Hidden Garden Jewel of Salem
The Nathaniel Ropes mansion on Essex Street in Salem, Massachusetts was built around 1720 and purchased by Judge Ropes in 1748. Judge Ropes (a British sympathizer) was dying from smallpox when the home was stormed by locals who were infuriated by the Tea Tax - although some accounts of history indicated that it was the fact that the judge had been inoculated with smallpox in an effort to be vaccinated against it. There is some indication that there was anger toward the judge by people both not able to afford the procedure and those who believed that he brought smallpox to their village. Either way, the judge died very soon after the attack. Some believe that his daughter Abigail's spirit still inhabits the house because of the awful way she perished...burned to death after her night dress caught fire. In spite of its sad history, this beautiful home is now owned by the Peabody Essex museum. Our trolley driver pointed the house out to my husband and me and told us about the lovely garden that lay behind a large wisteria covered gate. It's one of the hidden jewels of Salem and not to be missed.