Thursday, April 14, 2011: Nights Pasture, Lancaster

By the time breakfast came at the College Town Inn I was packed and ready to go.  I had to reschedule some activities in the morning before leaving Lancaster because of the pouring rain the day before. 

My first goal was the find the “Night’s Pasture” area in Lancaster.  I had attempted it the day before but was just not getting the right feel for the geography.  Marsha, of the Special Collections, at the Thayer Memorial Library, suggested Center Bridge Road.  I decided to try it and low and behold there was the Nashua connecting to the North Branch? I was so happy!!!! Marsha also explained that the area was used for growing corn. 

There is a map in the book written by Henry S. Nourse on page 264 and also 266 that is a drawing of the lands of the old settlers.  The book is the Early Records of Lancaster 1643 to 1725, by Henry S. Nourse, 1884.  This book is at Google Books but that copy has bad pages in it.  Fortunately the maps are in tack.  They are really wonderful and there is an area at the confluence of the North branch and the Nashaway River that is right were  one of the areas of Joseph Rowlandson’s titled the “Nights Pasture.”  This is part of the lands that Philip Goss I (1654 to 1698) purchased in 1687. 

Do not expect much.  It is a large open area without much there.  A road has been added since and a bridge.  Just know that I could tell through the trees that the North Branch and the Nashaway were coming together.  They were not turbulent but serene as they merged! 

Southwest side of the Center Bridge

More Southwest Side
Still more south side
Nashaway River Southeast

Trying to show the meeting of the North branch with the Nashaway


Coming from the northwest


Trying to even more show where the North branch meets the Nashaway River

Northeast from the road to the field

Southeast side of the bridge North branch

The field from the road looking northeast on the west side of the bridge

Field area looking north

The field area looking northeast

What is a “Nights Pasture?”  Well, Nourse talks about that in the same book and it is rather fun to read.  The nights pasture was for the animals to go at night.  See page 299 for more information about the night pasture and enjoy Nourse’s explanation. 

Oh, the Great Elm Historical Marker is just east of this area? 

The next stop was the marker for the Rowlandson Garrison which would be more of the Joseph Rowlandson land ownings.  I found it where the opening is in the stone wall along Main Street before you get to the cemetery which is on the left.

I again refer you to the maps in Nourse’s book I mentioned about.  Have Fun!