East Bay’s Native history a labor of love for a Warren man

The Warren Times published an article on November 13, 2019 that described the efforts of Warren resident David Weed to establish a National Heritage Area that features local 17th century history. Editor Ted Hayes reported:

“Places like Plymouth or the Great Swamp may get more attention, but a local historian says this area’s rich Native American history and pivotal role in the early history of colonization should be more widely recognized and appreciated. Mr. Weed, who several weeks ago spoke before the Warren-Barrington Rotary club on the status of the project, has spent the last 15 years researching sites and the area’s early colonial years. He said Barrington historian Helen Tjader first mention to him the potential of establishing a heritage are about two years ago, and he believes that her ideas has the potential not just to give the public a greater understanding of Pokanoket Wampanoag and colonial history, but can also be a boon for businesses and commerce through increased tourism to the area. The 10-year plan is to create a national heritage area here, much like the Blackstone Heritage Corridor.

“What I discovered is that there area a lot of small historic places here,” he said. “Every town has something. But there’s no unity. That’s what heritage areas do; they take a lot of small things and pull them together to gather and begin to promote them.” There are many here, from the Native American burial ground at Burr’s Hill in Warren to Mt. Hope, where King Philip held court, to the babbling brook in the same area, where he lost his life.

After years of work on the project, Mr. Weed said many elements in formalizing a heritage are are coming together. Those include a series of historic markers destined for Burr’s Hil, the First Congregational Church in Bristol, and other sites. He is applying for grants that would put additional markers at Mt. Hope Farm in Bristol, and at least six other areas, and has received private grants for others.

In his rotary talk, he spoke not just of the project as a whole, but also on the potential its establishment would bring. “We’re just beginning the process of getting businesses interested in this concept,” he said. “There’s a long way to go, but I’ve done everything I could to get the public involved, between brochures and talks and markers. I need to approach businesses because they really stand to benefit in the long run. In one word: it’s about tourism. It’s about attracting people who have an interest in this particular subject. There’s so much history here.” For more information, see www.SowamsHeritageArea.org or contact Mr. Weed at drweed@cox.net.


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