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Monday, August 22, 2016

Well!  Very strange things have been happening on this blog - Jack LaGue just alerted me that the same entry appeared several times, actually on different dates.  I deleted two of those entries and then scanned down through the list of past posts and found several others that were duplicated.  I'm not sure, but I suspect it happened when I have published a post and then discover there's something misspelled or some other error and go back and edit, then publish again.  I didn't read the posts to see if there were minor differences - but that might be what happened.  I'll have to be sure to use the "preview" button instead of the "publish" button so that won't keep happening.  Thanks, Jack for letting me know about that.

I want to clarify something about Indian Joe some of you may not know.  There is sometimes confusion because there is a Joe's Pond in the Morrisville area.  It's off Route 100, near Morristown Bog.  It is a small pond, and from what I can tell, there may have been another very small pond that was called Molly's Pond.  Indian Joe and Molly lived in the Morristown and Hyde Park area off and on in the early years.  They lived on Butternut Island in the Lamoille River for a time, as well.  They apparently had friends everywhere in this region and visited for long periods, helping with chores and teaching those early settlers Indian ways of planting crops, hunting, preserving animal hides and about Indian food and cooking.  A dugout canoe was found in a swampy area at Joe's Pond in Morristown, and that was donated to the Morrisville Historical Society.  Other artifacts believed to have belonged to Joe and Molly are found in Derby and Newbury - and perhaps other towns they frequently visited.  

As far as I know no artifacts belonging to the pair have been found at our Joe's Pond, but in excavating along the shore or on the big island we might one day come across something. 

Last week I spoke to a group of D.A.R. members about Indian Joe and Molly.  I was surprised they wanted to hear the story we've all heard so many times, but as they were meting at the beach here at Joe's Pond, it was logical.  I brushed up using the Rev. William Neal's books on the couple - still available at Hastings Store, if you are interested - and then began searching on-line sites, mostly historical societies from Newbury to Derby.  Nearly every one had references to Joe.  I guess anyone who studies history will agree it's not an exact science.  Even a person who was present at the time of a certain event may relate it quite differently from someone standing right beside him (or her).  That said, the story remains a good one, that Joe was shot and left for dead, nursed back to health by kindly settlers during the winter and returned to his tribe at St. Francis in the spring having promised to warn the settlers when there was a planned attack on them.  It could have happened that way - or not.  The story goes that Joe was wounded on Cabot Plain, but because this area was not settled until after the Bayley Hazen Road was blazed in 1776, and Indian Joe was by then a guide for Gen. Bayley, it doesn't quite fit.  However, who's to say there wasn't some very early settler in this region before Nathanial Webster brought his family to Cabot in 1783?  Joe was born about 1739 in Nova Scotia and spent his youth with the St. Francis tribe after the British killed his parents at Louisburg in 1745.

And then there are the stories about how Joe and Molly got together - he was either a really nice guy that provided for widow Molly and her two small sons, or he was the cad who stole her from her husband and they were banished from the tribe, taking her two sons, Toomalex and Muxa-Wuxal with them.

So yes, there is another Joe's Pond with a dugout canoe in Morristown that could have been Joe's; and there may be another  canoe of Joe's in Newbury, along with his gun.  One thing is for sure - there is a gravestone in the cemetery in Newbury for Joe - so he's likely to have been buried there.  Even that we can't be absolutely certain about, but I'm happy to accept it is probably true.

We got over an inch of rain again last night.  I think the water table should be getting pretty close to normal again - we've had about six inches of rain in the past week.

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