“Manchester, The Revolution, and The War at Sea”

The Manchester-by-the-Sea Museum is preparing to tell the story of ‘Manchester, The Revolution, and The War at Sea’ using multimedia and an interactive walking tour.

Elements will include:

* Walking tour map depicting the locations of the Manchester-by-the-Sea homes of the men who engaged in privateering, as well as other historical landmarks. QR codes on the map will provide additional information on each man and narratives on the life at sea as a privateer.

* Multimedia presentation to be shown in the Museum’s exhibit rooms and online.

The program will tell the story of Manchester men during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), as it was fought at sea. “At first there was no U. S. Navy, but there was privateering, a time-honored method of creating a seagoing fighting force. The rebel government of Massachusetts set up a court system under which private armed warships could be registered and their officers held accountable for their actions in preying on enemy merchant shipping.”

Manchester’s harbor was too small to be a seaport outfitting privateers, but it produced capable and brave men. Many were successful in capturing British vessels. The museum will explore the lives of these men who entered into this hazardous method of damaging the enemy and earning money in the sale of captured “prizes” and their cargoes.


“‘Headers in the Revolutionary War”

This project is a 2-day event planned for September 2024 and produced by a committee of Marblehead organizations and individuals brought together to develop programming to honor Rev 250 in Marblehead. Members of the Marblehead 250: Celebrating the Spirit of ’76 include representatives of Marblehead Historical Commission; Town Historian; Philanthropic Lodge AF&M; Save Glover’s Farm House; Marblehead Arts Association; Glover’s Regiment; Marblehead Architectural Heritage; and other individuals.

This day-long event will bring to life the role Marblehead citizens played in the years leading up and during the American Revolution. Participants will be provided with a printed “passport” containing a schedule of activities and a walking tour of important War-related sites throughout town. Throughout the day, the committee will host events, including:

-Meet Sarah Mugford, wife of hero James Mugford
-Visit the Masonic Hall to learn about Patriot Masons
-Take a Loyalist tour of the King Hooper Mansion
-Visit St. Michael’s Church to learn about Loyalists and Patriots in an Anglican church
-Participate in a recreated Town Meeting in the 1727 Old Town House to decide whether to support the rebellion
-Tour Old Burial Hill and learn about the soldiers buried there
-Visit the Jeremiah Lee Mansion to learn about Colonel Lee’s role in procuring supplies for the Patriots, as well as the parallel freedom movement led by enslaved individuals
-Meet Glover’s Regiment, a reenacting group, to explore Fort Sewall and learn about the original regiment’s vital service during the War.
-See inside the 18th-century Powder House

The passport booklet will also provide a self-guided walking tour to view the exteriors of private homes of Revolutionary War heroes, such as Elbridge Gerry and James Mugford, and other related sites.


“Save the Glover”

The Swampscott Historical Commission’s (SHC) proposed project, “Preserving the General John Glover Farmhouse’s History for Posterity through a Historic Architecture Building Survey (HABS),” is an offshoot of our on-going efforts to save the Revolutionary War General John Glover farmhouse (Swampscott, Marblehead, and Salem) from demolition to make way for 140+ residential units, the Glover Residences at Vinnin Square. General John Glover was an important military hero and veteran best known for rowing George Washington across the Delaware River to victory in December 1776. For the past year, the SHC has partnered with Glover’s Marblehead Regiment, the Swampscott Historical Society, the Marblehead Historical Commission, and many others to preserve this 1732 historic structure.

In April 2023, the SHC imposed a nine-month demolition delay on the property, thereby halting the sale. The site, including its former restaurant, the General Glover, is currently owned by the Athanas family. The SHC used a Massachusetts Cultural Council Cultural Sector Recovery Grant ($6,100) and its own budget ($1,700) to hire Structures North, a structural engineering firm, and a preservation architect to assess the condition of the property prior to its determination of historical significance. These reports concluded that at least sixty percent of the original 1732 house is salvageable.

The SHC has since been negotiating with the developer and family to try to preserve the house on site, but so far, they have not been convinced. We have assurance in writing from the approved developer, Leggat McCall, that work on the site is not scheduled to begin until after July 1, 2024. While we still hope to preserve the house in or near its current location, we are preparing for the eventuality that we may have to disassemble. The Swampscott Select Board voted on February 7 to allocate $30,000 in ARPA funds to hire structural engineers, Structures North, and preservation architects to develop a project manual for disassembling the house and ell (1,100 square feet). Well-known architects will be working on the manual. Once they complete their drawings for the manual, they have agreed to file the paperwork for a HABS survey for an additional $2,000. That way, the drawings being made for the manual can also be filed as a permanent record in the Library of Congress & posted on

This project connects directly to the American Revolution as the Glover farmhouse is a site of national significance related to the Revolution, and one of the few Revolutionary War sites in Swampscott (which was part of Lynn until 1852). Evidence from the Diary of William Bentley confirms that the house was in the “Salem Gore,” a finger of Salem land that stretched to the shores of Swampscott and Marblehead until it was legislatively deeded to Swampscott in 1867.


“A Voice Lost in Time: The Words of an Andover Revolutionary”

The goal of this project is to present the authentic “voice” of a North Andover soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War. One of the most valued items in our collection is the diary of Private James Stevens. His diary begins on April 19, 1775, when he arrived with the rest of the regulars at the North Parish meeting house and then started marching for Concord. Displaying this diary will be the kickoff of North Andover’s Rev250 celebration. As the cornerstone of the historical society’s Rev250 celebration, Stevens’ diary provides a local perspective not just of the war itself, but also the trials and tribulations of soldier life.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Stevens diary is the phonetic spelling of its contents, which allows the reader to hear the actual pronunciations and accent of its author. In addition to displaying the physical diary for visitors to view, there will be an interactive element which consists of the “reading” of Private Stevens’ diary, combined with a digital display of the page as it is being read. This multimedia component of the exhibit will allow visitors to hear his written words spoken out loud in the dialect and language that Stevens used during his days as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

Bringing Stevens’ “voice” to life not only exemplifies the role soldiers from the Andovers and Essex County played in the revolutionary efforts, but also showcases the evolution of reading and writing locally. The goal is to have the exhibit live on Stevens’ first journal entry on April 19th, but this exhibit will have much more impact beyond the Rev250 celebration.