It's been over 20 years since I wandered back onto a little bump of land above the floodplain of the Nonnewaug River in the spring of 1990 after reading the page reproduced above. It's been a 150 years more or less since William Cothren, the Woodbury Historian, first wandered onto the same plot of land. Cothren wandered back a few years later only to find the stone mounds missing, claimed to have been plowed up, but in reality probably dismantled and plundered for what at that time were called "relics," the bones of human beings and the grave goods that they were buried with.
There used to be an old 1860's map hanging in the stairway of a house on Falls Road that showed an apple orchard just about where Cothren intimated the wood cut illustration above "was struck."
I've wandered about the general area since the early 70's and had been in that "orchard" before. I remembered it as being occasionally mown around the numerous apple trees, a few large boulders, a big patch of low cedar, and a red juniper tree.
"Could I be seeing some of those ancient trees?" I remember wondering when I returned in 1990. Could they have been pruned back over the years, keeping them small? Some looked sprouted from old roots and way too young, but there were several, most of them now long gone, that seemed possibly maybe to be the Oldest of the Apple Trees.
Above is one I'd recently worried about and hadn't looked at since a recent surprise October Snow Storm that took out a great number of trees in the area. I consider it a minor miracle that it survived the storm. Down in the right hand corner you will note a boulder, perhaps a "manitou stone" that is now laying flat instead of possibly up right, and perhaps you can tell by the noon time shadows that it is to the west of the ancient apple, perhaps indicating where the stone mound once was between the stone and the tree way back before the mid 1800's...
There's a second large old apple very close to this part of the "stone wall."
Get closer to it and you can see that it too has been twisted way back in it's life...
Why apple trees? They aren't native, probably traded for, and just maybe could be "spirit food" for the departed. There's record of another such orchard and gravesites down at the Pootatuck Village on the Great River on Mitchell's farm - and there's photos I've seen of the Burial Grounds at Schaghticoke farther north along the Great River we now call by it's Machican name, the Housatonic, "the river beyond the mountains." Those twisty trees also have similar stone markers, I think to the west of them but I'm not really sure.
From an old sketch book of mine (199?)