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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.!
§^UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. ^
OF CAPE ANN
STORY OF DOQTOWN
CHARLES E. MANN
With Illustrations by Catherine M. Follansbee
GLOUCESTER, :mass. :
PROCTER BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS
I08 MAIN STREET
Vyj' >A/' V-A/'
These Dogtown Sketches were written ahiiost
wholly as the result of an effort to satisfy the curiosity
of the author as to the history, biography and tra-
ditions of the deserted village, their continuation and
publication being encouraged by the general atten-
tion they commanded. It is not claimed that they
are complete, but it is believed they contain far more
information than has yet been published concerning
their subject. The writer desires to express his deep
sense of obligation to those who, before the publica-
tion of the matter originally prepared, and since,
have assisted by furnishing facts and reminiscences.
4 PREFATORY NOTE.
They have made it possible to get together a mass of
authentic history, where at tirst it seemed that at best,
only a few traditions were to be rescued from obliv-
ion. Of course nearly all the material is in the
memories of Cape Ann's aged people, and it has been
a source of unalloyed pleasure to sit by them and
listen to their discourses upon the days of long ago.
Among the precious memories of this year will be
those of many an hour spent in ancient kitchens,
while sweet-faced old ladies, often with sweeter voi-
ces, or men with whitened locks and time-furrowed
cheeks, recalled the stories told them by the fireside
by other dear old women and noble old men of a past
century. Xo wonder Gloucester has developed into
such an admirable and lovable a communitv, when
there still lingers among her people so many of their
WHERE IS DOGTOWN ?
Ever since Goldsmith wrote his "Deserted Vil-
lage" there has been a weird, poetic and sentimental
charm about abandoned settlements, that has so ex-
erted itself over some minds that it has become a
pleasure to make the investigations incident to a cor-
rect understanding of what manner of men found it
convenient or necessary to build habitations which it
afterwards became advisable to desert. Arch^ologists
have given lifetimes, almost, to the investigation of
the modes of life of the cliff dwellers of Arizona and
6 The Story of Doo-fozvn.
New Mexico. Tliere are comparatively few ruined
cities in America ; and even more rare are the in-
stances of deserted villages wliich were once inhabited
hv wliite men. the progenitors of people who are liv-
ing to-dav. It has been the pleasm^e of the writer
during the past few months to acquaint manv people
with their ancestors, in a figurative sense, for in the
heart of Cape Ann mav be found a \illage which
was once inhabited by the grandparents or more dis-
tant progenitors of many who are to-day active in the
affairs of (jloucestcr and Rockport.
To-day the onl\- inhabitants of ' ' Do2."town " are
lowing kine, an occasional decrepit horse turned out
to pasture as a pensioner, or woodchucks, crows and
migrating birds. Its grass-grown streets are there,
its foot-worn door-stones may be used for a resting-
place by the occasional summer tourist on a tramp
across the cape, a curiosity seeking Appalachian, or by
the more numerous berry pickers. The cleared land
in the midst of such a waste of rocks, as is the rule in
Dogtown Commons, always leads to speculation ;
eyen more suggesti\e are the walled yards and the
many cellars, both of houses and farm Iniildings.
Concerning these old cellars novelists have woven
their romances, and poets have sung. Nearly a half-
century ago they excited the interest of Richard
The Story of Dogtozuii. 7
Henry Dana and Thomas Starr King and the circle
of rare minds they drew to Cape Ann with them.
Long afterwards, Col. Thomas VVentworth Hig-
ginson, in one of those delightful bits of reminiscence
scattered through " Oldport Days," described a walk
to Dogtown Commons from Pigeon Cove :
"What can Hawthorne mean by saying in his
English diary that 'an iVmerican would never under-
stand the passage in Bunyan about Christian and
Hopeful going astray along by a by-path into the
grounds of Giant Despair, from there being no stiles
and by-paths in our country' ? So much of the charm
of American pedestrianism lies in the by-paths : For
instance, the whole interior of Cape Ann, beyond
Gloucester, is a continuous woodland, with granite
ledges everywhere cropping out, around which the
high-road winds, following the curving and indented
line of the sea, and dotted here and there with fishing
hamlets. This whole interior is traversed by a net-
work of foot-paths, rarely passable for a wagon,
and not always for a horse, but enabling the pe-
destrian to go from anv one of the villages to any
other, in a line almost direct, and always under an
agreeable shade. By the longest of these hidden
ways, one may go from Pigeon Cove to Gloucester,
ten miles, without seeing a public road. In the little
8 T^hc Story of Dogtoivu.
inn at tlie former villao-e there used to hansf an old
map of tliis wliole forest region,^ giving a cliart of
some of these paths, which were said to date back to
the first settlement of the country. One of them, for
instance, was called on the map 'Old road from
Sandy Bay to 'Squam Meeting-House through the
Woods'; but the road is now scarcely eyen a l>ridle-
path, and the most faithful worshipper coultl not seek
'Squam meeting-house in the family chaise. These
woods haye been lately devastated ; but when I first
knew the region, it was as good as any German
forest. Often we stepped from tlie edge of the sea
into some gap in tlic woods; there seemed hardly
more than a rabbit-track, yet presently we met some
wayfarer who had crossed the Cape by it.
"A piney dell gave some vista of the broad sea we
were leaving, and an opening in the woods displayed
another blue sea-line before ; the encountering breezes
interchanged odors of berry bushes and scent of brine ;
penetrating further among oaks and walnuts we came
upon some little cottage, quaint and sheltered as any
Spenser drew ; it was not built on the high-road, and
turned its vine-clad gable away from even the foot-
path. Then the ground rose and other breezes came ;
1 This is a reference to the " Mason" map of Cape Ann. A copy of it
hangs at the present time in tlie office of the citv clerk.
TJie Story of Dogtown. 9
perhaps we climbed trees to look for landmarks, and
found only an unseen quarry. Three miles inland, as
I remember, we found the hearthstones of a vanished
settlement ; then we passed a swamp with cardinal
flowers; then a cathedral of noble pines, topped with
crows' nests. If we had not gone astray, by this time
we would have presently emerged on Dogtown Com-
mon, an elevated tableland, overspread with great
boulders as with houses, and encircled with a girdle
of green woods and another girdle of blue sea. I
know of nothing like that gray, waste of boulders; it
is a natural Salisbury Plain, of which icebergs and
ocean currents were the Druidic builders ; in that
multitude of couchant monsters there seems a sense
of suspended life ; you feel as if they must speak and
answer to each other in the silent nights, but by day
only the wandering sea-birds seek them, on their way
across the Cape, and the sweet-bay and green fern
imbed them in a softer and deeper setting as the years
goby. This is the 'height of ground' of that wild
foot-path ; but as you recede farther from the outer
ocean and approach Gloucester, you come among still
wilder ledges, unsafe without a guide, and you find in
one place a cluster of deserted houses, too difficult
of access to remove even their materials, so that they
are left to moulder alone. I used to wander in those
lo 77/(" Story of Dogtoivii.
woods, summer after summer, till I had made mvown
chart of their devious tracks, and now when I close
my eyes in this Oldport midsummer, the soft Italian
air takes on something of a vScandinavian vigor ; for
the incessant roll of carriages I hear the tinkle of the
quarrvman's hammer and the veerv's song ; and I long
for those perfumed and breezv pastures, and for those
promontories of granite where the fresh water is nec-
tar and the salt sea has a res^al blue."
Col. Higginson hints in the above passage at manv
of the topographical and geographical features of the
Heart of Cape Ann. The old road from Sandy Bay
to 'Squam is what is now known as Revere street.
He draws the line between Dosftown villasfe and
Dogtown Commons with as much care as the most
particular old-timer could wish. He also mentions
Lamb or Raccoon ledge, it is difKcult to say which.
Dogtown is a pathetic, fascinating place. Whv did
more than one hundred families exile themselves from
the life of the villages so near them, and dwell in lone-
liness and often in poverty, in this barren and secluded
spot? The name "Dogtown," it is well understood,
came from the canines kept bv the so-called " widows "
of the place, when the evil davs came that saw their
natural protectors either in their graves or buried
beneath the ocean.
The Story of Dogtoivn. 1 1
There are many approaches to Dogtown. I have
quoted Col. Higghison's description o£ the route from
Pigeon Cove, by way of the old road from Sandy Bay
to the 'Squam church, which is still passable. Com-
ing from 'Squam, one may leave the church, walk
a mile through the same road, past the Cape Ann
Granite Co.'s quarries, the road passing through the
upper end of one, to the house of David Dennison,
an ancient ^ambrel-roofed lean-to, built by Mr. Den-
nison's first ancestor on Cape Ann, and a fine sample
of the better class of the Dogtown homes. From
here h^ can branch off to the right, by the Whale's
Jaw, and thence go to the deserted village. The road
by Goose Cove, near Riverdale, leads to the same
point, the Whale's Jaw, a great boulder split by light-
ning, or more probably by frost, to resemble the open
jaws of a whale. Gee avenue and Stanwood street,
in Riverdale, lead past the cellar of Judith Ryon
(or Rhines), to that of Abraham Wharf, and thence
to the main street of the village.
Persons coming from East Gloucester may, if they
are strong on their feet, go up Webster street and
enter the pastures by crossing Lamb Ledge — no small
^task, for it is one of the most wonderful terminal mo-
raines in New England, the boulders being piled one
upon another in the most orderly confusion until they
The Story of Dogtoxvu. 13
reach tlie level of the Commons from the deep valley
into which some glacier swept them ages ago. It is
a good hour's stint to cross the ledge, and then one
passes by Railcut Hill, the highest point on the outer
Cape, to the old Rockport road, another picturesque
and grass-grown highway of olden times, and enters
the Pigeon Cove path which continues by the Whale's
Jaw at the clearing once occupied by James Witham,
son of Thomas and grandson of Henry, the first of the
line in this countrv.
Witham was born in 1693, and built this house at
what is known as Stacy's Pines, the location bearing
the suggestive title of the "parting path." Pie en-
gaged in tending flocks for the Low family, for $300
annually, his son Thomas succeeding him in his work.
Only the cellar of the house remains. It was in later
years a great resort for young people for mirth and
jollity until its demolition. The path continues across
the valley in which the Gloucester Branch of the Bos-
ton & Maine railroad runs, which bears the marks
of the tides on its sentinel ledges, showing that once
they flowed through here from Good Harbor or Long
Beach to the 'Squam river, and thence to the big rock,
."Peter's Pulpit," which in the distance looks like
a pitch-roofed house, which stands directly on the
Dogtown road, markins: the end of the main settle-
The Story of Dogioivn.
nicnt. The following diagram may give a clearer
idea of the foreo-oing :
The straight lines in the triangle represent the
general direction of three very crooked roads. A is
the point on Dogtown road, beyond the intersection
of Reynard and Cherry streets, where the road from
B meets it. From A the Dogtown road continues up
what old residents of Riverdale call "gravel hill,''
past the Vivian barn, and on to the rock variously
called "Peter's Pulpit," -Pulpit Rock," and "Uncle
iVndrew's Rock," at C. Tt then winds on to the
Whale's Jaw. Opposite A is the site of the Nathaniel
Day house. B is the point where Gee avenue and
Stanwood street meet. The grass-grown road from
B to C is the "Dogtown Common road," that is, it is
the road over the Common to Dogtown. That from
A to C is the "Dogtown road," and that from A to B
is paradoxically called the " back road," though it is
nearer civilization than either of the others. Were
a prize of $50 to be offered a person who woidd start
The Story of Dog-tozvn.
from A, go to B, thence to C and back to A without
getthig off the road, he probably never would receive
it. I have been over it many times, and never failed
to get lost for a few moments at least. Perhaps the
spirit of Peg Wesson, who did not live in Dogtown,
of Luce George, or of Judy Rhines, if Judy really
was a witch, has bewitched me for the contemplated
sacrilege of writing them up.
Practically all the old people agree in calling the
roads by the names I have given. The Commons
road is also sometimes called the " walled-in " road, as
the walls occasionally cross it. Old j^eople do not call
the cellars on the latter road — of Morgan Stanwood,
Judy Rhines, Moll Jacobs and others in "Dogtown,"
they are on the "Commons." The reader will prob-
ably be incapable of drawing so fine a distinction.
There were obvious reasons why people who lived on
the Commons road should have chosen to do so.
THE "(^UEEX OF THE WITCHES.
The most natural, because the most interesting^
approach to the village, is by its outpost, the cellar
of "Tammy" Younger, the "queen of the witches,"
at Fox Hill. She was more often seen bv the pred-
ecessors of this generation on Cape Ann, was better
known, and far more respected and feared than any
of her confreres. Perhaps the reader will be better
able to judge whether the title for two or three gener-
ations bestowed on Tammy was deserved, after a care-
ful perusal of this chapter. It is possible that after
reading it he may be disposed to transfer the title to
her aunt, the redoubtable "Luce George."
The Story of Dogtozvn. 17
Coming from the Harbor village of Gloucester,
through Maplcvvood avenue, one reaches Poplar street,
and after turning to the left, soon reaches the bridge
at Alewife brook. Beneath a solitary poplar, on a lit-
tle rise of ground, is the cellar of Tammy Younger.
An apple orchard stands near. The cellar has been
cleared recently of a growth of sumacs which nearly
obscured it. Thomazine Younger was born July 28,
1753, and was the daughter of William Younger,
sojourner, and Lucy Foster, who were married on
March 6, 1750, by Rev. John White, pastor of the
A recent writer claims that this liouse Was in later
years the resort of buccaneers and lawless men. For-
tune telling, card playing and other amusements
whiled away their time. Money was found in the
cellar after Tammy's death. These assertions are
denied bv members of her family who still remain,
and apparently with good reason.
A friend of the writer was, a few years since,
chasino; a woodchuck, which went into the cellar.
In dio-o-ingr for the animal lie unearthed a handsomelv
ornamented snuff box, the cover bearing a represen-
tation of a full rigged ship. It was probably Tam-
my's, as she is said to have been a snuff taker as well
as smoker, but it has been credited to a possible myth-
The Story of Dog'tozv)i. 19
ical British sea captain who was wont to visit the
Mr. John Low Babson, one of Gloucester's oldest
residents, recalls that in the early twilight of an autum-
nal evening he was going from Fresh Water Cove to
his home, still standing, near the Green in the "up
in town" village, and had to pass through the bury-
\\\si srround near the brids^e. A man was disfofino;
a grave. "Who is that for?" he asked. "Tammy
Younger," the sexton replied. "Is she dead .^" was
young Babson's surprised query. "We don't very
often dig graves for folks that aint dead," was the
test}^ response. Mr. Babson gives a good illustration
of the prevalent impressions concerning Tammy, In
a reminiscence of his boyhood. He was driving home
the cows, past her dwelling, when she came to the
door and accosted him, begging him, with strong
expleti\'es, if he lo\ed her life, to get her a pail
of water. He got it, of course, from the brook
behind the cabin. No one ever refused Tammy.
Mrs. Elizabeth Day, of Wheeler's Point, says that
Tammy died Feb. 4, 1S39. vShe was therefore 76
years old. Mrs. Day's father, John Hodgkins, was
a cabinet maker, who lived in the house just above
the railroad track, on Washington street. Elizabeth
was a child of ten years. For two or three years
20 The Stoi'v of Dogtoivn.
Tammy, who often saw her, had taken a fancy to her,
and would often ask her to come and live with her at
Fox Hill, as she was lonely. Tammy used to make
l:)utter and carry it to the Harbor to sell, and when-
ever she passed along other members of the family
would say, "Here comes Aunt Tam to take you up
to her house with her." The little girl's heart was
thus constantly terrorized with the thought that Tam-
my would some time capture her, and her feelings may
well be imagined wlien on that stormy winter dav
word came that Tammvwas dead and that Mr. Hodg-
kins must make her a coffin.
Old Mrs. Pulcifer, whose daughter recently died
at a great age, had attended her in her last sickness,
and Oliver, Tammv's nephew, who was brought up
by her, liad deferred to Mrs. Pulcifer's advice as to
the funeral arrangements. He said he wanted to do
everything that could be done to have things nice, so
when advised to have as good a coffin as could be
made, with a pure silver plate, he at once ordered it.
It was of course thougfht the thing: ii^ those davs to
liave "spirit" on funeral occasions, and in deference
to Mrs. Pulcifer's opinion, he ordered no rum, or
other cheap liquors, but cordials, wines, and other
of the better class of bevxrages. Mrs. Pulcifer is
remembered to have said afterward tiiat her onlv
The Story of Dogtozvn. 21
reoret was that she had not ordered the church bells
tolled for Tammy, as she was sure it would have
But to return to Mr. Hodgkins and Tammy's cof-
lin. All that rainy day he toiled upon it, and toward
night it was ready for polishing. He had a large
kitchen, and it was his custom when polishing coffins
to bring them into that room, where he had a better
chance to work. The children were therefore used to
such sights. But on this particular night the storm
was so severe that he did not care to risk spoiling his
work by taking it back to the shop, so after rubbing
it down with beeswax he stood it up in the corner,
blew out his candle and said nothing.
Soon bedtime came. The children, sitting by the
comfortable open fire in the adjoining room, were
warned by their mother to retire: "Come John, it's
time for you and Elizabeth to go to bed." John took
a candle, and started. It was necessary to go through
the kitchen in order to reach the chambers above.
As he opened the door, the light of his candle fell on
the shinv coffin in the corner. Other people might
not believe Tammy was a witch ; on that night John
was sure she was both a witch and a ghost. He be-
gan to whimper, " I won't go to bed with Aunt Tam
Younger's coffin in the house," said he. As he drew
The Storv of Dogtown.
back, Elizabeth l^ravely stepped into the breach, Ijut
one sight of the coffin was enoiigli, and she too, \mi-
came panicky, and dechiied that there was no sleep for
her if that coffin was to remain. Mother impatiently
got np, and boldly threw the door wide open. She
was never known to be afraid of anvthing-, but a look
unnerved her also, and she joined with the children
and said she would never ^o to bed with that thins"
there. In vain the father said the rain would spoil
it; it was three against one. ''Spoil it or not," said
the good housewife, "I won't stav in the house with
it." So "pa" gave in, got a quilt, wrapped it up,
and bore it through the storm to the shop.
Tammy had a square window in the rear of her
house, with a wooden door. This was kept shut,
there being a long string attached to it, bv which
Tammy could open it at will. The sound of a team
crossing the bridge over the brook was usuallv a
signal for Tammy to swing open the shutter and
boldly communicate with the driver. A footstep on
the bridge would also serve to open the window. If
The Story of Dogtozvii. 23
Tammy asked for a mackerel or any other thing she
saw in the hand or the team of a passer-by, she
nsuallv got it, or the nnhick\' tra\ eller got a piece of
Irer mind. On one autumn day a hickless youth pass-
ing noticed a liig pile of pumpkins sunning against
the rear of the house. Crossing the lot to avoid the
steep hill, as many do to-day, he thoughtlessly pulled
out one, low down in the pile. The effect was unex-
pected, for at once the whole collection coasted down
the hill into the brook. Tammy's window Hew open.
A torrent of vocal pyrotechnics accompanied the
hours of labor that followed, as that unhappy boy
fished out the pumpkins, and toiled back and forth up
the hill until they were piled up again.
As is well known, a good deal of the land on Dog-
town Commons is in the hands of the Younger
family. I have said that Oliver Younger was brought
up by his aunt, and it seems that he was unaware of
the fact that the. land belonged to his father and not
to her. Many years after his father's death, he was
remarking to one of the i\llens, a neighbor, what a
care his aunt's land was to him, and Allen responded,
''Well, it's all yours, anyway. Your father willed it
to you, for I signed the will as one of the wdtnesses."
This was news to Oliver, but acting on the hint given
he waited an opportunity when Tammy was away,
The Story of DogtovjJi.
and then ransacked the house. In the secret drawer
of a small table, he found the will. Under ordinar\-
circumstances it would have been outlawed, but as
this was the first knowledge anyone had of its exist-
ence, it was admitted to probate.
While Tammv Voiuiger won for herself a reputa-
tion as a woman with a very choice vocabulary, es-
pecially in the line of invective, she evidently was
"not as bad as she has been painted," as Mr. Benja-
min P. Kidder of Rockport savs, and his testimony is
confirmed by aged Betsey Elwell of Maiden, who
remembers her well, as well as bv Mrs. Almira
Riggs, but recentlv deceased. The truth seems to be
that Tammv had an aunt, known bv the name of
"Luce (Lucv) George." She it was who originallv
lived in the Fox Hill House, and who used to stand
at the door of her cabin and bewitch the oxen so that
The Story of Dogtown. 25
they would stand with their tongues run out, but
could not come up the hill until some of the corn they
drew was contributed to her. She, like Peg Wesson,
is said to have had the art of so bewitching a load of
wood that it would not stay on the ox team until a
portion had been unloaded at her door. It is said
she would go to the wltarves; when the fishing vessels
came in, and exact her tribute of fish. Of course
these are traditions, but I give them for what they are
worth to susceptible minds. Tammy Younger lived
with her aunt. Hence the confusion of the two.
Tammy was not tall and raw-boned, as some have
alleged, but short and inclined to plumpness.
At one time in her life, she decided to part with
two rather long teeth that decorated each side of her
upper jaw. They were not as long as Black Nell's,
which one old lady insists were fully an inch in
length, nor as long as -Judy Rhines'," but they were
troublesome, so she sent for "Granther Stannard"
to act in the capacity of dentist. This must have
been before the old gentleman became convinced that
his legs were made of glass, and refused to use them,
for he went over from his house on the ''walled-in
way." Tammy seated herself in a chair, and Capt.
Stanwood took a firm hold with his nippers and soon
a tooth gave way. Being a joker, he only drew it
The Story of Dogtoiv7t.
partly down, where it rested in plain sight, against
her under lip. He then drew down the other to
exactly the same length, and immediately afterwards
announced, that owdng to the obstinacy of the teeth,
he could do no more for her. The pen refuses to
record the torrent of picturesque language which
history alleges was poured upon "Johnny Morgan's"
luckless head. After worrying her awhile, the teeth
were taken out.
AN ANCIENT MANTLE PIECE .
FRO:\I FOX HILL OVER THE BxVCK ROAD.
Nothwithstanding the various theories which have
])een brought forward to explain the original peopling
of Dogtown, and its mysterious decline, the writer
believes it may all be traced to a circumstance which
is in no sense mysterious, but on the contrary, just
what might have been expected. This circumstance
was the building of the bridge at Riverdale and the
Goose Cove Dam, each making it possible to con-
struct the road on the easterly side of the mill pond,
and making what had been the road to Annisquam to
the harbor a ''back road."
The reader can easily imagine the condition
of affairs when the road from the Green northerly led
38 The Story of Dogtoivn.
only to Wheeler's Point. Then he must start from
the Green through what is now Poplar street, turn up
over Fox Hill, and wind down to Gravel Hill and
across the moor to the vicinity of the Castle, and
thence make his way over the hill by the Riggs house
and around Goose Cove.
It will thus be seen that the central village of Dog-
town was but a verv short distance from the main
road, while what is now Riverdale village is quite
a distance from it. As old people tell us, it was then
"•going up into thecitv" to go to Dogtown. There
was nothing: sinofular at all that under those condi-
tions Dooftown should have thriven, and that when
the building of the bridge and dam occurred, and the
whole tide of travel left this road and went around
the other way, Dogtown languished and died. It
was something like a boom city in the West, which
perishes when the raihoad goes elsewhere.
It was the facts that have been stated that gave the
home of Luce George and Tamm\ Younger such
importance, for almost everybody had to pass it.
Just beyond the cellar of Tammy Younger, after
the turn in the road which brings one in sight of Riv-
erdale, is the cellar of the first blacksmith in town,
lying beside the travelled road, but still in the road-
way. Here stood the shop of Joseph Allen, who
The Story of Dogtown. 29
came to Gloucester In 1674, being encouraged to set-
tle by grants of land and a common right. He had
two wives and seventeen children. One of the chil-
dren, also named Joseph, became very wealthy, his
home being on Poplar street, near the house occupied
by Mr. Joseph A. Procter.
I think the blacksmith shop must have stood by
the cellar, and the cellar have been that of the house,
built perhaps by Allen, but known within the memory
of persons now living as the -Noble" house, the No-
bles being ancestors of numerous Riverdale people.
The white cottage facing up the road immediately
beyond is on the site of another old mansion which
was standing before the back road became disused,
Aunt Pamelia Allen being its occupant. Where the
Tracy greenhouses are now located, opposite, was
the home of John Wharf. When he died it became
the property of his daughter "Poll," or Polly Boyn-
ton. Her son sold it to the elder Tracy, who tore it
down. Mrs. Boynton later married Oliver Younger.
She was thus the ancestor of many of the Boyntons
and Youngers of to-day.
Immediately adjoining the Wharf house was the
Tristram Coffin house, remembered by many old
people. Becky Rich lived where the piggery, at the
foot of gravel hill, is now located. She, like many
30 TJic Story of Dogtoivn.
others, of the fraternity of Dogtovvn, told fortunes b\-
means of coffee s^rounds. After Mrs. Day was mar-
ried, she recalls i^'oing over to Aunt Rich's and having
her tell of her beau "clear across the water." She
says Aunt Becky was a nice old woman, hut that little
reliance was placed in her forecasts.
Opposite Becky Rich was the house of Nathaniel
Day. He was the son of Anthony Day, and married
Mary Davis. He became the father of seventeen
children, among them three pairs of twins. His son
Isaac was a gunner on the frigate Constitution, now
laid up at Portsmouth. A man named Liscomb at
one time lived in one side of this old Day house.
Eben Day, of Revnard street, as well as his brother,
was born in this house, and all played about the streets
of Dogtown in their boyhood. It stood just bevond
the barn, which is now there. The cellar has long
been filled up.
At Brown's Plain, half way over the back road
toward the Castle, lived Molly Miller. Later she
lived at the Harbor on Back street, where Mr. Dav
recalls seeing her after she had become insane, fas-
tened in her room with a clothes-stick. Next on the
left was the house of a man named Emmons.
At one time in her life Aunt Rachel Smith, daugh-
ter of Beckv Rich, lived in the Castle. Later she
The Story of Dogtoum. 3^
lived in the liouse a little further on the back road
from Molly Miller's. It was up on the hill, and the
cellar remains. Then with her mother she went to
Dogtown street, and lived in the Easter Carter house.
After that she returned to the house on the hill. Here
her son. Jack Bishop Smith, killed himself, and Aunt
Rachel's^sorrow over her loss is still vividly recalled.
"Aunt Smith" used to make a "dire drink,"
brewed from foxberry leaves, spruce tops, and other
botanical specimens, which she was wont to peddle in
the village, saying as she entered a house, "Now,
ducky, I've come down to bring a dire drink, for
I know you feel springish."
There were never many houses along this portion
of the back road. Between the point where it met
the Dogtown Commons road and the Castle stood the
house of old Uncle Daniel Tucker, whose daughter
Dorcas-" Dark Tucker," as she was called-nursed
Judith Ryon in her last sickness.
It has always seemed to me that this back road
more closely resembles the Scottish moors, as we read
of them, than any portion of the Commons. About
half way across to the Dogtown road formerly stood
three houses in a row, while another stood on the
opposite side. These houses were located where the
bovs now plav ball, "Brown's Plain," as it is called.
IX DOrrTO\\'X VILLAGE.
It is quite a little walk from the house of Becky
Rich, ou the back road, up o^ra\el hill, to the Vivian
barn. This barn is a landmark. When one reaches
this point he is quite ready to enjoy the historic spots
that lie before him. A few rods beyond the barn the
road makes an al)rupt turn and almost winds back
upon itself. Just at this turn, on the right, is a split
ledge, making a break in the stone wall that outlines
the road. Into this crack in the ledge, a few years
since, a misguided cow wandered. No human inge-
nuity was capalile of getting her out alive. Directlv
The Story of Dogtown. 33
opposite is the site of the home of a man named Clark.
The cellar on the left, beyond the barn, which looks
so much like a pile of rocks in a hollow, is that
of Henry Davis. It is directly in the road, the yard
not being walled.
The road, which has descended from the Vivian
barn to this place, here begins to rise, and when it
reaches a point a few rods further, where a fine view
of Ipswich Bay, the Newburyport shore, and the West
Gloucester hills is obtainable, the most celebrated
cellar of Dogtown is seen. This is the reputed home
of John Morgan Stanwood, who was many years ago
made immortal by the muse of Hiram Rich in the
pages of the Atlantic. It may be well for one to seat
himself on the moss-covered door-stone and recall the
" Morgan Stanwood, patriot :
Little more is known ;
Nothing of his home is left
But the door-step stone.
"Morgan Stanwood, to our thought
You return once more :
Once again the meadows lift
Daisies to your door.
" Once again the morn is sweet.
Half the hay is down : —
Hark! what means that sudden clang
From the distant town t
34 'J^^ic Story of Dogtoxvji.
" Larum bell and rolling drum
Answer sea-borne guns :
La I'll ni lie 11 and rolling drum
Summon Freedom's sons I
"And the mower thinks to him
Crv both bell and drum,
' Morgan Stanwood. where art thou?
Here th' in\aders come."
" Morgan Stanwood needs no more
Bell and drum beat call ;
He is one who. hearing once,
Answers once for all.
" Xe'er the mower murmured then.
Half my grass is mown,
Homespun isn't soldier wear.
Each may sa\e his own.'
'' Fallen scythe and aftermath
Lie forgotten now :
Winter needs may come and tind
But a barren mow.
'• Down the musket comes. • Good wife
Wife, a quicker flint I "
And the face that questions face
1 lath no color in 't.
" 'Wife, if I am late to-night.
Milk the heifer first :
Ruth, if Fm not home at all.
Worst has come to worst I
'■ Morgan Stanwood sped along.
Not the common road :
Over wall and hill-top straight.
Straight for death, he strode:
The Story of Dogtoxvu.
Leaving her to hear at night
Tread of burdened men,
Bv the gate and through the gate,
At the door, and then —
Ever after that to hear,
When the grass is sweet,
Through the gate and through the night.
Slowly coming feet.
Morgan Stanwood's roof is gone ;
Here the door-step lies ;
One may stand and think and think, —
For the thought will rise,
" Were we where the meadow was,
Mowing grass alone.
Would we go the way he went,
From this vejw stone?
"Were we on the door-step here.
Parting for a day,
Would we utter words as though
Parting were for aye?
"Would we? Heart, the hearth is dear.
Meadow-math is sweet ;
Parting be as parting may,
After all, we meet.
3^ Tlic Sfojy of Dogtozvn.
John Morgan Stanwood was the son of Nehcniiah
and Ruth (Morgan) Stanwood. The parish records
show that he was baptized August 7, 1774. The
poem evidently (Hd not refer to a Revohitionarv expe-
rience. He died October 30, 1852, aged ']'$). These
dates so perplexed me, notwithstanding the tradition
that vStanwood came back from the war a cripple, and
the further fact that tlie children of Mrs. Dade, once
a resident of the village, had handed down her stories
of the exploits of "Morgan Stannard," that I asked
Mr. Rich his authorit}- for the poem. He candidly
confessed that although he wrote the lines with the
full belief that ^Morgan Stanwood was the hero of
■Rowe's Bank, Mr. Babson, the historian, later con-
vinced him that Peter Lurvev, of Dogtown Commons,
and not vStanwood, was the man who should ha\e
It is quite evident, also, that Stanwood did not
live in the house with the "door-step stone," for this
is the cellar of John Clark, who resided there within
the memorv of men now living. This house, like
most of those remaining in the earlv part of the
century, was a small structure, perhaps 1^x35, ^^t'^iid-
ing side to the road, with a door in the middle, and
with an ordinarv pitched roof. The cellars, which
are generally 15 feet square, were under only one end
The Story of Dogtoxvu. 37
of the houses. The Clark house became so decrepit
that it was torn down in 1820. Chirk must have died
a short time before this date. His wife and children
removed to the Harbor.
The next cellar on the left of the road is that
of Philip Priestly, who is remembered as a hearty old
man of 70, climbing a locust tree to view the festiv-
ities of the Harrison hard cider campaign in 1S40.
Nathaniel Babson, who helped tear down the Clark
house, was formerly engaged in the freighting busi-
ness from Gloucester to Boston, and Priestly was one
of his crew. vSeveral persons who were born in this
house, I am told, are still living. Priestly died Nov.
27, 1845, i)i consumption, at the age of 75.
Philip Priestly was the father of quite a family
of children. One of these was Philip Priestly, well
remembered in Gloucester, another was Mrs. Hannah
Curtis; Eliza, who married Joseph Greenleaf ; Ann,
who married a Smith ; and Jane. Philip's wife was
Opposite John Clark's house, already mentioned,
was the home of William Pulcifer. Between Clark's
and Philip Priestly's are two cellars, which some
have incorrectly assumed were of farm buildings.
If the house with the doorstone is not Clark's — some
deny it — one of these is his. The other is that
of Arthur Wharf, son of Abraham, the suicide.
38 The Story of Dogtoivu.
A large yard, enclosed by a stone wall, marks the
site of the next house. Here lived Joseph Stevens,
one of the most enterprising of the farmers of the
village. I judge him to be the son of another Joseph,
from the record of his baptism, Aug. 17, 1763. There
is a large collection of foundation stones at this point,
showing the location of the barn, with a passage
leading to it from the house, the big shed for wagons,
and the sheep pen. He kept more stock than any
other man in the settlement. He laid claim to more
land than any of his neighbors, and kept a good team,
which was often in demand. His character is not
highly spoken of, however, bv those who recall him.
I am told by old residents of Riverdale that thev
well remember when the children of Joseph Stevens
used to go to school in tlie old schoolhouse bv the
Directly opposite Stevens' house, on a knoll, stootl
the house of perhaps the most celebrated character in
the village, Esther (or as she was commonly called,
"Easter") Carter. No cellar marks the spot, for
there was none under it. It was the only two-story
house standing in Dogtown, within the memory of
any person now living. It was clapboarded, and the
boards were fastened on with wooden pegs. A man
who helped pull down the structure tells me he kept
The Story of Dogtoivn. 39
a nuniber of the pegs as souvenirs for quite a while.
Easter Carter was living in 1833. She was very
poor, and it was a common custom for the young
people of Riverdale and Annisquam to make excur-
sions to her house, taking their lunches, and getting
her to boil cabbage for them. The " cabbage dinner "
partaken in picnic style, is still one of the popular
institutions of Cape Ann. Easter Carter would tell
the fortunes of the young people, doubtless linking
their lives together in their forecasts in a way accept-
able to the romantic. The walk home in the moon-
light would be something to remember, as those
Appalachians who have crossed the w^eird Dogtown
pastures by moonlight in later years can testify. One
staid old citizen recently informed me he had "often
been up there with a parcel of girls."
Easter Carter was poor, but quite respectable, and
undeserving of the distinction which classes her with
other Dogtown dames of doubtful reputation. She
was a single woman, and though pinched by poverty,
very aristocratic. She did not like to have people
think she, like some of her neighbors, subsisted on
berries in the summer time. "I eats no trash," she
remarked to a suggestion at one time. One bright
Sunday afternoon the parents of David Dennison,
with their small boy, went on a walk to the pastures,
40 The Story of Dogto-^vn.
tuniino: in by Easter Carter's house. He remembers
that as they passed, she, divining that they were to
pkick berries as refreshment, remarked, •' The berries
seem to hide this year."
Easter Carter was noted as a nurse. It is thought
by the venerable Eli Morgan of Lanesville that Easter
and her brother William came here from England,
which accounts for the silence of the town and parish
records concerning them. He says Joseph, a son
of William and Annie, lived a long time in Lanesville.
I have said that Easter Carter was perfectly respect-
able, as well as aristocratic, and this character may
to some have seemed incompatible with other state-
ments. I have been somewhat mvstified about it
myself. The truth seems to be that when Easter
Carter was dead, and the house of Becky Rich on the
back road had become too dilapidated for occupancy,
she was taken up, bag and baggage, and installed in
Easter's house. Becky had a daughter, Rachel, widow
of Thomas Smith, who went with her. It appears
that the woman who told fortunes, boiled cabbage,
baked Johnny cake, and made life merry for all the
youth who visited her, was not Easter Carter, nor
Becky Rich, but Rachel Smith. I am very positive
that there are old men living now who as youths used
to go up to Granny Rich's, but who have confused
The Sto)'y of Dogtown.
her name with that of Easter Carter because of the
house. While it is admitted that many of the scenes
of festivity connected with it occurred when Becky
Rich lived there, it Is insisted by people who must
know because they were there, that Easter, too, was
wont to entertain the young people in it. At one time
a party of yoiing people collected a lot of wall paper
— each bringing any pieces they had on hand — and
went up and papered Easter's premises, the harlequin
effect being quite pleasing to her, apparently.
Dogtown people had, as a rule, little use for but
one story of a dwelling, and perhaps that was the
reason that the upper floor of Easter's house was occu-
pied by one of the most singular characters of the
villap-e. This was "Old Ruth." She was a mulatto,
and doubtless was one of the manumitted slaves that
abounded in Gloucester early in the century.
A WISHBONE" BONNET.
"old KUTII AND GRANNY DAY."
The old EUery House, at the Green, formerlv the
parsonage of the first parish church, which stood
hehind it on the Green, and one of the finest samples
of provincial or colonial architectiu'e in existence in
New England, at one time had, if it does not have
to-day, a slave pen luider its roof. In the fine old
grambrel-roofed mansion owned bv Gustavus Babson.
across the highway from the EUerv house, there is
another. To whom "Old Ruth" belonsfed I cannot
The Story of Dogtoxvu. 43
find out. vShe went by the name of "Tie," and also
was known as "John Woodman."
The masculine cognomen fitted her better than the
gentle name of Ruth, for until the closing days of her
life she was never known to dress in feminine apparel.
Perhaps she was the original "new woman." She
was accustomed to doing a man's work, and dressed
in men's clothing. Building stone walls and such
heavy toil were her chief employments. She used to
say that she worked out of doors when she was young
because she had to do it, and that she wore men's
clothing for the same reason, until she came to prefer
it. When she was taken to the poor-house, she was
obliged to conform to the customs of civilization and
put on skirts. A ledge beyond Easter Carter's still
bears the name, " Ruth's Ledge," in her honor.
In a small hut in the same enclosure with Easter
Carter's house lived Molly Stevens, old "Joe Stevens' "
sister. No one keeps her memory green. She must
have made life very unhappy for the gentle Easter,
unless history is at fault.
Directly beyond this site, a pair of bars opening
into the yard, and a big bowlder standing as a sentinel
in front, is the cellar of Annie Carter, wife of Wil-
liam, Easter Carter's brother, a record of whose bap-
tism I find in the Fourth Parish, April r, 1776. This
44 The Story of Dogtown.
was the last house taken down in the \illaue. For
some reason the phice was always known as Annie's.
After her death, William, with the children, moved
away. Annie was known as " Granny Carter," and
is said to have been a ''little small woman."
One or two other cellars which I have not identi-
fied with former occupants, lie across the road from
Annie Carter's, and two, together with a potato hole
that may deceive the uninitiated, lie between it and
the cellar, on a rise of ground, formerly under the
house, it is alleged, of Moll Jacobs. I am somewhat
disposed to think that this cellar is that of the house
of good Deacon Winslow, who lived either here or
very near it. Nobody can remember where Molly
lived before taking up her abode in the Lurvev house,
of which we shall speak later.
In an enclosure at this point are a number of small
bowlders, marked, " First Attack," etc., that are likely
to mystify the visitor. One is marked, "James Merrv
died, Sept. lo, 1S92." Mr. Merry was gored to death
by a bull, his dead body being found by the rock
bearing the second inscription. William A. Hodg-
kins of Riverdale once gave the writer and a party
of friends a very graphic description of this tragedy,
as they stood at the spot. The marks were placed by
Raymond P. Tarr and D. K. Goodwin, about a week
after the death of Mr. Merry.
The Story of Dogtown, 45
The Fifth Parish records say that "Moley Jakups,
daughter of Isack and Molly, was baptized Jan. 31,
1763." Molly and Judy Rhines, with others, seem
to have done a great deal to give to Dogtown a repu-
tation which also was undeservedly conferred on
Gloucester as a whole, so that the favored residents
of Rockport were led for a generation to look down
on a native of the larger place. No traditions, except
those of a rather unsavory reputation, remain of Molly.
Almost opposite the Jacobs cellar, on the left of
the road, is a well marked cellar, said to be all that
remains of the home of Dorcas Foster. She was
eight years old at the conuiiencement of the Revolu-
tionary w\ar, having been born at the Harbor village.
Her father left his family in this house for safety from
the British, whom he feared might come and sack the
town, and went to the war. George Wonson, who
lived with his grandmother when a boy, recalls many
of her stories of life in those troublous times.
Abram Wharf she always referred to as "Neigh-
bor Wharf," and called his wife "Aunt Wharf."
The children used to be sent to the harbor village for
supplies, and were accustomed to pay one dollar for
a pound of tea, and for other necessary things in pro-
portion. Little Dorcas naturally feared the British,
sharine: the terror which led to the growth of Dog-
46 The Sto7'y of Dogtoivn.
town, and one day when she saw seven soldiers, she
started to rnn, without considering whether they were
British or Continentals. She was reassined by one
of them, who told her not to be frightened, as they
would not hurt her. Her experience well illustrates
the hardships of those and even later davs, suffered
by the brave residents of Cape Ann.
Ezekiel VV. Chard tells me that in the embargo
times the women of 'Squam would walk as far as
Ipswich, going across the beach, to get a half bushel
of meal, the distance being twelve miles. In those
days it was verv rare to get either bread or cake, he
Dorcas Foster was three times married, her first
husband being an Oakes, the second a Stevens, and
the last Capt. Joseph Smith, who commanded a pri-
vateer in the war of 181 2. George Wonson is a son
of Louisa Smith, their daughter. She has many
descendants in Gloucester. Most of her life was
spent in the ancient house which until lately stood on
the rock at the corner of Prospect and Warner streets,
where the home of M. H. Perkins is now located.
Not far bevond the Foster cellar, on the same side
of the road, is one which has been recently filled with
rocks. It would be unwise to disturb them, for tlie
cellar is the tomb of several horses, which have l)een
The Story of Dogtozvn. 47
shot as a matter of mercy, after having been turned
out in the pastures to die. This is all that remains
of the home of Capt. Isaac Dade. He, too, has
descendants both in Gloucester and Rockport.
Mrs. H. G. Wetherbee, his granddaughter, fur-
nishes me the following particulars of the life of Isaac
"Isaac Dade, while a school boy in or near Lon-
don, England, was impressed on board an English
man-of-war. During the Revolution his vessel was
anchored off Gloucester, and it became his duty to
row one of the officers ashore. While doing so he
noticed a fishing vessel ready to sail. As soon as
the officer was landed he lost no time getting aboard
the vessel. She was bound to Virginia with a cargo
of fish. When he reached there he joined the Conti-
nental army, and was later in three memorable engage-
ments. He was at Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis
surrendered. He was wounded in battle, receiving
a sabre cut across the back of his neck, which crip-
pled him for life.
"After the w^ar he married a Southern lady by the
name of Fanny Brundle. Her father's plantation
adjoined that of the mother of Washington. She was
on intimate terms with the Washingtons. Two chil-
dren were born to them in Virginia. His health
48 The Story of Dogtoirn.
began to fail, and he remembered Gloucester, and
went there hoping that the change of life would be
beneficial — intending to return to Virginia the follow-
ing autumn. He did not, however, but spent the rest
of his life there. He kept a fish market in Glouces-
ter under great disadvantages, as the women preferred
to get the fish from the boats as they came in. Dur-
ing his life he received no pension, but after his death
it was paid to his widow."
This story points to. the visit of the Falcon, later
mentioned in connection with Peter Lurvev's bravery,
as the probable time when Isaac Dade decided to
make America his home. I have already indicated
the probable site of his Dogtown domicile. The the-
ory that he came in the Falcon is strengfthened l>v the
fact that in 1775 — the same year of Capt. Lindsay's
attack — two vessels were dispatched from Gloucester
to Virginia for supplies, owing to the poverty of the
people on Cape Ann.
It must have been a o-reat deal of a chansre to this
high-spirited maiden to begin her married life in
a region so barren, so lonely, as Dogtown ; but love
for her husband must have sweetened the bitterness,
for she was never heard to complain.
Directly beyond this cellar on the left is a swamp,
which has for many decades been a slough of despond
The Story of Dogtown.
for cattle and horses. It is always the repository
of one or more unfortunates, which have got in but
could never get out. This is "Granny Day's swamp."
Her cellar is covered by water at the corner of it.
She was a school teacher, and one of her pupils was
Nathaniel Day, the patriarch. Near here is Whet-
stone Rock, a natural curiosity, so hollowed out that it
served the purpose indicated. Some curiosity seeker
split it off and carried it away a few years since.
COUNCIL OF THE CROWS.
PETER I.URVEY AND "BLACK NEIL."
The only resident of Dog^town mentioned in Bab-
son's History of Gloucester, was Abraham Wharf,
who lived in a large gambrel-roofed house near the
junction of the two roads of the village, not over
a mile from the "Whale's Jaw," and who according
to the historian, lonely and weary, crawled under
a rock near by and committed suicide, in 1814. At
that time there w^ere at least six other houses in Dog-
town occupied. The last inhabitant of the village
was a colored man called "Neil" — his name was
Cornelius Finson — who lived on the road leading
from Gee avenue in Riverdale to Dogtown, in the
house of Judith Ryon, called by all old-timers, "Judy
Rhines." He was a man of intelligence, evidently,
The Sfoty of Dogtozv7t. 51
for Ezekiel W. Chard remembers him as a clerk for
the boat fishers of 'Squam. Others recall him as
principally engaged in the more prosaic calling of an
executioner of hogs.
He was closely acquainted both with Judy Rhines
and Molly Jacobs. He was firmly persuaded that
when Molly Jacobs died she left buried treasure in
her cellar, and it was with difiiculty he could be kept
away from the quite uninhabitable hole. Long after
Judy Rhines was dead he lingered around her house,
until its walls fell in, when he sought refuge in the
cellar. From this, cold, dirty, half-starved, and shak-
ing with the combined infirmity of old age and fright,
he was taken on a bitter day in winter, 1S30, by
Constable William Tucker of Riverdale — the people
of that village having complained of the case to the
Overseers of the Poor — and carried off to the alms-
house. As they passed the store of John Low Bab-
son, near the Poles on Washington street, they stopped
and Neil was taken in for a half hour to get warm.
Mr. Babson gave him some tobacco. After Neil had
gone, Mark Allen, sitting in the store, said, "There,
I'll bet he'll be so comfortable at the poor-house that
iie won't live a week." He was right. Within seven
days Neil was dead.
If the reader will now start at either Gee avenue
52 The Story of Dogtown.
or Stanwood street past the old Langsford house and
tlie " Castle," over the Commons road to the Morgan
brook, just beyond the " Castle," and thence follow
the road along until, if It is the wet season, he comes
to another brook crossing the road on higher ground,
he will soon notice at the left what is known as
" Beech Pasture." A high hill is in the pasture, from
tiie top of which is obtained a fine view of Annisquam
and Ipswich Bay. On this hill, quite a distance from
the road, is a cellar. Near it is a lilac bush and also,
as in the case of many cellars, a gooseberry bush.
This is the site of what, taken all together, is the most
famous of the houses. First of all it was the home
of Peter Lurvey. I have already said that he was the
hero of the episode commemorated by Hiram Rich
in "Morgan Stanwood." Babson says his father,
Peter Lurvey, removed from Ipswich to Gloucester
in 1707. In 17 10 he married Rachel Elwell, and our
Peter was one of eight sons, the elder Peter being
ancestor of all the Lurveys in Gloucester.
Peter Lurvey, the Revolutionary patriot, married
a sister of Abraham Wharf, who lived in the next
house beyond. On August 8, i775? the British sloop-
of-war Falcon, which had assisted in the capture
of Bunker Hill, chased a Salem schooner into Glouc-
ester harbor, where she grounded on the flats between
The Story of Dogtown. 53
Pearce's wharf and Five Pound Island. Capt. Lind-
say of the Falcon attempted to board her with several
barge loads of marines. The people of Gloucester,
an alarm having been given, hauled two swivel guns
to a point opposite Vincent's Cove, and with the aid
of muskets prevented a capture. Then Lindsay, full
of wrath, cannonaded the town (one shot hitting the
First Parish Church, where it is now suspended in
the vestry) and landed men at Fort Point to fire the
village. The firing party were made prisoners, and
the boarding party were also captured by the intrepid
villagers. In the engagement Benjamin Rowe was
instantly killed and Peter Lurvey mortally wounded.
The above is the story substantially as told by
Babson and Pringle. It is one side of the picture.
I will now give the other, as handed dow^n by his wife
and daughter, and related to me by his descendants.
On that fatal morning Lurvey, his w^ife and little
Mary Millett— afterwards Mary Riggs— were over on
Pearce's Island huckleberrying. Hearing the alarm,
Peter Lurvey bade his wife good-by, hurriedly rowed
across to the other shore, ran up to the house, and got
his o-un, thence across the fields and pastures to the
Harbor Village, where he met his death. For some
quite unexplainable reason his face was never seen
ao-ain by his wife and children. It was never known
54 The Story of Dogtown.
what became of his body. Our progenitors were
pecLiHar about such things. My great-grandmother
used to tell of her grandfather, killed at the battle
of Menotomv, as the British were returninof from
Lexington on April 19, 1775. His body was imme-
diately buried, in a grave with Jason Russell and ten
others — now in the Arlington cemetery — and all his
children ever saw^ again was his old farmer's hat,
reserved for identification.
Mrs. Lurvev lived to be 104 vears old, and is
remembered by people yet living. I have referred to
her as a sister to Abraham Wharf. Whether she
was the sister who was with him at the time he com-
mitted suicide no person can now tell. It was in
1S14. Wharf sat by the fire sharpening his razor.
" Sister," said he, do vou think people who commit
suicide go to heaven?" "•! don't know; i)ut I hope
you will never do such a thing, brother," was her
answer. "God forbid," was his solemn response.
Soon he slipped the razor into his shoe, unobserved,
and went out. A little later he was found with his
throat cut, dead.
The explanation of Mr. Rich's confusing Lurvey
and Morgan Stanvvood is that John Morgan Stanwood
married Lurvey's daughter. Until the time that Mrs.
Lurvev died thev seemed to have lived with her in this
The Story of Dogtown. 55
house. Later they moved to the house by the Morgan
brook, where I think Ruth Morgan, his mother, and
probably Morgan Stanwood himself, were born. But
more of this later. After the Stanwoods left the
house, which was by this time getting old and weather-
beaten, Molly Jacobs, with her friends Sarah Phipps
— more often than not called Sally Jacobs — and Mrs.
Stanley left the house they had been living in — per-
haps that already indicated on the Dogtown road —
and came here, by the invitation of "Grandther Stan-
nard." The latter women's grandson, "Sammy Stan-
ley," liv^ed with them and took care of them. Mrs.
Almira Riggs of Riverdale, a granddaughter of Mor-
gan Stanwood, told me before her death that she of ten
as a child used to go up to this Lurvey house in winter
with food for the old people, and would find them in
bed, the coverlet white with snow where the wind
had sifted through in the night. After a time the trio
of old ladies were taken off to the poor house, where
they died. Molly Jacobs was smarter than Sarah
Phipps. Sarah would get mad at Molly, and say :
"I shan't tell you where I hid the keerds. I hid them
behind the old chest, but I shan't tell you."
"Sammy Stanley's" real name was Sam Maskey.
He was always brought up by his grandmother to do
housework. He went about with a handkerchief tied
5 6 The Story of Dogtozvn.
over his head and did woman's work in preference to
any other. In fact, though he wore men's clothes he
had been brought up a girl. After his aged relative
was taken off his hands, he moved to Rockport, where
he went out washing for a livelihood, and laid up
money, so that when he died he was c^uite a stock-
holder in the cotton mills.
The history of the Lurvey house is nearly finishetl.
Just before MoUie Jacobs went to the almshouse,
"Black Neil" Finson, coming from some other house
he had inhabited, moved here. The onlv place he
could well stay in was the cellar, which he made
water tight by boarding over the first floor. I have
already said he thought there was money there. In
the course of time, his friend Tudv Rhines livins: in
the next house toward the Castle on the same side the
Common road, took pity on him. and in\ ited him to
occupy the empty part of her dwelling.
To return for a moment to Lurvey. As one walks
or rides through Washington street in Riverdale,
coming from the harbor, just after he crosses the
bridge, he notices on the right, the second house from
Reynard street, a two-story structure with pitched
roof, still in excellent repair, and looking like anv-
thing but a historic mansion. Yet this house, recon-
structed to be sure, was successively the home of Peter
The Stojy of Dogtown. 57
Lurvey and his family, Morgan Stanwood, Molly
Jacobs and her two inifortunate companions, who
lived in it in company with Black Neil and Sammy
Stanley, as already related. In some way or other it*
became the property of a man named Whipple living
in the vicinity, who sold it when it was but a skeleton,
to Isaac and Reuben Day. They had it taken down,
and it was found that the oak frame was perfectly in-
The Day brothers therefore had the material taken
to the present site, and the house was rebuilt, the old
frame being used in its entirety. There it stands, a
monument to the hero and martyr of the Falcon fight,
and there it seems likely to remain another centurv at
least, for it is perfectly sound. I have these facts on
the authority of several of Isaac Day's descendants, as
well as of James Thurston of Ri\erdale, who helped
take it down, and was one of the mechanics who re-
l)uilt it. Mr. Eben Day of Reynard street spent
several days cleaning bricks from its chimneys when
it was demolished, he tells me.
It seems rather mysterious that Black Neil, who
lived in it when Molly and Sarah and Mrs. Stanley
were taken to the almshouse, was not taken too, for
at that time the roof had caved in and was in a
wretched condition. Old people in Riverdale have
The Story of Dogtoivji.
had it pointed out to them for nearly two generations
as the liouse where Black Neil once lived, but even
those who furnished me the information as to its
identity were surprised to know that it wastheLurvey
"jUDY RHINES" AND " JOHNNY MORGAN."
The Judy Rhines house, too, was caved in as to
its roof, it seems, when Black Neil removed thither
from his former dwelling. And this circumstance
probably explains why "Liz" Tucker, its owner and
former occupant, left the society of her niece Judy,
and sought a home near the harbor where she died.
The house where she died stood exactly where the
entrance to Oak Grove cemetery is now located.
Judy's house was a double one. It will be noticed by
the visitor to the spot that there are two cellars. It
seems that Lizzie (or "Liz") Tucker, was Judith
Ryon's aunt, and therefore must have been a sister to
6o The Story of Dogtoxvn.
either her father Patrick Ryon, an Irishman, or to her
mother, a dauo^hter of William Rioters, Liz Tucker
lived in one part of the house, but was dead, doul^tless,
at the time Judy extended the hospitalities of the place
to Neil Finson.
How long the two were tenants of the place I am
unable to say. The house was one of the favorite
haunts of young- people on holidays, and was so at the
time l)oth li\ed there. Judy was a tall, rawl:)oned
woman, who had great courage. If she told a person
approaching her house to stand still, they would not
move anv nearer. She had manv friends. One of
the places she visited, according to Benjamin Rowe
Kidder of Rockport, was " Uncle Miah" Knowlton's,
for whom he worked. Aunt Knowlton used to load
her up with fish and tea. The voung people of that
day refuse to admit that she was in any sense a witch,
or so considered. After Judy died, as before related,
Neil lived in the house until the only place he could
stay was in the cellar. He was a big powerful negro,
with very prominent protruding teeth. At the time he
was taken from the cellar to the poor house, it was
fidl of ice, and his toes were some of them frozen.
"Judy Rhines," as she is called, was baptized
Dec. 30, 1771? 'it the Sandy Bay parish church. She
was living in 1S30, nine years before the death of her
The Story of Dogtown. 6i
colored frleiul '^Neil" Finson. She gained a preca-
rious living, like her friends Mollie Jacobs, Easter
Carter and Tammy Younger, by picking berries,
telling fortunes, and in other ways. One day she
went into Mr. Babson's store at the Poles, and bought
some groceries. vShe tendered in payment a $5 bill,
a note on the old United States bank. It was the
only one Mr. Babson had ever seen. " I don't think
I want this," he said. "It is just as good as any,"
she replied; "I took it for pasture rent from Mr.
Whipple." He finally took it, and on presentation
at the Gloucester Bank found she was right. It
was on a branch of the bank for the state of Georgia.
Years ago, in the Gloucester Telegraphy some
antiquarian told a story of what might have been his
own experience. He said two boys who considered
the poultry and chattels of a "witch" public prop-
erty, stole from Judith Ryon a couple of geese. They
were safely away, as they thought, when they heard
Judy coming brandishing a hoe, and screeching.
62 TJic Story of Dogtoivn.
"Now, ye hell birds, I've got ye I" The response
was a goose, plump in her face, and the asseveration,
"No you haint." Prostrated by the foul assault,
Judy lay senseless, while the boys again securing
their prey, vanished.
As we seem to have turned back toward the
Castle, we may as well continue, and more partic-
ularly examine the territory around Morgan's brook,
or the "Slough," as it is more often called. In the
early days of this century, some sixteen or twenty
men used to go over this road to general training,
their homes being between the Castle and Dogtown.
Over these pastures, on either side, many sheep
were wont to graze a century ago. Abraham Wharf,
in his palmy days, kept lots of them. On the oppo-
site side of the road from Judy Rhines', just by the
brook, is the cellar of the dwelling of "Jim" White.
I can find little about him. Morgan's brook is a dis-
couraging place to cross. If one confines himself to
the stepping stones on the left, going toward Ri\-er-
dale, or on the right, proceeding the other way, it
can be crossed without wetting one's feet. The
stranger is likely to attempt the other side, and come
After crossing the brook, on the same side as
Judy Rhines' cellar, one sees a big bowlder, beside
The Sto)'y of Dogtown. 63
the road. Right against it, on one side, are the
foundations of a small building, while in the yard
with this, enclosed by a wall, are the remains of a
laro-er structure. The building by the rock was the
hut in which John Morgan Stanwood spent his last
days. Mr. Rich, in his poem, dropped the John,
while the custom of his contemporaries was to drop
the Stanwood. It is a painful but well-authenticated
fact, that he was known to some, as long as he lived,
as "Johnny Morgan." Of course he was not that
Johnny who played the organ, nor the estimable
gentleman who caters to the finer taste of the present
generation of Gloucester people.
I misspent many precious hours trying, first to
find if John Morgan Stanwood was the man I was
hunting after, and second, seeking to find out who
the Morgan was who lived by the brook. That this
was not strange may be understood, when I say that
a lady still living told me that for years she went to
school, and was intimate with " Nabby Morgan,"
his daughter, before the person told her that her
name was really Abigail Morgan Stanwood.
Morgan Stanwood never went to the wars, so those
who knew him as Capt. Morgan Stanwood made a
mistake if they thought the title a military one. Dur-
ino- the Revolutionary war, or a little later, he
64 The Story of Dogtozvn,
went on foreign voyages. He married Mary Lurvey,
and had many children. "Granther Stannard," or
"Johnny Morgan,'-' as you will, seems thoroughly to
have enjoved life on Dogtown Common. He spent
his later years cobbling shoes. This work he did at
first in a little addition to his house, which was then
and has ever since borne the name of '"The Boo."
After his wife died, and his children grew up, the
confusion of so many in the house, and the fact that
they had so many callers among their young acquaint-
ances, so disturbed his mind, that he sought relief by
building the hut under the rock. Many living recall
this cosy corner, where he peacefully cobbled shoes
for the remainder of his days. On a shelf in the
corner he kept a book in which he made a record of
the interesting matters that came to his notice. I
should like to get hold of that book. For a year I
chased after such a journal of life in Dogtown, that
I finally found never existed ; but I have no doubt of
the existence of this, though it probably has long
since gone to decay. Stanwood has several grand-
Lest I forget it, let me say here that Morgan Stan-
wood's old "boo" — it was a booth, built of slabs and
covered with turf, Mrs. Rachel Day says — was stand-
ing when the war of the Rebellion begun, but old
66 The Story of Dogtozvn.
soldiers who left it when they marched, found it gone
on their return.
The '"Castle" is now owned bv^ Mrs. Marv A.
Riggs, a sprightly old lady of So, who lives on the
main road in Riverdale. Some of the Lufkin familv
seem to have lived in it during; its earlv history. It
came to Mrs. Riggs through her lather, Capt. Sam.
Riggs, of whom it used to be said that he could walk
from the old Riggs house in Riverdale to Rockport
without getting off from his own land. The Riggs
house is quite near the Castle, though on another
road near Goose Cove. It is supposed tliat that part
of it which is constructed of square logs was built ]:»\-
Thos. Riggs, the first school master and town clerk,
in 1 66 1. His grandson, George Riggs, built the
gambrel roof portion. It is undoubtedlv the oldest
house on the Cape. Thomas was the progenitor of
all the Ri2!"2"s familv of Gloucester. Mrs. RiofSfs,
mentioned above, used to go to school to Judy Millett.
The "old castle" is a restored gambrel roof, and
seems likely to remain for another century as a good
sample of the better class of Dogtown dwellings.
It seems probable that Hetty Balch lived in this
\icinity, but of this I would like further proof. Pos-
sibly she lived in the village. It is but five minutes
walk from "Johnny Morgan's Boo," and the Castle
to the electrics in Riverdale.
If it hap2)ens that one has not turned off from the
main Dogtown road, at Granny Day's swamp, he
will keep on over a slight elevation, past the crossing
of the Pigeon Cove path, which really is for some
distance in the road, until he reaches the Whale's
Soon after passing Whale's Jaw, the road, almost
obliterated by time and changes of ownership in the
pastures, reaches Revere street, the old Sandy Bay
road already referred to. On the Pigeon Cove path,
a little distance beyond the Whale's Jaw, are the
graves of old Mr. Blance and wife, marked by rude
head and foot stones picked out from the rocks which
bestrew the Commons. Their cellar is near Pigeon
Hill, on the path from Pigeon Cove to the Whale's
Jaw. It was known as "Blance's" to two genera-
6S 77/6' Story of Dogtowii.
tions. The cleared land made a fine place for the
l)oy.s of fifty years since to go from Lanes ville and
Pigeon Cove on Fast Day to plav ball.
In Dogtovvn, almost or rather near it, over the
ridge toward Alewife brook, is the cellar of the house
in which Col. William Pearce, one of the wealthiest
men of old Gloucester, sous"ht refu""e from maraud-
ing expeditions in war times. He kept great num-
bers of sheep. Mr. Chard, almost a centenarian,
picturesquely describes a scene of his boyhood, dur-
ing the war of 1S12. He woke one morning and was
summoned into the garden of the house on the banks
of Lobster Cove, in which he was born, and still
lives. Secured to a rock directly across the co\e,
still to be seen, were several British barges, belong-
ing to a war vessel anchored bv the bar in the harbor
of Annisquam. Coming down the hill towards the
boats was a negro, bearing on his back his booty in
the shape of one of Col. Pearce's black sheep.
I have speculated somewhat concerning the reason
for Babson's reticence in his history concerning Dog-
town and its people. His historv was published forty
years ago. The village degenerated as it grew old, and
the Dosftown familiar to him in his youn^'er days was
not a place to inspire great enthusiasm. At the time he
wrote less than twenty years had passed since "Black
The Story of Dogtown. 69
Nell," Molly Jacobs, Annie Carter and others had
died. Many of their connections were still living,
and to speak as freely as one can to-day of the village
would have caused more or less strife. Had my
friend Pringle had more time, he might have in-
cluded the story of Dogtown in his interesting centen-
nial history, but the omission was quite excusable
wlien the mao:nitude of the task he set himself is con-
I find that I have omitted the story of Peg Wesson
from this narrative, though her name has been men-
tioned. She lived in the "Garrison House" on
Prospect street, opposite Dale avenue. It now stands
on Maplewood avenue. She is the only reputed witch
of Cape Ann of whom it can be alleged, with history
to endorse the allegation, that she rode on a broom-
stick. Shortly before departing for the siege of
Louisburg, Babson says, several of Capt. Byles' com-
pany visited Peg, and so exasperated her that she
threatened to visit them in wrath at Cape Breton.
While camping before Louisburg, the attention of
the Gloucester men was attracted by the peculiar
performances of a crow which circled just al:>ove
-them. Several unsuccessful efforts were made to
shoot the bird of ill omen. Finally a soldier suggested
that it must be Peg supernaturally transformed into a
70 The Story of Dogtown.
crow. If it was the witch, nothing but a bullet cast
from silver or gold would be sufficiently potent to
puncture her. \ silver sleeve button was rammed
into a gun, and fired, the bird falling with a hurt leg.
On their return to Gloucester, the soldiers were inter-
ested to learn that at the precise time the crow was
wounded. Peg fell (of course from her broomstick),
with a fracture of her leg, and the doctor, on dressing
the wound, extracted the identical silver button there-
from. jMany of the inhabitants of Gloucester of those
days believed this tale.
Much more of a descriptive nature might be writ-
ten concerning the old, deserted village. If there is
more extant of an historical nature, the writer has
been unable, by persistent searching, to find it.
The best authorities claim that there are at present
41 cellars which can be found in Dogtown. Of these
the writer has identified many more than he believed
was possible wdien he began the work. He is more
gratified than he can express at the general interest
that has been awakened by the first publication of
these notes. As aged Mr. Thurston quaintly remarks,
"In old times if a person sawed a barrel in two and
made two tubs, they called him a witch." This seems
to be as much foundation as there is in many of the
witches of Dogtown. Gloucester should cherish this
The Sto)'y of Dogtown.
ancient spot for what it has been. It is practically
the only ruined city in America. I cannot close these
sketches better than by following the example of
Babson, and quoting Goldsmith :
" Here, as I take \x\\ solitary rounds.
Amidst thy tangled walks and ruined grounds,
And, many a year elapsed, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorne grew.
Remembrance wakes, with all her busv train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No bus3' steps the grass-grown footwav tread,
F'or all the blooming flush of life is fled."
[Copyright 1S96 by Procter Brothers, Gloucester, Mass.]