GROTON — The broom mentioned on April 26, in part 32 of Groton’s Anonymous Mistress has snagged some serious attention from more than one or two individuals. I have been told by these people , the broom could date back to the 1680’s or 1690’s, and as made by the Wamesit or Pawtucket Indians. Both tribes were located in the vicinity of the Merrimack River.
In fact, Jerathmeel Bowers’ land might have abutted the land belonging to the Wamesit Indians. Today, most if not the entire area of interest is now part of the city of Lowell, instead of Chelmsford.
The broom may have been purchased, or it might have been a gift to Bowers from one of the tribal chiefs, or from one of the Tribal medicine men. Jerathmeel was appointed guardian of both tribes. This position put Jerathmeel in ongoing contact with the tribes. There’s also the possibility the broom was traded for some of Jerathmeel’s hard water, because he was the first person in Chelmsford to be licensed to operate a still.
The relevancy of Jerathmeel Bowers’ connection with the Wamesit and Pawtucket Indians is the fact the broom was made by one of these two Native American tribes, and not by any of the early colonial settlers as originally thought. Instead of the broom being extremely scarce to rare, the broom is extremely rare with less than a dozen known to exist. Since Jerathmeel was responsible for building the Mistress, he had to be the one responsible for placing the broom between the walls was to protect the Mistress from future Indian attacks. Groton was one of the frontier towns being hardest hit by the Indians, when the Mistress was built.