Presentation on the Batchellor Family and their Time at Barrett House

2013 marks our centennial- we were founded by a group of New Ipswich citizens in 1913, one hundred years ago. To mark the occasion, we held a birthday party for the Society on August 22. President Greg Hanselman gave an interesting report on recent changes to our exhibitions. This summer, two artifacts that have been on exhibit at Historic New England’s Barrett House returned to us.

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The Birthday festivities included cake of course!

One of these, an elegant chest, was made by Jonas Chickering a New Ipswich native son, who went on a to create the world-famous Chickering pianos. Presumably, he made this chest before 1824, when he left town to start his piano manufactory, Chickering and sons.

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Chest of drawers, cherry, and flame birch, made by Jonas Chickering, ca. 1820.

A second chest, this one made by a member of the Batchellor family, also returned from a lengthy stay at Barrett House. The Batchellor’s were a well-known local family of cabinetmakers, who for three generations supplied New Ipswich with fine furniture. Based on style and construction, this bow-front chest probably dates from around 1800- the year that the Barrett House was built.

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Four-drawer chest made by the Batchellor family of cabinetmakers in New Ipswich, ca. 1800.

Sitting on top of the Batchellor chest is a model of the Barrett Mansion, so-called “Forest Hall,” made Nat Ober and his brother, Richard when they were young boys. Nat, who died in July of 2011, was a long-time board member and friend of the Historical Society and is sorely missed by all who knew him. The model is a gift of his wife, Marcia Ober.

The highlight of the meeting was a talk give by Linda Chase about the founding of the Society. The early years were marked by many of the same issues that characterize the society today—a compelling desire to preserve the history of New Ipswich and its people, sometimes hampered by funding problems and limited space, but always exhibiting a commitment to community and fellowship among the members.

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Linda Chase delights us with tales of the Society’s founding and early years.

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