THE LOST HUNTER OF KAY-AD-RO.S-SE-RA.
SARAT O G A
AND OF THE
UPPER HUDSON VALLEY.
NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER,
CORRESPONDING SECRETARY OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF SARATOGA, AND AUTHOR OF
HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF NORTHERN NEW YORK AND THE ADIRONDACK WIL
DERNESS ; A HISTORY OF SARATOGA COUNTY ; A HISTORY OF REXSSELAER
COUNTY ; A HISTORY OF ULSTER COUNTY ; AND A HISTORY OF
THE CONNECTICUT VALLEY IN MASSACHUSETTS, ETC,
TROY, N. Y. :
N. B. SYLVESTER & CO.
Copyright, 1884, by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER,
LIPPINCOTT S PRESS,
SA-RAGH-TO-GA AND KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA (An Historical Sketch) . . .5
THE LOST HUNTER OF KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA (An Indian Tale) . . . .12
THE BATTLE OF THE WILD MEADOW (An Indian Legend of Kay-ad-ros-se-ra). 17
THE RESCUE OF THE MAIDEN QUEEN (An Indian Tale of Kay-ad-ros-se-ra) . 23
THE SPIRIT-BRIDE OF THE TAS-SA-WAS-SA (An Indian Tale of Taddo) . . 28
THE LEGEND OF THE DIAMOND ROCK (An Indian Tale) 35
THE LOST HUNTER OF KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA (By H. Buckland). Frontispiece.
THE BATTLE OF THE WILD MEADOW (By H. Buckland) 10
THE SPIRIT-BIRD OF KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA (By II. Buckland) .... 25
SA-RAGH-TO-GA AND KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA.
AN HISTORICAL SKETCH.
Ye say their conelike cabins
That clustered o er the vale,
Have disappear d as wither d leaves
Before the autumn s gale ;
But their memory liveth on your hills,
Their baptism on your shore,
Your everlasting rivers speak
Their dialect of yore.
IN the days of its old-time Indian occupancy the region of the
great north wilderness in which the modern village of Saratoga
Springs is now situated was not known to the Indians as Sa-ragh-
to-ga, hut formed a part of the old Mohawk hunting-ground,
called hy them Kay-ad-ros-se-ra.
In the old time the name Sa-rayh-to-ga was applied by the
Mohawks only to the hill-side region bordering on the Hudson
River, and lying between the Hudson and Saratoga Lake.
This hill-side hunting-ground, called Sa-ragh-to ga by the Mo-
(} INDIAN LEGENDS OF SARATOGA.
hawks, once belonged to the Mohicans, who called it in their
la n o;u age A - mis-so-haen-diek.
Of a truth the Mohicans were the original hereditary owners
of the whole upper valley of the Hudson, from the Adirondacks
on the north to the Kaatskills on the south. In its broadly un
dulating sweep of wooded hills and shining waters this ancient
home of the Mohicans was the fairest land in all the New World.
But in the course of the savage warfare of the old wilderness
this fair country, piece by piece, was wrested from the Mohicans
by the fiercer Mohawks, until the last remnant of the Mohicans
under Uncas was driven from their last resting-place in the
southern part of their ancient home (in the year 1628), across the
eastern Taghkanick Mountains, into the more hospitable valley of
Upon entering into possession of their conquered country the
Mohawks dropped the Mohican name of the old hill-side hunting-
ground and called it, in their own more euphonious tongue,
Och-sech-ra f -ge, Och-ser -a-ton-que, or Sar-ach-to-goe, from which
comes our modern Saratoga.
When the white man came, the Mohawks had long occupied
this ancient Sa-ragh-to-ga in conjunction with Kay-ad-ros-se-ra } as
their favorite summer hunting-ground.
This ancient combined hunting-ground of Kay-ad-ros-se-ra and
Sa-ragh-to-ga, was of large extent, covering all the central part of
what is now the county of Saratoga. It lay in the angle between
the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. It contained within its boun
daries more than a million of acres. Its principal inland waters
were the stream now called Kayaderosseras River, the expansion
of this stream now called Saratoga Lake, Round Lake, whose
Indian name was Tion-een-de-how-we, Ballston Lake, and Lake
Desolation. To these waters must be added the mysterious
" Medicine Springs," which the Indians believe the Great Spirit
caused to flow for the healing of his forest children within the
SA-RAGH-TO-GA AND KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA. 7
shadowy depths of this old hunting-ground, now the site of the
world s greatest watering-place, Saratoga Springs. To the north
of ancient Kay-ad-ros-se-ra lay one of the " Four Great Beaver
Hunting Countries" of the Five Nations, called Couch- sach-ra-ge,
" the dismal wilderness," now the famous Adirondack region.
To the west lay the Mohawk villages. To the south lay the
small Mohican hunting-ground which bordered the north bank
of the Mohawk, called Shen-nen-da-ho-wa.
To these old hunting-grounds which bordered the Hudson and
Mohawk Rivers, as soon as the shad-berry blossoms whitened the
banks of the streams in the early spring-time, the hunting-bands
of the Five Nations hastened to catch the fish which annually
ascended those rivers in vast numbers.
In the summer, when the shad and herring fishing was over,
these hunting-bands left the banks of the larger streams and
built their lodges around the " Medicine Springs," in the heart
of the Kay-ad-ros-se-ra. To these springs the sluggish moose,
the sprightly deer, the prowling bear, and other forest denizens
flocked in droves, attracted by the saline properties of their
breathing, bubbling waters. Of a truth, ancient Kay-ad-ros-se-ra
was the Indian hunter s paradise.
In the year 1683 the Mohawk sachems of the first and second
Castles, Ai-ha-ga-ri, Ta-is-ka-noun-da, and others representing their
tribe, sold and conveyed by deed their old hunting-ground of
Sa-ragh-to-ga to Peter Philippsen Schuyler, Johannes Wendel,
Cornelis Van Dyk, and Jan Jansen Bleeker. In this conveyance
the Mohicans joined to renounce their claims to the land, " be
cause," says the deed, " in olden times the land belonged to them
before the Maquacs took it from them."
As early as the year 1703 the Mohawk sachems also gave a
deed to some New York land speculators, of what they supposed
8 INDIAN LEGENDS OF SARATOGA.
to be but a small portion of their remaining hunting-ground,
" enough for a good farm" they were falsely told, but which in
the end proved to be the whole of Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, containing
nearly a million acres.
This Indian deed was followed by a patent bearing date the
2d day of November, 1708, and granting the whole of Kay-ad-
ros-se-ra, being a large part of Saratoga County, to Samuel Shelton
Broughton, Rip Van Dam, banning Harmance, Johannes Beek-
man, and other gentlemen of New York, in all thirteen proprietors
and their heirs forever. But for two generations these new pro
prietors of Kay-ad-ros-se-ra slept upon their " paper rights," and
dying one after the other, the vast property was inherited by their
heirs. But there were still other heirs to Kay-ad-ros-se-ra in full
About the year 1764, after the last French and Indian war was
over, the parchment proprietors of Kay-ad-ros-se-ra began to look
with longing eyes toward this old hunting-ground. "With the
view of asserting their title to the territory they sent on a few
settlers, who began a clearing at the mouth of the Kayaderosseras
River, on the shores of Saratoga Lake. In the fall of that year
the Mohawk hunting-bands drove the settlers away. Learning
from these settlers that they claimed the land by right of purchase,
the Mohawks became alarmed, as they said they had never heard
of any sale thereof to any white men.
The Mohawk nation at once appealed to Sir William Johnson,
and. were surprised to learn that the whole of their favorite hunting-
ground had been deeded away by their fathers two generations
before. A council was called, and " Abraham," the brother of
King Hendrick, in an eloquent speech to Sir William, presented
the case, and claimed that after the most diligent inquiry among
the oldest of his people it could not be found that any such grant
had ever been made, and demanded in behalf of his nation that
the patent be forever relinquished.
SA-RAGH-TO-GA AND KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA. 9
Sir William warmly espoused the cause of the Indians, and after
years of controversy a compromise was effected. The proprietors
of the patent surrendered a large part of the land and paid the
Mohawks five thousand dollars in full of all their claims for the
Having thus quieted their title, the proprietors at once took
measures to survey and partition their lands. Commissioners in
partition were appointed, and on the 22d day of February, 1771,
the patent was divided into twenty-five allotments, and each
allotment was subdivided into thirteen equal lots, that being the
number of the original proprietors.
Upon casting lots, " lot No. 12" of the " sixteenth general
allotment," which covers nearly the whole village of Saratoga
Springs, and includes a large part of Woodlawn Park, fell to the
share of the heirs of Rip Van Dam.
In the division of the region into districts by the colonial gov
ernment at the close of the French and Indian wars, these two
old hunting-grounds and patents were united into a single district.
The name, Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, was then dropped, and the district
named after the smaller patent and called the " District of Sara
Since then the grand old Indian name, Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, so far
as territory is concerned, has fallen out of human speech, and is
only heard in connection with the river and mountain chain, con
spicuous features of the great hunting-ground so famous in Indian
These two old Indian hunting-grounds of Sa-ragh-to-ga and
Kay-ad-ros-se-ra have been the scenes of some of the most im
portant events in the history of the world.
This is owing to the singularity of their geographical position.
In order fully to understand this position it is necessary to study
10 INDIAN LEGENDS OF SARATOGA.
their surroundings, in respect of vast mountain ranges and long
and deep intervening valleys.
On the Atlantic slope of the continent two great mountain
systems lie contiguous, the Appalachian to the southeast and the
Canadian Laurentian to the northwest.
The Laurentian system stretches up along the northern shore
of the St. Lawrence River from Labrador to the region of the
upper lakes, and fills up the vast inhospitable region of the Sag-
uenay, the Upper Ottawa, and the Lower Saskatchewan to the
southern shore of Hudson s Bay, with its rugged mountain masses
of hard crystalline rocks.
At one place only do the Laurentides cross the St. Lawrence
River. That place is at the Thousand Islands. There a spur of
these mountains crosses into Northern New York, carrying with
them all the grim and rugged characteristics of their wild Canad
ian home into the great Adirondack wilderness.
The great Appalachian system, divided into numberless ranges,
extends along about a hundred and fifty miles inland parallel with
the Atlantic coast-line from the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the north,
a distance of nearly two thousand miles, to the Gulf of Mexico on
the south. Throughout their whole extent these two thousand
miles of high Appalachian ranges form an almost impassable
barrier between the valley of the Mississippi and the Atlantic
sea-board. Of a truth, this long Appalachian Mountain barrier is
scarcely broken, save at one place. That place is the deep gorge
of the Hudson River. The Hudson River, in its passage from its
head-springs among the Laurentian Adirondacks to the sea, rends
the Appalachian Mountain system in twain from top to bottom.
This valley of the Hudson is one of the most remarkable moun
tain passes in the world. Extended northward it becomes the
valley of Lake Champlain. This deep downward fold in the
mountain ranges thus extends from the city of New York, on the
Atlantic coast, due north, almost as straight as the crow flies, to
SA-RAGH-TO-GA AND KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA. H
Montreal, on the St. Lawrence, a distance of nearly four hundred
miles. From the centre of this long northern valley another deep
valley quite as remarkable the valley of the Mohawk extends
westward to the basin of the lower lakes.
]S"ow in the angle formed by the junction and intersection of
these two long and deep mountain passes are situated our two
old Indian hunting-grounds of Sa-rayh-to-ga and Kay-ad-ros-se-ra.
Through the long provincial and colonial period in these long
valleys ran the old blood-stained war-trails.
For a hundred and seventy years after the white man came these
long war-trails were continually crimsoned with blood, and during
this period many a savage encounter took place within the sylvan
shades of these two old Indian hunting-grounds.
But to-day we look around us upon a brighter scene, and see
how a hundred years of smiling peace have made the fair borders
of the grim old wilderness to " bud and blossom even as doth the
A hundred years ago scarcely no one came to these old springs
of the forest Kay-ad-ros-se-ra but serpents and wild beasts and
still wilder men. To-day we see clustered around them the village
of Saratoga Springs. To-day we see how many steps from all the
nations of the earth, in the pomp of modern travel, still follow
ing the routes of the old war-trails, are turned toward this great
watering-place, this Mecca of our country s highest civilization.
To-day we see how all eyes are gazing at its sparkling, bubbling
fountains, and how all lips are tasting of their healing waters.
THE LOST HUNTER OF KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA.
AN INDIAN TALE.
Here, plunging in a billowy wreath,
There, clinging to a limb,
The suffering hunter gasp d for breath,
Brain reel d and eye grew dim ;
As though to whelm him in despair,
Eapidly changed the blackening air
To murkiest gloom of night,
Till naught was seen around, below,
But falling flakes and mantled snow,
That gleam d in ghastly white.
ALFRED B. STREET.
LAKE SARATOGA in the old time, lying like a gleaming mirror
in its emerald setting of bordering pines, was the one beautiful
central feature of the ancient Indian hunting-ground called Kay-
Of a truth this old hunting-ground of the Iroquois derives its
name from this lake, for in the Indian tongue what is now known
to us as Saratoga Lake was called Cani-ad-eri-os-Garunta, meaning
" the lake of the crooked stream," and from it this hunting-ground
of the grim old wilderness in which the lake lay was called Cai-
ad-ros-se-ra, or " the land of the beautiful lake of the winding
river," in allusion to the Kayaderosseras River, of which this
lake is an expansion.
THE LOST HUNTER OF KAY-AD-ROS-SE-RA. 13
Many thousand moons ago, in the days of the elves and fairies
of the Old World, while the Greek Artemis was hunting on the
Taygetan Mountains, her chariot drawn by dappled deer with
golden antlers, the New World too was peopled with its forest-
nymphs, and many a spirit-bird rustled its shadowy pinions
through the awful depths of its leafy solitudes.
The Indian believed in spirits, but he had the crudest possible
ideas, if any at all, of an abstract religion. He had no priests, no
altars, no sacrifice. His medicine-men \vere mere conjurors, yet
he was superstitious to the last degree, and spiritualized every
thing in nature. In a word, he forever heard " eery tongues on
sands and shores and desert wildernesses," he forever saw " calling:
shapes and beckoning shadows dire" on every hand. The mys
terious realm about him he did not attempt to unravel, but bowed
submissively before it. The flight or cry of a bird, the humming
of a bee, the crawling of an insect, the turning of a leaf, the
whisper of a breeze, as \vcll as the gleam of the lightning and tne
awful roar of the thunder, were forever to him mystic signals of
either good or evil import, by which he was guided in every action
and relation of life. And he believed that in the happy hunting-
grounds of the dead the shades of hunters, with the shades of
bows and arrows in their hands, would follow the shades of animals
and birds among the shades of trees and rocks in the shades of
immortal forests, and glide in the shades of bark canoes over
shadowy lakes and streams and carry them around the shades of
The Indian also believed that this spirit life of inanimate things
somehow possessed the mysterious power of putting on at will
the shapes of the living forms of animals and birds, and thus
appearing to men in their walks, so that sometimes the spirit of a
mountain stream would come bounding toward them in the shape
14 INDIAN LEGENDS OF SARATOGA.
of a. deer, and sometimes the spirit of a lake would float on its
surface as a graceful swan.
Each of these spirit forms of things, the Indians thought, always
had some mission to accomplish of either good or evil import
toward the human children of the forest, sometimes to mislead
arid destroy, sometimes to guide aright and save.
Now, of all the spirits of the woods in the old time no one was
so famous as the spirit of Lake Saratoga, which could assume first
the bodily shape of an enemy and destroyer, that, being slain by
its victim, would suddenly become magically transformed into a
beautiful white dove, which was known far and near in forest
tradition as the " White Dove of Kay-ad-ros-se-ra" or the " good
spirit-bird of the wilderness," whose blessed mission was to save
the lost wanderer, to stay at its savage height the fiercest onslaught
of battle, and it was even whispered in Indian story that this spirit-
bird had the awful power of bringing back the dead to life.
The great hunting-ground of Kay-ad-ros-se.-ra, which lay in the
angle between the Hudson and the Mohawk Rivers, was frequented
by the Five Nations, the Iroquois people of the rich valleys of
Central New York, and was celebrated in story for the abun
dance of its game and fish, and for the healing properties of the
wonderful " medicine springs" that bubbled from the earth s
bosom with spiritual breathings in the depths of its virgin forests.
Sometimes in bands, sometimes solitary and alone, the fearless
hunters followed the mighty moose through the tangled woods of
Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, or drove the timid deer in flocks before them,
fleeing like scattered sheep from the wolf on mountain moorland
when astray from the shepherd s care.
Once upon a time it happened that a young brave from the
Mohawk country had been hunting alone while on his first visit
THE LOST HUNTER OF KAY-AD-ROS-8E-RA. 15
to Kay-ad-ros-se-ra, and being on unfamiliar ground, unaccountably
lost his way. It was late in the season of the hunter s moon, the
leaves had mostly fallen from the trees, and the trembling snow-
flakes of autumn began to whiten the brown grass of the wild
meadows. The deer had mostly gone to their winter quarters in
the deep evergreen woods, and the wild fowl had left the waters
and were off on their southern journey. The Indians believe that
when they are really lost, some evil spirit leads them not straight
onward, but round and round an ever-narrowing circle, whose
centre is death, which they have no power to leave, but like a
serpent-charmed bird, must hopelessly perish there unless some
good spirit comes to their relief and breaks the fatal spell. In
vain the young brave wandered day after day. In vain he sought
some token, some broken twig or upturned stone, some hum of
bee or flight of bird, that might lead him home.
At length, when almost starved with hunger and broken down
by despair, at the close of a weary day a large gray owl, seemingly
emboldened by the gathering shades of the swiftly coming night,
flew across his path on noiseless wing, and alighting low down on
the bare projecting limb of a storm-blasted hemlock, turned his
large, yellow, staring eyes upon the sufferer, and hooting loudly,
seemed to mock at his calamity, and to say plainly, as if in words,
" To whoo ! to whoo ! to whoo-oo ! It is I who, it is I who,
invisible to thee, have bound thee in my spell. It is I who have
w r ound thee round and round the charmed circle and brought
thee here to die. It is I who, with my wife and children there
now in yonder hollow tree, await the coming winter to fatten oft
thy bones. To whoo! to whoo! It is time for thee to die, thou
dog ! Lie down, I say, and die. To whoo ! to whoo ! to whoo-oo !"
But the fiercest blood of the Mohawk still ran in the young
brave s veins. Raising his bow with trembling arm, he let an
arrow fly, and the taunting monster lay at his feet. Seizing his
tomahawk, in his hotly kindling anger he would have struck the
16 INDIAN LEGENDS OF SARATOGA.
prostrate bird, when lo ! into the deepening shadows of the fast
coming night, seemingly from out the dead body of the owl, flew
a beautiful white dove. The storm ceased ; the clouds broke away.
The dove, flutterino- aloner on silver wing in the soft light of the
o o o o
rising hunter s moon, now led the young brave on another and a
better pathway, just as some mother-bird in spring-time is wont to
lead one from her helpless hiding brood when danger threatens.
It was the spirit-bird of the wilderness, the white dove of
Kay-ad-ros-se-ra. It had come on its mission that through death
into life, through night into light, through sorrow into joy, it
might lead the wanderer home.
On the morrow the young brave, led by the fluttering dove,
found his elm bark canoe on the shore of the lake. Wending his
way to the valley of the Mohawk, often around the winter camp-
fire he told the story of the white dove to the wondering maidens
of his tribe. To this day his story is a living legend of the
THE BATTLE OF THE WILD MEADOW.
AN INDIAN LEGEND OF KAY-AD-KOS-SE-RA.
Once this soft turf, this rivulet s sands,
Were trampled by a hurrying crowd,
And fiery hearts and armed hands
Encountered in the battle-cloud.
* * * * * * #
Now all is calm, and fresh, and still ;
Alone the chirp of flitting bird,
And talk of children on the hill,
And bell of wandering kine are heard.
THE Indians who dwelt on the Atlantic slope, in the valley of
the St. Lawrence, and around the shores of the great lakes were
divided into two great families of nations. These two great
families were known to Europeans as the Iroquois family and
the Algonquin family.
These two families of Indian nations differed radically both in
language and in lineage, as well as in many of their manners and
The principal nations of the Iroquois family were grouped
around the lower lakes. The Five Nations of Central New York,
who were the true Iroquois, were the leading people of this family.
Their sister nations of the same family were the Andastes in the
valley of the Susquehanna, the Eries, the Hurons, the Neutral
18 INDIAN LEGENDS OF SARATOGA.
Nation, and the Tobacco Nation of Canada, and the Tuscaroras
of the Carolinas, who united with the Five Nations in the year
Among all the Indian nations of the New World there were
none so politic and intelligent, none so fierce and brave, none with
so many germs of heroic virtues mingled with their savage vices
as the true Iroquois, the people of the Five Nations. They were
a menace and a terror to all the surrounding nations, whether of
their own or of Algonquin speech. They followed the war-path,
and their war-cry was heard westward to the Mississippi and
southward to the great gulf. The poor Montagnais, on the far-off
Saguenay, would start from their midnight sleep and run terror-
stricken from their wigwams into the forest when dreaming of the
dreadful Iroquois. They were truly the conquerors of the New
World, and were justly styled the " Romans of the West."
" My pen," wrote the Jesuit Father Ragueneau, in 1650, in his
Relations des Hurons, " my pen has no ink black enough to de
scribe the fury of the Mohawks."
Surrounding these few kindred bands of the Iroquois family
dwelt the much more numerous nations of the Algonquin family.
To the Algonquin family belonged the Mohicans and other
tribes of the Hudson River, all the New England tribes, and the
nations of the lower St. Lawrence valley.
The Algonquin nations of the St. Lawrence valley, who sub
sisted mostly by the chase, were often during the long Canadian
winters, when game grew scarce, driven by hunger to subsist for
months together on. the buds and bark, and sometimes upon the
young wood, of forest-trees. Hence their hereditary enemies, the