Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Links, Mostly

    Some interesting links -some photos, some videos. From someone I've just recently become acquainted with at "Ever Widening Circle," to someone I've known from high school days with some total strangers as well (unless the Tom McLaughlin photos I've come by are from the guy who played Billy Jack whom I know from watching his movies).
   Coni (Allen) Dubois is a descendant of people who lived at the Barkhamsted Lighthouse Settlement pictured below and has been researching her Native American heritage for 20 years...
Her main site is http://conidubois.wordpress.com/ with links to her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Conidubois/videos

"Sachem’s Grave" is quite interesting, a stone pile with a significant quartz stone included in it:
Another is of a stone mortar at, as Coni writes, 'the Barkhamsted Lighthouse Settlement on Ragged Mountain - Barkhamsted CT. - Ken Feder is showing me where the signs will be put and why they chose these locations." It's a video taken by Coni Dubois: http://youtu.be/RbAsUFCk150
7/3/2011 - At the Barkhamsted Lighthouse Settlement on Ragged Mountain - Barkhamsted CT. is another video taken by Coni Dubois in which Ken Feder talks about a rockshelter or "Indian Cave."


    Often accompanied by my long time friend Frank Rinaldi, Charlie Crowell has not only researched and written much about the history of my hometown, but has also turned some of those old stories into videos, such as the Joseph Scott Indian Abduction: "Joseph Scott was abducted by a band of Indians in either 1707 or very early 1708 from a field in the Waterville section of Waterbury CT. The natives got Scott across the Naugatuck River and they started climbing the rocky area in Watertown known as the West Branch Rocks, now part of the Mattatuck State Forest. Scott started yelling for help and the Indians cut his tongue out. He bled to death at the spot seen in this video.. 
     The Indians disappeared into the wilderness leaving Scott's body exposed. Tradition tells us animals began feeding on it and by the time other settlers found it, it was in bad shape. They decided to cover the remains with a mound of rocks and for the last 300+ years, Joseph Scott has been lying our in the woods in his lonely grave." ~ http://youtu.be/-8uqzXUhsi8
      I'll include another two from the same area, one I've never been to and one that I have:
        "Abandoned Home Site c 1760 Mattatuck Forest Watertown,CT
       A WATERTOWN GIANT LIVED HERE - This old foundation is hidden in the Mattatuck State Forest in Watertown off Thomaston Road. The house that stood here belonged to Ebenezer Richards, "a man of giant proportions" as explained in this 1896 book excerpt:

"For some reason Ebenezer Richards chose the place for a house site. There is little now to indicate that the locality was ever inhabited. Nature has grown her trees all over the clearing that Ebenezer must have made, and has reared one (tree) in the lonely cellar, the walls of which remain. Richards was born in 1731 and died in 1801. He was a man of giant proportions and when he died it was found that the only way in which the body, when prepared for burial, could be removed from the house was by taking the casings from the doors."

From "The Town and City of Waterbury, Connecticut" (1896) by Joseph Anderson

      Anderson seems to have had Richard's date of birth wrong. It looks like he was born on March 16, 1732 (in Waterbury). He died on January 12, 1801. age 68. His parents were: Father: Thomas Richards b: 17 OCT 1699 in Newark, Essex County, New Jersey - Mother: Susanna Turner b: 10 DEC 1699 in Hartford, Hartford 

      How to Find the Leatherman's Cave in Watertown, CT:

        "A lot of people have gone hiking, looking for the Leatherman's Cave in Watertown and have been unsuccessful in their search. So, here's a video that might help. This is the easiest route to the cave which is located off Thomaston Road in a wooded area owned by the State of Connecticut just up the hill and across the street from Black Rock State Park."

Video by Charlie Crowell: http://youtu.be/RtG_QKB9ePU

Here's the strangers part:
Indian Walls - Narragansett Tribal Stonemasons in New England
       "Stories in Stone" is a film about the Narragansett Tribal stonemasons who, over the last four hundred years, have built many stonewalls that wind picturesquely through the woods of southern New England. Stories in Stones is a story of love; for place, heritage and family and a tale that demonstrates how a craft, utilized initially at the point of European contact, has served as a strategy for resiliency and resistance. Filmmakers Lilach Dekel and Marc Levitt weave a story that is at once poetic and inspirational..." ~ http://youtu.be/2PoqvvqH3AY

Abandoned stone wall in a forest in Bridge Creek Conservation area in Cape Cod. Barnstable, Massachusetts, February 28, 2004

“Albany, Maine stone wall I (Tom McLaughlin writes)
found in an abandoned neighborhood last spring.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Anonymous from Worcester NY

 I received an email from yet another person named Anonymous (before I started blogging I had no idea just how many people were named "Anonymous") who sent me, so far, a single photo so far of a stone cairn. More photos may be on the way.

      Anonymous writes that: "We have several cairns and rock piles as well as specific piles with cap stone(s). Each cairn has a white stone in them. (Key) stone is what it is referred to by the indigenous people."
(A crop of the same photo above)
This post mirrors:

- and I'll add that Worcester is in Ostego county, and according to Wiki:
The name Otsego is from a Mohawk word meaning "place of the rock."

Monday, April 07, 2014

Stone Layers Along Quassapaug Trail/Road

The modern Quassapaug Road (above) got its name from the Old Indian Trail to Lake Quassapaug. The stones along the road tell a story of sorts, from the oldest remnants of the Indigenous zigzag rows of stone that bordered the ancient trail to the most modern of stones, the pile just recently imported and dumped at the end of a driveway plus all that ended up where they are in the years in between.
Where the stones are completely gone is also part of the story. There’s perhaps many places the old stones could have gone, re-used for something somewhere or maybe they are buried right there.

Or perhaps they ended up across the street on the opposite (west) side of this four corners, the road just south of Hamilton Ave. and Middle Road Turnpike. Maybe the stones were used constructing the culvert. Just a step or two away, however, there’s a small segment of stones in the zigzag pattern, not so much like thrown stones up against a wooden Snake Fence, but something stacked more carefully, often a large boulder at the points of the zigzag, sometimes effigy-like stones chosen and placed “just so:”

A retaining wall and what looks like a whole bunch of tossed or dumped field clearing stones. 

On the opposite side of the road, I can tell you a little bit of a story. The house was a project by a local Technical/Vocational School a friend of mine attended in the early 1970’s.
This was formerly a field, part of a nearby farm. The old farm house is right around the corner, now a nursery, I believe. Under all those stones, tossed on the edge of the field, there may be a buried stone construction, possibly zigzag...
Maybe the old rows of stones are buried under stones and brush and fill…
Farther down the road is much the same:
Except for one segment of zigzag projecting out from under all the newer layers:
(This segment of row appeared here before: http://rockpiles.blogspot.com/2014/01/zigzag-in-snow.html )

The opposite side of the road does show some evidence of one time having zigzag rows present:

Above: “point” stones – large boulders about ten feet apart and some remaining cobbles. Below: a single segment of zigzag stone row remains, cobbles between “point” boulders… 

Moving farther north on the opposite side of the road shows some some signs of possibly the tendency to straighten out those low zigzags rows of stones into a more "proper" New England stone wall. A break in styles, most likely shows a later attempt on the left, while on the right there are a few more possibilities. The Indigenous row may have been a linear sort of row of stones... 

Often, around here, a zigzag row of stone turns into a more linear sort of construction, just as it does further down the road, on the opposite side of the former trail:
The longer existing linear segment has a little short segment that reaches out toward the former trail at a right angle, ending in a large boulder. There’s a good sized cobble on top of that boulder:

      Perhaps that cobble is a effigy as are possibly a few more a little farther back on that little jog, and some interestingly shaped and placed stones on the longer row as well:

The above photo is surprisingly reminiscent of a detail in  a “rock wall” from a “High Place” near Mount Shasta in Northern California in an Alyssa Alexandria photo below:

Friday, April 04, 2014

The Stonewall Dilemma 2014

Ask a Three-Year Old Child, "Do you see the Bear?" and see what happens.
     The idea that Indians built stone walls here in what we now call New England is a tough sell. Often when I’m explaining to someone just why and how, I’m pretty certain that the person I’m talking to is trying to diagnose which Mental Illness they should label me with. I’m pretty certain the last person I was talking to decided that the delusions, plus the admission that I’ve got thousands of photos of repeated patterns of artwork in the stonework, all added up to Schizophrenia.

    Oddly enough, the main reason that the whole idea that the Indigenous People of this particular corner of Turtle Island did not build “fences” and “bound” or own property comes from a group of people who were also experts at identifying witches. These very early settlers were also convinced that it was God’s Will that they should own this vast and empty land, very certain that God was using diseases to kill off every 9 out of 10 Native People just for them to be able to acquire free land and set up manorial fiefdoms, just like the royalty had in England – the place they were fleeing religious prosecution from, evidently so that they could become the prosecutors here. Even old Roger Williams who defended Indigenous Property Rights by addressing the burning practices of Native landscape management didn’t look too much into it because he feared his soul would be contaminated by close observation of those practices that were probably very much like Renewal Ceremonies documented elsewhere on the continent.
My first Stone Bear sighting (revisited last month) was in 1996.
Do you see the Bear?
Look a little closer:

     Since thousands of my own photos (of my delusions and maybe even possible hallucinations) aren’t quite enough to convince people I’m onto something, I often draw upon, sometimes quite literally, other people’s photos. It has become a habit for me to start my day by checking to see what’s up on Rock Piles where many people contribute photos of atypical stone concentrations. In fact it’s a statement by my friend who maintains that blog that sort of prompted this post. Every once in a while he says that he should pay more attention to the “stone walls” that are often components of the larger “site.”

     And there I am putting quotes around certain words, as people do when they question the way a certain term is used. Lately I find myself saying, “Rows of Stones” in place of “Stone Rows,” mostly because there are many definitions of “Stone Rows,” including one that has gaps between boulders or as Wikipedia puts it: “A stone row (or stone alignment), is a linear arrangement of upright, parallel   standing stones set at intervals along a common axis or series of axes, usually dating from the later Neolithic or Bronze Age. Rows may be individual or grouped, and three or more stones aligned can constitute a stone row.” It seems to be a definition that is European based and totally ignores that fact that any other people anywhere else in the world would do such a thing.
Stolen Eric Sloane Image with some delusion ranting added

     And I find that Professor Thorson in exploring Stone Walls defines a Stone Fence as about chest high, or the height the “minimum legal height of a fence in colonial times (page 59),” while a stone wall is shorter and often no more than a collection of stones that accumulated by a wooden fence at the edge of a field where those stones were dumped. I read into that statement that early colonials could legally turn an Indian made row of stones into a “proper” fence by adding wooden rails over those stone that were most likely fuel breaks around places important to Indigenous People for a variety of reasons that includes those concentrations of stone mounds that may be either graves or memorials to many generations of people who lived here since the retreat of the glaciers.

     It’s a little ironic that Chapter 7 of Exploring Stone Walls is called “Layout and Purpose,” since the first blog post that shows up in my friend’s blog when entering the word “wall” into the search field is an amazing little sketch about the layout of a certain place – a Sacred Site by definition – by my friend who thinks he lacks the skills to properly study stone walls or, as I like to put it, Rows of Stones. I think my friend underestimates himself as I look at the photos from “Monsters, Gods, or Rocks of Power? (Site A at Sawyer Hill/Gates Pond) { http://rockpiles.blogspot.com/2011/03/monsters-gods-or-rocks-of-power-site-at.html  and the other posts about the Place in that same month, as well}. And I won’t argue use of the word site since it is a feature that should be designated a Sacred Site or a Special Place on a larger Ethnographic Cultural Landscape ( a nice definition of which can be found here: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=22854 ). My friend shows features in the stone mounds that mirror those in the rows of stones that enclose the Sacred Site, at the same time highlighting other features found in other equally Sacred Places.
Above: Row of Stones (or stone wall) and Stone Mound (or Rock Pile);
Below: White Stone in Mound...
...and the corresponding White Stone in the Row (Wall):

PWAX 2014 Photo
"Portal" above compares to my image below, used at:

PWAX 2014 Photo

      And I guess I’ll say that selling these Rock Piles as Indian made is just as tough a sell as suggesting that New England’s iconic Stone Walls are too, especially when property ownership of land is concerned. Consider another of the  "proofs" of Colonial times, typical of this excerpt from "Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfullness of Removing Out of England and into the Parts of America" by Robert Cushman written in 1621: (The Indians) "...were not industrious, neither have art, science, skill, or faculty to use either the land or commodities of it; but all spoils, rots, and is marred for want of manuring, gathering, ordering etc…(The Indians) do but run over the grass as do the foxes and wild beasts (Cronon, Changes in the Land - page 56) ." The dominant group, as they invaded a country to appropriate its land and resources, was quick to determine that Indians were sub-human minions of the Devil ( You might have read that before, when I used that statement here: http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2006/06/yes-there-is-great-bias-against-idea.html

      As I look at the remnants of what stonework still exists now, after all the re-use of stone plundered, what’s covered up by being dumped upon or bulldozed out of the way in the last few hundred years, I wonder how indeed did the Landscape look back in 1621 and even earlier, back before Columbus invented going to the Bahamas…