The Metacomet Trail extends from the Long Island Sound to the Massachusetts Vermont border. One of the trails for the UGRR travels the same path from the Long Island Sound but up past Vermont. The Metacomet trail is the map on the right, the andUnderground Railroad is the map on the left. As you can see, they are very closely related, and in history both may have been traveled by fleeing slaves. As fleeing slaves traveled up the east coast, the Underground Railroad and the Metacomet trail were very similar and may have overlapped. The trail goes through major cites, or close to major cities, and claimed to potentially help create hotbeds. Places like Florence, North Hampton, were on these routes, which is why many fleeing slaves settled in those places.
The trail was originally used by Native Americans (Wampanoag tribe) who lived in New England, for trade and migration routes. After this Native Americans used the trail in King Philips war to move forces and both attack and defend. This is when the famous King Phillips cave came about, because he watched the burning of a village in Simsbury allegedly during the war. After this when the English settlers had taken over the area, it was used as a trade route and a route to move up and down the northeast before roads were created. Since then they have been dubbed as historic trails, and are kept as close to natural as possible so people can walk them and appreciate their value.
The trail was possibly used and preferred by fleeing slaves for multiple reasons. One reason is that the hike is considered moderately easy, this is important because when running for your life, you do not want to be traveling a back breaking journey, instead you want to be able to put many miles on each day. This trail was also in great condition in the past, because of how much people used it, and they respected it, because they knew that future fleeing slaves would use it. In the current world the trail is in great condition because it is registered as a historic landmark, so people are required to take care of it. All parts of the trail are also close to roads. There is no part of the trail that is farther than a few miles from a public road. This could have created an easy way to obtain supplies for the journey, while evading the law.
Specific to our area, the trail was used near Old Newgate Prison to transport copper. The copper mine soon failed, however. In West Suffield, on the West Suffield Mountain, part of the Metacomet ridge is present. Because of this, many people visit the trail, adding another historic site to Suffield. Because of this I think that for a class period we should go and walk the trail. The trail could provide many possible artifacts of the fleeing slaves, and many other ideas on where they might have stayed in West Suffield. With this trail it would be easy to centrally locate houses on the UGRR, people who maintained it, and a opportunity to get Suffield in the historical records again.
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