The Duxbury Rural & Historical Society

Annual Clark’s Island Picnic

Join the DRHS on scenic Clark’s Island for a picnic at Cedarfield, our waterfront property. Patrick Browne, Historian and former DRHS Executive Director, will be our featured speaker at Pulpit (Election) Rock. This event is free and open to everyone.

Clark’s Island holds significance as the site of the Pilgrim’s first Sabbath in the new world. The location, Pulpit Rock, is located on the island property owned by DRHS. Cedarfield, the house on the property, is the second-oldest house on the island, built in 1836.

 

History of the Island:

The Island’s history extends back to the landing of the Pilgrims when, during a blinding storm in December of 1620, a band of Pilgrim explorers rowed into Plymouth Bay.  Leaving the Mayflower anchored off Cape Cod, this group of 18 had been sent ahead to find a suitable place for settlement. John Clark, the first mate, spotted the shore of what is now known as Clark’s Island and was the first of them to set foot there.  As the next day was the Sabbath, the explorers could not begin repairs on their battered vessel. Instead, the group, including William Brewster, Myles Standish, and William Bradford, marched to the top of the nearest hill in search of a place to worship.  They found an enormous boulder at the crest of the Island, and there elected to hold their first worship service ashore. Today, the boulder is known as Election Rock and is inscribed with words from William Bradford’s journal, “On the Sabboth Day Wee Rested.”

 

History of the House:

Cedarfield was bequeathed to the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society by Sarah Wingate Taylor, a poet, teacher, and historian in 1969. The 17 acre property is rich in history and scholarly tradition. Sarah Wingate Taylor spent nearly all of her summers at Cedarfield.  Her ancestors, the Watson family, had lived on the Island since the 1690s.  One of her relatives, Edward Watson, built Cedarfield in 1836. During the 1960s Taylor ran the Pilgrim Rock School for American Studies on the Island, inviting talented students and scholars to Cedarfield each year.  She treasured her family heritage and the beauty of her ancestral home. The Society maintains Sarah Wingate Taylor’s tradition of education each year through its Sarah Wingate Taylor lecture series, and the annual picnic and commemorative service at Election Rock.

 

Facilities:

  • Visitors are advised that access from their boats to the island is via tenders and a transitional float connected by a gangway to the shore. Please call our office if you have questions about accessibility.
  • Bathroom facilities are provided, but are limited.

 

Transportation:

  • Most visitors for the Clark’s Island Picnic use their own vessel or share a boat with a friend.
  • Boats moor off the east coast of Clark’s Island and the DRHS, in partnership with the Duxbury Bay Maritime School, provides tenders to bring visitors onshore.
  • Also in partnership with the DBMS, we offer limited transportation (35 seats) on board launches, advanced reservations required (see below).

 

Reservations Available July 5:

  • Reservations for the DRHS launches are limited to Members only and are “first-come-first-served).
  • Reservations limited to 4 seats per group (some exceptions made for families with children).
  • In order to maximize this opportunity for everyone and to prevent “no shows,” a credit card number is required with your reservation; you will only be charged the $30/per person fee if you fail to show up for your reservation.
  • If interested in making reservations, please contact Office Manager, Carly Olson, atcolson@duxburyhistory.org or 781-934-6106.

Designed & Developed by Niki Brown