Table of Contents

Name Origin
Family Origin
The Oak
Edmund &
In Lynn
Spread of Family



  EDMUND and Francis Ingalls, arriving in Lynn, were received kindly by the Indians, who were of the Pawtucket tribe, and the Indians gave them leave to dwell there and occupy what land they would. It may naturally be conjectured that there was some consideration in the way of gifts or bargaining in this arrangement with the Indians. However, these Indians were few and humble, having suffered severely during a recent war with a hostile tribe, the eastern Taratines, and from disease. The Indian chief of Saugus was Montowampete, a younger son of the great Nanepashemet, and he lived with his tribe on the southern slope of a hill, known later as Windmill hill, and later still as Sagamore hill. How Edmund and Francis sought this place and proceeded to it we may conjecture. It is only a few miles from Salem. They may have followed an Indian trail through the woods or they may have coasted around by boat and landed on the beach, perhaps at Deer Cove. 

  Anyhow, Edmund chose for his dwelling "a fayre plain" beside a sedgy pond, which became known as Ingalls pond and so appears on the maps of only 50 years ago, but is now called Goldfish pond.* The site of the house that Edmund Ingalls built was between Nos. 33 and 43 of Bloomfield street at the present time. John Augustus Ingalls, who owned this part of the land and lived and died upon it, in plowing, while still a young man, uncovered ancient brick, which doubtless formed part of the house. This was perhaps about 1830. I have talked with other old men, who remember the ancient well, just south of the site of the house. The malt house that was built later was farther down the slope, near the pond.

  There hangs in the museum of the Lynn Historical Society a painting which purports to be anno 1700 and to show the homestead of Edmund Ingalls. I think that this may be apocryphal. However, its representation of topography is correct and it may have been done by an artist who pictured the description of some old man who had seen the original. There is enough plausibility in this conjecture to justify me in offering an engraving from this painting.

  I have been unable to trace the history of this painting. No one living within my memory has had any recollection of this house and its accompanying buildings. However, the tradition in respect of them is strong and Alonzo Lewis writing in 1829 refers to them and describes things substantially as shown in this picture. But surely it was not the first house built by Edmund Ingalls, which was rather a cabin of logs, cribbed up and plastered with clay, and thatched with straw and rushes laid upon poles, as was the manner of constructing primitive dwellings. The more comfortable house doubtless followed after he had become established. I conjecture, moreover, that this was subsequently the home of Robert Ingalls. To this I shall refer again when I describe the house of Nathaniel Ingalls further on.

  Francis Ingalls in 1630 built a tannery on Humphrey's brook where it is crossed by Burrill street, in what is now Swampscott, and he is supposed also to have built a house and to have lived there. His vats existed until 1825, when Alonzo Lewis reports observing them. This tannery was a primitive affair, comprised in a building about 30 x 16 ft. Near to its ruins were the remains of an ancient brick kiln.

The Eight Towns of Essex County in 1643.

  The natural thing was for Edmund and Francis, probably in company with other men and especially the Woods, to explore the country around Salem and when they found the place that they liked a habitation had to be erected, their families remaining in Salem in the meanwhile. Their friends came along to help put up the house. Among them was Zachariah Hart, who on this day did more labor, sweat more, ate and drank more and swore more than any other man. A diarist subsequently wrote that "there was discourse much of hys skill and handiework and of hys godlie exhortations on ye ocacion. But it hath been given oute yt he did use manie prophane workds mch to ye scandall of those aboute. And upon hys being reprimanded therefore he did stoutlie denie ye same; whereat they greatlie wondered, there being so manie witnesses. But he further sayd yt if jt so seemed to them, he could say yt was onlie a wrong working of ye tongue, there being no evil speech in hys hearte."

  Yet this must have been a fearsome time for these newcomers. Only a year later Obadiah Turner wrote in his journal that "some of us did go afar into ye wildernesse . . . And this did wee yt wee might discover what ye land and productions of this our heritage be. ... As wee journied wee did sometimes see skulking about among ye trees what we conjectured to be Indjans or Devils.  ... But wee doe soon expect to have over from Nehumkeage a big ordnance whereby to defend ourselves from ye one, and some goodlie books and catechisms to fortifie against ye other. And God being on our side wee feare not what Indjans or Devils can doe."

  The way to Salem even in 1631 was "harde to travell by reason of ye stumpes and rockes yt be in it." In Salem "they now have some bigge saws wherewith to make boardes," but the men in Lynn had to do as best they could with their axes, adzes and small saws, and "what few boardes wee can from time to time make out to haul hither." There were some cold winters and "ye famishing wolves howle piteouslie about our habitations in ye nighte." In the spring the settlers early set about the planting of "payr and appill trees" having in mind that "cyder is a good drink," and planting flax for spinning and weaving. Salt was got from sea water, being needed for the curing of fish, whereof many were caught. Thus may we picture the early life of Edmund and Francis Ingalls in America.

Map of East Lynn
The roads are shown as of the 17th century.

  Nevertheless, the rapid multiplication of the families testifies to the relative ease of getting a living from the new land. This is not to imply that our ancestors were not required to work hard. During the first few years they experienced many hardships and always were they obliged to toil, sweating in summer and shivering in winter. The felling and hewing of trees and the handling of heavy timber in the erection of houses and barns; the pulling of stumps and the hauling of great stones in the clearing of land; the breaking up of the virgin turf with primitive plows; all of these tasks and others necessitated great muscular exertion and long days.

  On the other hand, the soil was of unexhausted fertility, the pasturage was good, and the privilege of fishing was free. The forests furnished the chief material requisite for building and all needful fuel. The fields and the beaches, the brooks and the sea yielded plenty of food and of wide variety, while from the forests and pastures game, nuts, sugar and berries were also to be had. The hides and skins of animals killed for food afforded leather. For the manufacture of clothing flax and wool were raised and were spun and woven in the homes. Thus, with the natural resources and the labor of strong arms the major things necessary for existence were at hand.

  The great things that were missing were iron for tools, nails and utensils; ammunition; potteryware and cordage; but especially the metals. The production of iron did indeed begin at Saugus in 1639, but it was on only a small scale. Brick also was scarce in the early days, though soon it also began to be made locally, a brickyard being started in Lynn in 1630. However, there were for a long time many things of such natures that had to be imported.

  Thus it will be perceived how a sturdy yeoman was able to get along in the new colony, bring up a large family and enjoy a good living without being able to accumulate any gold and silver. Such surplus of produce as there might be over the requirements for living was bound to find expression in the acquisition of land and cattle rather than in money. In fact money was so scarce in the colony that in 1637 the General Court ordered that wampumpeag be treated as currency and this use continued for more than 20 years thereafter. 

  As the children of the large families grew up their labor became available to their parents, the sons working in the fields and forests and the daughters in the home, cooking and sewing, spinning and weaving. It was therefore advantageous for a man to have a large family, inasmuch as he enjoyed some years of labor for the mere cost of supporting the boys and girls while they were little. Even after the boys attained manhood some of them would continue to live on the farm, assisting their father and looking forward to succeeding him, when he became too aged to work.

An early home in saugus.

  Out of this general description of early colonial economic conditions we may imagine the life of Edmund and Francis Ingalls, in no wise differing from that of the other pioneers in Saugus (Lynn) and the seven other towns of Essex County. In so far as there was any government, this part of Saugus was in the jurisdiction of Salem. I conceive that Edmund and Francis Ingalls and their companions, and also the settlers who came during the next few years, were what we should now call squatters. They had obtained leave from Endicott to settle where they would and had made arrangements with the Indians. Their immediate requirements for land were small, and indeed what they could clear and plough was limited. They probably did not attempt to lay out metes and bounds, but built their dwellings at considerable distances apart, so that their operations would not conflict. In 1638 official allotment of the lands was made by the town under authority of the Court. Just how this allotment was arranged is not at all clear. I shall refer to the position of Edmund and Francis Ingalls in respect of it when I come to the description and history of their land.

   *Mr. Stetson put goldfish in a pond on his estate in Swampscott. Some boys captured some of them and put them in Ingalls Pond, to which they then began to refer as the goldfish pond, whence the present name. I do not believe there was any official renaming. Collins Swamp, a little to the north, which appears as such on a map of 1852, became Silver Lake, which is purely fanciful, while for Goldfish pond there was at least a reason.

pp. 11-18

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