A native Haverhill author who writes about history and mystery has combined the two in his latest book.
David Goudsward argues that the Massachusetts town of Westford holds a cultural treasure that could disappear without quick action to protect it.
"The Westford Knight and Henry Sinclair: Evidence of a 14th Century Scottish Voyage to North America" is due out this fall. It examines the infamous pre-American stone carving known as the Westford Knight via published histories and accounts.
Goudsward said his book strips away years of folklore connecting the stone to the Knights Templar or local Native American tribes.
By following the research narrative left by historians have made varying claims about the stone's origin, Goudsward said his work traces the stone's lineage to a grave marker that commemorates the life of a solider in the Scottish Gunn clan who explored the Merrimack Valley in the 1300s, marking the appearance of Europeans in America far before the legendary journey of Christopher Columbus near the end of the 15th century.
Goudsward said none of his claims is made without significant research or supplemental evidence.
"I'm legendary for the size of my footnote sections," he said.
Goudsward said the town of Westford and the Merrimack Valley would do well to better protect their piece of controversial history, which remains exposed to the elements and is therefore being damaged day by day.
The stone is protected by nothing but a metal chain that encircles it.
"My philosophy is let's get a dialogue going on what it is and preserve it," he said. "It's part of the natural landscape and it's just part of the community. In fact, if you go down to Westford they'd still call it the Old Indian today."
This isn't Goudsward's first book about notable New England rocks.
Goudsward's other works include "Ancient Stone Sites of New England" and "America's Stonehenge: The Mystery Hill Story."
An accomplished author who's been published for more than 20 years, Goudsward has published six books and has many more in various stages of revision.
"I usually have three or four books in the works at any given time," he said. "I'm up to my arms in projects."
Currently living in Florida, Goudsward grew up in Haverhill and was an intern at the Haverhill Gazette. Four of Goudsward's books have involved the Shoe City in some capacity. He also takes part in local radio and television shows when circumstances call for a local historian.
The book will be published by McFarland Publishers, a nonfiction publisher. Those interested in a copy are encouraged to visit mcfarlandpub.com or major book sellers' websites including amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.