Fort Sewall

Fort Sewall (HMOGI)

Location: Marblehead, MA 01945 Essex County
Country: United States of America

N 42° 30.499', W 70° 50.522'

  • 0 likes
  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
  • 284 views
Inscription
[ left panel ]
Welcome - You Are Entering
Fort Sewall
Marblehead Massachusetts
Fort Sewall is a unique earthwork fortification positioned to defend Marblehead for over three centuries. In 1644 the provincial government granted permission to build an earthwork fort at Gale's Head and provided two guns. Several later modifications were in response to rapid colonial developments in New England.

The fort's location at the tip of the northern headland served a strategic defensive purpose as its guns could be aimed across the narrow entrance to Marblehead Harbor, This profitable colony deserved protection because by 1660 Marblehead was declared in London to be "the greatest townie for fishing in New England".

Such success could tempt pirates, the French or the Dutch to attack. To protect the fishing fleet, the town often allocated as much as half its budget to the fort's maintenance. The provincial government provided additional guns and tax abatements to the fishermen and traders.

The next threat to the town was English suppression of rebellious patriots during the Revolutionary War. Nowhere was the spirit of independence stronger than in Marblehead. Women and the elderly manned the fort while the militia joined Colonel John Glover's Marine Regiment. Sailors went to sea in Marblehead's newly christened ships of "ye navy".

In 1776 a marauding British vessel bent on burning New England seaports approached Marblehead. Their spyglasses revealed frantic activity around the fort's cannon, so the British withdrew - never to know that there was no powder to fire the fort's guns.

[ right panel ]
Following the victorious Revolution Marblehead in 1794 ceded its fort to the new United States Government. The federal government enlarged and improved the fort to its peak condition, earning recognition by federal officials, including President James Madison. His Vice President was Elbridge Gerry, a Marblehead patriot who loaned money to the town to maintain the fort during the American Revolution.

It was during the War of 1812 that Marblehead rescued the U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides). The warship was about to be attacked by three British frigates until the Constitution's skipper, guided by a Marblehead pilot, brought her through the rocky channel and anchored safely under the guns of Fort Sewall.

The fort had been named for native son, Samuel Sewall, Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court.

When the war ended there was a reduction in the garrison at Marblehead's fort. It fell into serious disrepair. During the Civil War fear of attacks by European sympathizers of the Confederacy caused the fort's restoration to fighting condition by 1863.

In 1890 Marblehead was made the custodian of Fort Sewall. In 1898 the Spanish American War prompted renovation plans which ended as quickly as the war.

Fort Sewall was ceded back to Marblehead in 1922 for use by "the public forever". Marblehead recognizes the ancient 1644 fort as an impressive historic site for the town and nation.
Please respect our historical heritage
Thank you.
Details
HM NumberHMOGI
Tags
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 1:49pm PDT -07:00
Pictures
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)19T E 348664 N 4707860
Decimal Degrees42.50831667, -70.84203333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 30.499', W 70° 50.522'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 30' 29.94" N, 70° 50' 31.32" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)781, 617
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8 Fort Sewall Ln, Marblehead MA 01945, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Nearby Markersshow on map
Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  10. This marker needs at least one picture.
  11. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  12. Is the marker in the median?