175 County Road, the Jonathan Potter house, Ipswich MA

175 County Road, the William Manning house (1820)

The large Federal house at 175 County Road is on the campus of the First Presbyterian Church, which purchased the property in 1988. Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that the house was constructed by William Manning after he bought the property in 1820. (The Ipswich Assessor’s date of 1890, and the Ipswich Historical Commission date of construction as 1799 appear to be erroneous). In the 1930s, the rear of the building was extended and it became the Fairview Inn. From 1951 through the 1980s, Michael and Lillian Dunn operated a store known as “The Christmas Angel.” The church plans to demolish the house to build a larger sanctuary, and convert the current sanctuary for other use.

The Potter Farm

This lot was originally part of the large Potter family farm, which extended from the Appleton property near Waldingfield Road to the former Barnard estate where the Residence at Riverbend stands.

  • 1641: the Town granted to John Hoyt, six acres of planting round ta the Mile Brook having the Mile Brook on the South, Ipswich River on the Northwest.
  • December 11, 1661: William Lampson, late of Ipswich sold to Anthony Potter, “our dwelling house and other outhousing with the orchard and a parcel of upland and meadow containing sixteen acres on the South side of the river with the common fence bounded with Mile Brook towards the west, the Mill River toward the North. Potter enlarged the far, purchasing 16 acres from John Appleton, son of Samuel, the immigrant.
  • March 24, 1696: Anthony Potter was granted permission to set up a dam and grist mill in Mile Brook near the house of Thomas Potter. The 1833 Ipswich map shows it as “Willet’s Mill.”
  • August 2, 1714: Samuel Potter bequeathed “to son Samuel besides what I have given him a deed on ye southerly side of ye brook I give him all my land on ye side of said brook. To his son Thomas he gave “all lands on ye north side of the brook and after (my) wife’s decease all lands, housings, etc.”
  • July 5, 1762: Daniel Potter succeeded to the ownership and sold to his son, Richard, a house and 16 acres. (119: 155).
  • Oct. 5, 1789: Richard Potter bequeathed his estate to his son Jonathan (proved Oct. 5, 1789. Pro. Rec. 360:290).
  • Nov. 20, 1810: This thirteen acre lot which is now 175 County Rd. was sold by Daniel Potter to Moses Willett (192:75).
    • The 1833 Ipswich map shows the owner of the remaining northern section of the Potter farm as James S. Potter, the son of Jonathan.
    • May 4, 1846: The widow of James Potter, Mrs. Rhoda B. Potter, sold the farm, 30 acres in all, to Capt. Symmes Potter (368: 6).
    • Feb. 12, 1857: Captain Potter sold to northern half of the property to Asa Wade. The 1872 map and the 1884 map both show the owner of that section as Asa Wade. The Potter-Asa Wade house became the Barnard estate where the Residence at Riverbend stands.

The William Manning farmhouse

March 8, 1820: The administrator of Willett sold “the Potter lot” ten and a quarter acres, to William Manning (270: 36). Thomas Franklin Waters wrote that Mr. Manning built this house and a barn and lived here until his death. Close by on Lakeman’s Lane is a house constructed by John Manning in 1825. It appears that the two were brothers. Both houses are still standing, and bear some similarity.

The Genealogical and Biographical History of the Manning Families provides the following information: William Manning was born May 20, 1793 at Ipswich Mass, the son of John and Mary Manning. He was a farmer in his native town. He married according to family report Mary Parsons, but the Ipswich Vital Records show only one adult William Manning of this era, the son of John and Mary Manning, born in 1794, who married “Mrs. Mary Treadwell” on November 20, 1817. Mr. Manning died May 27, 1860 in Ipswich and is buried in the family crypt at the Old South Cemetery in Ipswich.

  • Sept. 7, 1860: William Manning’s heirs sold to George Fellows (612: 246)
  • The 1872 map shows the house at this location owned by George Fellows. The 1884 map shows a similar layout but does not name the Fellows house.
  • April 13, 1883: the Fellows heirs to Willard B. and William H. Kinsman (1105: 201)
  • May 24, 1894: Mr. Albert W. Smith bought of the Kinsman heirs (1412:499)
  • Dec. 14, 1895: The Kinsman heirs sold to Asa Burnham (1465: 274)
  • April 15, 1902: Burnham sold to Mrs. Lavinia A. Brown (1670:312)
  • Oct. 27, 1904: Mrs. Lavinia A. Brown conveyed to Mrs. Lavinia Campbell, wife of Charles. A. Campbell (1758:111). They built their estate on the east side of County Rd.
  • October 21, 1899: Charles Campbell sold property to George E. Barnard. Barnard bought the house and ten acres on the west side of County Rd, extending his Riverview estate and thus rejoining the ancient Potter farm on the west side of the highway.
  • The 1910 Ipswich map shows the house and land in the ownership of George F. Barnard.

The Fairview Inn

Charlotte Lindgren provided the following information: Across the road, the Charles Campbell estate was purchased by Percy Bennett. He rented it in 1924 to Herman H. Fiekers and Floyd Garringe, who operated it as the Fairview Inn, which remained open until about 1931. Rumors were that a speakeasy operated there during that time. After Harcourt Amory bought the Campbell house for use as a private residence, Mr. Fiekers reopened the Fairview Inn in the building at 175 County Rd. (the subject of this article). “It was a very active place, though not the kind that I would have been allowed to go to. The Fiekers were German, which made them suspect during World War Two.”

  • May 13, 1946: Herman H. Fiekers sold the property to George Swik et al.
  • 1951: George and Theodore L. Cwik sold the property to “Fairview Inn Inc.”

The Christmas Angel

In 1974 “Fairview Inn, Inc” under the ownership of Helen and Carol Kinsman deeded the house and land to Michael and Lillian Dunn, the lien owned by the Naumkaeg Trust Company (6079-27). The Dunns operated as the building as “The Christmas Angel” incorporated from 1951 to 1990. In 1988 the First Presbyterian Church purchased the property from the Dunns.