|In 1629 the Massachusetts Bay Company was formed in England. John Winthrop (1587-1649) was appointed Governor, Thomas Dudley (1576-1652) was appointed Deputy Governor. In 1630, 700 colonists (mostly Pilgrims) set off for the New World in what was known as the Winthrop Fleet. Upon arrival, Winthrop and Dudley disagreed upon the location of their headquarters. First trying Salem, then Cambridge, Winthrop finally decided on Boston, but Dudley stayed on in Cambridge. They continued to disagree on most things – except for a strong love of family.
When Dudley’s oldest son, Samuel (1608-1684), married Winthrop’s daughter Mary (1609-1643) they became brothers-in-law. In those days that was a close familial relationship which demanded that they get along, despite their very different personalities. From all accounts Winthrop was a polite aristocrat but Dudley was a populist curmudgeon.
For the first few years, the colony was governed by Winthrop and a small Council. But many colonists wanted a larger say in the governance of the colony. In 1634, led by Thomas Dudley they demanded to see the Royal Charter. They learned that there should have been a general court which was to make all laws and that all freemen should be members. They demanded these rights and eventually reached a compromise of elected representatives who, in addition to the Council and Governor, would have the right to make laws and “raise public stores”. What Winthrop did not expect was that they had the right to elect the Governor. They elected Dudley instead. Thus did representational government begin in the New World. Later, Winthrop went on to serve many terms as Governor.
In 1638, to honor the great service of these two men, the legislature voted to grant them the right to establish a “plantation” to the Northwest. Dudley and Winthrop went upriver from Concord exploring for a likely location. When they found it, they used two large rocks as landmarks which would be the dividing line of their properties. These landmarks came to be called Two Brothers Rocks.
The property was purchased from Tahattawan, also known as Natahattawants, in 1642 for six fathoms of wampum, breeches and a waistcoat. He was listed on the deed as Sachem of the Musketaquid. The land was in Billericay. Later when Bedford became a separate township, the rocks helped form the border between the two townships. Interestingly it seems that neither Winthrop nor Dudley ever resided in the area. In 1893 the Bedford Historical Society carved their names and ‘1638’ in the stones.
We originally entered from a trailhead in front of the gate to the Concord Field Station. Hint #1 below is its street location. This trail may be muddy in the wet season and buggy in the summer, but it's an easy walk and it’s worth it. You can say hello to a tree that was around before Winthrop or Dudley.
First finder m'pm"c found a shorter way, though, and hint #2 locates that.