The Philomen Foster house at 2 Newbury St.  is one of the most picturesque historic properties in Linebrook. This 18th century cape retains much of its Late Second Period character. The central five bays of the house are the earliest portion, built c. 1787. The left-hand (west) rooms were added in the early 1800s. Philomen Foster Sr. (b. 1737, d. 1818) married Ruth Perley in 1767. Almost certainly he built the house c. 1787 on land belonging to or adjacent to that of his wife’s family. A farmer, Philomen was for many years a deacon of the Linebrook Church and was a member of Capt. Abraham Howe’s Linebrook minutemen. Foster’s nephew, John Perley (b. 1782, d. 1860), a shoemaker, lived with him until 1803.

In 1816, Philomen Sr. and Philomen Jr., also a farmer, sold the house to Jonathan Foster, Jr., who was already living in the west end of it. Jonathan Jr. was a farmer and sexton of the cemetery adjacent. Jonathan Foster’s father, Jonathan Sr., also occupied the house around 1822. Soon Nathaniel Howe, a shoemaker and Jonathan Jr.’s nephew, was also living in the house. Three families then occupied the house in the second quarter of the 19th century. There seems to have been a strong shoemaking tradition in the Foster family. In addition to the two mentioned above, sons of Philomen Jr., David and Gorham, became shoemakers. The small shed to the rear of the house was almost certainly Nathaniel Howe’s shoemaking shop.

Before 1888, the house was bought by Orrie M. Hills, a farmer. The house remained in the Hills family until 1970, when Elmer Hills died at over 90 years of age. Until that time, the house evidently remained virtually unchanged.

Source: MACRIS listing

Philemon Foster house, 3 Newbury St. in Ipswich
20th Century photo by Ipswich Historical Commission