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By Daniel Curtin
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Last Thursday, the Islington Branch of the Westwood Library hosted a presentation on the different islands in Boston Harbor.
Boston Harbor Islands volunteer and storyteller Marguerite Krupp gave a presentation that took the audience back thousands of years, from the formation of the islands through the 1800s. Krupp also discussed the role the harbor islands played during the Civil War through the present day.
Those in attendance were given different insights as to what makes each island special. They also received a virtual tour, via slide show, of the many islands.
Krupp has been doing work involved with islands in Boston Harbor for about 10 years. She credits her passion for history and storytelling to her parents, who helped her realize that history is not just names and dates, but the process of trying to understand the common humanity and experiences of those long passed on.
One of the stories that Krupp told was about a battle that occurred in Boston Harbor during the War of 1812 - a battle that produced the famous expression, “Don’t give up the ship.” Captain James Lawrence of the US frigate Chesapeake said those words as he lay mortally wounded in his cabin. After a short, but intense fight, the British ship HMS Shannon defeated the remaining members of the crew and eventually took control of the ship.
Regina Jennings, who attended the presentation and also graduated high school with Krupp, was impressed with her former classmate’s insight.
“Marguerite is an expert. She is very learned,” said Jennings. “I think everyone should make an attempt to [visit the islands]; they’re pretty much in our backyard … I was just delighted I was here today.”
Part of Krupp’s presentation also revolved around the different tours available to visitors of the harbor islands, such as those of Fort Warren on Georges Island, where Confederate prisoners were held during the Civil War.
For information about ferry schedules, program descriptions, and park maps of islands in Boston Harbor, visit bostonharborislands.org.