Thomasine Younger (1753 - 1829)

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Nicknames: "Queen of the witches"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Gloucester, MA, USA
Death: Died in Gloucester, MA, USA
Occupation: Reputed witch
Managed by: Erica Howton, (c)
Last Updated:

About Thomasine Younger

The cellar at the southern corner of the locality [of Dogtown], on the brow of a steep rise of ground near Alewife brook, known as Foxhill, was covered by the residence of Lucy George, and later of her niece, Tammy Younger, "the queen of the witches." The latter was probably best known and most feared of her cotemporaries. A writer says that no one ever refused to do anything that she requested. (Gloucester's Deserted Village, Essex Antiquarian, Page 43-44).

From Tammy Younger, the Witch of Dogtown by Heather Rojo, 2010

Thomasine Younger was born in 1753 in Gloucester, Massachusetts to William Younger and Lucy Foster.  Gloucester was a major fishing seaport in New England, famous for the Gorton’s frozen fish packing plant and the statue of the fisherman’s memorial. The majority of men in town were sailors or fishermen, the lucky few were ship builders, merchants and sea captains, and the paupers of Gloucester lived in Dogtown. 

For some reason, unknown to anyone, Tammy Younger became a resident of Dogtown.  Gloucester today is built up around the harbor. However, in the earliest days of its settlement the colonists hid inland and up on a hill, away from pirates and the native tribes. When the conditions became safer, especially after the war of 1812, the townspeople took advantage of moving to the water front and built their town at one of the best deep water harbors in Massachusetts. The abandoned town became home to sailor’s widows, vagabonds and free blacks, who were either too poor or not accepted in town society. When the last of these people died, only abandoned dogs were left, and the area became known as Dogtown. 

Some of these last old women in Dogtown were known as witches. They probably didn’t deserve the epithet; they were poor, old and had no family or husband to defend them. Tammy lived on Fox Hill in Dogtown, and she was so poor that she would lie in wait for passing wagons, and “place a curse” on the oxen until the driver gave her food.

Sources

  • Gloucester's Deserted Village
  • “History of Gloucester” by John James Babson and Samuel Chandler, published by the Proctor Brothers, 1860 (a book of “Notes and Additions” was written by Babson in 1876.)
  • “In the Heart of Cape Ann; or The Story of Dogtown” by Charles E. Mann, 1896 - This book described the inhabitants of Dogtown, with maps showing the cellar holes
  • "The Last Witch of Dogtown" by Francis Blessington, The Curious Traveller Press, 2001.
  • “The Last Days of Dogtown” by Anita Diamant, published by Scribner, New York, 2005. A novel based on the history of Dogtown, and the characters are based on the inhabitants named in Mann’s book, including Luce George and Tammy Younger.
  • “Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town” by Elyssa East, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2009. 

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Tammy Younger, the Witch of Dogtown's Timeline

1753
July 28, 1753
Gloucester, MA, USA
1775
August 25, 1775
Age 22
Gloucester, MA, USA
1829
February 24, 1829
Age 75
Gloucester, MA, USA