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The Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history online

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34 The Hoosac \'alley

Oaths and treaties, however, lay lightly on the Mahicans*
conscience and warfare still raged. An avenging war-party
of Abnaquis from the Maine Woods joined the Hoosacs and
on July 1 ith besieged the Dutch and Krvn's Mohawk allies
about Fort Crailo in Greenbush. Abraham Staats, his
wife, and Negro slave were scalped, and his mansion left in
flames, while the warriors descended to Claverack, plundering
and murdering as they went. Governor Stuvvesant was
unable to despatch his Fort Amsterdam militia to aid the
tenants of Rensselaerwyck against the incursions of the
savages, as the English war-fleet was already heard cannon-
ading in New Amsterdam harbor. On July 27th, Col.
Richard Nicolls sailed up the Hudson as far as Nyack Bay';
Fort Amsterdam surrendered to the Duke of York and
Albany on September 8th. and became Fort James.
Colonel Nicolls assumed the olfice of Governor of New
York P^o^-ince; and on September 24th Fort Orange became
Fort Albany.

The EngHsh conquest of Dutch New Netheriand aroused
the bitter jealousy of the French of New France. The
Governor-General and his Jesuit chaplains at once began
to strengthen their alliance with the Algonquins and Hurons
Later they founded a line of palisaded mission villa-e>.
among the Mahicans of Maine Woods, \Miite and Green
mountains; and later assisted the Algonquins of St. Law-
rence to harass their Mohawk enemies. During the autumn
of 1666, the gouty .ALirquis De Tracy headed a band of
French and Algonquins and succeeded in burning Kr}-n\
Mohawk Shonowe ^-illage and castle. He hoisted die lilied
flag of France, and the Jesuit chaplain unfuried the Roman
banner St. Croix, on a high pole above the smouldering ruins,
and thus proclaimed their conquest of the Mohawk \^alley.
The venerable Maquon. or Alinichqua. then held a coun-
cil with Soquon at Coos Castle, and it was decided that the






36 The Hoosac Valley

Hoosacs and Mahicansacs should take advantage of Kryn's
sad plight and drive the Mohawks from their Saratoga and
Hoosac hunting-grounds forever. Soquon rallied all his
warriors from the East and marched through the Hoosac
Pass of the Taconacs to Kryn's Gandawague village in the
Mohawk Valley. Kryn was soon humbled, and during the
early spring of 1 667 he was forced to send an embassy to beg
aid from the hated Canadas against Soquon 's deadly raids.

The Governor-General of New France despatched the
Jesuit Fathers, believed to have been Pierron, Fremin,
Beschefer, and Nicholas, who aided the Mohawks to fortify
the war-trails. They led the Mohawks up the Hoosac
Valley to the junction of the Walloomsac, and it is believed
that they built a palisaded fort and forest chapel on the site
of Fort St. Croix, founded by the St. Ange traders in 1540.

During the summer of 1668 Kryn and his Mohawks drove
Soquon up the Hoosac, and he and his warriors took refuge
beneath Weeping Rocks, in the narrow pass of Pownal.
The Mahicans held a tradition that they would not be con-
quered until the "rocks wept." That faith sustained them
during a century of conflict with the Mohawks, until they
sought the shelter beneath the Pudding-stone Cliffs and
beheld the "tear-drops" which flowed from the mountain.
The pursuing Mohawks were close at hand and slew nearly
the whole band of panic-stricken warriors.

Silent they fell at their chieftain's side,
And Hoosac blushed with the purple tide.

Here mourn the rocks a nation's woe,
And tear-drops from the mountain flow!'

After the massacre at Weeping Rocks, Soquon made his
escape, torn and wounded, over the Hoosac Mountain trail,

' Williams College Quarterly.

The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds 37

and sought the aid of his kindred Pennacooks under the stern
Wampanoag chieftain, Grey- Lock, of the Agawam forests
of Massachusetts. During Soquon's final siege against
Kryn's Mohawks, headed possibly by their Jesuit chaplain,
Boniface, in the late autumn of 1669, the Hoosacs and their
allies burned Fort St. Croix and the mission chapel and slew
nearly all the fleeing Mohawks and their children. Several
warriors made their escape up Kayadrosseras trail, by way
of Fish Creek, to the Mohawk Valley. The last mortal
fight took place on a hill known as Kinaquarione, east of
Hoffman Station, N. Y.

All contemporary records of the Hoosacs' and Mahican-
sacs' victory over Kryn's Mohawks were lost. At best the
Mingos' traditions of their own defeat, as well as the reports
of the French Jesuits who aided them, and the documentary
records of the grasping Dutch and English officials of Fort
Albany and Fort wSchenectady, reach back only to silence
and fable. Historians usually accept the Mingos' dis-
honest traditions and have never given the Hoosacs and
Mahicansacs the credit of their military prowess or victories.
Father Fremin affirmed, however, that he baptized fifty-
three Mohawks between 1666 and 1669, although "nearly
all of them had gone to heaven."^

Conclusive proof of the final conquest of Soquon and
Maquon over Kryn's Mohawks is found in the Mahican
title-deeds^ recorded in Albany, Berkshire, and Bennington
County Clerks' Offices to-day, confirming patents of their
hunting-grounds in Hudson Valley, Lakes Saratoga, George,
and Champlain, and the Hoosac, Walloomsac, and Batten
Kill basins. Although the Mohawks in 1628 claimed the
right of conquest over the Hoosacs' and Mahicansacs' Sara-
toga fishing-grounds, know^n as the Kayonderossera Tract,

' Gen. William Johnson, MSS., pp. 170-173, 1767.

^ Ruttenber, History of Indian Tribes of Hudson River, p. 59, 1872.


The Hoosac Valley

the JMalilcan Bears and Wolves, by right of their final con-
quest over the Mohawks in 1669, confirmed that tract as
Saratoga Patent to the Dutch patroons in 1682 under Gov.

r -^3 um\ ^ )r.]fr- Mr






Charter of Nctc York, granted by King Charh;; II to his brother James,
the Duke of York and Albany, Mareh 12, 1664. It is one of the oldest extant doeu-
mcnts of New York State, and led to the do-wnfall of the Diiteh in 1664, and the
land-title quarrels of 1-64— resulting /„ the Rirolution and the victory of the
Americans oirr the British at Bennington and Old Saratoga in 7777.

Thomas Dongan. As late as 1767 the Delaware and ]\Iahi-
can descendants at Old Stockbridge continued to dispute the
Mohawks' right to deed their Schaghticoke ancestors' forests
on the upper Hudson, "to the prejudice of the Mohawks."^
The Hoosacs' victor3% however, was not purchased without

'Gen. William Johnson, MSS., p. 33, 1767.

The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds 39

the loss of brave heroes, and the death of their chosen war-
captain, Chekatabut of the Pennacooks, known to the Eng-
lish as Josiah. Historian Drake ^ quaintly describes him in
his Book of the I?idians as "a wise man, and a stout man of
middle stature."

The boasted terror of Kryn's Mohawks in 1669 vanished
from the Hoosac and Saratoga hunting-grounds forever.
Yet the Iroquois, famous for the dishonesty and treachery
taught them by their French allies, patronizingly called the
venerable Maquon, Soquon, Grey- Lock, and Wanalancet,
"squaw sachems," "their children, and their nephews";
and the English and Dutch, "pale-faced dogs!"

The Alohawks in 1726, aided by the white cunning of the
Yankee Pilgrim and Dutch trader, in the hope of gaining
territorial supremacy, entrapped the Delawares and Mahi-
cans into signing a treaty of neutrality in war against the
Christians. In 1742, at the Philadelphia Council, the
JMohawk orator, Canassatiego, exclaimed at last: "We
conquered you, we made women of you; you know you are
women; we charge you to remove instantly; we don't give
you liberty to think about it." The sachems of Wappan-
achki after that were styled women, and nephews of the
Iroquois, and they called the Mohawks their uncles. They
still retained the prophet's commandments on the Prayer-
stick of Great Unami, and until they migrated to Miami
hunting-grounds in Ohio Valley, bore a hominy-pestle,
instead of a tomahawk, in their hands.

The Hoosacs' Tawasentha (burial-field and shrine of
sacrifice) until 1 669 occupied the fifteen-acre meadow on the
south bank of the Hoosac, opposite the Fallen-hill in Old
Schaghticoke. A century ago a natural obelisk of limestone-
breccia towered nearly one hundred feet from the river bed
beneath the Fallen-hill. It was known to the Mahicans and

' Samuel G. Drake, Particular History.


The Hoosac Valley

Delawarcs as Hobbamocko's shrine, or the Devil's Chimney.
About this monument the Mahicans hung offerings, inclu-
ding Sicastika, Calumet, corn, and skins, to ai)pease the fiend
of calamity there. After they moved to the Mississippi


Site of the Dei'il's Chimney, known to the Iloosacs as Hobbamocko's Altar,
at the base of the Fallen-hill in Old Schaghticoke, yeic York. The Tawasentha
{Burial-Place of the Many Dead) occupied the south bank of the Hoosac opposite
the Fallen-hill.

This bank, in which the dead were laid,

Was sacred n'hen its soil xi'as ours;
Hither the silent Indian maid

Brought wreaths of beads and flowers.
And the gray chief and gifted seer
Worshipped the god of thunders here."

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

Valley it remained their custom to hang offerings on an oak
near the Cascade of St. Anthony of Padua in memory of
their Witenagemot Oak in their "Vale of Peace." Thomas
Moore in 1804 alluded to the Indian's sacrificial legend in his
pcem, The Evil Spirit of the Woods:

The Hoosacs' Hunting-Grounds 41

Unto the dangerous pass

O'er the deep and dark morass,

Here the trembling Indian brings

Belts of porcelain, pipes, and rings.

Tributes, to be hung in air,

To the Fiend presiding there !

The Mahicans believed in the renewal of the associations
of this life be\'ond the grave. A small opening was usually
left in the burial mound for the fiight of the Wakon-hird
f Spirit-dovej , representing the departing soul. Symbols of
the Holy Ghost, resembling doves or birds of paradise, were
carved from quartz b}' the seers. They were known as
Manitou-aseiiiuh C Spirit-stones), used by the Kitsmac-i-
Moodus ''pMDw-wow propjhet) in his burial ceremonies. Moore
also mentions the chant of the Indian Spirit Warble of the
Wakon-bird in the Manitoulin-groves :

Breathing aU its holy bloom.
Swift I mount me on my plume,
Of my Wakon-Bird, and fly
Far beneath the burning sky.

To the land be^'ond the sea.
Whither happy spirits flee ;
Where transformed to sacred doves,
^lany a blessed Indian roves
Through the air on wing as white
As those wondrous stones of light.

Only those that are willing to follow the trail of the Evil
Spirit of the Woods will breathe the fragrance cf the Hoosac's
Manitoulin-meadow, where, on the shady bank of their
native river, bloom gigantic priests-in-the-pulpit and great
Solomon's- seals, marking the mounds of the departed
sachems of Wappanachki.

42 The Hoosac Valley

Now the wheat is green and high
On clods that hid the warrior's breast,
And scattered in the furrows He
The weapons of his rest;
And there, in the loose sand, is thrown
Of his large arm the mouldering bone.*

• Bryant, An Indian at the Burial-Placc of his Fathers.



Vale of Peace! Imunt serene!
O hill-encircled shades!

The red-browed Indian's planted name

Your blended waters bore.
Though they who erst that baptism gave
Beneath oblivion s blacketiing wave

Have sunk to rise no more.

Mrs. Sigourney, Scliaghticoke and Knickerbackers.

Triumph of the Hoosacs and Maquonsacs, 1669 — Organization of the Schagh-
ticokes, 1676 — King Philip's Revolution, 1 675-1 676— Mahican Owl
Soquon and Hero Maquon — Sachems Grey-Lock and Mawwehu —
Assemblage of the Wise — Planting of the Witenagemot Oak, 1676 —
Council Tree of Peace To-day.

A FTER the final triumph of the Hoosacs and IMahican-
•^*^ sacs over the Mohawks in the late auttinin of 1669,
Sir Francis Lovelace, then Governor of New York, visited
Albany, in April, 1670, to make peace with them and the
humbled Mohawk sachem, Kryn, The Ochserantogue
Tract on both banks of the Hudson, extending from ]Mcene-
mines Castle below Cohoes Falls northward indefinitely
to Canada, was assigned to Maquon, known as the Hero's
Mahicansac A^allc}'. The Schaahtecogue Tract, extending
from Unuwat Castle and the jtinction of Skatecook Creek —
Hoosac River with the Hudson — eastward to the * ' Forbidden
Hoosac Mountain," was assigned to Soquon, known as the
Owl's Hoosac Valley.

The same spring the defeated Jesuit Fathers founded the


44 The Hoosac Valley

beautiful village of La Prairie de la Magdelene on the Si
Lawrence in New France. They soon removed all thci
converts from both the Iroquois and Abenakis mission
in the Mohawk and Hoosac cantons to La Prairie. Abou
August, 1 67 1, however, several Hoosac and Mohawk war
riors were "linked together in interests," as scouts employee
by the English officials of Fort Albany to patrol the Ticon
deroga war-trails to Canada. During March, 1672, Kin;
Charles H. declared war against the Netherlands, and late ii
June, 1673, a Dutch fleet sailed into New York Bay, and th'
English province again became New Netherland. Th'
Dutch captain, Anthony Colve, supplanted Governor Love-
lace ; Fort James was rechristened Fort William Hendrick
and New York was changed to New Orange; Fort Albany
became Fort Nassau, and the town Willemstadt.

General confusion now reigned among the Hoosac ancj
Mohawk scouts of the English and Dutch officials, and fifteci
"Praying Mohawks" in 1672 joined their Huron kindrco
under the Jesuits at Notre Dame de Foy near Quebec. TIk
Mohawk sachem, Kryn, soon became jealous of the dignit\
of Soquon and Maquon at the Albany Dutch Church anc
Court House. He visited his kindred at La Prairie in 1673
and was converted to the Roman Catholic faith, after whicl
he returned to his Gandawague village in the Mohawt
Valley and became reconciled with his deserted wife. Ih
then induced about forty of his warriors, their squaws, ani
children to locate in Canada at the village of St. Fran5cM>
Xavier du Prez, on the Prairie. Later they moved to St
Frangois Xavier du Sault, near the Rapids of St. Louis
The revengeful Kryn and his mixed bands of "Pray in l
Indians" from both the Iroquois and Abenakis nations
adopted the new tribal name, Caughnawaga (warriors ot
the laughing, leaping waters), and he later headed all the
Jesuit forays against the Hoosac and Mohawk scouts.

The Schaghticokes' Witenagemot Tree 45

loyal to the Protestant Church of New York and New

The Mohawk and Hoosac War did not cease fully until
ifter Kryn's removal to La Prairie in 1673. This was con-
Irmed by the report of the Jesuit missionaries, and also by
Lieutenant-Governor Golden in his History oj the Five Nations
3f the Iroquois, who says that actual peace between the
'Mohawks' and Hoosacs' kindred of the Maine Woods was
not established until about that time. The Hoosacs and
Maquonsacs, however, after their victory over the Mohawks
in 1669, remained in full possession of the Saratoga and
Hoosac hunting-grounds, and their Neversink and Hacken-
sac kindred about that time asked permission of the Dutch
officials of New Jersey to visit them. The Treaty of West-
minster, however, closed the Dutch and English War in
February, 1674, and the colonial forts and cities of New
Netherland were again turned over to the English. During
the following July, Sir Edmund Andros was appointed
Governor of New York.

After taking possession of New Netherland in 1664 and
again in 1674, the English adopted equal laws regarding
the sale of liquor, for the protection of the Indian and
'Christian aHke. The sale or gift of "rum, strong waters,
wine and brandy," without license, was forbidden under
penalty of "forty shilHngs for each pint so sold or disposed
lof." Rail-fences were provided for the protection of the
^Indians' cornfields, since domestic animals were unknown
to the savages and they frequently killed the cows and pigs;
and it is recorded likewise that several greedy Dutch
burghers, caught in their cornfields, were also slain.

The Indian Commissioners reproved and punished the
warriors for killing the stock and scalping the Christians,
yet it was difficult to make them understand personal owner-
ship of large animals similar to the deer and moose. The

46 The Hoosac Valley

peace, which was more dreamed of than reaHzed under Go-v
Peter Stuyvesant's reign, was in a measure effected unde
the administration of the English. Soquon and Maquoi
and their chieftains and petty-sagamores, when finall;
settled in the Hoosac and Saratoga hunting-grounds, becam^
loyally attached to the English Governor, whom they sub
sequently called Brother Corlear, the Indian's Friend, ii
memory of Capt. Arendt Van Curler, or Corlear, of For
Schonowe, the Dutch village on the site of Schenectady, anc
who was, in 1667, accidentally drowned in Lake Corlear
now Lake Champlain.

The years of 1675 and 1676 were troubled by the Mahicai
uprising against the Christians for their unjust negotiation
for the sachems' hunting-grounds on the New England anc
New York coast. The revolt was headed by Metcom, suc-
cessor of the sachem Massasoit, known to the Pilgrims a:
King Philip of Macedonia. This involved the Wampanoags,
Narragansetts, Pequots, and bands of their kindred Maquon'
sacs, Hoosacs, and Pennacooks residing in the Hudson anc
Connecticut valleys. King Aepjen at that time was locatecj
on the Nana-Apen-ahican Creek, flowing about Wawa-on-a
quass-ick (hill of great heaps of stone), known as Monumen
Mountain in Old Stockbridge. The seer, Passaconaway
in 1660, advised his Pennacooks to "take heed how thc\
quarrelled with their English neighbors," as it would prov(|
the means of their own destruction. His succes.sor, Wana'
lancet, therefore, in 1675 removed his warriors to Penockl
the site of Concord, New Hampshire, and took no part ii
the conflict.

The stern Wampanoag chieftain, Grey-Lock, so namecj
from his grey-lock of hair, commanded the Woranoaks
residing on the site of Northfield and Springfield in th(
Agawam hunting-grounds. During 1675, in company witl
the young Pequot sachem, Mawwehu, and two hundred anc

The Schaghticokes' Witenagemot Tree 47


.fifty warriors, he also fled over the Mahican trail to their
kindred on the Hudson. They were observed by Major John
jTalcot's Connecticut militia, near the site of Westfield, and
Ipursued to the headwaters of the Housatonac and Hoosac
valleys. Forty-five Indians were slain or captured, twenty-
five of whom were considered King Philip's fiercest warriors.

Grey-Lock and Mawwehu, however, torn and wounded,
in company with two hundred warriors, made their escape
to Dutch Claverack and located with their kindred at Potic
!and Esopus in the Catskills and Helderbergs, until after
the close of hostilities, when they joined Soquon's lodge at
Old Schaghticoke on the lower Hoosac. A fleeing band of
iWanalancet's Pennacooks were later pursued up the Connec-
jticut Valley by the English militia. They sought shelter
with their kindred Algonquins under the Jesuits and organ-
ized the St. Francis Indian village on River St. Francis
between Quebec and Montreal. Grey-Lock later joined the
Jesuits and built Fort St. Regis on the Missisquoi Bay in
the lower Champlain Valley of the Green Mountains, and
Mawwehu built his lodge at Pompanac on the White Creek,
in the Walloomsac Valley. Grey-Lock and Kryn now
became the leaders of the "Praying Indians " and headed the
St. Regis and St. Frangois warriors in all their forays against
the English and Dutch settlements during Father Rale's
Jesuit War, between 1676 and the death of Rale in 1724.
Kryn was slain in 1690, while heading a band of savages
:igainst the English on Salomon River, and Grey-Lock fell
ifter burning Northfield in 1724.

After the Pennacooks were comfortably located under the
^Jesuits at their villages of Becancour and St. Francis,
several young chieftains visited King Aepjen and Soquon,
.irging them and their petty-sagamores located in the Housa-
:onac and Hoosac valleys to join them in Canada in the name
3f the Governor of New France. Gov. Edmund Andros

48 The Hoosac Valley

of New York as early as March, 1675, organized a Board of
Indian Commissioners at Albany, and with a promptness
equal to that of the Governor of Canada, and from similar
motives, urged the St. Francis fugitives of Kmg Philip's
War to return, and engage as scouts under King Aepjen
and his Owl, Soquon, and Hero. Ivlaquon and several
did so.

Diplomacy was as necessary in the wilds of the Mahican
and Mohawk hunting-grounds as in the towered cities of
Europe, and Governor Andros, like his predecessor, was no
m.ean strategist. During August, 1675, a second treaty was
made with the Hoosac and Mohawk scouts, at which time
they swore fealty to the Duke of York and Albany. The
people of Albany, during the December following, were
frightened by a report that King Philip and one thousand
of his fiercest savages were only forty miles east of them.
It seemed probable that Albany was their objective point,
as the Hudson was frozen over and the Indians could easil}-
cross over and burn the town. Captain Brockhalls, then
commander of Fort Albany and its outposts, despatched
three hundred Hoosac and Mohawk scouts eastward to
meet Philip's war-party. In less than a month the scouts
met five hundred of Philip's savage militia and returned to
Fort Albany, bringing with them a number of scalps and
prisoners. The expedition saved Albany, although Hadley,
Springfield, Northfield, and Deerfield had already been
plundered and burned.

After this, King Philip remained in hiding, and the Chris-
tians made an arranegment or treaty with the "Praying
sachems" of King Aepjen's Mahicans of New England, to
capture Philip and his fugitives. The Governor of New
York later requested the Hoosac and Mohawk scouts of
Schaghticoke to seek to capture Philip and his warriors in
order to win the valuable rewards offered. It is needless

The Schaghticokes' Witenagemot Tree 49

to record that Soquon and Maquon were loyal to Philip's
cause, while the sneaking treachery of the Mohawk scouts
led them to hunt him down like a dog. Unbeknown to the
Christians and the Mohawks, King Philip, Grey-Lock,
Alawwehu, and the sires of Osceola, Black Hawk, and Uncus
of Uncus, found refuge at vSoquon's Schaghticoke village,
near the junction of the Tomhannac with the Hoosac,
during the deep snows of December, 1675, and January,

During the autumn of 1675, King Philip's War appears
to have raged about the headwaters of the Hoosac and
Housatonac valleys, but owing to the uncommon depth of
snow in the mountainous passes, actual fighting ceased dur-
ing December and January, and in Februarj^ a sudden thaw
left the ground bare. The place of refuge of King Philip
and his leading chieftains then became known to the Mo-
hawk Mingos, and the scouts soon drove them over the
Hoosac Mountain trail to the Squakheags' lodges on the
Connecticut River, where a few of Philip's faithful warriors
made a final rally against the Christians,

The Mahican treaty with the Christians, dated at Peta-

: guanset, New England, on July 15, 1676, was sent by
Governor Andros of New York to Soquon, and read as

' follows:

The said Sachem shall carefully seize all and every one
of Philip's subjects, and deliver them up to the English
alive or dead ; that they shall use all acts of hostility against
Philip and his subjects, to kill them wherever they can be
found; that if they seize Philip and deliver him alive
to the English, they shall receive forty tunking cloth
coats; and for his head, alone, twenty of said coats; and
for every subject of said Philip, two coats if alive, and one,
if dead.

50 The Hoosac Valley

In presence and signed by marks (totems) of:

Daniel Hinchman, Sachem Jamageson,

Thomas Prentice, " Tayson,

Nicholas Page, " Agamang,

Joseph Stanton, " Wampugh alias Colman,

Henry Hawlins, Interpreters — probably

Peter Bruce, Indians ^
John Neff .

"When on August 12, 1676, King Philip was besieged in the
Great Swamp near Pokanoket council-seat at Mount Hope
in Bristol, Rhode Island, and shot through the heart by one
of his faithless warriors, the Mahican Revolution was at
an end. During its brief course three great cantons of the
Abenakis Democracy, including Wampanoags, Narragan-

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