In the 1870s and 1880s, Catherine Tracy Lynch, an Irish immigrant, and her daughter, Mary, rented one side of this house. Catherine took in laundry. Mary was one of hundreds of workers employed by Ipswich Mills. Together they made ends meet. The house was more than a century old now, and the neighborhood part of an industrial mill district.
For Catherine and Mary Lynch, renting meant sharing space with boarders, other renters in the house, and probably relatives recently arrived from Ireland. Nicholas Donovan, a young millworker from Ireland, boarded here in the 1880s. He probably paid Catherine a few dollars a month for room, meals, and laundry.
In 1865 new owners divided the house into two side-by-side apartments, which they rented to a series of tenants, including Catherine Lynch and her daughter. One of the parlors became a kitchen, and the residents of both apartments shared an outhouse in a shed which had been added to the rear.