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Thirty Rod Road

The 2021 map of the Boy Scouts' Nobscot Reservation has Thirty Rod Road running north/south below Tippling Rock. A rod was a unit of measure equal to 16.5 feet, which means the road was 495 feet or 165 yards wide. It is described in Hudson's History of Sudbury. If you look at the "Two Mile Grant" in the Sudbury Grants Map (right) you can see See the line running along Horse Pond Road and into the Nobscot Reservation. Looking at the 1707 Brigham Map (right lower), you can see a wide swath between the original grant and the two mile grant at the top (west) of the map. And another swath running between the lots. The swath between the original grant and the two mile grant must be the 30 rod highway. The following text is from Hudson.

On Jan. 4, 1655, at a selectmen's meeting it was "voted to take some means to get the new grants laid out" and it Avas also agreed "to keep a herd of cattle upon the land the next summer." Thus the subject of the new grant was a prominent one, and how to apportion it was an important matter. At length the plan was adopted of dividing it into squadrons, the arrangement of which was as follows : "The south east was to be the first, the north east the second, the north west the third, and the south west the fourth." It was voted there should be a highway extending north and south, " 30 rods wide in the new grant joining to the five miles first granted;" also, "Voted that there should be a highway 30 rods wide, from south to north, paralel with the other said highway in the middle of the remaining tract of land."


But, while these new lands proved so beneficial to the town, the "Thirty-Rod Highway " in time caused considerable trouble. It was laid out for the accommodation of the owners of lots, and, as the name indicates, was thirty rods wide. The unnecessary width ma}^ be accounted for as we account for other wide roads of that day: land was plentiful, and the timber of so large a tract would be serviceable to the town.

But the width tended to cause disturbance. The land was sought for by various parties, by abuttors on one or both sides, it may be ; by those dwelling within the near neighborhood ; and by Such as desired it for an addition to their outlying lands, or a convenient annex to their farms. The result was that to protect it required considerable vigilance. Encroachments were made upon it, wood and timber were taken away, and at successive town-meetings what to do with this Thirty-Rod Highway was an important matter of business. But at length it largely ceased to be public property. Piece after piece had been disposed of; some of it had been purchased by private parties, some of it exchanged for lands used for other highways, and some of it may have been gained by right of possession.

But, though so much of this road has ceased to be used by the public, there are parts still retained by the town and open to public use. The Dudley Road, about a quarter of a mile from the William Stone place, and which passes a small pond called the Horse Pond, tradition says is a part of this way. From near the junction of this with the county road, a part of the Thirty-Rod Way runs south, and is still used as a way to Nobscot. On it, tradition also says, is the SmallPox Burying- Ground at Nobscot. A part of this road, as it runs east and west, is probably the present Boston and Berlin Road, or what was the " Old Lancaster Road." Other parts of this way may be old wood-paths that the Sudbury farmers still use and speak of as being a part of this ancient landmark.

image GrantsOverWalling1856Map.jpg Sudbury Grants
Overlayed on Walling 1856 Map

image Sudbury1707Brigham3832x4800.jpg
Sudbury 1707 Brigham

2021-11-20     YON - Jan C. Hardenbergh