previous next
[p. 30] was fordable at low water. After crossing the river the trail westward became the Mohawk trail. And still further west, crossing the Hudson, it was the Iroquois trail.

Southward from the crossing of the Connecticut another trail on the east side led round the shoulder of Longmeadow hill through ‘Longmeadow gate,’ crossed the river at Windsor, and so to Hartford. This was sometimes called the Longmeadow path.

In many of the towns along the way the first settlers located their meeting-houses and town centers on the Bay path. This was clearly so in Grafton, Oxford, Charlton, Sturbridge and Brimfield. And perhaps I may speak of the settlement of Sturbridge as possibly more or less typical.

J. G. Holland says:

It was wonderful what a powerful interest was attached to the Bay path. It was the channel through which laws were communicated, through which flowed news from distant friends, and through which came long, loving letters and messages. It was the vaulted passage along which echoed the voices that called from across the ocean, and through which, like low-toned thunder, rolled the din of the great world. That rough thread of soil, chopped by the blades of a hundred streams, was a bond that radiated at each terminus into a thousand fibers of love and interest, and hope and memory.

It was the one way left open through which the sweet tide of sympathy might flow. Every rod had been prayed over, by friends on the journey and friends at home. If every traveler had raised his Ebenezer, as the morning dawned upon his trust-sleep, the monuments would have risen and stood like milestones.

But it was also associated with fears, and the imagination often clothed it with terrors of which experience and observation had furnished only sparsely scattered hints. The boy, as he heard the stories of the path, went slowly to bed, and dreamed of lithe wildcats, squatted stealthily on overhanging limbs, or the long leap through the air upon the doomed horseman, and the terrible death in the woods. Or, in the midnight camp, he heard through the low forest arches the long-drawn howl of the hungry wolf.

Or, sleeping in his tent or by his fire, he was awakened by the crackling sticks, and lying breathless, heard a lonely bear, as

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
J. G. Holland (1)
Charlton (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: