Stay Tuned: Dungeon Rock

by Jeanne Curley

(originally published in September 2002 newsletter)

One pleasant evening, just after sunset, a small boat anchored near the mouth of the Saugus River. Four men left the boat and made their way up the river and disappeared into the woods. A few days later, a worker at the Iron Works found a note requesting quantities of shackles, handcuffs, and hatchets be made for them. Upon completion, they would leave the money in a certain secluded spot and pick up the goods. The deed was done and they soon disappeared, only to return some months later. They settled in a deep valley, hidden by high hills, craggy rocks, and thick pines and hemlocks. On climbing up the rocks, one had a commanding view of the ocean and surrounding countryside. It was a lonely and desolate spot and became known as Pirates Glen. The pirates built a hut, made a garden, and dug a well. After some time, their hiding place became known, and one day the king's cruiser appeared on the coast. The men were traced to the glen, where three were captured, carried off to England, and probably executed. The other, Thomas Veal, escaped two miles to the north, where the men had previously deposited some of their plunder in a cavern. There he lived and practiced shoemaking. He was a dirty, scraggly man, and his shoes were crudely made, but they were sturdy and strong and held up in the mud and dank weather. Occasionally, he went to the village to barter for articles of sustenance. He lived there until the great earthquake loosened the top of the rocks that crushed down into the mouth of the cavern, entombing him in his prison. This is known as Pirate's Dungeon.

On May 28, 1834, several people destroyed the cave, thinking that they would find treasure. They placed a keg of powder in the cave. The explosion blew out the lower portion of the rock, causing the rock above to fall and destroy the cavern.

In 1852, Mr. Hiram Marble purchased from the City of Lynn a lot of woodland where Dungeon Rock was situated. Hiram was a spiritualist, and he became enticed by alleged clairvoyant revelations to search for the treasure. Under this spiritual direction, he felt Veal was constantly telling him in what direction to drill. Now, Mr. Marble was an intelligent man of medium build, with a flowing beard that looked as though it had never seen a comb. Even though he labored for 14 years at this task, he still had hopes. He started out with $1,500 in his pocket, and when that was gone, visitors to his excavation would give donations. By 1863, this passage reached 135 feet, was of average height and width of 7 feet. He was getting on in years, and had ill health. He died on November 10, 1868, at the rock, at the age of 65. He remained a spiritualist to the end, and all the mediums in the vicinity were invited to the funeral services, which were held at the rock November 11.

Edwin Marble succeeded his father in this strange search for the treasure. He, too, became ill from digging in the damp, dark cavern. On January 16, 1880, at the age of 48, he was buried near the foot of the rock, as this was his desire. Fifty spiritualistic friends attended the funeral. Since that time, no one has challenged the secrets of the place.

The Trustees of the Forest obtained possession of the rock, and here the friends of the forest held a camp day on Memorial Day, 1888. Other places in the woods may compete with Dungeon Rock, as far as sights go, but its history will always touch the delicate chords of human interest, and will always possess greater sentimental attraction than any other place in the woods.

See Also

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Bringing Home the Woods by Jack Walsh

Change and the Woods

Divinity and the Woods

Holiday Greeting

Lions and Pirates and Caterpillars, oh my!

Lynn Woods Reflections

Minutes from SSSP

Old Names in Lynn Woods

Stay Tuned: Arbor Day

Stay Tuned: Houghton Horticultural Societ

Stay Tuned: Odd Fellows Hall

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The Vernal Pools of Lynn Woods

What Exactly is a Weetamoo?

Where Did It Come From?

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