Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Rev (Boston to Hudsons River, New Milford to Medfield, Mass.)

(or "Stone by Stone, Segments Two and Three')
   The Rev. Ezra Stiles (Dec. 10, 1727 – May 12, 1795) was once the president of the famous Yale Community College in New Haven CT. He was famous for a whole gang of stuff, as anyone can see from his credentials listed on Wikipedia and elsewhere. But it turns out that Ol’ Ezra just might have also been a “Pioneer of Rock Art Research,” according to Ed Lenik, who in turn is also a Rock Art researcher. I have read as many things written by Lenik that I can acquire for free on the World Wide Internet (or WWI as both it and World War One are commonly abbreviated) and particularly like his “Serpent and Turtle” stuff. Lenik says that these images of snakes and turtles are the two things that show up the most-est in “Pictures on Rocks.”



    I have read in numerous places where numerous people write about numerous Mysterious Stones in New England, and heard in numerous places where numerous people talk about numerous Mysterious Stones in New England, many numerous mentions of numerous Mysterious Stones in New England numerously mentioned in “The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles.” Mostly these numerous mysterious places with numerous Mysterious Stones in New England are connected to theories of ancient cultures of mostly white people who came to not just vacation at but live in America thousands of years ago (well before Chris Columbus invented going to the Bahamas) and forgot to bring along or leave any artifacts of their material day to day culture lying around except for those big old Mysterious Stones – except for those littler Mysterious Stones that people have been finding (usually when no one is looking) that have messages on them written in ancient scripts of the ancient Hebrews, ancient Phoenicians, ancient Celts or any one of a whole gang of ancient anyone-elses, sometimes even teaming up and trading off the work (and tons of missing copper, I am told, conspicuous by its absence) of inscribing these inscriptions by combining a whole bunch of ancient Alphabits.
    Sorry: “Alphabets.” Like the soup, not the breakfast cereal.
    
     While “The Rev” certainly writes about all that writing or scripting – and the “anybody elses” as the parties responsible (and they were indeed very responsible, cleaning up after themselves after their parties, leaving no messy middens or “trash piles” lying about the landscape or buried under it) he also wrote about his travels to look at certain stones that he tended to think of as Indian God Stones.
     Like this one for example:
   “January 29, 1789: At E. Guilford 28th I visited an Indian Stone God which lay in a Fence about half a Mile East of Mr. Todds Meetinghouse . . . . Mr. Phineas Meigs died about 1781, aged c. 73. He told Rev. Jonathan Todd (born 1713) that he removed this stone God from the Bottom of the Hill at the Edge of the Swamp, and put it into the fence. It was removed about twenty Rods. I judge it a Ton & half weight. Mr. Benjamin Teal gave me an account of a Fort or Inclosure by Earthen Walls about 2 1/2 Miles N.W. from this Image, 30 or 40 Rods long, two Rods wide Trench, Wall ten feet high Inside next a Swamp & five feet next the Hill, being on a Declivity.”
  Why would Phineas lie to a minister who would lie to another minister? I'm sure many a man in the 1700's moved many a ton and a half boulder out of a swamp, uphill 45 feet or so toward his stone fence back in the day when most fences were made of wooden rails, or "pales" that aren't the kind you put water in.
Here it isn't:
(A photo of Page 173 in “Manitou” by Mavor and Dix)

   And now that I think of it, I do know someone who is pretty sure there were no ancient “somebody elses” (besides some Vikings) hanging around (and raising the intelligence level of Indians as many of the the people who conduct strange ceremonies at the Great Serpent Mound and other places, wearing hooded white robes, claim)) and suspects that there may be Indigenous Stone Features on the New England Landscape, who wrote a big book about CT’s Indigenous Peoples – actually published by the very same Yale Community College that Stiles presidented at. My friend Dr. Luci was actually brave enough to include stuff about those stone features that numerous people believe are just remnants of the life styles of some agriculturally minded people who arrived here (the USA) around Thanksgiving before it was a National Holiday (or the USA). She uses that above Stiles quote that I quoted and includes a little more (I may be breaking a copyright law by stealing this (and even more as you'll see,) from Google Books where you can find a preview of Dr. Luci’s Big Book that you really should go right out and buy as soon as possible):

    Okay: I know the newspaper clipping one is possibly or probably a turtle, but the caption says Stiles “had seen or visited twenty images of Native American “stone gods,” like this one from Madison CT.” Notice that I didn’t even mention that my photo of a stone “turtle mortar” appeared in Dr. Luci’s book on page 211.
    And I suppose this is as good a place in this story to start plugging my photographic images of anthropomorphic stones that I find in numerous places, often in stone walls but not always since some of them are boulders too big to move a rod or two uphill that may or may not be what Stiles was calling “God Stones,” placed in fences built at the time when most fences were easily made of split wooden rails.
     I really was reminded of all this Ezra Stiles Stuff when I just recently visited my mom and dad and walked out to look at their stone walls for about the ten millionth time (which sounds only a little bit better than saying “a whole bunch of times.” The point is that I always see something I missed before in the ”hundreds of times” I’ve looked at those stone walls, which isn’t true either since I really don’t know exactly how many times I have looked).

    As the sun was going down this past Wednesday, I walked along the stone wall behind the barn, looking at the segments that aren’t entangled in poison ivy and virginia creeper or bittersweet and bull briar, taking photos of some now and again, wishing that Ol’ Ezra had remembered to bring a camera of some sort with him when he was out hunting down God Stones and Indian Forts. Apparently he forgot to bring his cell phone as well since I’ve seen some pretty good cell phone pictures of some rally interesting stones.
Or, as according to Ezra:

    If Ezra’s photos existed, I’d look for patterns in the stacking of the stones that make up those stone walls, those stone walls that are often just dismissed by many other people as random "tossing" rather than the more careful “brick and block sort of method” of European-style of stone building (that apparently sometimes also included adding an occasional Indian God stone - just for the heck of it). 

Here’s the prime example from that day:
Above: Facing north - toward Interstate 95 actually,
although I'm not sure how many rods;
below: some comparisons:


Above & below: 
"Looks like a Turtle,"
or
"Possible Testudinate Zoomorphic Stones"
Another interesting segment:





    So Stiles was shown (or found on his own) some 20 or so God Stones by some people who were always claiming to have placed them in stone fences (or knew somebody who said they did) – except for the few he found by himself near swamps or newly cleared ground or something called a Declivity. I haven’t read the entire Stiles Diary so as far as any notice he may have taken of all the other things like turtles and stuff, I really don’t know if he jotted that all down in his own personal shorthand. I figure if Dr. Luci had come across Stile’s mentioning turtles and stuff when she was reading in the reading room of Yale Community College, she might have said to me that she had come across it since I’m always mentioning them to her.
    I notice these sorts of things, in situ as they say, in all sorts of stone walls all around Connecticut, but then I am assuming that a stone fence full of stones placed so as to suggest faces of Indian Gods or Spirits, Humans or Animals – or turtles sometimes composed of several stones placed so that there is a suggestion of shells and heads and fore legs sometimes even with three or four toes – that were important enough to Indigenous Peoples to put them into their myths and legends in story and song as well as to put these designs into their arts and crafts in a wide variety of media and forms - that many of these fences may be constructions of Indigenous creation, made for purposes other than what you read in just about every stone wall book ever written...
     

...such as this one mentioned here: Stone by Stone (Segment One)

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