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
Just as the selectmen's minutes from 1930 to 1956 are missing, so are the town's directions for creating the 1940 assessors map. Disposal of information that should be kept in perpetuity invites interpretations by individuals with uninformed fantasies and poor research skills.
Those individuals are not capable of finding information that's not at their immediate finger tips. The missing information allows the town to see only what it wants to see rather than what the facts tell.
If anyone knew the real status of Groton's roads, it would be Harlan Fitch. His 1948 survey and a 1949 deed to the Mistress's domain are just as revealing as the 1936 traffic flow map and the 1940 assessors map. Key words in the 1949 deed state, "Subject to the rights of the public in and over so much of the above-described premisses lies within the limits and boundaries of said Dan Parker Road and Raddin Road."
There was no difference between the two roads. Today more than 30 houses line both sides of Raddin Road. Groton signed off on the 1949 deed and acknowledged Harlan Fitch's survey. The reason for the town's involvement with the 1949 deed is the releasing of its rights to a parcel of land taken by foreclosure for the nonpayment of taxes. The 1949 deed is the first deed to ever use the name Dan Parker Road. Prior to the 1949 date, Harlan Fitch would certainly know which roads in Groton were public and which ones were not. Besides being a surveyor, he was on the Groton Planning Board in 1947 and 1948.
Evidence showing Dan Parker Road was a town road doesn't end here. In 1953 the Groton Planning Board reported certain roads had been greatly improved. Dan Parker Road was one of them. If it wasn't a town road, why was money being spent to greatly improve it?
When Groton's 1963 Master Plan came along, nothing changed. The plan confirmed the 1936 Traffic Flow Map, the 1940 Assessors Map and Harlan Fitch's 1948 survey of the Mistress' domain. The General Plan, which is a map that's included as part of the Master Plan classifies Dan Parker Road as an existing local road. Several other roads have the same classification. Raddin Road, and Martin's Pond Road are two of them, along with several other roads. Local roads were those roads needing improvement to meet a required 40-foot right-of-way.
Then, there's the 1966 General Highway Map of Middlesex County. It was prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Public Works Bureau of Transportation Planning and Development in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The 1966 General Highway Map clearly states in the legend, "Roads designated as private by local authorities are not shown." One can only conclude the "local authority" was the town of Groton that classified Dan Parker Road as a public way. Dan Parker Road was shown to be a "Gravel or stone road, graded and drained from Martin's Pond Road to Kemp Street in Dunstable.
Harlan Fitch was still a member of the Planning Board; however, another member is of unique interest. That member is Richard J. Kerry, the father of one of our current U.S. Senator's from Massachusetts.
As seen by the maps verifying the name, status and location of the road passing by the Mistress, there are street, resident and poll tax lists showing the Mistress' location to be either on Shattuck or Dan Parker Road. With so much definitive documentation, you have to wonder what could be next.
The answer is Groton's 1986 and 1998 zoning maps. The 1986 map prepared for the Groton Planning Board by the Chofield Brothers, Inc. places the Mistress on Raddin Road. Dan Parker Road is shown as a series of parallel dashes running from Raddin Road to Martin's Pond Road. The map's legend is devoid of any explanation identifying the meaning of the dashes. The same is true for the solid parallel lines.
Another new zoning map adopted at Groton's Annual Town Meeting on May 4, 1998 has Raddin Road passing by the Mistress on her east side while the route of Dan Parker Road is not shown. Only the name Dan Parker Road is on the map leaving it up to the observer to guess the road's route.
Once again, the caretaker of the Mistress was not informed of the road's name change. As usual, the selectmen had nothing to do with the change. One thing is quite apparent. The behavior of town authorities in the 1920s and 1930s remains just as alive, prevalent, contradictory and dictatorial in the 1980s and 1990s. The assessor's office has Dan Parker Road passing by the Mistress. The planning and land use office goes off and does its own thing independent of input from anyone else. Little was it known at this time that a beating was in its beginning stages. Maybe the town meeting vote makes Raddin Road the official road passing by the Mistress.