Excerpts from “Millend, Ipswich” by M.B.V. Perley, 1901

millend_perleyMILLEND was located about the Saltonstall Mill (*the present location of the EBSCO and the Mill District). The ground has become historic. There planted the first Samuel Appleton, a name that has been among the foremost in military art, learning and business, during the centuries; there was John Whipple, a name having many military titles and of martial prowess and service (*the Whipple House was moved from Saltonstall Street to the South Green); there was the castle of Daniel Denison, a man who enjoyed the highest military rank in the colony and who taught the town’s young men in the science of martial defense ; there lived Richard Saltonstall, a scion of knighthood, the first abolitionist, a name luminous, down the years, with eloquence and patriotism; there the river was first dammed for grist and saw mills ; there was planned the first resistance to tyrannical taxation.

The location of Mill street is not a difficult task, when assisted by a map of the town-center, made in 1717 . The map was prepared by those who felt aggrieved by the denial of a right of way, and was then of sufficient accuracy to be used in court when the case of the right of way was tried  The original map was found in the Essex County court archives, at Salem. In locating the map,  Scott’s Lane” is the present Mineral Street. Scott’s Lane is Washington St. The sites of  many of the houses along Central Street were, in the beginning of  the town, only a swamp.

Mill Street of 1635-40 was the Scott’s Lane of 1717, and the Washington Street of the present day. If Mill street was our Washington Street, why did it take that name ?  In I635-40 the easternmost street was called “East end”; the westernmost, “West end”; the highest, “High”; and the vicinity of the mill, “Mill end.” Our Washington Street, from Mineral down as far as it went, was Mill. It was the street, and the only one, that led to the mill, at that early period. The road that led to the west (formerly known as Willowdale Road and now Topsfield Road) was called “highway to the common” land, and there was no street corresponding to our Market street. There was doubtless a footpath through the swamps, but there was no street till 1640 or later.

Millend Ipswich 1635
Map of the town-center of Ipswich, made in 1717 .

Says the record: “Jan. 11, 1639, Mr. Appleton shall make a sufficientt cartbridge over the swamp toward the mill and maintain and repair the same at his own charge for seven years next following, aud have added to his six acre lot above the mill one and a half acres, to begin where that begins and end at the brook where that ends.”

That the area about the proposed Appleton bridge, and between it and the river, was a swamp no one of the older generation of the present time, acquainted in his youth with the upper portion of the brook, will question for a moment. A gentleman told me he had fished from the guard-rail of the Heard Brook bridge. The Appleton bridge and the road leading to and from it, was, no doubt, the beginning of our Market street. From the opening of that bridge and street, the importance of Mill Street began to decline and its name to change.

All roads then led to church and to mill, the two prime factors in Puritan living. The Appleton bridge would be an expeditious connecting of Meetinghouse Green and the mill by opening a way into Mill Street. “The highway to the common” led from the mill direct; there was no road over the hill along the upper part of our Market street ; none there was needed. Along our Market street by the former railroad station was a high hill in 1635-40. The elevation of it has been very much lowered.

Closeup of the Mill District from the 1832 Ipswich map
Closeup of the Mill District from the 1832 Ipswich map


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