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Snow-Bound

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807 – 1892) was born in Haverhill and is buried in Amesbury. He penned this romantic poem about how his family passed the time during the Great Snow of 1717. The snow was so deep that houses were covered by drifts, and people burned their furniture to stay warm. Excerpt from “Snow-Bound,…

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Carted back to Ipswich

In the Old North Burying Yard on High Street in Ipswich lies the body of the Reverend Samuel Belcher, the first settled minister in the parish in West Newbury. It is said that the Rev. Belcher was dependent on his neighbors’ kindness in his later life. Much to the supposed discredit of the parish, the story was often told…

35 Washington St., Marblehead, MA

Old Town, a colonial neighborhood in Marblehead

“Old Town” in Marblehead, MA is a visual delight, packed with colorful early 18th Century homes and a few dating to before the 17th Century. Navigating its narrow streets during the tourist season can be challenging, so I prefer to visit the town in the spring or fall. The Open Space Plan for Marblehead, MA explains the town’s extraordinary concentration of over…

Market Square, photo by George Dexter

George Dexter’s Ipswich

Perhaps the best-known early Ipswich Photographer was George Dexter (1862-1927). His photograph’s along with those of Edward Lee Darling (1874-1962) provide a wonderful visual history of the town. Thanks to Ipswich native, Robert Cronin for sharing with me his collection of George Dexter glass plate negatives that have been in storage for almost 100 years, and…

Thomas Perkins house, Topsfield

A McIntire house in Topsfield

Thomas Perkins came to Boston with his parents from Gloucestershire in 1631. The family settled in the outlying part of Ipswich known as New Meadows and engaged in farming. The area was incorporated as Topsfield in 1650. Perkins was chosen Deacon of the Church in Topsfield about 1677, and died in the year 1686. His son Thomas inherited the…