Letter: Tercentenary markers aren’t just for tourists 

February 10, 2024

I write in strong opposition to HDC member Dennis Fiori’s remark about the markers that have been removed, “I don’t think anybody’s going to miss them. I think that citizens rarely look at these things. They’re kind of there for tourists.” 

This is my 20th year as a resident of Concord; I am also a former Chair of the Concord Historical Commission.  

I miss them

The sign about Jethro’s Tree in particular would strike me each time I passed it, because how many towns have a sign remembering an old tree? I wondered, what did the tree look like, did it have a thick, knotted trunk? Did people (and I mean all people, Indigenous and later settlers) feel attached to it, did they admire it when they walked by, the way I feel when I encounter my own favorite tree, near the North Bridge? Did it die a natural death? Who decided when it was time to cut it down? Did everyone miss it when it was gone? 

I’m going to go out on a limb (tree pun just slipped out) and guess that many Indigenous people, with their rich traditions of viewing nature as alive with animate spirits, would be more at peace with a sign that remembered a tree, than a sign mansplaining to us all about “the more complicated yet complete understanding of our past” that DEI Commission Co-Chair Joe Palumbo is so enthusiastic about.  

Thank you Select Board Chair Henry Dane, for standing up for the markers of our past; they are pathways to historical imagination; if I want a “complete understanding of our past,” I can read Wikipedia. Meanwhile, I want to live in a town that takes a public moment to remember an old tree. 

Barbara Lynn-Davis, Ph.D.  

Davis Court