Greetings! I hope this finds each of you well and navigating these times as best as you can. It feels strange to be sending this from home today, but with a few exceptions, I have been trying to honor the "stay home" request from our governor. I was at the museum yesterday to check the building which is doing fine, but an eerie silence prevails. It will be good to get back to normal as soon as it is safe to do so.
In the meantime, research continues. I have been scanning a number of our stereo cards from our collection, and will soon begin the task of scanning a number of Easton postcards. The stereo cards in particular preserve some of our oldest images of the town, dating to around 1870 and later. Hopefully we will be publishing them in the future.
I have been out and about walking several quiet areas each day, all around Easton, and I did some exploring very near my house. In the woods behind the intersection of Rockland and Mill Streets, there are the remains of an old dam and mill site. The Mill Pond, properly known as Buck's Pond, has a sketchy history to it. Chaffin, in the History of Easton, relates that one Jeptha Buck built a small mill at the pond following the Civil War. He set up a saw there, and used it off and on until about 1880 or so. At the time Chaffin wrote (1886) Elbridge Williams was making woven baskets there. However, the earthen dam seems to be older, and I believe the pond was originally built by a member of the Selee family sometime before 1800. The dam construction appears to be of the old type. These dams were first made by using a core of either clay or felled cedar logs, then they were covered by earth. Later ones were faced on both sides with stone (the dam at New Pond is an excellent example of this type of construction). The small dam behind Rockland Street does not feature cut stone which might date it a bit earlier. Instead, the inside and outside walls are slightly angled inwards from bottom to top, indicative of an old earthen dam, and lined with coarse field stones. There may be a connection to the dam and mill erected by John Selee before 1800, which would explain the older looking construction, and the dam may have been at least partially rebuilt by Buck when he began to saw wood there. Some people believe there may be an older mill site deep in the woods on the other side of Rockland Street, but I have yet to see it. In any event, the site seems to have been abandoned well before 1900, and no vestige of the old mill remains.
However, the stonework around the damremains, and in the next few weeks I'll share a few photos of the site. Attached are two for you to take a look at. The first is one of the pond itself, about 1 1/2 acres now, but larger at one time as evidenced by the length and height of the dam. The second is what I believe to be the original wheel pit, where an undershot water wheel was placed to provide power to the mill. Water cascading down through this opening would have turned the wheel from the bottom as it passed underneath.
As I do my walking around town, I'll be using the time to do more exploring, and I'll be sharing more of what I find with you.