Kendall and the Weathersfield Pine: Another Memory Marker

pines meetinghouse hill rain autumn

Edward Augustus Kendall was a British traveller, translator, social campaigner and writer. He is best known to Americans as the author of a journal with the self-explanatory title of “Travels through the northern parts of the United States in 1807 and 1808, in 3 volumes” (New York, I. Riley, 1809). His name will come up elsewhere on this blog as a chronicler of the petroglyphs at “Indian Rock,” as he knew the carvings at the mouth of Wantastekw/West River, at Wantastegok/Brattleboro. That account is also found in the aforementioned  travel journal; fyi, the references to Vermont instances of Native carving are all recounted in Volume 3.

Kendall recounts that he saw a pine tree in Weathersfield, VT with carvings on four different facets of the trunk. He may have made some leaps of logic in his explanations, but the observation itself stands as an example of memory marking in the landscape utilizing trees, similar to that of Quintin Stockwell’s account at Pocumtuk. We can discuss his interpretations of the individual figures that he witnessed in another post down the line. As Kendall’s book hasn’t been digitized to my knowledge, but it has been scanned, I post here screenshots of his narrative from the pertinent section:

kendall travels weathersfield 1

kendall travels weathersfield 2


kendall travels weathersfield 3

Kendall’s historical attribution of the pine carvings may be a little off too, dating it to the 1704 Deerfield raid.  But that’s not something we need to disparage right now. Suffice it to note that his record is another example of awighigan encoded in landscape features.


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4 thoughts on “Kendall and the Weathersfield Pine: Another Memory Marker”

  1. Rich, thank you for your piece — the photo is exquisite. Is the woman in question Jemima Sartwell? She was taken from current day Hinsdale, no, although ? The fictionalized/novelization of the story is told in ‘Not Without Peril’, written by Marguerite Allis in 1941 (and printed by ‘Old Fort #4 Associates’in Charlestown, NH in 1989 (a copy of which resides at Brooks).


    1. It’s generally thought that Kendall was confused. He was thinking of the 1704 Deerfield Raid but was conflating it with Susanna Johnson (1754, at Fort 4 in Charlestown), whose captivity route did not pass through Weathersfield. Jemima Sartwell (Howe at the time) was taken in 1745 from what was called Northfield (MA) at the time, but is now Vernon. It was called Hinsdale from 1753 to 1802.


  2. Yep this is the guy I was talking about, and the Native marker tree,we were talking about some time back. The woman and the baby as far as I know is Susanna Johnson taken near Fort 4, and gave birth on the trail late 1740s early 50s. After the baby was born, their Abenaki master kept say two moneys now. The marking of trees on main Native Trails, was how they let passer bys know what was going on.

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