THE BAY PATH
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THE BAY PATH AND ALONG THE WAY
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IB a d C ~e r C /? a
THE BAY PATH AND
ALONG THE WAY
LEVI BADGER CHASE
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR
COPYRIGHT, igiQ, BY
LEVI BADGER CHASE
ALL WAYFARERS ALONG THE
IT was in 1880 or thereabouts, while
coming home in a train, that I hap-
pened to be seated with a friend of congenial
historic instincts, and the conversation drifted
to the subject of the first comers in the
settlement of our town.
An interesting thought came to my mind
and I said, "Where, do you suppose, is the
location of the way, road or path used by
those who came first from Medfield, and
other eastern towns, into this then unoccupied
The answer was not forthcoming at that
time, but the conversation initiated the buzz-
ing of a bee which has led to the finding
of the "Bay Path"; a hobby, and also a
recreation during all these years of labor.
Delving among the Archives of the town
for genealogical data, I came upon the old
book of "Proprietors' Records." I copied
the verbal description of the first surveys
of land grants, found in the old volume, and
with those copies at home, in course of time
had a map, with all the lots in their relative
Among the many facts revealed by that
reconstruction was the location of the
"Brimfield and Oxford Path" and the "Brook-
field and Woodstock Path" found here before
the settlement of the town, date of April
1730, before there was any individual owner-
ship of land here, and before Worcester
County was formed.
April 2, 1895, I read a paper before the
Worcester Society of Antiquity entitled
"Early Indian Trails Thru Tantiusque"
which was published by the Society in their
"Proceedings" and reprinted in the Quinebaug
Historical Society Leaflets, Vol. I, No. 6.
It was there suggested that the Brimfield
and Oxford Path was a section of the old
"Bay Path" and previous to that was a
connecting link between converging lines of
paths of the aborigines.
That article in the Proceedings of the
Worcester Society of Antiquity attracted
the attention of the late Rev. Edward G.
Porter of Boston, then president of the
N. E. Historic Genealogical Society.
Mr. Porter came to see me several times.
We rode from Brimfield to Millbury and got
a general view of the route.
During one of his visits we went over to
the "Leadmine." He told me that Mr.
Robert C. Winthrop had the old deeds and
other papers about the "Leadmine" and
suggested that with my local knowledge I
might make good use of them.
I expressed a desire to obtain copies and
then would see what I could do. Upon
Mr. Porter's application, Mr. Winthrop de-
cided that he could not let the papers go
out of a fire-proof building, but would gladly
make arrangements for me to have the use
He caused a suitable blank-book to be
prepared, in which he secured all the papers
in the order of their dates.
I was invited to make use of the book at
the Boston Atheneum, and the privilege
was gratefully accepted.
In March, 1898, I, with my daughter,
Nellie M. Chase, spent four or five days,
carefully tracing maps and copying old deeds
and records pertaining to the early days
Mr. Porter was deeply interested in the
search for the "Bay Path" at that time.
After his death, I prepared and read before
the N. E. Historic Genealogical Society,
"The Interpretation of Woodward and Saf-
fery's Map of 1642," illustrated by a map,
in two colors.
That was printed in the "Register" for
April 1901, and reprinted with additions
and corrections in the Quinebaug Historical
Society's Leaflets, Vol. I, No. 7.
In that work, the question of the location
of the "Bay Path" was removed from the
field of conjecture to the plane of historic
Replotting the Proprietors' land grants of
Sturbridge revealed the location of Rev.
John Elliot's thousand acres, conveyed to
him by the Indians in 1655. A part of the
tract extends into the town of Brimfield,
and I found a stone monument, evidently
erected by the Indians, for the western
The Quinebaug Historical Society had a
field day and visited the monument. That
attracted the attention of Mr. C. S. Allen
of Brimfield, who, during the decade fol-
lowing the publication of the "Interpretation
of Woodward and Saffery's Map," aided me
very much in my tracing of the path thru
Brimfield and Monson, by furnishing me
copies of land grants for observation, and
also by accompanying me on some of my
By 1910 the "Bay Path" was located on
my maps and personally investigated thru
a large part of its actual location.
Early in the spring of 1911, Rev. William
DeLoss Love of Hartford came to my house
and said that he had been appointed to
deliver an address on the 31st of May,
the anniversary of the departure from Cam-
bridge of the party of founders of Hartford,
led by Rev. Thomas Hooker, and that he
proposed to take them over the road.
He said that his expectation had been to
pass by the way of the old Connecticut road
thru Woodstock, being prejudiced in favor
of that way. He had seen my leaflets and
wished to talk with me. We looked over
my work, we walked along the path to the
old camping-ground, whence we could view
the general course of the old path either way
for many miles.
Correspondence and interchange of facts
followed the interview.
In 1914 Mr. Love published his valuable
"Colonial History of Hartford," in which he
adopted the "Bay Path" as the route of
the "Pilgrimage of Thomas Hooker." And
it was about that time that, in the "History
of Springfield," by H. M. Burt, I found in
the records of the establishment of the
eastern line of that town the complete
identification of my work as the location of
"The Bay Path."
I have taken a great deal of pleasure in
compiling the Indian history of Tantaskwee
in Nipnet, along the way of
"THE BAY PATH."
LEVI BADGER CHASE
January 24, 1919.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ABORIGINAL DOMAIN. A VIEW THREE CEN-
TURIES AGO PAGE
Open lands. Bush burning. Park-like scenery.
Abundant fodder. Hunting. Fishing places. So-
cial gatherings. Times and seasons at the sea shore.
Other times inland. Their paths located with skill.
A long-distance path. A fort. Description.
FIRST OVERLAND REMOVAL
The Connecticut Valley. Made known by three
Indians. John Oldham's visit. People interested.
Organizations for removal. Watertown company.
Roxbury company. Dorchester company. Im-
migration. Hartford. Windsor. Springfield .... 11
THE BAY PATH
In Hartford. Windsor. Longmeadow. Spring-
field and Wilbraham. Maps showing location of four
East line of Springfield. Established 1685. Per-
ambulated in 1735. Mark Ferry's 5th Div. Loca-
tion proved 36
Map illustration. E. E. Dickinson's farm. Benj.
Cooley's lot. Elijah Hatch's house. The Road.
Dea. McMaster. Daniel Graves' meadow. Joshua
Old's 1st Div. Hatch's brook. Joseph Stebbins'
grant lot. David Morgan Sr.s grant lot. Richard
Fellows' grant, 1657. Fellows' Tavern. Location.
Nathaniel Clark's 2nd Div. Robert Old's home lot.
George Colton's river lot. Thomas IngersoFs lot . . 48
The Waddaquodduck Hills. Interesting path.
Old-time appearance. Steerage Rock. Asquoash
or Quabaug Old Fort. Eliot's one thousand acres.
Old stone bound ....... ........................... 61
Eliot's Indian grant. Eastern bounds. Gov.
Saltonstall's two thousand acres. Tantaskwee Pass.
The old camping ground. Old Oxford path ...... 76
TANTASKWEE IN NIPNET
Origin of name. Noted pass. Territory. Tribe.
Natives. Economic conditions ................. 85
ALONG THE WAY
Inhabitants become acquainted. Grant of ye hill
of Tantousque. Original deed to John Winthrop, Jr.
Confirmed by old Nadawahunt. Third and larger
deed. Prominent Indians introduced . . 96
AT THE BLACK LEAD MINE. 1644 TO 1664
Winthrop's agreement with Thomas King. Visit
of John Eliot. Winthrop arranges with William Paine
and Thomas Clarke. Indian deeds ................ 108
Welcomed the forlorn Pilgrims in 1621. Signed a
treaty. Also signed treaty with Massachusetts Bay
Colony 1643. The Christian Nashowanon, alias
Nadawahunt, the Ancient. His son Nomorshet, alias
Noken. Grandson, Lawrence Nashowanno. Also
David, probable grandson. His nephew. Wetole-
shen, his successor as chief of Tantaskwee. Wasco-
mos, son and heir of Wetoleshen .................... 122
Ephraim Curtis visits Tantaskwee, 1675. Comes
to the Leadmine. Curtis' Island, two or three
miles away. Report, dated July 16, 1675. Second
visit, reported July 24. Found the Indians in the
same place ...................................... 135
AN HONEST MAN
Loyal Konkawasco. The neutral Indians at Tan-
taskwee. Natives destroyed. Beginning of great
westward flight. "I am Konkawasco, let my people
go." ............................................. 154
Southbridge. Charlton. Tradition. Oxford.
Quabaug lane. Millbury. Singletary Pond.
Indian relics 175
Grafton. Hassanamesit. Westboro. Jack
Straw. Wahginnacut. Hopkinton 188
Ashland. Magunkaquog. Framingham. Bea-
ver Dam or Indian's bridge. Great John Awassamaug 204
Natick. The first Indian Church in New England.
Description in 1670. Deposition of Ebenezer
Ware. Newton Upper Falls. Deposition of Na-
thaniel Parker. Jamaica Pond. Rev. Thomas
Hooker taken over the road . . 217
MAPS AND ILLUSTRATIONS
In old Tantaskwee The "Ancient" watching the
approach of John Oldham Cover Design
The author Frontispiece
Section map: Indian fort and city of Springfield .... 23
Section map : Part of Springfield and Wilbraham 29
Section map : Showing Silver Street and place of identi-
fication at Record No. 4 39
On Silver Street The place of identification. Upper
view looking north : lower view looking west. See
Record No. 4, on map, page 39 48
Section map: Record Nos. 3-10 with the connection
of the county road at No. 3 51
Section map: Records 10-17 55
A stone chair found near the Bay Path as it passed over
what old records called Chicopee Hill. See Record
No. 8, page 51 58
The main street thru the State Asylum grounds in
Monson follows the Bay Path. See Records 10-11,
page 55 58
The Path is here crossed by the Southern N. E. R.R.
in preparation 60
Section map: Woddaquodduck Hill, Steerage Rock,
Quabaug Old Fort, Indian bound stone and Curtis
Section map: Records 18-20 and Curtis Island 69
Section map: Records 21-26, including Eliot's tract. . . 73
Section map: Records 2330 and showing Brookfield
and Woodstock Path identical with the Bay Path
at Records 26-29 79
Section map: Records 19-29. Through old Tantask-
xx Maps and Illustrations
Tantaskwee in Nipnet 88
Same view as it is at the present time 88
Section map: Curtis's route from Leadmine Pond to
the Island and thence to the Bay Path 89
Stone erected by the Rev. John Eliot and Wetoleshen
and Nommorshot in Sept., 1655. See page 72 ... 132
The bridge is at the place where Ephraim Curtis
crossed the river. See page 141 132
Making progress up Woddaquodduck Hill. See page 61 150
Lovely Scenery 150
Section map: Old Oxford Line 178
Section map: Traditional Bay Path 179
Going over Federal Hill in Oxford 180
The old house near Milbury line with portholes covered
with clapboards 180
Section map: Quabaug Lane. See page 182 184
Section map: Singletery Pond. See page 187 185
Section map: Graf ton Old Hassanamesit 191
Section map: Part of Westboro 195
Section map: The Path in Hopkinton 199
Section map : Ashland Indian Magunkaquog 207
Section map: Beaver Dam 211
Section map: The Path in Wellesley 221
Arrive at the summit of West Woddoquadduck 224
From West to East Woddaquodduck, Steerage Rock on
the latter. See Chap, on Brimfield 224
Section map: In Newton Upper Falls 225
Section map: Jamaica Pond 229
New England as seen by the English 2
Aboriginal customs 4
Some social, also warlike conditions 6
Indian Fort on Long Hill
Beginning of inland emigration 11
Pioneers organize 13
Westward Ho, along the Indian's path 15
The route, via Woodstock 17
Hartford to Springfield 19
Long meadow Gate 19
Namerick brook 20
In Windsor 21
Woodward's and Saffery's map 22
Pilgrim's Spring 25
United States Armory 27
County road, Brookfield to Springfield, 34
Bay Path identified 1685-1735 36
Daniel Graves' meadow 47
In Monson 48
Site of Fellow's Tavern 57
The Path in Brimfield 61
Woddaquodduck hills 61
Location of Indian Hill 63
The Eliot monument, 1655 72
The Bay Path identified in Sturbridge 76
The old camp ground 78
Interpretation of "Tantousque" 85
Physical features of Tantaskwee in Nipnet 85
The Indian deeds 99
At the Leadmine between 1644 and 1664 108
John Pynchon's account book 115
Nadawahunt, the Christian, and his home 125
Descendants of Nadawahunt 132
Ephraim Curtis' report to the Governor of the Massa-
chusetts Colony 135
Governor and Council alarmed, and Curtis sent the
second time to treat with the Indians l&O
His report July 24, 1675 of finding them at the same
Wascomos acknowledged chief 154
Attempt to prevent alliance of Quabaugo and Wam-
The war which raged for a full year 157
Pathetic appeal of enemy chiefs for an armistice 158
Prizes offered for captives and scalps 161
Flight of the neutral Indians of Tantousque 168
The grouping of historic facts 172
"I am Konkawasco, let my people go" 174
Continuing the Path thru Southbridge and Charlton. . . 175
"Home Lots" in Oxford 181
Two landmarks noted in the old records of Milbury. . 187
One of the reservations for Christianized Indians. ... 188
"The Hundredth Town " 189
The seventh "village of praying Indians" 204
The great highway over Beaver Dam 206
The family of the great John Awassamog 216
First Indian church in New England 217
Imaginary description of departure and journey of the
Rev. Thomas Hooker 224
The pilgrims from Newtown, at home in another New-
town, on the banks of the Great River 237
The Bay <Path
and <iAlong the Way
ABORIGINAL DOMAIN. A VIEW THREE
OPEN LANDS. BUSH BURNING. PARK-LIKE SCENERY.
ABUNDANT FODDER. HUNTING EASY. FISH-
ING PLACES. SOCIAL GATHERINGS. TIMES AND
SEASONS AT THE SEASHORE. OTHER TIMES
INLAND. THEIR PATHS LOCATED WITH SKILL.
A LONG-DISTANCE PATH. A FORT. DESCRIP-
TO acquire at once, in imagination, a
view of the conditions existing in the
period of aboriginal domain, three centuries
ago, it is desirable to quote from the letters
of that time.
The early writers compared these thin
forests to the English parks. Mr. Graves
wrote from Salem, in 1629, that the country
was "very beautiful in open lands mixed with
9 The Day Path and Along the Way
goodly woods, and again open plains, in some
places 500 acres, some more some less, not
much troublesome to clear for the plow."
"The grass and weeds grow up to a man's
face; in the lowlands and by fresh rivers
abundance of grass, and large meadows with-
out any tree or shrub."
The burning of the grass and leaves by the
Indians is noticed by Morton, in 1632. He
says, "The savages burn the country that it
may not be overgrown with underwood.
The burning makes the country passable by
destroying the brushwood. It scorches the
older trees and hinders their growth. The
trees grow here and there as in our parks,
and make the country very beautiful."
Wood, in 1634, says, "In many places,
divers acres are clear, so that one may ride a
hunting in most places of the land. There is
no underwood, save in swamps and low
grounds; for it being the custom of the Indians
to burn the woods in November, when the
grass is withered and leaves dried, it consumes
all the underwood and rubbish."
A View Three Centuries Ago
He says, "There is good fodder in the
woods where the trees are thin; and in the
spring the grass grows rapidly on the burnt
lands." Vanderdonck, a Dutch writer, in
his "Descriptions of the New Netherlands,"
now New York, about 1653, describes the
burning of the woods. "The Indians have
a yearly custom, which some of our Christians
have adopted, of burning the woods, plains
and meadows, in the fall of the year, when
the leaves have fallen and the grass and
vegetables are dry. This 'bush-burning,' as
it is called, is done to render hunting easier,
and to make the grass grow. The raging
fire presents a grand and sublime appearance.
Green trees in the woodlands do not suffer
"Every noated place of hunting or fishing
was usually a distinct Seignory, and thither
all their friends and allys of the neighbor-
hood used to resort in the time of yere to
attend those seasons; partly for recreation
and partly to make provisions for the yeere.
Such places as they chose for their abode
4 The Bay Path and Along the Way
were usually at the Falls of great Rivers, or
near the seashore where was any convenience
of catching such as every summer and winter
used to come upon the coast; at which time
they used like good fellows, to make all
common, and then those who had entertained
their neighbors by the seaside expected the
like kindness from them againe up higher in
the country; and were wont to have great
dances for mirth at those general meetings.
With such kinds of intercourse were their
affayres and commerce carried on between
those that lived up in the country and those
that were seated on the seacoast about the
havens and channels that issued into the
sea; where there used to be at all times
clams, muscles and oasters, and in the
summer season lobsters, bass, ormulet and
sturgeon, of which they used to take great
plenty and dry them in the smoke, and
keep them the rest of the yeare. Up
higher at the Falls of the great River they
used to take salmon, shad and ale wives
that used to pass up the fresh water ponds
A View Three Centuries Ago
and lakes in the Spring, therein to spawn;
of all which they with their weirs used
to take great stores for their use. In all
such places there was wont to be great
Their long-distance paths used in such
economic and social intercourse were narrow
but deeply worn. They always traveled
single file. The paths were located with the
skill derived from perfect knowledge of the
ground and the course desired.
From wigwam to wigwam, that had hospit-
able doors always open on the leeward side,
the prehistoric people drifted on their long-
distance paths. A stone mortar for the
grinding of parched corn was a halting place;
and if necessary, within their wraps of skins
or woven feathers, they slept as contentedly
in the great forests as the birds within their
nests. Their trails, by constant use, became
A notable example of these paths ran
from Boston to Springfield and crossing there
1 Hubbard's "History of New England," 1679.
6 The Bay Path and Along the Way
the Connecticut River, a little below the
South-end Bridge, continued westward and
was there called and is still known as the
location of the Mohawk Trail.
As the path continued through the state
of New York, it was called the Iroquois
The Indians along the Connecticut Valley
and all over New England stood in great
fear of the powerful Mohawks.
Especially at Agawam, were they exposed
to their marauding excursions. For defense,
a fort was erected of strong poles with one
end inserted in the ground and placed close
together, thus making a high fence around an
inclosure on Long Hill, opposite the fording
place or crossing of the river.
There, before the Agawam, or Westfield
River, cut through its upper mouth, early
in the last century, a long sand-bar extended
far out into the river, which made it pos-
sible to wade across the Connecticut River
during low-water periods.
"This fort was situated on what is now
A View Three Centuries Ago
known as the Storrs lot, on the old Long
Hill road, below Mill River.
"The owner of this property sixty years
ago (Chester Osborne) named it Fort Pleas-
ant, and took much interest in identifying
the Indian landmark.
"A little plateau on the spur of a hill, with
abrupt declination, shaped like a sharply
trunkated cone, afforded natural advantages
for a fort. There is a deep ravine on the
south side which was probably the fortified
approach to the fort.
"Many stone arrowheads and hatchets
have been found in this ravine, and on the
plateau pottery and pestles for bruising corn
have been turned up by the plough.
"It has been assumed by some that only
a part of this plateau was included in the
"The capacity of the fort, however, was
sufficient to shelter at least four hundred
Indians, and as a rule of the Algonquins
was to build a palisade of sufficient size
to admit the putting up of rows of little
8 The Bay Path and Along the Way
round wigwams made by concentring poles,
covered with skins or bark, it is fair to con-
clude that the whole brow of this hill was
surrounded by a stockade. The neck join-
ing it with the main land was but a few rods
wide, and a living spring in the ravine fur-
nished an abundant supply of water.
"Upon the north side of the hill stands
to this day an ancient chestnut-tree. Its
gnarled limbs, hollow trunk, and rugged
bark indicate an antiquity quite sufficient
to have been flourishing at the time of King
Philip's War. Artists have painted it, tour-
ists have climbed the hill to look at it, and
it is withal a sacred though speechless monu-
ment of the local past."
It will be seen that the above conditions,
the long path beyond the river leading to the
powerful Mohawks, and the consequent fears
of the Aga warns, and need of protection,
were factors in the combination of circum-
stances leading to the early occupancy of the
Connecticut Valley by the English.
To the strategic mind of the Indian, the
A View Three Centuries Ago 9
idea of a colony of the English at Agawam
was desirable from their point of view.
But we know little of the personality of
the "Initiative" or of the breadth of the
"Referendum" that produced an embassy
to the English very soon after their arrival
at the Bay of Massachusetts.
"April 4, 1631, Wahginnacut, a sagamore
upon the river Quonehtacut, which lies west
of Naraganset, came to the governor at
Boston, with John Sagamore & Jack Straw
(an Indian, who had lived in England and
had served Sir Walter Raleigh, and was now
turned Indian again) and divers of their
sannops and brought a letter to the governor
from Mr. Endicott to this effect: That the
said Wahginnacut was very desirous to have
some Englishmen to come plant in his coun-
try and offered to find them corn, and give
them yearly eighty skins of beaver, and that
the country was very fruitful, &c. and wished
that there might be two men sent with him
to see the country. The governor enter-
tained them at dinner, but would send none
10 The Bay Path and Along the Way
with him. He discovered after that the
said sagamore is a very treacherous man,
and at war with the Pekoath (a far greater
sagamore). His country is not above five
days' journey from us by land." (Governor
FIRST OVERLAND REMOVAL
THE CONNECTICUT VALLEY. MADE KNOWN BY THREE
INDIANS. JOHN OLDHAM'S VISIT. PEOPLE IN-
TERESTED. ORGANIZATIONS FOR REMOVAL.
WATERTOWN COMPANY. ROXBURY COMPANY.
DORCHESTER COMPANY. IMMIGRATION. HART-
FORD. WINDSOR. SPRINGFIELD
WE are not accustomed to think of
any indebtedness to the Indians, but
in no respect is so much owed them as for
leading the way through what otherwise
had been a trackless wilderness.
The Indian paths and landmarks became,
by adoption, those of the pioneer, who gave
to present generations their homes in a
smiling land. The story told to the people
of the Bay, by the three Indians from Aga-