I have found a new passion in my life. As I have mentioned I have been spending a lot of time in the woods, walking around and searching for whatever might be out there. I love finding evidence of what man has built. To me, this is real history. It is awesome to see what or ancestors built, whether it be in this century or ten centuries ago. But every once in awhile I come across something that brings some sadness.
When searching for areas to explore I use a variety of tools. One of these is Google Earth. When I look at a wooded area, I try to find old stone walls, structures, roads, etc. Many times I will look at areas that are already known to me. This was the case on this recent trip. I have hiked this section of woods from a couple of different angles. The satellite image shows me there is possibly an old road and some stone walls behind an existing cemetery. I would need to go through this to get to the wooded area. When I came to the back wall of the graveyard, I saw what is pictured above. Another smaller, graveyard.
This an old Roman-Catholic cemetery for what was a primarily French-Canadian parish.
There were about 15 graves here, although it is possible there were more. There were several unmarked flat stones placed in the area.
There are two things that brought sadness to me during this trip. The first is these graves seem to be forgotten. Only one had any type of recent decoration on it.
Most of the souls have been interred here for at least 100 years. I have to wonder who even remembers these people. Do any of their living relatives even know they are here? Is this the fate of us all?
But even sadder is how this section of the cemetery has been neglected. The rest of the graveyard is well maintained. There are signs of people visiting their loved ones. The grass is mowed, fallen branches are cleared. Why not this section?
Who were these people? Why have they been separated from the rest? Why has no one cared for these plots? I will be doing some more research on this and will report what I find.
In the meantime, remember those who have passed from this world. Don’t let them be forgotten
I have spent a lot of time in the woods this summer, exploring what is out there. My passion for local history has been reignited by finding ruins of homes, barns, mills, wells, and roads. In other words, bones in the woods.
This week I went in search of an old sawmill that is depicted on a trail map for the area. Let me rephrase that, there is a trail called the Sawmill Trail on the map, so I assumed it would take me to an old sawmill. It is also shown on an old map from 1870 I found online although I can only assume this is the same one as the map isn’t as detailed.Walking around this site, once again I am amazed by the work that went into building this. For example, looking at the picture above, the wall closest to you is about 6 to 7 feet tall. It is about three feet wide. Further up the stream is a smaller one. Along the stream there is evidence of large boulders having been repositioned by human effort in order to direct the flow of water to where the turbine would have been. Although I don’t have a time when this was built it was at least 150 years ago, in other words, when the only power what was provided by man and beast.
Walking through the area I am overwhelmed by the work our ancestors were willing to go through just to try to make a living and settle the area. It wasn’t easy to establish this country, but they were willing to do it because they believed in the founding principles, the foundations this country was built on. Were there problems? Certainly. We can’t ignore slavery or the way the Native Americans were treated. But the people who worked clearing these forests and who built these mills were only interested in survival, in making a living and doing the best they can for their families.
In today’s culture, more and more people wait for someone else to provide for them. They want handouts and assistance from the government and the government perpetuates this. Look around at the health of so many of us and you can see many of us (and I do include myself) would be hard-pressed to build a structure like above. I wonder how many of us would even try?
In the interest of trying to reverse the effects of not taking care of myself for the last forty years, I have begun walking around my hometown, Southbridge, and surrounding areas. I’m ashamed to admit it but for so many years I never knew of the beauty surrounding me. Whether it is walking through the neighborhoods of Southbridge or the many hiking trails (who knew?) around me I have been constantly surprised by what I see.Read more…
The more they stay the same. Today I spent some time looking at some of the blogs I created over the past years. The most popular one was called “It’s Clear as Mud” which doesn’t appear to exist anymore. Probably because I didn’t renew the domain name. I also wrote the “Sturbridge Tea Party” blog. Both of these were mostly about politics.
Today is Memorial Day. Well technically it isn’t until May 31st but we are celebrating it this weekend. Of course, this is a day to remember those who have passed on, especially veterans of the armed services. And more importantly, those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country, their lives.