|Above, the highway to Gloucester crosses the Chebacco Bridge in the Cody's neighborhood.||
The real highways of those days were on the sea. But overland roads were a necessity, for mutual protection and Sabbath worship, as well as a reliable way from farm to market or field to barn. From Indian trails to cowpaths and country roads to town highways carrying heavy traffic, their changes reflect the town's growth. The deed of January 16, 1723/24 says that Joseph and Mary Cody's house and 1¾ acres of upland was "bounded westerly upon the Road leading to Glocester. Southerly upon Land of Mr. Abraham Martin Northerly on Land of Capt. Adam Cogswell and Land of the Burying Place." The Burying place is still there between the creek and the houses along the (yellow) town highway which was the Cody's western boundary.
Ipswich, just north of Salem, was settled by Govenor John Winthrop’s son, John Winthrop Jr., who came from Watertown with 12 others in 1633 and found the pioneer, William Jeffries, already there with Massconomet, Sagamore of the Agawams. Phillip and Martha owned salt marsh ground about 2 miles east on Cobbet's Creek at the head of Lufkin's Creek, easily accesible by boat at the town landing near Norton's.
The first highway route, as early as 1635, from Ipswich to Gloucester is shown on the map below as the orange line. Starting at Meetinghouse Green in the northwest corner of the map, it crossed the Ipswich River by the Great Bridge, and went a mile south toward Salem until it forked into "the parting of the ways" and the Gloucester route went southeast 2 miles, crossing the Castle Neck River into Chebacco Parish at a ford. In 1656 Haffield's Bridge was constructed downstream, and the new route is shown by the yellow line in the map’s center left, shortening the distance by about 1½ mile.
From the ford it ran a mile easterly skirting White's Hill, turning a mile southeasterly to pass between that and Burnham's Hill. Crossing Soginese Creek, the northwestern border of Cogswell's Grant, it then ran a ¼ mile south to The Lane where it went further southeasterly ¾ of a mile through Cogswell's Grant to the ferry they maintained since 1633 across the Chebacco River to Billy’s Point. A horse bridge replaced the ferry there between 1666 and 1672, and in 1700 a new bridge upstream replaced the old ferry. The new public way is shown in yellow, and the old one across Cogwell's Grant reverted to private use.
Once across the Chebacco, the original route went south, crossing Clark's Creek upstream at a ford, then northeast to the head of Lufkin's Creek, where it reached the Gloucester line. The yellow line in the map's lower right shows the route after 1700, when Clark's Creek was bridged downstream, and the distance shortened again.
The Original Highway
from Ipswich to
1633 - 1700
Courtesy D. G. Beer, 1872
"Atlas of Essex County"
and David Whittredge
The original highway from Ipswich to Gloucester has become today's County, Essex, Candlewood and Chebacco Roads in Ipswich, and Choat St., John Wise Ave., Main St., Eastern Ave. and Harlow St. in Essex. White's Hill is now Fifteen Tree Hill, Burnham's Hill is now White's Hill, and Clark's Creek is now Eben Creek. The Hamlet is now the town of Hamilton, and Chebacco was incorporated as the town of Essex in 1819. The town highway after 1700 is today's Route 133, and played a part in our family’s history.
The map was made by D. G. Beer for his "Atlas of Essex County", published in 1872. We are further
indebted to historian David Whittredge for his annotations.