JV Puleo wrote:Regarding the New England landscape:
I live in northern Rhode Island, in a house indeterminate age that was standing in at least 1750. Now the area is heavily forested but all of the land, forested or not, is crisscrossed with stone walls that once separated fields. The land is far to stony to be effectively farmed in any modern sense but at the time of the Revolution, and right up to the 1930's, it was very open. Even the wooded areas were very different. Where we now have tangled undergrowth they had forests of huge chestnut, walnut, oak and ash trees with relatively little undergrowth. Sections of forest remained like that right up to the beginning of the 20th century when the chestnut blight and continual clearance destroyed them. The forest we see today is usually not much more than 150 years old, if that and is filling up the fields that were once part of Dairy farms. Cattle, and sometimes horses, were all you could raise around here in the 19th century economically. There is still, in the next town, a huge red brick barn which I am told was the place the local men brought horses to sell to the Department of the East re-mount officers during the CW. (I was a dairy barn until about 1976)
A little off in date but interesting: During the "Dorr War" of 1842 the "Law and Order" government of RI, in Providence, raised the "Providence Horse Guards" to "keep the roads safe for travelers" in the northern part of the state!
Going back over this old thread, I can't help but note how interesting this post is. What a change in terrain in two centuries!