J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Sunday, November 01, 2020

Anderson on “The History of Fort Sewall,” 5 Nov.

On Thursday, 5 November, the Marblehead Museum will present an online talk by Judy Anderson on “The History of Fort Sewall.”

Marblehead built a fortification on a rocky point overlooking its harbor in 1644. The structure was substantially rebuilt in 1705 for Queen Anne’s War), in the mid-1740s for King George’s War, and at the end of the eighteenth century during the Quasi-War. From two large cannon its armament grew to a reported thirty guns in 1776.

In the early 1800s the site was named after Samuel Sewall (1757-1814) of Marblehead, who served as a justice on Massachusetts’s high court. Federal and state troops staffed Fort Sewall periodically until 1898, whenever America sensed a possible threat to its coasts.

Fort Sewall is now once again owned by Marblehead and functions as a public park, but some of its structures are over two centuries old. With the site’s 375th anniversary in view, the town undertook a program of research and renovation which included preserving masonry, increasing access, and commissioning new research into the site’s history by architect Rick Detwiller.

Anderson, a local historian who served as curator at the Jeremiah Lee Mansion, will speak about the historical context for the fort through the ages, tracing how Marblehead grew and changed and what was happening in the broader Atlantic world when people built and renovated the site.

This talk is scheduled to start at 7:00 P.M. on Thursday. The cost of accessing this talk is $15, or $10 for members of the Marblehead Museum. Here’s the link to register.

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