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  • Writer's pictureMaggie Meahl

Field Trip: Capt. John Whipple House c. 1677, Ipswich, MA

Captain John Whipple house and gardens, circa 17th century. Owned and operated by Historic Ipswich. The original part, built in 1677, is on the left. The house was moved to this location in the 1920s.

I feel so blessed to live in the history mecca that is New England. Although I am more familiar with all things New London County (CT), taking a local field trip to the Whipple House in Ipswich, MA was on my "To Do" list because it really helps with my Huntington family writing project, (especially the second generation: Simon Huntington II and his wife Sarah Clarke Huntington). The large town of Ipswich is a "must see" on any history-themed visits to Massachusetts. It claims more First Period (1626-1725) houses than any other town in America.

Visit for information about all of these great old American treasures.

Anyway, my recent visit was to continue my obsessive quest to observe what life could have been like for these first and second generation English settlers--particularly Simon II and Sarah. Here are some of my lame pictures:

Back of Whipple House showing the various additions and slanted backside usually called "saltbox."

17th century-style kitchen garden.
17th or 18th century child's walker.
Reproduction wool bed curtains in striking red color. There was a lot of color in early Puritan homes, more than you would think.
Original and reproduction chest and box. All done in the Mannerist style that was popular in the 17th century, especially in the Connecticut River Valley.
A rare set of early boots. Probably 18th or perhaps 17th century.

Then it was onto the circa 1657 Knight house, a reproduction early First Period home, the first type of real home a Puritan would have built. They were very small, crude shelters. This gem is 16 x 12 feet and based on records found in Ipswich Archives. Very rare!! Similar to the structures at Pioneer Village in Salem, MA as well as Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. It has a loft with ladder leading up to it.

The 1657 Knight House, Ipswich, MA. Recently constructed using 17th century building techniques. Measures

Windows with crude wooden shutters; no glass. Details of thatch work, prevalent in very early New England--except in Boston where it was banned due to its flammability.

Interior of the one room 12 x 16 house. We see a "board" that was used for prepping food on one side and eating on the other. Notice the wooden plates, sometimes called "treenware."Finally, one turned chair for the father. Others would stand or sit on benches.

Had a fantastic tour led by the knowledgable Prudy Markos of Historic Ipswich.


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