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The Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history online

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Lydius Mansion, which was the most northern English settle-
ment of the New York frontier on the site of Fort Edward.
The party was joined there b}^ eleven other captives and
arrived at Fort St. Frederic December 3d; and five days
later the captives were placed in Montreal prison-pens.

During March, 1746, Gov. George CHnton completed a fort
at Schuyler's Mills which was christened Fort Clinton, but
it was impossible to find volunteer soldiers brave enough to
garrison the fort. At last Capt. Henry Livingston, in No-
vember, headed four companies of regulars from Fort Albany
and mounted twelve large cannon on the ramparts. In
March, 1747, Lieutenant Herbin headed a party of French
and St. Francis warriors down the Hudson and attempted to
burn Fort Clinton.

Captain Livingston was succeeded in June, 1747, by Cap-
tain Jordan, and Gen. Rigaud de Vaudreuil (known as
General Rigaud by historians, in order to distinguish him
from his brother. Gov. Pierre Rigaud de Vaudreuil, com-
monly spoken of as de Vaudreuil) sent Lieut. Le Corne St.
Luc with two hundred Indians and twenty Frenchmen to



S2 The Hoosac Valley

attempt again to burn Fort Clinton. They failed to accom-
plish the work, after which General Rigaud and his war-
party arrived. They, too, were forced to return to Fort
St. Frederic without setting a torch to the stockade.

The last garrison of Fort Clinton consisted of New Jersey
troops under the command of Col. Pieter Schuyler. Owing
to colonial bickerings, the food supply ran short, and two
hundred and twenty hungry soldiers shouldered their guns
and deserted their post. Only forty men remained to
defend the guns, under Colonel Schuyler. After this news
reached Governor Clinton in New York City, he ordered the
ill-placed fort burned. A torch was set to the ruins October
5, 1747, after Colonel Schuyler had removed the cannon to
Stillwater. A few years ago a pile of British cannon was
unearthed on Quock Island, in the Hudson opposite Me-
chanicsville. They are believed to have been the remnants
of Fort Clinton's artiller}% buried there b}' Colonel Schuyler
in 1747.

The forests stretching between Stillwater and Fort St.
Frederic until the close of the Seven Years' War in 1763 were
left to wandering war-parties of French and Indians. After
the Fall of Quebec in the autumn of 1759, General Wolfe
found in the iVrchives of the fortress Colonel ]\Iarin's Jour-
nal, relating to the massacre of Schuyler's ]Mills in Old
Saratoga during 1745. It was later presented to Gen.
Philip Schuyler of Revolutionary fame, and is now among
the valuable relics in his Old Mansion at Schuylerville.



CHAPTER IV

FORT SCHAGHTICOKE AND KNICKERBACKER's COLONY

I676-I759

Here clad in ancieiit honor, dwelt

The Knickerbacker race,
And wisely ruled in hall and bower,
And held their old manorial power

With firm and honest grace.

Mrs. Sigourney, Schaghticoke and the Knickerbacker s.

Hoosac Patent, 1688 — King William's War, 1689 — Queen Anne's War, 1703 —
Fort Schaghticoke, 1703 — Knickerbacker Colony, 1709 — First Dutch
Church, 1714 — Alahican and Mohawk Sachem's Visit to London, 1710 —
Death of Soquon, 1710 — King George's War, 1744 — Kittlehuyne Mas-
sacre, 1746 — French and Indian War and Last of the Schaghticokes,
1754 — Queen Esther's Pilgrimages to Witenagemot Vale of Peace —
Soquon's Old Schaghticoke Burial-Field — Mawwehu's New Schaghticoke
Burial-Field.

THE " Gentlemen of Albany" kept a covetous eye upon
the Schaghticokes' fertile cornfields twenty-seven
years after the planting of the Witenagemot Oak in 1676,
before Fort Schaghticoke was built in 1703. Pieter Schuy-
ler, the first mayor of Albany, was granted charter privilege
to negotiate for five hundred acres of meadow-land of the
" Schaahtecogue Tract" on July 22, 1686, although he failed
to do so, owing to a general Indian uprising before King
William's War.

The first land deeded by the Schaghticokes to the Christ-
ians within the environs of the Hoosac Valley proper was the
Hoosac Patent. ^ The patent was granted by Gov. Thomas

' See Chapter III, pp. 72-73.

83



84 The Hoosac Valley

Dongan on June 2, 1688, to Maria Van Resnselaer and Hen-
drick Van Ness of Albany, Garret Tunisson (Van Vechten)
of Catskill, and Jacobus Van Cortlandt of New York City,
and confirmed by the Duke of York, as King James II., in

July.

The Hoosac Patent covered seventy thousand acres,
including two miles in width on each bank of Skatecook
Creek (Hoosac River of blended waters) ; and extended up
the river from the Devil's Chimney opposite the Fallen-hill
in Old Schaghticoke to Falls Quequick ; thence up the valley
to the sandy island known as Nach-a-quick-quack, the
Ashawagh, or land between the junction of the Little Hoosac
with the Big Hoosac. The annual quit-rent exacted for
this vast manor-land was "ten Bushells of good Sweet Mar-
chantable winter Wheat, delivered Att the City of Albany."

During the opening raids of King William's War, in 1689,
Hendrick Van Rensselaer of Fort Crailo partly negotiated
with Captain Soquon for a tract six miles square in Old
Schaghticoke, although the deed was not confirmed until
1 707 during Queen Anne's War. Meanwhile, Hendrick Van
Ness transferred half of his right in Hoosac Patent to his
brother Jan Van Ness on February 17, 1699, and on October
18, 1706, Hendrick Van Ness and Jacobus Van Cortlandt
deeded Kiliaen Van Rensselaer and Johannes Van Vechten
the shares of their parents, Maria Van Rensselaer and
Garret Tunisson-Van Vechten. Later on, November i6th,
Hendrick Van Ness and Jacobus Van Cortlandt gave each
other mutual release of joint tenancy of their Hoosac Patent
manor-lands.

The Moravian missionaries of Count Zinzendorf's staff,
laboring among the Hoosac and Mohawk scouts in 1742,
preserved the tradition that Soquon and Maquon were held
"chiefest in dignity" among the Indian councillors who met
the royal Governors at the Albany Conferences held in the




85



86 The Hoosac Valley

Old Court House. Maquon, known as Minichqua, received
a mortal wound from a party of four Negro slaves while visi-
ting Albany during the summer of 1702. He lamented that
his death should be caused by those who had ' ' no courage of
heart," but Soquon in his speech to Governor Cornbury said :
"Upon his death bed, our Great Sachem desired that no
revenge should be taken, saying that he forgave his offenders
and prayed that they might be reprieved." Maquon was
beloved and honored as the Mahican Hero and war-captain
during the Mohawk and Hoosac War, "and his last wish
associates with his memory," says Ruttenber, "the noble
attributes of the Gods." He was buried in the Schaghti-
cokes' burial-field west of the Council Tree ; and the principal
Negro offender causing his death was executed by order of
Governor Cornbury on August 19, 1702.

Upon the approach of Queen Anne's War, Governor
Cornbury directed Secretary Robert Livingston, to build
Fort Schaghticoke during the early spring of 1703 on the
"Great Meadow," a mile east of the Council Tree, near
the Old Schaghticoke highway. The watch-towers oc-
cupied the exposed angles of the stockade. The cellars
of the barracks within the stockade were ploughed down
a century ago, but are still indicated by grass-grown hol-
lows near the ancient apple-trees in the meadow north of
the red schoolhouse. The Louis Viele well, known as the
Nancy and Rebecca Groesbeck well to-day, with its ancient
sweep, near the corner of Old Schaghticoke and Reynolds
roads, was undoubtedly used as the fort well. The "God's
Acre" is believed to have been located southwest of the
stockade, near the border of the Groesbeck orchard, south
of Col, William Knickerbacker's mansion, known to-day as
the Barnett Place.

Governor Cornbury reported to the Lords of Trade, June
30, 1703, that Fort Schaghticoke cost about £80 and that




















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Online LibraryGrace Greylock NilesThe Hoosac Valley, its legends and its history → online text (page 7 of 41)