My Visit to Casco, Maine

by Mark Wynn

The most prominent name in the Manning Cemetery was Dingley. A pretty amusing name, especially if your first name is Royal. Judging from the headstones the family was not your average quakers... In fact there's evidence they were originally Puritans from the Mayflower. They helped settle the Plymouth Colony before moving across the bay to found Duxbury, MA with the likes of Miles Standish. From Duxbury the Dingley family moved to here Casco, ME.

Duxbury, Mass has history! It's 5 miles across the bay from Salem for one. Besides being the grave of many Mayflower emigrants and Miles Standish being one, it also has a strong connection to the witch trials.

Get this, like Miles Standish, John Alden arrived on the Mayflower but they weren't Puritans. Standish was like a security escort and Alden was a carpenter. Terms of their contract change, giving them the right to move away from Plymouth Colony and they helped settle Duxberry.

Now this is we're the story gets weird. John Alden Jr. was visiting Salem in 1692 and got accused of being a witch by some orphan named Mercy Lewis. He got convicted along with a Giles Corey. Or I should say the prosecution failed to secure a confession when Giles Corey was smashed with heavy stones placed on his chest.

John Alden Jr. was no choir boy. He was a sailor and rumored to have sold arms to the Abanaki who were allies of the French, their mortal enemies.

John Alden Jr. escaped and Giles Corey was crushed with stones the next day! John Alden Jr. stayed escaped and was pardoned. His account was recorded for posterity and became a popular reference. My point is these were the neighbors of the Dingleys before they moved here to Maine.

Now all this aside Richard Manning was an early settler Casco, ME with the likes of Capt John Dingley. Nathaniel Hawthorne's mother was a Manning and raised him here in Casco. He went on to write "The Scarlet Letter". So.... Yeah, I enjoy knowing that.


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