Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Old Connecticut Path -- Ashford/Eastford, Connecticut

    I may have mentioned that I've observed that some possible Indian trails, including those that have become modern roads, are bordered on both sides with "stone walls,"allowing a more frequent controlled burn inside those rows of stones than the land around them.  
     Note that in this video both sides of the Path are bordered in rows of stones:

Published on Jul 13, 2013
"Charles Chism described the route of the Old Connecticut Path across the family homestead on Axe Factory Road in Westford, CT. His description, recorded by Harral Ayres in his book The Great Trail of New England, notes that there was a strip of land across the farm that had never been plowed. This was the place where the Path crossed the Chism farm. A remnant of the Path fitting Charles Chism's description may be found today on Pine Hill. The video brings you on a short walk within a stone wall lined corridor along the edge of Pine Hill just west of the Chism homestead. The placement of the ancient road follows the line drawn by David Chism in his map of the Old Connecticut Path. The route across the Chism farm connects with the segments headed east towards Bigelow Brook and headed west across that Natchaug State Forest towards Grass Hill.

Local legend and traditions recorded by Ellen Larned in her History of Windham County indicate that the Hooker party camped on Pine Hill on their journey to Hartford in 1636. The fields bordering the ancient pathway and the nearby North Chism Brook would have provided a suitable space for parties traveling along the Path. Based on the route from Cambridge and estimates of the rate of daily travel, Pine Hill would have been near the end of the seventh day of walking.

The Old Connecticut Path is one of the earliest trails followed as part of America's westward migration. As early as 1635-36, the migration from Massachusetts Bay at Boston/Cambridge west to Connecticut began following the Old Connecticut Path. Reverend John Wareham lead his congregation from Dorchester, MA to establish Windsor, CT in 1635. John Oldham traveled the Path that others followed from Watertown, MA to establish Wethersfield, CT. Reverend Thomas Hooker and his entire congregation walked along the Old Connecticut Path for two weeks across the wilderness in 1636 from Cambridge, MA to establish Hartford, CT. Join me for a walk and use your imagination to experience the landscape traveled by the pioneers of the 1600s."

For more information, visit the Old Connecticut Path website at https://sites.google.com/site/oldconn...

Send comments to oldconnecticutpath@gmail.com
Great Wall of Westford:

"The Old Connecticut Path was the Native American trail that led westward from the area of Massachusetts Bay to the Connecticut River Valley, the very first of the North American trails that led west from the settlements close to the Atlantic seacoast, towards the interior. The earliest colonists of Massachusetts Bay Colony used it, and rendered it wider by driving cattle along it. The old route is still followed, for part of its length, by Massachusetts Route 9 and Massachusetts Route 126.

In lean years of the early 1630s, when the Massachusetts Bay Colony ran short of grain, Nipmuck farmers in the valley of the Connecticut River loaded some of their abundant surplus maize into birch-bark backpacks and trod a familiar route to the settlements at the mouth of the Charles River, where they traded food for European goods made of copper and iron and woollen cloth.[1] Fur traders and the exploratory party of John Oldham (1633) penetrated this first of the trails west into the continent's interior. In 1635, some settlers from Watertown took this route when they removed to Wethersfield, Connecticut."Old Connecticut Path

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