Monday, March 10, 2014

Seekonk Below the Blackstone

Yesterday, under a bright blue sky, I journeyed to Pawtucket, Rhode Island with plans to visit the spot where the Blackstone River transitions into the Seekonk River.   I launched from the Pawtucket Boat Launch on the east side of the Seekonk River.  The boat launch was once a state pier and there is ample parking and launching area.  Heading upriver I paddled to the northernmost reach of Narragansett Bay's tidal waters which is also where the Seekonk River terminates at Pawtucket Falls...
  Looking a little closer...

If I could have catapulted my boat up and onto the Blackstone River and paddled another 1.25 miles upstream, I would have come to the historic site where an epic battle was fought during the conflict known as King Philip's War.  Rather than attempting anything so foolish, I instead had earlier driven through Central Falls, RI on my way to Pawtucket and visited the site located near the intersection of High and Blackstone streets.   This monument erected in 1907 was found sitting behind a chain-link fence on the west side of High Street...
It was dedicated in 1907 and on that occasion descendants of Captain Michael Pierce recounted the battle and events leading up to and subsequent to it.  The dedication program can be found at this link.

That day's combatants occupied this ground on a Sunday in the month of March, 1676.  I'm standing here in the same place on a Sunday in March separated by only the passage of 338 years.  When Captain Pierce and his combined force of 63 colonial militia and 20 supportive Native Americans (from Cape Cod) reached the eastern bank of the Blackstone River, they found themselves surrounded by a Narragansett force (perhaps 700 warriors) under the leadership of the sachem Canonchet.  Between a "rock and a hard place" they chose to cross the river near this spot...
Once, on the side from where I took the above photo, they gallantly fought for several hours before all was lost.  It is said that Pierce, earlier that morning, sent a messenger to Providence requesting re-enforcements and that, when the messenger reached Providence, everyone was attending church services.  Rather than interrupt the minister, he waited until the sermon's conclusion.  A fateful decision.

Meanwhile, back on the Seekonk, I paddled downriver to Bishops Cove passing this houseboat?...

...and this large congregation of mute swans at, appropriately named, Swan Point...

Reaching Bucklin Point, I could see the Providence wind turbines getting in some exercise thanks to a building breeze from the north...

Here I turned about and returned to the Pawtucket Boat Launch where my, mostly plastic, trash haul posed hull-side...
There were 38 recyclable containers and 29 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags and Styrofoam cups (several late arrivals missed the photo). YTD = 320

2 comments:

Erik Eckilson said...

Al - another couple of hundred feet and you would have been on my home river - the Blackstone. You're spending a lot of time in Rhode Island these day. Did you go to the site of Nine Men's Misery at the Monastery (now the Library) in Cumberland?

Suasco Al said...

Erik, Yes, Rhode Island has allowed me to escape the locked-in snow and ice round' these parts during this long winter. I've even taken to eating Johnnycakes!
I thought about visiting the Nine Men's Misery site and also Quinsnicket but ran out of time.