Rachel Clinton was accused of witchcraft,  arrested and jailed.

Rachel Clinton arrested for witchcraft, May 28, 1692

Everything about Rachel Clinton’s life went wrong, and in her old age she became a a beggar and a ward of the town of Ipswich, She was an easy target for the witchcraft hysteria that spread from Salem throughout Essex County, and on May 28, 1692, Rachel Clinton was arrested, She was kept in the Ipswich or Salem jail, shackled with iron fetters until January 3, 1693. Rachel Clinton died two years later, alone and impoverished. Continue reading

Churchill house, one of the 12 remaining First Period houses in Plymouth MA

Ipswich missed the scourge of urban renewal that demolished First Period houses in Plymouth

In 1962, the oldest town in New England, Plymouth, Massachusetts, approved the clearance of 30 acres along Summer and High streets. Thus, one of the oldest neighborhoods of First Period homes in North America fell victim to urban renewal. By 1970, 105 Plymouth buildings dating from the 17th to the 20th century had been demolished, replaced by middle-income apartments and a tourist hotel. Continue reading

Plaque awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers

The Choate Bridge becomes a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark

The Choate Bridge in Ipswich was constructed in 1764 and is the oldest documented surviving double stone arch bridge in North America. As part of Rt. 1A and Rt. 133 the Choate Bridge is estimated to carry between 10,000 and 20,000 vehicles each day! The town approved construction of the stone bridge on April 18, 1764. The town voted on September 10, 1764 to add 3′ high stone wall guards, which can be clearly seen in the photographs. Continue reading

The Payne School near the South Green in Ipswich

A history of the Ipswich Free School

A history of the Ipswich Public Schools, written in the two-volume set Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Thomas Franklin Waters. It ends, “Ipswich has not lost the great traditions of her past. The generous love of learning, fostered by the old Grammar School in its best days, is manifest still in the steady improvement of her free public schools, at an annual expense which has increased constantly until the great maximum of $43,000 was voted cheerfully and without debate at the Town Meeting of 1917. Year by year, the pupils pass on to higher institutions of learning.” Continue reading

John Winthrop and the first Puritans sailed from England to Salem on the Arabella (aka Arbella)

John Winthrop’s journal of the ship Arbella’s voyage to America, March 29 – July 8, 1630

On April 7, 1630, the  Arabella was a week out from its port in England, and the last well-wishers returned to shore. The winds were finally favorable, and the ship weighed anchor and sailed for New England, with Governor John Winthrop and approximately 300 English Puritans on board, leaving their homes in England to settle in a fledgling colony. Continue reading

The Hayes Hotel the morning after the fire which killed three men, August 24, 1969

The Hayes Hotel fire, August 24, 1969

Three men died from smoke inhalation when a blaze swept through the former Hayes Hotel on Depot Square in the early morning hours of August 24, 1969. The fire started in a wing on the left of the building and spread throughout the old brick building. Fire roomers and two firefighters were hospitalized. Most of the 27 roomers were elderly people of limited income, renting rooms at $15.00 /week. They lost all of their belongings.  Fighting the fire that morning were 125 firemen from Ipswich and eight other communities.  Continue reading