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The Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history online

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furnished out the said Henry Hudson to try if, through any
of the passages which Davis saw, any passage might be found
to the other ocean called the South Sea."

Hudson visited the Abenakis King at Schodac, and his
English crew put handles in the Dutch axes and hoes that
the councillors had worn lovingly as ornaments about their
necks. They taught the warriors to fell the oak forests and
mellow the cornfield, and after the savages beheld the su-



The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds 19

perior wisdom of the Christians, they made the woodlands
ring with their musical laughter over their own stupidity.

The same season Hudson sailed North, where he discov-
ered the bay bearing his name, and there he desired to
winter. A mutiny arose and he and his son and seven of
his faithful crew were abandoned and perished in this inhos-
pitable region. By the home speeding ship Abacuck Pricket,
one of the crew confined in the ship's cabin with rheumatism
at the time, recorded that: "Henrie Hudson, John Hudson,
Arnold Lodlo, Sidrack Faner, Philip Staffe, Thomas Wood-
house or Wydhouse, Adam Moore, Henrie King, and Michael
Bute" were placed in a shallop supplied with guns, ammuni-
tion, fuel, iron-pot, and some meal. Henry Hudson, a son
of the navigator, later became a sea-captain and settled in
the Mahicans' canton. A lineal descendant of about the
tenth generation bearing the name, Henry Hudson, at
present resides in the city of North Adams on the upper
Hoosac.

The Amsterdam merchants of Holland in 161 5, with an
5ye to business, sent several Protestant Dutch Boers to take
possession of Hudson's Mahicansac Valley. Capt. Hendrik
^orstiaensen built Fort Nassoureen on Castle Island at
I^hescodonta, which was swept away by a freshet in 1618.
however, in March 1624, thirty Protestant families of French
Walloons from the Rhone Valley, set sail on Mey's ship, Nieu
Nederlandt, from Amsterdam, and eighteen families joined
;he Boers. They located in the pine groves of Greenbush,
lear the site of Fort Crailo, and in June built Fort Aurania
)n the site of Albany.

The Mohawk King, jealous of the Mahican King Aepjen's
lUiance with the Christians, began to molest his Hoosacs
md Mahicansacs and in 1628 drove them from their Sara-
;oga fishing-weirs and Hoosac hunting-grounds. The Wal-
oons and Boers kept a covetous eye upon the Mahicans'



20 The Hoosac Valley

deserted cornfields, and Dominie Michaelous of Esopus, now
Kingston, recorded in 1630 that: The Hoosacs and Mahican-
sacs have fled and "their lands are unoccupied, and they
are very fertile and pleasant." The Walloons hunted about
Soquon's Tioshoke cornfield and noted the ruins of Fort St.
Croix, built b^'' the St. Ange traders. Later they christened
St. Croix River, Walloon Creek, and the Schaghticokes sub-
sequently deeded the valley to them as the Walloomsac Tract.
As recorded in the Albany Archives, the name has fifty
different spellings. The Italian historian Carlos Botta'
refers to the victory of Bennington in 1777 as won on
"the banks of the Walloon Creek," now known as the
Walloomsac.

The land upon both banks of the Hudson during the first
century of our colonial history, therefore, was controlled
by the Hoosacs and Mahicansacs, subject to the Schodac
Council of the Abenakis Democracy until 1 664.

The Lenni-Lenape grandfathers of the race of Great
Unami, or Turtles, originally resided on the shores of Dela-
ware and Manhattan bays. According to the Abenakis
traditions, they claimed relation to a fabled tortoise — the
Atlas of their mythology — represented as bearing an island,
as they termed the earth, on his back. The Kitsmac
seers attributed the moodus-jargon noises of thunder and
earthquakes to the anger of the monster turtle, jarring the i
earth on his shoulders. They recognized him as Hobba-
mocko (the Devil) and he was worshipped as the god of
thunder.

Revolting bands of Turtles and Snakes ascended the
rivers of the mountains at an unknown day, fighting their
way to their kindred, the Bears and Wolves, about Chesco-
donta on the Hudson, and Hochelaga on the St. Lawrence.

' Carlos Botta, History of the War of Independence, Book viii., p. 34.
George A. Otis, Trans., 1826.



22 The Hoosac Valley

One powerful canton would hold the hunting-grounds of the
Catskills and Helderbergs, or the Taconacs, Adirondacks,
Green, and White mountains, for a time, until dispersed by
a stronger race. These national conquests resulted in the
A^Iahicansac Heroes taking possession of Hudson Valley.
The isolated mixed sub-tribes of necessity soon modified the
original musical tongue of their Lenni-Lenape grandfathers.

The three great totemic cantons of Delaware Turtles,
Bears, and Wolves of Northeastern North America, spoken
of as the Algonquin Race — men of the musical language of
Great Unami — recognized each other as members of the
Abenakis Democracy. They were enemies of the Huron
Turtles, Bears, and Wolves of the Iroquois Confederacy of
the Great Lake and Mohawk basins of the Northwest. 1

The Lenni-Lenapes, known also as Minquas, bore the
totem of Great Unami, a fabled tortoise having a wild call
— AQUA-MACHUKES. The Hoosacs bore the crest of Great
Soqui, a fabled bear having a peculiar call — so-quis, ' — under
the nation's Uk-hooh — Owl Soquon; the Mahicansacs bore
the crest of Great Minsi — a supernatural wolf whose utter-
ance was MA-HI-CAN, under the nation's Hero Maquon.

Great Soqui was acknowledged to be the leading military
canton, and the Wi-gow-wauw (great sachem or king) was
chosen from the noble family of this race. The office
vacated by death of the king, or any other cause, descended
successively to his nephew — a sister's child — chosen by the
vote of the Delaware, Mahican, and Algonquin councillors,
at Chescodonta' or Schodac^ We-ko-wohum (castle of the
Abenakis Democracy).'' Chescodonta, according to tradi-

'Se-quins on Map of 1614.

^ Chescodonta = Ischoda, straw-meadow; on-akee, hill-place, signifying
the Hill of Great Council- Fire of Abenakis Democracy.

i Schodae = Esquatac, Great Fire-Place of Abenakis Nation.
* Electa F. Jones, Stockbridge, Past and Present, p. 20, 1854.



The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds



23



tion, occupied the site of Albany Capitol between 1540 and
1595, under Uncus and Passaconaway. Schodac, the site of
Castleton, on the east bank of the Hudson, was occupied by




Figurative Map of New Netherland in 1614.
This Map was prepared by Capt. Adriaen Block and covers that portion of
New England explored by him. The ancient 7tames of the Hudson and Connecti-
cut rivers, as well as the toiemic designations of the military cantons of the Aben-
akis Democracy and Iroquois Confederacy are discernible. The Abenakis
Castles Mcenemines and Uniiwat are not located. They should have been indi-
cated on both banks of the river Mauritius, ten miles 7torth of Fort Nassoureen,
now the site of Albany.



Aepjen, evidently nephew and successor of Uncus, in 1609.
He lighted the nation's council-fire on Aepjen's, or Bear's
Island, containing ten acres of marsh grass. The most
ancient names of Bear Island are reported to be Passapenock
and Mahican, and the island was doubtless occupied for a
time by Passaconaway's Pennacook Bears, and Uncus's
Mahican Wolves.



24 The Hoosac Valley

The Pennacooks, Mahicans, Horicons, and Nawaas were
dispersed, however, by the Mohawks before the arrival of
Champlain and Hudson in 1609. The Horicons pushed
north to Lake Andratoroct, now Lake George. The Penna-
cooks and Nawaas located on the east bank of the Connecti-
cut ; the former lighted their civil council-fire at Pawtucket,
where Passaconaway, in 1660, at the age of one hundred
and twenty years, made his farewell oration. His nephew
and successor, Wanalancet, commanded the Pennacooks and
lighted his council-fire at Penock, the site of Concord, N. H.,
in 1675. King Uncus and his Mahicans migrated south and
located about Pequot Bay in Connecticut, where roamed
flocks of turkeys. They adopted the crest of Great Una-
lachti, a fabled turkey, having a wild call — pe-quat, from
which arose their new tribal name Pequots.

According to the Hollander's Map of 161 4, the mixed
Turtles, Snakes, and Turkeys were settled upon the coast
of Delaware and New England. East of the Pequots resided
the Wampanoags about Cape Cod Bay under Sachem Massa-
soit, v/ho welcomed the English Pilgrims of the Mayflower
in March, 1621; north of them resided the Maistchusaegs
about Massachusetts Bay. In the Lake District of the
Maine Woods were the fierce Abnaquis; west of them dwelt
their kindred Pennacooks, and the Nawaas on the east bank
of the Connecticut in the White Mountains ; and on the west
bank of the Connecticut in the Green and Taconac moun-
tains resided Uk-hooh-quethoths (the Owl-Bears), known
as Hoosacs and Soquonsacs of Great Soqui, led by Soquon.
Between the Hudson and Delaware, south of the Mohawk
divide, in the Helderberg and Catskill mountains, resided
the Maquon-paus (the Hero- Wolves or Maquonsacs) known
as Minquas and Mahicansacs of Great Unami and Great
Minsi, led by Maquon or Minichqua.

The Hoosacs and Mahicansacs, therefore, occupied the



The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds 25

Sannahagog military districts on both banks of the Hudson
about Cohoes Falls. They controlled castles Unuwat and
Moenemines, and guarded the portal leading west to the
Mohawk Valley, and the trail north to their kindred Algon-
quins of Ticonderoga, known as the Adirondacks, situated
on the shores of the Petonboque, the lake separating the
Abenakis and Iroquois nations.

About 1609, King Aepjen pushed the Hoosacs and Mahi-
cansacs up the Mohawk Valley and invited war. They
boasted to their jealous enemies that they received the first
kiss of the morning sun, and that the tribute which they
paid was 7iot to the Iroquois of the setting sun. The name,
Mohawk, held no terror for the wise heroes of the East,
although it still had for Uncus and Passaconaway, upon
whose heads a price was set. Soquon and Maquon of Great
Soqui and Great Minsi never yielded in battle until the last
drop of blood of their enemy was shed. Hawkey e, the
white hunter-scout of Falls Quequick of the Hoosac, men-
tioned in Cooper's Last of the Mohicans, says: "Look to a
Delaware, or a Mohican, for a warrior!"

The Canadas later called all the mixed races of Abenakis
Turtles, Bears, and Wolves of New York and New England,
Manhingans (Loups, or wild dogs), owing to the prevailing
totem of the Great Minsi (Wolf) tattooed on the warriors'
breasts, from which arose the present name Mohegan.
These warriors, known as the Algonquin Race to the Jesuits,
controlled the Hudson-Champlain and Connecticut water-
ways from the environs of Quebec and Montreal on the St.
Lawrence, south to Delaware, Manhattan, Pequot, and
Wampanoag bays.

The fugitive King Uncus resided on the Mohegoneck
River about Pequot Bay and attended the national councils
of the Abenakis Democracy at Schodac on the Hudson.
Part of his warriors, however, revolted in 1636, and he and



■26 The Hoosac Valley

fifty of his tribesmen were forced to seek aid of the Chris-
tians about Fort Good Hope. Two years later the EngHsh
of Hartford conquered the warring Pequots, and Uncus
formed a treaty of peace with the Yankee traders. The
fugitive Pequots were forced to leave their native valley
Mohegoneck and take another tribal name. They migrated
east and lighted their civil council-fire on the Narrow High-
gansetts, between the Mohegoneck and Varsch, or Fresh
River, of Connecticut, and took the name Narragansetts.

The Pilgrims obtained a deed of Uncus's Mohegoneck
hunting-grounds for a few kegs of aqua-vitcB, and he retained
the tribal name, Mahicans, for his surviving Snake and
Turtle warriors. The Mohegoneck River was christened
the Thames by the New Londoners who arrived in 1638.
Uncus lived until after King Philip's Mahican Revolution
and was noted for his love of wines and cider brandy. His
brother-in-law, Chingachgook (Big Snake), migrated to
Falls Quequick in Hoosac Valley and became the father of
Uncus, a nephew and last successor of King Uncus of Great
Unami. Big Snake and his royal son met the hunter-scout,
Leather-Stocking, at Falls Quequick village, and they all
figure in Cooper's Last of the Mohicajis.

Centuries before Champlain and Hudson arrived, the
Hoosacs and Mahicansacs claimed to have built fishing-weirs
at Ochserantogue— the place of swift waters on Fish Creek,
the outlet of Lake Saratoga. It became a national fishing
and hunting-ground for the people of the Abenakis Demo-
cracy, although the warriors of the Iroquois Confederacy
from the Northwest were not allowed the freedom of the
weirs. The Horicons and Algonquins of Adirondack and
Ticonderoga hunting-grounds knew Fish Creek as Sa-ra-ta-
ke^-the place where the muddy moccasin heel of the Mo-
hawk and Huron Mingos showed on the rocks about their
weirs. Fish Creek Valley became known as the place



The Hoosacs' Hun ting-Grounds 2-]

of herring and a war-trail between the Mohawks and
Hoosacs.

The Iroquois Confederacy comprised three great totemic
cantons of Huron Turtles, Bears, and Wolves, residing in the
Great Lake and Mohawk basins. The Bears and Wolves
included six sub-cantons in their order: Mohawks, Tusca-
roras, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. The
Tuscaroras, according to tradition, warred with the Mohawks
and migrated to North Carolina about 1595, after which the
Iroquois Confederacy comprised only Five Nations. During
1 7 14, the Mohawk King forced the Tuscaroras to return and
aid him against the invading Christians, after which the
Iroquois Confederacy became known as the Six Nations.

The Mahicans were always hereditary enemies of the
Mohawks, and Caniaderaunte, the lake that is the gate of
the country, now Lake Champlain, was from time immemo-
rial the dividing line between the two military cantons of
warring Bears of the Abenakis and Iroquois nations. After
Champlain aided the Algonquins of the Adirondacks to
scatter their Mohawk enemies in panic with his weapons of
the sky, during July, 1609, the Ticonderoga and Horicon
forests for two centuries until 1815 became "the dark and
bloody ground" of warfare.

Between 1609 and 161 6, there were forty thousand war-
riors of the Abenakis Democracy residing on the coasts of
New Netherland and New England. Daniel Gookin, the
historian, was informed by a Wampanoag sachem that
thousands died the latter year from a scourge that caused
its victims to resemble "the color of a yellow garment."
King Aepjen's Hoosacs and Mahicansacs of Schodac, Unu-
wat, and Moenemines castles suffered also from disease and
famine in 1638. It appears that hundreds died from
smallpox spread among them by the Christian traders,
and were buried in the Tawasentha (vale of the many



2^ The Hoosac Valley

dead) in the ravine of Norman's Kill near Castleton-on
the-Hudson.

Between the close of the Pequot War, in 1638, and the
English conquest of the Dutch, in 1664, King Aepjen's
warriors usually spent the winter in the Hoosac and Housa-
tonac valleys. The royal Schodacs encamped on the Wi-
gow-wauw Brook, known as Nana-Apen-ahican Creek
flowing about Monument Mountain in Stockbridge. Mass '
on the Housatonac; and near the confluence of Wash-Tub
Brook with the Hoosac River, west of Kreigger Rocks in
Pownal, Vt. The latter is distinguished for its Cohohas
(pot-holes or wash-basins). Maquon also occupied the^
pme grove m the Mayoonsac near the Natural Bridge on the
upper Hoosac. The pine grove at River Bend and Sand
Spring camps m Williamstown, and the Sand Hills on the
Ashawaghsac at the base of the "Forbidden Hoosac Moun-
tain m Massachusetts proved snug winter lodges Other
camp-grounds have been located in the Walloomsac and
Batten Kill passes of Manchester and Arlington, Vermont
about the base of Equinox and Mount ^olus.

The warriors resided in the evergreen forests of the Ta
conac passes until the new moon of February. This was a
harbinger of spring and the squaws at once began to make
maple sugar and soon moved their deer-skin tents to the
banks of the Hudson and the shores of Lake Saratoga for
the fishing season. The Pinxster Festival consisted of a
feast of fish, after the squaws had planted the corn, bean
pumpkin, and squash fields. Their warriors then started
forth on hunting expeditions or the war-path until Pan's
Festival of the Pass, held during the harvest moon of Octo-
ber This was a feast of venison and corn-cake, celebrated
on Pass-Apenock Island, now Bear's Island, and later in
Pan-Hoo-sac, near Unuwat's castle on the Hudson after
which the warriors returned to their winter lodges



The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds 29

Each winter lodge and summer planting-ground bore
separate names. The chiefs and petty-sagamores held
local government over their lodges, except during times of
war, when they were subject to Soquon's and Maquon's
councils at Unuwat and Moenemines castles.

Numerous planting-grounds have been located in the
Hoosac Valley, including Soquon's Tioshoke cornfield of
twelve acres at the junction of Owl Kill with the Hoosac;
the Tohkonac cornfield and orchard on the hills southwest
of Buttermilk Falls on the Tomhannac Creek ; the Pompanac
pumpkin and bean fields of Mawwehu on the Pumpkin Hook,
a branch of White Creek; the Falls Quequick fields of Keep-
erdo, who was known to the Dutch as "Hoosac or Mahican
Abraham"; the Onakee fields of Chingachgook (Big Snake)
on Indian Hill in Hoosac; Maquon's Cohoha cornfield about
the junction of Wash-Tub Brook with the Hoosac in Pownal ;
Orcombreight's Wampansac camp on Indian Brook near the
Council Elm on Green River, and Grey-Lock's camp about
the Wampanoag's Sand Springs in Williamstown. River
Bend camp-ground, in the pine groves north of Moody
Bridge in Williamstown, was considered the most picturesque
lodge on the Mahican and Mohawk war-path in New Eng-
land, until the forests were cleared about 1765. Other
planting-grounds have been located in ArHngton and Man-
chester Vt., on the Walloomsac and Batten Kill headwaters.

According to the English and Moravian missionaries
under Jonathan Sergeant and the German Count Zinzen-
dorf, there were forty Mahican villages located among the
Green and Taconac forests on the headwaters of the Hoosac
and Housatonac valleys between 1734 and the close of the
French and Indian W^ar. Chief among those lodges may be
mentioned King Aepjen's Schaghticoke village, in Sheffield,
Mass., on upper Housatonac; Soquon's and Maquon's
Old Schaghticoke village, N. Y., on lower Hoosac, and Maw-



30 The Hoosac Valley

wehu's New Schaghticoke village, in Kent, Ct., on the lower
Housatonac.

Implements of war, soil-cultivating tools, and symbols of
worship, have been unearthed throughout the Hoosac and
Housatonac valleys. The Skeetecook meadow, which was
the site of Maquon's Still Water lodge of the Hoosac and
Mohawk scouts, known as the River Indians, at the junction
of the Hoosac with the Hudson, has yielded its mixed crop
of Mahican quartz and Mohawk flint arrows, scalping
knives, tomahawks, clay pipes, and hominy-pounders. In
the Skatecook meadow, the site of Soquon's village of
Mingling Waters, at the confluence of the Tomhannac with
the Hoosac near the Witenagemot Oak, have been found sev-
eral relics, including a ceremonial Calumet, or pipe of peace.
It was long preserved by the late Col. William Knicker-
backer, and is now in Prof. D. F. Thompson's collection of
Indian reHcs in Lansingburg, N. Y.

Every burial mound has yielded its customary "weapons
of rest." In some rare instances, a Wakoti-bird stone, carved
from quartz, representing a dove or bird of paradise, has been
unearthed in the tombs of the Kitsmac (pow-wow priest) , in-
dicating his holy office. In the Abenakis King's burial-field
on Indian Hill, near Lake Onota or Onetho, at Pontoosac —
place of winter deer of Housatonac Valley— a portion of the
Hebrew Scriptures of the Great Spirit was unearthed in 1815. ^
Indian Cemetery and the Sand Hills, in North Adams;
River Bend and Sand Spring Grove, in Williamstown, Mass. ;
Indian Hill, in Hoosac, and the burial-fields of Old Schagh-
ticoke, N. Y., have also revealed their "weapons of rest."

The Mohawk and Hoosac War that began in 1609 raged
again in August, 1626. Most of the Dutch Boers and French
Walloons of Fort Orange and Greenbush took to their flat-
bottomed boats and sailed down the Hudson to their New

'Electa F. Jones, Stockbridge, Past and Present, p. 24. 1854.



The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds 31

Amsterdam kindred. Capt. Daniel Van Krieckebeek, how-
ever, remained in command of Fort Orange ; he and six of his
soldiers aided Soquon and Maquon of Unuwat and Moene-
mines castles, against the ambuscades of the Mohawks, a
mile north of Fort Orange near Buttermilk Falls. Captam
Van Krieckebeek and three of his men were slain, Tymen
Bouwensen was roasted and devoured by the Mohawks,
and the others were burned and buried. According to the
ancient custom of the Indians, they reserved "a leg and an
arm" to take home to their families as proof that they had
conquered their enemies.

Nicholaes Wassenaer, the historian of New Amsteidam,
recorded that the savage warfare caused a depression in the
fur-trade at Fort Orange. Battles continued to rage on
both banks of the Hudson, reaching eastward about Green-
bush and throughout Kinderhook Valley. During 1628,
Soquon and Maquon led their warriors up the Mohawk
Valley and set a torch to the Iroquois castles on the Great
Flats near the site of Schenectady. The Mohawks slew
great numbers and drove the Hoosacs and Mahicansacs
from the Ochserantogue fishing-weirs and Schaahtecogue
hunting-grounds. They forced them up the Dianondehowa
trail, known as the Batten Kill Pass, over the Green Moun-
tains to Coos Falls on the west bank of the Connecticut.

Here the Mahican squaws cleared the Coos Meadows and
cultivated corn and bean fields, while the warriors took the
tribal name Coosacs or Soquonsacs under Soquon, and began
to polish implements of war. The Moodus war-spirit was
inborn in them and they sought revenge. Soon they won the
ear of the fugitive Passaconaway and with the aid of their
Pennacook and Abnaquis kindred of the East, they con-
tinued to occupy their native fishing and hunting-grounds
of the Taconacs and for forty-one years harassed the
Mohawk Mingos.



32 The Hoosac Valley

In the half century after 1615, when Fort Nassoureen was
built on Castle Island, the Dutch, French, and EngHsh
colonists had crowded in from all sides. Continued war-
fare had greatly thinned the Delaware and Mahican ranks,
and their courage was so depleted by rum, their crops so
scant, and their fishing and hunting-grounds so ruined, that
King Aepjen of Schodac, in 1664, was forced through famine
to move the Abenakis Democracy's council-fire eastward to
the junction of Green River with the Housatonac, in Shef-
field, Mass. He took the national name Skatecook and in
1734 his warriors were there discovered by the English
missionaries, Jonathan Sergeant and Samuel Hopkins.
Aepjen's military council-fires at castles Moenemines and
Unuwat, below Cohoes Falls, and at Catskill Castle also
ceased to burn in 1662. That year Gov. Peter Stuyvesant,
known as Swannekins, persuaded Kryn's Mohawks to make
peace with the warring Soquonsacs. But instead of gaining
a reconciliation the Mohawks' embassy was slain near
Soquon's Coos Castle.

During the eventful spring of 1664, Governor Stuyvesant
summoned a general conference of all the sachems of the
Hudson and Alohawk valleys at Fort Amsterdam. The
Lenni-Lenape orator opened the council with a prayer to
Hobbamocko, or Bachtamo (the evil fiend of calamity);
and he begged the Great Manitou also to aid them in con-
cluding a treaty of enduring peace with the Christians.
Again Swannekins advised them to send peace commission-
ers to Soquon's Coos and Penobscot castles. The Peace of
Narrington was concluded between the Mohawk and Hoosac
commissioners May 14, 1664. Governor Stuyvesant signed
the Christians' treaty of peace a week later, and this was
announced by a salute from the guns of Fort Amsterdam,
and June 4th was proclaimed Thanksgiving Day throughout
New Netherlands.




Pieter Stiiyvesant, the Last of the Dutch Governors of New Netherland.
He was known as Swannekins to the Delawares and Mahicans and,
after making peace between the Hoosacs and Mohawks, celebrated the first
Thanksgiving Day in New Netherland June 4th, before the conquest of the
English in July, 1664.



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