It was in the year 1668, according to the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds, that the land surrounding Aucoot Cove in Mattapoisett was sold by the Native Americans to a group of five colonists, among them Mayflower passenger John Cooke. Witnessing the deed was a man named Arthur Hathaway. More than four centuries later the Hathaway name lives on in Old Aucoot in the dynamic personage of 88-year-old Brad Hathaway, a direct descendant of both men. A lifelong conservationist, Brad co-founded the Mattapoisett Land Trust in 1974 along with David and Norma Hewitt and a few like-minded citizens who grew concerned about the pace of development even back then. “We looked into the future and we feared what the town might become,” Brad said.
So the MLT was incorporated and the campaign to acquire and protect land in Mattapoisett began. Owing to their foresight and the efforts of the many who have followed, the Mattapoisett Land Trust today holds properties totaling more than 850 acres and the original colonists might even recognize some of the lands they purchased. But Brad’s desire to protect land continues and his ties to the Aucoot district remain unshakeable. In fact, he has now embarked on a fundraising effort to save more land in Aucoot, by completing a walk he began more than thirty years ago with the distance equivalent to a journey around the world. That’s 24,901 miles folks.
It all began in 1988 when, after finding him at risk for heart disease and diabetes, a doctor advised Brad to get more exercise. As a result, he began to walk around Aucoot daily, weather permitting, covering at least three miles on most outings. Right from day one, in December 1988, he began to log his miles. It’s been quite the odyssey but in 2020 the finish line is nearly in sight. Brad has less than 100 miles remaining. The fact that he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s last December only added to the challenge but failed to deter his efforts.
To celebrate Brad’s lifetime of accomplishments, and his “walk around the world”, the Mattapoisett Land Trust will hold a celebration on Saturday October 3rd starting at 10 a.m. as Brad walks the final mile of his journey. Please join us along Aucoot Road starting at the intersection with Bowman Road, and cheer Brad as he walks the last mile back to his home at 87 Aucoot Road. Parking is available along Aucoot Road and at the Town Beach at Hiller’s Cove. MLT will insist that everyone wear a mask and keep at least 10 foot separation between family groups. Supporters can walk the last mile with Brad (masked and keeping a safe separation) or cheer Brad as he passes or crosses the finish line at 87 Aucoot Road.
All proceeds from Brad’s fundraising walk will be used for land acquisitions in the Aucoot area to increase the 480 acres of conservation land MLT holds there presently. For more information or to donate, see www.mattlandtrust.org/bradswalk or send contributions directly to MLT at P.O. Box 31, Mattapoisett, MA. A Go Fund Me page is accessible by searching “Brad Hathaway” at www.gofundme.com or through the MLT bradswalk web page.