History and modern day collide again in Dennis, Massachusetts. The Dennis Manse, recently refurbished because of rotting foundation due to termites, was reconstructed.
Touring there today, I learned the nuances of the history of Dennis like never before.
There on display was the great room of the Manse, which historically was equipped with a four-poster bed in the living room by the fire with little other furniture. Apparently during the colonial days when the original settlers occupied Dennis, the little children of a family slept cross ways in a bed.When they got too large for that they graduated to the great room four-poster bed and slept lengthwise sharing the bed with others who were also too big to sleep cross wise in the other bedrooms.During the day, the four-poster bed was the comfort space for visitors to sit around the fire when making social calls.
Ship building was a major industry in Sesuit Harbor. In the heyday of the ship building industry there they built 8 clipper ships in 10 years. The ships when finished were towed by other sailing ships to Boston where the sails were rigged for sailing on the ocean.
Clipper ships were built to sail with the winds behind them and were poor at turning because all the sails that were set had to be brought down to turn the ship.
For that reason when a clipper ship got close enough to the shore to hear the surf the result was often a ship wreck. When Clipper ships dominatied the New England seas there were more than 3,000 wrecks.
To the present day, large pieces of these ships wash ashore at Cape Cod. And the Dennis Manse museum has artifacts on display that are evidence of the ship building trade of colonial days. The wood that was used in construction of these ships is so strong it is resistant to corrosion and destruction by the sea all these centuries.
Thanks to the Howes Family 12th and 13th generation, who are committed to the preservation of the Dennis Manse and History. Being one of the three original families that settled in Dennis, I am able to relate these historical facts.
Theodore Morrison Homa MD