The Benjamin Grant house, County Street in Ipswich MA
The Benjamin Grant house, County Street in Ipswich MA

The Benjamin Grant House at 47 County Street in Ipswich was built in 1735, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It has also been referred to in the past as the Daniel Ross or Joseph Ross house. It is 2 1/2 story end-gable house with a one room deep front section and a rear lean-to. The front of the house is slightly asymmetrical, suggesting that it might have been originally built as a “half house” with the large chimney at the end, and the other half added later, as was common.

benjamin_grant_signBenjamin Grant was born in 1701 in Ipswich to Robert and Mary Grant, who had emigrated to Ipswich from England. Benjamin married Anne Perkins in 1722 (not to be confused with Mary Perkins Bradbury of Salisbury who was tried, convicted and sentenced to hang as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts but was later exonerated). Mary Perkins Grant died in 1801 at the age of 104 years.

This house is protected by a Preservation Agreement between the owners, the Town of Ipswich and the Historical Commission.  Protected elements include:

  • Front and side facades
  • Center brick chimney and the original fabric of the four attached fireplaces
  • Wide pine board floors throughout the house
  • Two two-panel doors, vertical feather-edged sheathing, bolection moulding around the fireplaces and mantle
  • horizontal panel above the second floor fireplace
  • Major members of the frame
Benjamin Grant House in the early 1900’s
photo from Ipswich by William Varrell
The Benjamin Grant house before it was restored
The Benjamin Grant house before it was restored

The Benjamin Grant house was at one time occupied by Joseph Ross of Ipswich who patented the horizontally folding movable span bridge in 1849. The technology was instrumental in creating railroad bridge types throughout the Greater Boston area. The Mystic River drawbridge #7 is the only bridge of this type surviving. Joseph Ross died in 1903.

In 1863 Joseph Ross was a partner in a group that purchased nearby land on County Street along the “lower falls” and erected a water-powered  yarn mill, later adding machinery for the production of hosiery and knitting. This was the site of earlier mills, including a “fulling mill” built by John Whipple in 1673. The Great Fire of Boston destroyed a warehouse where much of their product was stored. Insurance companies were unable to cover the immense losses, and the business eventually succumbed. The mill was later torn down.

The Benjamin Grant house was purchased by Stephen and Catherine Green in 1981, which initiated a two year project to restore the home to its original character.

View  MACRIS details.

posted by Gordon Harris