Oral histories indicate that the house at 12 North Main Street was built in the early 18th Century and was either the Christian Wainwright house or Nathaniel Treadwell’s Inn. The 1747 Ebenezer Stanwood house at 8 North Main is the probable site of John Sparke’s Tavern, built in 1671.

The Historical Commission sign on the front of the house identifies this as the home of Christian Wainwright, as found on the MACRIS site: “Christian Wainwright bought this lot in 1741 (from Daniel Tilton, bounded southeasterly by country road 53 ft., bounded northeasterly by Nathaniel Treadwell, 80:295) and built the present house”

“The house was originally one room deep and was later enlarged to the rear, under a raised and lengthened rear roof. Notable second period features include four panel doors, boxed summer beam construction, and a wide muntin window in the ell. The house underwent additional changes in the mid-19th century and the original central chimney was removed.”

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The deed history of the house was researched by Thomas Franklin Waters in his book, Ipswich in the Mass. Bay Colony, vol. I, p. 347” (bullet points added):

  • “Thus the southwest limit of the original Wm. Fuller grant is determined, and the location of the John Sparks dwelling, which disappeared when Ebenezer Stanwood built the present dwelling (8 North Main).
  • Before Ebenezer Smith sold his house to Stanwood, he had sold a lot with fifty feet frontage, to Daniel Tilton, March 1, 1732-3 (68: 149)
  • Tilton sold to Christian Wainwright, June 2, 1741 (“bounded southeasterly by country road 53 ft., bounded northeasterly by Nathaniel Treadwell, 80:295)
  • In 1748 (June 22), this lot with a house was conveyed by Christian Wainwright, widow of John, to Daniel Staniford, Nathaniel Treadwell, abutting on the northeast.”
  • Dummer Jewett purchased from the estate of Staniford.
  • Thomas Manning, guardian of the widow, Mary Thorndike, sold the house and land to Jacob Lord, Oct. 16, 1820;
  • Lord to Capt. Wm. Haskell in 1826;
  • Haskell to Samuel N. Baker, in 1832 ; (see map below)
  • Baker to the widows, Hannah and Ann Brown, Aug. 21, 1837 (302: 24) ;
  • and they, to Joseph Baker, April 29, 1845. Mr. Baker owned the Treadwell property adjoining. 
  • He sold the house, which occupied the lot, and it was removed to the corner of Market and Saltonstall Streets. It was torn down by the Historical Society, after the corner was purchased.”

This provides reason to believe that the Christian Wainwright house was moved to Market Street, and no longer stands. If so, it would have between #8 and #12 North Main on a small parcel of land that measures 50 ft.

Waters continues to describe that Nathaniel Treadwell’s property was at the present 12 North Main St:

“Jacob Treadwell inherited from his father, Nathaniel, and his administrator sold to Moses Treadwell, the house and land, “being all that said deceased owned in that place, commonly called the old (Smith) Tavern lot.” The executors of the Moses Treadwell estate sold the house and land to Joseph Baker of Boston. The heirs of Joseph Baker sold to Mrs. Lizzie G. Hayes (1176. 159), Mrs. Hayes to George K Dodge, July 2, 1888 (1227: 508); Dodge to Mrs. Lois Hardy, May 4, 1897 (1514 11), who transferred to Miss Lucy Slade Lord, the present owner (Shown as owner of this house in 1910).

Location of the Christian Wainwright house before it was moved to Market St.
Location of the Christian Wainwright house in the 1832 Ipswich map, is shown as the S. N. Baker House. According to Thomas Franklin Waters, it was moved to Market St. in 1845 by Joseph Baker. The Moses Treadwell house in the map may have been the original Treadwell’s Inn. The Wm. Heard house sat at the location of the Tyler Building. Central street did not yet exist. The Widow Daniel Rogers lived in the “Ebenezer Stanwood house” at 8 North Main St. A cart path beside the Stanwood house connected to Loney’s Lane between #8 and #12 (the S.N. Baker house). A 50 ft. lot, with an embankment is empty beside the S.N. Baker house at the present 12 North Main Street, and may have once been the site of the Christian Wainwright house.

Christian was the widow of John Wainwright, son of Col. John Wainwright Senior, a man of great wealth who owned a large estate along East Street down to the wharf. He expanded his estate in 1710 by purchasing property that had passed from one of the early settlers, Thomas Treadwell to his son Nathaniel. It was Colonel Wainwright’s will that the estate should remain in the family forever.

John Wainwright Jr. died at age 49 and left his wife Christian with three children. The great fortune left by the senior Colonel Wainwright had been greatly reduced. Her home appears to have been between the house at 12 North Main Street and the Ebenezer Stanwood house at 8 North Main in 1741. She petitioned the General Court in 1743 to take off the entail imposed in the Colonel’s will so that the lands on Jeffreys Neck might be sold to pay for the children’s’ education. The Court granted the petition. Seven years later she sold the house to Daniel Staniford. Thus the wealthy Colonel Wainwright’s estate was dissolved.

Thomas Franklin Waters relates that in 1845, Joseph Baker bought the house that Christian Wainwright had built and moved it in order to enlarge his own property, described as being the historic old Treadwell Tavern:

“Capt. Wm. Haskell (sold) to Samuel N. Baker, in 1832….He sold the house to the widows, Hannah and Ann Brown, Aug. 21, 1837 (302: 24) ; and they, to Joseph Baker, April 29, 1845. Mr. Baker owned the Treadwell property adjoining. He sold the house, which occupied the lot, and it was removed to the corner of Market and Saltonstall Sts. It was torn down by the Historical Society, after the corner was purchased.

Cloesup of N. Main Street from the 1856 map. This indicatest the Joseph Baker house is 12 North Main, next to the Coburn house, which is the Kaede Bed and Breakfast. The Christian Wainwright house, which he moved sometime after 1845, would have been at the approximate location of the lane between J. Baker and T. Lord.

On page 344, Volume 1 of Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Waters wrote an account of properties that came to be part of theWainwright lot.

“An ancient footway led from Scott’s Lane across his rear land, up the hill to Loney ‘s Lane. He obstructed this way and forbade travel and the matter was carried to Court. A rude map of the region was drawn and presented to the magistrates in 1717. The original has escaped destruction…and a note appended to this map states that the Perkins lot included the original Proctor and Osgood lots. Dr. John Perkins, son and heir of Capt. Beamsley, sold his estate, reserving an eighth of an acre on Col. Appleton’s line, to John Wainwright, April 13, 1725 (49: 231). This small lot, with other property, the Doctor then a resident of Boston, sold to his son. Dr. Nathaniel Perkins, also of Boston, Dec. 1, 1740 (80: 302).” (See map below)

Screenshot from a 1717 hand-drawn map indicating the location of houses in this vicinity of North Main Street. The text in the paragraph above seems to indicate that the small triangular-shaped lot to the left of Taverner Smith’s is the extension of Loney’s Lane and was at one time in the possession of Col. John Wainwright. If so, Taverner Smith’s house would be #12 North Main Street.

“Wainwright ‘s administrator sold to Richard Rogers, “a dwelling house and land in present possession of Mrs. Cristian Wainwright,” about five and a half acres. May 6, 1741 (80; 302) and Dr. Perkins sold his eighth of an acre to Rogers, Oct. 14, 1741 (80: 303). Rogers, or his widow and admistratrix, Mary Rogers, sold the house and a quarter acre abutting on the Heard property, to Samuel Wainwright, son of John, before 1744, though no record of the deed was made.”

“Elizabeth Wainwright, daughter of Samuel, conveyed to Dr. Parker Clark, of Newburyport, her house and quarter acre bequeathed her by her mother. May 1788 (155: 199). She also became the wife of Dr. Clark, who took up his abode in the dwelling thus provided. Dr. Clark sold the house and land to John Baker, Jr., Sept. 15, 1798 (164: 169). His heir, Manasseh Brown, removed the old house to the Topsfield road (Market St.), where it was afterwards burned. The new house erected (on Market St.) is still the property of his heirs, and the estate includes the office building of Hon. Chas. A. Sayward and the dry-goods store of W. S. Russell and Son.”

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Waters wrote that the Christian Wainwright house was moved to Market Street, and was later demolished by the Ipswich Historical Society in order to provided a better view of the Whipple House, which at that time sat behind it. The Whipple House was moved to the South Green in the early 20th Century.
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12 N. Main St. is the large white house in this photo. The small building with the horse was a drug store attached to the front of 8 North Main Street (Stanwood house) and is no longer standing.

Treadwell’s Inn

In 1727, Captain Nathaniel Treadwell “innholder” (1700 – 1777) opened this inn. John Adams visited Ipswich frequently during the 1770’s in his capacity as a lawyer and always stopped at Captain Nathaniel Treadwell’s inn. Treadwell bequeathed his “tavern house” to his son Jacob, who continued the business. He entertained the Marquis de Chastelux in 1782, who noted that Ipswich appeared to be in decline, having a difficult entrance at its seaport. Nathaniel Treadwell apparently constructed this 2nd period building in 1747.

Augustine Caldwell and Arthur Wesley Dow wrote in the Ipswich Antiquarian Papers that use of the house as a tavern predates Nathaniel Treadwell:

“June 8, 1671: Upon request of some of the inhabitants of this Towne to the Selectmen for John Sparke to have liberty to draw beere of a penny a quart to such as may have need to make use of it. The Selectmen doth Grant him license so to do, provided he observes the orders of the general court not at any time to entertaine any inhabitants n the night, nor suffer any person to bring liquors to drink in his or wine.” The Sparke-Inn still stands–the house of the late Mary Baker. It continued as an Inn till after the Revolution. In Sewall’s day it was the Sparke then Rogers house; In John Adams’ day it was the Treadwell.” *(The 1872 Ipswich map clearly identifies this house as the home of Mary Baker.)

They wrote specifically about Treadwell’s Inn:

“Joseph Baker, 1784-1846: Joseph Baker, son of Samuel and Sarah (Holland) Baker, was born in Ipswich, Feb. 29, 1784 and died in Ipswich, March, 1846. He began his mercantile career in Salem, where lie married Mrs. Anna (Stewart) Felt. He removed to Boston in 1815. After a successful business life he returned to his native town, and purchased the house near the Soldiers’ Monument — known as the old Treadwell Tavern. It is perhaps the most historic building in town. It was the principle Ipswich Inn for many generations. Chief Justice Sewall mentions it in his Diary. John Adams, before the Revolution, writes quaintly of the Treadwells who were then host and hostess. Madame Treadwell was a descendant of Gov. Endicott and a convert of Whitfield.She had a copy of Gov. Endicott’s portrait.

Mr. Baker enlarged his grounds by removing the dwelling south of the tavern, which had once been occupied by Esq. Dummer Jewett. It now stands in close proximity to the ancient Saltonstall House.”

Read: John Adams’ visit to Ipswich, staying at Treadwell’s Inn

The Agawam House

The former Agawam House on North Main was also once called “Treadwell’s Inn.” Many generations of the Treadwell family had a son named Nathaniel. Nathaniel Treadwell 3rd “innkeeper” bought a house and land from John Hodgkins, Jr. in 1806, built and kept his tavern there until 1818, then sold to Moses Treadwell (son of Captain Nathaniel Treadwell) who continued the business until his death in 1823. The 1806 building was a federal-style structure, but in 1872 it was enlarged and remodeled by Parker Spinney with a 2nd Empire Victorian roof, generous porches and renamed the Agawam House. The building is now unrecognizable, covered in vinyl siding.

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Closeup from 1910 Ipswich map shows the home of L. S. Lord, 12 North Main Street. Thomas Franklin Waters noted that Spark’s Tavern was on or near this location (#12, #8, or the former Christian Wainwright house which sat in between).

Spark’s Tavern

The location of Spark’s Tavern is partially identified by Thomas Franklin Waters in the book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony:

“Thomas Bishop’s house near the site of the Public Library was open to the public. John Spark or Sparks known to us first as an apprentice of Obadiah Wood the biskett baker continued at his trade with Bishop when Samuel Bishop succeeded to the business on the death of his father. Sparks went across the street and bought of Thomas White a house with two acres of land on or near the spot now occupied by the residence of Miss Lucy Slade Lord (see Ipswich map 1910) in February 1671.

In the deed he is styled biskett baker and his deed of sale in 1691 included a bake house but he had received license in Sept 1671 to “sell beere at a penny a quart provided he entertain no Town inhabitants in the night nor suffer to bring wine or liquor to be drunk in his house.” His hostelry was known far and near. Here the Quarter Sessions Court held its sittings. Major Samuel Appleton Assistant issued a warrant to the Marshal to secure the appearance of every one who knew anything of the will of Thomas Andrews the schoolmaster before him at Goodman Sparks, July 12, 1683.

Sue Nelson determined that the Ebenezer Stanwood house at the adjoining lot at 8 North Main Street may have been the site of Sparks Tavern. This suggests that John Wainwright owned both lots before dying early. Waters wrote in Volume 2, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony the following:

“Following the fortunes of the Sparks Inn, the Court Record of March, 1693, bears the entry: ‘John Sparks, ye Tavern keeper in Ipswich, having laid down his license and ye house being come, as is said into ye hands of Mr. John Wainwright, license is granted for keeping of a tavern there to any sober man whom Mr. Wainwright may secure.'”

It was apparently long-believed that Treadwell’s Inn and Sparke’s Tavern had been at the same location. Augustine Caldwell wrote in Volume 1 of “The Antiquarian Papers,” published in 1880:

“Spark’s Tavern was probably the well-known house of great historic interest, the residence of the late Mary Baker. In 1671 it was occupied by John Spark, 1693 by John Rogers sign of the Black Horse, 1700 by Crompton, 1711 by Thomas Smith a native of Boxford. In Revolutionary days it was Treadwell’s Tavern.”

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Attic framing on the front side shows signs of a serious fire in the past
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Roof framing for the rear addition