Dogtown Descendant

20 Sep

Illustration From “In the Heart of Cape Ann” by Charles Mann, circa 1896

I recently came across this post: John Morgan Stanwood of Dogtown: finding ancestors in a novel on a blog run by Nathaniel Taylor, a descendant of former Dogtown resident John Morgan Stanwood. For those unfamiliar with Dogtown, it is an abandoned settlement in Gloucester that was once home to about 80 families before it was abandoned in the early 1800s and taken over by suspected witches, feral dogs and vagabonds.

In this post, Nathaniel discusses the many ways his ancestor, and Dogtown residents in general, have been depicted in the numerous books about Dogtown. Nathaniel highlights how writers and historians have created their own romanticized versions of the town and its residents, mostly due to a lack of accurate information about them.

To add some truth to the matter, Nathaniel includes an actual photo of a Dogtown resident, his ancestor Ruth Morgan Stanwood.

I find it fascinating not only to hear from an actual Dogtown descendant but also to hear some truth about this mysterious town and its residents. So much of the town’s history has been lost or is just unknown that it’s sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction.


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