Thursday, August 20, 2020

John Whipple Houses

There have been many Whipples named John, all of whom (hopefully) lived in house(s). This post discusses two of those houses, built in the 1600s in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island.

1. John Whipple House in Ipswich, Massachusetts


The John Whipple House still stands in Ipswich, Massachusetts

Owned and maintained by the Ipswich (Mass.) Historical Society, the original house was built before 1650 (possibly as early as 1638 by John Fawn), then sold to John Whipple "the Elder" (born 1596 in Bocking, England, immigrated to Ipswich with his family and brother Matthew's family in 1638). 

The house grew in size, as did the generations of Whipples that lived there. Elder John's son John (born 1625 in Bocking, England) made a large addition in 1670, which more than doubled the size of the house. 

(Note: The son John immigrated to Ipswich from England in 1638 at the age of 12. He came with his father, mother, siblings, uncle Matthew Whipple, and Matthew's family, all of whom settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The son eventually received the title of Captain.)

The house was passed from son to grandson Major John Whipple, who added a lean-to of considerable size at the back, completing the house's present-day form. 

(Source of the above description: Hugh Morrison, Early American Architecture from the First Colonial Settlements to the National Period [New York, Oxford University Press, 1952], pp. 54-55. Other descriptions may vary.)

The house was opened to the public as a museum in 1899. In 1927 the house was moved from its original location a the corner of Saltonstall and Market Streets to its present location at 53 S. Main Street, Ipswich, Massachusetts.


2. John Whipple House in Providence, Rhode Island


Captain John Whipple House, 369 N. Main, Providence, R.I., in 1912

The house in Providence was built in the1660s. John, his wife Sarah, and their children had moved from Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1658. Prior to 1663, they likely lived in the abandoned house of William Arnold, from whom John purchased four house lots in 1658-59. 

In November 1663, John willed that first (Arnold) house to his son John Junior, before his marriage the following month, on 4 December 1663. At that time the rest of the family moved into the newly constructed house about 50 yards north, at 369 N. Main. 

When John Junior died in 1700 the house at 369 N. Main passed onto John Whipple III, who sold it to his uncle Joseph Whipple (Captain John's 10th child) in 1705. 

Joseph’s daughter, Sarah (Whipple) Crawford, and her family lived in the house for most of the 1700s. 

In 1798, the area from Star Street north on Main was owned by John Whipple, S. Whipple, J. Whipple, and Joseph Whipple. 

By 1824, 139 years after Captain John’s death, over 14 Whipples still lived within a mile or so of the 300 block of North Main Street. Those Whipples included:
  • John, a renowned attorney
  • Cyrus, a wealthy manufacturer of screws
  • John H., town constable
  • Two grocers, Ethan and Jeremiah
  • Leonidas, a painter
  • David, a hat maker 
  • Arnold, a jeweler at the 369 N. Main property.
  • Captain Jabez, a seaman who lived next door
In 1912, the year the photo was taken, the area was a Jewish neighborhood, and 369 was a remnants store owned by B.J. Rosen. 

In 1938, Captain John Whipple’s old house was badly damaged in the New England hurricane of that year, and had disappeared by the late 1940s when the newly founded Providence Historical Preservation Society tried to find it.

(Source of the above descriptions: Email from Dr. Charles M. Whipple to Weldon Whipple, 19 August 2020.)

In 1917, Charles H. Whipple (author of Genealogy of the Whipple, Wright, Wager, Ward, Pell, McLean, Burnet Families, p. 13.) wrote that "he oldest dwelling in [Providence, R.I.] is the Whipple house, North Main St., No. 369. It dates back more than two centuries. When the town of Providence was burned by the Indians this building was spared, as the Indians revered the structure because Roger Williams and his followers had worshiped there."

A 1999 search determined that the house had been torn down to make way for a road expansion years earlier.

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