Early Osprey Map Found

It appears that attics hold more than just old dresses and your brother’s baseball card collection. This past weekend, Bill Cupp uncovered Osprey City history cleaning out his mother’s attic on Elwood Lane. Tucked away between old deeds and stacked paintings, Cupp found a map of the Osprey area dated 1630. The lucky discoverer quickly contacted experts at Osprey University, who took possession of the document and tested it for authenticity. Today, the archival documents department of the university announced that the map indeed dated back to the early 17th century.

“We are astounded by the condition of the document,” commented Amanda Lee, archivist at Osprey University. “The ink is in surprising condition, with little evidence of oxidization. Whoever owned this map originally took special care of it.” University archivists have decided to store the map in a climate-controlled space while they acquire an appropriate display case. The archive was, however, able to provide a high-quality scan for public use.

Issue1Map

Prof. Ian Hannigan, an expert in colonial American history, said that the map provided valuable insight into what Osprey City, or what was then called the “Town of Osprey,” looked like at its founding. “The town is depicted as generally surrounded by forests, which gels with what we have read in early written accounts of the area,” explained Prof. Hannigan. “The map also helps us date some of the place names in the Osprey area, such as Brittany Cove and Lake Powcotowet.” Certain farms outlying the town were also named in the map, and provide clues to the names of other parts of modern-day Osprey City. For example, Henry St. is named after the Henry farm, located just north of the colonial village. The map also shows that the First Congregationalist Church of Osprey occupies the same space as the original church built by Pilgrim settlers.

“What remains a mystery, however,” commented Hannigan, “is why the cartographer marked certain locations on the map that aren’t particularly important, such as the homes of E. and D. Woode and W. Thatcher.” Hannigan hypothesized that the individuals might have sponsored the cartographer, or one of them might have been the map-maker themselves. “Unfortunately, without a name to ascribe the work to, I’m afraid we will never know who created this map.” Once safely in a display case, the map will be displayed to the public at the Osprey University library, the centerpiece of an exhibit on Pilgrim Osprey City.

Skeleton Uncovered at Construction Site

mysteryskeleton

 

Progress on a new apartment complex on the west side has come to a halt as construction workers uncovered human remains while digging for a foundation. Police were immediately called to the scene, but a cursory examination led investigators to conclude that the skeleton was extremely old, and not the result of recent crime.

By police request, an anthropological team from the university arrived to determine, as best as they could, what the construction workers found. The answer was a surprise to everyone: the skeleton is male, nearly 400 years old, and dates to the earliest days of Osprey City. Osprey City was originally founded as the village of Osprey, so named for the sea birds found in the area, in 1623, by Separatists from the Plymouth Colony.

“We were able to estimate the age of the remains based on the layer of earth,” reported Dr. Nils Hansson. “We’ve found other remains and artifacts from the mid-1600s in the layer around the city.” Further examination of the skeleton revealed that the neck was broken and the hands were once bound. Hansson continued, “based on the damage done to the neck and the position of the hands, it seems that this man was hanged in a public execution.”

If true, the body represents the earliest such execution in the history of Osprey City. It would also explain why the body was not buried in the Old Cemetary, the primary burial ground for Osprey’s original colonists. “Generally, criminals were buried with their family, like any other person,” commented Professor of History Richard Keeler. “But if the criminal didn’t have any family, or his crime was extremely heinous, it’s entirely possible that a ditch would be buried somewhere and his or her body simply dumped in.”

Local historians are now combing records dating from the early colonial period in Osprey for any mention of a hanging, and samples of the remains have been sent to Harvard University for radiocarbon dating.