Ipswich, Massachusetts

Ipswich is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts. Home to Willowdale State Forest and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich includes the southern part of Plum Island. A residential community with a vibrant tourism industry, the town is famous for its clams, celebrated annually at the Ipswich Chowderfest, and also for Crane Beach, a barrier beach near the Crane estate.

Ipswich was founded by John Winthrop the Younger, son of John Winthrop, one of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 and its first governor, elected in England in 1629. Several hundred colonists sailed from England in 1630 in a fleet of 11 ships, including Winthrop’s flagship, the Arbella. Investigating the region of Salem and Cape Ann, they entertained aboard the Arbella for a day (on June 12, 1630) a native chief of the lands to the north, Chief Masconomet.

Pioneers would become farmers, fishermen, shipbuilders and traders. The tidal Ipswich River provided water power for mills, while salt marshes supplied hay for livestock. In 1687, Ipswich residents protested a tax imposed by the governor. As Englishmen, they argued, “taxation without representation” was unacceptable. Citizens were jailed but the governor was recalled and the new British sovereigns, William and Mary, issued colonists another charter. The rebellion is the reason the town calls itself “the birthplace of American Independence.”

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