The Ipswich Company, Massachusetts State Guard, 1942


(Thanks to Larry Collins for sharing this  document)

Officers of the Ipswich Company

Officers of the Ipswich Company

With substantially 15,000 man hours of practice, procedure and training under their military belts, the Ipswich Company of the Massachusetts State Guard is rapidly being whipped into shape as a trained military unit for the protection of life and property in this area. Formed last January, it has come a long ways since that winter day when State authorities faced the imperative need of rounding up green men and welding them into a State military force, which has grown so rapidly that today there are more than 118 companies comparable to the Ipswich Company, plus the lettered companies of the State Guard

The Ipswich Company, one of the first to recruit its full complement of 61 men and three officers, has already been cited for its exceptional record, and participated in outside parades and maneuvers to typify the manner in which State Guard companies should operate. It is under the command of Captain Lewis S. Clement of County Road, the man selected last January by the Adjutant General’s office to tackle the task of bringing together untrained men and teaching them the rudiments and fundamentals of modern warfare that the people at home might be amply protected with the regular army engaged in training for overseas fighting.

It is doubtful if one per cent of the populace in Ipswich are familiar with the untold number of hours the men of the Ipswich company have already put in, the countless numbers of miles they have tramped in their training. and the intensive detail wo rk already put in in studying the terrain of this countryside to prepare against invasion. paratroop landings, the deadly work of saboteurs, riots, and the manifold tasks that confront this group of men in the event of trouble. Like many phases of war work and civilian defense activities today it is a “thankless job.” in the event one is looking for pubic recognition of the labor involved. From the outset, however, each man enlisting in the Ipswich Company realized he was “in” for the duration, that the hardships were his for the asking, and that he was not looking for public thanks.

Photo from Tales of Olde Ipswich by Harold Bowen. Shown here are Fred Sturtevant (front left), George C. Weagle

Photo from Tales of Olde Ipswich by Harold Bowen. Shown here are Fred Sturtevant (front left), George C. Weagle, Dana Parsons  (2nd row left), Alfred Kotek, Charles Weagle, Martel, Hubert Tougas (3rd row, left), Percy Dort, Don Bugdon, George Deveau, Richard Chapman, Millard Tarr, Jack Clogston (rear left), Ray Horsman, Louis Marchand, Louis Clements and Dick Greenleaf

The men feel it is a job they can do at home while the other men continue the fight for freedom in the embattled forts, seas and lands of the entire world. It was necessary, therefore, with the National Guard gone into the regular army, to have a military arm in the State for the more direct protection of life and property, suppression of rebellion. protection against invasion. armed forces in the event of riots, etc.


The Ipswich men enlisting in the State Guard recognized the gravity of the situation much more than most of the populace, being cognizant of the fact that they were enlisting for the duration of the war, that they became subject to army rules and regulations, and that they could not be excused from service in the State Guard except in the event of enlisting in the armed forces of their country.

The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State Guard

Men in the State Guard are subject to the army laws. It was not designed to be child’s play and it has grown increasingly difficult for the members to continue their work. They are not allowed to be absent from drill nights or on Sunday mornings, without permission from the commanding officer of the company, and only then for good and sufficient reasons. On Tuesday nights the Ipswich Company meets at the Town Hall, where they have regular quarters.

The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State Guard

On each Sunday morning the members of the State Guard here are ordered to report to the Town Hall by 8:45 a. m. to tackle a new “problem,” all of which is unknown to them. By this method the members in the local company are rapidly familiarizing themselves with the terrain of this part of the country. Many of the “problems’ consist of traversing their way through dense woods, without lights, and with only a compass to guide them. Some of this is field skirmish work, and if one has an idea it is a lark they are invited to try plunging through some of the thick woods bordering Ipswich in the middle of the night, without lights.

The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State Guard

When they return to headquarters, maps and tracings of the country they have covered are drawn up and again studied. These maps will prove of extreme value in the event of trouble here, and for future use by civilians and town officials. When the members finish “problems” covering every part of the town, they will have completed and have on file detailed maps covering substantially every foot of ground in Ipswich, concluding with a large-scale and detailed map of all Ipswich. Already the instruction given the members of the local company has shown that the methods and plans of the past could not hope to compete with the twentieth century call upon soldiers to protect life and property. The advent of the plane and paratroops has caused many methods of the past to be discarded and thrown into the limbo of forgotten things.

The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State Guard

Intensive studies are made of the most practicable manner of scouting and defending such important points in the town as the water and light works, railroad bridges and passes, main highways and important arteries of traffic and the river. Commando tactics already taught here are methods of controlling riots, approaching and capturing points held by an invasion force, modern military methods of approaching streets with dwellings on both sides, how to dig split trenches and “fox holes.” Much of this is replete with hard laborious work, and some of it the digging of trenches.

The Ipswich Company Massachusetts State Guard

The Ipswich Company does not plan to be any drain on town funds. It is anticipated that aid will be given by the State, and possibly by the Federal government, but when this will come is problematical. It is a heavy drain on the State fund for this purpose to furnish all proper equipment and clothing for the companies already in existence, and if the individual companies can raise some of their own funds it is a step in the right direction to lessen the load on State funds.

Right now the Ipswich Company is facing the cold weather ahead with the need of  considerable winter equipment. such as overseas caps, shirts, overcoats or mackinaws, heavy trousers. overshoes. gloves, mufflers, ear-coverings, etc. Much additional equipment is needed. including ‘mess kits and cartridge belts.

One of the splendid gestures to aid the local company was the offer of a 60-acre tract of land by relatives of Sergeant Winfield S. Johnson. This has been converted into a rifle range, and is located off Pine Swamp Road on Turkey Hill. In the short time it has been in
existence it has more than proved its value, and some 13 original members of the Ipswich Company have already gone into the armed forces of the nation. These are John E. Collins.
Everett Comeau. Charles L. Bailly. Jr., Frank J. O’Malley, Donald F. Perkins, Arthur R. Reed. Roy E. Scott, Henry Manzcr and Walter E. Kraus.

Posted in All | 1 Comment

Thomas Ellsworth, Ipswich Civil War hero

thomas_ellsworthCaptain Thomas Foulds Ellsworth was one of four soldiers who earned the Medal of Honor for heroism during the battle at Honey Hill, South Carolina, on November 30, 1864. Under a heavy fire he carried his wounded commanding officer, who had become trapped under his horse, saving his life and preventing him from being captured. .

Ellsworth was selected to serve as an officer of a company in one of the first regiments made up of “colored soldiers” in the Union Army, the Massachusetts 55th infantry, which along with the 54th Infantry was referred to as the ‘overflow unit’ for the infamous 54th of “Glory’ fame.

Brig. Gen, A. S. Hartwell was rescued by Captain Ellsworth, the act for which the medal was awarded. He later wrote a letter Ellsworth (partially copied below):

“Concerning your leaving the service for disability incurred in the line of duty, I desire, with my wishes for your future and my thanks for your valuable services. Since you left the ranks of the 2d Massachusetts infantry, and, with a fine name for bravery and good conduct entered the 552nd infantry as a second lieutenant,you have faithfully discharged every duty, and in addition to your regular promotion, have been promoted out of order for gallant and meritorious conduct in battle. It is impossible to express the gratitude I feel to you for doing what few men would, or could do for another, and for saving me, at the least, from being left to the rebels- I am deeply thankful that my safety was not bought at the cost of life or limb to you.  I remember your words when I said something to you about leaving me: `I will die first.’ I thought then you would, but I saw from your looks there was no use in arguing the point.”

After the war, Ellsworth worked as an officer of the Boston Custom House. In the 1890s, he moved to Pasadena, California where he and his son ran a contracting business. The Medal of Honor was awarded to Ellsworth in 1895.

Thomas Fouls Ellsworth was born in Ipswich on November 12, 1840. He was the son of Benjamin Noyes Ellsworth (1812-1902) and Laura Ann Titus. Benjamin Ellsworth was appointed the lighthouse keeper by Abraham Lincoln and served in that post for over 40 years. Ellsworth grew up in the lightkeeper’s house. In another incident during the Civil war in which a volunteer was needed to manage a dangerous river crossing, Ellsworth’s fellow soldiers called out, “Ellsworth can do it– he was born in a boat!”

Read more about this story, posted by Melissa Berry and Laurie Short Jarvis at AnceSTORY Archives

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to


Rank and Organization: Captain, Company B, Massachusetts Infantry.
Place and Date: At Honey Hill, S.C., 30 November 1864.
Birth:, Mass.
Date of Issue: 18 November 1895.
Citation: Under a heavy fire carried his wounded commanding officer from the field.

Posted in All | Leave a comment

Ipswich adopts Architectural Preservation District

Historic houses on High Street in Ipswich MA

Historic houses on High Street  are now protected through the APD

A Warrant article for the 2014 Fall Town Meeting on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 established an Architectural Preservation District (APD) for the most historic areas of the town.

TheAPD encompasses an area roughly defined as 220 acres beginning at the South Green, continuing along the river to the Town Wharf, East and High Streets to the High Street Bridge, North Main Street and Meeting House Green.

Map of proposed Architectural Preservation District. he current draft encompasses an area roughly defined as 223 acres beginning at South Green, continuing along the river to the Town Wharf, East and High Streets to the High Street Bridge, North Main Street and Meeting House Green.

Map of proposed Architectural Preservation District

View the APD article from the 2014 Fall Town Meeting warrant . (Note: references to landscape were deleted. The wording of the enforcement clause was also deleted and will be added at the next town meeting.

The bylaw exempts many home improvements, such as painting, installation/ replacement of storm/screen windows, removal/replacement of window and door shutters, and all interior alterations, from any consideration by the APD Commission.

The bylaw will require property owners to appear before the Commission and obtain their approval only in the following three instances:

  • Demolition of a building constructed between 1634 and 1900.
  • Construction of a new building or substantial addition to an existing building.
  • Substantial exterior alteration to a building constructed prior to 1900. (Substantial alteration is defined by the bylaw as an alteration to a building’s exterior which bears a cost that equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure prior to renovation, or which significantly changes the shape, height and proportions, or scale of the building, and/or its relationship to surrounding structures.
Posted in All, Architecture, Preservation | Leave a comment