Sunday, April 03, 2016

If I Had a Million Dollars

Inspired, in part, by Sarah Parcak, winner of the 2016 TED Prize of $1 Million
    Of course if I had a million research dollars, I’d start right here at home. There’s some mystery about this house, which is a really unique house, one of the oldest in town, still sitting on the original foundation. The place has had several names over the last 300 years, including the Haunted House, the Buell Baby Farm (Orphanage) and the Murtagh/MacSweeney Community Training Home (now Happiness Farm), but also seems to be, going back to its very early cloudy history, related to Jonathan Atwood, the first doctor in town, and quite possibly before that to Captain John Minor, the Military Leader of the Pomerauge Plantation.
    The house is outside the Historic District but that may be quite important. About 5 miles from the center of town, his house may have been a sort of “Watch House” across the floodplain from the fields of the Nonnewaug Wigwams where Indigenous People were living when Capt. John Minor led a group of settlers inland from Stratford, up along the rivers that branched off from the Housatonic in 1659. (I had to go back and re-read William Cothren a bit – it’s not until 1673 that the Indians living at Nonnewaug Wigwams were encountered, not 1659).:
     The house and history is interesting, but many of the interior features have been lost, such as the central chimney and the fireplace, and the most interesting details such as a sawpit-marked cambian edged plank wall constructed from a single log and old details of wooden interior paneling are either gone or covered up, although samples have been saved.
     What is most interesting is the possible Native American Stonework on the property that has the potential to be the focus of further research. While there are several stone walls and stone mounds on the property that may pre-date the house (of an age yet to be determined), the stone retaining walls and possibly the house foundation that I once thought to be European in origin may have been built by the Indigenous People sometime around 1700. I believe that there is Native American Iconography, visual images and symbols, evident in the stones used, comparable to other iconography found in other media as well as stonework in the surrounding area and beyond.

      If I had that million dollars, I’d use it first to prove the age (or at least find an approximate date) to lend credibility to my speculations of "snake-like stonewalls" in the area that I compare to the Iconography found in the retaining walls and foundation that I suspect were made by Indigenous People. Recording the process – and capturing it in video form – could provide valuable information that could be applied to other places and other stone features not only in western CT but in the entire area called the Eastern Woodlands. The house and property could serve as a model on how to conserve Indigenous Stonework, contribute to the recognition of, public education about and research further into Native American Stonework…

Working Figures as of Sunday, April 03, 2016:

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