Windham Life and Times – April 29. 2022

The Golden Corner on the Maps

The top map is from Morrison’s History of Windham. The bottom map is from 1892. What is now the beginning of Rock Pond Road was built in 1845: The town voted to build in “October 11, 1845.—One hundred and twenty-six rods of highway, two rods wide, from Samuel L. Prescott’s running easterly to the road running over Simpson causeway.” Below is the old directional sign from Simpson Road courtesy of Jon Carpenter.

    L.A. Morrison explains that, “Golden or Golding’s Brook tradition says is so called from the fact that an ox by that name died upon the banks at an early date. This was the time that the Chelmsford and Dracut people used to turn their cattle into this neighborhood in spring, to get fresh grass and to browse during the summer. They also set the forests on fire to kill the wood, so the grass would grow more luxuriantly, and in early days the hills in that part of town were black with the burned and dead trees, caused by these devastating fires. A Mr. Golding owned land in its vicinity. This undoubtedly gave it its name.”

    The fact is that the people of Chelmsford and Dracut were reusing the old “Indian meadows” that were left by the Native Americans who used this land for at least 2600 years prior to the arrival of the Europeans. They would also burn the woods in order to grow the “three sisters,” corn, winter squash and pole beans. More on this later.

     These maps from the 1880’s and 1892 show south Windham. At this point many of the families that once had lived in this section of Windham had moved on. There was a large migration to the Black River Valley in New York state. Joseph Corliss, Adam Templeton, Daniel McIlvaine, Cross cellar, Sargent’s cellar, near Dear Leap, George Simpson’s cellar, Robert Smith’s cellar, (also Alexander Dunlap’s) between the causeway across Simpson’s mill-pond and the Robert Simpson cellar. Robert Simpson’s cellar, near Simpson’s causeway. House lost by fire in 1864. Ellenwood cellar, at the corner of the road between J.L. Cottle’s and S.W. Simpson. James McLaughlin. Samuel Senter’s at the top of the hill southeast of Neal’s mill. William Smiley’s cellar, southeast of Senter house near the top of Spear Hill. John Morrow’s is on Senter Hill, south of the Senter house…and many others. On the top map you can see the location of the mysterious “Gold Region,” which would be near where Bear Hill Road, the “Gage Lands” and high school are today.  

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