Jim Peters sent this essay for posting:
Jim Neary, of the well-known Lowell Neary family, and I, decided to do a little research on old stone structures which were presumably built by the Native Americans at some point in history. I cannot say that they were built by the Pawtuckets, because some of them possibly pre-date the Pawtuckets and may have been built by earlier tribes or nations. It is necessary to make the distinction between tribes and nations in order to get this story started. A tribe was a European word which was derogatory in nature, designed to make the American Nations look like they were uncivilized savages. A nation is a term that behooves the type of civilization that we found with the various Native American groups. It just fits better.
Anyway, while researching this project, Jim and I became interested in a megalith that existed behind the Wang School. It is next to a baseball field. Kids play soccer there, and in the midst of all of that is a megalith. A megalith is a monolith that does not touch the other parts of the structure. Thus, the four stones lying, and I used a compass to verify this, north, south, east, and west, at that site would qualify as a megalith because no one stone is touching another in the structure.
We uncovered many different stories about these stones. One person claimed that he disappeared to his friends while standing in the middle of them for a fifteen minute period. I find that to be a bit unusual. Other stories involve mysticism. But, the one thing that does stand out is that these stones are exactly lined to the directions on the compass. I used a pretty decent compass, not one from the Cracker Jacks box.
I discovered, as many in the area have discovered before me, that the stones tell direction. Well, they indicate it, they do not really tell it because, as far as I know, they do not speak. Native Americans were enamored with the sun, and the stars, and, as I wrote before, they believed that the dead souls went to the Southwest. Conveniently, this megalith, these stones, can determine which way that was and lead those souls in that direction.
Other Native American structures can be found in the Merrimack River. Stretching between Tyngsboro and Chelmsford is a fishing pier made of stones. I got the chance to boat past it when the river was low and it looks like a man-made object. Again, Jim Neary was with me and we were impressed with its placement and utility. Across the river was a new stand of stones, shaped like an L, and there are stories that Passaconaway could, as a teenager, capture a canoe-load of fish. This seemed like a likely spot for that to happen. The fish would be trapped in the L and they were easier to catch by hand.
Most of this piece is theoretical. The observations of a couple of guys on a boat, for instance. But a map of the river denotes that the pier I described is attributed to the Native Americans and it is called the fish pier. The stones that are compass-perfect are an interesting coincidence, if not an outright Native American structure. Long before these stones were placed there, there was a five thousand foot thick glacier that rerouted the course of the river from an exit around Boston to Newburyport. Imagine how different our own history would have been if that had not happened. There would have been no reason for the construction of the Middlesex Canal because a straight trip to Boston would have been part of the river’s path. As it was, the canal was one of the great engineering feats of its time.
So, where do we leave the Native Americans? We leave them hunting caribou and elk, fishing in the summer, and drying the fish for consumption in the winter. We will leave a lesser known nation, the Penacook, which consisted of the Agawams, the Wamesit, and the Pawtucket. You see, the Penacook were such a large nation that they were a confederacy. And that is a word your children need to become familiar with in their study of the white man’s Civil War. The Native Americans had a confederacy, the Penacook, but it was peaceful and productive. Native American history is fascinating.