The Chronicles…Chapter 7…The Road to Wrentham

The Chronicles…
….Chapter 7….
….The Road to Wrentham….

T’was much warmer this day, than just yesterday, the weather a breath of very fresh air, the sky a bit clearer, with the possibility of clearing. There was still a chill in the air, and, after all, it is December, could we expect anything else…? We had a full stomach, the Colors at the ready, with some miles to go before we would rest again. Today, the destination would be the French Army Camp 53, in Wrentham, Ma.
This was a marvelous day for a walk, as the skies started to brighten again, the breeze, not over powering, but just enough to keep the steps brisk, to stay warm. Body heat is a dear friend in this weather, the wool of the coats acting as protector and insulator, but not enough to sweat. The Troops clothing had dried in the overnight, at Old Town, thanks to the warmth of the Church.
So, we started off a happy troop… warm, dry clothing and a good breakfast to send us along the way. With the kind words of Pastor Kelly still sounding in our ears, we waved a final good bye and stepped off, the Engineer’s Carriage off and down the road, looking for any pitfall that may dismay the results of the days efforts.
Again, as we move along on what we thought was one road, we find that it is a road that has many different names, and faces, in a variety of places. This road is now the Old Post Road, and we follow it some way…the troop passes under the 295 Road, and following along, it then becomes the 1 Route…another name change as now it is called the East Washington road…we are moving nicely, carriages that pass now are sounding their bells, and waving…it is no secret what we are about, the morning posts have made sure of that. The countryside is alert to us, and the smiles and waves we receive help to keep us true to the mission, Marching to Boston.
The Engineer’s Carriage pulls off the road at what appears to be a local farm area. There is a rest area for many carriages, on a small dirted plain, overlooking the sprawling quiet fields that only a short while ago were bursting with the foods of nature. I enjoy the moment, stretching my cramped frame, waiting for the Troop to arrive.
We do this leap-frogging game to make sure they are OK, check their clothing, see if they need refreshment, or a quick bite for energy…are they warm, comfortable, shoes OK, blisters…? All seems to be in order as I await their catching up. I note, that across the road from this spot, a wonderful, old, stately. two chimney large colonial, with many outbuildings behind. My interest is quickened here as I see that the homes inhabitant is coming to say hello, or at least to inquire what I am up to. We greet eachother across the road as cariages pass by. I point down the road at the approaching colors, some 1/2 mile away at this point, but heading toward us, and he smiles a knowing smile. We are shortly joined by the Lady of the house, with child, in it’s own carriage.
We are making small talk as the Troop arrives, with handshakes and smiles all around and we are told the story of the home. My memory seems to recall that the house was built in 1785 and belongs to the Grandmother, whom we do not have the good fortune of meeting. The young couple is gracious and charming, and interested in what we are doing. They tell the story of the Farm… apparently, in the upper floor of the very large barn, is the original wood water tank that provided running water to the house. A windmill was used to pump water up to the tank, and using gravity as a hydraulic force, the force of the water, from the tank, then ran down to provide water pressure inside the home. A marvelously simple adaption of the technology in that time. After a short stay, and a portrait in front of the home, it is time to move along, again.
The couple warns that the next farm is also waiting for the arrival of the Troop, to say hello. In but less than a mile, the Troop is again detoured by the inhabitants of the next farm. They are setting about in chairs, with small National flags placed in the ground, dancing in the wind. They have on display, waiting for us, carriages that were used during a conflict of the mid-20th century, and are wearing military uniforms and clothing of that period… a marvelous welcome for us…soldiers, old and older, in greeting…one of the Elders is a Veteran of that conflict, known as WWII. He is in his 9th decade, and is wearing the uniform he wore, so many long years ago, in that conflict. We are moved, as is he, and his friends, almost to tears. We share more portrait taking, making small but earnest talk, looking at the display, sharing memories….marveling at each other. But alas, finally, we must go…
Joining with us is our host from Wrentham, Alex Leonard, who does an admirable job of keeping up with the Troop as it moves on toward Wrentham Center, our next rest stop.
We move on toward the center of Wrentham, passing a place called Plainville, using the 1A road and the Park road, and then the South road. We pass under another road, the 495 road…moving briskly now. The sun is out in full, but the breeze remains, whipping the Colors about the Troop, the fabric snapping in the wind…it is getting near the nooning hour.

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As we forge ahead, we can see, finally, the large Church that marks for us, in the distance, the Wrentham Green…we are very near French Army Camp 53, this camp was located in an area that now comprises a local high school of learning, called King Philip.
We chat with our hosts here, on the Wrentham Green and exchange portraits. A friendly couple, Alex and Cheri Leonard of the Wrentham Historical Society, and Grag Stahl, of the local historical commission. We make small conversation and then move over to a local establishment for refreshment. We gather about a table in the warmth of a sunlit front window, and cement our friendship. They have not only offered us our noon refreshment, but also our nights lodging. Large and warm rooms at a local establishment, with hot water running showers…oh my, the thought of that is so comforting.
Alex and Cheri take leave, and leave us to our further trek on the road, as is our want. We would like to get more miles in before the day ends…putting those miles in the bank (so to speak) in case of any unforeseeable calamity, such as weather, or equipment breakdowns, or even Troop breakdowns. We gather the remains of the nooning meal, pack them in the carriage…(the sandwiches, so big that we could eat them twice), and head back out on the road…another couple of miles to go before we would bring a halt to today’s trek….
We move along, a bit more briskly now, the sun is going down and the temperature along with it…it is starting to get dark…and once again we come across more of these remarkable memorials that we have noticed at road intersections. Many of the intersections, both city and rural, have signage, or stones, or flags, denoting that the intersection is dedicated to a service person, named but now passed, from many different conflicts. This is most unusual to me, I have not seen anything like this in my own Colony of Connecticut and I am constantly moved by the effort of the Citizens of this Colony of Massachusetts to pay honor and respect to those that have given all, so that they may live, in peace.
We are coming near the end of the days march, the sun is touching the tree tops and will be gone in just minutes…we must move to evening quarters and get off the roads, which can be dangerous in this light of dusk. We all gather into the Engineer’s Carriage and make our way to the Inn…
We must get ready for a presentation at the Fisk/Wrentham Library at Seven of the Clock in the Evening…

Kind Regards…
Richard Swartwout

Scribe, Teamster
America’s March To Yorktown 2012
March To Boston

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