Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Wamsutta's Canoe Camp



This morning I finally visited a place I'd only previously read about.  In fact, until very recently, I wasn't aware that the actual (approximate) location, where one of the most pivotal events in Anglo/Native American relations occurred, was known...and that there were commemorative markers there.

As the large stone (at left) states, Wamsutta (aka Alexander) was the eldest son of Massasoit (aka Ousamequin) and, like his father, he occasionally spent time at a family hunting lodge located on or near White Island in Monponsett Ponds in present-day Halifax, MA.  Diagonally across Route 58 from Wamsutta Landing (at junction of White Island Rd and Rt. 58) is this historical marker which tells the story...

Of course there are many different versions of this story but most seem to agree that Plymouth Colony authorities in 1662 demanded Wamsutta appear before them to explain rumors of his possible plot against the colony.  When he didn't appear at their appointed time, they authorized Major Josias Winslow to find/arrest him and bring him before them.  Winslow found Wamsutta and a group of his friends either fishing, hunting, or getting canoes at White Island in Monponsett Pond.  Within days of his being detained by Winslow, Wamsutta fell ill and died (either en route to his home or possibly a day or two after arriving there).   His sudden illness and death couldn't be readily explained by his captors.  Wamsutta's wife, Weetamoo, and brother, Metacomet (aka Philip), both came to believe he'd been poisoned by his captors. 
Leaves me to wonder how history might have been different if the Plymouth officials hadn't so blatantly overstepped their authority.
 

A very early start allowed me to get to Monponsett Pond in Halifax, MA several hours before the daily wind machine got cranked up...
...and I launched onto a mirror like surface from Wamsutta's Landing.  My plan was to paddle in a northwest direction to the pond's outlet, Stump Brook.   In doing so I would be following a small section of the Wampanoag Commemorative Canoe Passage which runs approx. 70 miles from the mouth of the North River in Scituate to where the Taunton River empties into Narragansett Bay.

I soon realized I wasn't the only loon on the water...

My new friend came right up to the bow of my boat...

Reaching the pond's northwest corner I entered Stump Brook and followed its meandering path for three quarters of a mile...


At that point the brook runs alongside an earthen dike up to a concrete dam...



The waters flowing downstream from the dam...

...eventually become the Satucket River which, in turn, flows into the Taunton River.

The view looking northwest from atop the earthen dike...



Once back at Monponsett Pond I paddled through the culvert (under Rt. 58) which divides the pond into two lakes (east and west)...

By now the wind machine and clouds had taken over.  I stayed in the East Lake only long enough to snap this photo of White Island's east side...

White Island today is connected at each end by causeways and therefore no longer a real island.

While I saw only 2 other boats out on the water this morning, I get the feeling that things will soon be getting a lot busier.

The trash encountered and recovered along the way...

2 comments:

George said...

Gorgeous picture of the loon. Great post as always.

Trashpaddler said...

Thanks George. First time a loon has ever approached my boat like that.