The town of Topsfield was part of land deeded by the Agawam Indian leader Masconomet to John Winthrop in 1638. As part of Ipswich, it was known as New Meadows. The town was incorporated in 1648 and renamed Topsfield, perhaps for its abundance of glacial hills, or after Toppesfield, England, a small parish in the county of Essex north of London. Topsfield is neighbor to Danvers, where the accusations that resulted in the Salem witch trials of 1692 began. Several residents of the town were accused, and two were hung. In 1818, the state legislature chartered the Essex Agricultural Society, now known for its Topsfield Fair.

Robert C. Hackett house, Topsfield - Built in 1835, the Hackett House is an extraordinary home. Continue reading: An ageless beauty in Topsfield by Barbara Forster in the Ipswich Chronicle MACRIS Hackett, Robert C. House 114 South Main St, Topsfield Year Constructed: 1835, Federal; Victorian Eclectic  
17th and 18th Century houses of Topsfield, Massachusetts - Topsfield originally was part of the 17th-century coastal plantations of Salem and Ipswich, with large tracts of its territory granted to residents of Ipswich between 1634 and 1642. At first known as the “newe medowes at Ipswich,” but was given its present name in 1648. In 1650, it had enough settled population to be incorporated as an … Continue reading 17th and 18th Century houses of Topsfield, Massachusetts
A Ramble in Linebrook - Excerpts from A PEN-RAMBLE IN LINEBROOK by M. V. B. PERLEY This is ancient territory. There were vested rights, upon the southeast, as early as 1635. Before 1653 Ipswich-Linebrook was all improved. The earliest settlers were Batchelder, Foster, Sherwiii, Howe, Perley, Fowler, Davis, Grant, Burnham, Cooper, Burpee, Tenney, Pingree, Kimball, Chapman, Dodge, Jewett, Dresser, etc. … Continue reading A Ramble in Linebrook
The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich - The Bay Circuit Trail is approaching the fulfillment of an eighty-year old dream – a permanent public recreational trail and greenway, linking parks and open spaces in fifty-seven Boston area communities, 200 miles from Duxbury and Kingston on the South Shore to Ipswich and Plum Island on the North Shore. Eleven miles of marked trails … Continue reading The Bay Circuit Trail in Ipswich
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 … Continue reading A McIntire house in Topsfield
The Grand Wenham Canal and the Topsfield Linear Common - The Topsfield Rail Trail is a “Linear Common” following the former Danvers to Newburyport rail line, which was officially abandoned in 1981. A plaque at the trailhead in downtown Topsfield details the former railroad’s history.The trail connects to the Danvers Rail Trail as part of the greater Border to Boston Trail.   Topsfield voters approved the rail … Continue reading The Grand Wenham Canal and the Topsfield Linear Common
Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials - In his book Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about Ipswich involvement in the Salem witch trials: The evidence was of the usual absurd character; Sarah Good had been confined in Ipswich jail. Joseph Herrick, the Constable of Salem, testified that she had been committed to his charge to carry to … Continue reading Ipswich and the Salem witchcraft trials
The Middle Circumferential Highway - In its 1968 comprehensive report “Recommended Highway and Transit Plan” the Massachusetts Department of Public Works (MassDPW) proposed a new beltway around the Boston area that would be situated between MA 128 and I-495. The Middle Circumferential Highway would have been a 66-mile loop six-lane expressway cutting through the Ipswich River Sanctuary, Bradley Palmer State Park, Appleton Farms, … Continue reading The Middle Circumferential Highway
The Witchcraft Trial of Elizabeth Howe - The 1996 movie “The Crucible” is based on Arthur Miller’s award-winning 1953 play about the Salem Witch Trials. It was filmed on Choate Island, part of the Crane estate in Ipswich and Essex. The story and movie are based on accusations against John and Elizabeth Proctor of Salem who had once lived in Ipswich. John Proctor was hung and … Continue reading The Witchcraft Trial of Elizabeth Howe
Newburyport Turnpike opens, February 11, 1805: “Over every hill and missing every town” - In 1803, a group of Newburyport investors incorporated as the Newburyport Turnpike Corporation in a commercial venture to build a straight toll road from Boston to Newburyport (the highway we call Rt. 1). The intent was to bypass Salem and promote Newburyport as a commercial destination. Proponents claimed it would cut travel time by a … Continue reading Newburyport Turnpike opens, February 11, 1805: “Over every hill and missing every town”
The Life of Daniel Hovey - At the foot of Hovey Street on Water Street along the Ipswich River is a plaque dedicated to the memory of Daniel Hovey, placed there by his descendants. The original wharf on the river in Ipswich was Hovey’s Wharf at this approximate location. Daniel Hovey was born in 1618 in Waltham Abbey, Essex Co., England. He … Continue reading The Life of Daniel Hovey