History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Frontiersmen of New York
by Jeptha R. Simms
Albany, NY 1883
Volume I, Page 46
Invasion of the Mohawk valley from New England.-The Mohawks having brought most of the Indians of New England into a state of fear or tribute ; in 1669, the latter resolved to " beard the lion in his den ;" and raising an army of 6 or 700 men, mostly Massachusetts warriors, they marched into the country of the Mohawks, to revenge former injuries. After besieging many of them in one of their forts (probably at Tribes Hill, subsequently known on its removal across the river as the Lower Castle), their provision and ammunition failing, they abandoned the siege and retreated toward home. They were pursued, however, and a body of Mohawks having been placed in ambush in a defile on the route, with thick swamps upon each side, the invaders were taken at a great disadvantage ; and although they fought bravely, their leader Josiah- Chick-a-taw-but-with about 50 of his bravest men were slain. This was the last great trial of strength between the Mohawks and New England Indians.*
An Invasion of Canada.-The incursion into the Seneca's country in 1687, by M. de Nonville, governor of Canada, and the erection of a fort on their premises at Niagara ; so provoked the ire of the six nations that, with an army of 1200 warriors they visited the island of Montreal, July 26, 1689, and hurled back with terrible vengeance the injuries done them two years before. They burned their plantations and made a most frightful and indiscriminate slaughter ; killing 1000 inhabitants mostly French, and making 26 prisoners, the greater part of whom were tortured to death by fire. The cruelties practiced about La Chine, were horrible in their details. In this invasion, the attacking party lost but three men, and they were left behind drunk, soon to experience a drunkard's fate. +
The Burning of Schenectada.-A few facts important to be known are here given, of the circumstances connected with the total destruction of the first white settlement of any importance in this colony by the enemy. Early in June, 1688, Gov. Dongan was required by King James II. to resign his administration of the government of New York to Sir Edmund Andros, then Governor of Massachusetts, who, by a commission from King James in the second year of his reign, was, on the
+ Colden's Five Nations, and Holmes' Annals.
ANCIENT MAP OF SCHENECTADA.
"A description of the Province and city of New York, with plans of the city and several forts as they existed in the year 1695, by Rev. John Miller, London. Printed and published for the enlightenment of such as would desire information anent the new-found land of America.
Extract: "Dependent on this city [Albany], and about twenty miles northward from it, is the Fort of Scanecthade, quadrangular, with a treble stockade, a new block house at every angle, and in each blockhouse two great guns."
"NOTE.-Rev. John Miller was a chaplain in the British army, stationed at New York city. The original manuscript is now in the British Museum. This is the oldest map known to exist of Schenectady. "J. W. MAC MURRAY."
The reader will observe that this is a restored, view of the town, which was burned in 1690, the block-houses being called new ones.
Destruction of Schenectada.-In 1690, Schenectada was yet the only white settlement to the westward, of Albany-was situated on the south bank of the Mohawk, and as the road then ran was nearly twenty miles distant from that city. Agreeable to the Canadian account in the Documentary History of the State, the place contained upwards of 80 well built and well furnished houses ; Drake says it contained 63 dwellings ; while Charlevoix makes their number 40, which he also say a were well built and well furnished. The latter writer is no doubt nearest to the truth in stating the number of its houses: the place also contained a fort with a small garrison. Any one familiar with the primitive Dutch dwellings still standing, fifty years ago in Albany and New York, may know the architecture of this town. The gables of its steep-roofed houses faced the street, if not with a high stoop certainly with a front door sawed in two in the middle, so as to keep the little ones within and afford a place for anxious waiting and sparking, while the lower half was closed.
The town in form, says the French account, was an oblong square extending up and down the river-was impaled and had two entrance gates, one at each end of the inclosure. Its population we may safely estimate at about 200 souls.. The number of men destined to destroy this pioneer village is variously stated. The Canadian account which evidently aimed to win favor at the French court, places their number at about 210-96 of whom were Indians : Drake says, the party consisted of about 200 French and 50 Caughnawaga Mohawks ; while Colden, rates the invaders at 150 French Bush-lopers or Indian traders, and an equal number of Mohawks, commonly called the Praying Indians. The latter were mostly from the Caughnawaga tribe of the Mohawks who had become converts of the French Jesuits, notwithstanding their treatment of Father Jogues, and settled near Montreal. The Canadians were commanded by de Sainte Helene and de Mantet, and the Indians by Agniez, a crafty Mohawk sachem.
Starting at mid winter, the enterprise was one requiring great energy of purpose, the troops having to carry upon their backs their own subsistence for the journey. The French account says the expedition left Montreal at the beginning of February, but does not state the time of arriving at its destination. Charlevoix says they arrived at Schenectada the beginning of February, not naming any date ; but Colden and Drake both fix the arrival on the 8th of that month, the latter says after a journey of twenty-two days ; which would place their departure from Montreal on the 17th of January. The last half of the journey was one of almost incredible suffering.
On arriving within a few miles of the doomed village, the French, suffering from cold and hunger, were thinking to surrender themselves prisoners of war ; but the Indians, several of whom entered the place without exciting suspicion-as they spoke the Mohawk dialect, although they were observed to be strangers-learned that its inhabitants were under no anxiety, but, on the contrary, that the gates of the town were not even closed at night, and their favorable report determined the sacking of the place at once. Having crossed the river on the ice, Saint Helene and de Mantet led a detachment to the western gate, followed by the Indians under Agniez ; while two junior officers led another party destined to enter at the eastern gate, but, failing to find it readily, they returned and joined their comrades at the other gate.
Entering the town unobserved, the troops were so disposed that several were stationed at each dwelling, when, by a preconcerted signal, the midnight stillness was broken by one of the most frightful war whoops that ever greeted human ears, which was the signal for the terrible onslaught to begin. The greeting of the enemy aroused the little garrison at the fort, but de Montigny, aided by Saint Helene with a body of troops, forced an entrance, and either killed or captured its inmates. The former officer, however, received two thrusts from a spear in a dwelling where resistance was made. The works were burned. De Mantet had given orders to spare the minister-a Hollander named Petrus Tasschemaker-from whom he hoped to obtain information, but in the confusion he was slain and burned in his house, his papers sharing the same fate. Some writers have stated that the place contained a church which was also burned. We may suppose this church, in form, resembled the first Dutch church erected in Albany. At the end of two hours the destruction of the place was complete. The French account says only two houses were spared, that of a Major Coudre, and the one into which de Montigny was taken and eared for ; but an account preserved in Albany,* says the houses and barns were all burnt, except five or six, which were spared at the intercession of Capt. Alexander Glen, a brave man, residing across the river, whose wife had previously treated some French prisoners very humanely. Drake says that Adam Vrooman, who was a courageous citizen, made a successful defense of his dwelling, seconded by the aid of a son who loaded guns for him ; but that his wife imprudently set a door ajar to let out the smoke of his firing, taking advantage of which an Indian shot through the aperture and killed her. A daughter fled early from the house with her infant child in her arms and was captured, the brains of the child dashed out, and in the confusion she escaped. His courage and resolution brought a parley with the enemy, and his life and property were spared, but his son Barent and a negro slave were carried into captivity.
The number murdered whose names are given in the record alluded to is footed 60, embracing 11 Negro slaves, 7 soldiers of the garrison, 1 Mohawk Indian, and 1 French female prisoner. The captives made were 28, including 5 slaves, 3 soldiers, and an interpreter named Vielie. The little garrison, which would seem to have consisted of only ten men-unless some escaped by flight-were a part of Capt. Jonathan Bull's company of troops, then stationed at Albany. The killed of his men were Lieut, Enos Tallmadge, Sergeant Church, and privates Robert Alexander, Robert Hesseling, Ralph Grant, and Daniel and George Andries ; and the captives were John Webb, David Burt, and Joseph Marks. Just how many escaped by flight to Albany is unknown ; but several writers have stated that some 25 of them were more or less frost-bitten. In the confusion and darkness of the first attack, which was in the midst of a blinding snow-storm, it is probable that 40 or 50 escaped from the gate, toward Albany, scantily clothed ; and as the snow on the ground was then nearly knee-deep-although a road was partially beaten by daily intercourse-the fugitives suffered dreadfully.
The first bearer of Schenectada's doom to Albany was Simon Schemerhorn-whose son Johannes perished in the melee-
* Doc. His. of N. Y., vol. 1.
where he arrived at five o'clock on Sunday morning, having escaped on horseback. Several of the enemy fired upon him, but he escaped with a bullet through his thigh, which also wounded his horse. The news spread quickly through the town, and as it was believed the enemy would also visit the city, the greatest consternation was manifested ; alarm guns being fired at the fort-one of which bursting, severely wounded a man named Sharpe-and thither the citizens repaired. Messengers were sent to the towns along the Hudson for succor, and several Mohawks in town were dispatched to Schenectada to urge messengers up to the Mohawk castles for assistance ; but, owing to fear, the tardiness was such that it was three days before a pursuit of the retreating enemy began.
On Monday Capt. Bull, with a party of troops, was sent from Albany to bury the dead, protect 'the remaining citizens, and, if practicable, join the Mohawks in pursuit of the enemy. The French account says the lives of between 50 and 60 persons of Schenectada were spared, consisting of old men, women and children, who escaped the fury of the first attack. Those, added to the numbers already given, will show my estimate of the population to be a reasonable one. The French account says that some 20 Mohawks were spared, to show them that the invasion was against the English. On gaining possession of the town, the French officers took the precaution to destroy all the liquors they found, to prevent any of the troops from getting drunk. On their return march, among the plunder made were 50 good horses, all but 16 being slaughtered for subsistence before reaching Montreal. The enemy claimed, in this invasion, to have destroyed property at Schenectada valued at £400,000.
About 100 Mohawk braves, with some 40 river Indians and about 50 white volunteers from Albany, pursued the enemy to Lake Champlain, where, the ice being favorable, they put their plunder upon sleds, and with the stolen horses, were enabled to escape with it. The pursuers harrassed them not a little, and Golden says that falling upon their rear they killed or captured 25 : the French account admitted a loss of 21. Until the pursuers returned with so favorable a report of their enterprise, with the condolence also of the five nations, the Albanians were so alarmed, that many of them were actually packing up their effects to remove to New York. Robert Livingston, in his correspondence at the time, attributed the destruction of Schenectada to an overweaning influence over the citizens of that place by Leisler, the acting governor at the time of the general confusion, growing out of the brief reign of King James II. upon the English throne.
The names of the principal families which lost members at this time, were Wemp (now Wemple), Van Epps,* Janse, Brat, Vielie, Teunise, Spoor, Vrooman, Meese, Marcellis, Gerritse de Goyer, Christoffelse, Aertse, Pieterse, Potman, Harmanse, Schaets, Schemerhorn, Teller, Groot, Vedder, Switts, Coon, Turmurent and Bouts. Quite a number of these names, although some are spelled differently, still linger about the homes of their ancestors.
The fate of a Jesuit and influence of Popery.-The French through Jesuit missionaries almost coeval with their settlement in Canada, introduced a religious element, which for many years wrought a wonderful effect on the minds and actions of the untutored savages ; which in some instances were perhaps improved, but so superstitious were they, that at times they attributed the evils of sickness and calamity which befel them, to their influence or invocation ; on which account they visited upon them not only indignities and persecution, but even death. The earliest one that made his way into the Mohawk* valley, was Isaac Jogues, who was born at Orleans, France, January 10th, 1607. In 1636, he was ordained a Priest, and in July following, he arrived at Quebec. In August, 1662, he was captured on his way to the Huron Mission, by a party of Mohawks, and hurried to one of their castles, where he had to witness the terrible death of those captured with him.
After suffering much indignity and cruelty, he made his escape down the valley and reached Albany-called Fort Orange, then occupied by the Dutch. Thither the Mohawks pursued him and received a ransom for his person, he being sent to New Amsterdam-New York. Gov. Kieft supplied his
* John Baptist Van Epps, son of John Van Epps. At the end of the year he effected his escape and returned home. During his captivity he learned the Indian language, and was subsequently often employed as an Interpreter and ambassador to the five nations. July 9,1S99, he married Helena, daughter of Johannes Sanderse Glen. He was a useful and respected citizen. See Pierson's First Settlers of Schenectada.
needs and sent him to France. He was shipwrecked on the coast of England, plundered and reached the French coast in destitution. He was sent back by his superiors in France, to Canada, and was stationed at Montreal. On the conclusion of peace with the Mohawks, he was sent to their country as an ambassador to exchange ramifications. May 16, 1646, he passed through Lakes Champaign and George, and reached Fort Orange, June 4th and proceeded thence to the Mohawk's country. After a few days he returned to Three Rivers, where he arrived August. 29. Again returning to the Mohawk valley as a minister, he arrived at Gan-nu-wa-ge-Caughnawaga, October 17th, the place of his former captivity-where he was received unkindly. On going from thence to Canada, in June, he left a small box containing things of little value in a hut, since which harvest had come ; when it was found that a worm had destroyed much of the Indian's crop of corn. Superstition at once directed their attention to the mysterious box of Father Jogues, as the cause of all the evil they conceived, had befallen them-hence they were ready to sacrifice him to appease the evil spirit; and on the evening of the day following his arrival, on entering a lodge to which he had been invited, he was felled by a blow on the head with a war club, his head decapitated and raised upon a pole, and his body thrown into the river. Thus ignobly perished the first Catholic missionary among the Mohawks.*
Notwithstanding the Mohawks sacrificed Father Jogues to their superstition, yet, at the end of a few decades, there were more converts in that than in any nation of the New York confederacy, many of whom were persuaded from time to time to remove to Canada ; and especially was the Caughnawaga tribe thus influenced, so that at the end of a hundred years the converts had become quite a people near Montreal, and their principal settlement-although it had received accessions from all the other four nations-took the name of Caughnawaga, its people becoming known at a later day as the " praying Indians." It is difficult even at this period to determine whether or not this Canadian Jesuit religious element was productive of more good than evil among the Indians. It was too often
* Doc His. of N. Y., vol 4.
used a cloak by the French to seduce the Indians, friendly to the English colonies, into their interest; caring more to procure the Indian fur-trade and win over the Indians from their English alliance than for their poor souls.
Hence, we find the colonies, from time to time, taking stringent measures to counteract Jesuit influence. In 1647 the Legislature of Massachusetts passed an act against the Jesuits.* In the year 1700 the Legislature of New York enacted a law to hang every Popish priest "who should come voluntarily into the province.+ The same year the Legislature of Massachusetts passed an act against Jesuits and Popish priests, requiring them to leave the province by the 10th of September.++ The New York law was passed because so great a number of French Jesuits were practicing their wiles on the Indians, who were in alliance with the English.|| The same writer assigns the same reason for the Massachusetts laws, adding that the Popish priests-were not only trying to seduce the Indians from their English alliance, but also to excite them to hostilities against the English Government.
Language among the Indians.-It may be well, in this connection, to say a word upon this subject. The Indians of New England when Europeans came among them, says Trumbull, although they consisted of many tribes, spoke radically the same language. This was, to a very great extent, true of the natives of New York, the Canadas and the great west ; for although they could not always tell the significance of some words given as local names to objects in nature by remote tribes, vet they seldom failed to make themselves understood in their general wants. Hence, conferences were held between the five nations and Indians from very remote territories ; but considering their language as all unwritten, they seem to have experienced little difficulty in communicating with each other. Jesuit priests, therefore, went successfully from one Indian people to another.
The Castles of the Mohawks.-A plurality of castles in the Mohawk valley, in the palmy days of its primitive people, has long been mentioned in history ; and yet, strange as it may
Holmes' Am. Annals, vol. 1, p. 343. ++ Holmes' Annals, vol. 2, p. 50.
+ Ibid, vol. 1, p. 50. || Smith's, N.Y., vol. 2, p. 50.
seem, no early writer has named them and designated their localities as they existed prior to the year 1700, nor can their sites be determined, if we except those of Tribes Hill and Caughnawaga. It was thought Schoolcraft would ventilate the subject, but its obscurity no doubt prevented his meddling with it; and what was probably clear to Colden in his time-say about 1725-he left so unexplained as to aid the student of to-day very little in his investigations. That writer evidently spoke of some small Indian towns undeserving of the appellation as castles.
The sites of some pre-historic castles-that is, those existing before the whites came hither-have, no doubt, been obliterated in the past 175 years by the husbandman's plow, while here and there one in uncultivated lands may yet be discovered. Such sites are determined by the absence of all articles of European manufacture, such as glass beads, or vessels and implements of copper, brass or iron. The site of one such castle is well known to the writer, who takes the liberty to call it the Ots-kon-go Castle. It would seem to have been long occupied, and its site chosen for its beauty and its peculiar adaptability for defense. It was four miles up the Otsquago, which, running northerly, enters the Mohawk at Fort Plain. It is, however, situated on the eastern side of the Otskongo, a small tributary, about half a mile above the junction of that stream with the Otsquago. I had supposed this kill to have been the Otsquene, but find that stream mapped as coming from a more westerly course, and falling into the Otsquago, upon its opposite shore, some distance above.
I visited this " Indian Hill," as long called by people residing in its neighborhood, October 2, 1877, in company with the Indian archaeologist, Gen. John S. dark of Auburn, N. Y. We were kindly piloted to it from the road by Abram Kraik,* who, although over eighty years of age, had the activity and viviacity
*Goetlib Kraik, the father of Abram, was one of the Hessian soldiers captured with Burgoyne. For many years he was " fore singer of the Lutheran church at the Geisenburg, and at a later period of the Canajoharie R D. church, situated on "Sand Hill," westward of Fort Plain. Two lines were read by him and then sung in long, tremulous tones. His services were rendered in the former for Dominie Wieting, and in the latter for Dominie Wack. He is believed to have died about the year 1840, at the age of 80 years.
NOTE -Abram Kraik, an honest and worthy man, died early in the summer of 1878, at the age of 82 years.
of a man of 50. He had always lived in its vicinity, and possessed a vague tradition that, in the long ago, some Frenchmen had buried a large treasure-a million or more of dollars-in that neighborhood ; but I failed to find it, and, if any one else does, I shall claim a small interest for this mention. This castle, which must have been occupied more than 250 years ago, was situated upon an elevated plain several rods across, along the western side of which coursed the Otskongo, leaving next the plateau a bold front nearly 100 feet high. The eastern side sloped down gradually into a ravine, toward which it was evidently palisaded. This inclosure extended several hundred feet along the bluff, embracing two or three acres, and extending a rod or two into the cleared land of Nathan Bauder, where an original mound several feet high has been obliterated by the plow. Its northerly termination was upon a narrow tongue of land, which sloped as gracefully to the lough flacht-low land, as if art had placed it there. At the top of this highway which was scarcely a rod wide, were still visible what we took to be the post holes of the gate, four or five feet apart, which opened into this romantically situated home of the early Mohawks. The site of this old town has never yet been cultivated ; indeed, some of the stumps and trees yet standing upon it are three or four feet in diameter. Digging upon its easterly slope, and probably below its palisades, in the soil made by the decomposition of vegetable matter, the visitor is rewarded with numerous fragments of Indian pottery, occasionally a stone pipe, a flint arrow-head or a bone needle, with an abundance of animal bones and fresh-water clam shells, showing what kind of food supplied much of the citizens larder.
The digging for relics among the roots of the trees has thus far mostly been done along the easterly side of the hill. Of course, no human bones are found there, but they must have had a burying place not far distant that will some day disclose startling secrets. They usually, if possible, buried on sandy land, as the labor of digging a grave without implements of iron was a serious task in any other soil. Visiting this classic spot with my friends of the desk, Roof and Williams, May 9, 1882, I found that late diggers were marring the beauty of the northern approach alluded to. Gentlemen, please dig further south and find your reward.
The first traveler to speak of and name the castles of the Mohawks was Wentworth Greenhalgh, whose remarks copied from London documents, are found in the Doc. His. of New York, vol. 1. He did not give their localities or relative position-but here is his brief account of them ; entitled :
" A journey from Albany to ye Indians, westward ; began May 20th, 1677, and ended July ye 14th, following."
"The Maquaes [Mohawks], have four towns, vizt. Cahaniaga, Canagora, Canajorha, Tionondogue, besides one small
village about 110 miles from Albany.
" Cahaniaga is double stockadoed round; has four forts, [probaby ports, places of entrance], about four feet wide a piece, conteyns about 24 houses, and is situate upon the edge of an hill, about a bow shot from the river side.
"Canagora is only singly stockadoed; has four ports [entrances] like the former, conteyns about 16 houses ; it is situated upon a matt, a stone's throw from ye water side.
" Canajorha is also singly stockadoed, and the like mann' of ports and quantity of houses as Canagora ; the like situacon ; only about two miles distant from the water, [meaning the Mohawk.]
" Tionondogue is double stockadoed around ; has four ports, four foot wide a piece ; contains abt 30 houses ; is situated on a hill a bow shot from ye river.
" The small village is without ffence [palisades], and conteyns about 10 houses ; lyes close to the river side, on the north side, as do all the former.
The Maquaes pass in all for about 300 fighting men.
" Their corn grows close by ihe river side."
"We may suppose he spelled those names as they sounded to him from the red man's lips. Our greatest surprise is that they were all on the north side of the river. Ti-on-on-do-gue, was the name of the estuary at the mouth of the Schoharie creek-written in more modern times Tienonderoga. This was on the lower or eastern end of -what has ever been known as Tribes Hill ; which lies opposite the mouth of Schoharie creek. In a royal patent for 2000 acres of land on the north side of the river, executed at New York, by Gov. Robert Hunter, July 17th, 1713, for Hendrick Hansen and Hans Hansen his son, this name is written Ti-non-da-ra-go.* Nearly all Indian names were differently spelled by early writers, hence it is difficult to tell in an unwritten language, which orthography of a name is the most expressive of its meaning. Another pretty Indian word found in this patent ; the name of the creek running past the old Visscher-De Graff-place, east of Fonda, is there spelled, Da-da-nas-ka-rie.
How long the Tienonderoga castle had been occupied on that site is unknown, but we may here learn when it was removed across the river. We give the document verbatim et literatim et punctum :
" Att a meeting of the May Alderman and Justices of ye Peace of ye Citty and County of Albany ye 2d day of Sept. A o 1689 Present P. Schuyler Mayr Dirk Wessels Recdr John Wendell Jan Janse Bleeker Albt Ryckman David Schuyler Kilian Van Rensselaer C. Marte Gerritse.
"The Maquase Desyre by arnouts Letter that the Magistrates of Albany and Shinnechtady would be pleased to assist them with two or three pare of horses & 5 or 6 men to ride the heaviest Stockaddoes for there new Castle of Tionondage which they remove an English mile higher up and they will pay you in due time
"Which Request ye Court are willing to Comply with all to show their good Inclination and true friendship they bear to ye sd nation have Consented that three pare of horses & six men goe thither
" Vizt of ye Troopers Jacob Lockermans of Capt. Bleekers Company Dirk albertsc Bradt & Wm hendrickse who did voluntarily p'sent there service. The Patroon a horse Capt Gerritse a horse. Off Capt Wendells Compy hendrick gerritse & Cornelia Slingerlant ; & hans Cross wth 2 horses." +
" Ca-ha-ni-a-ga " castle, mentioned by Greenhalgh, is readily distinguished as the modern Caughnawaga, as the evidences of its site upon elevated ground may yet be determined not a
Schoolcraft, In his notes upon the Iroquols In 1847, wrote the word Di-on-de-ro-ga.
In the Richard Shuckbergh patent of lands In the towns of Glen and Root, dated
in 1754, this name is spelled, Ti-en-on-de-ro-ga. The name is there given
for the Schoharie. In the same conveyance Auries creek as now written Is spelled
Aries creek, and its Indian name Is there given, Oghrackie.
+ Doc. His. of N. Y., vol 3, 87.
great distance from the Court House in Fonda. This was doubtless for a long period an important and central place of the Mohawk nation, and from it went the nucleus which made the settlement of "Praying Indians " near Montreal. Just when it ceased to be known as a castle cannot probably be determined, but we think it was not far from the year 1700. The sites of the other three Indian towns named in this connection, conjecture, in the absence of anything better, can hardly locate with any degree of certainty. Can-a-jor-ha is, no doubt, meant for the modern name of Canajoharie ; and I suppose was situated in some part of the town of Palatine, being then, like Tionondogue, on the opposite side of the river from the local origin of the name ; but if so, in what part of the town, two miles or even one mile from the river-distances at that period were guessed at-I cannot now determine. It was probably between Oswegatchie-which is opposite Spraker's Basin-and some point nearly opposite to Fort Plain. Besides, it is represented as on a flat ; but as the river flats are, perhaps, nowhere in the town half a mile wide, we must look for the place in some ravine, or on elevated level ground. At this period the territory on both sides of the river was called Canajoharie, and early records of Palatine were dated at Canajoharie.
Were it mentioned as on a hill, I should at once locate it on " Castelebergh," a beautiful and commanding place for such a home ; and, though hardly a mile from the river, in a forest would have seemed a much greater distance. This hill, known by the early Germans as Castelebergh, is on the farm of the late Reuben Lipe, about a mile and a half to the northward of Fort Plain, and about one-fourth of a mile from the Smith Creek cheese factory at the turnpike. The reader must remember that, at the period named, there was no road of any kind in the Mohawk Valley. With flint arrow-heads, glass beads and implements of iron of European manufacture are found here, indicating something near the time of its occupancy, but not in quantities sufficient to warrant a belief that this castle was occupied for a great length of time ; and circumstances I think seem to favor this site.
Can-a-go-ra castle was evidently quite an inclosure, to contain 16 family huts, and is said to have been upon the flats-- meaning below the hilly ground--and a stone's throw from the water; being nearer the water, perhaps, than either of the other three. Where to locate it is now an unsolved problem. Indian relics-especially flint arrow-heads, stone hatchets and chisels-have been disclosed by the plow all along the valley, and little clusters of a few families have been scattered upon both sides of the river. This name, which the same writer gives for a town in the Seneca nation, with only the terminating letter h added, may yet be developed on some old land ; conveyance, as the Indian local name of a creek or some other object in the valley near its site.
Mr. Greenhalgh also mentions an unpalisaded village of about ten houses, as lying near the river 110 miles from Albany. This distance, estimated of course, would carry it by present roads above Utica, and into the territory of the Oneidas. From his naming the distance, I suppose this the most western village of the Mohawks ; and if they had one above the Little Falls after the whites came among them, it was this nameless one. At some period they no doubt had a village or castle near St. Johnsville; and conjecture, I think, may be warranted in placing one of the last two named towns there.
At some period, believed near the beginning of the last century, the Mohawks had a castle-so says reliable tradition,* and so say numerous relics such as glass beads, stone and iron implements, etc., disclosed from time to time by the plow, on the bold eminence in the easterly part of Fort Plain ; a slightly and strong place for an Indian town, but a bleak and cold one in the winter. This land-mark, which is known by the citizens as Prospect Hill, was Called by the Indians Ta-raghjo-rees, which may have been the name by which, in its day, this castle was known. The very names of nearly all the Indian towns have long since gone into oblivion, and the memory of the red man will soon be forgotten, a sad commentary upon human occupancy. It is believed the signification of this Indian word warranted the name given to it at the present day. Tradition says, also, that the Indian name signified the Hill of Health.
This tradition came from Col. Hendrick Trey to Joseph Wagner, and from him
to his son, the Hon. Peter J. Wagner, from whom the writer obtained it, about
the year 1840.
There is a tradition that this castle was called the Canajoharie castle. This is not improbable, if it existed prior to the Canajoharie castle of King Hendrick's life-time, now in the town of Danube, and if, at the same period of that, it was known as the Lower Canajoharie castle ; but of its importance nothing is now known, except what is recorded in the few relics disclosed from time to time by cultivation.
Another invasion of the Mohawk valley.-The most serious disaster that ever befel the Mohawks known to their white neighbors or to their oldest warriors, was on the invasion of their country by the French and Canadian Indians ; an authentic account of which is here given.* Gov. Frontenac dispatched from Montreal, January 15th, 1693, a body of 625 men, consisting of 100 French soldiers, 200 Indians, and 325 active young Canadians, under the command of de Mantet, and 20 other French and Canadian officers, commissioned to destroy the Mohawks, and commit as great ravages as possible around Orange-Albany. The journey was made on snow-shoos by the men in front, the army dragging their provisions after them on hand sleds, over the frozen rivers and lakes ; and so well were they piloted by Indian guides, that they entered the valley above Schenectada, but below all the Indian towns. On the first night of the invasion, John Baptist Van Eps, a young captive made at the sacking of Schenectada, a few years before, made his escape and conveyed the intelligence of the invasion to that place: which was immediately sent on to Albany by an express rider, which brought a company of mounted troops to the assistance of that place the next day.
As neither name or location of either Indian town destroyed is given by any writer, it is difficult to fix upon their localities, beyond a peradventure. Golden says : " The French on February 8, readied the first Mohawk castle, where there were only five men and some women and children in great security, their other men being all abroad : these were all taken without opposition. That the next fort which was not far from the first, was in like manner surprised without any opposition, both of them being small, and being next to the English, were not fortified." As this writer gave no distances, and spoke of
* From Colden's Five Nations, and Brodhead Papers, vol. 9, p. 550, Champigny.
those two castles as small and the third as large, I should have conjectured the first two surprised to have been small lodges in the vicinity of Cranesville, and the third or principal one to have been the Tionondogue of Greenhalgh, which fifteen years before he named as much their largest town, hut the French account we think enables us with a degree of certainty, to determine which were the three castles destroyed.
Says Champigny, " their party arrived near the three [two as appears below] Mohawk Villages, within fifteen leagues of Orange, without being discovered. At night-fall, on arriving, our Indians in company with some Frenchmen, went to reconnoitre two of the villages, situate a quarter of a league, the one from the other. On approaching them they heard the enemy sing, which obliged them to wait until the Indians should retire in order to surprise them whilst sleeping. The main body in the mean time advanced in two divisions, so as to be able to make a simultaneous attack on both villages. They were surrounded by strong palisades and closed with gates ; our Indians scaled the inclosure to open the gates. A crowd entered and became masters of all the cabins without resistance. The small village after having been burnt, was abandoned at daybreak, and the Indians and their families brought prisoners to the large village, where the commanders left a large force to guard them. Early next morning, our party set off for the third village, distant seven or eight leagues, where they arrived in the evening and surprised it in the same manner they had the others : set it on fire and brought the prisoners to the principal village."
The inference appears plain that when the Tienonderoga castle was removed in 1689 to its new site across the river, the old one in some condition was left standing, and continued to be occupied by a few families ; the distance from that to the new one, as stated by the French account, being, as we have previously shown, about a mile. The other castle captured in this invasion was, doubtless, Greenhalgh's Cahaniaga-Caughnawaga -now Fonda. It was only as many miles from Tienonderoga, as the French called it leagues ; but it is not improbable the invaders made a circuitous route thither, to avoid being discovered by any stragglers passing along the valley ; besides, they made a slow march so as to arrive in the evening. But the reader is is not to suppose the old and new Forts Tienonderoga and Caughnawaga were to be taken without a struggle or loss. Says the French record : " Count Frontenac's orders were not to give any quarter to the men who should be found in arms, and to bring away the women and children for the purpose of augmenting our Indian villages. But this order was not strictly executed, because they surrendered at discretion, and expressed themselves pleased at having this opportunity to come and live with our Indians, to whom they were closely related ; * so that of about 80 fighting men found in those three villages, only 18 or 20 were killed, and others, with the women and children, were made prisoners to the number of 280 persons."
Colden evidently wrote in the belief that there were two small lodges below Tienonderoga, for that had long been known as the largest town of the Mohawks. He says the enemy on coming to the latter heard a noise, and supposed they were discovered ; but it proved to be a war dance of some 40 Indians, who were next day to start on some enterprise. The French approached stealthily, found no one on guard, opened the gate and entered undiscovered. Confusion and a general melee followed, in which the enemy lost 30 of their number, and the Tienonderogas 20 before the latter were subdued. The Praying Indians were the first to give quarter and make captives, Said Colden, 300 prisoners were made, 100 of whom were fighting men.
By the French account we learn that the enemy only burnt the small castle the first night, and the next evening they destroyed the Caughnawaga castle ; and on returning to Tienonderoga, where they had left their prisoners well guarded, they remained but one day. They not only feared to remain longer in an enemy's country, but softer weather warned them that their ice-bridges over the rivers and lakes must be used soon it at all. After burning the principal village, with their prisoners and plunder they took the back track for Canada. We suppose
* Here is another fact to prove that Caughnawaga was the western castle destroyed at this time. Many of the invading Indians living near Montreal, and called Praying Indians, had, at an earlier period, been persuaded to go thither by Jesuit priests from this locality-the Caughnawagas in particular ; hence, they were blood relatives. Besides we may add that the enemy would not leave between them and their friends a fortified post in ascending the river.
this invasion to have been by the northern or Sacondaga route. On the first and second days, several hunters from the captured towns on learning that their wives and children were prisoners with the enemy, voluntarily became such and went with them to Canada.
On the third day an Iroquois scout overtook the enemy and had a parley with them, submitting certain peace propositions, and requesting them to halt and await the arrival of a pursuing party. The French looked upon this as a ruse, but their Indians prevailed on them to wait; in the meantime they threw up a breast work to protect them, and secure their prisoners. At this place Maj. Peter Schuyler, of Albany, with 250 whites and 290 Indians from the upper towns, arrived on the 17th; but fearing an ambuscade he approached the enemyenemy by a circuitous route, and was saluted by three loud savage yells, which his Indians sent back with a will. There was little or no parley for peace, and Schuyler's men at once set about felling trees for a temporary defense. While thus engaged the enemy made three attacks upon them, but were each time repulsed with loss ; neither party seeming anxious for a very general fight.
At this conjuncture Maj. Schuyler sent an express to Albany for more troops and provisions. The enemy moved forward on the 18th, a cold and stormy day, and a deserter arriving at the American camp aaid it would not be easy to follow them ; but the officers with 60 whites and a body of Mohawks did pursue them until night with some success, and, on coming up with them, they released several prisoners to tell their pursuers that they would kill all their prisoners if compelled to abandon them. On the 19th the needed provisions and 80 men under Capt. Sims of the regular troops arrived at the American encampment, and the whole army moved forward. On the 20th, Major Schuyler was so straitened for food that he gave up the pursuit; and although meeting with some supplies and fresh troops-fearing that the enemy would execute his threat and kill the prisoners, joined to the fact that the ice in the streams was becoming treacherous, further pursuit was abandoned.
In the pursuit of the enemy, Schuyler lost four privates and as many Indians killed, and two officers, and twelve Christians and Indians wounded-the whites were called Christians to distinguish them from Indians. The French lost, as was learned from deserters, 33 killed and 26 wounded : the bodies of 20 were found by Schuyler's men, and so hungered were his Indian followers that they ate the bodies of the dead Frenchmen. Going among his Indian allies at this time, as Maj. Schuyler afterwards assured the Historian, Golden, he found them eating broth, of which he was invited to partake, and did so until he saw one of them with a ladle raise from the kettle a Frenchman's hand, which put an end to his appetite. Between 40 and 50 prisoners were rescued by the pursuers. The French admitted, says Colden, a loss in this expedition of 80 killed and 33 wounded. In their flight the enemy crossed a branch of the Hudson, upon a cake of ice, which had fastened itself from shore to shore, while the river was open above and below, the result of a recent thaw.
On arriving at Lake Champlain to which they were pursued, the ice afforded bad walking, and most of the Indians with the greater part of the prisoners, left the lake shore to cross the country in the woods ; only about 50 of the prisoners going with the French. Food secreted on the way down, to be used on their return route, had been spoiled by the rain, so that the party nearly perished of hunger: they were out of food and were still fifty leagues from their nearest settlement-having to carry their wounded. Never was there such distress in any army, which was four days without any food. Four Indians and a white man were sent forward for assistance, reaching Montreal in five days. One hundred and fifty men with provisions upon their backs, were hastened to the relief of the war party. One hundred and twenty were so overcome by fatigue and hunger, that they remained behind, until somewhat improved, Several died of hunger, and many casting aside their arms, says Champigny, " were scarcely able to drag their heels after them." The same writer adds : " What was surprising under such untoward circumstances was, that the enemy did not pursue them ; they did not dare to follow over the lakes, as the ice melted under their feet. Certain it is, had it not been for this special interposition of providence, not a solitary Frenchman would have returned."
In their great consternation at Albany, when the news of the invasion reached there, an express messenger was sent to New York to ask aid of Gov. Fletcher, which reached him 150 miles distant at 10 A.M., on the 12th of February, and so zealously did the governor interest himself in the matter, that by 8 A. M., the next day he had a regiment of volunteers under arms and ready to march. When he asked who were willing to go on this expedition, all threw up their hats in token of their readiness. The Hudson then chanced to be open between New York and Albany, an event seldom happening so early at that period, and by 4 P. M , he embarked 300 men, 150 from the city and an equal number from Long Island, in five sloops, which arrived at Albany at 9 A. M , on the 17th. The governor accompanied the troops, and preceded them to Schenectada, where the final preparation was made to enter the forest, but by the time everything was in readiness to move forward, they learned that Maj. Schuyler was on his return.
When the Mohawks came back from the pursuit of their enemies, Col. Fletcher made a speech to them, commiserating their misfortunes with fair promises of future assistance. The tardiness of the Albanians, when the enemy entered their valley, displeased the Indians, who had so promptly rallied to revenge the burning of Schenectada ; but the energetic and prompt action of the governor, did much to reconcile the Indians to their cruel fate ; and in their answer to his speech, they called him Cay-en-gui-ra-go, signifying a great arrow, on account of his alacrity in coming so far. But for a long time they were greatly disheartened : never since they were a nation having had such a blow dealt them, to the knowledge of any one living. Their chiefs told Col. Fletcher, that the French kept their Indian allies better armed than were the Mohawks, which accounted for the French having escaped in the late invasion.
In July following this incursion of the French, Gov. Fletcher met the sachems of the five nations at Albany, and through a female interpreter had an interesting time with them. Whether the interpretress were a squaw or a white woman, does not appear ; but he says the natives gave her three beaver skins to clear her throat. At this meeting, the then best speaker of the Iroquois, De-can-e-so-ra, an Oneida, took occasion to say : " We wish you gave less credit to rum-carriers than you do." This appellation, says the historian, shows the contemptible character the Indian traders have among the Indians. They had from bitter experience learned to know that their troubles and quarrels not only came through the introduction of fire water among them, but that for a little of it they were literally robbed of their most valuable peltries-generally without any redress. At a later period, indeed all through the administration of their affairs by Sir Wm. Johnson, they made constant complaints and protests against the introduction of alcohol among them ; which they had long since discovered, demoralized them both physically and mentally, making them fit subjects of plunder by knaves, and for all manner of beastliness and crime by nature.
Communism among the Indians.-I may here remark that in the social life and communistic relations of all the North American Indians there was a similarity of living. The gentes or family clans of the Iroquois distinguished, principally, by the totems of Bear, Wolf, and Turtle, had each in their "Long House," or village castle, all their food in common-that is, the part of a nation distinguished as Bear, and living contiguous, distributed their food when cooked to every member of its clan, and thus was it with the other gens. No one was allowed to go hungry, whether they had contributed toward the supply of food or not. Indeed, such was their law of kindness, that if one family clan was more successful in obtaining food than another, the lucky one was ever ready to divide with the needy.
Lewis II. Morgan, in a work entitled Contributions to American Ethnology* having taken much pains to investigate the subject of communistic life among the Aborignies of North America, status that the customs prevailing among the Iroquois prevailed not only in all the northern part of America, but also in Mexico and in Central and South America. The practice of hospitality was also universal with the red men.
Says Morgan : " If a man entered an Indian house, whether a villager, a tribe's man, or a stranger, and at whatever hour of the day, it was the duty of the women to set food before him ; and, if not hungry, courtesy required that he should taste the food and thank the giver." This law of hospitality is mentioned as a proof of their having their stores of subsistence in common.
Coming hither of White Settlers.-Thus is given the reader
* Published by Department of the Interior, vol. 4. J. W. Powell In charge, Washington,1861.
some idea of the condition of things existing to the westward of Albany; when near the beginning of the last century, and nearly an hundred years after a Dutch Indian trading post was established at that place, the white settlers began mingling their homes among those of the red men along the water-courses of Central New York, where they pitched their tents for several cogent reasons : they were more fertile, more easily subdued, afforded desirable mill-privileges ; and, lastly, for their piscatorial attraction which had long before brought hither their Indian neighbors, for they had the requisite sagacity to capture a finny contribution to their larder, at a period when no Seth Greene benefactor was required to fresh stock those waters, then teeming with scaly inhabitants. I should, perhaps, add that what had prevented an earlier occupancy of those lands was the great hazard of being interrupted, if not annihilated, by the Canadian French, who aimed to make the colony of New York subject to the French Crown.
The greatest average length of the Mohawk valley settlements by 1740 or 1750 may have been 60 miles, and their greatest breadth 30 ; while those of Schoharie valley-embracing Harpersfield-extended some 40 miles in length by less than 20 in breadth. But, alas, many of the small settlements within those districts were miles and miles apart ; well enough when only friends were abroad, but fearfully isolated in either an aggressive or internecine war.
The little I have thus far sketched of the border territory here considered, implies in its first settlement the world of difficulties, hardships, privations and suffering experienced by those daring settlers : for, " if those who go down in ships take their lives in their hands," with how much more certainty may we suppose that those people-not a few of whom have been reared in comparative ease-take their lives into their own hands, when, separated afar from kindred and friends, they locate in rode huts in the woods, with no comforts and few of the necessaries of life, surrounded only by savages and wild beasts, equally, at times, to be dreaded. Few persons, even among the aged, have ever seen a genuine log cabin, and, if any they have seen, they were of the better class : that is, they were modernized as compared with those of an early day, constructed, as many of them were, without either a floor or a chimney, having
perhaps a single window of four or eight panes of 7x9 glass, and lucky in having a door other than that of a blanket or the skin of a wild beast. As for chairs and tables in those rude homes, they were often of that primitive kind cut from the trunks of trees, their beds being cribs of forest boughs.
The spiritual welfare of the Canadian Indians began to he looked after from holy or sinister motives by the French Jesuits, almost coeval with the settlement of the country, while the Dutch for the first fifty years, and the English for the next succeeding fifty years after their rule began, did very little to influence the Indians in matters of religion. They did not use the gospel as a pretext for extending their territories. The French government aimed from an early period of their Canadian settlements, to possess if possible the greater part of this continent : and Gov. Dongan, of New York, in instructions to Capt. Palmer, for the home government under date of September &, 1687, makes these pertinent remarks:* "If the French have all they pretend to have discovered in these parts, the King of England will not have 100 miles from the sea anywhere. And it is very unreasonable," he afterwards adds, " that the French who lie so much to the northward of us, should extend themselves so far to the soutward and westward on the back side of his Majesty's plantations, when they have so vast a quantity of land to the northward and northwest as far a the South sea"-meaning, doubtless, the Pacific ocean, " Whether we are to have peace or war," said he, " it is necessary that the forts should be built, and that religious men live amongst the Indians." He had suggested the erection of several forts between Schenectada and the lakes, to protect the New York Indians against the French, and secure the fur trade. This is one of the first hints to bring the Indians of western New York under religious influence by the English.
First English Fort among the Five Nations.-We have seen that Gov. Dongan suggested the erection of forts among the Indians as early as 1687, but nothing effectual was done in that direction, until the tenth year of the reign of Queene Anne, 1711, when it was resolved to build two forts, one among the Mohawks, at Tienonderoga, and the other at Onondaga,
* Doc. His. of N. Y , vol 1. p. 257.
October 11, of this year, a contract was made at Albany, between Gov. Robert Hunter, and Col. Francis Nicholaon, of the province of New York, and Garet Symonce, Barent Vroman, Hendrick Vroman, John Wemp, and Arent Petten of Schenectada, in the county of Albany, carpenters, for their erection. The first constructed, was to be at the first named place, and of the following dimensions, viz : one hundred and fifty feet square, the curtains to be made with logs a foot square, laid and pinned one upon another, to the height of twelve feet. At each corner there was to be a block house twenty-four feet square, two stories high, with double loop holes, the roof to be covered with boards and shingles. The ground room to be nine feet high, and the upper eight feet, both to be well floored with boards. The logs of the block houses, were to be nine inches square, with bedsteads and benches in each block house for twenty men; as also a chimney in each. Inside of said forts scaffolds were to be erected, five feet wide along each curtain, from one block house to another. A chapel was to be erected in the middle of the fort, twenty-four feet square, one story ten feet high, with a garrett over it, well covered with boards, shingled, and to be well floored. The chapel was to have a cellar under it, fifteen feet square, covered with logs, and then with earth, the whole chapel to be well floored. Query, was not this chapel cellar intended for a magazine ? One block house at Fort Hunter was to be completed for service the following July, 1712.
The works constructed at Onondaga, were to be of the same specific character and dimensions, excepting that the chapel and block houses might be shingled upon laths (narrow strips of timber used at that period, for either shingling or plastering upon), and the fort, chapel and block houses, to be made of such logs as might be most conveniently obtained, provided they are good and sufficient for that service, and the floors to be laid with split wood in place of boards. There were then no saw mills in New York, west of Schenectada. If the work of the contractors was at any time interrupted by the enemy, they were to be made whole. They were to receive one thousand pounds in New York currency-$2,500, for the erection of both forts, £100 ten days after the execution of the contract, £400 on the completion of the first fort, and £500 more on the completion of the western fort-both to be completed by the first day of July, 1713. The contract was witnessed by K. Van Rensselaer, Myndert Schuyler and Robert Livingston, Jun. The erection of this English fort in the Mohawk valley more than anything else, inspired the Dutch with confidence to push their way tardily up the valley from Schenectada, and the Germans to locate above them.*
The Schoharie Valley and its Indian occupancy.-The Schoharie creek, a large tributary of the Mohawk, rises in the town of Hunter, Greene county, flows northerly through Greene and Schoharie counties, and enters the Mohawk at Fort Hunter, a distance from its source of about 70 miles. Schoharie is a Mohawk Indian name, and signifies drift-wood, as rendered by Joseph Brant to Isaac H. Tiffany, Esq., in 1806. When this word originated it had reference to a body of driftwood, which had lodged in the creek about half a mile above the bridge at Middleburgh, where two small streams run into the creek nearly opposite. The one on the west side was formerly called the Linekill, being the northern boundary line of the first Vrooman patent, which instrument embraced that part of Fulton since called Vrooman's Land. The stream coming from a southerly course is known as Stonykill. John M. Brown, Esq., of Carlisle, in a pamphlet history of Schoharie, written at the request of Gov. De Witt Clinton, called the latter stream the Little Schoharie ; and said that that stream originated the name of the Schoharie creek. The two kills mentioned, falling into the creek at that place, no doubt aided in causing .a lodgment of drift-wood at every high water directly above. The banks of the stream were then studded with heavy timber, which served as abutments for the formation of a natural bridge. I judge so from the fact that about 1840, between that place and the tollbridge below, might have been seen a row of elm stumps of gigantic growth.
At what period the timber began to accumulate* at that place is unknown, but it was at a date anterior to the settlement of the Schoharie valley by the aborigines of whom we have any certain knowledge. At the time the Indians located in the valley-who were owners of the soil when the Germans and Dutch first settled there-tradition says there were thousands of loads
* Brod. Papers vol. 5, 279.
of wood in this pyramid. How far it extended on the flats on either side is not known, they being there quite wide ; but across the creek it is said to have been as high as a house of ordinary dimensions, and to have served the natives the purposes of a bridge, who, when crossing, could not see the water through it.
One tradition says Schoharie signifies to take across or carry over; while another tradition gives its literal meaning to be, the meeting of two waters in a third-both referring, beyond a doubt, to the driftwood in question, and its locality. This mausoleum of the forest sugar-tree, gnarled oak, and lofty pine, was called by the Indians who dwelt in its immediate vicinity To-wos-scho-hor* the accent falling on the third and fourth syllables. From that word has been derived the present word Schoharie, the first two syllables having been entirely dropped, while another has been added in its Anglicisement. In 1836 I saw an illy shaped glass bottle in Schoharie, said to have been imported from London by John Lawyer, the first merchant among the German settlers. His name and the place of his residence were stamped upon the bottle in English letters, the latter being there spelled Shoary. Many of the old German people of that county, used to pronounce it Shuckary, which, it will be perceived, differs nearly as much from the sound of the word as now written, as that does from the sound of the word here given as the original.
At what period the aborigines located who were occupying the Schoharie flats when the whites first settled upon them, is unknown.+ Judge Brown, in the pamphlet to which I have
* I give the orthography of this word as it sounded when spoken by Mrs. Susannah, widow of Martin Van Slyck. At an interview in 1837,1 found Mrs. Van Slyck quite intelligent, and possessed of a very retentive memory. She formerly dwelt In Vrooman's Land, near where the bridge of driftwood had been-could once converse with the natives in their own dialect, and still retained many of their words. She gave the word to which the note refers, as the name by which they called the natural bridge- by whom she had often heard it spoken. The author is indebted to the kindness of this lady and her tenacious memory, for several interesting facts tradition has preserved, relating to the early settlement of Vrooman's Land by the whites, she being a granddaughter of the first Vrooman settler; and also for several Incidents worthy of record which transpired during the Revolution. Mrs. Van Slyck died in Breakabeen about the first of April, 1850, aged nearly 90 years.
+ The old veteran John M. Brown, as he assured the writer In September, 1837, was born at Blue Mountain, Ulster county, N. Y., November 5, 1745. Losing his mother he went to West Camp to live with his mother's father, Matthew Jung-Young in English, his grandmother having the care of him. This Young was a school teacher, and the elements of his education Brown received from him His own father having gone to Schoharie, again married there In 1752, and became the first wheelwright in the county. At the age of 20 he took his son to Schoharie, where he learned the trade of his father, and worked at it to the age of 24, when be became an agriculturist. He was one of the first settlers in Carlisle. He was twice married, first to a Miss Hager, by whom he had nine children, and then to a Miss Van Arnein who had no issue. He was a Captain of militia in the Revolution. He proved a very useful citizen, filling several important civil stations; and among them that of Justice of the Peace, Commissioner of Highways in laying out roads, and an Associate Judge of the Schoharie county Common Pleas. He died about a year after our interview.
alluded, informs us that the first Indian settlement was made by Ka-righ-on-don-tee, a French Indian prisoner, who had taken for a wife a Mohawk squaw ; that his father-in-law gave him those lands to remove him from the presence of the Mohawk Indians, by whom he had been made prisoner, as they bore a deadly hatred to the Canada Indians, and in a drunken frolic might kill him ; that families from the Mohawk, Mohegan,* Tuscarora, Delaware, and Oneida tribes there joined him, so that a new tribe, of which he was principal chief, was formed, numbering at one time about 300 warriors. This must be entirely too high an estimate of their fighting men.
Karighondontee was a Canadian chief of some celebrity, who had been taken prisoner by the Mohawks in one of their bloody wars.
Schoharie was settled if only for indefinite periods to suit the convenience of the natives for hunting and fishing, long before its settlement by Karighondontee.
Indians Skill.-It is astonishing to what perfection the aborigines of the United States had carried the manufacture of their wooden and stone implements for defense and domestic utility, before the Europeans found their way hither ; since they were not the possessors of a knife, or any instrument of iron. To look at a flint arrow-head, and see to what delicate proportions it has been wrought from so hard and brittle a substance, it seems incredible that it could have been formed by art, without the aid of other implements than those of stone. One would almost suppose the Indian to have been capable of softening the flinty rock by some chemical agent, previous to its being wrought into such beautiful forms. The cabinet of the antiquarian will exhibit them of various dimensions and a
* A part of the Mohegan and Stockbridge Indians, migrated and joined the five nations before the Revolution.-Morse's Gazetteer.
variety of colors : pipes, hatchets, wedges or chisels, and culinary vessels, all ingeniously formed from different kinds of stone, are likewise often found at the present day near the site of ancient Indian villages-giving additional evidence of the perfection to which necessity will carry certain arts.* The Mohawks and Delawares, made the Schoharie valley their route of intercommunication.
The Mohicans on coming into the valley, settled not far from the Little Schoharie kill, in the present town of Middleburgh, and were living separate from the main body of the tribe, long after the whites located in their vicinity, having a small castle in the Clauver- Wy-clover pasture.
In Virginia, it is said, the Indians had altars of stone whereon they offered a sacrifice of blood, deer's suet and tobacco. I dare not suppose that Karighondontee or any of his tribe, were equally religious ; but I may say, that I have never heard of any people appropriating tobacco to any better or more savory use. Certainly it were far better for health and neatness to smell its fumes than taste them.
Indian villages.-Besides the village of the Mohegans already located, the Schoharie tribe had several others : one of which was on the west side of the river, above Central Bridge. Nearly opposite that, on the other side of the river, they had another, and a distance of several miles farther up the valley, a third. The present Schoharie railroad depot, is on the site of this Indian town. At each of the two former they had a small castle ; and at the latter, where they dwelt for many years after the two northern villages were abandoned, they had a burying ground. Those villages were all within four miles of the present site of the court house. About the year 1770, twenty-one wigwams were yet standing upon the site of the third, and a few old apple trees still to have been seen there in 1840, are supposed to have been planted by the natives. Near this orchard many burials are said to have been made at their place of sepulture. It was not only customary for the aborigines of this country to bury the implements of war, and treasures
*The Hon. Caleb Lyon, informed the writer, in March, 1850, that the year before, he saw the Indians in California making arrow-heads. They used a piece of native copper, with which they clipped off chips from a piece of silex, producing the desired object in a comparatively short time.
of the warrior with his body ; but also a kettle of food, such as beans or venison, to serve him on his journey to the delectable hunting grounds, whither be believed himself going. The fifth, and most important village of the tribe, where dwelt Karighondontee and his principal chiefs, was in Vrooman's land : where they had a strong castle, and a place of burial. This castle was built by John Becker, -who received from Sir William Johnson, as agent for the British government, eighty pounds for its erection. It was built at the commencement of the French -war, and constructed of hewn timber. The Indians held some four hundred acres of land around it, which they leased for several years. Contiguous to this castle, along both sides of the river, could have been counted at one time seventy huts ; and relics of savage ingenuity are now often plowed up there. An angle of land, occasioned by a bend in the river, on which this castle stood, was called the Wilder Hook, by the Dutch who settled near it, and signified the Indian's Corner.
The Indians gave names to most of the mountains and prominent hills in the county, among which were the following : On the west side of the creek, directly opposite the brick church in Middleburgh, is a mountain rising several hundred feet, and covered with timber of stunted growth. The traveler will readily notice this as the highest of the surrounding peaks, which hem in the valley. This mountain the natives called Ou-con-ge-na, which signified, Rattle-snake Mountain, or Mountain of Snakes. It was literally covered with rattle-snakes in former times. The next peak above on the same side of the river, which has a very bold termination toward the valley, they called O-nis-ta-gra-wa. It signified the Corn Mountain. Between that and the river was the Wilder Hook : at which place the flats are well adapted to the cultivation of Indian corn, This consideration gave to this mountain its significant name. The next hill above the Onistagrawa, now known as Spring Hill, the Indians called To-wok-now-ra-its signification is unknown, and the next one south of that they called Kan-je-a-ra-go-re, At Middleburgh, two valleys meet: the one through which the Schoharie wends it way, and the other through which the Little Schoharie kill runs some distance before it empties into the former. Consequently, on the south-east side of the river as it there courses, the mountain ridge which confines the river to its limits on the eastern side, suddenly terminates, and again appears east of Middleburgh village. The termination of the hill alluded to, which lies southeast of the Onistagrawa, and distant perhaps two miles-was called by the Mohegans who dwelt at its base, the Mo-he-gon-ter, and signified Falling Off, or Termination of the Mohegan Hill. It served to designate the locality, and preserve the name of the Connecticut Indians. A fraction of the Stockbridge tribe of Indians from Massachusetts, also dwelt near the Mohegans.
I have no data by which to estimate the whole number of Schoharie Indians, except the statement in Brown's pamphlet, which sets down the number of warriors at about three hundred. If Judge Brown's estimate was not too large, we may suppose their number approximated 2000. Their habits at times were quite migratory. The coat of arms, or ensign of the Schoharie tribe, was a turtle and a snake. Figures representing those animals, they placed on all deeds or writings-which were to prove an evidence of faith. Nor were they confined to placing them on paper or parchment ; for whenever they deeded land trees serving as bounds or land-marks, bore the characteristic emblem of the tribe.
Indian paths.-Brown enumerates the five following footpaths as being in use by the Schoharie Indians, when the whites first settled among them. The first began at Catskill, and followed the kill of that name up to its source at the Vlaie, whence it continued down to Middleburgh. Over a part of this path the Loonenburg turnpike was laid. The second began at Albany and led over the Helleberg, down Foxes creek valley, and terminated in Schoharie. By this path a part of the Germans traveled, who first settled Schoharie. The old road, as now called, from thence to Albany, follows very nearly the route of that path. The Third commenced at Garlock's dorf and led to Schenectada through Duanesburgh. By this path the Dutch who first settled in Vrooman's Land, proceeded from Schenectada, as did also a part of the first Germans. This path was much used for several years by the Schoharie people who went to that village with grists upon their backs to get milling done ! The fourth led from Kneiskern's dorf, down the Schoharie to Sloansville, thence through the towns of Charleston and Glen to Cadaughrita, and ended at Fort Hunter. This path was traveled by the natives, who went from the Mohawk to the Susquehanna valley. The fifth led from Kneiskern's dorf north-west to Canajoharie. This path, says Brown, was much traveled by the early Germans, who often went to visit relatives at the German Flats. It continued in full use, he adds, until after the year 1762, at which time Sir William Johnson reviewed a brigade of militia, of which he was general-near the upper Indian castle of the Mohawks. Besides those enumerated, the Indians had other paths, of less notoriety, leading in different directions from Schoharie. One traversed not a little by the Indian hunter, led directly up the Schoharie to near its source, and thence to the Susquehanna and Genesee valleys. While another of some importance to the hunter, must have led up the Cobelskill to its source, and thence to Otsego lake.
An Indian Mound.-Beside the path mentioned as leading from Schoharie to Fort Hunter, at a little distance from Sloansville, a large mound of stones had been reared by the Indians long before the whites settled this part of the State. A title to the adjoining lands was called the Stone. Heap Patent. Tradition says that two Mohawk hunters were passing this place-a quarrel arose between them-one murdered the other-and his fellows, to commemorate the event, erected a pile of stones upon the spot. A custom of their nation required every warrior traveling that path to appease the departed spirit by adding a stone to the heap, and thus it grew to one of large dimensions. Not many years ago the land on which it stood was owned by an individual who cared little for the altars of the red man, and the long accumulating record of homicide was converted by him into stone wall, to the unfeigned regret of pious antiquarians. The route pursued by Sir John Johnson and his army, from Schoharie to the Mohawk, in October, 1780, led directly past this monumental pile.
A Missionary in Schoharie.-In the summer of 1753, the Rev. Gideon Hawley and Deacon Timothy Woodbridge, of Massachusetts, when on a missionary tour, visited Fort Hunter, where they dined with the commandant, Lieut. Butler, who, with his family, resided there, and who, as I suppose, was Col. John Butler, of the British Canadian service in the Revolution, On leaving that post, he furnished those missionaries with an Indian guide, to conduct them across the country to Schoharie. On their way they came to a resting place, when they perceived the Indian looking for a stone, which, having found, he cast upon a heap that for ages had been accumulating by similar contributions. To their inquiry why he observed the rite, he replied that it was practiced by his father, who enjoined the duty upon him ; but that he did not like to talk on the subject. This is the monumental " stone heap " mentioned in the preceding paragraph.*
In Mr. Hawley's narrative, from which the above is derived, he adds: " I have observed in every part of the country, and among every tribe of Indians, and among those where I now am,+ in a particular manner, such heaps of stones or sticks collected on the like occasion as the above. The largest heap I ever observed, is that large collection of small stones on the mountain between Stockbridge and Great-Barrington. We have a sacrifice rock, as it is termed, between Plymouth and Sandwich, to which stones and sticks are always cast by Indians who pass it. This custom or rite is an acknowledgment of an invisible being. We may style him the unknown God, whom this people worship. This heap is his altar. The stone that is collected is the oblation of the traveler, which, if offered with a good mind, may be as acceptable as a consecrated animal."
Although it is somewhat anticipating events, still as Mr. Hawley was going on missionary work to the Indians of Oquago, some of his observations may not prove unprofitable. Mr. Hawley had visited Schoharie in September 1752, some account of which he incorporates in his narrative of the next year's events.' He was then attended only by an Indian guide, a Canadian Indian who had been one of his pupils, and we suppose they made the journey on horseback. He expressed his surprise that at that period there were only two houses between Albany and Schenectada (both of which were inns), on a road so much traveled, the distance being; 16 miles. He remained over night, and not far from his resting place he said the road parted, that branch to the right leading on to Schenectada, and the other to Schoharie,
* Doc. His. N. Y., vol. 3, p. 1040.
This narrative was dated at Marshpee, and directed to Rev. Dr. Thacher.
where he arrived in the afternoon of that day, a distance of about twenty miles. The whole valley was then called Schoharie, and where he halted it is difficult to determine ; but he there found Jonah, a Canadian Indian, whom he had known at Stockbridge, Mass. This Indian's wife was a Tuscorora squaw, who furnished him refreshment. Speaking of Jonah's good qualities and pedigree, he said : " His mother was a very old person, and of French extract, and full blooded, being captured from Canada when very young. Jonah, therefore, was half blood."
He speaks on this visit of meeting only with Indians, and I am at a loss to know where he first halted : for leaving the hospitable home of Jonah, he says he went six miles further down (meaning, doubtless, up, as the valley south tends upward), to the Mohawk village, so designated, no doubt because most of its inhabitants were of that nation. He must have made his first halt at the Indian town situated near the present Schoharie railroad depot, and went from thence to the Wilder Hook. At the latter place, he speaks of meeting Sharrach, Peter, and other Indians as friends, who had passed the summer in gathering gentian root, destined for a European market; the previous year having been a successful one for its exportation. He said its Indian name was kalondaggough.
He tarried over night in the vicinity, visited the Indians in the morning, distributed presents among their children, set out upon his return, and again tarried over night at one of the two houses between Albany and Schenectada, What he desired to accomplish in this hasty visit is undefined : probably it was to feel his way for future events. Here is his own comment upon the country : " In regard to Schoharry, it is fine land, and settled by Palatines, brought over at the expense of the nation in Queen Anne's reign. It is watered by a stream which tends to the southward, not far from the source of the Delaware, which takes an opposite direction. [This is true, but the Delaware runs south and the Schoharie north ; and I suppose a stream tends in the direction it runs.] Here are three decent meeting-houses and two domines. The one a Calvinian and the other a Lutheran [one of the three churches, Calvinistic, was at Middleburgh, and the other two at Schoharie, a mile apart]. The language of this people is German, and they are husbandmen, The Albanians and people of Schenectada were Hollanders, and employed in trade ; and very few were farmers."
A Missionary Enterprise.-Mr. Hawley and Deacon Woodbridge left Stockbridge on Tuesday, May 22, 1753, their mission being, as the former expressed it, the " planting Christianity is the Indian country about an hundred miles beyond any settlement of Christian people," Mr. Woodbridge being familiar with such business, went to introduce Mr. Hawley to the Indians, and Benjamin Ashley and his wife were hired to accompany them, the latter to act as interpreter. She-then Rebecca Kellogg-had been captured at the destruction of Deerfield, February 28,1104, and with two brothers was taken to Caughnawaga, Canada, when she was only three years old, and where she remained until grown up. She was a proficient in the language of the five nations, and hence well qualified for this mission to Oquago, where she died in August 1757. Her name among the Indians, by whom she was much lamented, was Wau-sau-nia. Joseph Kellogg, one of the brothers captured at Deerfield, was, in his day, the best Indian interpreter in New England, and was at the Indian treaty held at Albany in 1754. Accompanying Gen. Shirley as interpreter, on his way to Oswego in 1756, he was taken sick, died, and was buried at Schenectada.
Mr. Hawley, when he set out upon this mission, was furnished with letters of introduction to several important personages on his way, as also a letter of recommendation from the Governor of the Colony of Massachusetts. Crossing the Mohawk by a ferry at Schenectada, he presented a letter of introduction to Major Glen, from his friend Col. Jacob Wendell, of Boston, with whom he took dinner ; proceeding thence with his party on the north side of the Mohawk to Mount Johnson, the residence of Col. William Johnson-alterwards Sir William Johnson-where they were politely met at the gate by the proprietor, and entertained over night. Says Mr. Hawley's journal, "His mansion was stately, and situate a little distance from the river, on rising ground, and adjacent to a stream which turned his mill. This gentleman was well known, in his civil, military and private character. He was the first civil character in the county of Albany at that day ; and after this, by means of the war which commenced in 1755, and his connection with the Indians, of whom he was appointed sole superintendent for that part of the continent, he arose to great eminence. In 1756 he was made a baronet." In the morning the party rode up to the ford, where they crossed, and proceeded to the Mohawk castle, " near which was a stone chapel [Queen Anne's] and a village of Indians, situate on Schoharry creek, not far from the place where it discharges its waters into the Mohawk." Here, as I have previously shown, he dined with Commandant Butler. With an Indian guide the party proceeded from Fort Hunter to Schoharie, and after a fatiguing ride through the forest, at dusk on Saturday evening, Hawley and Woodbridge put up at what was called a public house, the rest of the party proceeding farther. The house, as he said, had but one room, and in it they tried to sleep on a straw bed in a bunk, but were annoyed by several old countrymen, who came there and " gamed and drank" most of the night within a few feet of them. Where this primitive tavern stood is now unknown, but it was probably in the vicinity of Fox's creek. On Sunday morning, says the journal, " Having found our interpreter and company at the upper end of the town, we went and had a meeting at the Mohawk village, where I preached and prayed in the forenoon. In the afternoon Mr. Woodbridge and I went to the Dutch meeting in the vicinity." On Monday they collected stores for their journey ; and on Tuesday morning, May 29, they set forward on horseback over mountain and valley for Oquago, now in the town of Windsor, Broome county, N. Y., and on the afternoon of the second day they arrived at To-wano-en-da-laugh, on the Susquehanna, below Cooperstown. Here were three Indian huts, but where this place was is uncertain.
As Mrs. Ashley and Mr. Woodbridge could not continue the journey on horseback, and they were trying to get a canoe in which to convey them, on Wednesday afternoon George Winedecker and another man came down from Otsego lake in a small batteau, with goods and rum, going to trade at Onohoghgwage-Oquago. It was soon arranged that the interpreter and Mr.Woodbridge should go in the batteau with the travelers, while a wooden or tree canoe was bought to carry their flour and baggage. But I cannot detail the rest of the journey, which was made by some on land and others by water : suffice it to say, Winedecker's rum had nearly cost Mr. Hawley his life, and had been a source of constant alarms and fears. Once they were separated, and the party did not get together again until they arrived at Wauteghe-query, Otego-at which place there had been an Indian village, where there were a few fruit trees and considerable cleared land, but no inhabitants. Pallas, an Indian assistant, had of late been so often drunk and refractory that he was left at quite a village, which contained some Houssautunuk-Housatonic-Indians, who spoke the Stockbridge dialect. It being Sabbath day, Winedecker was not permitted to land at this place. Here from the northwest, said Mr. Hawley, a river rolls into the Susquehanna, navigable for canoes a day's journey. He called its name Teyonadelhough. This was the present Unadilla, the western branch of the Susquehanna. The retinue of this party seems to have been constantly increasing on the way by Indians ; some tempted by the kegs of the Indian traders, and others by the novelty of having a missionary along to instruct them in matters appertaining to their future salvation. On the afternoon of June 5, a delegation of Oquago chiefs met them, to whom, as a condition of their labors, they requested them to prohibit the future use of rum. Of the final success of the mission we are not here advised. The Hawley narrative, upon which we have drawn, is in Doc. His. of N. Y., vol. 3.
I have given the above details from Rev. Mr. Hawley's journal, because they reflect not a little light upon border life. The red man's curse, alcohol, which has done so much to exterminate the race, proved a great hindrance in the way of civilizing and christianizing the American Indian. Mr. Woodbridge, who accompanied Mr. Hawley to Oquago, in a letter dated at Albany, June 26, 1T53, three weeks after the mission was established, to Col. William Johnson, after alluding to the Colonel's favoring the missionary project, gives what he denominates a speech from the Indians to Mr. Johnson. Here are some extracts going to show that these unlettered nations began to realize that a curse was settling down upon them.
"My brother, Coll. Johnson, hear me. Now we are both nations together under one head at Onuhhuhquaugeh. My brother, Whauroh yauchee, here we are assembled under one head ; I say, hear me now. The governor and great men have took pity on us, and come so far to bring us light and religion that we may go streight. My brother, my dear brother, pity us. Your Batoe is often here at our place, and brings us rum, and that has undone us. Sometimes on Sunday our people drink and cant attend their duty, which makes it extremely difficult. But now we have cut it off, we have put a stop to it.
" You must not think one man or a few men have done it, we, all of us, both old and young, have done it. It is done by the whole. My brother, I would have you tell the great men at Albany, Skenectetee and Skoharry, not to bring us any more rum. I would have you bring us powder, lead and clothing, what we want, and other things what you please, only dont bring us any strong lyquors.
" My uncle [meaning Mr. Woodbridge], you live nearer your brother [Col. Johnson], than I do, and you are more intimate together, I would have you tell him to bring no more rum to my place. He has sent a great deal of it there, and we die, many of us only by strong drink, I would have you take care that no more is brought to us. Now, my brother, pity us, rum is not good, we have had enough of it.
" My brother, we told you we should be glad to have you send us powder, lead, and clothing, what we need, and any thing else what we want, but would send us no rum, no strong drink ; and now send you a belt of wompom by our brother; and desire notice may be given to the great men at Albany, Skenactetee and Skoharry, that we would have no more rum sent among us." * It is not probable that Col. Johnson was personally engaged in the liquor traffic alluded to.
In this connection it may be well to speak of an early movement in the colony of New York to Christianize the Indians, one of the earliest, if we except the French Jesuit enterprise, via Canada, and the unsuccessful effort of the speculator, Rev. Godfrey Dellius, at Albany about ten years before. Gov. Hunter in a letter to the lords of trade, October 31, 1712, said that a very good fort and chapel were built in the Mohawk's country, at Tienonderoga, where he had an English garrison of twenty officers and men. A missionary for the Indians, he said, had departed for his mission. I doubt not, he added, but he
*Doc. His, vol. 2, p. 627.
kindly received.* Writing again in the following he said the missionary, who was the Rev. William F Andrews, had but an indifferent reception owing to a false notion the Indiana entertained, that the minister might claim one tenth part of all their lands and goods. When undeceived they treated him kindly. Holmes in his American Annals, quoting Humphrey, says : " The Indians at first received him with joy; but they peremptorily refused to let their children learn English. After the missionary had taught them for a time in their own language, the old. Mohawks left off coming to his chapel, and the children left off coming to his school; and in 1718, he closed a fruitless mission." Such was the result of the first attempts by the English, to communicate religious instruction to any of the five nations. Mr. Andrews was an Episcopalian, or of the church of England.
A Mysterious Pit.-In 1837 there might have been seen halt a mile north of the Schoharie Court House, a deep pit, in which via observed a heavy, upright, wooden frame. Its location was on a knoll, in an old apple orchard upon the farm owned by John L. Swart: which orchard seemed at least in appearance, to merit an existence coeval with, if it did not antedate, the first German settlements. For what purpose that frame was there sunk, or by whom, tradition does not inform us. Judge Brown said he remembered having seen it, but assured the author that persons then living in the vicinity much older than himself, could give no clue to its origin. This artificial cavern, which is said to have been apparently fifteen or twenty feet deep, by those who looked into it, was discovered at the time alluded to, by the accidental caving in of the earth near one corner of it. The opening was closed, without an interior examination of the pit. Its origin must be left entirely to conjecture.
A Brief Topography of the Mohawk Valley.-The Mohawk river rises in Oneida county, nearly 20 miles to the northward of Rome, arriving at which place it takes an easterly course, and, at a distance of about 135 miles from its source, enters the Hudson between Troy and Waterford. Its source is near that of Black river, which, running north-westerly, empties into Lake
* Brod. Papers, vol 5, p. 349.
Ontario. "Wood creek also rises northwesterly from Rome, and at a point two miles distant from the bend of the Mohawk it finds a westerly course into Oneida lake, which discharges in Oswego river, and runs into Lake Ontario at Oswego. The Mohawk has two prominent cascades to interrupt its navigation ; the Cohoes Falls not far from its mouth, with 70 feet fall, requiring six deep locks upon the Erie canal to overcome the ascent; and the Little Falls, so called, as compared with the Cohoes, having a fall of 42 feet, the canal descending 40 feet in a single mile by five locks, averaging about eight feet lift. The mountain barrier at this point through which the water furrowed its way in the long ago, affords some of the most romantic scenery in Central New York. The river in its course through Oneida, Herkimer, Montgomery and Schenectada counties, passes through some of the richest bottom-lands or river-flats to be found in any country.
For nearly two centuries the Mohawk was navigated above Schenectada by small water craft, mostly bateaux, around which danced the red man's bark canoe ; but it was always interrupted by the Little Falls, some 58 miles above, which necessitated a carrying-place of a mile ; and, at a later period, when the waters of Wood creek and Oneida lake were utilized, a carrying place of two miles was established between that creek and the Mohawk, so that boats from Schenectada went to Oswego and back ; at first to convey Indian goods and military stores. For the benefit of young readers I may say that, at carrying places, both cargo and boat had to be taken from the water and conveyed around the obstruction by land-usually by teams and extra hands, quite constantly employed-of course, to be relaunched and reloaded to pursue its onward cruise.
After the Revolution, which had familiarized the whole country with the rich lands of Western New York, from which the Indians had mostly been driven by their sympathy with Britain, many citizens of New England-not "a few of whom had been soldiers-removed thither, especially to Ontario county, which was organized several years before any county organization took place between that and Oneida-those two counties having been formed in 1789, only six years after the war. Some of those settlers moved up the Mohawk valley with ox-teams and covered wagons, while others journeyed in boats from Schenectada, their cattle being driven along the river roads. Parties by water were often composed of several families, to aid each other at the carrying places, as also to guard against any and every danger, The valley soon became a thoroughfare for thousands passing through it, and the travel has gone on increasing with improved facilities, until millions by rail are now speeding along where thousands sought their way by river craft and private conveyances, or a little later by canal craft and stages. The world, at times, now seems hurrying to and fro through the valley.
To facilitate business and subserve the increasing wants of the public, the " INLAND LOCK NAVIGATION COMPANY OF NEW YORK" was incorporated in 1792, and under the supervision of Gen. Philip Schuyler their enterprise was completed in 1797. Its object was designed to remove river obstructions for the passage of boats drawing two feet of water, and by the construction of locks at Little Falls, German Flats and Rome with a canal from the Mohawk to Wood creek-to enable boats of a larger class to go from Schenectada to Oswego without unlading. Bateaux for two, four and six hands, carrying from one to three tons of freight, were long in use on the river prior to this period, scores of families along its banks having their own; but on the completion of the inland locks many of them gave place to the Durham boat, a snug built water-craft, carrying from 10 to 15 tons, and laden to suit the condition of the river. They were built with a small cabin in the stern, and although seldom decked all over, they were always decked several feet along the sides, upon which cleats were nailed to afford boatmen a foothold while propelling their craft up the stream with long setting-poles, with some sort of a head or pad to prevent its bruising the shoulder ; and, I may add, the slow propelling of these boats against the current was never a labor of love, as the calloused shoulder of many an old river craftsman could testify.
This Inland Navigation Company constructed two locks on the canal across the old carrying place, between the Mohawk and Wood creek ; and Spafford in his Gazeteer, published in 1813, says there were four on Wood creek within a distance of five miles of Rome. In his Gazeteer of 1824, he says there were eight locks at Little Falls, but he evidently included two that were at Wolf's Rift-German Flats-five miles above ; as there were only six at the falls, including a guard-lock at the river above.* This would make fourteen locks in all. Rome is about ninety-four miles from the old Schenectada boat-landing.
The Improved Navigation of the Mohawk, was looked upon at the beginning of this century as a wonderful achievement, and indeed it was, as compared with the condition of things fifty years earlier. The ancestors of Edward Huntington, Esq., of Rome, had much to do with the lock-navigation of the Mohawk, and here is the copy of a paper in his possession, showing the rates of toll upon boats and freight at that period.
"Rates of tolls in 1814, for passing the canal locks at the German Flats and Little Falls, on the Mohawk river, viz:
a six-handed bateau........................................... $2 31
For a large, new constructed boat or scow.....................2 62
On all other boats or crafts of a large, or small size, the charges of toll to be regulated by the toll-gatherer, agreeable to the above.
For every 2 bbls. pot or pearl-ashes, 4 bbls. pork. liquor or other heavy or bulky articles bound down, equivalent to a wagon load, or what may be estimated half a ton .............. 1 12 1/2
per barrel ............................................... 32
Wheat or grain per bushel..................................04
Salt per bushel................................................. 22
Plaster per ton................... ............................1 00
All goods bound up per ton..............................2 25
Rates of Toll at Rome.-For all boats or bateaux not exceeding one and a half tons burthen, passing up the Mohawk river through the canal, to Wood creek ; or up the creek, through the canal to the Mohawk river ........................................... 1 12 1/2
For every boat or scow of a large size, 371/2 cents per ton for every additional ton of burthen.
every 3 bbls of pot or pearl-ashes, or 4 bbls liquor, beef or pork or 5 bbls
flour ............................................... 1 50
For wheat or grain per bushel ............................ 04
For salt per bushel............ ................................ 03
For plaster per ton............................................1 00
All other goods or heavy bulky articles not mentioned before, being equivalent to a wagon load, or what may be estimated by the collector at half a ton weight or measurement .............. 1 50
For all boats navigating the Mohawk river and discharging loading, witliin the canal, at tlie rate of one-third of the tolls above mentioned. for said boats and their cargoes.
* See Report of Survey for the Nav. Co , Doc. His., vol. 3, p. 102.
all boats navigating the said Wood creek, passing all or either of the locks
between Canada creek,* and the said canal discharging or loading, within the
said canal, or between the said canal and the lower lock, or said Wood creek,
the collector shall receive at the rate of two-thirds at the rate of toll
before mentioned, for said boats and their cargoes. By order of the directors,
ROBERT BOWNE, Pres't.
Thus was the Mohawk river navigated for a quarter of a century, or until the completion of the Erie canal, in 1825, when a new era dawned upon the transportation of the valley. A few of the larger class of river scows and Durham boats, were seen for a brief period in the new canal; but they could not carry sufficient -freight to make it profitable to go upon long trips, and it seems astonishing, even now, to remember, as we do, how soon they entirely disappeared. Some went into the western waters of the State, while scores of them were broken up or allowed to go to decay.
Mammoth Wagons.-In this connection I should, perhaps, name another means of transportation, which came into vogue during the period of river navigation, and lasted until the Erie canal was in full use ; and this was by immense wagons drawn by several span of horses. They were strongly built, covered with canvass ; and the better class had broad wagon-tire, which as they filled the ruts-passed them scot-free through turnpike gates. These wagons carried large quantities of wheat and other products to Albany, and took back merchandise. They were in use on both the Mohawk and Great Western Turnpikes. I shall have occasion to speak of this means of transportation hereafter.
Tributaries of the Mohawk.-The Mohawk valley is not only wonderfully beautified, but its fertility is greatly increased by the numerous tributaries, large and small, entering the river upon both shores, which afford advantageous mill-sites for hundreds of mills and manufactories, employing the labor of many thousands of operatives. Here is a list of those worthy of note, made up from ancient, and modern maps and gazetteers, while a score or two of brooklets arc known to enter the river along its
* This is a mill-stream running to the westward of Wood creek, and at the distance of a dozen miles falling into the latter stream, four miles to the westward of Rome.
shores, either nameless or only worthy of notice during freshets. In this connection I should quote a sentence of Spafford, written in 1824, as that stream was then connected by water with the Mohawk : " Wood creek of the Oneida lake, long so famous for its navigation, on which millions of property have been wafted and large armies-a little stream over which a man may almost step-deserves notice for its historic importance in days of yore, the rather as it now is lost sight of, and will soon be forgotten, merged in the glories of the Erie canal."
Commencing at Rome and descending the Mohawk on its southerly side, its first tributary is the Oriskany creek, near the mouth of which an enterprising village of its name has grown up. A couple of miles above the mouth of this stream the great Oriskany battle took place in 1777. The next-the Sadaquada, or Saquait creek-enters the river near Whitesboro. This stream is wonderfully utilized with cotton, woolen and other mills. Furnace creek mingles its waters with the river at Frankfort. Steele's creek enters the river at Ilion, and among the industries upon its banks is Remington's Rifle manufactory. Fulmer's creek comes to the river at Mohawk ; while two small streams discharge their waters near Fort Herkimer. Inchunando, Conowadaga or Nowadaga creek, enters the river at Indian castle, or site of old Fort Hendrick, another name for the Canajoharie or Upper Mohawk castle. The Otsquago creek, affording numerous mill sites, runs to the river at Fort Plain. The Canajoharie creek flows into the river at Canajoharie. Of the many industries upon this stream, that nearest its outlet is Arkell & Smith's extensive Paper Sack Manufactory. The life-like views of Canajoharie, and the Canajoharie Falls, given in this connection, were sketched by Dr. von St. George, of Canajoharie, for this work.
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