Wolf moon over Little Neck

Little Neck

Featured image: “Wolf Moon” over Little Neck, January 1, 2018. Photo by Susan Turner Po

Little Neck is in the foreground, with Great Neck beyond it. In the lower left corner is Steep Hill Beach, and the tip of Plum Island can be seen on the right.
Little Neck, Ipswich MA
View of Little Neck from Steep Hill Beach, 2017

In 1639, two wealthy brothers William and Robert Paine (aka Payne) procured a grant of land in the town of Ipswich from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In about 1649 Robert offered to “erect an edifice for the purpose of a grammar school, provided the town or any particular inhabitant of the town would devote, set apart or give any land or other annuity for the yearly maintenance of a schoolmaster. Within one year the town granted to Robert Paine, William Paine, Major Daniel Denison and William Bartholomew “in trust for the use of schools” certain lands and appointed eight trustees to manage and regulate “the schools and the affairs thereof.”

Upon his death in 1660 William Paine bequeathed the 27 acres of land on Little Neck to be held in trust forever for the benefit of the Ipswich Public Schools and specified that the land should “be and remain to the benefit of said school of Ipswich forever … said land not to be sold nor wasted.” The trust leased grazing rights to the land to farmers, and turned all the proceeds over to the schools. The trustees became known as the Feoffees (pronounced “feffees”) of the Ipswich Grammar School.

By the 21st Century, the Trust was leasing cottages that had been built on the land, but was contributing nothing to the schools. By vote of the 2011 fall Town Meeting, Little Neck was sold to the 166 cottage owners for $31 million. The net gain of $25 million became a new Trust to benefit the Ipswich schools.

Little Neck in 1864
Little Neck in 1864
Little Neck in 1890, photo courtesy of Bill George.
The Little Neck Store, courtesy of Bill George
Little Neck in the late 19th Century.
Early cottages on Little Neck
View of Little Neck from Fox Creek by George Dexter, circa 1900.
View of Little Neck from Fox Creek. Photo by George Dexter, circa 1900.
Swimmers at Steep Hill Beach across from Little Neck in Ipswich
Little Neck looking across to Steep Hill Beach
Little Neck, cottages
Cottages multiplied in the early 20th Century
The Little Neck Hotel on the left, and the Little Neck store on the right.
Little Neck Hotel
Byron’s Store at Little Neck
View of Pavilion Beach from Little Neck
Little Neck and Pavilion Beach in the early 20th Century
Poor’s Clam Shell was at Pavilion Beach before Helen’s Pavilion.
Clambake at Little Neck
Looking across at Little Neck from Little Neck Rd.
Hoax photo of an Ipswich sea serpent by George Dexter
Postcard by Ipswich photographer George Dexter, circa 1900
Plum Island Sound Road, looking toward Pavilion Beach and Great Neck
Plan of Little Neck Ipswich MA
The former wreck of the Ada K. Damon, looking across at Little Neck
Wreck of the Ada K. Damon on Steep Hill Beach, with Little Neck in the distance.
The Ada K. Damon and Little Neck
The Ada K. Damon with Little Neck in the background. Photo by Sandy Tilton, 2020
Photo of Great Neck, Little Neck and Steep Hill from the Ipswich River, taken by Sharon Scarlata
Drone photo of Little Neck
Photo of Little Neck by North Shore Drone Services

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