Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Meeting the Lady in Black

           This week All Access Boston Harbor went to Georges Island.  On Tuesday we had almost 500 excited children join us for our day out on the harbor. Many of the kids fished and played sports, but some of the most fun the groups had was exploring the dark tunnels and rooms of Fort Warren.

A group from the Waltham YMCA entering the tunnel. 
Georges Island is home to Fort Warren, which was dedicated in 1847 and served as a training ground, patrol point, and civil war prison. The fort was decommissioned in 1947 and was transformed for the purposes of  historic preservation and recreation.

        The fort still exists as the major attraction of the island along with the legend of the lady in black. The story goes that Andrew Lanier was a confederate soldier who was imprisoned on Georges Island in 1861. Once on the island, Andrew wrote to his wife about his imprisonment on the fort, and in hopes of freeing him from the fort, his wife made the journey from their home in Georgia to Hull, Massachusetts. After watching the island with a spy glass, Mrs. Lanier journeyed to the island in a row boat in January of 1962. She had dressed as a man in order to conceal herself. As she was exploring the fort trying to find her husband, she began whistling a Southern tune that both her and her husband knew. Her husband heard the tune and began whistling the same tune back in response. She followed the sound of his whistle and made it into his cell, where she hid with him and other confederate soldiers. With an ax they spent weeks digging a tunnel that went to the center of the fort. They had hoped to collect weapons and overtake the guards, but when the tunnel was almost completed, one of the guards heard the pound of the ax.  The alarm was sounded, and the guards quickly discovered the tunnel and took a tally of the confederate prisoners. Mrs. Lanier tried to spring from the tunnel, surprise a Union officer, and shoot him with a pistol. The officer slapped the gun out of her hand right as she was about to shoot, and Mrs. Lanier ended up shooting her husband instead. Her husband was killed by the accident, and Mrs. Lanier was hung by a tree on the island for punishment. She was hung in a black robe to fulfill her request of being dressed as a woman when she died.
A group from the Idiil Learning Center celebrating as the run out of the dark tunnel.

    After the incident soldiers claimed seeing the ghost of the lady. They saw foot prints in the snow that had no trail leading out to them and other strange occurrences that they attributed to Mrs. Lanier, who became known as the lady in black. Today people explore the tunnels of the island, and some say they can see the lady in black when inside the "dark tunnel".

     So this week at AABH, the kids had fun exploring the pitch black tunnel and getting spooked by Thi and David Coffin. They were laughing and screaming as the ran in and out of the tunnel. They loved exploring the fort and all of the different passageways.

It was a great week on Georges Island, and I can't wait to return later in the summer!

A boy, (from the Somerville YMCA) who proudly made it through the dark tunnel.

No comments: