Ipswich is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,987 at the 2000 census. Home to Willowdale State Forest and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich includes the southern part of Plum Island. A residential community with a vibrant tourism industry, the town is famous for its clams, celebrated annually at the Ipswich Chowderfest and also for Crane Beach, a barrier beach near the Crane estate.
Ipswich was founded by John Winthrop the Younger, son of John Winthrop, one of the founders of Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 and its first governor, elected in England in 1629. Several hundred colonists sailed from England in 1630 in a fleet of 11 ships, including Winthrop's flagship, the Arbella. Investigating the region of Salem, Massachusetts, and Cape Ann, they entertained aboard the Arbella for a day, June 12, 1630, a native chief of the lands to the north, Chief Masconomet. The event was recorded in Winthrop's journal on the 13th, but Winthrop did not say how they overcame the language problem. The endonym they heard from Masconomet concerning the country over which he ruled has been reconstructed as Wonnesquamsauke, which the English promptly rendered into an anglicised exonym, Agawam. The colonists however sailed to the south where some buildings had already been prepared for them at a place newly named Charlestown.
That winter they lost a few hundred colonists from malnutrition and disease. They also experienced their first northeaster, which cost them some fingers and toes, as well as houses destroyed by the fires they kept burning day and night. Just as Winthrop was handing out the last handful of grain, the supply ship, Lyon, entered Boston Harbor. John now sent for his family in England, but his then wife, Margaret, her children, and his eldest son, John, whose mother was the elder John's first wife, Mary Forth, did not arrive until November, on the Lyon.