Manitou Hassannash Preserve

by HHA Member Tom Helmer

People gather for the dedication of Manitou Hassannash Preserve
Dawn Dove speaking to the respectful listeners at the on site dedication.

On October 7, 2017, the unique Manitou Hassannash (man’-it-two has’-san-nash) Preserve, part of the Hopkinton Land Trust, was dedicated in a tribal ceremony conducted entirely by indigenous people in accord with their beliefs and traditions. Officiating were: Doug Harris, Elaine Thomas and Dawn Dove with her three grandsons, Sherenté 17, Nkéke 14, and Yoyatche 6.

One hundred people visited the Ceremonial Stone Landscape Day display area during the six hours the event was on. Many of those came to witness the ceremony, hiking the 1 mile round trip to observe the talks, prayers and songs in this solemn occasion.

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The Benjamin Taylor House

450 Woodville Road

Taylor House
Taylor House c. 2014

In the 1700’s the Hill family owned much of the land that was to become the village of Hopkinton City. In May of 1789 Major Benjamin Taylor bought a small house lot from Josiah Hill. The lot was only 13 sq. rods and was on the north side of the road going from Hopkinton City to Woodville. Benjamin Taylor had married Mary Thurston, the daughter of General George Thurston and Dolly (Cottrell) Thurston. Their property abutted Taylor’s new lot to the west. The Thurston’s large house is now 496 Main Street. Mary’s father had served in the local militia during Revolutionary War. After the war he was appointed General of Washington County’s militia. Benjamin had also served in the militia during the war, earning the rank of Major.

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Along Lawton Foster Road

A history of the area’s farms and families
By Richard G. Prescott

“Narragansett Country” at one time covered nearly all of what became Hopkinton, R.I. including the land along Lawton Foster Road #1. Narragansett tribal members have said that before colonial contact the Canonchet area of Hopkinton had been a valuable hunting resource and an area of spiritual importance to the tribe #2. Despite the passage of time, stone structures or cairns, thought to have been built in pre-colonial times, still remain in the woods along Lawton Foster Road near the village of Canonchet #3. Mary and James Gage describe a cairn as “An intentionally built compact and carefully constructed mound, heap, or pile of stones consisting of one of more stones. It is either (1) placed on the ground, or (2) placed on top of a boulder, or (3) placed on the exposed bedrock, or any combination thereof” #4.
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