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Volunteer Spotlight: Cultivators of the Fort House Kitchen Garden

Updated: Jan 14

By: Cathy Kusnier

If you have been to the Wing Fort House in East Sandwich, Cape Cod, in the past couple of years, you could not have missed the big, beautiful kitchen garden in front of the house. Were you wondering who was responsible for such a wonderful addition?

The answer is WFA member, Amy McGuiggan and her husband, Dan. They live about forty minutes north of Sandwich, which allows them to travel to the garden as needed. They would often add other local things to do or see to their itinerary and make the trip into a full day at the Cape. Both were born and raised in the south Boston area with ties to Cape Cod.

Amy is a local-history, non-fiction writer who writes for the Provincetown Independent newspaper and other genealogical societies. She has authored several books, including one about her genealogical search for the family of her orphaned maternal grandfather. Amy has also curated, researched and written exhibitions for Provincetown museums. Dan, who attended the Maritime Academy in Buzzard’s Bay, recently retired from the oil field industry. He worked in oversea oil fields in such faraway locations as Scotland, Canada, Brazil, Africa, and Trinidad. Amy and Dan have two sons.

Together, Amy and Dan planted, cultivated, and harvested the kitchen garden crops - hops, potatoes, pole beans, cabbage, onions, leeks, and numerous herbs. Flowers were also planted to add color and texture to the beds. Amy credits Dave Wheelock for building the fence and the boxes that made the garden possible. Last year alone, 50 pounds of potatoes were donated to a local veteran empowerment agency.

Amy discovered her passion for family genealogy about 2016; she began to investigate her Wing heritage. Amy knew her grandmother was Vivienne Wing, who was very proud of her Wing lineage but knew that she was the last in her line to have the surname Wing. She worked with our genealogist at the time, Raymond Wing, to discover her Wing lineage and soon after joined the WFA. Her genealogical research also led to her joining the Mayflower Society and the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR).

A few years ago, Amy was looking for additional ways to assist the WFA (having already helped with reunions) and after exploring a few options with Dave Wheelock, landed on the development of the Kitchen Garden. Due to Amy’s suggestion, the WFA received a $500 community outreach grant from the DAR for our Kitchen Garden.

This year, enough hops were harvested to make beer and luckily, Dan loves to brew beer, so be on the lookout for Wing Beer!

Amy’s Lineage: Amy Whorf McGuiggan, John Whorf, Jr., Vivienne Wing Whorf, Artemus Wing, Morrell, Jesse, Samuel, Moses, Simeon, Ebenezer, Nathaniel, Stephen, the Rev. John.

This is the Kitchen Garden as it looked during the 2022 Wing Family Reunion, with potatoes on the left and hops in the background of the right photo. Photo by Terry Davis

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