Grace Greylock Niles.

The Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history online

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The Malleable Iron Works of Hoosac Falls was founded
by Isaac C. Johnson of New York City and William Nichols
of Hoosac in 1 87 1. It consumes over 800 tons of iron annu-
ally in the manufacture of carriage ironings, carpenter, and
agricultural tools.

The Schaghticoke mill-centre about Hart's Falls turns out
woollen-goods, cable, paper, and powder. The woollen-mill
founded by Amos Briggs and Thomas Vail in 1863 turned
out fancy cassimeres. It is now a branch cf the historic
Linwood Mill of North Adams, J. J. Joslin of Buskirk
Bridge purchased the mill in 1878. Both the Schaghticoke
and North Adams cassimere-mills are now owned by the
wool merchant, Stephen J, Barker of Troy.

The Eagle Shirt Works of Schaghticoke were opened in
1876 and finished 12,000 dozen shirts annually. The Pow-
der-Mill is one of the oldest industries of the town, located
half a mile south of Hart's Falls. Drs. Franklin and Saxton
were among the pioneer proprietors and passed through
several explosions.

The Cable Flax-Mill was founded by Lake and Sproat in
1 87 1. It occupies the historic site of Joy's linen-duck mill
and supplies the market of the world with rope, twine, yarn,
and shoe thread, from their Troy, New York, and San
Francisco offices. Over 6000 pounds of raw material of flax
are consumed daily, from which are produced 5000 pounds
of finished material.

The promoter, George Tibbits of Dutch Hoosac, also
owned vast estates in Schaghticoke. He once conceived of
a plan to use the water-power of Hart's Falls to furnish power
for several factories in the gorge between the "Big-Eddy"
and the "Devil's Chimney," opposite the "Fallen-hill"


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478 The Hoosac Valley

from Vermont in the Western and Southern United States
than from any other State in the Union.

Among the pioneer schools of Bennington may be men-
tioned the Old Brick Academy, south of the Battle Monu-
ment; Union Academy in Bennington Village, built in 1821 ;
and Mount Anthony Seminary and Bennington Academy,
opened in 1829. The Misses Clark, and the Misses Carpen-
ter, Knight, and Gould schools for girls opened later.

The village of North Bennington is as progressive as
Bennington. Among its spires are those of the Methodist,
Universalist, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic churches.
Overlooking the picturesque Falls Quequick, east of the
village of Hoosac Falls, may be observed the spires of the
First Baptist and St. Mark's Episcopal churches. The lat-
ter church was dedicated by Bishop Horatio Potter in
i860, and the John Hobart Warren chimes and clock in
the tower cost $6000. Nor is one likely to overlook the
steeple of the Augustian Fathers St. Mary's Church, in
which is hung a heavy-toned bell weighing 2690 pounds, re-
echoing among the dark ravines of the encircling hills.

The chimes of the Thompson Memorial Chapel of Wil-
liamstown are challenged for beauty of tone only by the
chimes of the All Saints' Episcopal Chapel of Hoosac, built
by George Mortimer Tibbits and dedicated by the Rev.
Dr. Cummins. The chapel is built of unhewn stone and
cost $20,000. But the chimes are valued at $12,000 — the
smallest bell being a relic of mediaeval times, over five and
a half centuries old. It was an old bell, ringing the Christ-
ians to prayers in Europe, about the time the French Father
of St. Ange, France, hoisted the St. Croix banner in 1540
among the Hoosacs.

The pulpit of All Saints' Chapel is occupied by the Rev.
John B. Tibbits and his son, the Rev. Edward Tibbits, both
graduates of Williams College and grandsons of the Hon.

A^ /

The Balloon North Adams. The factory chimneys loom
up in the distance at the base of Bald Mountain of the Green
Mountain Range, North Adams, Massachusetts.

" Peace hath her victories
No less renowned than War."


480 The Hoosac Valley

George Tibbits. The Hoosac School for Boys is under the
tutorship of the Rev. Edward Tibbits.

The Mapleton Baptist Church was moved to the hill east
of All Saints' Chapel at Hoosac in 1824. A new building
was built on its site in 1831 and remained standing until
1870, when the present brick church was dedicated.

The Old Baptist Church on the hill was occupied between
1849 and 1852 by Elder William Arthur, father of Gen.
Chester A. Arthur. Young Arthur taught in the brown
schoolhouse at North Pownal between 1850 and 1852.
When in 1852 James A. Garfield of Ohio was a Freshman
at Williams, he also taught penmanship during the evening
in the same schoolhouse, and presided over a Sunday-School
class at the Congregational Church. The schoolhouse still
stands, but the church burned recently. After President
Garfield's assassination, Vice-President Arthur succeeded to
the Presidency of the United States.

The pioneer Hoosac school committee in 1 796 consisted
of Sylvester Noble, Peter D. Van Dyck, John Comstock,
and Joseph Dorr. The system was succeeded by a super-
intendent and supervisors in 1844. Ball Seminary was
incorporated and built in District No. i, at Hoosac Falls
in 1843, at a cost of $3567, by the late Judge Levi Chandler
Ball, a native of Wilmington, Vt., where he was born, 1809.
For twelve years the Seminary ranked first in New York
State. The trustees, Walter Abbott Wood, the Rev.
De Witt, and Charles H. Merritt, later converted the
Seminary into Ball's High School.

Among the steeples of Schaghticoke Village may be seen
those of the Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, and Roman
Catholic churches. The last mentioned contains a bell
weighing 1650 pounds, hung in the tower, 115 feet above the
water table. The parish consists of over 2000 members.
The miniature lake formed by the dam of the Electrical

Progress during the Hoosac Tunnel Era 481

Power Company above Hart's Falls reminds one of the
ancient glacial lake, whose terraced shores are still discern-
ible throughout the Valley of Mingling Waters. The
Troy Reservoir, nearly four miles in length, occupies the
entire Tomhannac Valley east of East Schaghticoke
Station. It is fed from Lake Babcock and Long Pond,
located in the Hoosac Lake District of Grafton.

A number of years ago, the Fiend of Calamity visited the
villagers of Schaghticoke Point in the form of a scourge and
hundreds died. The place became known as the "Vale of
Death" instead of the "Vale of Peace." Similar malarious
vapors, known to the pioneer Christians, were described by
the poet, Thomas Moore, in his Evil Spirit of the Woods,
during 1804:

Now the vapor, hot and damp.
Sheds the day's expiring lamp.
Through the misty ether spreads
Every ill the white man dreads.

The close of a Century of Progress in Hoosac Valley
witnesses not only rapid transit by way of the Grand Barge
Erie Canal, recently completed between Waterford and
Chicago, but a National School of Ballooning founded in the
City of North Adams, which is a centre for balloon ascen-
sions in New England.

Among other enterprises is that of the gladiolus culture
in Berlin on the Little Hoosac. The gorgeous plants are
grown not only for their flowers but for stocking the world's
market with bulbs.





Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into
you as SU71 shine flotos i?ito trees. The tvinds will blow their oiv?i freshness into
you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

John Muir.

Mahican Muse — Washington Irving as "Diedrich Knickerbocker" — William
Cullen Bryant — Nathaniel Hawthorne — Henry David Thoreau — The
Towers of Mount Anthony and Greylock Parks — Catherine Sedgwick—
Elizabeth Payson Prentiss — Helen Hunt Jackson — Albert Hopkins and
the Alpine Club — Isaac Jennings — Levi Chandler Ball — Hiland Hall
— Arthur Latham Perry — William Dwight Whitney — John Bascom — •
Thomas Nelson Dale.

THOUSANDS of sunrise worshippers climb to the sum-
mits' of Greylock and Mount St. Anthony to get their
good tidings. The harmonious colors mantling the undulat-
ing mountain waves of the Taconacs have in the past thrown
their charm over the Mahican seers, and continue to inspire
the philosophers of civilized nations.

For ever, since the world began, thy eye,

Grey-headed mount, hath been upon these hills.

Piercing the sky, with all thy sea of woods

Swelling around thee, evermore thou art,

Unto our weaker, earthly sense, the type I

Of the Eternal, changeless and alone. ^

' See illustrations, pp. 3-493.

^ David Dudley Field, Greylock; Perry, Williamstown and Williams
College, p. 795.


Literary Shrines of the Valley 483

No trace of the muse of the Mahicans has come down
to us:

Yet, perchance, the Indian hunter,

Many a lagging year agone,
GHding o'er thy rippHng waters

Lowly hummed a natural song. '

The Pilgrimi sailors who survived the perilous voyages of
the Half-Moon and of the staunch Mayflower, built their
chapels on the sites of the Hoosacs' shrines of Manitou and
Hobbamocko. Here where their Moodus seers held their
pow-wows, our bards and philosophers have trod :

'Mong the deep-cloven fells that for ages have listened
To the rush of the pebble-paved river between,

In the old mossy groves on the breast of the mountain
In deep lonely glens where the waters complain.^

The Hoosac hunting-grounds are as ancient as Great
Unami, the fabled tortoise that dwelt along the fern-shaded
shore of the Cambrian Sea, ebbing at the base of Greylock
and Mount St. Anthony, ages before the Hoosac Pass of the
Taconacs marked the devious course of its lakes and rivers.
In the old gray town of Tawasentha (the place of the many
dead) mingles the dust of the Lenni-Lenape Kings from the
unknown shores of ukhkopeck beyond the sea.

The ancient breccia obehsks on the lower Hoosac mark
the shrines of Manitou and Hobbamocko, although the names
of the Hoosac pow-wow poets have been forgotten, and
Enghsh grass flourishes over their tombs. Thoreau said:
"Heroes survive storms and the spears of their foes, and
perform a few heroic deeds, and then :

' Thoreau, Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers, p. 306.
^ Bryant, " I cannot Forget with what Fervid Devotion."

484 The Hoosac Valley

' Mounds will answer questions of them,
For many future years.' "

Goethe, in his Italian Travels, says that the peasants
brought up in that country looked over their shoulders at
their ruined towers : ' ' That they might behold with their own
eyes what I had praised to their ears, . . . and I added
nothing, not even the ivy which for centuries had decorated
the walls."

Strangers have come to erect a tower to the memory of the
departed warriors of Wappanachki, on the shores of their
ebbing Unami Sea, near the statue of the Goddess of Liberty. '
It is hoped that those born and brought up in the shadow of
Greylock, Mount Anthony, and the Witenagemot Oak, will
also look over their shoulders and behold " with their own
eyes," the moss-grown shrines of the Hoosacs and Schaghti-
cokes, and cast a stone on a cairn to their memory.

Hither the silent Indian maid
Brought wreaths of beads and flowers,
And the gray chief and gifted seer
Worshipped the god of thunders here.^

The poet, Bryant, in the ancient Legends of the Delawares
and Mahicans, relates that Onetho, the bowyer-chief, beheld
the whiteman's lightning arrows of the sky overthrow his
nation's council oak. He procured the polished weapon
and was later slain himself in his favorite Bellows'-Pipe
hunting-grounds, at the eastern base of Mount Greylock.
Onetho's spirit still haunts the Vale and breathing hard
sends :

The shower of fiery arrows round.

The English pioneers of Northfield and Springfield behold-

' John Wanamaker, Jr., Paris, France, proposed Indian statue to be erected
on Staten Island, New York City.

^ Bryant, An Indian at the Burial-Place of his Fathers.

The Iron Tower on the bald Summit of Mount Greylock. The Summit is J505
feet above sea level aytd the Tower is 50 feet high.
thou Greylock, graceful monarch!

Thou art king of all this land;
And thus travellers look with pleasure

Online LibraryGrace Greylock NilesThe Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history → online text (page 32 of 41)