(found fragment of a post, pecked and semi-polished into this:)
Well, I went to look for some citable bona-fide published and maybe even peer reviewed texts of quotable outright denials of the existence of any kind of Indigenous Stonework in early New England – and quickly the ran into a stone wall when I looked in a stone wall book (I am not sure what I meant by that - the stone wall against critical thinking?? A Stone Wall Built of Assumptions???). I looked at another stone wall book, then looked up a couple articles from reliable sources, and they all imply that there were no stone walls in the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony where the “oldest of fences” were the wooden rail fences, enclosures that were related to Puritan Manurance.
What the heck is “manurance?” Is that what that local farmer was doing just a few stinky weeks ago in the field across the road? Who starts this all confusion about fences, stone fences, stone walls and property boundaries and “enclosures?”
Turns out this guy seems to be the one:
Engraving depicting Winthrop being carried across the Mystic River
John Winthrop Defends the Right of Puritans to Settle on Indian Land (1629):
“John Winthrop (1588–1649), lawyer and leader of the 1630 migration of English Puritans to Massachusetts Bay Colony, penned a brief document in 1629 that answered several objections to the project. In the passage below, he drew on the Bible to justify settling land that was already occupied by other “sons of Adam.” Earlier in the text, he had asserted that “The whole earth is the Lord’s garden and he hath given it to the sons of Adam to be tilled and improved by them.” The argument below reflects this understanding of the proper relationship between humans and the land. Non-standard spellings have been modernized.” —D. Voelker
[Question.] What warrant have we to take that land, which is and hath been of long time possessed of others the sons of Adam?
Ans[wer]. That which is common to all is proper to none. This savage people ruleth over many lands without title or property; for they enclose no ground, neither have they cattle to maintain it, but remove their dwellings as they have occasion, or as they can prevail against their neighbors. And why may not Christians have liberty to go and dwell amongst them in their wastelands and woods (leaving them such places as they have manured for their corn) as lawfully as Abraham did among the Sodomites? For God hath given to the sons of men a twofold right to the earth; there is a natural right and a civil right. The first right was natural when men held the earth in common, every man sowing and feeding where he pleased: Then, as men and cattle increased, they appropriated some parcels of ground by enclosing and peculiar manurance, and this in time got them a civil right. Such was the right which Ephron the Hittite had to the field of Machpelah, wherein Abraham could not bury a dead corpse without leave, though for the out parts of the country which lay common, he [Abraham] dwelt upon them and took the fruit of them at his pleasure. This appears also in Jacob and his sons, who fed their flocks as boldly in the Canaanites’ land, for he [Jacob] is said to be lord of the country; and at Dotham and all other places [where] men accounted nothing their own, but that which they had appropriated by their own industry . . . . 2dly, There is more than enough for them and us. 3dly, God hath consumed the natives with a miraculous plague, whereby the greater part of the country is left void of inhabitants. 4thly, We shall come in with good leave of the natives.
SOURCE: John Winthrop, “General Considerations for the Plantations in New England, with an Answer to Several Objections,” Winthrop Papers, vol. II (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1931), p. 120.
Definition of manurance
- 1a obsolete : the tenure, occupation, or control of land b archaic : the cultivation of land
- 2 obsolete : the cultivation or training of the mind
“The earliest walls that can be authenticated are those of the first English colonists and probably date from shortly after the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower in 1620. Undoubtedly, a few rare stone structures were built by Native Americans prior to colonization, but none are the conventional elongate stack of stones bordering an enclosure or serving as a foundation for a wooden structure.”
Thorson: "The pre-European stage (before 1620) was characterized by the absence of stone walls. There were, however, specific stone structures, including monuments, weirs, local storage facilities, and burial mounds." Page 96 exploring stone walls
The earliest walls that can be authenticated are those of the first English colonists and probably date from shortly after the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower in 1620. Undoubtedly, a few rare stone structures were built by Native Americans prior to colonization, but none are the conventional elongate stack of stones bordering an enclosure or serving as a foundation for a wooden structure.
Most of New England’s stone ruins clearly do not predate European exploration. Rather, they are part of an enormous constellation of stone structures created almost entirely by the agro-ecology of the Historic Period. Here, I refer to the obvious artifacts of that era such as stone walls, lanes, foundations, fills, and and freestanding piles. http://stonewall.uconn.edu/investigation/pre-european-contact/
Dr. Ives abstract states: “Most of the cairnfields in New England’s forested hills were likely built by nineteenth-century farmers to prolong the usefulness of increasingly stony, overgrazed pastures. This working hypothesis is supported by a historical context, observations of cairnfields in Rhode Island, and a formation model that accounts for important cultural and environmental factors. Cairnfields may yield new and important insights into some of the more prosaic, historically overlooked dimensions of agrarian pasts, particularly when their study leverages a landscape approach within the context of farmstead archaeology.”
CAIRNFIELDS IN NEW ENGLAND’S FORGOTTEN PASTURES
Timothy H. Ives
2015 Eastern States Archaeological
Federation ISSN 0360-1021
"Stone Walls, Stone Lines, and Supposed Indian Graves" Roger Moeller - http://www.connarchaeology.org/ASC50.pdf
Yoked hogs: According to Sarah O'Shea in, "Role of Stone Walls in New England Agriculture,"
...fencing was not only necessary but soon became mandatory. New laws and regulations throughout the towns ordered fences to be in good repair. Fencing was continually a subject of legislation throughout the colonies. A fence viewer was appointed at town meetings...
Open land was susceptible to damage by any wandering livestock, and proper fencing ensured that this vital land would be protected. A fence was considered in good repair if it met the specific height regulations of the town. These regulations varied according to which type of livestock being enclosed or bounded from. All of the measurements, however, were based on the Gunter chain. The gunter chain was a chain consisting of 100 links each link being 7.92 inches long."