This is a serialization of the new book written by Carl Flowers, owner of Silveus Plantation, the subject of "Groton's Anonymous Mistress." This 300-year-old house is accessed by Kemp Street near the boundary of Groton and Dunstable.
By Carl Flowers
Changes the petitioners wanted made to the road began at John Cummings' house. Instead of taking a right turn to go up the hill past the front of John Cummings' house, the new road continued straight in a southwesterly direction to the town line. The road was level with only a minor curve. Both James Fitzpatrick and John Cummings donated their land to the respective towns for the 1868 improvements.
Upon completion of the new road, the old 1772 road passing over the hill would be discontinued in Dunstable. The same year, Groton established two new roads. The first road began at the 1772 road near James Fitzpatrick's house and went southeasterly to join Dunstable's new road at the town line. The cost to Groton was $75. Unlike Dunstable, Groton didn't discontinue any part of the 1772 road. This allowed the 1772 road to become a dead end at the Groton/Dunstable town line on the west side of James Fitzpatrick's house.
At the same 1868 Groton town meeting, the second new road was established. It began at Chicopee Row, passed by J.B. Raddin's house, and ended at the old 1772 road. The cost was $150. The following year, on November 2, 1869, Groton appropriated an additional $150. This time the money brought the road from Chicopee Row, past the house of J.
The same can't be said about the road passing by the Mistress. By the early 1880s Groton began giving names to its streets; however, we know some streets already had names going back to Caleb Butler. Naming of streets was mandated by a state statute. Assessors in every town were required to make resident and street lists. The lists had to be made available to the general public.
From these lists, the first town directories were made. Before street lists were required, maps showed the town's streets without names. Anyone who lived in town had their name and the location of their house placed on the map. Matching named streets with their physical location was another matter. A town directory for 1888 shows Groton had thirty-nine named roads. This is down from the sixty-nine roads Caleb Butler listed in his index. The only explanation for the missing thirty roads is no one lived on them. If a poll tax couldn't be collected from someone who was living on the road, the road didn't need to be listed. The 1888 directory placed James Fitzpatrick and the Mistress on Shattuck, which ran from Lowell Road to the Dunstable Town Line. No distinction was made by the directory between a street and road.
According to the 1888 directory, Shattuck Street had the same beginning and end as Caleb Butler had for the road to John Woods' in 1829. At the time, little distinction was made between roads and streets. After 59 years, the road to the Mistress had a name. In 1888, if James Fitzpatrick hadn't lived on Shattuck Street, he would have said something because he was one of the town's registrars of voters. The position required James to know the name of the street on which every voter lived; otherwise, how could it be known if the voter was a resident of Groton? Shattuck could be a street one day and a road the next. It just depended on who was doing the talking.
After 1900, many directories had James Fitzpatrick Jr. living off Chicopee Row, Shattuck Road or the Dunstable Road. Some directories even failed to list James Jr. as a Groton resident. The contradictions from one year to the next become even more conflicting when the differences are found in the same directory. These are the ones citing the Fitzpatrick residence as being on the Dunstable Road, instead of Shattuck. The problem seems to be with directories made in the 1920s.
Maybe the problem was the Ku Klux Klan's war against certain types of individuals. After all, the Klan was extremely active in Groton during the 1920s.