….The road from Wrentham to Walpole….
We have broken camp at a most comfortable Inn, and as we board the Carriages. we note the chill in the air. At first, we must travel to the center of Wrentham to meet with John Kelly, who will be walking with us this day. We agree to meet in the center of the town, at the community Carriage Park. You remember that I have talked about John, early on in these Chronicles, he was with us, that first day, at the Cemetary Ceremonial, and short days walk, when we started out in North Providence. Tis’ good to see the Lad, he of good demeanor and a quick smile. He will be representing one of the French Army Regiments, the St. Oinge Regiment, this day.
We get to the days start point, in rather rural country, on a back road. There is certainly a serious chill in the air, a few degrees below freezing as the Troop starts out. This is red cheeks, wet nose weather, for sure, and it inspires the Troop to move right along in order to keep body heat. The saving grace…? Well, the Sun is bright, it is not raining or snowing, and the wind is minimal. All good things…
This march has taken us through many areas of the local country, from Cities to Farmland, from Cow pasture to Industrial development, from no carriage traffic to very busy roadways… it is no secret that the country walk is the favorite of the Troop. The Colors, mildly waving with each step, a beacon to oncoming traffic… a wave of cloth, from the Troop to those that are passing. It is quiet this morning, and the voices of the Troop carry far…we can see a light fog, close to the ground, as the area starts to adjust to the new weather pattern of winter, the air cold but the streams, creeks and ponds are still warm, relatively speaking.
We are in the Woods of Massachusetts, and then we are in the Farms, we cross under tall poles carrying wires overhead, right through the forest and farm lands, coming from where, and going to where, we can not be certain. They continue on, out of our sight, the Troop keeps walking.
We come upon a fortress like building, in an area blank with most other life. It stands alone, imposing, surrounded by carriage parks, high walls with wire at the top, an infamous building in this area of the country of Walpole. We keep walking…
It has started to warm up, the Troop making very good progress. After some days of this exercise, it seems the men have regained their walking legs. Not to dis-similar from sea-legs I am thinking. They seem fresher, no doubt the easy country side has them relaxed.
We started out, this day, on the Shear road, which then became the North road, which then becomes the Needham street, we cross the 115 road, finally onto another Main street, it seems…indeed, each town seems to have it’s own version of Main Street, or High Street, or Court Street, or West street. Sometimes it is just a road, but the name changes, none-the-less, when moving from town to town.
We have passed the jail building and are on the West street…soon passing the sigh that says Walpole, we follow along on the West street, turning onto the 1A road, and then, of course, moving onto the East street, the 27 road..no surprises here.
I find some interesting notes from our French Engineer, Bob Selig…of course, many present day roads did not exist at the time of the French Army travels. The French Army picked this route because it marched the Army through more town Centers, and, it was easier for the horses drawing the artillery carriages.
We have come through Walpole center before noontime, and we continue on, the road still beckons and Boston, still in the distance…
The Troop did manage to walk on a couple more miles before deciding they had done enough this day. It was time to bring John back to his Carriage, in Wrentham, and then search out our lodgings for this evening. The lodgings were arranged by Sally Rose and the good folks of the Friends of the Library,(Walpole) through the offices of the Town Administrator, Michael Boynton. Now this is when the fun began..
Using our new device for helping find locations, we keyed in the pertinent information, and took off in the Carriage, in the described direction. Much traffic up on the particular roadway, the many carriage lanterns and streetlights illuminating the roadway. Many lanes of frantic traffic, lights from the commercial establishments fighting for our attention, ‘come here, buy here, stay here, eat here’…oh my. We were looking for a particular place where we would encamp for the evening, with heat, with showers, etc. Our direction finder finally brought us to the prescribed location of the wanted premises, however, it was no where to be found. Confused, we turned the Carriage about and went back up the road to try this exercise again, and with the same frustrating results. No room for the evening. We stopped at a local eatery and asked some of the staff where this place might be, they responded, with knowing and assured conversation, and we followed their guide, only to again come to the wrong place. What to do…?
Shortly, we received a message from David Fagerberg’s friend, Judi, Having just returned from Philadelphia, she indeed was at that place awaiting our arrival… well indeed, we were also awaiting our arrival, but to no avail, as yet. We had managed to travel the road twice and still no offering…
We entered in a new set of instructions to the device, and lo and behold, it gave us a bit of a different set of instructions to follow, different from the previous intelligence it had offered. It was really quite dark now, the sun having set some hours ago, at this point. We were concerned about fuel for the carriage, and the approaching hour of our expected arrival at the Walpole Library, for the evening’s presentation. We tore up the rod as fast as the carriage and traffic would allow, and then, just before we might throw up our hands in exasperation, the inn appeared through our wind screen, on the other side of the road. Traveling another mile or so before we could turn about, we did so, and returned, to that abode atop a rounded hill, the night clear, cold, the heat of the rooms beckoning…
Next Post…the Evening at Walpole and the Walpole Library presentation