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Surviving the perilous frontier campaigns, Munn married Patty Bartlett of Northampton, where they lived briefly before packing up for Sudbury and opening a tavern. An unsubstantiated online report on one of the genealogical sites claims he was, like convicted brother Phineas, a Tory, but that seems dubious given his Bunker Hill service.

Then, a half-century later, in , out of the clear blue sky, presumed long dead by most who had known him as a young man, Munn returned to his native town without warning, like a ghost from the past. It was a journey worthy of acclaim, if not local folklore. The year-old man had walked some miles to a ship anchored in Halifax port, sailed to Boston and proceeded to hoof it another more miles home to Deerfield. There, his widowed younger sister Lydia Bradley was living on The Street, while another younger widowed sister, Mary Joiner, was living in Shelburne, either at a home she had shared with late husband Edward Joiner, or possibly with son William Joiner and daughter-in-law Content Bardwell Joiner.

Both Edward and Mary died in Shelburne. The Deerfield Joiners also spelled Joyner in some records can be confusing to follow due to the fact that there were two Edwards and two Williams. In Deerfield, Munn likely bunked with sister Lydia. By the time of his phantom return, his ex-wife, who had presumed herself a widow and married Timothy Parsons of Northampton, had herself been dead for five years.

Anyway, according to the Aug. The day was Monday. Witnesses had seen him along the way before he was later found dead by the side of the road that evening. He had walked about 10 miles before expiring. There were reports of rain and hail storms passing through the hills that day.

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The coroner ruled death by natural causes. Proud Benjamin most likely wanted to return home to die and be buried where he was born. He made it. A mission. A search. A chase. An addictive game. Connecting can be euphoric. Especially when an answer comes out of nowhere. Totally unexpected. Slaps you upside the head like a branch in the woods. He said the miscellaneous items could be traced back to his great grandfather Hull Nims, a Revolutionary War veteran and prosperous Greenfield Meadows farmer. Like that lonely little petunia in an onion patch, it stuck out.

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Looked like a Stone-Age, Native American artifact. Perhaps a hide-scraper. Maybe a woodworking gouger, knife or chisel.


Possibly even some sort of a stabbing, bludgeoning weapon for hand-to-hand combat, although I had never seen anything that compared in reference books. It looked and felt more like some sort of tool.

During my innkeeping days, I had on many occasions shown the interesting object to whomever I thought would possibly be interested and may even be able to identify it. I showed it to many without giving my thoughts and the unanimous opinion was that it was a Native American artifact. Likely, old Hull Nims or one of his kids had turned it up from the rich Meadows croplands with one of those old, two-handled, V-shaped, horse-pulled cultivators on acreage today farmed by the Butynski family.

Finding myself in the company of many lithic scholars with decades of experience uncovering and identifying artifacts, I brought my worked-stone curiosity to the site for inspection. If it was of Native American origin, these folks would know. - De-Identification Software Package

With the crew tidying up the site down the stretch during Saturday-afternoon cleanup, I retrieved the shiny, pointed, black stone from my truck and passed it around among four or five experts. They examined and handled it, and their consensus was that they were not familiar with the form, but suspected it was not an Indian artifact. Overhearing the conversation from nearby, Gramly soon joined us. The man holding the stone object handed it to him for examination. Even rarer are the cattle-horn holsters farmers carried them in.

Hard to come by these days. How about that? It just so happened there was just such a cattle horn in the Nims collection. With a piece chipped from the rim, I had surmised without giving it much thought that maybe it was an incomplete powder-horn blank that had been broken and kept for future reduction.

But, no, it belonged with the stone sharpening tool used to keep grass-cutting scythes sharp for the hayfields. Back then, hay was not baled; it was cut with scythes, piled in thatched ricks for drying, stored loose in barn hay pits and lofts, and pitchforked into stables and stalls. Nowadays, you only see hayricks in oil paintings, photos and films depicting earlier times. How nice to have this relic from a neighborhood with an agricultural legacy. Fast forward five or six years from the Gramly ID and, quite by chance, I discovered the old name for scythe-sharpening stones.

It could be there, but I have my doubts. Perhaps of New England origin.

Definitely obsolete. How did I find it? By reading. Better still, following a scholarly footnote. Let me explain. Cramer, Yale University Press , there it was on Page Breaking into a settled clearing from the cool Acton woods, Thoreau captures the essence by describing fenced meadows, tree lines, and dimly lit houses and outbuildings.

Fortunately, Editor Cramer uses footnotes to clear up a couple of obsolete words that could cause confusion among even sophisticated contemporary readers. And so, the search continues. That was not necessary in this case. Not so. Just sharpening his scythe in daybreak still. So, what exactly does a retired man with time on his hands do during the sultry dog days?

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That was a recent question asked of me in passing through the marketplace. Just small talk to which I responded with a playful quip. You know.

Hours later, as the setting sun cast me into dusky introspection, I revisited the question and internally answered it. I try to remain productive, though at a slower, steadier pace than when work loomed largest. I still read a lot, write a little, and chat face-to-face, by phone or email. I also discipline myself to pick away at a chore or two a day, trying not to overburden myself with drudgery.

I pick berries when ripe and water the Roma tomato daily, suckering and tying as needed.