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said Sieur Hocquart his heirs and assigns of said Trust
by terms of fief and Seignoirs, with High, Middle and
Low Justice, and Right of Hunting, Fishing and Trad-
ing with Indians throughout the extent of said Seigniory
without being obliged by reason of this to pay to His
Majesty nor to his Successors, Kings, any duty money;
* * * on condition also of preserving and causing
to be preserved by the Tenants the Timber of all de-
scriptions adapted for the construction of His Majesty's
Ships; of informing His Majesty of all Mines or



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 127

Minerals, if any be found in said Concession ; to improve
it and to hold and cause to be held fire and light there
by the Tenants, in default whereof it shall be reunited
to His Majesty's Domain; of allowing roads necessary
for public convenience and allowing also the beaches free
to all Fishermen, except those they may require for their
fishing; and in case His Majesty may have use here-
after, of any portions of said Tract; to erect thereupon
Forts, Batteries, Arsenals, Magazines, and other public
Works, and the fire wood necessary for the Garrisons
of said Forts, without being holden to any compensa-
tion/'

An order in council, issued by the King of France,
July 6, 1711, directed that these lands granted should
be cultivated by the inhabitants, and a similar order
was issued March 15, 1732. On May 10, 1741, an
ordinance was issued by the Governor and Intendant
of New France, "for a Reunion of divers Seigniories to
the Desmesnes of the French Crown." Other grants
were made later but there were few real settlements
beyond the range of the guns of some French fortress.

Various excuses were made by the owners of these
seigniories for failure to establish settlements, and
pleas were made for an extension of time. One pro-
prietor stated "that he could not find any farmers, up
to this time, to place in his seigniory, that if he should
find any he is ready to furnish them with axes and
picks for clearing, with one year's provisions; that he
will do his best to find some and that he intends to form
a demesne there." In a "Summary Remonstrance" the
Sieurs Contrecoeur, father and son, set forth "that they



128 HISTORY OF VERMONT

have done everything to settle their grants; that it was
impossible to find individuals to accept lands though they
offered them some on very advantageous terms and were
willing to give even three hundred livres to engage said
individuals * * * ; that they intend, moreover, to do
all in their power to find farmers to settle said Seigniories
and they hope to succeed therein."

Sieur La Fontaine oft'ered "to go this summer on the
Grant with three men to build there and begin clearances
and to give to those whom he will find willing to settle
there, Grain and even money, asking from them no rent,
in order to obtain from them by the allurement of this
gift what he cannot obtain from them by force." Sieur
Roebert set forth "that he had neglected nothing to in-
duce some young farmers to go and settle there by pro-
curing for them great advantages and many facilities."
But in spite of all the "advantages" and "facilities" and
"allurements," the young farmers valued their lives and
the lives of their families too highly to attempt to culti-
vate farms in the valley of Lake Champlain as long as
it continued to be the highway of war parties.

About 1731 a French settlement was begun in the
western part of the present town of Alburg. A grant
embracing this region had been made to Sieur Francis
Foucault, a member of the Supreme Council of Quebec,
and the charter was renewed and augmented in May,
1743, in recognition of the fact that M. Foucault had
complied with the conditions of the original grant by
establishing three new settlers the previous year, and
that he had built in 1731 a windmill of stone masonry
costing about $800. An entry in the journal of Capt.



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 129

Phineas Stearns, made in 1749, notes that "at the empty-
ing of the lake into Shamblee (Richelieu) River there
is a windmill, built of stone; it stands on the east side
of the water, and several houses on both sides built be-
fore the war, but one inhabited at present." M. Foucault
had taken steps to build a church twenty by forty feet
in size. This settlement is said to have been short lived,
as was one begun in 1741. Old maps show that the
point where this settlement was located was called Pointe
a la Algonquin. Later it was known as Windmill Point,
from the stone windmill erected here.

In the summer of 1749 Peter Kalm, a Swedish
scholar, passed through Lake Champlain on his way
from New York to Canada. In an account of his travels
he refers to the Alburg settlement as follows: "A
windmill built of stone stands on the east side of the
lake on a projecting piece of ground. Some French-
men have lived near it; but they left it when the war
broke out, and are not yet come back to it. * * *
The English have burnt the houses here several times,
but the mill remained unhurt."

In 1731 the French built a small stockaded fort at
Crown Point, near the southern end and on the western
shore of Lake Champlain, designed to accommodate
thirty men, which was named Fort St. Frederic. Three
years later a fortress was erected here large enough
to permit the garrison to be increased to one hundred
and twenty men. In 1742 this important fort was en-
larged and strengthened to such an extent that it was
considered the strongest French fortress in America,
with the single exception of Quebec.



130 HISTORY OF VERMONT

The settlement which sprang up around the fort
extended to the eastern or Vermont shore of Lake
Champlain, the lake being only two- fifths of a mile wide
at this point. Peter Kalm, in his travels, gave an
excellent description of Fort St. Frederic, as it appeared
in July, 1749. He observed that the soil about the fort
was very fertile "on both sides of the river," that por-
tion of the lake south of Crown Point being called a
river at that time. By way of comment he added that
'•before the last war (King George's War, 1744-48) a
great many French families, especially old soldiers, have
settled there; but the King obliged them to go into
Canada, or to settle close to the fort and to lie in it at
night. A great number of them returned at this time,
and it was thought that about forty or fifty families
would go to settle here this autumn."

As Kalm left the fort, sailing northward toward
Canada, he noted the fact that "the countr}^ is inhabited
within a French mile of the fort, but after that it is
covered with a thick forest." Capt. Phineas Stevens,
who made a journey to Canada in 1749, the same year
in which Kalm traversed the lake, wrote in his journal
that "there are eighteen houses near Crown Point, some
on each side of the water, but not all inhabited at
present."

Maj. Robert Rogers, the well-known Colonial scout,
in his journals tells of various expeditions to Lake Cham-
plain. Early in May, 1756, with a small party, he
reached the lake four miles south of Crown Point, and
marched "to a village on the east side, about two miles
distant from Crown Point, but found no inhabitants



THE FRENCH SEIGNIORIES 131

there." After lying in concealment there for about a
day and a half the party killed twenty-three head of
cattle. In August, 1756, having landed about eight
miles north of Crown Point, on the east side of the lake,
Rogers and his party "marched to a village lying east
of the fort," and took as prisoners a man, his wife and
daughter. Evidently the settlements had been extended
since Peter Kalm's visit. Fort Carillon, at Ticonderoga,
was laid out in 1753 and was completed in 1756. It is
probable that the east shore of the lake was occupied
to some extent w^hile the French held Fort Carillon.

The French grants on Lake Champlain, although not
occupied to any great extent by actual tillers of the soil,
w^ere the cause of diplomatic correspondence between
France and Great Britain, which continued until 1776,
when it must have become apparent, even in European
capitals, that the American people were likely to have
something to say concerning the disposition of the dis-
puted territory.

The British contended that all the region south of the
St. Lawrence River originally belonged to the Iroquois
tribes; that as early as 1683 the Iroquois by treaty with
the Governor of New York, submitted to the sovereignty
of Great Britain, and thereafter were considered sub-
jects of that nation; that by the terms of the Treaty of
Utrecht, France expressly recognized the sovereignty of
Great Britain over the Iroquois. Another argument
used was the purchase by Godfrey Dellius, from the
Mohawks, in 1696, of a large tract of land extending
from Saratoga along the Hudson River, Wood Creek
and Lake Champlain, this tract being supposed to ex-



132 HISTORY OF VERMONT

tend along the eastern shore of the lake twenty miles
north of Crown Point. This grant was repealed in 1699
as an extravagant favor to one man.

The French had the great advantage of the discovery
of Lake Champlain and the territory adjacent to it, by
Samuel Champlain, in 1609. A considerable portion of
the discussion on behalf of the British position was con-
ducted by Edmund Burke, a famous parliamentary
orator, and a friend of the American colonies, but diplo-
matic discussion became profitless when an independent
nation had set up a government in America. The
feudal system of land tenure which France attempted
to introduce was not adapted to the new country, where
individual and political freedom flourished like a plant
in its native soil. The English system, under which
every man might own his own farm, instead of being
one of many tenants, who must render homage at the
manor house, was vastly better adapted to the building
up of political virtue and political capacity than the
ancient seigniorial system.



Chapter VI

FORT DUMMER AND THE FIRST ENGLISH
SETTLEMENTS



THE first English settlements within the present
limits of Vermont, and the first permanent settle-
ments in the State, were made in the Connecticut
valley. There is no record of any exploration of this
valley north of Pasqiiamscut Falls (Turner's Falls,
Mass.) prior to the year 1669, when a committee of four
persons, appointed by the General Court of the province
of Massachusetts Bay, ascended the river as far as the
present town of Northfield, Mass. The following year
a party from Northampton "went upon discovery'' to the
same place, and in 1671 a tract of land on both sides of
the Great (Connecticut) River was purchased of the
Indians, the deed being signed by Massemet, Panout,
Pammook, Nenepownam, his squaw, Wompeleg and
Nessacoscom. According to Temple and Sheldon's
''History of Northfield," the northern limits of this pur-
chase on the west side of the Connecticut was Broad
Brook, sometimes called Wanasquatuk River, near the
northern limits of the present town of Vernon. The
town of Northfield, Mass., was laid out in 1672 by Lieut.
William Clark, William Allis and Isaac Graves. In
the spring of 1673 settlements were begun, and a stock-
ade was erected around a cluster of houses, or small
huts. A second purchase of three thousand acres was
made on the west side of the river the same year.

In the autumn of 1675 the Northfield settlement was
attacked by Indians, twenty-one out of thirty-eight per-
sons were killed, and the little village was destroyed.
Some years passed after this massacre before an attempt
was made to resettle Northfield, or Squakheag, as it was



136 HISTORY OF VERMONT

often called at that time. Then it was slowly occupied
once more by sturdy pioneers.

In August, 1688, six persons were murdered here by
Indians, and half the inhabitants thereupon abandoned
the frontier settlement. In a petition to the Massa-
chusetts General Court in June, 1689, the people of
Northfield declared: "We are reduced to twelve mean
families. Our small number, in a place so remote,
exposed us to ye rage of ye heathen, as it were, invit-
ing them to prey upon us. Our estates are exhaust by
maintaining garrison soldiers and being kept from our
labor. Our burdens of watching, warding, fencing,
highways — we for ourselves and them that are absent
— overbearing to us; besides all other hardships un-
avoidable in a new place. Our wives and children (that
we say not ourselves) ready to sink with fears."

With the outbreak of war between England and
France, with the General Court slow to aid the settlers
on the frontiers, and with the ever present danger of
Indian invasion, it was no longer possible to maintain a
settlement at Northfield, and it was abandoned in 1690.

The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in the spring
of 1713, bringing with it peace between England and
France, and the expression of a desire on the part of
Indian tribes hitherto hostile for a cessation of hostili-
ties, again brought courage to New England pioneers,
and after an absence of twenty- three years the surviv-
ing proprietors of Northfield took steps to reclaim and
reoccupy their lands. Slowly the town was populated
once more, but there is no evidence to show that any
houses were built as far north as the southern boundary



FORT DUMMER 137

of Vermont, as it now exists, prior to the erection of a
fort within the present limits of the town of Brattle-
boro. The year 1723 saw another outbreak of Indian
hostilities, and in August, and again in October, raids
were made and settlers were killed by the savages.

The need of further protection became evident if the
settlements at Northfield and elsewhere in the Connecti-
cut valley were to be maintained. As a result the
Massachusetts House of Representatives voted on
December 27, 1723, "That it will be of great service to
all the western frontiers both in this and the neighbor-
ing government of Connecticut, to build a Blockhouse,
above Northfield, in the most convenient place on the
lands called the Equivalent Lands, and to post in it 40
able men, English and western Indians, to be employed
in scouting at a good distance up Connecticut River,
West River, Otter Creek, and sometimes eastwardly
above Great Monadnock, for the discovery of the enemy
coming towards any of the frontier towns; and that so
much of the said Equivalent Lands as shall be necessary
for a Blockhouse be taken up, with the consent of the
owners of said lands, together with 5 or 6 acres of their
intervail land, to be broke up or plowed for the present
use of the western Indians (in case any of them shall
think fit to bring their families thither)."

What were the Equivalent Lands ? When the bound-
ary between the colonies of Massachusetts Bay and
Connecticut was determined in 1713 it was found that
of the large grants made by Massachusetts, 107,793
acres really belonged to Connecticut. As some of this
territory was occupied by flourishing settlements, and



138 HISTORY OF VERMONT

there was vigorous objection to a change of jurisdiction,
it was agreed that Massachusetts should retain title to
the lands granted, and, in return, a grant should be
made to Connecticut of an equal number of acres "as
an equivalent to the said colony."

Gov. Joseph Dudley of Massachusetts, Gov. Gurdon
Saltonstall of Connecticut, Elisha Hutchinson and
Isaac Addington of Massachusetts, William Pitkin and
William Whiting of Connecticut, were appointed com-
missioners to locate these lands, and on November 10,
1715, they reported that they had laid out tracts "east
of Hadly town" (now Belchertown) and "north of the
first surveyed piece" (Pelham, etc.); also 43,943 acres
"Within the Limits of the 2d Province on Connecticut
River above the former settlements." This large tract
was situated within the present limits of three Vermont
towns. Putney, Dummerston and Brattleboro.

The Equivalent Lands were sold at auction April
24-25, 1716, at Hartford, Conn., to twenty-one persons
from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and London, Eng-
land, who paid the sum of £683, New England currency,
or "a little more than a farthing an acre," to quote an
old record. The money thus obtained was given to Yale
College. In the partition of these lands the tract which
is now a part of Vermont, already mentioned, became the
property of William Dummer, Anthony Stoddard, Wil-
liam Brattle and John White.

In process of time William Dummer became Lieu-
tenant Governor of Massachusetts, and acting as execu-
tive head of the colony he designated Lieut. Col. John
Stoddard of Northampton as a proper person to select



FORT DUMMER 139

the site for the new fort, and to superintend its erection.
In writing to Lieutenant Governor Dummer under date
of February 3, 1724, Colonel Stoddard remarked that
he had ordered moccasins and snowshoes made for the
expedition northward, a suitable preparation for a jour-
ney into the wilderness in winter, and announced that
he had committed the work of building the fort to
Lieut. Timothy Dwight. It was the expectation of
Colonel Stoddard that Lieutenant Dwight would leave
on the day the letter was written to take up the task
assigned to him, accompanied by twelve soldiers, four
carpenters and two teams; that the men would hew all
the timber needed for the fort and the houses before
their return; and that both fort and houses would be
framed and set up during the month of February.
Colonel Stoddard did not believe a stockade around the
blockhouse necessary, saying in a letter: "We intend
to make the fort so strong that the soldiers will be safe
even if the enemy get within the parade ground."

A little glimpse of the building of the fort is given
in another letter of later date, written by Colonel Stod-
dard, in which he said: "We agreed with carpenters
from Northfield (Stephen Crowfoot, Daniel Wright and
2 others) for 5 shillings per day, except Crowfoot, to
whom I promised 6 shillings, and they all allow that he
earned his money by doing so much more work than
all the others. The soldiers had a very hard service,
lying in the woods and were obliged to work early and
late : it is thought they deserve 2 shillings per day besides
the stated pay, and the carpenters something more. The
horses were worked very hard, and commonly had noth-



140 HISTORY OF VERMONT

ing to eat but oats, and I believe 2 shillings a day will
not be thought an excess for such service."

The fort, built of the yellow pine timber, which grew
in abundance on the lands adjacent to the river, was
nearly square, each side being about one hundred and
eighty feet (nearly eleven rods) in length, its height
being from twelve to fourteen feet. It was constructed
after the fashion of a log house, the timbers being locked
together at the angles. The wall of the fort formed the
rear wall of the houses erected within the enclosure, each
having a single roof fronting on the hollow square,
which served as a parade ground. These houses were
constructed so that they could be rendered defensible
by barricading doors and windows in the event that an
attacking party succeeded in bursting open the large
gate in the outer wall. A well within the fort supplied
water for drinking purposes, but the garrison usually
went to the river for water for washing, and sometimes
were fired upon from the opposite side of the stream.
Four small swivel guns called pateraros were furnished
as means of defence, and later a cannon known as "the
great gun" was added, which was fired as a signal of
danger.

The cost of the fort, which was completed in the sum-
mer of 1724, was £256. It stood on the west bank of
the Connecticut River, near the southern boundary of
what is now known as the town of Brattleboro. At the
present time the land where the fort stood is flooded
as a result of the building of the great dam at Vernon,
a few miles farther down the river. The name Fort
Dummer was given in honor of the acting Governor of




Fort Dummer at Brattleboro, First Permanent Settlement in Vermont



FORT DUMMER 141

Massachusetts, and the meadows in the vicinity of the
fort were known as the Dunimer meadows.

Timothy D wight, the builder of Fort Dummer, then
in his thirtieth year, was made captain of a company of
fifty-five men, who acted as the garrison. Before the
fort was completed, Capt. Joseph Kellogg was sent to
Albany, N. Y., to enlist the aid of the Mohawks in the
defence of this post. Considerable time and money were
spent in this endeavor, but it was difficult to attract many
of the Indians while hostilities were in progress, or to
keep those who came very long; but when peace pre-
vailed there was no difficulty in securing Indians in large
numbers. The muster roll of Captain Dwight's com-
pany about the time the fort was completed included the
names of twelve Indians, three of them being sachems.
The first name is that of Hendrick, a Mohawk chieftain.
Evidently this was the famous Mohawk leader and
friend of the English, sometimes called King Hendrick,
who participated in the campaign against the French
in 1755, and was killed at the battle of Lake George.

So anxious was the General Court of Massachusetts
to secure the aid of these Indian allies in the defence
of Fort Dummer, that a committee appointed to investi-
gate the matter reported "that two shillings per day be
allowed to Hendrick and Umpaumet, as they are
sachems and the first of that rank that have entered into
the service of this province; that none of the Indians
be stinted as to allowance of provisions; that they all
have the use of their arms gratis and their gims mended
at free cost; that a supply of knives, pipes, tobacco, lead,
shot and flints, be sent to the commanding officer of the



142 HISTORY OF VERMONT

fort, to be given out to them, according to his discretion ;
that four barrels of rum be sent to Capt. Jonathan
Wells, at Deerfield, to be lodged in his hands, and to
be delivered to the commanding officer at the Block
House as he sees occasion to send for it ; that so he may
be enabled to give out one gill a day to each Indian, and
some to his other men as occasion may require."

The companionship of the Indians was not always
a source of delight to the commanding officer, owing to
the fondness of the natives for liquors. In a letter from
Timothy Dwight to Col. John Stoddard, dated July 29,
1724, relating his trials, he says: ''I have given them
(the Indians) a dram this morning and they have been
here this hour begging for more, and they daily call upon
me for shirts, pipes, bullets and powder, flints and many
other things ; and the Court have granted all but powder,
and they don't send it, and I cannot discourse with them,
and they are mad at me for that ; and, unless the country
will provide stores and inform me I may dispose there-
of to them, I cannot live here, if it be possible to avoid
it."

Colonel Stoddard replied, August 6, 1724, saying:
"I am sensible of the trouble you meet with from the
humors of the natives. Your best way is, when you
have a supply of liquor, to give them ordinarily a good
dram each, in a day. And you may tell them for me,
that we give them drink for their comfort, not to unman
them, or make beasts of them; and that if they will not
be content with what we give them, they shall have none
at all."



FORT DUMMER 143

The General Court voted on June 3, 1724, that Doctor
Mather, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Sewell and Mr. Wadsworth
"be desired to procure a person of gravity, ability and
prudence," for chaplain at Fort Dumnier, their choice
to be subject to the approval of the Governor. Daniel
Dwight, a brother of Timothy Dwight, the officer in
command, was chosen, and his salary was fixed at £100.
In addition to his duties as chaplain he was directed to
"instruct the Indian natives residing thereabouts in the
true Christian religion." Apparently his term of serv-
ice was not long, nor does it appear that there were many
Indians in the vicinity to instruct.

The fort served its purpose well in protecting the
frontier, and from it went forth many scouting parties
to watch the Indian trails and to give warning of the
approach of the dreaded foe from Canada.

The year 1726 ushered in a welcome era of peace.
The military company at Fort Dummer was discharged,
and Capt. Joseph Kellogg was ordered to recruit a small
company for garrison duty. In June, 1727, Col. Samuel
Partridge, who had been in chief military command in
Hampshire county, informed the Governor that "con-
siderable numbers of Indians from their hunting come
in at Deerfield and Northfield, and the English trade
with them; and it is said that some of our men go out



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