Ipswich History 1700 – 1800

1700-1800 The Town gives its wealth and manpower to fighting the long French and Indian Wars, then staunchly supports the War for Independence and the founding of the Nation. 

1700 – The population of Ipswich is about 1,800.

1702 – The third Meeting House of the First Church his built on the North Green.

1702 – Queen Anne’s War continues the conflict between the English and French. The attacks by the Indians on the frontier towns keep the militia of the colonies on constant alert. In retaliation, expeditions are planned against the French at Port Royal, Nova Scotia, and the third expedition, with some Ipswich men in positions of command, succeeds in 1710. War ends with the Treaty of Utrecht, in which France cedes Nova Scotia to England. Several Ipswich soldiers and fishermen are murdered or taken prisoners by the Indians.

1714 – Ipswich citizens are troubled by financial problems caused by the heavy expenses of their expeditions against the French and Indians. Printed bills are put in circulation, but because of uncertain redemption, they depreciate in value.

1715 – After several appeals to the Town and to the General Court, the parishioners of the Hamlet (now Hamilton) are allowed to build their own Meeting House and “be set off” as a separate parish.

1727 – The valuation of Ipswich is second in the county, with Salem being first_

1734 – Ipswich celebrates its 100th anniversary.

1740 – Ipswich persons are involved in the Land Bank scheme which is finally declared illegal by Parliament. The “Great Awakening”, a religious revival with emphasis on emotional religious experience rather than on formal creeds and doctrines, comes to Ipswich, especially with the preaching of Rev. George Whitefield of England, who had been a convert to Methodism.  His preaching is said to have been so powerful that it drove the Devil out of the Belfry of the First Church onto the rocky ledge below where the imprint of his cloven hoof can still he traced.

1744 – King George’s War is the third colonial war between France and England. A New England expedition (1745) with Ipswich soldiers under the leadership of Col. John Choate captures Louisburg on Cape Breton Island. Border warfare and Indian raids are a cause of distress to towns on the New England frontier. Peace comes in 1748, but larger issues between France and England of control of territory are unresolved.

1746 – The Linebrook Church is established by an Act of Incorporation. The precinct is hounded by Howlett’s, Gravelly, Bull, Batchelder and Strait Brooks, from which the parish devised its name. The Meeting-house is built, and the Church Covenant is signed in 1749. Rev. George Leslie is its first minister.

1747 – After a long and sometimes bitter battle, a group of parishioners living on the South Side withdraw from the First Church on the North Green. and build their Meetinghouse on School House Green. The Rev. John Walley is their first minister.

1749 – In spite of their greatly reduced membership, the First Church parishioners build a new and much finer Meetinghouse on the North Green. Reverend Nathaniel Rogers is the minister.

1754 – The Seven Years War is a continuation of a world-wide scale of the struggle between France and England for world-trade and territory. Known in the colonies as the French and Indian War, it is the attempt by the British and the colonists to wrest from the French the control of Canada and of the western lands in the Ohio Valley. New Englanders play an important role in the expeditions against Crown Point, a stronghold of the French on Lake George, the source of many Indian attacks, and against the French fort, Louisburg on Cape Breton, which controls the St. Lawrence River. Ipswich men have a part in most of the campaigns in northern New York, in Nova Scotia, and at Quebec and Montreal. At first the French with their Indian allies under General Montcalm have the advantage. Then the British generals, Amherst and Wolfe, with a British fleet and forces sent by the colonists, capture Louisburg on Cape Breton Island, and go on up the St. Lawrence River to take Quebec in 1759 and Montreal in 1760. Many Ipswich men give their lives in the long struggle.

1756 – The English force the evacuation of the Acadians, peasants of French descent from Nova Scotia, because they fear they will give help to the French.  Several families of Acadians arrive in Ipswich, where they are treated kindly until the end of the war: then they return home to Canada.

1760 – Town votes “to exclude soldiers as are in the war” from their poll tax. Deacon Whipple and Col. Choate free their slaves.

1762 – The first public stagecoach passes through Ipswich. It runs from Portsmouth to Boston with an overnight stop in Ipswich. Treadwell’s Inn on North Main Street is a popular stage stop.

1763 – With the end of the war and the Peace of Paris, all of Canada and the great western lands of the Ohio Valley and the territory as far west as the Mississippi become part of the English Conquest. The trained and seasoned veterans of the war are to form the core of the body of Revolutionary leaders and military forces a few years later when they decide to fight for their independence from England.

1764 – The Choate Bridge (across the Ipswich River) is built under the guiding hand of Col. John Choate. (It still stands – the oldest stone-arched bridge in English-speaking America.)

1765 – The Stamp Act is passed by Parliament for the purpose of “defending, protecting, securing the colonies”. It provides for revenue stamps of varying costs to be affixed to all kinds of paper transactions and published material. Ipswich citizens protest strongly and instruct their Representative to the General Court, Dr. John Calef, to vote in opposition. When the same kind of violent opposition occurs through-out the colonies, Parliament repeals the Stamp Act.

1767 – To raise revenue, Parliament passes the Townshend Acts which impose import duties on paint, glass, lead, tea, etc. Ipswich towns-people join other colonists in refusing to purchase any taxed articles. The protests against being taxed without representation grow stronger. Dr. Calef does not follow instruction in the General Court and sides with the Crown. Suspected of his Tory sympathies, Calef is replaced by Capt. Michael Farley as Representative. Later, Dr. Calef and his family are exiled to Nova Scotia. The leading industries of Ipswich are: fishing, trading (coast-wise and foreign), cabinet and hat making, lace-making, farming and distilling. Sloops and schooners trade with places like Halifax ,Virginia and Philadelphia for wheat, corn and flour and sail to the West Indies with cargoes of fish and bring back sugar, molasses, tropical fruits. The vessels are berthed in Ipswich at the Town Wharf, Diamond Stage, Jeffreys’ Neck, Little Neck and Green’s Point.

1770 – The women of Ipswich vow to boycott any goods from Great Britain and begin spinning, carding, weaving to make their own clothes.  They vow to “totally abstain from tea, sickness excepted”, and brew their own from herbs. Similar protests occur in all the colonies, with the result that trade declines, and Parliament is forced to repeal the Townshend Acts with the exception of the duty on tea. The Boston Massacre, a confrontation between an angry mob and a squad of British soldiers resulting in the death of five persons, further influences the colonists.

1772 – Rev. John Wise’s famous “Vindication of the Government of New England Churches”, first published in 1717, is republished to become the “bible” of the patriots and a reaffirmation of a man’s” rights to life, liberty, estate and honor” – ideas which soon become part of the Declaration of Independence.  Dr_ John Manning introduces small-pox inoculation to Ipswich. The Town is up in arms and a special town meeting is called to punish the doctor. The “Ipswich Resolves” are adopted at Town Meeting, strongly upholding the rights of the colonists against the arbitrary assumption of powers by Parliament. The Committee is headed by Francis Choate, Capt. Michael Farley and Dr. John Calef. A Committee of Correspondence is formed, consisting of Capt. Michael Farley, Dr. Daniel Noyes and Maj. John Baker” to Receive and Communicate all salutary measures that shall be proposed or offered by any other Town” – and to be in touch with what is happening in other towns.

1773 – The First and South Churches jointly purchase a burial ground on the South Side of town.  The Boston Tea Party takes place, and the town passes a series of resolutions upholding the action and warning that anyone caught selling tea in Ipswich shall be “deemed an Enemy of the Town”.

1774 – In retaliation for the Tea Party, General Gage is sent to Boston with troops, the port is closed by edict in May, and the colony’s Charter rights are abrogated. The colonists are alarmed.  On September 6, delegates from 67 towns attend the Ipswich Convention. They unanimously resolve to stand together in opposition to the Crown, and they vote to support the coming Provincial Congress as “absolutely necessary for the common safety”.   Also in September, the First Continental Congress, representing all the colonies, meets in Philadelphia and expresses its outrage upon the abrogation of rights of the Massachusetts colonists. It approves a “Declaration of Rights”. Later, the Ipswich voters approve this unanimously at Town Meeting.   On December 7 the First Provincial Congress meets in Salem. Ipswich is represented by Capt. Michael Farley and Daniel Noyes. Plans are formulated for the training and arming of the Minutemen.

1775 – On April 19 news reaches Ipswich at mid-day of that morning’s Battle of Concord and Lexington, where a British expedition is resisted by the Minutemen as it attempts to seize the military stores assembled there for the provincial forces. Ipswich Minutemen march off  to assist, and reach Medford at midnight. On April 20 “The Great Ipswich Fright” occurs when rumors spread that the British are at Beverly, “cutting and slashing all before them”. There are also reports that two men-of-war are anchored in the Ipswich River with the intention of rescuing their imprisoned soldiers and burning the town. Valuables are hidden and townspeople flee to the “north’ard”. Nothing happens, and all return the following day. Guards are set up on Castle Hill to report on suspicious craft, and tar barrels are to be set afire as warning to the townspeople. In the June 17 Battle of Bunker Hill, Cap. Nathaniel Wade’s and Capt. Abraham Dodge’s companies are part of Col. Moses Little’s regiment. Jesse Story, Jr., a lad of 18 years, is killed, the first Ipswich man to give his life in the struggle for independence.   On September 15 Col. Benedict Arnold and his troops camp out on the South Green on their long and hazardous expedition to take Quebec. On November 18 a severe earthquake rocks the town, and the small-pox epidemic still rages.

1776 – On March 17 the British are forced to evacuate Boston. Many Ipswich men are stationed at Cambridge and Medford as General Washington takes command of the army. July 4, the Declaration of Independence is signed in Philadelphia by the Second Continental Congress. In preparation for it, the Ipswich Town Meeting had voted to instruct their representatives that if the Congress should declare the Colonies independent, “they will engage with their lives and fortunes to support them”.

1776 – Ipswich men are called to serve with the Continental Army throughout the war. Companies serve in the battles in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey, and in the crucial battles at Ticonderoga and Saratoga in northern New York. Two Ipswich men even serve aboard the “Bonhomme Richard” under Capt. John Paul Jones. Many ship-owners engage in privateering. The townspeople endure great hardship and privation as they bear the cost of the war, they are often lacking in provisions, as farming is reduced because of the absence of young men; they lose sons and husbands as war casualties; the war debt is enormous because of depreciation of our continental currency.

1780 – September 25. Col. Nathaniel Wade, on the order of George Washington, assumes command at West Point after Benedict Arnold defects to the enemy.  The State Constitution is drawn up after delegates meet in a constitutional convention in 1779. I t is approved by the delegates from the towns.

1783 – The War is over after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. There is a great rejoicing in Ipswich after eight years of combat, and there are fireworks at the Meetinghouse.

1786 – Col. Nathaniel Wade leads a company of Ipswich soldiers to help subdue “Shay’s Rebellion” in western Massachusetts. The rebellion collapses.

1787 – Rev. Manasseh Cutler of the Hamlet is one of the organizers of the Ohio Company which purchased millions of acres of land for settlement in the Ohio Valley. The covered wagon train which he organizes leaves with the new settlers and builders to reach the site on

the banks of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers where they will build the town of Marietta. Thus begins the first large-scale migration to the west.

1788 – Massachusetts Convention assembles to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Ipswich, strictly Federalist in its views sends the Hon. Michael Farley. John Choate. Daniel Noyes. and Col. Jonathan Cogswell as delegates. Ratification passes on a vote of 187 to 167. with Ipswich delegates voting in approval. Church bells ring, cannons are fired and bonfires burn all night in the streets in celebration.

1789 – George Washington is elected President of the United States. John Adams of Quincy is his Vice-President. The Constitution goes into operation.
– October 30. The new President visits Ipswich during his New England tour. He reviews the Essex Regiment and enjoys a “cold collation” at Swazey’s Tavern ( still standing) on the South Green. Col. Nathaniel Wade and Col. George Heard head the welcoming committee. Tench Coxe. “the father of American cotton industries” reports that during the past year the women of’ Ipswich produced more than 42,000 yards of silk lace and edgings. (A cottage industry, the making of pillow lace, would continue until the advent of the lace making machine.) There is much poverty in Ipswich. The lucrative fishing trade with the West Indies is cut off by the British, as is American trade with English ports. Paper currency is practically worthless and the debtors courts are full.

1790 – It is noted that the deer have disappeared. – The first federal census places the town’s population at 4,562.

1792 – Dr. John Manning receives state aid to build a woolen manufactory (on the site of the present Caldwell Block). He assumes responsibility for the town’s poor and lodges them in the old Jacob Manning House on High Street. They in turn become operatives in the mill. The town votes 500 pounds for support of the poor. (Part of the old Manning house is now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.)

1793 – The Hamlet is set off from the town and becomes the Town of Hamilton, taking its name from Alexander Hamilton. a close friend of Rev. Mr. Cutler.  A hail storm destroys 5,000 panes of glass in Ipswich. and destroys many crops.

1795 – A new Town House is built costing 57,000.  Heard Mansion is built by John Heard.

1797 – The town records begin to record money in dollars and cents.

1799 – The Argilla Enclosure is chartered by the  farmers of Argilla in order to dike the marshes of that area for the cultivation of English hay. “Ipswich hay” becomes highly popular (and remains a profitable industry well into the 20th century).

Forward and Introduction

1630 – 1692  The Town is founded and flourishes as one of the leading towns of the Colony

1700 – 1800 The Town gives its wealth and manpower to fighting the long French and Indian Wars, then staunchly supports the War for Independence and the founding of the Nation.

1800 – 1850  The Town is plunged into mourning when George Washington dies in December. Mourning bands are worn, pictures are draped. and the town observes a long period of “solemn observances”. The Town, having lost Hamilton in 1793 and Essex in 1819, is beset by economic troubles.

1850 – 1900  Ipswich  endures the ordeal of sending 350 men to the Civil War, but comes into more prosperous times with the commencement and expansion of the Ipswich Hosiery Mills.

1900 –  1950: The Town confronts the problems of War, Depression,  and Governmental Reform

1950 –  1975: Growth, Social and Environmental Change.

1975 – 2000: Ipswich continues into the Modern Age while protecting its historic and natural resources.

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