Showing the changes over time, I should mention that my Mom's house was built about 1760 or so, by a ship builder whose name escapes me at the moment. I've started with the earliest map I could find (1893) and have used various red markings to point it out, moving to 1944 (when another house existed on the property, now gone, but right about where I always park my ancient steam powered RV, and ending with some recent images.
I threw that old photo in there "just because." I think that's Pilot's Point (or the Hawk's Nest) in the distance.
My Mom is very active in several Historic Societies in the area (which is how she knows Nick Bellantoni) and is pretty sure that the builder of her house had his ship yard down at Pilots Point at least at the time the house was constructed. It makes me wonder if he traveled home by the River, pondering where he might have landed a boat. I don't really know...
From the TOWN OF WESTBROOK by James A. PRATT:
"Shipbuilding was an important industry of the town for more than a century, the two rivers, the Pochoug and Menunketesuc, with the forests of white oak and chestnut that abounded in the northern section, fitting admirably for that purpose (http://www.dunhamwilcox.net/town_hist/westbrook_hist.htm)."
But, yes I do believe that Native People built fire breaks to manage burning there for a long, long time. One of those links in the last post, the Pratt history above, includes mention of the white people "burning weeds": "In the 22d of February, (1637) I went out with ten men and three dogs, half a mile from the house, to burn the weeds, leaves, and reeds upon the neck of land, because we had felled twenty timber trees, which we were to roll to the water-side to bring home, every man carrying a length of match with brimstone with him, to kindle the fire withal..." It led to an encounter with Indians and you can read the rest here: (http://www.dunhamwilcox.net/town_hist/old_saybrook_hist.htm)
And I thought that this was where I read about "(Wild) Plum Thickets" but I can't seem to find the quote and it's citation but it also reminded me of
http://wakinguponturtleisland.blogspot.com/2007/10/walk-to-weir.html, where I once pondered the species "fire hardiness," only to find that the wild plum thrives in places that experience burning, but I can't find where I wrote about that.
And I'm looking at the clock and see I've got to stop here...