A Man’s Gotta Have Some Stones
Selectman’s Stones, Durham/Madison/Guilford
September 1, 2008
There I was, in the middle of the woods, high above Madison and Guilford, along the Mattabesett Trail. It was a great day for a hike – just a little bit warm. “I could use a cheap watery beer about now… something like a MGD bottle.”
I couldn’t get this thought out of my head for some reason as I approached a pile of stones along the trail. Alas, I only had rapidly warming water to drink… No matter, the stones were cool enough “stone sober.” You see, this pile of rocks dates to over a hundred years ago and the MGD I kept thinking about were lettered stones marking the tri-corner boundary of Madison, Guilford, and Durham.
I never actually found the M, the G, or the D stones, but I did see a lot of stones with old initials and dates carved into them. This did not, however, take away from the coolness of the Selectman’s Stones.
The indispensable CFPA CT Walk Book has a full page on these stones, and while it is very interesting reading, it delves into the history of perambulation and illiterate 16th century European boundary-marking methodologies. Heck, it even brings up Terminus, the Roman God of boundaries! But did you know that “Perambulation” means “beating the bounds” and that (way) back in the day landowners used to beat the trees with willow rods to mark their boundaries? There’s more to it, but it’s not pertinent to our particular pile of rocks.
As readers know, I have a pathological interest in maps and boundaries and how such things come to be. So yes, my joy in the picture accompanying this story is legitimate. Just another interesting little thing in Connecticut I never would have seen if not for this goofy website I write.
Good enough? Good enough.
Mattabesett Trail Intro
CTMQ’s Historic Rocks
aletheia kallos saysJune 25, 2009 at 8:02 pm
even tho i couldnt tell if you actually found the exact tripoint
but if you did or ever do surely reach it & photograph it
& or any other boundary multipoints
i & a few other trypointing nuts would be most interested in whatever you may have to show or tell about it or them
so please kindly tip us off in that event at either of the above addresses
indeed join us as our honored guest if you would
a recent connecticutie become mainiac
MADPIXL saysDecember 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm
I like the documentation and references on this site for a lot of these stone piles might be a lot older than selectman’s stones, especially if there is no date carved….
I know of a perfect example of a split rock cairn and a cascade of halfed stones in Westwoods that is described perfectly on this site. It seems like many of the stone piles were made for many reasons from farmers, to native americans, to trees falling. The more I explore that site, the more I understand potential origins of the stone structures I see.