Fort Sewall, located at Gale’s Head, the northeastern point of the main Marblehead peninsula is a historic coastal fortification that was established in 1644. Rebuilt in 1775 during the American Revolution, Fort Sewall is one of the oldest English fortifications in the U.S. Just after the American Revolution, it was taken over by the federal government. During the Civil War, MA troops were garrisoned at Fort Sewall and a few Confederate prisoners of war were held there. In 1922, the fort was turned over to the Town of Marblehead and today it serves as a public park and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Just south of Fort Sewall, Fort Beach and Lovis Cove can be found, which has also been dubbed “Screaming Woman’s Beach” due to the folklore associated with it. The story goes that sometime in the 1600s, pirates captured an English ship crossing the Atlantic. They slaughtered all of the passengers and crew except for one particularly striking woman. The pirates proceeded to rob her of all of her valuables with the exception of her rings that they could remove from her fingers. As they approached the tiny village of Marblehead, they took the woman ashore and cut off all of her fingers to get to the rings and then beat her to death. Meanwhile, the Marblehead town’s women and children, unable to help with their husbands off to sea, listened to the woman’s screams and pleas for mercy. When the screams stopped and the pirates retreated, the residents came to the beach only to find the poor woman dead. They story goes that she was buried right where the incident occurred and on certain evenings you can hear her screams over the crashing waves.


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Sources:
“Discovering Marblehead: A Guide to Open Spaces and Historic Places”
Marblehead Book Group
Marblehead Historic Commission
Marblehead.org

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