East St, Ipswich, the Francis Jordan house

The oldest section of the house at 30 East St. in Ipswich was probably built in the 1660-80 time period, but the actual date and identity of its first inhabitant is uncertain. Massive chamfered timber frames from the First Period (1620-1720) of construction in the English colonies are exposed in both downstairs rooms of the house. The lower and upper east side rooms feature “lambs tongue” chamfer stops. Dendrochronology is needed to determine the actual age of the timbers. A construction date as early as 1665 for the left side of the house, which may be older, is possible, but the shape, size and position of the chimney girts are very similar to those in the oldest (left) side of the Howard house on Turkey Shore, which was constructed soon after William Howard purchased the property in 1679. A circa 1680 date is probable, after the death of Francis Jordan in 1678.

This house was purchased in the 1950s by Hollie Bucklin, a historical enthusiast who also owned and operated a book store in the adjoining property at 3 Spring Street. Bucklin greatly renovated both buildings, exposed the First Period framing in this house, and added a post-medieval revival cross-gable entry vestibule to the front of the house.

In a Publication of the Ipswich Historical Society and in Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Volume 1, Thomas Franklin Waters referred to the “well-preserved old mansion beneath the spreading elms on the corner of East street and Hog Lane, later known as Spring St.” Waters theorized that the present house was built after Anthony Potter’s deed of 1708, but noted that the architecture appeared to be from an earlier period. The earliest possible owner, Francis Jordan, immigrated to Ipswich in 1634 and was established at this location in 1648, and expanded his property through purchases from adjoining owners in 1657, 1661, 1664 and 1671. (See deed and land registry notes below). Thomas Franklin Waters noted that in the 19th Century, an old foundation was discovered on the east slope behind the present house, along with old spoons of a type dating prior to the 18th Century.

Francis Jordan (1610 – 1678) arrived in Ipswich in 1634 at 24 years of age and was granted a lot on today’s Agawam Ave. / Spiller’s Lane adjoining the lots of John Perkins Jr. and Thomas Hardy (Essex Quarterly Courts, 7:85; Miner Descent). “Given and Granted unto John Pirkins Jun’r that he shall have six acres of Land, more or less, in equal share with Thomas Hardy and Francis Jordan, lying East and West of him, unto his heirs and assigns forever.” (Schofield, The Ancient Records of the Town of Ipswich, published in 1899). In approximately 1641 he purchased a lot with a house lot in the vicinity of 30 East St. from Samuel Bowman (Boarman?) “containing about one acre more or less situated in Ipswich which I bought of Edward Ketcham.” [Ipswich Land Records 3:188]. *In 1640 Edward Ketcham moved from Ipswich to Long Island, and finally to Stratford, Connecticut.

30 East Street, the Jordan - Snelling - Potter house
1980 photo from the MACRIS site
30 East Street in 1949
30 East Street in 1949, when the original saltbox extension was removed.
1966 postcard, “Hovey House, built before 1641, Home of Francis Jordan.”
1966 postcard, “Hovey House, built before 1641, Home of Francis Jordan.” The house was owned by the Hovey family for over 100 years in the 18th and 19th Centuries.
Early settlers of Ipswich MA map
Francis Jordan’s lot is circled in Waters’ map #3 of early settlers of Ipswich.

Historic ownership and deeds

With notes from Thomas Franklin Waters: Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Volume 1

  • April 3, 1646: John Newman, husbandman, sold to William Goodhue, weaver, April 3, 1646, a house in Brook Street, between the dwelling house of Francis Jordan and Joseph Morse. This establishes the early residence of Francis Jordan near or at this location. (Salem Deeds book 14, page 53), (Hammatt, Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, p. 232).
  • 12 April 1651 – Samuel Bowman (aka Boardman?) deposed that he sold unto Francis Jordon of Ipswich about ten years ago “my house and house lot containing about one acre more or less situated in Ipswich which I bought of Edward Ketcham” [Ipswich Land Records 3:188]. Recorded 19 April, 1671. (Reference: Miner Descent). This establishes the approximate date of 1641 for Francis Jordan’s purchase.
  • In 1657 (day and month not given), John Morse of Ipswich sold to Francis Jordan “a parcel of land of fifteen or sixteen rod or thereabout out of a six-acre lot that was formerly my father’s Joseph Morse’s.”[Ipswich Land Records 2:212]. (Reference: Miner Descent).
  • September 24, 1664: John Morse (2) sold to Thomas Jordan, September 24, 1664, property which is described as “land that formerly was my father’s Joseph Morse’s.” (Hammatt, Early Inhabitants of Ipswich, pp. 229-230).
  • April 29, 1671 – Theophilus Shatswell of Ipswich sold to Francis Jordan “my right that I had in two acres of land at the upper end of Brook Street or Hog Lane, this land I had in lieu of a house lot I had where Goodman Lord now dwells, which Mr. Ward did desire to build on and had it.” (Ipswich Land Records 3:188: re: Miner Descent). This land is further up the street from Jordan’s residence.
  • Francis Jordan died April 24, 1678, age about 68. His will is dated the previous day and gives all his estate to his wife, Jane, to dispose of it to his children and grandchildren. His entire estate was valued at £262, 6s and included a house, barn and house lot, plus two acres of pasture and 4 1/2 acres planting land, of which £157 10s. was real estate: house and barn and home lot, £100. Ipswich Land Records, 4:195, 210-11; Essex County Probate Records, 3:245-46.
  • In her will, dated Dec. 10, 1689 and proved upon her death, Oct. 30, 1693, Jane Jordan of Ipswich, widow & relict of Francis Jordan deceased, late of said town, appointed Richard Belcher her executor, made provisions for her own maintenance and bequeathed lands and belongings in 6th parts to her daughters and grandchildren. The inventory of the goods & estate of Jane Jordan of Ipswich, relict of Francis Jordan, who deceased 4 Oct. 1693, taken 20 Oct. 1693, totaled £159 18s. 6d. In the account is the item, Paid Richard Belcher for keeping her 4 years 4 mos., 2 weeks at £14 per Anno & her funeral expenses, £60. 18′. 9d. (Essex County probate, 15244)
  • The executor of Jane Jordan’s estate, Richard Belcher of Charlestown, sold the house and land it sat on to John Potter, for 88 pounds, Dec. 22, 1708; “the messuage or tenement that was formerly Francis Jordan’s deceased,” about 2 acres, “bounded west by the lane commonly called Hog Lane (*Spring St.), and east by land of John Harris(20: 199). The deed specifies “the old house and new out houses.” The 15 year period between the widow’s death and her executor’s sale of the house is unexplained, perhaps because one or more of her daughters continued to occupy the house.
  • Daniel Potter sold the house and lot to Thomas Hovey 3d, fisherman, March 31, 1741 “a certain messuage or tenement” for the sum of 270 pounds. (81: 176). The threefold increase in the value of the property suggests a construction of a new house, or a substantial improvement or enlargement of the house during this time period. The upstairs east side room has beaded sheathing covering the beams and posts, a characteristic of Georgian-era houses.
  • At Hovey ‘s death, half the house and land was set off to his widow Rebecca, and the other half was sold by John Hovey to Ebenezer Hovey, April 29, 1777 (135: 122).
  • “Michael Hodge of Newburyport brought suit against Ebenezer Hodge, and execution was made upon his estate in favor of Hodge, Aug. 1787 (147: 31). Hodge sold to Ebenezer Hovey Jr., July 14, 1796. John Hohnes Hovey quitclaimed to Stephen Hovey, his interest in the house of his father, Ebenezer, “near Hovey ‘s Bridge,” July 21, 1827 (247 : 230).
  • “John H. and Izette Hovey sold the west half of the house to James Scott Jr., Oct. 29, 1870 (812: 221). Asa Lord sold the east half of the house to Perley Scott, . . . April, 1840 (537:227). The ancient house, still a comfortable dwelling, is now owned by Mr. James Damon, and Mrs. Edward Damon. The Town owned a gravel pit on the east side of the house in 1840, and used it, as long as the limits of the lot permitted.” (Waters)

Francis Jordan

Francis Jordan, born about 1610, immigrated to Ipswich, married Jane Wilson in 1635 ,and is named as an abutter in a land grant to John Perkins Jr. in 1641. At a court in 1650, Francis Jordan was appointed as the officer to execute corporal punishment, being allowed 20 pounds per year.” (Essex Court Files 1: 188.) Waters referred to him as the “town whipper.”

The following is an excerpt from Abraham Hammat’s Early Inhabitants of Ipswich:

“JORDAN, Francis, commoner, 1641, one of Major Denison’s subscribers, 1648 ; had a share in Plum Island, &c., 1664; surveyor of Highways, 1675. Died April 24, 1678. His will is dated April 23, 1678. He gives all his estate to his wife, Jane, to dispose of it to his children and grandchildren; and “may give it to them who behave themselves best towards her;” with liberty “to sell what part she may have occasion for her comfortable maintenance.”

In Francis Jordan’s will, his lot, house and barn were valued at £100. His entire estate was valued at £262, 6s. and included in addition, two acres of pasture and 4 1/2 acres planting land. The will of his widow, Jane Jordan, (who was commoner 1678) is dated Dec. 20, 1689, and was proved Oct. 28, 1693. She appoints Richard Belcher, who was probably her son-in-law, executor. She mentions a granddaughter, “Mary Simson, so called before marriage,” and a daughter, Jane Ward. She then directs her estate to be divided into six equal parts, and given to her granddaughters, Mary Belcher, Sarah George; daughters, Hannah Fowler, Mary. Kimball, Lydia White, each one sixth part; and one sixth part to the children of Deborah, late wife of Benjamin Goodridge, viz., Benjamin, Joseph, Daniel, Josiah. She mentions having paid John Kimball more than any of the rest. Inventory, Lieut. Symon Stace and John Harris, sen’r, overseers.

Children:

  1. Sarah Jordan, born Nov. 8, 1636, married James George by 1659.
  2. Hannah Jordan, born March 14, 1638 , married Thomas Fowler at Ipswich on April 23, 1660. 
  3. Mary Jordan, born 7 Apr 1639: died in August, 1639. 
  4. Mary Jordan, born May 16, 1641, married John Kimball on Oct. 8, 1666.
  5. Lydia Jordan, born Feb. 14, 1643 married first by 1664, Thomas Simson; married second George White on Apr. 5, 1671.
  6. DeborahJordan, born Dec. 4, 1647, married Benjamin Goodridge of Newbury on September 8, 1663, died at Newbury, Massachusetts on Nov. 28, 1676.
30 East St. Ipswich First Period dimensions
Dimensions, 30 East St. The west side appears to be the earliest part of the house.

Structural observations

Based on deeds and structural observations, all or part of the original two story hall and parlor house appears to have been constructed in the period within a decade of 1680. The frame of the house has massive 12″ x 12″ summer beams with beveled corners in both downstairs rooms, and First Period chamfer stops in the left room. The downstairs summer beams on both sides of the house are longitudinal, and are mortised into massive 16″ high beams in front of but not embedded in the fireplaces, an unusual configuration. The upstairs summer beams are 10″ wide and transverse in their orientation.

The steep roof pitch is found only in 17th Century houses and features principle rafter and common purlin construction similar to other houses in Essex County. The span between principle rafters is about 10′, and the purlins are undersized, with significant dips at the middle of the spans. Waters noted in “The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay” that during the late 17th Century, purlin size was reduced to the point of breakage over the years. This may indicate that the roof was constructed after 1708 when Anthony Potter purchased the property.

The west side has a cellar, while the east side does not, and it is possible that the west side is the earlier portion. The rear cellar wall and massive stone fireplace base both rest on a short but wide wall of un-mortared fieldstone. The left side fireplace has rounded inside corners, found in a few Ipswich houses, including the 1640 Hart house (1678), the Shoreborne Wilson – Samuel Appleton house (1685) and the Whipple House (1675/1725). The right side fireplace has been reconstructed with newer bricks, but is similar in width to fireplaces dating to the late 17th Century.

The original lean-to was removed in the mid-20th Century, and the present lean-to was added in 1967. A 2-story enclosed post-medieval gable porch was added to the front in 1968, both by the owner at that time, Hollie Bucklin. Bucklin also removed much of the plaster and other interior modifications that had been added in the 18th -20th Centuries.

The photos below were taken by Gordon Harris with permission from the owner/seller to post them on this site.

30 East St., Ipswich MA right elevation
30 East St., Ipswich MA right elevation
Summer beam and girt, 30 East St., Ipswich
Summer beam and girt, 30 East St., Ipswich. The windows date to the 1960s. The white substance is mildew, not whitewash
Stair post, winder and chimney block at front entrance, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Stair post, winder and chimney block at front entrance, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam, transverse beam and rebuilt fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam, chimney girt and rebuilt fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam with chamfer stop, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Summer beam with chamfer stop, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Left side rounded fireplace with smoke channel. Summer beam intersection with transverse beam, 30 East St.
Left side rounded fireplace with smoke channel. Summer beam intersection with chimney girt, 30 East St. A very similar configuration and size of the fireplace girts is in the Howard house on Turkey Shore in Ipswich.
Summer beam intersecting transverse beam at fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich
Summer beam intersecting chimney girt at fireplace, 30 East St., Ipswich
Summer beam and chimney girt in the William Howard house
For comparison, a very similarly sized and configured summer beam and chimney girt in the c. 1680 left side of the William Howard house on Turkey Shore in Ipswich. The original fireplace in the Howard house was replaced with a smaller Rumford design with coved plaster above it. The size of the chimney girt in the two houses is similar.
 fireplace with rare rounded corners and an unusual smoke shelf.
Left side downstairs fireplace with rare rounded corners and an unusual smoke shelf. Rounded corners are also found in the original 2 rooms of the Hart House, constructed in 1678, which are now on display at the Metropolitan and Winterthur Museums. Richard Irons noted that the form predates Puritan colonization, and is generally found in finer First Period homes.
Corner oven, right side fireplace, 30 East St.
Corner oven, right side fireplace, 30 East St.
Girts, beam and gunstock post, second floor, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Girts, beam and gunstock post, second floor, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Horizontal and transverse beam, 30 East St., Ipswich
Upstairs west side summer beam and rear beam, 30 East St., Ipswich
Upstairs fireplace with clay mortar, 30 East St., Ipswich
Upstairs fireplace with clay mortar, 30 East St., Ipswich
scribe marks and saw marks under floor boards are found throughout 30 East St.
Scribe marks and saw marks under floor boards are visible throughout 30 East St. These are from the east downstairs side.
Principal rafter and common purlin roof construction, 30 East St., Ipswich MA
Principal rafter and common purlin roof construction, 30 East St., Ipswich MA. Some of the purlins are sagging in the middle due to the 10′ span and undersized construction, found also in the Matthew Perkins house (1701).

Sources:

View also:

The Dr. Joseph Manning house

Dr. Joseph Manning house, S. Main St. in Ipswich MA

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

The Manning house before it was converted to shops

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.

The Dr. Joseph Manning house on South Main Street, across from the Old Town Hall, in 1900, from the book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
The Dr. Joseph Manning house on South Main Street, across from the Old Town Hall, in 1900, from the book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Volume 1.

From the History of the Manning Families, written in 1902, I read the following about Dr. Joseph Manning and his home on South Main Street:

“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.”

Dr. Joseph Manning and his wife are buried in the Old North Burial Ground in Ipswich.

Dr. Joseph Manning died in 1784 at the age of 80. His tomb is at the Old North Burial Ground in Ipswich, is located in the book Memento Mori, page 171, and on the map C, #87. The inscription reads:

“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.”

Timothy Souther 

The original Timothy Souther house was torn down in the early 1900's.
The old Timothy Souther house is the small one between the Clothing store on its left, (which is now Fiske & Freeman Antiques) ,and the building on its right, which burned after the Mothers Day Food of 2006. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that the Timothy Souther house was torn down in the early 1900’s.

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.

Gravestone of the first Timothy Souther, who was
Gravestone of the first Timothy Souther, who was “warned out” of Ipswich.

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 view of South Main Street in the late 19th Century. Dr. Manning's house is on the right, and Timothy Souther's house is too small to see, a couple of houses closer to town.
A view of South Main Street in the late 19th Century. Dr. Manning’s house is in the distance, and Timothy Souther’s house is too small to see, a couple of houses closer to town.

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.

This is a photo of the Manning House on South Main Street, directly across from Elm Street. It was torn down in the 1920's by Dick Davis and replaced by the automobile dealership that is now Jungle Printing. The current Timothy Souther house is an exact duplicate of this building and was apparently built a few years before the Manning house was torn down.
This is a photo of the Manning House on South Main Street, at about the beginning of the 20th Century. It was directly across from Elm Street. By this time it bore a close resemblance to the building that now stands at 31 South Main Street, being used as a bicycle store under the ownership of R. W. Davis.
R. W. Davis Company motor cars and trucks, Ipswich
By 1930 the Thomas Manning house had been moved to the Timothy Souther lot, and R. W. Davis owned Courier’s Garage and built a brick building for his automobile dealership at the former location of the Manning House.
Rear of the Manning house, facing the Ipswich River. Photo by George Dexter, circa 1900.
Rear of the Manning house, facing the Ipswich River, when it was across from the Old Town hall. Photo by George Dexter, circa 1900.
A closeup from the 1892 map of Ipswich shows the original Timothy Souther house, with a different roofline, and the Dr. Joseph Manning House across from the intersection with Elm Street.
A closeup from the 1892 Birdseye Map of Ipswich shows the original Timothy Souther house, indicated by the arrow, and the Dr. Joseph Manning House at its original location a few doors down, across from the intersection with Elm Street.

SOURCES:

The Isaac Lord house, Ipswich

Interior framing of the Isaac Lord house in Ipswich
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is high-83.jpg

Structural evidence in the house at 83 High St. in Ipswich suggests that the right section was a one-over-one room “half house” to which the left side was added by Isaac Lord in 1806-08.

History of the house

Richard Kimball, the settler, received a house lot at this location in 1637. The land was inherited by his son John Kimball, who conveyed the lot to his “beloved son Richard Kimball” in 1696 (12: 114).

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote the following:

Richard Kimball received a house lot, adjoining Goodman Simons in the original apportionment, and it was recorded in 1637. He may have been the original owner of the two lots, which John conveyed to Richard Kimball in 1696 (12: 114). Certainly Richard Kimball owned the lot next in order, and in his will, probated Dec. 25, 1752, he bequeathed his real estate to his son Richard and daughter Elizabeth, both minors (33 :107). Elizabeth married Philip Lord, and after his death, she sold one eighth of an acre and part of her house to John Kimball Jr. Dec. 25 1806, (186: 147).”

Richard Kimball (John1-Richard 1) owned the adjoining lot at 85 High St. In his will, probated Dec. 25, 1752, he bequeathed it to his daughter Elizabeth, who married Philip Lord. The house they built is still standing, and is known as the Phillip and Elizabeth Lord house.

Richard Kimball sold the original Kimball house with a half acre to Isaac Lord, felt-maker, Feb. 26, 1784 (142: 213). and Elizabeth Lord sold him a small piece. Dec. 5. 1805 (180: 219). ” (Waters)

Richard Kimball’s deed to Isaac Lord, felt-maker, Feb. 26, 1784, was bordered by land of Phillip Lord west and north, 3 rods bordering his own land, “then returning 18 rods southwesterly by land of Deacon Nathaniel Kimball to the original location (142: 213). Deacon Nathaniel Kimball owned the property at 79 High St. The lot described includes the empty lot between 79 and 83 High St., which was almost certainly the home of Richard Kimball (1 and or 2) and later the home of Joseph Lord and his widow, before it was demolished. (Read a first-hand story about the Joseph Lord house.)

Elizabeth Lord ‘s sale to Isaac Lord of a small piece from her adjoining lot, Dec. 5. 1805 (180: 219) indicates that Isaac Lord extended his lot by purchasing 1/8 acre from Elizabeth Lord with the intent of building a new house or adding an addition to the left side of this house.

Isaac bequeathed his property to his nephew Joseph Lord, whose heirs owned the house now standing, but the original (Richard Kimball) house stood on the site of Mr. Thomas H. Lord’s, and was occupied by his widow, when it had fallen into a very ruinous condition.” (Waters)

Isaac Lord, son of Nathaniel Lord and Elizabeth Day, was born July 29, 1753 in Ipswich. He married Susanna July 27, 1776. Their children were Isaac, born 1777; Joseph, born 1778; Nathaniel, born 1780; Levi, born 1784. Isaac Lord died September 06, 1828 in Ipswich, and Susanna died April 06, 1841 in Ipswich.

A Lord family tradition is that this house was originally the jail constructed in 1771 at Meeting House Green, and was moved to this location in 1806. It is more probable that Isaac lord used lumber from the old jail to build or add on to this house.

On Nov. 24, 1846, Isaac Lord Jr. assigned 1/2 of the house and property to Thomas H. Lord, and his brother Levi Lord released all rights to the “home of my honored father.” Salem Deeds (book 374, page 194)

Isaac Lord bequeathed his property to his nephew Joseph, including the adjoining early home of Richard Kimball . Waters wrote that the house was occupied by Joseph Lord’s widow “when it had fallen into a very ruinous condition.” That house was either in the empty lot southeast of the Isaac Lord house, or on the lot of the Thomas H. Lord house, still standing at 79 High St.

The house at 83 High St was acquired by Rupert Kilgour and his wife Marion Lord in 1973 from Viola Lord, and was placed on the market in 2017. The house is undergoing substantial renovation in the fall of 2020.

High Street Ipswich MA, early 20th Century.

Masonry

Early Colonial bricks in Massachusetts
Bricks in the wall behind the stairway at the Isaac Lord house

A massive stone base in the basement supports the fireplaces and chimney, and transitions to brick at the first floor level. The bricks are narrower than present day standards, and are mortared with clay.

Richard Irons, the best known restoration mason in New England was interviewed in Early American Homes in 1999: “Chimney footings evolved. Throughout the first quarter of the eighteenth century, chimneys had fieldstone bases, sometimes measuring as much as twenty by eighteen feet. By the 1740’s big brick arches in the basement were the common support structure; by the 1830’s, these supports had evolved to straight piers.”

83 High Street, Ipswich MA
Rumford fireplace at 83 High Street, from the Coldwell Banker site. The base of the fireplaces and the chimney is stone from the basement to the first floor
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The same fireplace during renovation
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Hall room fireplace in the Isaac Lord house during renovation. The bake oven on the left was at some time bricked in. On the right is the brick stairway wall.
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Downstairs southeast side fireplace paneling in the Isaac Lord house (removed during renovation)
Fireplace in an early Massachusetts house
Fireplace in the downstairs front southeast room at the Isaac Lord house
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Exposed fireplace chimney with narrow bricks and clay and sand mortar.

Above the massive stone base for the fireplaces, the chimney bricks and fireplace bricks on the right side measure 2″ x 8″, and are mortared with clay. The bricks on the left side fireplace measure today’s standard, approximately 2 1/4″ x 7 3/4″ with some variation.

Brick size laws

Large clay bricks were used from 1630 -1730. In 1679 the Massachusetts Court ordered that brick sizes be standardized at “9 inches long, 2 1/4″ thick.” Modern bricks measure about 7 1/2″ x 3 1/8″ x 2 1/8″. A Massachusetts act in 1711 consolidated all previous brick laws and set the size at 9″ x 4″ x 2 1/2″. Nonetheless, 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″.

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.

Read: “Early Brick Laws in Massachusetts” by Orville W. Carroll

Structural Observations summary

  • The front of the Isaac Lord house is 17′ deep x 30′ wide with an oak frame
  • Steep roof, narrow original building depth.
  • The earliest (front) part of the house is asymmetrical, with a 14′ wide room on the left front side, a central entrance, and only 8’6″ wide for the room on the right.
  • The current saltbox shed is framed upon an earlier “broken back” shed to create a second floor.
  • Massive stone fireplace foundation with bricks beginning at the floor level. The bricks are narrower than today’s standard size, and are mortared with clay below the chimney line.
  • The top of the foundation is near the ground level with no granite facing.
  • Full height basement on both sides.
  • The right side has plank wall framing and corner bracing (late 17th -early 18th Century in Essex County). The front, left side, and the attic have studs and horizontal sheathing. Unlike other plank framed houses, the tops of the planks do not fit into a rabbet, indicating that they were reused or modified.
  • Both sides employ gunstock corner posts on the second floor.
  • Unornamented exposed summer beams were used on both sides. The painted beams on the right side are smooth with a crude chamfer, while the beams on the left side are rough and square.
  • Posts, beams and the underside of floors were whitewashed, indicating that they were originally exposed.
  • Floor boards in the attic are extremely wide.
  • Uncertain deed records before 1800.
  • The downstairs fireplace wall had feather edge raised paneling.

Layout

hall-parlor

The floor plan of the front part of the Isaac Lord house is typical of a “hall and parlor” layout found in 17th and 18th Century coastal New England. The form entails a rectangular, timber-frame two-room configuration, two rooms wide and one deep with a steeply pitched side-gabled roof and a central chimney. The windows are asymmetrically placed. The depth of early hall and parlor houses varied from about 16 to 20 feet deep and up to 40 feet wide. A saltbox addition was usually added to 17th Century houses, or as part of the original construction beginning in the late 17th Century. The larger hall was the living room, and the smaller parlor served as a private room commonly used for sleeping.

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83 High Street, 1978 photo by the Ipswich Historical Commission on the MACRIS site.

The frame

The photos below were taken in November 2020, when renovations began on the Isaac Lord house

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Principal rafter and common purlin roof framing in the Isaac Lord house.
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Front entry and framing in the Isaac Lord house, after the plaster ceiling was removed. The floor joists and floor are whitewashed, which indicates they were once exposed.
timber frame wind brace and gunstock post
Southeast upstairs east and front walls at the Isaac Lord house. Note the different construction methods.
Framing in an Ipswich early house
The second floor of the Isaac Lord house after the plaster walls and ceiling were removed
Stairway at the Isaac Lord house
The front stairway was open only at the bottom before an original thin plank wall was removed. Closed stairways are usually found in only the oldest Colonial houses. The bricks behind it are the chimney.
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Gunstock post in the second floor of the Isaac Lord house
Beverly jog
The southeast side of the Isaac Lord house has 1 1/2″ vertical plank framing which appears to have been nailed rather than rabbeted into a beam. All of the other walls, including the attic above, are studded and have 1″ horizontal sheathing. The lighter boards on the rear are from when a saltbox shed was added and the Beverly jog was made taller.
sheathing on the Isaac Lord house
Horizontal sheathing at the attic level on the driveway side has a triangular wood patch, perhaps indication of a previous attached wing.
Beverly jog on the Isaac Lord house
The Beverly jog on the southeast side of the Isaac Lord house was raised to make it two floors.
sheathing on an early Ipswich house
Exposed exterior sheathing on the front and northwest sides of the Isaac Lord house. The lighter boards show when the saltbox extension was raised higher to accommodate new second floor rooms.
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Horizontal sheathing on the north side of the Isaac Lord house.

Maps

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Map by Thomas Franklin Waters of original land grants on High Street. The Isaac Lord house sits on the north side of the original Richard Kimball lot and 1/8 acre purchased from Elizabeth Lord (presumably the Robert Lord lot).
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This closeup from the 1832 Ipswich map indicates the house at 83 High Street, owned by Isaac Lord Jr. at that time. The Widow Joseph Lord house, no longer standing, was similar to an old photograph on the Thomas H. Lord house page.
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The rear of the Isaac Lord house is in the center of this photo taken from the hill above by George Dexter, circa 1900.

“The Ould Gaol”

There’s an old tradition in the Lord family that the building at 83 High Street was once the 1771 town jail on Meeting House Green and was moved to High Street and converted into the house we see today. In 1973 Margaret Welden identified the house as the “Ould Gaol” for the Ipswich Historical Commission, but provided no documentation. The first Ipswich jail was constructed in 1652, was replaced in 1684 and that was in turn replaced with a gambrel-roof jail in 1771.

Joseph Felt wrote in the History of Ipswich, Essex and Hamilton that in 1684, the year that the colony charter was revoked by King Charles II, the towns which sent juries to the courts in Ipswich and Salem were ordered to help build new houses of correction in the two towns. Salem built its first jail, a timber-frame building measuring “thirteen feet stud (interior height), and twenty feet square, accommodated with a yard.”

Ipswich apparently replaced its existing jail near the Meeting House. An act in 1699 by the Massachusetts legislative ordered every county in the colony to build a House of Corrections for “rogues, vagabonds, common beggars…and the poor,” unless one already existed. Construction in 1684 of a “house of correction” is recorded in the Genealogy of the Willcomb Family. and the Massachusetts Historical Commission Reconnaissance Survey for Ipswich.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote only that the “Old Gaol” served its purpose until it was replaced with a gambrel roof jail in 1771. (In Colonial Massachusetts, the jail and the house of correction were not always the same thing.) Waters wrote, “On December 25, 1770, plans for a new building with a keeper’s house were presented and approved, and a building committee was appointed to proceed forthwith. This plan has been preserved in the Court Files. The plan shows that the prison was a two story building with gambrel roof, and that the rooms under the roof were used for the House of Correction….In 1808, the old Goal site, with its yard was sold to Rev. David Tenney Kimball. The deed gives the bounds (and) the gaol reserved to be taken away by Jan. 1, 1808 (185: 152) recorded April 2, 1807.” The 1771 jail was replaced by a stone jail, and a large brick jail was constructed in 1828 at the site of the present Ipswich Town hall.

A handwritten town clerk’s record indicates that the old jail building would be disposed of separately from the sale of the lot to the Rev. Kimball. Samuel Lord was one of the committee of 4 persons who were assigned to take care of the various transactions. There were several Samuel Lords over the years, but at least one lived in the area of this house, and perhaps he arranged for Isaac Lord to take possession and remove the lumber to this location for his expansion.

Sources and further reading: