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 Post subject: Haunted Island
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:19 am 
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As a child I frequently visited George's Island located strategically in Boston Harbor near where, according to legend my grandfather switched sides during the Revolution. Prior to the Civil War coastal defenses were put in place with Fort Warren (named after the Bunker Hill hero) and Castle Island which protected the inner harbor of Boston. Edgar Allan Poe wrote his famous tale inspired by a story which occurred on Castle Island. You can read it here. http://bau2.uibk.ac.at/sg/poe/works/cask_amo.html

While visiting this Island I met on several ocassions a wonderful author and historian named Edgar Rowe Snow. He wrote great books about Lighthouses and pirates mixing fact and legend in fabulous books, which I still have and collect today.

I was exposed to the Legend of the Lady from my brothers and read more about them in Mr Snows books.

The basic story in Mr Snows words are available here:
http://home.comcast.net/~jay.schmidt/ft ... ghost.html

Mr Snow was kind enough to show me various parts of the Island and give me more in depth stories and it is sad to think he is now long passed. I suppose him to be one who would know the answers to some unanswered questions I now have about events in the past.

Now you can doubt the presence of ghosts and especially doubt if a woman was hung back at this time, or what became of the body. You can understand men at a lonely watch becoming frightened of a shadow.

But if you ever saw what I saw in the secret corridor below the island where the anti submarine mine controls that Edward Rowe Snow showed me then maybe you'd believe.

The entrance is now bricked up forever, after a man fell to his death down the granite steps a week after my visit. Was he pushed or startled?

Much as in the Tale of Edgar Allen Poe, the answer is walled up waiting to be discovered again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:22 am 
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Fort Warren in Old Newspaper as it appeared then.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 1:25 am 
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 Post subject: Brava Fred!!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:09 pm 
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Brava Fred:

A truly fine thread!!!

I met ERS in the Ventress Library in Marshfield about 27 years ago.

We mostly talked about Minot's light and the Batteries at Fort George (Pt. Allerton) and the heavier battery on the Island behind Pt. Allerton.

I grew up fishing in a too small boat off Minot's.

ERS wrote a book specifically on Minot's light which I once owned.

More later.

John

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 3:36 pm 
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Location: Mansfield, MA USA
Fred,

Despite growing up in the area, I went to George's Island for the first time when I chaperoned a field trip when my younger son was in second grade. It is an interesting trip and a step back in time.

Something mystifies my about your post. I know you and I are about the same age, and my older grandfather was born in 1893 or so. How is it your grandfather was alive during the Revolutionary War? Do the Channell men have a history of much younger wives? That sounds like the more interesting history!

Sincerely,

Norm Abrahamson


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 Post subject: Fort Warren
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 6:25 pm 
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Location: Randolph, MA USA 781-963-8891
I won't go into the legend of the "Lady in Black" but I take my students to Georges Island twice a year (differnt classes) and can tell you something about the fort itself.

After the War of 1812, the US was trying to determine the best ways to protect its harbors and coastal cities from future invasions. To solve this problem the military came up with the Third System of fortifications which included the construction of a series of forts on the eastern seacoast from 1817 - 1870. Today, Fort Warren stands as an excellent example of this system's design.

Georges Island was chosen because it sits at the crossroads of two naturally deep channels in Boston Harbor. When Boston became one of the most prosperous ports in Colonial America, these channels became all that more important in its defense. Known now as the "Narrows," any invasion force coming toward Boston would have to pass by Fort Warren.

Col. Sylvanus Thayer (of Thayer Academy fame) supervised the construction of Fort Warren starting in 1834. Granite was taken from Quincy and Cape Ann, shipped to Georges Island and shaped there by hand. Fort Warren is pentagonal in shape, as most forts built in the antebellum period. Its walls are up to 8ft. thick in places. In 1861, it was rated as the most formidable work of defense in America. The fort was finished around 1860, although the sign upove the entrance reads 1850 (that's when that section was completed).

During the Civil War, Fort Warren was used as a prisoner or war camp. Among the more famous who were housed there at one time or another was Mason & Slidell of the Trent Affair, Alexander Stephens (VP of the Confederacy), Lt. General Richard Ewell, Josiah Gordon (Maryland politician), etc. The fort housed hundreds of prisoners at its peak and had a garrison of around 400 troops.

After the war, the fort continued to be used by the military. During WWII, many of the outdated guns had been replaced by more modern implements. As part of the coastal defense network, the fort was on the lookout for German Submarines, etc. The fort was decommissioned in the 1950s at some point, and has become a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, if you go out there, you'll notice that there is not a lot of federal or state money going to repairs. The building is in disrepair and needs a lot of work.

With fading monies, it's doubtful the government will step in and do the right thing.

Just some thoughts,

mike


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 7:42 pm 
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Hi Norm,

My fifth Grandfather fought in the Revolution on both sides. Starting out in the English Navy and switching sides when taken by an American Privateer, supposedly at the mouth of Boston Harbor. The only historical info about British ships in Boston Harbor during the Revolution I have found in ERS books. They didn't just all leave when Washington fixed his cannon on them. I had another 5th grandfather on Dorchester Heights, Captain Ezekiel Knowlton.

And yes Old AFJ Channell had an unquenchable thirst for younger wives. He was married 4 times that I know of and fathered his last child at 72. I even have a photo of him taken before his death at 107 in 1858. One of 7 photos of Revolutionary war soldiers.

I have yet to visit his resting place but someday I will. Here it is, amazing what can be found online.
http://www.interment.net/data/canada/qc ... /index.htm

Good stuff Mike, Mr Snow would have told you of the tales of the bullet holes in the stairs and the cannonball imprint on the stone and how it got there.

The Lady in Black story seems less likely to me as I get older but if you and Norm want to camp out in the corridor of dungeons and see for sure your on your own!
Do wrist locks work on ghosts? :D

F.

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 Post subject: Neat!!!!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:12 pm 
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Norm, Fred and Mike:

Really nice thread.

It mystifies me how small the world remains.

I roamed Ft. Geoge often during my mispent youth (with company)

The three gun pits there were, I am told, for 8" Coastal Cannon.

I am unsure of the date of manufacture, but the place of manufacture was "Watertown Arsenal".

A full working scale model in brass and steel, about 1/20 scale, including (allegedly) the correctly twisted (yeah I know I am a bit twisted too) barrel came up for auction at "Paul Dias' auctionhouse about 15 years ago. this model was also made at Watertown Arsenal and fell into private hands when it closed.

I was there to bid on some Katana, but I started to bid on this piece.

Because the piece needed repair (not much for a skilled guy) because the bids spiraled up out of my price range and because my 'gunsmith'was the other major bidder ( i didn't see him initially) I let the piece go at around $5000 as I recall.

Sylvanus Thayer is also known as "The Saviour of West Point" and, as noted, the founder of my Alma Mater in 1876.

George's Island is, I think. the Island on which Fort Warren exists what relationship this has to the name of the emplacements on Pt. Allerton is, I don't know/.

When I visted George's Island I noted the apparent mounts for Coastal Artillery on the upper parapet.

CAn anyone tell me when the pieces for these mounts might have been in Place and/or what they were??

I will research it a bit but, maybe 'youse guys' already know.

JT

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:58 am 
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Hi John,

I have an excellent book with many vintage photos of the military use of the Islands falling short of the cold war.

I'll look and see what they have for info on those guns.

It is funny how many historic places I have yet to visit nearby.

The Adams mansion in Quincy
Paul Revere House
Old North Church
The Salem

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 Post subject: The Salem
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:39 am 
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Fred:

Thank you for the picture of the Salem. It is a heavy Criuiser of the "Boise" Class having the same basic armament of that of the Wartime "Baltimore" cruisers whicch included "Boston" and "Canberra".

The latter was named in remembrance of the Australian heavy Cruiser Canberra lost with, I believe, the Cruiser (light) Quincy, among others, at the First Battle of Savo Island in 1942.

Ballard dove on these "Gravesites" in a fairly recent video in his Series. In the Same film I beleive he showed the Battleship Kirishima gravesite.

Kirishima was sunk by two American Battleships of the South Dakota class, one of whom was "Washington" in a later nightime action. Massachusetts is of this class, again, if I recall correctly.

As noted in another thread 'surface action' vessels owned the Night almost exclusively at least until the equipage of some American radar equiped Aircraft (PBM's?) armed with an early Air to Surface Anti shipping weapon called, if I recall correctly, "the Bat", in 1945.

I freely admit that sometimes I write on the basis of recollections, technically unverified, to post some matters.

Salem served as a command ship in the Vietnam War and also served with distinction as a Heavy Naval Gunfire support ship in that War.

As usual, hopefully more later.

JT

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 2:56 am 
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Fort Warren was also a point of departure during both the Civil War and WWI. I know the Putnam Guards a civil war volunteer group organized by a young lawyer named Arthur Putnam in Danvers left Fort Warren on the Fifth of July. Part of the First Massachusetts heavy artillery they hard charge of the heavy guns around Washington.
Interesting their uniforms were sewn by women in the town of Danvers where they came from and the town fed them for the 6 weeks they trained before leaving, opening up their houses and tables to the brave soldiers who helped preserve the Union.

My cousin removed once or twice, is listed on the fallen soldiers of the Civil War monument in Danvers, William Channell.

F.

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