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Alfred Minott Copeland.

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by the Chicopee shale, which is very fine grained, red and black
in color, and composed of sand and clay.

As a result of earth movements the layers of sandstone have
been slightly displaced. The tilting has given the formation a
slight dip towards the east. This direction may be easily seen
where the upper surfaces of ledges are exposed, as in the quarries
at East Longmeadow and also on the banks of the Chicopee
river. This sandstone extends from near the north line of the
state to the shores of Long Island sound. It proves an excellent
building stone, and there are extensive quarries at East Long-
meadow. Data obtained from borings for artesian wells and
from other sources indicate that the entire deposit of sandstone
is from three thousand to ten thousand feet in thickness. In
certain localities the layers of sandstone show interesting traces
of the ancient life of the region. Slabs have been found with
the imprints of the feet of animals that were probably akin to the
reptiles and amphibians of the present day. In other cases there
are the traces of insects, impressions by waves and ripples, mud
cracks caused by the drying of the deposits, and rain drop im-
pressions made by passing showers on the plastic material. Ed-
ward Hitchcock, professor of geology in Amherst college, and
afterwards president of that institution, made an extensive col-
lection of those impressions and embodied the results of his
investigation in his Keport on Ichnology, published in 1858.

While the general surface of the valley is level, there is one
notable exception to this rule in the ridge of hills associated
with ]Mounts Tom and Holyoke. In Hampden county these ridges
pass through the western part of Holyoke, AVest Springfield and
Agawam. The structure can be well studied on the line of the

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GEOLOGY

Boston and Albany railroad between Mittineague and Westfield.
Two distinct ridges may be seen. There is a cutting through the
eastern and lower ridge just west of the station of Tatham. The
rock is igneous in origin and is known as the Holyoke diabase.
It is dark gray in color, compact and crystalline. A columnar
structure is apparent at places, and there is no evidence of bed-
ding. Some of the rock is porous and spongy in character and
often the cavities are filled with quartz and calcite. At the west
end of the cutting the trap diabase will be seen resting on the
upper surface of sandstone. Some three-quarters of a mile to
the west is another and higher ridge of the trap rock. In this
there has been opened a large quarry. The rock is valuable as a
material for macadamizing roads. In the walls of the quarry
the columnar arrangement of the material is well developed.
These two ridges are the result of successive outflows of lava,
during the period of the deposition of the sandstone. In all
probability the lava flowed over the muddy bottom of the estuaiy
and was then covered by additional layers of mud and sand.
These in time hardened into stone and then there was a second
and smaller flow of lava. This in turn was covered by sand-
stone. As a result of the tilting and faulting of the region, and
etching out by subsequent erosion, the trap ridges now stand out
in bold relief above the floor of sandstone. On the southern
slopes of Mount Tom and Mount Holyoke there are remains of
distinct volcanic action ; beds of tufa, and lava plugs, the re-
mains of ancient volcanos have been mapped by the students of
the geology of the region.

It mustbe understood that the rock formations as described in
this paper are the foundation for surface materials as soil, sand,
gravel and clay. Throughout the upland country these super-
ficial deposits can be traced very directly to glacier action. They
consist of coarse sand and gravels, and there is no evidence of
stratification, nor sorting of the bowlders or pebbles. The rock
fragments are not rounded or polished, but are in form sub-angu-
lar. Often the fields and pasture land are covered with great
bowlders. The ledges of the country rock are in many places
smoothed and scratched by the action of the moving ice sheets.

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01 R COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE

In the valleys, great masses of this glacial debris have been
Avashed down by streams and by heavy rains. The thickness of
the glacial deposit or drift varies ^vith localities. It is some-
times piled np in rounded hills, known as drumlins, and again
occurs as long ridges of gravel— called esker. McCarthy's hill
in East Longmeadow is a good example of a drumlin, while a fine
esker is to be seen in Monson, east of the village and near the line
of railroad.

Under the surface drift there is found, more particularly in
the wider valleys, a compact deposit of unstratified clays, sands
and rock fragments, knoAvn as bowlder clay or till. In the broad
valley of the Connecticut, the action of river and lake have
largely rearranged the glacial material. At the close of the ice
age extensive lake systems were formed and out of these there
were washed by rivers deposits of stratified clays and sands, as
delta formations. It is on such a delta that Springfield is situ-
ated. The fertile and alluvial meadows are the result of river
action in shaping and molding the materials deposited in the
glacial lakes.

In studyingthe geological evolution of the region of Hampden
county, attention must be first paid to the problem of the upland
country. Originally the materials of the rocks of this country
nnist have been deposited as sands, clays and limestone in waters
of sea, bay, or ocean. Then by pressure these deposits were
folded and faulted until mountains of considerable height were
formed. But as soon as the rock materials were exposed to the
action of air and water, those latter agents began their work of
leveling down the country. In time this process of denudation
reduced the region to a base level, near sea level, and there was
thus produced a peneplain of denudation. This peneplain is
supposed to have been the result of atmospheric agencies, rather
than of wave or sea action.

After reduction to near sea level, the region Avas raised again,
and as a result of this elevation and tilting the streams were once
again given a definite slope, and then work of erosion was re-
sumed. The comparatively even sky line of the hill country is
an evidence of the peneplain, while the deep, narrow valleys and

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GEOLOGY

the frequent rapids and cataracts in the streams show that the
drainage system is of recent and imperfect development. For
the same reason, the brooks and rivers abound in water power
facilities.

The Connecticut valley is much different in topographical
features from the valleys in the upland country. It presents
evidences of mature development in its broad river plain, and its
gently sloping sides. It has none of the canyon-like character of
the valley of the Westfield river. The explanation of these dif-
ferences, however, is not so much one of age as of the conditions
of rock and structure.

At some time, long before the development of the peneplain,
the area of the valley lowland was subjected to a marked depres-
sion in level. As a result^ the waters of the sea covered the crys-
talline rocks and a broad, shallow estuary was formed. In tliis
estuary deposits of mud and sand were made. These deposits
were coarsest along the eastern and w^estern slopes of the bay,
where the currents and tides were strongest, and these materials
when consolidated formed the present Sugar Loaf sandstone and
Mt. Toby conglomerate. Towards the center of the basin tiner
materials were laid down and became in time the Longmeadow
sandstone and Chicopee shale. In such an estuary the tides are
very high and when there was low Avater, extensive mud and
sand flats w^ere exposed. There was thus given an opportunity
for impressions of various kinds to be made on the fresh surface.
As the mud dried and hardened these were preserved under the
layer of deposit made by the waters when the mud banks were
next covered. The completed result was a very deep bed of
sandstone rock.

In connection with the deposit of sandstone came the period
of volcanic activity, which gave rise to the ridges of Mounts Tom
and Holyoke. These trap ridges extend to Long Island sound,
and constitute a most striking feature of the valley scenery. The
outflow of trap occurred from certain fissures in the muddy bot-
tom of the estuary. When the first and greatest flow occurred,
the trap rolled slowly westward under the waters of the estuary
and then cooled and hardened. More sandstone was deposited

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OVR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE

and then came a second flow, the material for the lesser ridge.
The deposit of sandstone ceased with the general uplifting and
tilting of the region and a period of erosion began.

Under this process the sandstones yielded rapidly because of
their loose structure and lack of power to resist the weather.
The trap and the older crystalline rocks yielded but slowly to the
erosive agencies, and so the general level of the Connecticut
valley was cut down below that of the rocks to the east and west.
The trap ridges also resisted the erosion and so gained a clear
relief against the level of the sandstone.

At a much later period there came a change in climate and
arctic conditions prevailed in New England. Snow and ice
accumulated until the country was covered with a glacier mass,
like that which at present rests on Greenland. This ice mass
moved in a general southerly direction in the Connecticut valley.
It continued the work of erosion and scratched, scarred, smoothed
or crumbled into fragments the rocks over which it passed. The
drift material left by the glacier is found widely distributed
over the face of the country. Bowlders and pebbles with the
marks of glacial action abound, and often the ledges from which
these bowlders were torn are many miles to the northward.

With another change of climate, a rise in temperature, the ice
melted and the glacial sheet retreated. This disappearance of
the ice was not rapid or continuous. There were times when the
glacier front halted or even resumed its advance. In the deeper
valleys long lobes of ice were extended southward. By reason
of the melting of the ice and the damming up of the natural
drainage channels, extensive lake formations were formed in
Western Massachusetts. In the valley, the Springfield lake
extended from Mount Holyoke on the north to IMiddletown,
Conn., on the south. Its westward boundary was the ridge of
Mount Tom, and on the east it washed the lower slopes of the
Wilbraham hills. There was a smaller lake in the basin east of
Wilbraham mountain, and the plain of Westfield was covered by
the waters of a lake that extended from north of the Holyoke
range.

In such quiet, land-locked bodies of water, there was abundant

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GEOLOGY

opportunity for extensive deposits, and the streams from north,
east and west carried into these lakes, sands, gravels and tine silt.
The central and deeper water contained finer material. Such
was the formation of the clays, that now constitute the east bank
of the river. Coarser materials were found near the outlets of
rivers, as for example the gravels in the vicinity of Indian Or-
chard. The Chicopee river built up in the Springfield lake a
great delta of clay covered with sands. These deposits are strat-
ified, and in this respect present a striking contrast to the glacial
drift.

After the lakes were filled with these materials, sands, clays
and gravels, the river began to develop the present drainage
system of the lowland. The Connecticut river as it made a
pendulum-like motion from east to west, at the same time cut
down through the lacustrine deposits. In this way there were
formed the fine terraces which add so much to the beauty of
Springfield. The Chicopee river was pushed northward by the
delta formation. Thus, through the action of the main stream
and its tributaries, the valley has attained its present contour.
Now the river is engaged in two kinds of work. It is at certain
places tearing down the banks, while a short distance away it is
building alluvial plains like the meadows of Agawam.

In geological history, the sandstones of the valley are placed
in the Triassic period, the drift in the Glacial epoch, the clays
and sand are of the Champlain period, and the cutting down of
the river through the clays and sands occurred in the Terrace
period.

Note — Any one who wishes to make an exhaustive study of the geology of
this region is referred to the elaborate monograph of Professor B. K. Emerson of
Amherst. This work is entitled Geology of Old Hampshire county, Massachu-
setts, and is volume XXIX of the monographs of the United States geological
survey. Much use has been made of this monograph in the preparation of this
chapter.



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CHAPTER II

DISCOVERY AND OCCUPATION

Early European Discoveries in America — The French in Canada
—The Dutch in Neiv York— The English in Virginia— The
Puritans in Neiv England— Three European Powers Claim
Sovereignty over the Territory coynprising Massachusetts —
Overthrow of the Dutch in the Netherlands— Struggle for
Supremacy hetiveen the French and English— End of the
French Dominion.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus, a Genoese, sailing under the
flag of Spain, made his wonderful discoveries in the Western
hemisphere. This event in history always has been referred to
as the discover}^ of America, yet the first Europeans to visit the
continent were Scandinavians, who colonized Iceland A. D., 875,
Greenland in 983, and about the year 1000 had cruised south-
ward as far as the Massachusetts coast.

Following close upon the discoveries of Columbus and other
■early explorers, various foreign powers fitted out fleets and
commissioned navigators to establish colonies in the new country.
In 1508 Aubert discovered the St. Lawrence river ; and in 1524,
Francis I, king of France, sent Jean Verrazzani on a voyage of
■exploration to the new world. He entered a harbor, supposed to
have been that of New York, where he remained fifteen days.
This Gallic explorer cruised along the coast more than 2,100
miles, sailing as far north as Labrador, and giving to the whole
region the name of "New France"— a name by which the French
possessions in America were afterward known during the domin-
ion of that power.

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DISCOVERY AND OCdPATlON

In 1534 the French king sent Jacques Cartier to the country.
He made two voyages and ascended the St. Lawrence as far as
Montreal. The next year he again visited the region with a fleet,
which brought a number of the French nobility, all filled with
high hopes and bearing the blessings of the church. This party
was determined upon the colonization of the country, but after a
winter of extreme suffering on the Isle of Orleans they aban-
doned their scheme and returned to France ; and as a beginning
of the long list of needless and shameful betrayals, treacheries
and other abuses to which the too confiding natives were sub-
jected, Cartier inveigled into his vessel the Indian chief who had
been his generous host and bore him with several others into
hopeless captivity and final death.

In 1540 Cartier again visited the scene of his former explora-
tions, and was accompanied by Jean Francis de Roberval, the
latter holding a king's commission as governor-general and being
vested with plenary powers of vice-royalty. The results of this
voyage, however, were no more satisfactory than those of their
predecessor, and no further attempts were made in the same
direction until 1598, when New France, particularly its Canadian
portion, was made a place of banishment for French convicts ;
but even this scheme failed, and it remained for private enter-
prise, stimulated by the hope of gain, to make the first successful
effort toward the colonization of the country.

The real discoverer and founder of a permanent colony
in New France was Samuel de Champlain, who. in 1608, having
counseled his patrons that the banks of the St. Lawrence was the
most favorable site for founding a new empire, was sent to the
country and founded Quebec. To satisfy his love for explora-
tion Champlain united with the Canadian Indians and marched
into the country southward, which the latter had described to
him. The result was the discovery of the lake which bears his
name, the invasion of the Iroquois country and a conflict between
the Algonquins (aided by Champlain) and a portion of the con-
federacy, in which the latter lost two of their chiefs who fell by
the hands of Champlain himself.

Thus was signalized the first hostile meeting between the white
man and the Indian. Low as the latter may have been found in

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OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE

the scale of intelligence and humanity, and terrible as were many
of the subsequent deeds of the Indians, it cannot be claimed that
their early treatment at the hands of the whites could foster in
the savage breast any other than feelings of bitterest hostility.
Champlain's declaration, "I had put four balls into my arque-
bus," is a vivid testimony of how little mercy the Indians thence-
forth were to receive from the pale-faced race which was event-
ually to drive them from their domain. It was an age, however,
in Avhich might was appealed to as right more frequently than in
later years, and the planting of the lowly banner of the cross
was often preceded by bloody conquest. However, it is in the
light of the prevailing custom of the old world in Champlain's
time that we must view his ready hostility to the Indian. Soon
after 1622 a member of the Weymouth colony in New England,
either in absolute need or in a spirit of wantonness, stole from the
Indians of the region, and in so doing incurred the hatred of the
savages for all the whites of the plantation, who narrowly escaped
a fearful slaughter at their hands.

In 1609, a few weeks after the battle between Champlain
and the Iroquois, Henry Hudson, a navigator in the service of
the Dutch East India company, anchored his ship (the Half-
INIoon) at the mouth of the river which now bears his name. He
met the savages and was hospitably received by them ; but before
his departure he subjected them to an experimental knowledge
of the effects of intoxicating liquor— an experience perhaps more
baneful in its results than that inflicted by Champlain with his
murderous weapon.

Hudson ascended the river to a point within a hundred
miles of that reached by Champlain, then returned to Europe
and, through the information he had gained, soon afterward
established a Dutch colony, for which a charter was granted in
1614, naming the region "New Netherland." The same year
the Dutch built a fort on Manhattan Island, and another the
next year, called Fort Orange, on the site of Albany. In 1621
the Dutch West India company was formed and took possession
of New Amsterdam and the Netherlands, and in 1626 the terri-
tory was made a province of Holland. Under its charter the

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DISCOVERY AND OCCUPATION

company laid claim to the region of the Connecticut valley, and
made explorations in that locality previous to 1630. Three years
later the Dutch built a fortification on the bank of the river at
"Dutch Point" (site of Hartford), and made some feeble at-
tempts to control the valley and its settlement against the Puritan
colonists of New England. For fifteen years the Dutch remained
at peace with the Indians, but the unwise action of Governor
Kieft provoked hostilities that continued with little cessation
during the remainder of the Dutch dominion.

Meanwhile, in 1607, the English had made their first perma-
nent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, and in 1620 had planted
their historic colony at Plymouth Kock.^ These two colonies
became the successful rivals of all others in that strife which
finally left them masters of the entire country.

On the discoveries and colonizations thus briefly noted, three
great European poAvers based claims to at least a part of the
territory embraced in the state of Massachusetts ; first, England,
by reason of the discovery of John Cabot, who sailed under a
commission from Henry VII, and in 1497 reached the sterile
coast of Labrador, also that made in the following year by his son
Sebastian, who explored the same coast from New Foundland to
Florida, claiming territory eleven degrees in width and extend-
ing Avestward indefinitely ; second, France, which from the dis-
coveries of Verrazzani claimed a portion of the Atlantic coast,
and also (under the title of New France) an almost boundless
region westward; and third, Holland, Avhich based on Hudson's
discoveries a claim to the entire country from Cape Cod to the
southern shore of DelaAvare Bay. (If Ave picture a triangle AA-ith
angles at Montreal, Ncav York and Plymouth, the central point
of the figure thus formed Avill be found in the region of the Con-
necticut A^alley in Massachusetts, for the possession of Avhich these
poAvers AA'ere contending.)

^In 1620 James I, of England, issued a charter to the Duke of Lenox, Mar-
quis of Buckingham, and others, styling them the "Grand Council of Plymouth for
planting and governing Xew England in America." This patent granted to them
the territory between the 40th and 48th degrees of north latitude. The territory
granted, which had previously been called North AMrginia, now received the name
of New England, by royal authority. From this patent were derived all the sub-
sequent grants of the several parts of the territory. — Willard.



3-1



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OVR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE

The Dutch became the temporary occupants of a portion of
the region under consideration, but their dominion was of brief
duration. Indian hostilities were provoked through the unwise
jjolicy of Governor Kieft, whose official career was continued
about ten years, he being superseded by Peter Stuy\'esant in
1649. His equitable policy harmonized the Indians so far as
the Dutch themselves were concerned, but his subordinates occa-
sionally attempted to incite the Connecticut Indians against the
New England colonists and their western plantations, but with-
out serious effect. The Dutch had become thrifty by trading
guns and rum to the Indians in exchange for furs, and thus the
latter were supplied with doubly destructive weapons.

However, in March, 1664, Charles II, of England, conveyed
to his brother James, duke of York, all the country from the
River St. Croix to the Kennebec in Maine, together with all the
land from the Avest bank of the Connecticut river to the east side
of DelaAvare bay. The duke sent an English squadron to secure
the gift, and in September of the same year Governor Stuyvesant
capitulated, being constrained to that course by the Dutch col-
onists, who preferred peace with the same privileges accorded to
the English settlers rather than a prolonged and probably fruit-
less contest. The English changed the name of New Amsterdam
to New York, and thus ended the Dutch dominion in America.

For many years previous to the overthrow of the Dutch in
America, and for nearly a century afterward, the English and
French were rival powers, each struggling for the mastery on
both sides of the Atlantic ; and with each succeeding outbreak of
war in the mother countries there were renewed hostilities in
their American colonies. King William's war, about the close
of the seventeenth centurj', was the first of these events that
seriously involved the New England plantations. In 1702, on
the accession of Anne to the throne as successor to King William,
what was known as Queen Anne's war was soon begun; and it
was continued until the treaty of Utrecht, April 11, 1713. While
the powers were nominally at peace for many years afterward,
each was constantly strengthening its possessions and using every
endeavor to establish an alliance with the Indians, all prepara-

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DISCOVERY AND OCCUPATION

tory to the final struggle, which must come in order to settle the
question of supremacy on this side of the Atlantic. Fortunately
for the united colonies of New England, they had by this time
effectually quieted the Indians within their own jurisdiction, and
when at length the contest was begun they had only to contend
against the French and the Canadian Indians.

In March, 1744, war again was declared between Great
Britain and France, and the New York and New England colonies
united in an expedition against the French stronghold of Louis-
burg, in Canada, which capitulated in the following year. The
contest was continued until 1748, when the ineffectual treaty of



Online LibraryAlfred Minott CopelandOur county and its people : A history of Hampden County, Massachusetts. (Volume 1) → online text (page 2 of 43)