Living in Massachusetts I am surrounded by history. A lot of it is well known, and some of it not so well known. Everyone knows about the Boston Tea Party, Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord, and the 2004 Red Sox beating the Yankees after being down 3 games to 0. But not many people know about King Philip’s War. This was back in the late 1600’s.
I have been reading about this war and especially regarding what happened in this area. Just up the road in West Brookfield there was a siege of the first settlement of Brookfield, known as the Quaboag Plantation. There was also an ambush of some of the militia and citizens by the Native Americans a little further north. I have yet to explore the actual site of the ambush and the siege but I am working on it.
I have however explored some related areas. One was the site of the first grist mill built around 1660 which was burned down by the Native Americans at the time of this trouble. Another item (I’m not sure if item is the correct word but it will have to do for now) with at least some Massachusetts history and tied to King Philip’s war is the Old Bay Path. This is one of the original trails used by both the Native Americans and the Colonists to travel from Boston to Springfield.
Since the Old Bay Path was the easiest route to travel, it grew from a footbath to a cart path to a wider dirt road, to asphalt covered. Most of it is paved over but there are some small sections that are still somewhat original. I travelled one of these recently in West Brookfield (see YouTube video below). There is something pretty sobering about walking on a road that has been travelled for well over 400 years. Thinking about the people who walked this path, some of them into a great unknown. People looking to start new lives in an untamed and wild land. Some of them heading to places away from their ancient lands.
As Jack and I walked along we came across an old house foundation. Most likely it was just one large room with maybe a loft. A family lived here once. There were stone walls that were built with the rocks plowed up, all of this done by hand and oxen. There were no power tools or earth moving equipment used here. Looking at the land I am guessing the land was probably used for sheep farming. They were a long way from their neighbors. There is no way to tell (at least for me) to tell how old this foundation is.
I love walking through this history. Exploring old roads to see what was there, why were they put where they are. This one was one of the best because I knew the history. There is only one thing. For many years I wanted to be a chick magnet. Problem is when I am walking in the woods I have only become a tick magnet.