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Arthur " Butch" Crosbie of the Hamilton Historical Society explained that the definition of a hamlet was a "village that has no church."

This hamlet of Ipswich, later called Hamilton, prospered and Crosbie relayed many facts and anecdotes on the town's history with a Powerpoint presentation accompanying his talk. One of the town's oldest houses on Bay Road (now Route 1A) was Brown's Tavern, built around 1690. Not only was Brown's a pub for thirsty laborers, it was also a mail stop and stagecoach stop for travelers.

As time and progress advanced in the little hamlet, mills were built and these became essential, both to the town's commerce as well as to family life. The mills in Hamilton lasted for two centuries with old Yankee families, the Dodges, Smiths, Norwoods,and Mannings owning and operating them. There was a mill for grain, wood, wool and cotton as well as mills to clarify wines and beers, among other operations.

Crosbie explained why and how the hamlet wanted and needed to secede from Ipswich: "In 1712, about 40 families were in the hamlet. Some were going to crowded church in Wenham, but those going to church in Ipswich faced some hardships getting there, especially in the winter cold and snow, having to cross [several bodies of ] water to get to church in Ipswich."

The second reason for the break, Crosbie explained, was over taxes. "They had to pay taxes to the town of Ipswich and support the clergy. They asked the church and the town to be given their own area and their own church." Eventually, that became the --- Third Parish Church in 1714. Dr. Samuel Wigglesworth ministered to the parish for more than half century. When the respected Dr.Wigglesworth died, the Rev. Manasseh Cutler ministered to the parish for the next 52 years. In 1793, at a size of 7,800 acres, the village officially separated from Ipswich and became Hamilton. Schools were established and in the 19th century, that new invention, the locomotive, came to town.

"Manasseh Cutler was a staunch Federalist and wanted to name the town after Alexander Hamilton," said Crosbie. So the town of Hamilton is not named because it was a Hamlet of Ipswich, but after the new country's secretary of the treasury. So proud is Hamilton of its namesake and its origins, that the Hamilton Historical Society will be host to an important exhibit due to travel across the country in 2006. From March 8 - 28, the Alexander Hamilton Exhibit will be held at the Hamilton Wenham Library.