History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Thanks to Judy Dolanski for typing this article
From an old newspaper of unknown origin
THE MOHAWK VALLEY AS A STAGE SETTING
Selecting the scene of a romance is not by any means a matter of chance. The mechanics of a play or novel follow natural channels. Characters and places must come from somewhere, unless the work is a fairy tale or an Arabian Nights, and even then there is something of a locale attached. The Mohawk Valley offers inducements not enjoyed by most localities. First it offers restful scenery. But mere landscape is not sufficient. The Mohawk Valley offers a race developed from the earliest frontiers. Also the people were poor. Somehow romance gets a foothold among the poor. There are treasures of lore in the annals of the poor. Sacrifice, suffering, hard work, generosity, hospitality, sympathy and kindliness all belong to the poor, especially the kind of poor who occupied the Mohawk Valley in the frontier stages. The Mohawk Valley answers the craving for antiquity as well as such craving can be accommodated in a country as young as we are. There is the Dutch settlement at Schenectady, dating back to 1661. Coming up the valley to Palatine and from the Noses to west of Herkimer we have the Palatine settlements of 1723. West of that we have the disputed lands overrun by the French in the Indian Wars. Thus we have the flags of the Netherlands, the British, the French and at last the Stars and Stripes flung to the breeze over the ramparts of Stanwix in the memorable siege of 1777 when St. Leger and his Tory and Indian allies were stopped and the valley saved by the life blood of Herkimer and his yeomen militia. We have a blend of culture and a scene of moving action to which may be added the exploits of the Indians, especially the terrible and unrelenting Mohawks, the spear head of the Iroquois confederacy. No wonder the Mohawk Valley offers opportunities to fire the imagination of the teller of tales. Here is a panorama of action as the frontiers were moved westward first from Schenectady, then from the middle valley and onward to the westward gateway at Rome, covering a period of over a century in time to occupy a distance of 90 miles. The men of the Mohawk wrought nobly in thrusting forward the frontier of civilization And it is further worthy of mention that for the most part they advanced with honor. No bloody conquests can be charged to the men of the valley. Unlike conquests from which men turn with shame, the conquest of the valley was peaceful and the methods employed devoid of shameful flavor. The honest Dutchmen and Germans of the valley bought as they went and lived in peace with their Red neighbors, respecting his pride and offering no affront. In fact many strong and beautiful friendshiips sprang up between them, which have been made the most of by writers like Cooper and Chambers. As the theatre of moving action it must be remembered that the public has long since registered its approval of the Mohawk Valley. Robert W. Chambers wrote five novels concerning this section and of all his works, these five books are in continuous demand. Cooper held first place as a romantic writer for many years. Now we have Walter D. Edmonds coming along with his contributions and when his book "Drums Along the Mohawk" is at last released for review we predict a new vogue in Mohawk Valley bibliology. The genius of the writer is mainly responsible for the success or failure of a story, but the choice of locale must at least have a bearing on the subject. And in choosing the Mohawk Valley there are always available a wealth of annals and episodes and picturesque settings which need no imaginative embellishments.
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