Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stone Walls, Rock Piles - Redding Ridge CT

Reader Dave M writes:
I took some pictures of the stone walls that run across the area behind my brother's place in Redding Ridge CT, during the Thanksgiving Holiday.. They are quite extensive. My brother insists they were built by settlers, the conventional wisdom, and perhaps he is correct. ... Many connect outcrops, run over outcrops, and go up very steep hills. That being said, I noticed that in the general area there are many such walls, in Redding, Bethel, and all the way along the Merritt Parkway, so I lean towards the settler assessment, but am keeping an open mind. Whoever built them did an amazing amount of hard work.

6 comments :

pwax said...

Note spacing between piles in 2nd photo. Also, the water coming out of the ground.

Anonymous said...

Built by the settlers? Settlers built stone walls to demarcate agricultural land, I.e., relatively flat farmland. These walls meander along and over hills.
This landscape looks exactly similar to a myriad of such areas all around New England. Many are clearly processional stone rows that were built for religious/astronomical purposes.
The settlers were extremely busy people and the notion that they took the time to build walls like this over land that could have served no agricultural purpose is with all due respect, nonsense.

pwax said...

Dear "Anonymous" - please sign your comments.

That being said, I also take issue with the idea of "settlers". On one hand, I do not see how the large number of walls in the area of Redding/ Bethel/ Merrit Parkway bolsters the "pro" argument for settler construction. On another hand the settler-vs-Indian distinction is misleading. There were plenty of Indians pretending to be "settlers".

Finally, I never know what to make of stone walls. Some features have been identified that seem "Indian", and the photos show some of those features. Including:
- going compulsively up very steep outcrops
- meandering from one outcrop to another
- single course of stones
- large end-stones like "heads"
- lack of right angles
- ???
I have no such qualms about supposing the rock piles to be Native American. The even spacing and adjacency to a spring are good enough for me.

Tim MacSweeney said...

Deed from 'Sam Chickens' (between 1724 & 1725)in that area includes "Reserving in the whole of the same, liberty for myself and my heirs to hunt, fish, and fowl upon the land and in the waters, and further reserving for myself, my children, and grand children and their posterity the use of so much land by my present dwelling house or wigwam..."

http://www.historyofredding.com/HRearlysettlers.htm#Chicken Warrup

Consider the thousands of years the land was managed by burning, a greater time period in which to build ceremonial firebreaks than those "settlers" had - and the wooden fences of those early Europeans, creating fence laws and private property.

Tim MacSweeney said...

And consider the antiquity of those "Deer Drives" in Lake Huron - why not in CT??

Anonymous said...

Well, I did not want to offend anyone, so am willing to entertain different ideas. My brother was insistent, but that is how conventional wisdom can be.
I just saw a small portion of what is back there - some hills were so steep I had to crawl up on hands and knees. I am currently thinking that these type walls, of which literally thousands of miles can be seen in New England (and NY) on Google Earth, must have taken many decades, if not centuries, to build. Dave.