Saturday, April 6, 2013

Egg Rock to Two Brothers Rocks

After reading about Masconomet's paddling out to meet the freshly arrived Governor John Winthrop aboard the Arbella in 1630, I was reminded of a small boat journey Governor Winthrop and his deputy Thomas Dudley made in April 1638 on the Concord River.  Winthrop and Dudley considered themselves brothers as a result of their children having married each other.  Both the governor and his deputy had been awarded sizable chunks of land on the east side of the Concord River by the General Court and they wanted to explore their grants. 
This plaque at Two Brothers Rocks tells the story...

I pretty much followed their route leaving from near Egg Rock (opening photo), close to the location of Musketaquid (later Concord), and paddled downriver a little more than 5 miles to the Two Brothers Rocks Historic Site.  The two rocks can be seen on the distant shore as I approached...
 
Dudley's is on the left with Winthrop's to the right, near the plaque.
 

Each man's boulder is inscribed with his name and the year 1638.  Here's Dudley's...
 
and Winthrop's which provided me some shelter from today's cold and blustery winds...
 
 
It should be noted that this land was not purchased from the Native Americans but, instead, taken as part of the charter King Charles I had granted the colony's General Court.  This was the kind of land taking that Roger Williams spoke out against.  Williams believed the King had no right to give away land he didn't own.  Mr. Williams soon found himself persona non grata in the colony and the land taking went on unabated.
 
Fast forward ahead some 375 years to today's situation involving the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's plans to build a gaming casino in one of three regions approved for casinos by the Commonwealth.  Originally, the state seemed willing to do the right thing and give deference to the federally recognized Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in the southeast region.  The state entered into a compact with the tribe.  However, the tribe has run into a "Catch 22" type problem with the federal government that is delaying their placing of land into a federally required trust. 
Regional politicians and commercial gambling developers have grown impatient and now the commission appears ready to ditch the tribe and open up that region to eager non-Native American interests.  An article by Mark Arsenault in yesterday's Boston Globe explained the situation and mentioned state gaming commission chairman Stephen Crosby using this quote by Thomas Jefferson to explain the dilemma: "What is good in this case cannot be effected; we have, therefore, only to find out what will be least bad." 
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts took 375 years to finally reach the point where they would allow legalized gaming and casinos.  Waiting a little longer isn't going to kill anyone.  How about some political courage by the gaming commission and do the right thing by allowing the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe the time it needs to settle the land trust issue with the federal government?   
Also, how about the federal government getting off the stick and settling the land trust question in a timely manner?  
 
 
Meanwhile, back on the river...despite today's cold and windy conditions, the place was fairly busy with boaters of many types, such as the TRYAK...
 
and other kayakers...
 
A good sized group of kayakers and canoeists were also encountered as they paddled down from the Assabet River in West Concord.  Several fishermen were seen both in powerboats and on the shore.
 
Back at the takeout the day's catch spilled out...
There were 20 recyclable containers (5 redeemables) and 21 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as styrofoam, plastic bags, bubble wrap, fishing line, a balloon, and a Town of Concord recycling bin.
YTD = 1357
 
Someday, the wind will die down and things will warm up.



2 comments:

Bernie Paquette said...

I guess being between a rock and a hard place is not always a bad place to be!

PS I have started a Pick Up Litter testimonial campaign. Would you like to send me a one or two line resoponse to: Pick up a piece of litter and dispose of it properly then tell me how you feel when you do that. Send response to litterstories@yahoo.com

John P. Zafiris Jr said...

I am the 10x Great Grandson of Gov. Thomas Dudley. I am proud to live in Billerica and am happy to see the site being memorialized and taken care of.