A Family Tradition
William Walker landed on the Cape in 1630, married Sarah Snow daughter of Constance Hopkins who arrived on the Mayflower. Francis Baker
arrived in 1635 and settled in the Bass River area on lands granted by King James. Cranberries have been a part of my family's long Cape
tradition. It was my grandfather, Benjamin Walker, a Dennis lobster fisherman and cranberry grower, who owned the bog I now work. Ben is
documented as the fastest picker in his day using a hand rocker scoop. In 1912, in a six-hour day on the old Luther Hall bog in Nobscussett
(formerly belonging to Henry Hall and prior the Nobscussett Indian Tribe), Ben harvested 19 barrels of berries (almost one ton) - that was 238
measures. At six cents a measure he netted $14.28, which was more than many men earned in a week and well worth the tired back. In the
1930's the cranberry industry plummeted. Like many growers of the time, Ben Walker was forced to sell off his bogs, his last in the 1950's.
Decades passed and in 1994, I decided to change my career as a Broadway production wardrobe supervisor. I wanted to "come home" and try
my hand (knees and back) at the tradition of growing cranberries. After an exhaustive search and negotiation, I acquired the Dennis bog
formerly owned by my grandfather, Ben. Amazingly the plot plan still had Ben's Bog and Molly's Pasture clearly labeled. As fate would have it, I
have a nephew Ben and a niece Molly who have helped plant, weed, fertilize, and pick the bog as well as tend to the many bee hives that make
it grow. Perhaps I can nurture a piece of history for future generations to continue.
|Located in historic Dennis,
Cape Cod MA birthplace of
the cultivated cranberry!