THE HISTORY OF THE OLD TOWN OF DERBY
CAREFUL review of the geographical position and relations of Derby is important in order to a full understanding of the movements of the Indian tribes within its borders in historical times, their gradual extinction, and the complete acquisition of the territory by the incoming English. It is also important, because of the close connection, now generally recognized, between a people and the physical characteristics of the region in which they dwell. It seems appropriate, therefore, to begin with a geographical survey, covering the valleys of the Ousatonic and Naugatuck rivers.
The chief river of western Connecticut is the Ousatonic (more properly the Owsatunnuck, and known in former times as the Pootatuck and the Stratford river). It enters the state from the north, about seven miles east of the western boundary, and flows in a direction somewhat west of south for about thirty miles. Having almost touched the New York state line, it bends toward the east, and for a distance of thirty-five miles flows in a south-easterly direction, when it turns again and flows nearly due south for nine or ten miles, and empties into Long Island Sound between Stratford and Milford. Between the two bends of which mention has been made (in that part of its course in which it flows to the south-east) it receives several tributaries from the northï¿½prominent among them the Shepaug river which drains Bantam lake in Litchfield and smaller lakes in Goshen ; the Pomperaug, which flows through Woodbury and Southbury ; and Eight-mile brook, which drains Lake Cjuassapaug. Just above the second bend, where it turns to go southward, and, as we have observed, nine or ten miles from its mouth, it receives the Naugatuck river. The Naugatuck belongs to this group of southward-flowing tributaries, but is much the largest, and constitutes the main branch of the Ousatonic. Its general course from Wolcottville to Birmingham is southward and parallel to the other tributaries. Its length, running between these two points, is thirty-eight and a half miles. The river is formed by the union of the east and west branches at Wolcottville, near the southern boundary of the town of Torrington. The west branch rises in Norfolk and flows through the north-east corner of Goshen, and through Torrington in a south-easterly direction ; the east branch rises in Winchester and flows more nearly southward. Between the two branches there is a range of hills which terminates abruptly at its southern extremity in a hight known as Red mountain. South of Wolcottville, the hills on opposite sides of the stream are about a mile apart; but just above Litchfield station they come close down to the river, and the valley for many miles below is narrow, and flanked by precipitous hights. All along its course there are alluvial lands, curiously arranged for the most part in triangular pieces on the east side of the stream ; and between Waterville and Naugatuck these lands broaden out into extensive meadowsï¿½the " interval [or inter-vale] lands " of Mattatuck, which attracted the first settlers to this part of the state. In the neighborhood of Waterbury, not only are the meadows wide, but the hills which overlook them are low, and partake of the character of bluffs, while on the eastern side there is an opening in the hills large enough to afford room for a thriving little city. Below Naugatuck the water-shed becomes narrow again, and the hillsides precipitous. This is especially true of the section below Beacon Hill brook. The hills are not only steep, but high and rocky, and the valley is gorge-like. The "dug road " on the eastern bank, and the railroad on the western, are cut into the foundations of the mountains, and at the same time overhang the rushing waters. From Beaver brook to the mouth of the river at Birmingham, about two miles, there is a fine tract of meadow land about half a mile in width. In the upper part of the valley (for example, just above Waterville) there is much that is wild and picturesque; but the entire section between Beacon Hill brook and Seymour is of quite exceptional beauty and grandeur.
The Naugatuck has many tributaries; for instance, Spruce brook which flows through East Litchfield and empties near Campville; Lead river which rises in New Hartford and flows through Harwinton ; the West branch, which rises in Morris and Litchfield, and divides Thomaston from Watertown and empties at Reynolds's bridge ; Hancock's brook, which rises in the north-east part of Plymouth, and empties at Waterville ; Steele's brook, which flows through Watertown and empties at the north-west boundary of the city of Waterbury ; Mad river, which rises in the north part of Wolcott, and flows through the city of Waterbury ; Smug brook, which empties at Hopeville ; Fulling-mill brook, which flows westward and empties at Union City ; Hop brook, which comes from Middlebury, and empties at Naugatuck; Longmeadow brook, which rises in Middlebur}', drains Longmeadow pond, receives a tributary from Toantuck pond and empties at Naugatuck; Beacon Hill river, (anciently the boundary between Waterbury and Derby) one branch of which rises in the north of Prospect, the other in Bethany; Sherman's brook, which tumbles through High Rock glen ; Lebanon brook, which rises in the south of Bethany and empties at Beacon Falls ; Chestnut Tree Hill brook, which comes from the west and empties at Pines Bridge ; Bladen's brook, which rises in Bethany and Woodbridge and empties at Seymour ; Little river, which rises in Middlebury, drains Oxford and empties at Seymour; and Beaver brook, which empties a little below Ansonia. These are all rapid streams, plunging downward into the deep valley of the Naugatuck. Compared with our western rivers it has but an insignificant water-shed ; yet there are eighteen or twenty towns embraced in it. Those which border upon the river are Torrington, Litchfield, Harwinton, Plymouth, Thomaston, Watertown, \Vaterbury, Nauo-atuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour and Derby. Those which, although lying back from the river, are drained in part by its tributaries, are Morris, Middlebury, \Volcott, Prospect, Bethany, Woodbridge and Oxford.
It may be seen frqm this rapid sketch, that this region of country is but a narrow valley drained by a tributary river of very moderate size, is of limited extent and has a decided geographical unity. Besides this, it has come to possess in modern times a unity of another kind. The township divisions and the centres of population are numerous ; but industrially the valley is one. The district extending from Winsted, just beyond the head waters of the river and in the same valley, to Birmingham at its mouth, has become the seat of one of the greatest manufacturing industries of our country. As in other valleys of New England, the populations of the hills have crowded to the water courses, drawn by opportunities of lucrative employment; and, at the magic touch of the finger of trade, have sprung up or risen into a larger life such busy centres as Wolcottville, Thomaston, Waterbury, Naugatuck, Seymour, Ansonia, Birmingham and Derby. If we take railway connections into account, the thrifty village of Watertown should be included in the list.
To dwell upon the physical features of the Naugatuck valley is important, because the Indian history commences at a period when these characteristics were almost the only ones to be noticed. To obtain a clearer understanding of that history the reader must rid himself, so far as possible, of modern associations, must lose sight of all political divisions of the territory, must forget the existence of these business centers which have just been enumerated, must suppose this dense population, and these dwellings and shops and streets and highways and bridges, and these extensive manufactories, and the railroads with their depots, stations and rolling-stock, all swept awayï¿½in fact, all the multitudinous products of modern civilization ; and go back to the primitive period in the history of New England. The river was here and the brooks flowing into it. The hills were here, and the occasional patches of meadow land ; and the entire region ï¿½the meadows exceptedï¿½was covered with stately forests. The woods abounded in game, and the streams in fish ; but the country was a pathless wildernessï¿½the heritage and the possession of the red man. It was not divided as it now is among individual owners, but it belonged to the natives who roamed through its woods, and established their camping grounds upon its streams. The statement in the " History of Waterbury," that at the time of its discovery by white men there was no Indian settlement within the limits of the ancient town, might safely be applied to the entire valley, if a spot near the river's mouth be excepted. But what was true two hundred years ago may not have been always true ; and besides, although there may not have been settlements here, it does not follow that the valley was totally unoccupied. The Indians not only claimed it; they roamed over it as a well tried hunting ground. The lands in the upper part of the valley were especially attractive in this respect; and it is said that in the section which is now known as Litchfield, " many of the hills were nearly cleared of trees by fires" which Indian hunters had kindled.
It is to the traces of Indian occupancy in the territory thus described, that attention is directed, in order to a better knowledge of the clans that dwelt in and around Derby, from just before the settlement of the English to the final disappearance of the natives from this territory. These traces might be pursued in the light of three sources of information : the land records, the traditions and place names, and the Indian relics discoveredï¿½the arrow heads, spear heads and knives, the larger ground-stone implements and the soapstone dishes ; but the first of these (the land records) will afford the largest source of information in this brief account of the departing footsteps of the Red man.
The primitive condition of things in the Naugatuck valley continued until ï¿½he middle of the seventeenth century. Previous to this date, however, a number of settlements had been made within the territorial area now embraced in Connecticut. It was in 1635 that parties of emigrants from the neighborhood of Boston pursued their way through the wilderness to the Connecticut river, and settled at Wethersfield, Windsor and Hartford. After the Indian war of 1637, those who pursued the fleeing Pequots toward the west saw for the first time the lands on Long Island Sound lying westward of the mouth of the Connecticut. Their value soon became known, and in 1638 a colony went from Boston and established its head-quarters on New Haven bay. One of the three New Haven companies went still further west and settled at Milford in 1639. ^n the same year lands were purchased at Stratford, and a settlement was begun, but by a different company of emigrants. All these
plantations were upon the sea coast, or on navigable waters ; but in 1640 some of the Hartford settlers, attracted by the meadow lands of the Farmington river, removed westward and established a settlement at Farmington.
Now, how were the aboriginal inhabitants situated at the time when these settlements were made, that is, from 1635 to 1640, and for some years afterward ?
It must be remembered that they all alike belonged to the great Algonkin stockï¿½a division of the Indian race which at the Discovery extended along the Atlantic coast all the way from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Peedee river. Of this extensive family, the most important branch were the Delawares. The Abnakis, far to the north-east, were also important. But in New England the native population was broken up into numerous petty tribes, speaking divergent dialects of the one stock language. On the western bank of the Connecticut, an Algonkin people is found extending for some distance up and down the river, constituting a group of tribes, or a confederacy, ruled by a sachem named Sequassen. The precise nature of the bond which held them together it is impossible to ascertain ; but it is certain that when the English first came among them Sequassen claimed jurisdiction over territory occupied by other chiefs, and sold land to the magistrates of Hartford, extending as far west as the country of the Mohawks. His dominion embraced therefore the tribes of the Farmington river, some of whom had their principal seat at Poquonnock, five or six miles from its mouth, and others at the bend in the river, eight or ten miles west of the Connecticut, where Farmington was afterwards settled. The first Poquonnock chief known to the English was named Sehat. He was succeeded by one whose name is familiar to Waterbury people under the form of Nosahogan, but wliose true name was Nassahegon or Nesaheagun.
The Indians of Farmington are known as the Tunxis tribe. They had a camping ground also at Simsbury, and claimed all the territory west of that place as far as the Ousatonic river. They are spoken of by Mr. J. W. Barber in his " Historical Collections," as a numerous and warlike tribe ; but Mr. J. W. DeForest, in his " History of the Indians of Connecticut," estimates their number at " eighty to one hundred warriors, or about four hundred individuals." Whatever other chiefs they may have had, the axithority of Nassahegon seems to have been recognized, and. also the necessity of securing his consent in the disposal of lands.
If now attention is directed from the centre of the state to the shore of the Sound, the country of the Quiripi (or Long Water) Indians comes into view,ï¿½a people known around New Haven harbor as Quinnipia.cs. They claimed the land for many miles to the north, and. tne north-west corner of their territory may be considered as lying -within the bounds of the Naugatuck valley. To the west of these on the coast we enter the country of the Paugasucks. The tribe was a large one, occupying a considerable territory on both sides of the Ousatoriic. It extended in tact from the "West river, which separates New Haven from rï¿½rangeï¿½or at any rate, from Oyster river, which separates
Orange from "Milford all the way to Fairfield. On the west
of the Ousatonic they claimed all the territory now comprised in the towns of Stratford, Bridgeport, Trumbull, Huntington and Monroe; and on the east side, as far north as Beacon Hill brook, and, as we shall see, still further, overlapping the hunting grounds of the Tunxis. This large tribe was under the dominion oi the well known sachem Ansantaway, whose "bigwigwarn" is said to have been on Charles Island. Outside of Muiord. his son, Towetanomow, seems to have held the reins of power, as he signs the deeds as sachem at Stratford and Derby until his death, about 1676'; and after this a younger son, Ockenunge (spelled also Ackenach), signed the deeds in Derby some years, beginning in 1665. About this time Ansantaway removed from Milford with most of his Milford tribe, to Turkey Hill, (a little south of the Narrows on the east side of the Ousatonic, just below the mouth of the Two-mile brook), where he soon after died, and where some of his people remained about one hundred and forty years. Molly Hatchett and her children were the last of the tribe there.
If at this time there.were any of the Weepawaug Indians remaining east of the Ousatonic, they were, probably, absorbed in this settlement at Turkey Hill. This was a strip of land between Milford and Derby plantations, bought by Alexander Bryan, and turned over to the town of Milford, containing about one hundred acres. It was set apart by that town as the home of the Milford Indians, and to it they removed some time before the death of Ansantaway; for in one of the deeds, that chief is named as residing in Derby. It was so near Derby that he is spoken of as belonging there, but it remained under the care of Milford until after the Revolution, when, Lambert says, "This land was lastly under the care of an overseer appointed by the county court."
As early as 1671 Chushumack (also spelled Cashushamack) signed deeds as sachem at Stratford, and a little later at Pootatuck, opposite Birmingham Point, west of the Ousatonic river. In 1673 there was here a fort, which must have been standing some years before the English first came to Derby, and probably before they came to Milford. Not long after this, these same Pootatucks built a fort about a mile further north, on what is now known as Fort Hill, on the same side of the river. They are said to have built it for the purpose of keeping the English from ascending the Ousatonic, and therefore it must have been a new fort. It was after this fort was built, and probably about the time when the title was confirmed by several Indians, in 1684, to the town of Stratford, that the Pootatucks collected higher up the river, and established the Pootatuck village at the mouth of the Pomperaug, where they continued many years on land reserved by them in their sales to the Woodbury people. They may have been moving up the the river gradually for some years, but about that time they seem to have been collected at that place in considerable numbers, and many remained there until the removal to Kent.
One of the chief seats of the Paugasucks was at the " Great Neck," between the Ousatonic and the Naugatuck, in the vicinity of what is now called Baldwin's Corners. Here they had a fort, mentioned several times in the records as the Old Indian Fort, which was, very probably, built before the English came to the place. There was a large field, at this place, frequently called the Indian field, which contained about sixty acres, and was once sold for that number. The Indians of this locality established a fort on the east bank of the Ousatonic, nearly half a mile above the present dam, which, like that on the opposite side, was built to keep the English from sailing up the river, and which is referred to several times in the records as the New Indian Fort. The Indians of the Neck collected about this fort along the river bank for some years and then removed to Wesquantook'-, where a good many were living in 1710, and from which place they removed, some to Kent, some to the Falls, afterwards Chusetown, and some to Litchfield and perhaps as far north as Woodstock, in Massachusetts. Wesquantoock seems to have been the last residence of the Sachem Cockapatana, if he did not remove to some distant place. It is a curious fact, possibly connected with the fate of this chief, that some years ago (that is, within the memory of perv>ns now living), there resided in Goshen or in Torrington a white man who was habitually called "Old Kunkerpot." The nickname was given to him because he reported that while engaged in some war he had killed an Indian by the name of Kunkerpot. Cockapatana was sometimes called Konkapot, as an abbreviation of his real name. Most of the Indians had nicknames as well as their white neighbors. It is said, however, that this Cockapatana died in 1731, and if so, he could not have been killed by a man living more than a hundred years later. But it is quite possible, that some of Cockapatana's sons removed to Stockbridge, and that one of them may have borne the same name, for the name is found there. The name Paugasuck seems to have included at a certain time all the minor families of the Indians who descended from the Milford tribe, but it was afterwards used to designate those only who resided on Birmingham Xeck, and their descendants.
After the death of Ansantaway the proprietorship of the lands inhered definitely in the two tribes, the Pootatucks and Paugasucks; the lands of the former extending on the west and south of the Ousatonic, and those of the latter cast and north of the same river; yet they signed deeds, as is said in one case, " interchangeably." The Pootatuck chief signed two deeds to the Derby people, one of quite a large tract of land above the Neck. How the Pootatucks came into possession of the lands sold to the Woodbury settlers is not known, but conjecture is not severely taxed to answer the query. There are about forty Indian names given in the "History of Woodbury" as names of Pootatuck Indians, which are found on deeds given by the Paugasuck tribe to the Derby settlers, and some of these names are on quite a number of deeds. Again, the Paugasuck Indians (several of them) signed a quit-claim deed to Milford lands, near the Sound, nearly or more than forty years after these lands were first sold. Another thing seems quite clear: that the Paugasucks, at least, divided the territory among themselves, after the English began to buy; so that different parties sign the deeds of different tracts of land. Sometimes the sachem signs the deed ; at other times it is signed by others, but the deed says, the land is sold "with full consent of our sachem," but by the " rightful owners."
'Wesquantook was the original Indian name, not Squntook.
As in Stratford, two sales covering the same territory that was at first deeded to that plantation are recorded, (sales for which payment was made,) some thirty years after the first purchase, so in Derby, several pieces of land were sold and deeded three or four times; and had the Indians not removed it is doubtful whether the time would ever have come when the whites would have been done paying for the right of the soil. A careful perusal of the Indian deeds will reveal the masterly ability of the Red man to sell land over and over, without ever buying it, and the wonderful depth of the white man's purse to pay for Indian lands. The land on Birmingham Point and some of that above Birmingham, along the Ousatonic, was deeded four times by the Indians, and each time for a consideration, except once, when that at the Point was given to Lieut. Thomas Wheeler; and this was probably done so as to sell other lands on the Neck. The prices paid at first were, apparently, every dollar and cent and button and bead that the land was worth, or that they were able to pay. The Indians urged the sale of their lands, and the English bought as fast as, and faster than they could pay for it. In the case of Camp's Mortgage Purchase, they hired the money of Merchant Nicholas Camp of Milford to pay for it, and gave a mortgage as security, which mortgage was finally paid, after a number of years, by a town tax, at the rate of four pounds a year.
The following items taken from the Stratford records confirm the foregoing statements :
"May 26, 1663. An agreement of friendship and loving correspondence agreed upon between us and the town of Stratford.ï¿½We will no more plant on the south side of the great river Pugusett, to prevent a ground of future variance between us in order to any damage that might be done to corn. And also do hereby engage that we will not either directly or indirectly sell, bargain, alienate or make over lands or any part of our land at Paugasett or thereabouts, with privileges thereon adjoining to any other English resident in any part of the country except Stratford.
Okenunge, his mark. Nompunck, his mark.
Nansantaway, his mark. Jemiogu, his mark.
Amantanegu, his mark. Ahuntaway, his mark.
Munsuck, his mark. Ronuckous, his mark.
Asynetmogu, his mark.
Four of these are leading names attached to Derby deeds during thirty or forty years afterwards.
A deed of land lying on the west of land already deeded to Stratford was given April 22, 1665, signed by Okenonge, and witnessed by Ansantaway and Chipps.
An agreement to deed lands in Stratford was made May 17, 1671, and signed by Musquatt, Nesumpau and Robin Cassasinnamin. And another was signed a week later by :
HE settlement of the Naugatuck valley must be considered in what may be called its ethnographical relations, in order to bring to view the significance and bearings of the various purchases made by the first settlers. The valley was claimed by the Paugasetts1 on the south, the Pootatucks on the west and the Tunxis Indians on the east. With one or other of these tribes the white men had to deal, and in Watcrbury the settlers found it expedient to purchase the same lands from different tribes, without attempting to decide between their rival claims.
Considering the Naugatuck valley as ending where that river enters the Ousatonic, the first sale of land in the valley made by the Indians was previous to 1646, and was probably the land on which Mr. Wakeman's men were employed in 1642 ; which was on what is now Birmingham Point. The then governor of New Haven is authority for the statement that this land was purchased of the Indians,2 but no deed has been seen of that sale. The next purchase was made in 1653, by Mr. Goodyear3 and others. It consisted of a tract of land at Paugassett, which was sold to Richard Baldwin and nine other men of Milford, in the spring of 1654, and a settlement was made at that time, of three or four families. All this land lay east of the Naugatuck, but no deed is found of this sale of it; the fact, however, is recorded on Derby books. The next year, in the spring, the settlers petitioned the General Court of New Haven to be made into a separate plantation, which was granted and the name of the place called Paugassett, but in the next autumn, in consequence of the strong opposition of Milford, the decree of the court was informally revoked.
'This name was written for many years Paugasuck by the best spellers, but afterwards the name Paugasett became more familiar and it has been mostly used in public prints.
'New Haven Col. Rec. I. 265.
In May, .1657, a deed of land on what is now Birmingham Point, was given to Lieut. Thomas Wheeler of Stratford, if he would settle upon it, which he did, and remained there until 1664. This deed was signed by Towtanemow, Raskenute and others. In 1665, after the death of Towtanemow, his brother Okenuck (or Ockenunge) confirmed the Goodyear purchase east of the Naugatuck and this land was given to Mr. Wheeler; making the western boundary of Paugassett on the Great river (Ousatonic) instead of the Naugatuck as at first. From this time forward the Paugasuck Indians sold lands piece by piece, northward, to the Derby people, until the town bounds reached Waterbury and Woodbury on the north ; and some twenty-five or more deeds were recorded, with one hundred or more different Indian names attached thereto; the last deed (except of reservations) being given in 1711. The names recorded as sachems or sagamores, are Ansantaway, Towtanemow, Ockenuck, Atterosse, Ahuntaway, Nanawaug, Cockapatana of the Paugassucks and Chushumack of the Pootatucks.
The Woodbury lands were purchased in the same way by pieces, only fewer in number; and of the forty-five names of Indians attached to those deeds as given in the Woodbury history, one-half are names found on Derby deeds, but the former deeds are later in date and indicate that some of the DerbyIndians had removed and joined the Pootatucks, or else that they signed the Woodbury deeds in behalf of the Paugasucks. The same year that Lieutenant Wheeler received his deed of land on Birmingham Point (1657), a transfer of land took place in the upper part of the valley, which found record in a curious deed preserved in the town records of Farmington. Two of the Farmington settlers, Stanley and Andrews by name, in their excursions to the west had discovered somewhere a deposit of plumbago or something which they mistook for that valuable mineral. Their discovery attracted some attention, and doubtless led to the purchase just referred to. The deed was made on the eighth of February, (O. S.) by Kepaquamp, Querrimus and Mataneage and the land was sold to William Lewis and Samuel Steele. The document is as follows:
"This witnesseth that we, Kepaquamp and Querrimus and Mataneage, have sold to William Lewis and Samuel Steele of Farmington, a parcel or tract of land called Matecacoke, that is to say, the hill from whence John Stanley and John Andrews brought the black-lead, and all the land within eight miles of that hill on every side,ï¿½to dig and carry away what they will, and to build on it for the use of them that labor there, and not otherwise to improve the land. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands ; and these Indians above mentioned must free the purchasers from all claims by any other Indians."
This piece of territory, sixteen miles in diameter, was purchased by Lewis and Steele in behalf of themselves and a company composed of other inhabitants of Farmington. For what " consideration " it was disposed of is not known. " Precisely where the hill referred to was situated " says Mr. George C. Woodruff in his " History of the Town of Litchfield," " I have been unable to discover; but from the subsequent claims of the grantees, from tradition and from the deed itself, it would seem that it was in the southern part of Harwinton." The name of Mattatuck still survives in that part of the valley. From a supplementary deed given some years afterwards, it appears that " a considerable part " of this tract was comprised within the bounds of ancient Woodbury ; but the Waterbury planters, as will be seen, paid no regard to this early transaction, nor do they seem to have been any way hampered by it.
The deed to Lewis and Steele was made, as has been observed, in 1657. At that date, Farmington had been settled seventeen years and the forests to the westward had become familiar ground to the Farmington hunters. From year to year they continued their excursions, and in course of time the Naugatuck river became well known to them. Their attention was particularly attracted to the so-called "interval lands" which now constitute the meadows of Waterbury. For obvious reasons, such lands were specially valuable in a forest-clad region. Their discovery was duly reported and was enough to arouse the spirit of enterprise. A committee was sent to examine the place and their report being favorable the Farmington people petitioned the General Court for permission to make a settlement, "at a place called by the Indians Matitacoocke. This was in 1673, nineteen years after the first settlers took up their residence at Derby. After due investigation the petition was granted and a committee of prominent men of the Colony was appointed " to regulate and order the settling of a plantation at Mattatuck." One of their first duties was to procure the extinguishment of any title to the land on the part of the native proprietors, which they did by honest purchase. A copy of the deed given to this committee by the Indians is preserved in the land records of Waterbury,4 and is dated August 26, 1674. The consideration was "thirty pounds in hand received and divers good causes thereunto us moving," in return for which the purchasers received a " parcel of land at Mattatuck, situate on each side of the Mattatuck river, having the following dimensions and boundaries : Ten miles in length north and south and six miles in breadth : abutting upon the bounds of Farmington on the east, upon Paugassett on the south, upon Paugassett, Pootatuck and Pomperaug on the west and upon the open wilderness " on the north. It was to this purchase the first settlers came in 1674, and again, after a serious interruption, in 1677. The dimensions of the town remained as indicated until 1684, when they were greatly extended by the purchase from the native proprietors of a large piece of territory on the north. This territory was bounded on the south by the former grant, or, more definitely, by an east and west line running through Mount Taylor, the precipitous rock which overhangs the river not far above Waterville. From this line it extended northward into the wilderness, eight miles. It was bounded on the east by Farmington and on the west by a north and south line which if extended southward would run " four score rods from the easternmost part of Quassapaug pond." By this purchase, which cost the proprietors nine pounds, the area of the town was nearly doubled. But it seems to have become necessary at the same time, to buy again from the natives the tract already bought by the committee of the General Court of 1674. The original owners may have claimed that they did not comprehend the significance of their act and were not adequately paid; but for whatever reason Messrs. Judd and Stanley, on the second of December, 1684, purchased again the land lying between Mount Taylor n the north and Beacon Hill brook on the south, extending eastward to Farmington bounds and westward three miles toward Woodbury. The amount paid, this time, was nine pounds.
These deeds have been examined carefully, to obtain if possible some items of knowledge concerning the aboriginal owners, who are described in one of the deeds as " Indians now belonging to Farmington." The earliest deed (that of 1674) contains the names of fourteen Indians, eleven of whom (if the copy has been correctly made) affixed to it their mark. The first name is that of Nesaheagon, the sachem at Poquonnock, whose jurisdiction has already been described. The occurrence of his signature here indicates what position he held in relation to the Tunxis tribe. The second name is John Compound, which if not of English origin has been forced into a strange resemblance to English. He has been handed down to immortality as the original proprietor of Compound's (Compounce) pond. The1 third name is Queramoush, which has already been met with, in the deed of 1657; for it was Querrimus with two other Indians, who deeded to Lewis and Steele the land around the "hill where John Stanley found the black-lead." The other names in the order in which they occur are as follows : Spinning Squaw, Taphow, Chery, Aupkt, Caranchaquo, Patucko, Atumtako, James, Uncowate, Nenapush Squaw and Alwaush. To those who hear them, these names are a meaningless jargon ; but it is pleasant to think that originally every one of them meant something and that some of the meanings may have been beautiful. In studying them upon the timestained pages where they are preserved, one or two points of interest have been discovered. One of the prominent names in the list is Patucko, who will be referred to again. Next to this follows Atumtucko. A relation between the two was suspected and this was afterward confirmed by finding in another deed that Patucko's squaw was Atumtucko's mother. In signing this first deed Patucko first promises for James, and then for himself; whence it may safely be inferred that between Patucko and James, who seems to have been well known by his English name, there was some kind of family relationship. It is possible that Caranchaquo may have been a member of the same family.
Between this first deed and that by which the northern half ofthe town was disposed of, nearly ten years had elapsed, so that it would hardly be expected to find precisely the same signatures attached to both, even if Indian society had been more stable than it was. In the second deed Patucko's name stands first and Atumtucko's second; then Taphow, then Wawowus. This fourth name sounds like a new one, but making due allowance for inaccurate hearing and spelling on the part of the early scribes, it may be easily identified with Alwaush in the former list. The rest ofthe signers are new; Judas (another English name), Mantow, Momantow's squaw, Mercy (Sepuses's squaw) and Quatowquechuck, who is described as Taphow's son.
Between this second deed and the third, by which the southern half of the town was sold the second time to the settlers, a few months only elapsed, but the names for the most part are different. Patucko has disappeared, but we have in his stead Patucko's squaw, who is here described as Atumtucko's mother. John a-Compound appears again, and Warm Compound appears, who is described as Nesaheag's son. This fact suggests that John a-Compound, whose name stands next to Nesaheagon's in the first dee'd, may have been an elder son of the same chief. Spinning Squaw also appears and Aupkt under the form of Abuckt; and besides these there is Mantow, who signed not the first deed, but the second. In addition the following appear: Hachetowsock (and squaw), Sebockett, the sisters of Cocoesen, ï¿½whoever he may be, and a daughter of one of them. It is probable that Cocoesen's sisters were the daughters of James ; apparently the same James for whom Patucko promised in the first deed. As one of them was Patucko's squaw and Atumtucko's mother, a connection between the two families is established ; a connection which becomes specially interesting when it is known who James was.
But, as already indicated, the Tunxis Indians were not the only claimants. The Paugasucks on the south roamed over the same hunting grounds, and apparently considered their right to them as valid as that of their neighbors on the east. Messrs. Judd and Stanley, without inquiring particularly into the justice ofthe claim, deemed it expedient to extinguish it by purchase. A deed was accordingly drawn, dated February 28, 1685, and signed by sixteen Paugasuck Indians, by which in consideration of " six pound in hand received " twenty parcels of land, named and described in the deed, all of them apparently embraced in the first and third purchases from the Farmington Indians, were conveyed to the settlers of Mattatuck. The deed which is contained in the volume of land records already referred to, is peculiarly interesting because the twenty parcels of land are designated each by its Indian name.5 Nine of these were on the east side of the river, the others on the west side. The grantors were sixteen in number. Prominent in the list is the name of Conquepatana, [Konkapatanauh] who signs himself sagamore, the same already spoken of as sachem at the mouth of the river until 1731, when he died. In the body of the deed, however, his name is preceded by that of Awowas. Already among the signers of the second deed an Awowas has appeared, apparently identical with Alwaush, who signed the first. It might naturally be supposed that the name occurring among the Paugasucks designated a different person, but there are facts which establish a connection between the two tribes. For among the signers of this Paugassett deed there is found the name Cocoesen and not only so, but Cocoesen's sisters also, who signed the third deed given by the Tunxis tribe. Their names are Wechamunk and Werumcaske, ï¿½ and in the Tunxis deed they are described as the daughters of James. In the deed given to Lieutenant Wheeler at Paugassett, in 1657, there is the name Pagasett James. It is almost impossible to avoid the conclusion that Cocoesen was his son and Cocoesen's sisters his daughters, that one of these was Patucko's squaw, that a connection by marriage between the two tribes was thus established, and that this relationship was recognized in the various sales of land. Besides the names thus far mentioned there are the following: Curan, Cocapadous (Konkapot-oos, perhaps Little Konkapot), Tataracum, jCacasahum, Wenuntacnm, Arumpiske, described as Curan's squaw, and Notanumke, Curan's sister.
6T\venty parcels of land, by their names distinguished as follows: Wccobemeus, that land upon the brook, or small river that comes through the straight [Straitsville] northward of Lebanon and runs into Naugatuck river at the south end of Mattatuck bounds, called by the English Beacon Hill brook; and Pacawackuck, or Agawacomuck, and Watapeck, Pacaquarock, Mequuhattacke, Mus quauke, Mamusqunke, Squapma sutte, Wachu, " which nine parcels of land lie on the east side of Kaugatuck river southward from Mattatuck town, which comprises all the land below, betwixt the forementioned river, Beacon Hill brook and the hither end of Judd's meadows, called by the name Sqontk, and from Xaugatuck river eastward to Wallingford and Xew Haven bounds, with all the lowlands upon the two brooks forementioned.
And eleven parcels on the west side ; the first parcel called, Suracasko ; the rest as follows: Petowtucki, Wequarunsh, Capage, Cocumpasuck, Megenhuttack, Panooctan, Mattuckhott, Cocacoko, Gawuskesucko, Towantuck, [the only name that has survived] and half the cedar swamp, with the land adjacent from it eastward ; which land lies southward of Quasapaug pond ; we say to run an east line from there to Naugatuck river; all which parcels of land forementioned lying southward from the said line, and extend or are comprised within the hutments following: from the forementioned swamp a straight line to be run to the middle of Towantuck pond or the cedar swamp, a south line which is the west bounds toward Woodbury, and an east line from Towantuck pond, to be the butment south and Naugatuck river the east butment, till we come to Achetaqupag or Maruscopag, and then to butt upon the east side of the river upon the forementioned lands,ï¿½these parcels of land lying and being within the township of Mattatuck, bounded as aforesaid, situate on each side of Naugatuck and Mattatuck rivers."
To this instrument the following note is attached: " Milford, February, 1684 (o. s.). Awowas, the Indian proprietor, appeared at my house and owned this deed above mentioned to be his act, and that he has signed and sealed to it. Robert Treat governor." On the iSth of April Conquepatana made a similar acknowledgment of the deed before the governor, " and said he knew what was in it." Several years afterward (June 28, 1711,) the same sagamore and " Tom Indian," his son, for twenty-five shillings, deeded to the proprietors of Waterbury " a small piece of land," north of Derby bounds, west of the Xaugatuck river, and south of Toantuck brook.
The original owners of all the land in the Naugatuck valley have thus far been traced, except of what lies in Harwinton and Litchfield. This territory has a history of its own. On January 25, 1687, the General Court of Connecticut, for the purpose of saving the so-called " western lands " from the grasp of Sir Edmund Andros, conveyed to the towns of Hartford and Windsor as follows: " Those lands on the north of Woodbury and Mattatuck, and on the west of Farmington and Simsbury, to the Massachusetts line north, and to run west to the Housatunock or Stratford river."6 As has already been seen, a portion of this territory, sixteen miles in diameter, had been concCoiiQ. Col. Rec. 3, 225.
veyed in 1657 to William Lewis and Samuel Steele of Farmington. The General Court, in its action in 1686, paid no regard to this old conveyance, and on the other hand the Farmington company, represented by Steele and Lewis, insisted on their claim. On the eleventh of August, 1714, they obtained from the successors of the original grantors a deed by which the title to this whole tract was conveyed, " in consideration of the sum of eight pounds received from Lieut. John Stanley about the year 1687, and other gratuities lately received," to Stanley, Lewis, Ebenezer Steele and their associates and successors. To Lieut. Stanley, in especial, fifty acres were laid out and confirmed, near the hill where he found the black lead, " and fifty acres more where he shall see cause to take it up, or his heirs." This deed was signed by Pethuzeand Toxcronuck, who claimed to be the successors of Kepaquamp, Querrimus and Mattaneag, and in the following October it was signed by Taphow the younger and his squaw, by Awowas, whose name (written also in this same deed Wowowis) has been previously noticed, and Petasas, a female grandchild, probably of Awowas. By the action of the General Court, the title to all this land had been vested in the towns of Hartford and Windsor, and these towns therefore claimed the exclusive right to purchase the Indian title and to survey and sell the lands7. In the final settlement of the matter, however, the claim of the Farmington company was to some extent recognized. In 1718 they received from the two towns a grant of one-sixth of the township of Litchfield, in consideration of their making over to said towns their interest in the disputed territory.
The management of these western lands was intrusted to a joint committee appointed by the towns. In 1715 this committee entered upon an exploration of the region lying west of the Naugatuck river, and appointed as their agent Mr. John Marsh,
These lands were claimed by Connecticut under its then existing charter, and fearing lest Andros might wrest them from the state and sell them to others, or another colony, the General Court gave them to the towns of Hartford and Windsor, to hold until the danger should be past, with the private understanding that the lands should revert to the state as soon as the danger should be past. When the danger was past these towns would not surrender the lands, but claimed them as their property. It was one of the clearest cases of betrayal of trust that ever occurred in the settlement of the country, and will be a lasting disgrace to the actors.
one of their number, who in May of that year undertook what was then a perilous journey into a pathless wilderness. When the committee had concluded to commence a settlement they proceeded to purchase the Indian title to the lands. But they did not recognize any claim to these lands on the part of the Tunxis tribe, but applied instead to the Pootatucks, from whom the settlers of Woodbury had made their various purchases, who had their chief village, at that time, it will be remembered, on the Ousatonic at the mouth of the Pomperaug. Mr. Thomas Seymour, a member of the joint committee of the towns, visited Woodbury in January, 1716, and again in May, and obtained the necessary deed. " In consideration of the sum of fifteen pounds money in hand received," the Pootatucks sold a tract of land lying north of the Waterbury and Woodbury limits, bounded on the east by the Naugatuck river, on the west by the Shepaug and its east branch, and on the north by a line running from the north end of Shepaug pond easterly to the Naugatuck. It comprised nearly 45,000 acres. This deed, dated March 2, 1716, was signed by twelve Indians and witnessed by three others. The witnesses were Weroamaug (whose name is familiar to many as connected with a beautiful lake in New Preston and Warren), Wagnacug and Tonhocks. Among the names of the signers appears the name Corkscrew, which has a very civilized sound. It was originally Coksure or Cotsure. The other names as given in " Woodruff's History " are as follows : Chusquunoag, Quiump, Magnash, Kehow, Sepunkum, Poni, Wonposet, Suckquunockqueen, Tawseume, Mansumpansh, and Norkquotonckquy. Comparing these names with the names attached to the Woodbury purchase of May 28, 1706, it appears that although that deed precedes this by ten years, yet several of the names are the same in both. Chusquunoag appears in the earlier deeds as Chesquaneag (or Cheshconeag of Paugassett) ; Magnash is evidently an error of the copyist for Maquash8 (or Mawquash of Paugassett); Kehow appears as Kehore, Sepunkum as Wusebucome, Suckquunockqueen as Wussockanunckqueen, and in a still earlier deed, Corkscrew as Cotsure. It appears that Quiump, under the form of Aquiomp, was also
'Mauquash, the last sachem of the Pootatucks, died about 1758. Wooodbury the name of the sachem of the Pootatucks in 1661 at Pomperaug. As that was fifty-five years before this, it was probably not the same person, although possibly a relative. Such identifications as these are of but little account to the world to-day, but to the explorer of ancient records, preparing the way for the more stately historian, they are as interesting and perhaps as valuable as the discoveries of the modern genealogist or the devotee of heraldry.
It thus appears that the aboriginal ownership of the Naugatuck valley was divided among three quite distinct tribes, and that the claims of these tribes were recognized by the early settlers. It would be interesting to consider the nature of this primitive proprietorship, for it has decided bearings upon the great modern question of the origin of property, and the significance of that " institution," in the history of civilization. It was said by Sir Edmund Andros that Indian deeds wore "no better than the scratch of a bear's paw," and there are those at the present day who for different reasons from those which shaped the opinion of Andros, would deny that the aboriginal ownership of the soil was of any account whatever. Because their system was a kind of communism, their rights amount to nothing in the eyes of these modern thinkers. The early settlers, however, either from a sense of justice or out of regard to expediency, and possibly somewhat of both, made it a rule to extinguish the titles of the natives by actual purchase ; and now, in their recorded deeds with the signatures, is treasured up a large part of the only history the world will ever have of the Red man of the forest. And when the value of the money of that day is considered, the unimproved condition of the lands and the fact that in almost all cases the grantors reserved either large sections as hunting grounds, or elsfc the right to hunt everywhere, as before the sale, it can hardly be said that the Indians were dealt with unfairly. The late Chief-Justice Church of Litchfield, in his centennial address in 1851, commented severely upon the action of the early settlers in this respect, but he seems to have looked at the subject in an unjudicial way. The other side is strongly presented in Dr. Branson's " History of Waterbury9.
The Indian usually reserved, or supposed that he reserved, the right to hunt and fish everywhere, the same as before the lands were sold. In most of the towns he remained harmless and unmolested in the neighborhood of the settlements, from generanon to generation. The relations of the aboriginal inhabitants to the whites are well illustrated in the statements of an aged citizen of Farmington, who died within the present century, and who was born about 1730, "that within his recollection the Indian children in the district schools were not much fewer than those of the whites. In their snow-balling parties the former used to take one side and the latter the other, when they would be so equally balanced in numbers and prowess as to render the battle a very tough one and the result doubtful." But however good the intentions of the white man may have been, the transformation of the wilderness into a fruitful field must go steadily on, and the red man must inevitably fall back, seeking new hunting grounds. For example, the Paugasucks of the sea-coast removed inland, as we have seen, and made their principal seat at the lower end of the Naugatuck valley, which thus became practically a new settlement, which was their headquarters from before the English settlement until after King Philip's war, or about 1680, when they began to collect at Wesquantuck and to join the Pootatucks at Pomperaug. After the death of their sachem, Konkapatana, who resided either at Wesquantuck or at the Falls (Chusetown,) but almost certainly at the former place, the " nation " broke up, and as such became extinct, except those who remained at Chusetown. " Some joined the Pootatucks," it is said. Quite a large number must have done so, since nearly half the names given in the " History'of Woodbury " as being Pootatucks are Paugasuck Indians and signers of the Derby deeds. Those who collected at the Falls were there earlier as well as in larger numbers than has usually been supposed. " Some went to the country of the six nations." This is quite probable. " In the spring of 1831 a company of Indians, consisting of about thirty, men, women and children, from the shores of Lake Champlain came to the Point [Milford] and encamped for a number of days, perhaps fifteen. They were led by an old patriarch or chieftain of ' eighty winters,' whom they appeared to obey and reverence. They conversed in the Indian tongue, and some of them knew but little of English. They had a tradition that some of their ancestors lived at Poconoc Point, and said they had come for the last time to the hunting ground of their fathers."1" These were no doubt descendants of the Paugasuck tribe, whose ancestors had removed from Milford to Turkey Hill, Paugassett, Pootatuck or Newtown, and who went back yearly to Milford to catch and dry oysters, " spending the summer at a watering place." Again, "some emigrated to Scatacook," but this was some years after the decease of Cockapatana. At Turkey Hill a few remained, their number growing less year by year until about 1830, when Molly Hatchett only was left; but ere long she passed on to the far away hunting land of the Indian. There are indications, indeed it is very probable, that some of these Indians removed to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The last deed of Derby lands that Cockapatana signed was in 1710, but his son, Waskawakes (alias Tom), seems to have signed a deed, given by the Pootatuck Indians, in 1706, indicating his active part in the business transactions of that tribe. In 1724 the Stockbridge Indians gave a deed of land to the white men which was signed by Konkapot and twenty other Indians. In 1734 Konkapot received a captain's commission from the Massachusetts government; in 1735 he was baptized in the Christian faith, and he died previous to 1770, one of the first fruits of the Housatonic Mission, of which the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, born in Waterbury, was the founder. Konkapot's name became celebrated through the northern part of Litchfield county, and is perpetuated, after a fashion, in connection with one of the streams of Stockbridge, which was originally called Konkapot's brook. It was afterwards known as Konk's brook, and latterly has been degraded to Skunk's brook.
CHUSE AND THE LAST FAMILIES.
]CATACOOK in Kent became one of the largest Indian settlements in the state.
It was composed of wanderers who retreated before the advancing colonists, and was founded by Gideon Mauwee1 (or Mawwee), who was a resident for a time in or near Derby, and was the father of Joseph Mauwee whose nickname "Chuse" gave rise to the name Chusetown (now Seymour). Considerable has been written about this man ; and roost writers have followed what is said of him by Mr. John W. Barber in his " Historical Collections." Mr. Harber says he was a Pequot (or Mohegan) ; but Mr. DeForest says that while "various connections might be traced between the Narragansetts and the tribes of western Connecticut," "both united in holding the Pequots in abhorrence and seldom bore any other relations to them than those of enemies, or of unwilling subjects."1 Hence it would have been almost impossible for a Pequot to come among the Paugasuck Indians, after the English began to settle here, and become a chief.
Chusumack succeeded Towtanimo as sachem at Stratford and at Pootatuck, across the river from Derby Landing, and signed a deed as such in 1671. His son, one of several, signed the same deed, and also a grandson. It is barely possible that Chusumack was a Pequot, but not probable. This Chusumack signs three deeds of land conveyed to the Derby settlers, dated respectively 1670, '71 and '73, thus indicating ownership with the Paugasucks ; and there are many evidences of this close relation between these tribes. Chusumack may have been the son of Towtanimo, but this would make Ansantaway quite aged at his death, which is possible, as he had apparently been chief some years when the English came to Milford. It is ï¿½orthy of remark that if Joseph Chuse was descended from
Chusumack, his nickname could be accounted for as an abbreviation according to the custom of those days. Another fact must be remembered, that the Indians' land at the Falls <or Chusetown) was a reservation made-by Ockenuck in 1678, when the land on both sides of the river at that place was sold to the town. It was reserved in the following words : " Only the said Indians do reserve the fishing place at Naugatuck, and the plain and the hill next the river at the fishing place; further, the Indians do grant to the inhabitants all the grass and feed and timber on the plain against Rock Rimmon, and do engage to sell it to them if they sell it." This reservation comprised thirty or more acres and belonged to the Paugasuck Indians, and the Pootatucks so far as the latter were inheritors with the former. How then could Gideon Mauwee give this land to his son Joseph about 1720, as stated by some writers ? He did it only as a chief relinquishes his claim, for it belonged to the Paugasuck tribe. He could surrender his claim as chief, but how did he possess any claim over this land, unless by ancestral right, running back to a time anterior to the date of the reservation ? And how did Gideon Mauwee become sachem of this land before 1720, when the rightful sachem, Cockapatana, was living at Wesquantuck until 1731, and his son with him ?
Again, Joseph Mauwee is said to have been brought up, or educated at the home of Agar Tomlinson3 of Derby. But the first man of that name, and quite a spirited business man he was, was first married in 1734, about fourteen years after Joseph was himself married and settled at the Falls, according to report. From this and other facts, it is probable that Joseph Mauwee did not settle at the Falls until a later date. An item in the town records confirms this opinion. It was customary when a man became an inhabitant of the town, to record the mark he was to put on the ears of his sheep, swine and cattle. The following entry has force, for the reason that if Joseph was brought up among the English, which is most probable, he would not have remained thirty-nine years at the Falls before being in possession of animals upon which he would need an ear mark. " Joseph Mauwee, his ear mark is two halfpennies of the foreside of the right ear and a half tenant [tenon] the underside the left ear. June 27, 1759." I* is sa'd> however, that his youngest child, Eunice, was born in 1755, and that he had ten children, which would indicate that his marriage took place about 1730. Barber says, " He married a woman of the East Haven tribe." The Seymour history says she was " of the Farmington Indians."
The " striking statement" reported to have been made by Eunice Mauwee, that she " had seen an old Indian who had seen King Philip," requires only the age of ninety-five in the old Indian, to have made it abundantly possible. It was from this woman that Mr. Barber received most of his information about the Indians of Derby, as he says,4 and, making some allowances for the memory of an Indian woman seventy-two years of age, the source of information is as reliable as any but actual records, except when it comes to opinions or interpretations, or legendary stories, when the story is all there is of value.8 The story that Chuse's name resulted from the peculiar manner of pronouncing "choose" is not credited by the author of this book. There is no doubt, however, that the story was told to Mr. barber, as well as several others, which the town records prove to be erroneous. It is more probable that "Chuse" was the abbreviation of a full Indian name, for although among the Indians in early times names were not hereditary, yet later, after much intercourse with the English, the paternal name was used in designating families. Hence, from Moll Hatchett we have Joseph Hatchett and David Hatchett. And we have, as early as 1702, Will Toto, John Toto, Jack Toto.
Mr. Barber's account of Chuse and the Indians at the Falls is interesting and worthy of preservation, and is as follows :
" For a long period after the settlement of this place, it was called Chusetown, so named from Chuse, the last sachem of the Derby Indians, who is said to have derived this name from his manner of pronouncing the word " choose." His proper name was Joe Mau-we-hu; he was the son of Gideon Mauwehu, a Pequot Indian, who was the king or sachem of the Scatacook tribe of Indians in Kent. It appears that Gideon, previous to his collecting the Indians at Kent, .lived in the vicinity of Derby, and wishing to have his son brought up among the white people, sent Joe to Mr. Agar Tomlinson of Derby, with whom he lived during his minority. Chuse preferring to live at Derby, his father gave him a tract of land at the Falls, called the Indian field. Here he erected his wigwam, about six or eight rods north of where the cotton factory now  stands, on the south border of the flat. It was beautifully situated among the white-oak trees, and faced the south. He married an Indian woman of the East Haven tribe. At the time Chuse removed here there were but one or two white families in the place, who had settled on Indian hill, the hight of land east of the river and south-east of the cotton factory, in the vicinity of the Methodist and Congregational churches. These settlers wishing Chuse for a neighbor, persuaded him to remove to the place where the house of the late Mrs. Phebe Stiles now stands, a few rods north of the Congregational church. When Mr. Whitmore built on the spot, Chuse removed back to the Falls, where a considerable number of the Indians collected and built their wigwams in a row, a few rods east of the factory on the top of the bank extending to Indian hill. Near the river in the Indian field, was a large Indian burying-ground ; each grave was covered with a small heap of stones. Mr. Stiles, of this place, purchased this field about forty-six years since of the Indian proprietors, and in ploughing it over destroyed these relics of antiquity. The land on the west side of the river from this place, where the Episcopal church stands was formerly called Shrub Oak. Both the Indians and the whites went to meeting on foot to Derby. Those of the whites who died here, were conveyed on horse litters to be buried at Derby; these litters were made by having two long poles attached to two horses, one of which was placed before the other ; the ends of the poles were fastened, one on each side of the forward horse, and the other ends were fastened to the horse behind. A space was left between the horses, and the poles at this place were fastened together by cross pieces, and on these was placed whatever was to be carried. Chuse lived at this place forty-eight years, and then removed with most of the Derby Indians to Scatacook, in Kent, where he died, at the age of about eighty years. He was a large, athletic man and a very spry and active hunter. He had ten children. Eunice, aged seventy-two years, the youngest daughter of Chuse, is still living  at Scatacook and it is from her that most of the particulars respecting Chuse and the Indians are derived.
ï¿½ï¿½ Chuse and his family were in the habit of going down once a year to Milford ' to salt,' as it was termed. They usually went down in a boat from Derby Narrows ; when they arrived at Milford beach they set up a tent made of the sail of their boat and stayed about a fortnight, living upon oysters and clams. They also collected a considerable quantity of clams, which they broiled, then dried them in the sun and strung them in the same manner as we do apples which are to be dried. Clams cared by this method were formerly quite an article of traffic. "The Indians in the interior used to bring clown dried venison, which they exchanged with the Indians who lived on the sea-coast, for their dried clams. Chuse used to kill many deer while watching the wheat fields ; also great numbers of wild turkeys and occasionally a bear. Some of the whites also were jreat hunters ; the most famous were Gideon Washborn and Alexander Johnson. Rattlesnakes were formerly very numerous about Niumph, near Rock Rimmon, and occasionally have been known to crawl into the houses in the vicinity. About the time of the first settlement at Humphreysville, a white man by the name of Noah Durand, killed an Indian named John Sunk, by mistake. They were hunting deer on opposite sides of the river, Durand on the west side and the Indian on the east; it was in the dusk of the evening, in the warm season, at the time the deer went into the river to cool themselves. Durand perceived something moving among the bushes on the east side and supposing it to be a deer, aimed his gun at the place and fired. Sunk, mortally wounded, immediately cried out, 'You have killed me.' Durand sprang through the river to 're assistance of the dying Indian, who begged for water. Darand took his shoe, filled it with water and gave it to Sunk, who, after drinking, immediately died. This took place perhaps twenty or thirty rods south of Humphreysville, just below where Henry Wooster lived. A kind of arbitration was afterward held upon this case by the white people and the Indians. One of the Indian witnesses remarked that he never knew of deer wearing red stockings before, alluding to the common Indian dress. The Indians, however, appeared satisfied that their countryman was killed by mistake and ever afterwards made Mr. Durand's house their stopping place.
Anecdotes are preserved of Chuse, which show that he was somewhat addicted to the use of ardent liquors and considered rum or whisky essentially superior as a beverage to cold water. He used to come when thirsty, to a fine spring bursting from a hollow rock at the foot of the hill and there sit on the bank by the side of the spring and drink the sweet water as it gushed from the rock, and praise it and say that if there was only another spring of rum, flowing by the side of it, he would ask for nothing more, but should be perfectly happy.
In 1760, he sold an acre and a half of land on the east side of the Falls, including the water privilege, to Thomas Perkins of Enfield, and Ebenezer Keeney, Joseph Hull and John Wooster of Derby, who had formed a company for the purpose of putting up some iron works. After living at Humphreysville forty-eight years Chuse removed to Scaghticook, where, a few years after, he died at the age of eighty. His land was not disposed of until 1792, when it still amounted to thirty-three acres ; and only a part was sold at this time, the rest being sold in 1812.
On the day-book of the selectmen of Derby are found the following items:
1809. Abigail Short, credit, by keeping Frederick Fronk, one of the proprietors of the Indian land at RockRimmon Falls, and tending him in his illness, $6.50. By horse and carriage to move Frederick Fronk, one of, etc., $0.67.
"Sept. 4, 1809. Isaac Pease, credit, by making a coffin for Frederick Fronk, one of proprietors, etc., $4.50. Abraham Harger, credit, by digging Frederick Fronk's grave, $1.34. Daniel Todd, credit, by tending on Lydia French and Frederick Fronk's funeral, $1.00.
1808. Augustus Bagden, credit, by keeping his mother, Hester, one of the proprietors of the Indian land at Rimmon Falls, $10.79.
Thus did the town do for the Indians the same as for others under the same circumstances; and whatever may be said of the treatment rendered to the Indians in America, Derly has paid them for all she ever had of them, over and over and over ; living in peace and great friendship with them, caring for them just as for citizens and neighbors, and at last laying them in their last sleeping place as brothers. What more "would ye that men should do unto you ? "
Since preparing the above concerning Chuse, the following items have come under observation : Joseph Mausvee, the sachem of Humphreysville, removed to Scatacook about 1780, and in 1786 his name was attached to a petition to the Assembly, and hence, he was still living. In 1792 his land was sold (some of it, so said) at Humphreysville, upon the petition of his heirs. Therefore, he died between 1786 and 1792, and is said to have been eighty (or about eighty) years of age. Hence, he was born about 1710, and probably did not settle at Chusetown before 1740, or when he was about thirty years of age. It is probable that after his marriage he remained some few years at Turkey Hill or Derby Narrows, which was then inhabited only by Indians, and then settled at Chusetown, which agrees with the tradition that his family were closely associated with the Turkey Hill locality. It also appears from these items that he may have lived with Agar Tomlinson a few years after 1734, and after he was twenty-three or twenty-four years of age, to fit himself to become the sachem of the remaining Derby Indians.
It is within the legitimate scope of this brief record, to follow Gideon Mauwee to his hunting grounds in Kent. " The clan which collected at New Milford was quite considerable in size, although I cannot find that it had a distinctive name. It was unquestionably a mere collection of refugees and wanderers, who had migrated hither from the southern and eastern parts of Connecticut, to escape from the vicinity of the English settlements."9
This opinion is not only probable, but demonstrated by the fact that Paugasuck Indians were there, forming no inconsiderable part of that settlement. The New Milford settlers bought the township from the native proprietors, on the eighteenth of February, 1703, for sixty pounds in money and twenty pounds in goods. The first Indian name mentioned in the deed, and the first on the list of signers, was Papetoppe; from whence it is possible that he at that time was sachem, or at least the leader. The others are Rapiecotoo, Towcomis, Nanhootoo, Hawwasues, Yoncomis, Shoopack, Wewinapouck, Docames, Paramethe, Wewinapuck, Chequeneag, Papiream, Nokopurrs, Paconaus, VVonawak andTomassett. The deed is witnessed by John Minor of Woodbury and Ebenezer Johnson and John Durand of Derby. Of these seventeen names, sixteen are given in the Woodbury history as belonging to the Pootatucks, and it is possible that they were taken from this deed and placed to the account of the Pootatucks, but this would be such a stretch of history as seemingly no author would venture upon, unless they were all found previous to the date of this deed among the Pootatucks. Chequeneag is Cheshconeag of the Derby deed, dated 1698; VVonawak is Nonawaug alias Nonawaux of the same deed ; Tomassett is Tomasoot or Chomasseet of the same deed. Taking into consideration the different spelling of the same names by different town clerks in Derby, we need not be surprised to find other New Milford names identical with names in Derby previous to the date of the New Milford deed; as for instance, Paconaus may be the same as Pequonat of Derby.
Hence, in his westward emigration, Gideon Mauwee was not peculiar nor alone, nor did he go among entire strangers. It would be interesting to know whether Cheraromogg, signer of a deed at Stratford in 1684, was Raumaug of New Milford in 1716, and finally Weraumaug, of undying fame, at New Preston. Gideon Mauwee finally rested at Scaghticook10 and gathered about him many wanderers, until his company became large enough to attract the special attention of missionaries. The name on white lips became Scatacook, and these Indians were known only as Scatacook Indians. Here Eunice Mauwee lived (as have her descendants after her) on a state reservation, and died in 1859, aged about one hundred and four years. Her father was the last chief. " Until within a few weeks of her death, she often talked with freedom of the Indians and their habits. It was interesting to hear her pronunciation of Indian words which have now become local property and are attached to so many names. In almost every instance the modern use of them is merely a reduction of larger and more unmanageable ones ; words which, as they are now used, have been shorn of a half or a third of their original syllables. She was intelligent and accustomed to talk, and remembered many curious things. She made this statement, that she saw when a girl, an old Indian who had seen King Philip. The Indian was telling her father of the personal traits and appearance of this brave hero."10 This last item leads us back to the hypothesis, that Chuse was descended from the Pootatuck chief Chusumack, who signed several deeds about 1670, and whose family consisted of several sons and grandsons ; whose residence was at Pootatuck, opposite Birmingham Point in Stratford, and afterwards at Pomperaug or Newtown. The old Indian in this case might have been her great grandfather.
In various other parts of the Naugatuck valley is traced the Red man, lingering amidst the institutions and customs of civilization, and suffering more or less in the contact.
Some particular account of the Hatchett family is given by Dr. A. Beardsley, who, having some personal knowledge of the family, has continued the inquiry until the following result has been obtained :
On the right of the old Milford road at Turkey Hill, just below Two-mile brook, there was once an Indian burying-ground. Around the base of a high hill overlooking the Ousatonic, rough field-stones have within a few years marked the resting place of many Red skins who once occupied these regions. An old saying is that many Indians were buried there. Some of these stones were small, others of large size.
In early times the wild turkeys, seeking to escape from the hunter, flew from this hill across the Ousatonic,ï¿½a fact which gave it the name of Turkey Hill. These lands, long in the possession of Mr. David Burt were held sacred. He did not even allow his ploughshare to disturb the rude grave-spots which told so sad a story of the poor Indian. Like Hippocrates of old, who dug up grave-yards in the night season for imperishable bones, so did the medical students of Yale College search here for materials to aid them in their anatomical pursuits. The New Haven and Derby railroad has extinguished all traces of this ancient cemetery, Indian skulls and bones in large quantities having been exhumed in excavating at Turkey Hill.ï¿½ Upon this hill stood the head-quarters of a tribe of Indians. Here they built their wigwams, held their war councils, joined in the noisy dance and smoked the pipe of peace, while the old sachem of Milford, Ansantaway, with his son Ockenuck of Stratford, set his mark upon Derby.
It may be inferred from the most reliable sources that the New Milford Indians and the Paugasucks at one time lined the banks of the Ousatonic from Old to New Milford. They had a trail, many traces of which are still visible, along which, by signal and war whoop, they could telegraph from the one place to the other " between sun and sun." They had several fortresses along this trail. The Paugasucks, however, possessed the land of Derby and one of the last of this tribe is still fresh in the memory of our citizens.
On the line of Two-mile brook, near the Ousatonic, over an old cellar still to be seen, stood the little hut of Molly Hatchett. Leman Stone, agent for Indian land reservations in Derby, in the goodness of his heart caused it to be erected for her home. Truman Gilbert was the boss carpenter, and David Bradley and Agar Gilbert his apprentice boys, both of whom are still living, assisted. The building was only twelve feet square. Here lived and died Molly Hatchett. She was a wanderer upon the earth, but wherever she went she always found a hearty welcome, and was never turned away with an empty basket. She was a favorite among the people, and was looked upon with sad sympathy. The children in the streets nocked to meet her, and the old folks always paid her deference. A hundred families or more she visited once or twice a year, selling her little fancy stained baskets, and wherever a child was born she was sure to appear, and present the baby with a basket-rattle containing six kernels of corn. If the mother had more than six children she put in one more kernel, and so on in arithmetical proportion.
In her old age, when she could no longer go her rounds, she was often visited by the good people of Derby Narrows, who gave her great comfort and consolation. Parting with her one day when her death was approaching, a good woman remarked, "Molly, it is too bad that you should die in such a hut as this." "Oh no," she replied, "I shall soon have a better home in heaven, where I shall go and meet the pale faces with the Great Spirit." Her funeral was decently attended, Leman Stone arranging the ceremonies, his workmen acting as pall-bearers. In the parish records of St. James's church, in the hand-writing of the Rev. Stephen Jewett, appears the following:
1829, January 17, died Molly Hatchett, Indian, aged nearly one hundred, buried by Rev. W. Swift."
There is no date of her birth or marriage, but she was the wife, according to Indian custom, of John Hatchett, who died at an early age and is said to have been a descendant of old Chuse, who lived at Humphreysville. Molly had four children. She lived with her son Joseph many years, but most of her family afterwards joined the Scatacook settlement in Kent.
Molly Hatchett was a good specimen of the Paugasucks. Nearly six feet tall, muscular, erect, of stately step, with long, black hair falling over her shoulders, with piercing black eyes, of polite and commanding appearance, she was a noble relic of a barbarous race.
It was a fashion of her own, always to wear a white blanket shawl and a man's hat, and to carry a cane or her little hatchet. Shrewd and witty, she was seldom overreached in her jokes. She was rather fond of " uncupe," as she called rum, and this was her besetting sin, for which she blamed the whites.
One day she called at the store of Mr. S , and asked for adrink of " uncupe." " Can't give it to you," said the conscientious merchant, " it is against the law to sell by the glass." " L'h," said she, " there is no law against Indians." Thirsty and full of importunity on her part, the rumseller finally yielded, when he said, " Molly, if you will lie down on your back on this floor, and let me put a tunnel in your mouth, I will pour down your throat a good horn of uncupe." The action was suited to the words, and both seemed gratified with the evasion of the law. A few days after, calling on her benefactor, smiling and talkative, he said, " Well, Molly, what do you want to-day?"ï¿½ "Oh!ï¿½ I only called to see if you did not want to tunnel me again."
Many years before her death Molly was often heard to say she could remember when the main road through Derby Narrows was only a foot-path by the river bank, dense with forest trees.
She used to correct the white man's pronunciation of the names of our rivers. " You must call them as did the old ' Ingins,' Naugutuck and Ousatowwofc." When she received a gift her reply was, " Arumskemoke, thank you kindly. Now you must say Tuputney, you are welcome." Her real name was unknown, but she was often called, " Magawiska."
In the evening of her days, when taking a last survey of the departed glory of her ancestors and standing on their graves, their wigwams leveled, their council fires almost forgotten, this poor, lonely Paugasuck is imagined as thus soliloquizing:
" Deserted and drear is the place,
Where huts of my
Alone, and the last of my race,
I watch where their
The calumet now is no more,
No longer the hatchet
The wampum our warriors once wore,
Now smolders along
with the dead.
The day of our glory is gone,
The night of our
sorrow is here;
No more will our day-star arise,
No more our sunlight
Once we listened to hear the war song,
Once we sailed on the
When the arm of the hunter was strong,
The soul of the
warrior was brave.
Now lonely and drear is the place
Where huts of my
Alone and the last of my race,
I watch where their ashes repose."
The above lines, so full of pathos were written by Dr. J Hardyear, a native of Derby, a young man of talent and promise, who located in Stratford, where he died at the early age
of twenty-nine years.
Just above Two-mile brook, on the Whitney farm was also an Indian settlement, established there many years after the one at the spot originally called Turkey Hill. This latter place is the one more familiarly known at the present time, and for some years past, as Turkey Hill.
An anecdote or two concerning the Indian Chuse, have not appeared in print. Living among the white settlers he became partially civilized, often going to church and thereby obtaining some knowledge of the doctrines of the gospel.
Having a child dangerously ill, he became impressed with the desire of having it baptized, and called on the Congregational minister to perform the ceremony. The parson asked him if he was in full communion with the church. He replied that he was not. "Then I must refuse to baptize him," said the parson. "Do you call yourself a minister of Christ?" asked Chuse. " Yes," was the reply. Said Chuse, " You are not! You are the devil's minister. Christ commanded to teach all nations, baptizing them in the Lord." The sick child, however, received the rite of baptism from the Episcopal minister. This story is authenticated by one who was familiar with all the parties.
After removing to Scatacook, he often visited the few who lived at Turkey Hill. Mrs. Deborah Riggs, deceased some years since, well remembered when one of his daughters was married, and the bridal party walked through the drifting snow from Turkey Hill to Chusetown in the night season, to solemnize the nuptials.
Some few marks or foot-prints of the Red man in Derby still remain. Close by the New Haven and Derby railroad on the Whitney farm, is an Indian corn mill, or mortar, sunk in the bed rock. It is about eight inches in diameter at the top and the same in depth. Here, for many years, the Indians ground the corn for their daily bread. This is a little south of the ravine called the Devil's Jump ; near which are said to be two more mortars sunk in the bed rock. Lover's Leap is a little further up the river, consisting of a high rock almost overhanging the river.
One Indian ax, of bluestone, has been seen, of the size of an ordinary ax, but from the roughness of the stone it is inferred that it had remained long exposed to the elements after it was made, before it was found.
THE MACK FAMILY.
The last remnants of the Paugasucks in Derby were the Mack Indians as they were called, who formerly inhabited Bethany. The selectmen of that town, fearing that these Indians would become paupers, purchased a small tract of land in Deerfield, situated within the limits of Derby, and placed them upon it, so as to be rid of them. They assisted them in building some cheap huts, and in these they dwelt, securing a living by hunting and making baskets. There were James and Eunice Mack, who lived by themselves near the turnpike that leads from Seymour to New Haven. Jerry Mack and four other Indian men, two squaws and three children lived over the hill south of James Mack's about eighty rods. For a long time the place was called the Indian settlement.
In 1833, a squaw came from Milford, who became the guest of James and while there was taken sick and was immediately removed back to Milford, where she died of small-pox. In due time these ten Indians sickened with the same disease, and all died except the three children. These children were run down into the woods, and vaccinated by Dr. Kendall, and thus saved from the terrible scourge. The Indians were buried by Samuel Bassett and others, who had had the small-pox, in the garden near their huts. Derby paid all expenses and great excitement prevailed as to the disease, and to make sure that no more Indians should become paupers from that settlement, the torch was applied in the night season by order of the selectmen to these modern wigwams, and thus they were reduced to ashes.
Of these Deerfield Indians, Mr. DeForest says :
" One of the women, old Eunice as she was commonly called, died a number of years since. Her two children, Jim and Ruby, I have often seen coming into my native village to sell parti-colored baskets and buy provisions and rum. Ruby was short and thick and her face was coarse and stupid. Jim's huge form was bloated with liquor, his voice was coarse and hollow, and his steps, even when he was not intoxicated, were unsteady from the evil effects of ardent spirits. At present I believe they are all in their graves."
There was another family called the Farm tribe, who were described by Mr. DeForest thirty years ago, as wandering about in that part of the country and owning no land. In a letter from a correspondent in Derby (W. L. Durand, Esq.) their settlement is described as located on the west side of the Ousatonic, above the Old Bridge place. He says : " They were called the Pann tribe and the old chief was named Pannee. I remember seeing some of the Panns when I was a boy. In digging a cellar on the plains there, a great many bones were dug upï¿½so many that the wife of the man who was intending to build, would not go there to live. He got the house inclosed, and after it had stood unoccupied a good many years, he sold it."
Those Indians who gathered around Joseph Mauwee at Naugatuck Falls, where Seymour now stands, were most if not all of them of the Paugasucks. When the Indian census was taken in 1774, there were four of Joseph's band within the limits of Waterbury.
The first place in which the Indians buried was most probably at Derby Narrows, some years before the English discovered the region. More bones, indicating such a ground, have been exhumed at this place than at any other.
Not many years since, when Mr. Lewis Hotchkiss was engaged in putting up some buildings near the Hallock mills, a large quantity of bones was discovered, and the indications were that they had been a long time buried. It is most likely that the Paugasuck tribe buried at this place a long time after the English began the settlement here.
The burying-ground at Turkey Hill was commenced probably after that place was set apart for occupancy by Milford, about 1665.
Another ground was arranged soon after the beginning of the settlement of the English here, at the new fort on the Ousatonic, a little above the dam on the east side.
A ground of this kind of considerable extent was at Seymour, where many fragments have been found within the memory of the living.
Another is said to be in existence, and the graves still visible, near Horse Hill, or, as it is called in one of the very early land records, White Mare Hill.
Across the Ousatonic from Birmingham, in the southern part of Shelton, was another burial-place, where the Pootatucks laid their departed to rest ; and there were others still further up that river on both sides.
As the Farmington Indians have been included in this survey of the ancient tribes, the monument erected at that place in 1840 may be referred to. On the bank of the river looking out upon Farmington Valley and Indian Neck, stands a block of coarse red sandstone bearing the following inscription, which is becoming rapidly obliterated :
" In memory of the Indian race, especially of the Tunxis tribe, the ancient tenants of these grounds.
" The many human skeletons here discovered confirm the tradition that this spot was formerly an Indian burying place. Tradition further declares it to be the ground on which a sanguinary battle was fought between the Tunxis and the Stockbridge tribes. Some of their scattered remains have been re-interred beneath this stone."
The reverse side of the monument bears the following lines :
" Chieftains of a vanished race,
In your ancient burial-place,
By your fathers' ashes blest,
Now in peace securely rest.
Since on life you looked your last,
Changes o'er your land have passed;
Strangers came with iron sway,
And your tribes have passed away.
But your fate shall cherished be
In the strangers' memory;
Virtue long her watch shall keep,
Where the Red man's ashes sleep."
FURTHER AUTHENTIC RECORDS.
PROGRESS in disintegration and decay in the native ' tribes may be traced a little further by the examination of documents and records. Mr. J. W. DeForest in his " History of the Indians of Connecticut," a book which, after all deductions are made, is a remarkable production for a youth of one-and-twenty years, makes the following remarks upon the retirement of the Red men before the aggressive race that had landed on their shores :
" Knowing little of European modes of life, and judging of the colonists greatly by themselves, they supposed that the latter would cultivate but a little land, and support themselves for the rest by trading, fishing and hunting. Little did they think that in the course of years the white population would increase from scores to hundreds, and from hundreds to thousands ; that the deep forests would be cut down ; that the wild animals would disappear ; that the fish would grow few in the rivers; and that a poor remnant would eventually leave the graves of their forefathers and wander away into another land. Could they have anticipated that a change so wonderful, and in their history so unprecedented, would of necessity follow the coming of the white man, they would have preferred the wampum tributes of the Pequots and the scalping parlies of the Five Nations to the vicinity of a people so kind, so peaceable, and yet so destructive."ï¿½(Pages 164, 165.)
Of course the natives knew not that they were parting with their homes forever; neither did the new settlers know how swiftly their predecessors upon the soil would melt away before the glow and heat of a Christian civilization. But the process was inevitable, and in New England, at least, however it may have been elsewhere, it was as painless and as little marked by cruelty as it well could be.
Through several documents still preserved there come before us certain Derby Indians in the peculiar character of slaves.
To students of colonial history it is a known fact that not only negroes but Indians were held as slaves in New England. That slavery should have existed in the colonies was almost a matter of course, in view of its recognition by the mother country. The Massachusetts code, adopted in 1641, known as the " Body of Liberties," recognized it, and provided for its regulation and restriction ; and Connecticut in its code of 1650 followed in the same path. The ninety-firsj article of the Massachusetts code was as follows : " There shall never be any bond slavery, villanage or captivity among us, unless it be lawful captives taken in just wars, and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are sold tons. .... This exempts none from servitude who shall be judged thereto by authority." According to this, persons might be sold into slavery for crime ; might be purchased in the regular course of trade ; or might be enslaved as captives taken in war ; and it will be observed that no limitation is made in reference to color or race. Probably, however, the English distinction was tacitly recognized, which allowed the enslavement of infidels and heathen, but not of Christians. Of the fact that Indians became slaves in the different ways here mentioned, there is abundant evidence. In Sandwich, Massachusetts, three Indians were sold in 1678 for having broken into a house and stolen. Being unable to make recompense to the owner, the General Court authorized him to sell them. In 1660 the General Court of Connecticut was empowered by the United Colonies to send a company of men to obtain satisfaction, of the Narragansetts, for an act of insolence they had committed upon the settlers. Four of the malefactors were to be demanded ; and in case the persons were delivered, they were to be sent to Barbadoes and sold as slaves. In 1677 it was enacted by the General Court that if any Indian servant captured in war and placed in service by the authorities should be taken when trying to run away, it should be "in the power of his master to dispose of him as a captive, by transportation out of the country." That the regular slave trade included traffic in Indians as well as negroes appears from several enactments of the General Court. For instance, it was ordered in May, 1711, "that all slaves set at liberty by their owners, and all negro, mulatto or Spanish Indians, who are servants to maslers for time, in case they come to want after they be so set at liberty, or the time of their said service be expired, shall be relieved by such owners or masters respectively." At a meeting of the Council in July, 1715,11 was resolved " that a prohibition should be published against the importation of any Indian slaves whatsoever." The occasion of this was the introduction of a number of such slaves from South Carolina, and the prospect that many more were coming. In October following, the General Court adopted an act in relation to this matter, which was a copy of a Massachusetts act of 1712, prohibiting the importation into the colony of Indian servants or slaves, on the ground of the numerous outrages committed by such persons. Of Indians captured in war, a considerable number were sold into slavery, but what proportion it would be impossible to say. It was a defensive measure, to which the colonists were impelled by the fact that they were " contending with a foe who recognized none of the laws of civilized warfare." It was resorted to in the war with the Pequots, and again in the war with King Philip.
In a manuscript, sold with the library of the late George Brinley of Hartford, namely, the account book of Major John Talcott (1674-1688), which includes his accounts as treasurer of the colony during King Philip's war, there are some curious entries indicating how the enslavement of Indians in certain cases originated. The following account stands on opposite pages of the ledger (pp. 54, 55) :
" 1676. Capt. John Stanton of Stonington, Dr., To sundry commissions gave Capt. Stanton to proceed against the Indians, by which he gained much on the sales of captives.
"Contra, 1677, April 30. Per received an Indian girl of him, about seven years old, which he gave me for commissions on the other side or, at best, out of good will for my kindness to him."
Further light is thrown on this matter by the following documents, which are interesting, also, in themselves11. The first is a deed drawn up in Stratford, June 8, 1722 :
" Know all men by these presents, that I, Joseph Gorham of Stratford, in the county of Fairfield, in the colony of Connecticut, for and
"They are the property of the Hon. C. W. Gillette of Waterbury.
in consideration of sixty pounds money in hand received, and well and truly paid by Col. Ebenezer Johnson of Derby, in the county of New Haven and colony aforesaid, to my full satisfaction and content, have sold and made over unto the said Ebenezer Johnson and to his heirs, executors and assigns forever, one Indian woman named Dinah, of about twenty-six years of age, for him, the said Johnson, his heirs, executors or assigns, to have, hold and enjoy the said Indian woman Dinah as his and their own proper estate from henceforth forever, during the said Dinah's life ; affirming the said Dinah to be my own proper estate, and that I have in myself full power and lawful authority to sell and dispose of the said Dinah in manner as aforesaid, and that free and clear of all incumbrances whatsoever. In witness I set to my hand and seal in Stratford, this eighth day of June, in the year of our Lord God, 1722. Samuel French,
Attorney for Capt. Gorham. " Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us,
The second document traces Dinah's history a little further. It is dated at Derby, November 22, 1728. Before this date Col. Johnson had died, and this is the deed by which his widow disposes of a part of the estate to her son Timothy :
" Know all men by these presents, that I. Hajmah Johnson, widow of the late deceased Colonel Ebenezer Johnson of Derby, in the county of New Haven, in the colony of Connecticut, in New England, for the parental love and good will which I have towards my beloved son, Timothy Johnson of Derby, in the county and colony aforesaid, and for divers other good and well-advised considerations me thereunto moving, have given and do by these presents fully, freely and absolutely give, grant and confirm unto my beloved son Timothy Johnson, him, his heirs and assigns forever: that is to say, one Indian woman called Dinah, and also a feather bed that he hath now in possession, and by these presents I, the said Hannah Johnson, do give, grant and confirm and firmly make over the above named Dinah and feather bed, with all their privileges and profits ; and unto him, the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns forever, to have and to hold ; to occupy, use and improve, as he, the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns, shall think fit, without any interruption, trouble or molestation any manner of way given by me, the said Hannah Johnson, or any of my heirs, executors or administrators, or any other person or persons from, by or under me. And furthermore. I, the said Hannah Johnson, do by these presents, for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators, covenant and promise to and with the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns, that we will forever warrant and defend him, the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns, in the peaceable and quiet possession and enjoyment of the above named Dinah and feather bed against the lawful claims and demands of all persons whomsoever. In confirmation of all the ubove mentioned particulars, 1, the said Hannah Johnson, have hereunto set my hand and seal this 2zd day of November, in the second year of the reign of our sovereign lord. King George the Second, and in the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight.
Hannah Johnson. u Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of,
" Derby, November 22, 1728. This day Hannah Johnson, the subscriber of the above written instrument, personally appeared and acknowledged this to be her own free act and deed, before me.
Joseph Hulls, Justice of the Peace."
At no time in the history of American slavery has the recognition of human beings as chattels been more complete than it is in this old document, in which " the Indian woman Dinah " and " the feather bed " are classed together in so unceremonious away.
That the purchase of Dinah in 1722 was not Col. Johnson's first experiment in slave-holding is evidenced by another document pertaining to the Indian literature of the Naugatuck valley, also in the possession of Judge Gillette. It is a brief paper from the hand of Colonel Johnson, relating to an Indian named Tobie, and certifying to his manumission. It is given just as recorded :
"these may cartifi whome it may consarn that tobee a Ingan that lived with me I had of a moheg Indian at new london 307 years agoo. be lived with me 12 year and is now and has bin a free man ever senc. October the 6 1713 Ebenezer Johnson."
There is an Indian deed given by Cockapatana and Ahuntaway, as sachems, and six other Indians, of land at the place still known as Tobie's Rocks, deeded to this same Tobie, in which he is said to be " a Narragansett Indian, formerly servant unto Capt. Ebenezer Johnson of Derby." The deed is dated September 7, 1693. The deed and the legend concerning Tobie's capture will be found in their chronological order in the body of this work.
The record shows that Tobie was taken in the time of King Philip's war, 1676 ; that he was twelve years a slave, being made free in 1688; in 1693 received the tract of land from the Naugatuck Indians " in consideration of ten pounds and a barrel of cider," and in 1713 this certificate was made. What circumstances called for such a paper at that time is a (question concerning which we have no information ; nor has there been seen anything in the records upon which to found a supposition, except that it was the time when he had petitioned, or was about to petition, the legislature for a patent for his land, as the town had just received a patent, although it proved to be unsatisfactory. And what reason the town could have had, if not a selfish one, for opposing Tobie's petition, it is impossible to guess. It is probable that the certificate was given to show his right to hold property and become a citizen.
In 1709, Major Ebenezer Johnson sold another Indian girl, placing her in a vastly more satisfactory relation, according to modern ideas, than either of the other sales effected. The Indians in deeding a certain tract say : " On account of a squaw Sarah, sold unto said Chetrenas'ut, and three pounds, ten shillings in hand received of Major Ebenezer Johnson of Derby." This tract of land was " lying in a place called ' Nayumps,' bounded northerly with Beacon Hill river, easterly with Milford, westerly with Naugatuck river, south with Lebanon river." This was a happy sale in this, that the Indian Chetrenasut obtained a bride. Well done, thou noble Red man of the forest, thou dost make a woman free, while thy white brother possesses the land that is the price of human, living flesh and blood ! O, slavery, what corrupting sin hast thou not committed in the land of Bibles and religion! But there is a favorable thought on the slave-holder's side : he had given one man his liberty. " Seven pounds" was no price for a young slave woman ; for a few years later Mr. Johnson paid sixty pounds for one, apparently of about the same value. We may hope that the price was but nominal and the real object benevolent.
Turning again to the Tunxis Indians, with whom the Paugasucks are related, and from whom the Waterbury purchases were made, we find the same process of gradual decay taking place among them which we trace in other tribes. The main body at Farmington was joined from time to time by re-enforcements from the Connecticut valley; and it is very probable that some of the Paugasucks joined them, since we are informed in one deed that some had settled in Hartford, where they were residing when they executed a deed of land in Derby. A school was established among them, a few were admitted as freemen, and a few became members of the church. But, notwithstanding the friendly feeling which existed, the lands which the Indians had reserved slipped gradually from their grasp, and they found it desirable to emigrate. In 1761, the tribe was estimated at less than twenty-five families. They had moved back from their original position and were residing in the north-west part of Farmington and in New Hartford. In 1774, they numbered fifty-six persons. Not long after, some of them removed to the country of the Mohawks ; others, subsequently, to Scatacook, and from there to Stockbridge. The Tunxis Indians, as we have seen, had no established camping ground in the Naugatuck valley at the time of its settlement by white men ; neither is there any strong evidence that they resided in the valley after they had begun to retire from their old reservation. It is probable, however, that some of the Indians who are still remembered as living in Waterbury, Litchfield and Wolcottville, belonged to that tribe. It is within the present generation that a family living in the Park road, in the western part of Waterbury, has entirely disappeared. Persons are still living who remember Indian families in Wolcottville and Torringford. In the latter place a wigwam used to stand, in the very door-yard of a prominent citizen, Captain Shubael Griswold, some time after the Revolutionary war. Another family had their wigwam, within the present century, in the field west of the brass mill in Wolcottville, where they had resided some years. In the edge of Goshen, a little north of Hart's Hollow, is a cave which used to be the recruiting station for the Indians while on their hunting excursions through that region. Many arrowheads and other implements have been picked up at this place, indicating considerable occupation of it by these hunters. Another like place is found in Wolcott, or in the edge of the town of Bristol, near Wolcott, where implements have been found and which tradition, as well, claims to have been a resort of the Red man. Wist pond, in the western part of the town of Torrington was so called from an Indian by that name, \\' o, it is said, was drowned in its waters. There used to be an Indian family in a cave in Harwinton, nearly opposite the mouth of Spruce brook, and another on the tract of land called the Wigwam, lying along " West branch," not far back from Reynolds's bridge. In 1850, Mr. DeForest spoke of " one miserable creature, a man named Mossock," as living in Litchfield, " perhaps the sole remnant of the Tunxis tribe." There may be other similar traces of the departing Red man, which by a little effort could be discovered and, if it were worth while, recorded.
It is important to take a further look at the Pootatucks, from whom the extensive Litchfield purchase was made. As to their, numbers, it is difficult to determine anything, but some conclusions may be drawn from the number of different individuals who signed the Indian deeds in Derby. From 1657 to 1678, or to the close of the sachem rule of Okenuck, a space of twenty-one years, there were over fifty different signers to these Indian deeds of the Paugasuck Indians. Sometimes only Okenuck's name is attached to a deed ; at other times two, five, seven and ten are recorded. The fact (which is demonstrated) that only a few signed when there were others who might have signed but did not, indicates that it was necessary for but a few to sign at a time. Hence, if during that time one in three of the men in the tribe signed, then the tribe consisted of one hundred and fifty men ; and, making allowance for deaths and removals, the tribe may have numbered one hundred men, or, on a small estimate, between three and four hundred persons at any time during the twenty-one years. It is quite apparent, nay, almost demonstrable, that the Indians increased in numbers from 1657 to 1700, and afterward. Many of the Paugasuck Indians united with the Pootatucks, from 1680 to 1730.
It is probable that the chief seat of the Pootatucks in 1660 was at the old fort opposite Birmingham Point, on the west side of the Ousatonic, and that the settlement at Pomperaug was mostly effected afterwards. In 1671, when this tribe deeded to Henry Tomlinson land on both sides of the river, at what is now Birmingham Point, fifteen names were placed on the deed, and in the next month to a quit-claim deed in confirmation of the territory of the town of Stratford, four others were added and in i('>4, to another deed of the same character, eleven more werorecorded. Here then, in the space of thirteen years, there are thirty men ascertained ; and on the calculations, as in the case of the Paugasucks as above noted, we estimate, making due allowances, there were about seventy men in the Pootatuck tribe, and from two hundred to two hundred and fifty persons. When then, this tribe had increased, as most probably it did, of its own numbers and by accessions from the Paugasucks, up to 1700, it very probably numbered over one hundred men. Hence, when President Stiles of Yale College, in his "Itinerary" in 1760, estimated the number of warriors of this tribe to have been fifty half a century before, he was not far out of the way.
The same writer preserves the account of a great " powwow," which took place at the village of the Pootatucks, somewhere from 1720 to 1725. The ceremonies lasted three days, and were attended by five or six hundred Indians, many of whom came from distant places, as Farmington and Hartford. While the Indians were standing in a dense mass, excited by dancing and other wild rites, a little Indian girl was brought forward, gaily dressed and covered with ornaments. She was led in among them by two squaws, her mother and her aunt; and as she entered the crowd they set up a great yelling and howling, threw themselves into strange postures and made hideous grimaces. After a while the squaws, stripped of their ornaments, emerged alone from the crowd and walked away, shedding tears and uttering mournful cries. Many white people stood around gazing at the scene ; but the savages were so excited that none of them dared to interfere. A little white girl, who afterwards related the incident, ran up to the squaws and asked anxiously what they had done with the child, but the only reply was that they should never see her again. It was generally believed by the whites that the Indians had sacrificed her, and that this was an occasional custom.
In 1742, the Pootatucks petitioned the legislature for a school and a preacher, so that, as they expressed it (or some white friend in their behalf), "our souls need not perish for want of vision in this land of light," and their petition was granted. At this time they numbered forty persons. Previous to this, however (in 1733)> they had sold about three-fourths of their reservation in Southbury, and many of them had joined the Wyantenucks of New Milford, whither they had been emigrating for more than thirty years. To the fragment of land and the Indian village which remained, known as the Pootatuck Wigwams, they retained a title for a quarter of a century longer; but in 1758, they parted with it and took up their abode with other tribes. A clan of the Pootatucks resided alternately at Bethlehem, Litchfield and Nonawaug. and have been sometimes designated Bantam Indians. In 1761, the Pootatucks who remained in the vicinity of their old reservation consisted of one man and two or three broken families.
One year previous to the presentation of the petition just referred to, asking for a school and a preacher (that is, in May 1741), a petition had been presented by a member of the Pootatuck tribe asking the legislature, first, to allow something toward the schooling and supporting of his children ; secondly, to help him to a division of the Indian lands at Pootatuck. The document which is reproduced in full in Mr. Cothren's history of Woodbury,2 is a very curious one; but it demands our attention just now because of the name of the petitioner, who speaks of himself as a poor Indian native. " Hatchett Tousey by name." Hatchett Tousey, notwithstanding its English sound, is obviously the same name which appears repeatedly in the Woodbury and Litchfield records as " Atchctouset; " and it is all the more interesting to us because we meet with it under the form " Hatchatovvsuck " among the Tunxis and Paugasuck names affixed to the Waterbury deed of December, 1684, and again as connected with the Hatchett family of Derby. It would not be safe to consider the petitioner of 1741 identical with the signer of 1684; but we can certainly trace him in another quarterï¿½in the town records of Litchfield. On the third day of August, 1732, John Catlin sold to "a certain Indian resident of
Litchfield, commonly known as Hatchatousset, for eight pounds lawful money, one acre more or less of land in the crotch of Bantam river;'1 and on the I4th of May 1736, Hatchatousset sold this land to John Sutliff for ten pounds, making, as probably he supposed, a fair profit.3 The idea of individual ownership had evidently taken hold of this native of the soil; for in his petition, as we have seen, he prayed the legislature to help him to a division of the Indian land at Pootatuckï¿½" that I might have my right and just part set out to me, so that they might not quarrel with me; for they say if I am a Christian then I shall not have my land." He had learned, too, that being a Christian does not by any means take away the desire to have land ; and that being a Christian secures sometimes the opposition of nearest kindred.
Another personage comes before us, whose name is already inscribed in history among the noble and honored defenders of our country. The name of one of the Indians who sold to the Litchfield settlers was written Corkscrew, apparently an impromptu joke of the clerk at the time, who ought to have written Cotsure or Cocksure. This name within a generation or two became Cogswell; a worthy member of the family which it represents is still living at New Milford, and another, William H. Cogswell, won a lieutenant's commission in a Connecticut artillery company in the late war. The Cornwall History4 speaks thus of this honored soldier :
"Lieut. William H. Cogswell died Sept. 22, 1864, aged 25 years, 2 months and 23 days. He enlisted as a private in the Fifth regiment, C. V., June 22, 1861, and was promoted to the Second Connecticut Artillery, for gallant services, Sept. n, 1862. He was in the battles of Peaked Mountain, Winchester, Cedar Mountain, Cold Harbor and Opequan, and died from wounds received in the last battle.
" A handsome freestone monument, with the above inscription, erected by his fellow-townsmen, stands as a tribute to his memory. As a valiant, faithful soldier he had no superiors, while in power to endure fatigue, ability, strength and never-failing spirits, he had few equals. The writer remarked to his colonel (Wessells) that William was one of
These items were furnished by D. C. Kilbourn
ï¿½T. S. Gold's, p. 223.
a thousand soldiers. He replied, ' You might well say, one of ten thousand.'
" It is related of him that when on the march many were falling out of the ranks from fatigue, he grasped the muskets of three or four, carrying them for miles, showing his men what strong and willing arms could do.
" Before he went into the army he was a noted runner at all our local fairs, surpassing all competitors, so that when it became known that he was to run there would be no race.
" He was the eldest son of Nathan Cogswell, to whose skilled hands Cornwall farmers are indebted for many of their fine stone walls, and grandson of Jeremiah Cogswell, a member of the Scatacook tribe."
This grandfather was probably Jeremiah Cocksure, who, removing with the remnant of the tribe from Pootatuck, became one of Gideon Mauwee's principal men. He was one of the converts of the Moravian missionaries, and his name often appears in their lists.
When we consider the Indian's character, the stage of development he had reached, and the ordeal necessarily involved in his being brought suddenly into contact with an aggressive civilization, his behavior in this trying period of his history seems worthy of high commendation. However cruel and bloodthirsty he may have been by nature, in his intercourse with peaceable white men he was peaceable ; if they showed themselves friendly he was their friend. Much is said of the Indian's treachery, but it was mostly reserved for enemies, and does not differ essentially from the deception and stratagems which in all ages civilized people have considered legitimate in war.
As a rule the conduct of the Indian was peaceable and friendly, but there were exceptions,ï¿½most of them traceable, it is presumed, to the intemperate use of spirituous liquors. Among these exceptions may be mentioned a murder which was perpetrated in the town of Litchfield, in February, 1768. The murderer was an Indian named John Jacob, and his victim was also an Indian. The guilty man was tried and executed the same year. Mention should also be made of Moses Cook of Waterbury, whose residence was on the north-east corner of Cook and Grove streets, where another branch of the family still resides. The crime was committed in the town of Bethany, on the
7th of December, 1771, by an Indian named Moses Paul. It appears that Paul was born in Barnstable, Mass., about 1742. He lived at Windham, Conn , until twenty years of age, when he enlisted in the Provincial service in the regiment of Colonel Putnam. After the campaign was ended he became a sailor and followed the sea for several years, becoming confirmed in bad habits which he had contracted while in the army. After returning to Connecticut he lived in a very unsteady way for three or four years, staying but a little while in a place, and often becoming intoxicated. On the evening of December 7, 1771, at the house of Mr. Clark of Bethany, while under the influence of liquor, he quarreled with the proprietor. He seized a flatiron weighing four and a half pounds (Paul himself testified that it was a club), and aiming a blow at Mr. Clark, missed him and struck Mr. Cook who was standing by. The wound terminated fatally five days afterward. Paul was pursued and arrested the same evening. He was tried in February, and after a fair and impartial hearing, which lasted a whole day, was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to be hanged in June. The General Assembly, however, on petition, granted a reprieve for three months. At Paul's execution, which took place at New Haven, Sept. 2, 1772, a sermon was preached "at the desire of said Paul," by Samson Occom, a well known Indian preacher and missionary; the author, by the way, of the once popular hymn,
" Awaked by Sinai's awful sound."
A large assembly of whites and Indians had come together to witness the execution, and Occom, taking for his text the words, " For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," delivered a quite elaborate and impressive discourse, in which there were some characteristic specimens of Indian eloquence. The sermon was subsequently published in several editions, and re-published in England in connection with the treatise of the younger Jonathan Edwards upon the grammar of the Muhhekaneew (Mohegan) Indians. Mr. Occom in his preface says it was "a stormy and very uncomfortable day when the discourse was delivered," and hopes that it may be serviceable to his poor kindred, the Indians, and that people may be induced to read it because it comes from an uncommon quarter5.
It is said that before the settlement of Torrington, a white man hunting on the hill which rises between the two branches of the Naugatuck river, just above where Wolcotville now stands, saw an Indian and shot him ; and from this instance the hill was named Red Mountain. The reason the man gave for his deed, so closely similar to many committed on our Western frontier, was that he "knew if he did not shoot the Indian, the Indian would shoot him, so he shot first and killed him." But the white man's logic was at fault, unless he had good reason to believe that the Indian belonged to some remote and hostile tribe. Indians knew, as well as white men, who were friends and who were enemies, and there was no period subsequent to King Philip's war when any of the Indians of Connecticut would have been likely to shoot down a white man at sight, or without the utmost provocation. The shooting of this Indian . was, therefore, without excuse, and the name Red Mountain stands as a dishonor to the white man.
The consideration of King Philip's war, and the other Indian wars of the colonial period, in their relations to the Naugatuck valley, must now engage our attention. Thus far we have been tracing the footsteps of a departing friend ; we have also to trace the coming and going tracks of a wily and cruel enemy.
The first war in Connecticut was that waged against the Pequots, in the very beginning of its history as a colony. The Pequots were of the Algonkin stock, but did not belong to the same family as the other Connecticut tribes. " The Pequots and Mohegans were, apparently, of the same race with the Mohicans, Mohegans or Mohicanders, who lived on the banks of the Hudson6." They were, therefore, without allies in the
ï¿½It is a fact worth mentioning in this connection, that the skull of Moses Cook was not buried with his body. It was probably prepared for examination and exhibited at the trial of Paul, and was afterward returned to the family. It was for many years in the possession of Mr. Cook's daughter, the wife of Titus Bronson, and mother of the late Deacon Leonard Bronson of Middlebury. This strange souvenir was kept by Mrs. Bronson in a little cloth bag (it was in several pieces), and at her request was buried with her in 1841. Her grandson, Edward L. Bronson, remembers having seen it repeatedly in his boyhood.
war, and were not only defeated, but practically extinguished by it. This was in 1636, and King Philip's war did not begin until forty years later. In the interval, which was a period of undisturbed peace, the settlement of Farmington took place on the one side, and of Milford on the other. The settlement of Derby, as we have seen, was begun as early as 1654, and in 1657 the deed was given in which Mattatuck is first mentioned ï¿½the land around the hill where the black-lead was found. It was during this era of peace that the meadow lands of the Naugatuck were discovered. Preparations had been begun for the settlement of Waterbury, when the colony was startled by the cry of war. The first intimation of a misunderstanding between Philip, who was the chief of the Wampanoags in southeastern Massachusetts, and the colonists, was in April, 1671. From this time, if not before this, Philip skillfully planned to unite all the New England tribes against the whites in a war of extermination. The want of friendship among the tribes rendered this a difficult undertaking, but he succeeded so far as to extend his operations from the St. Croix river to the Ousatonic. An Indian League was formed, and the result was the most formidable war the colonists ever had to sustain. Hostilities actually commenced on the 241)1 of June, 1675, and were terminated by the defeat and death of Philip fourteen months afterward.
In this bloody conflict the colonists lost six hundred men. Thirteen towns were totally, and eleven partially, destroyed. The eastern part of Connecticut, being nearer the center of the conflict, suffered more seriously than the western ; but the valley of the Naugatuck was by no means exempt from anxiety, danger and trouble. If there had been no other sources of hardship, the enactments passed by the General Court and the Councilï¿½which have been correctly characterized as " equivalent to putting the whole colony under martial law"ï¿½must have come heavily upon such new settlements as Derby. At a meeting of the Council, held on the ist of September, 1675, it was reported " that the Indians were in a hostile manner prepared with their arms near Paugasuck;" and this, with other similar reports, led the Council to pass a stringent law in reference to carrying of arms by Indians :
" The Council sees cause to order that whatsoever Indian or Indians with arms shall be espied traveling in any of the precincts of our township without an Englishman be with them, if they do not call to such English traveling as they may see, and also lay down their arms, with professing themselves friends, it shall be lawful for the said English to shoot at them and destroy them for their own safety ; which it is our duty to provide for thus in time of war."
Two days afterward, it was ordered by the Council, that in each plantation a sufficient watch should be kept "from the shutting in of the evening till the sun rise," and that one-fourth part of each town should be in arms every day by turns. " It is also ordered that during these present commotions with the Indians, such persons as have occasion to work in the fields shall work in companies ; if they be half a mile from the town, not less than six in a company, with their arms and ammunition well fixed and fitted for service." In October, the General Court, in view of "great combinations and threatenings of the Indians against the English," ordered that sixty soldiers should be raised in each county, " well fitted with horse, arms and ammunition, as dragoons ; " that places of refuge should be fortified in every settlement, to be defended by such persons as the chief military officer in each town should appoint to that work ; and in case of an assault by an enemy or an alarm, anyone who should willfully neglect the duty to which he had been appointed should be punished with death, or such other punishment as a court martial should adjudge him to. The " places of refuge" were fortifications constructed of timbers placed vertically in the ground, so close together that no one could pass between. Such a wooden wall, with doors properly secured, afforded good protection against hostile Indians; and to a house thus defended the population could resort with safety at night, and return in the morning to their own houses. In the following March, it was further ordered by the Council ï¿½" in regard of the present troubles that are upon us and the heathen still continuing their hostilities against the English, and assaulting the plantations,"ï¿½that the watch in the several settlements, an hour at least before day, should call up the several inhabitants within their respective wards, who should forthwith rise and arm themselves and march to their several quarters, there to stand upon their guard to defend the town against any assault of the enemy until the sun be half an hour high. Mounted scouts, also, were to be sent out from every town to watch for the enemy, " going so far into the woods as they may return the same day,.to give an account of what they shall discover."
It was under such circumstances as these that the inhabitants of Derby sought the advice and aid of the General Court.
In answer, the Court advised them to secure their grain and remove to a more populous village for protection. A few did remove, but some evidently remained.
For further account of this subject, see pages 55 and 56 of the body of this book.
THE INDIAN AS AN ENEMY.
ING Philip's war and its influence upon the fortunes of Waterbury, we should naturally suppose, must have been slight, for the simple reason that Waterbury was not yet settled. Yet it is probably owing to that war that Waterbury is where it is ; and it would not be unreasonable to connect the course of its later history as a manufacturing center, and therefore its modern prosperity, with the same event. As we have seen, the first purchase of land around Waterbury Center was made in August, 1674. It was during the same season that a site was selected for the contemplated village, and there seems to have been no thought at first of any other site than the elevated plateau on the west side of the river, overlooking the meadows and the amphitheater amidst the hills where the city is now situated. The land on the east side was low and swampy and full of springs; that on the west side was elevated and airy ; and accordingly in this latter situ, ation (known ever since as the Town Plot) roads were laid out, the one which ran north and south being sixteen rods wide. The " home lots," measuring eight acres each, were ranged along this road or street, sixteen on each side. This was accomplished in the autumn of 1674, and apparently nothing more than this. So far as we can see, the settlers would have returned in the course of the following year to resume their work and erect dwellings on the Town Plot; but in June, 1675, the war with King Philip began ; and not only was all thought of establishing new settlements abandoned, but some of those already commenced were broken up. There was no assured peace until the latter part of 1676, and meanwhile the Waterbury proprietors (unless indeed some of them went forth to the war) remained in their Farmington homes. In the spring of 1677, tranquillity being restored throughout the colony, they began again to make plans for a new settlement; but in the meantime they had learned to think of the dangers which surrounded them. For several reasons they had become dissatisfied with the site they had chosen on the west side; but the chief reason, the imperative argument against it, was the increased exposure it involved to attacks of hostile savages. At the best, Farmington was twenty miles awayï¿½the only place they could look to for succor or refuge in case of attackï¿½and they did not deem it best to place between them and their friends, in addition to this broad expanse of wilderness, a fickle and sometimes destructive river. A meeting of proprietors was accordingly called in Farmington, and a committee appointed " to view and consider whether it will not be more for the benefit of the proprietors in general to set the town on the east side of the river, contenting themselves with less home lots." On the east side of the river it was set, and the committee of the General Court, in the October following, ordered that the inhabitants of the new plantation " should settle near together, for the benefit of Christian duties and defense against enemies." It thus appears that the present position of the city of Waterbury, the industrial and vital center of the Naugatuck valley, is itself a memorial of the Red man ; a reminder of the perils of war and the cruelty of the Indian as an enemy.
It was natural that the colonists, knowing the character of the Indian and his modes of warfare, should live in a state of chronic anxiety. But from this time forward the people of Connecticut had no trouble with the Connecticut Indians. The league with King Philip was an episode in the history of these tribes ; their normal relation to the white men was one of friendship, and in fact of dependence. They were the more anxious to be on terms of friendship with the settlers, especially in the western part of the Colony, because they could then look to them as their allies and defenders when exposed to attacks from their relentless foes, the Mohawks. As already pointed out, the Indians of Connecticut, the Pequots included, belonged to the great Algonkin family of the Red race. The Mohawks belonged to an entirely different stock: they were one of the " nations " of the great confederacy which occupied the territory now comprising the state of New York west of the Hudson, and part of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and represented the Iroquois family of the Red men. So totally distinct were these two families or stocks, that between the one group of languages and the otherï¿½the Algonkin languages and the Iroquoisï¿½no verbal resemblances can be traced. There are of course resemblances in grammatical structure, for all the Indian languages seem to be formed upon the one plan of thought, but the vocabularies are totally different. As indicated by the stage of development they had reached, the Iroquois were the foremost people in aboriginal America north of Mexico, and the Mohawks were the foremost of the Iroquois. At the time of the Discovery they were waging wars of conquest, if not of extermination, upon their neighbors on every side, and the tribes of Connecticut, west of Connecticut river, were tributary to them ; paying an annual tax, and groaning under the capricious cruelties which they inflicted. The coming of the white man to Connecticut shores was therefore a welcome relief to these feeble tribes, and it was of course desirable in their eyes to have the white man for a friend.
The Connecticut colonists had nothing to fear from the Connecticut tribes on the one hand, nor from the Mohawks on the other, because the confederacy of the Five Nations were on terms of friendship with the English, and after 1684 had a treaty with them. But trouble came frequently from another quarter. The Indians of Canadaï¿½hostile alike to the Mohawks, and the New England tribesï¿½were the constant allies of the French, and were constantly employed by the French in war. Whenever, therefore, war raged between France and England, the French let loose their Indian allies upon the New England settlements, and terror reigned among the colonists. Now the condition of these settlements may easily be imagined when we are reminded that from 1689, the year when William and Mary ascended the throne of England, to 1713, when peace was proclaimed at Utrecht, with the exception of three or four years, England and France were continually at war, and the colonies continually involved in hostilities. The French aimed to expel the English from the northern and middle provinces, if not from the continent; and the English, on their part, made repeated attempts to dislodge the French from Canada ; a result which they effected at a later period. As the French availed themselves of the services of their Indian allies, they kept the
frontiers in a state of continual alarm. The savages often penetrated into the heart of the colonies, spreading terror and desolation in every quarter. They destroyed crops, drove off cattle, burned dwellings, and murdered the inhabitants or carried them away into captivity.
During this later war-period the town of Derby, in the lower part of the valley, could hardly be considered a frontier settlement ; but Waterbury was decidedly so, at least until the settling of Litchfield, in 1720, and shared in all the alarms, dangers, disasters and burdens of the times. Through a large part of the period now under consideration, Waterbury in common with the other frontier towns (Simsbury, Woodbury and Danbury), was required to keep two men employed as scouts. The business of these men was to keep a good lookout, to discover the designs of the enemy, and to give intelligence should they make their appearance. The citizens performed this duty in rotation, taking their stand on elevated places overlooking the village and meadows where men were at work. In 1690 the danger of invasion and attack was considered so imminent that the General Court established a military watch throughout the Colony, upon which " all male persons whatsoever (except negroes and Indians), upwards of sixteen years of age," were compelled to do duty. Widows and aged or disabled persons, whose estates were valued at fifty pounds, were to serve by proxy, and those absent at sea or elsewhere were to provide substitutes. At the same time (April 1690) it was ordered "that the fortifications in each town appointed to be made be forthwith finished according to the appointment of the authority and commission officers and selectmen in each town." Several years afterward, in March, 1/04, another order was issued in regard to fortifications : "The inhabitants of every town in this colony shall be called together with as convenient speed as may be, to consider what houses shall be fortified." But already the town of Waterbury had moved in this direction ; for, on the Qth of April, 1700, they had voted to fortify the house of Ensign Timothy Stanley, " and if it should prove troublesome times, and the town see they have need, two more, should they be able." It was voted also to " go about it forthwithï¿½all men and boys and teams that are able to work, and to begin to-morrow." Four years laterï¿½not long after the order of the General Court concerning fortifications was issuedï¿½they voted to build another fort, and selected for this purpose the house of their pastor, the Rev. John Southmayd. In the meantime they had provided other means of defense. On the isth of April, 1703, the town instructed the selectmen "to provide a town stock of ammunition according to law,"ï¿½a law which required that each town should keep " a barrel of good powder, two hundred weight of bullets, and three hundred flints, for every sixty listed soldiers, and after that proportion." The stock was duly purchased, and Timothy Stanley, who was by this time Lieutenant and commander of the train band, was made keeper of ammunition for the town. The order of the General Court in respect to fortifications was followed up, at the regular session in May, by other enactments affecting the town of Waterbury. Eight towns, one of which was Waterbury, were designated as " frontier towns," and it was ordered that these should not be broken up or voluntarily deserted without permission from the General Court. It was also ordered as follows :
" That ten men shall be put in garrison in each of these towns, Danbury, Woodbury, Waterbury and Simsbury ; and that the rest of the men to be raised out of the counties of New Haven and Fairfield, with such Indians as can be procured, .... shall have their chief head-quarters at Westfield ; . . . . and said company of English and Indians shall, from time to time, at the discretion of their commander, range the woods to endeavor the discovery of an approaching enemy, and in especial manner from Westfield to Ousatunnuck " [that is, Stockbridge].
As already stated, the whole period now under review was a time of anxiety and alarms. But early in 1707, the Colony was aroused to special diligence in preparations for defense, by the intelligence " that the French and enemy Indians were preparing to make a descent upon the frontier towns of New England." There was also reason to suppose that the Pootatuck and Owiantonuck Indians (the Woodbury and New Milford tribes) had been invited to join the enemy, and that measures must be taken to secure their fidelity and to preserve the small frontier towns. The Council of War was immediately convened at Hartford, and it was ordered, first, that the suspected tribes should be removed with all convenient speed to Fairfield or Stratford, or if the sickness prevailing among them should prevent this, then two of their chiefs should be conveyed to Fairfield to be held as hostages. It was also "resolved, for the preservation of the frontier towns of Simsbury, Waterbury, Woodbury and Danbury, that order be sent to the inhabitants of these towns to provide with all possible speed a sufficient number of well fortified houses, for the safety of themselves and families in their respective towns." It was further "resolved, that the inhabitants of Waterbury fortify their houses sufficiently for their safety;" and in view of the great losses which the town had recently sustained through extraordinary floods, it was agreed to recommend to the General Assembly an abatement of the Colony taxes of the town. At the same session it was resolved still further, " that the inhabitants of Woodbury, Waterbury and Danbury do every one of them maintain a good scout, out every day, from their respective towns, of two faithful and trusty men to observe the motions of the enemy." These resolutions were passed in council, in February, 1707. In the same month the town of Waterbury responded, by voting "to build the fort that is at Lieutenant Stanley's strong" and "build a new fort at the east end of the town." These defenses were left for a time incomplete ; but in June, aroused perhaps by some new alarm, it was voted, " considering our troubles and fear of an enemy, to lay aside cutting bushes " (that is, clearing away underbrush on the commons) " and this day forthwith to go about finishing and repairing the forts, and to finish them by Wednesday next, at night." That they were duly finished and the defenses of the settlement made satisfactory to the General Assembly, appears from the fact that at the October session the Assembly "allowed to the town of Waterbury fifteen pounds out of the country rate," in view of the expense they had incurred in fortifying. A vear afterwards, in an act " for the encouragement of military skill and good discipline," it was ordered by the Assembly that the committee of war in Hartford county should establish garrisons in certain towns, one of which was Waterbury, at the charge of the Colony or of the respective towns as the committee should order. Two garrisoned forts were established at Waterbury at the expense of the Colony, and a third at the expense of the town. One of these forts was at the west end of the town, around Mr. Southmayd's house; one at Lieutenant Stanley's, and the third at the house of John Hopkins, the grandfather of the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, D. D., the famous theologian. This house, in which Dr. Hopkins was born in 1721, stood a short distance east of the center of the city, on the corner of East Main and Brook streets. The forts, it will be seen, were situated so as to accommodate the scattered population.
All these defenses were prepared with reference to attacks coming from the hostile savages of the north, the allies of the French. The Connecticut Indians were habitually employed by the colonial government as reliable soldiers. An act was passed by the General Court in May, 1704, in the following terms:
" It is ordered by this Court that as many of our friend Indians as are fit for war, and can be prevailed with and furnished with all things suitable, shall go with our forces against the common enemy; and Major Ebenezer Johnson [who has already been noticed as the owner of Indian slaves] is hereby empowered and ordered to employ suitable persons to acquaint the Indians in the counties of New Haven and Fairfield of this conclusion concerning them, and to furnish such of said Indians as shall offer themselves for the service as aforesaid, with arms and ammunition and what else may be needful to fit them out for war, and cause them forthwith to repair to Derby, to march with our English forces under the command of the chief officer for the said service.
And this court allows the [same] wages to such Indian
volunteers as those have that have gone to the eastward
And for the encouragement of our forces gone or going against the enemy, this court will allow out of the public treasury the sum of five pounds for every man's scalp of the enemy killed in this Colony, to be paid to the person that doth that service, over and above his or their wages and the plunder taken by them."
This last mentioned provision shows that the General Court not only recognized the Indian taste of scalping, but was quite willing to encourage it. And when, in 1710, an Indian scout was established, the same encouragement was held out. The scouting company were promised, for each Indian scalp of the enemy brought to the committee of war, the sum of ten pounds to be divided equally amongst them. In 1724, the award was fifty pounds for every scalp. Another order, passed at the October session of the General Court in 1704, shows that the colonial authorities were familiar with the difficulties of Indian warfare and considered it necessary that the settlers should adopt the Indian's method,ï¿½not, indeed as regards scalping, but to the extent of wearing moccasins and snow-shoes. It was ordered:
" That every town and plantation in this Colony shall be provided with a number of snow-shoes and Indian shoes, no less than one pair of snow-shoes with two pair of Indian shoes for every thousand pounds in the list of the estate of such town, which snow-shoes and Indian shoes shall be provided at or before the tenth day of December next, by the selectmen in every town, at the charge of the Colony, and shall be kept by them in good repair and fit for service when there may be occasion to make use of them."
During the October session of 1708, it was enacted that there should be " allowed and paid out of the public treasury of this Colony the sum of fifty pounds, in pay for the bringing up and maintaining of dogs in the northern frontier towns in this Colony, to hunt after the Indian enemy." It was also ordered, that no person whatsoever should furnish lead, or sell, even to friendly Indians, any gun for any time longer or shorter; and that those who had lent guns to friendly Indians, should recover them as soon as possible.
From all this it is evident that the towns and the general government understood the situation of affairs and were determined to be thoroughly prepared for emergencies. If the defense of the frontiers had been neglected, we know not what disasters might not have overwhelmed the settlements. As it was, the one frontier town of the Naugatuck valley suffered but little. The only Indian raids upon Waterbury were in 1710. A party of savages came down through Simsbury into what is now the southern part of Thomaston, and killed a man named Holt; probably a hunter from another town. The place where the deed was committed is named Mount Holt, a spur of Mount Toby. Another party from Canada, having made their way into the upper part of the town, ascended a hill on the west side
of the Naugatuck, opposite Mount Taylor, to reconnoitre. To the south, in Hancock's meadow, they saw Jonathan Scott, one of the Waterbury settlers, and his two sons, one of them fourteen years of age, the other eleven. Scott was seated under a large oak tree eating his dinner ; the boys were a little distance from him. The Indians approached stealthily, taking such a course that the tree hid them from view; reached him without being discovered, and made him prisoner. The boys took to their heels and would have escaped, but their father was given to understand that it would cost him his life if he refused to recall them, so he reluctantly brought them back. To prevent him from offering resistance, they cut off his right thumb. The three were taken to Canada, where they remained until after the proclamation of peace in 1713. Scott and his eldest son, Jonathan, then returned to Waterbury ; but the younger son, John, having become accustomed to savage life, preferred to remain among the Indians and never came home.
It is an interesting fact that the wife of Jonathan Scott, whose name was Hannah Hawks, was the daughter of John Hawks of Deerfield, and that her mother was killed in the Indian attack upon that town, on the 2Qth of February, 1704. Her only sister was taken prisoner and was put to death on her way to Canada. Her only brother, his wife and his three children were also killed. Mrs. Scott was the sole surviving child, and John Hawks spent his last days with her in Waterbury. After his return from captivity, Scott continued to reside in Waterbury until about 1720, when he removed to Wooster Swamp in the northern part of Watertown, near Scott's mountain. There he built a saw-mill and lived with his sons. There is a tradition that he died by violence, at the hands of the Indians, while on his way to the north ; but it seems to have no foundation in fact. The other tradition is more probableï¿½that he was buried on Scott's mountain, where his supposed grave is still pointed out.1
The capture of Scott and his sons, very naturally produced great excitement in Waterbury. The settlement was very weak, for in 1713 it numbered only thirty families and not more than two hundred souls ; and the greatness of the impending danger could not be known, neither could disaster be completely guarded against by the utmost vigilance. In July, following the capture of Scott, the town appointed a committee, consisting of the Rev. John Southmayd and three others, " to draw up in writing the circumstances of the town in this time of war," and to present the memorial to the General Court in New Haven, in August. The General Court in response made special provision for the protection of the town, by appointing " a committee of war, with full power upon the application of the inhabitants of the said town of Waterbury, and in case of danger on the approach of the enemy, to raise and send men thither from the county of New Haven for their relief, by scouting or lying in garrison there, as occasion may require."
There was no further trouble, however, and the proclamation of peace in 1713 brought relief from apprehension. But the upper part of the valley was exposed to similar dangers afterward. Before war broke out again a settlement had been effected at Litchfield, and when Indian raids from the north were renewed Litchfield was the frontier town and exposed to the same perils which Derby and Waterbury had experienced before. Between 1720 and 1730, five houses in different parts of the town were surrounded with fortifications, that is, with palisades similar to those with which we have already become familiar in Waterbury. Soldiers were stationed in the town to guard the inhabitants while in the fields and also while at public worship on the Sabbath. Notwithstanding these precautions, attacks were made by northern savages, and settlers were taken captive. In May, 1721, Captain Jacob Griswold, while at work alone in a field about a mile to the west of the present Court House, was suddenly seized by two Indians who had rushed upon him from the woods. They pinioned his arms and carried him off. Traveling in a northerly direction, they reached by night a spot within the limits of what is now Canaan. They kindled a fire and having bound Captain Griswold, hand and foot, lay down to sleep. In the night Griswold succeeded in disengaging his hands and feet, and although his arms were still pinioned, he seized their guns and escaped. After traveling a short distance through the dark woods, he sat down and waited for the dawn, when he resumed his journey, still carrying the two guns. When the savages in the morning found their captive was gone, they pursued him and soon overtook him. During the greater part of the day they kept in sight of him, but when they came too near he pointed one of the guns at them and thus kept them at bay. In this manner he traveled until near sunset, when he reached a high place in an open field about a mile north-west of where the Court House now stands. He then discharged one of the guns, which immediately summoned his townsmen to his assistance. The Indians fled and Griswold was restored in safety to his family.
After this occurrence, the settlers were more cautious ; but their watchfulness did not last long, for in the following August a more serious misfortune came upon them. The victim this time was a Mr. Joseph Harris. He was at work alone in the woods, not far from the spot where Griswold was captured, when he was attacked by a party of Indians. Attempting to escape, the Indians pursued him; and when they found that he was likely to outstrip them they shot him dead and scalped him. As Harris did not return home at the usual time, the inhabitants became alarmed about him. They searched for him at night as long as they could see, and again in the morning, when his body was found near the north end of the plain, where the road turns toward Milton. From that time forward the plain was called Harris's plain. He was buried in the west burying-ground, near the church. His grave remained unmarked for more than a century; but in 1830 a suitable monument was erected over his dust, which bears the following inscription, in which it will be observed there is no reference to his attempt to escape:
" In memory of Joseph Harris, who was murdered by the Indians in the year 1721. While ploughing in the field, about three-fourths of a mile north-west of the grave-yard, he was shot by the Indians concealed in ambush. He was found dead, sitting on the ground, his head and body reclining against the trunk of a tree. To record the first death among the original settlers, and to perpetuate the memory of a worthy but unfortunate citizen, this monument is erected, 1830, by the voluntary benefactions of individual subscribers."
The war between the French and English was not ended until some time after this, and the attacks of the northern Indians upon the frontier settlements were still continued. In August, 1723, tidings were brought to the Governor and Council, of an attack upon Rutland and the massacre of several persons by the hostile Indians. They were also advised that about three hundred French Indians were come over Lake Champlain toward Connecticut, probably with evil designs. It was therefore " resolved, that Simsbury and Litchfield are frontier towns of this Colony, westward of Connecticut river, which are most exposed to danger by these parties of Indians ; " and in view of the impending dangers, it was decided that the commissioned officers of these towns should immediately call together the householders in the respective towns, agree upon suitable places for garrisons and encourage the inhabitants to establish such fortifications with speed ; also, that the sachems of the several bodies of Indians in the Colony should "forthwith call in all their Indians that were out a hunting in the woods, and that they do not presume to go out again in the woods to hunt north of the road that goes from Farmington through Waterbury and Woodbury to New Milford," without leave from the Council; also, that two scouting parties, consisting each of three Englishmen and six Indians, should range the woods above Simsbury, westward to Stockbridge, to be so ordered that they should meet each other about midway between the two places ; and finally, that a military watch should be kept in the towns of Simsbury, Waterbury, Woodbury, Litchfield and New Milford. In May following, the rule in relation to Indians hanting was enacted as a law by the General Court; and in July, in view of the danger of giving false alarms, the same rule was extended by the Council to English and Indians alike. The spring and summer of 1724 was a period of special alarm and excitement. In that year, the Assembly gave Waterbury authority to employ six men "to guard the men in their outfields, at the discretion of the commission officers of said town." The authority thus given was exercised about a month. In Litchfield a small party of Indians was discovered lurking about the town on the night of the igth of May. Word was immediately sent to the Council at Hartford, and it was ordered that a company of thirty-two men be immediately raised in Hartford, Wethersfield and Farmington and marched to the threatened town without delay, to serve as a scouting party. On the 2ist of June, it was ordered that ten men be impressed, armed and equipped and sent to Litchfield for the defense of that town against the enemy. As some of the proprietors of home-lots in Litchfield tried to escape from serving on the military watch, Capt. John Marsh was instructed to see that the law was duly executed upon all such persons. A line of scouts was established, extending from Litchfield to Turkey Hills, curving around the most northerly and westerly settlements in Simsbury. Capt. Richard Case, of the latter town, was directed to employ ten men on his scouting party, to rendezvous at Litchfield. These men continued in the service until October. So serious were the apprehensions of attack and so threatening the danger, that some of the more timid of the Litchfield settlers deserted their new homes and sought refuge elsewhere. As the inhabitants who remained felt themselves greatly crippled by these desertions, they petitioned the Assembly for aid and it was ordered (October II, 1724) that whoever had left the town because of difficulties which had arisen there on account of the enemy, and should fail within a month of the close of that session of the Assembly to return to the town to abide there, or else to send some man in his stead to perform military duties, should forfeit all his right and estate in the lands of the town. At the same session of the Assembly, it was ordered that the garrison soldiers at Litchfield be withdrawn and disbanded. But in the following April, tidings were brought "from Philip Schuyler of Albany, that the enemies were all come over the lake," and thereupon the soldiers in the several frontier towns, including Litchfield and Waterbury, were ordered to "be in perpetual readiness to defend themselves and offend the enemy; " and a constables' watch was set up in the towns. A company of twenty-one men was also raised and sent to Litchfield, " to be improved in scouting, watching and warding for the safety of said town." In May, 1725, the Assembly, " taking into consideration the difficulties of the town of Litchfield in this time of trouble with the Indians," ordered that non-resident proprietors should pay and forfeit toward defraying the cost of defending the town the sum of thirty pounds each per annum, and pro rata for any time they should be absent with
out permission ; " provided, however, that the right of Joseph Harris is saved from any forfeiture by force of this act."
The stringency of these enactments shows that the General Court not only appreciated the great importance of defending the frontier rather than abandoning it, but anticipated a prolonged and severe conflict. There is little trace, however, of further troubles until many years afterward. A quarter of a century passed away ere another French and Indian war broke out, and that was the last of the series. In 1752 the old allied enemies of the Colony were making encroachments on the northern and western frontiers ; those frontiers not having yet advanced beyond the present bounds of the country. In a historical sketch of the churches and ministers of that region, we read :
" The times, circumstances and duties of these pastors were in some respects peculiar. Their location was in the frontier settlements, and open to the incursions of savages. Instead of directing their attention to Christianizing the heathen, they had, in common with others, to exert all their influence to prevent their coming under the dominion of a persecuting Roman Catholic government. In the former part of this period, the great question was, Shall we continue to enjoy the blessings of civil and religious liberty, or fall under the domination of a colossal anti-Christian power?"
In 1756 war was formally declared by England. The capture of Fort William Henry, in 1757, by the French and Indians under Montcalm, and the Indian atrocities connected therewith, aroused the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and a force was raised which was meant to arrest the further progress of the French. In 1759 the invasion of Canada was actually undertaken, and on the i8th of September, as everybody knows, Quebec was captured, the dominion of the French on the St. Lawrence was broken, and the New England colonies were delivered from further incursions of the hostile tribes of the north.
In this war the towns of the Naugatuck valley were well represented. Waterbury sent a company of thirty-five men, under the command of Captain Eldad Lewis, and besides these thirtyfive, eighteen or twenty others are mentioned in the history of the town as having been engaged at one time or another in the \
war, including the Rev. Mark Leavenworth, who went as chaplain. Another Waterbury man, Israel Calkins, played a part not altogether unimportant in shaping the course of events. When Fort William Henry, situated at the head of Lake George, was besieged, the English general, Webb, with an army of four thousand men, was at Fort Edward, fourteen miles away. Instead of marching to the relief of the imperiled fort, General Webb wrote a letter to Colonel Monroe advising him to capitulate. The messenger was interrupted by the Indian allies of Montcalm. But the French commander, thinking that the delivery of the letter to Colonel Monroe would promote his own interests, forwarded it to its' destination, and the surrender of the fort quickly followed. Now the messenger who carried the letter of General Webb was Israel Calkins of Waterbury. After the surrender of the fort he remained in the hands of his Indian captors and was taken by them to Canada. Here he was " redeemed by a French gentleman," sent to France as a prisoner of war, and finally sent in a cartel-ship to England to be exchanged. He landed at Boston on the 6th of October, 1758, and immediately petitioned the Legislature of Connecticut " for an allowance of wages during his captivity," and also a gratuity, in consideration of the severe calamities he had suffered, which, he affirmed, "were more than words can express or imagination paint." He speaks of his property as having been dissipated during his absence, and of his family as extremely destitute, and "implores the pity and compassion of the honorable Assembly." His prayer was heard and thirty pounds were granted him.
There is one more story belonging to the early history of Litchfield, which it is proper to record here. It illustrates, like other incidents which have been mentioned, the Indian mode of warfare, but at the same time brings to view some of the better traits of the Indian nature. It is taken, in a somewhat abridged form, from the " Travels in New England and New York," of President Dwight of Yale College, who vouches for its authenticity.
Not many years after the settlement of Litchfield, a stranger Indian came one day to a tavern in the town, in the dusk of evening, and asked the hostess for some drink and a supper. He told her he could pay for neither, as he had had no success in hunting, but promised payment at some future time. The hostess refused him, called him a lazy, good-for-nothing fellow, and told him she did not work hard to throw away her earnings upon such creatures as he. A white man who sat by, saw in the Indian's face that he was suffering severely from want and weariness, and directed the woman of the house to feed him at his expense.
When the Indian had finished his supper, he turned to his benefactor, thanked him, and assured him he would remember his kindness and if possible repay him for it. For the present he could only reward him with a story. "I suppose," said the Indian, " you read the Bible ? " The man assented. " Well," said he, " the Bible say, God made the world, and then he took him and looked on him, and say, ' It's all very good.' He made light, and took him and looked on him, and say, ' It's all very good.' Then he made dry land and water, and sun and moon, and grass and trees, and took him and looked on him, and say, ' It's all very good.' Then he made beasts and birds and fishes, and took him and looked on him, and say, 'It's all very good.1 Then he made man, and took him and looked on him and say, 'It's all very good.' Then he made woman, and took him and looked on him ; and he no dare say one such word."
Having told his story, the Indian withdrew, with a sly glance at the landlady.
Some years after, the man who had befriended him, having occasion to go some distance into the wilderness between Litchfield and Albany, was taken prisoner by an Indian scout and hurried away to Canada. When he arrived at the principal seat of the tribe, on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence, it was proposed that he should be put to death ; but an old Indian woman demanded that he should be given to her, that she might adopt him in place of a son whom she had lost in the war. He was given to her, and spent the succeeding winter in her family. The next summer, while at work alone in the forest, an unknown Indian came to him and asked him to meet him at a place which he pointed out, on a given day. The captive agreed to the proposal ; but before the day arrived, his apprehensions of intended mischief had increased to such a degree that he determined not to keep the engagement. Soon after, the Indian found him at his work again, reproved him for breaking his promise, and made another appointment with him for another day and hour. This time, the white man was true to his word. When he reached the spot, he found the Indian provided with two muskets, two knapsacks and ammunition for both. The Indian ordered him to follow him, and set off toward the south. Within a short time the white man's fears subsided, although his companion preserved a profound silence concerning the object of their expedition. In the day-time they shot such game as came in their way, and at night kindled a fire and slept by it. After a tedious journey of many days through the wilderness, they came one morning to an eminence whence they beheld a cleared and partially cultivated country and a number of houses. The man knew his home; it was Litchfield ! His guide reminded him that some years before he had relieved the wants of a famished Indian at a tavern in that town, and said, " I that Indian ! now I pay you! go home." Without another word he bade him farewell, and the white man hastened joyfully to his own house.
The Indian looks out no more from any hill-top upon the cultivated fields of Litchfield, or any part of the valley which was once his own hunting ground. He is gone, and the succeeding race is glad to be well rid of him. The only remains, except the title deeds and traditions to which reference has been made, are the few names of places which echo on the white man's lips the strange tones of their language, and the stone implements which are turned up by the plough in our fields. He is gone. But it is pleasant to think of him, the untutored child of the woods, and to reflect that he had much that was good in him, and not a little that is worthy of remembrance. It may be hoped that what is here given will serve to interest us in his character and render us wiser and kinder in our estimate of those who bear the same name, who in the far West are still carrying on the same hopeless fight with the relentless forces of the Anglo-Saxon civilization.
The following Indian names are attached to deeds recorded in Derby, and three or four deeds in Stratford. Some of the different spellings are given :ï¿½
Ahuntaway (Huntawa), sachem.
Ansantaway (Ansantawa), sachem.
Chushamack, Cheshushumock, Coshoshemack, Chushawmack, and probably Momanchewaug alias Cush (or Chuse) at Pootatuck, sachem.
Cockapatana (Cockapatanay, Cockapa
Creahore, brother of Puckwhompe, Cre
hero, Kehore (Kehow).
John Cuckson, in 1731 (and John Cockshure, in 1742. In a Waterbury deed, Cocoesen).
John Howde, alias Towsowan, (the successor to Cockapatana).
Machet Numledge, Machetumhege. (Ma
chet means " bad.")
Melook Took (Tock).
Nannatouse, son of Creahore.
Nanawaug (Nanawauk) sagamore.
Okenuck (Ochenung, Okenug, Okenac,
Akenants, Ackenack), sachem.
Pagasett James (Pagasite James).
Sasaoso (Sasaouson, Sassoughsough). Sashwake James (Susqua James). Sauquett.
Sasepaquan (Sassapagrem, alias Piun
Tackamore, or Sackamore (Tatiymore).
Tom (son of Cockapatana).
Towtanemo (Towtanamow, Towtanemoe,
Yyou Pon (Yyouson).
Waskawakes, alias Tom. (Waskawases,
possibly the same as Wasawas).
The following names are found in deeds recorded in Water-, bury, Litchfield and Farmington, relating to early sales of land in the upper Naugatuck valley. Some of them are included in the foregoing list, but are reproduced here because attached to a different series of deeds :ï¿½
Alwaush, Awowas, Wawowas, Wowowis.
Arumpiske, described as "Curan's squaw."
Atumtacko, Atumtockquo (that is, Atumpatucko. He was the son of Patucko).
Conquapatana (known as Konkapot).
Cocapadous (that is, Konkapot-oos).
Corkscrew (elsewhere Coksure, Cotsure).
Hachatowsock (elsewhere Hatchet Tou
James (Pagasset James).
Kehow, Kehore (elsewhere Creahore ?)
Mercy, described as " Sepus's squaw."
Xesaheagun (perpetuated in the name of an Odd Fellows' Lodge as " Nosahogan ": the old style e was mistaken for an a).
Xotamunk, described as "Curan's sister."
Patucko, Patuckquo, Puttcko.
Pttasus, described as "a [female] grandchild," probably of Awowas ("her mark").
Quatowquechuck, described as "Taphow's son."
Quiump (elsewhere Aquiomp?).
Sebocket (Aupkt, Abuck?).
Sepunkum (elsewhere Wussebucome).
Suckquunockqueen(elsewhereWussockanockqueen; " Suckquunock'ssquaw"?).
Warun-Compound, described as " Nesaheag's son."
Wechamunck, described as "Cocoesen's sister."
Weroamaug (elsewhere Waramaug).
Werumcaske, described as "Cocoesen's sister."
INDIAN NAMES OF PLACES.
The following place-names, mostly in the Naugatuck valley, are either of Indian origin or embody some reminiscence of the period of Indian occupancy. They are arranged geographically, beginning at the lower end of the valley.
POOTATUCK, POHDERTOKE, ETC.
An ancient name of the (lower) Ousatunnock River; also of a tribe of Indians ; also of a village on the same river; called later the "Paotatuck Wigwams" : at the present time it is the name of a brook which flows through the town of Newtown.
Paugasuck, Pagasset, Pawgasett, Etc.
The original name of Derby, applied by Governor Eaton and others to the Ousatunnock River, perhaps also to the Naugatuck River.
Squantuck, originally Wesquantook.
A small place on the Ousatunnock, at the mouth of Four-Mile brook, in the town of Seymour; the name also of the school-district in which it is situated.
A meadow at Great Hill, about three miles below the village of Seymour, ffaseta Meadow Brook separates Seymour from Derby.
A small place on the Ousatunnock, at the mouth of Eight-Mile brook. Perhaps named after the Indian Puclrwliomp.
Naugatuck, Nawcatock, Etc.
The original name of the spot where Seymour now stands ; said to mean " one tree "ï¿½nequut tukh. At an early date it was applied to the River (" the river which cometh from Nawcatock") by those in the lower part of the valley. The town to which the name is now attached was formed from Waterbury, Bethany and Oxford in 1844, and the "Naugatuck Railroad Company" was incorporated in 1845.
The name given to Seymour when it was the camping-ground of Joe Chuse (Joseph Afauiveehu) and his band, and by which the place was known until it became Humphreysville.
Indian Field and Indian Hill.
Localities in the village of Seymour, a little north of the Falls. The Hill is on the south part of the Field.
Rimmon Falls and Rock Rimmon.
The Falls are at the centre of Seymour; Rock Rimmon is the name of a bold and craggy hill on the east side of the Naugatuck, near Pines Bridge. The names are probably not of Indian origin.
A tributary of Little River, in Oxford. It is supposed to have been so called after an Indian who bore the English name of Jack.
Skokorat, originally Scucurra.
A long hill or ridge to the east of the Naugatuck, about a mile back from the river, and lying parallel to it, and along Bladen's brook. Also called " Snake Hill'" (the Indian for "snake " is askug).
A school district in the town of Beacon Falls, about two miles back from the Naugaiuck. In a Stratford deed of 1659 the name A'nyump is attached to a "small river" emptying into the Pootatuck, apparently some miles below Derby.
A brook which flows southward and empties into Lebanon brook about a mile east of where the latter empties into the Naugatutk, at Beacon Falls. (There is a Hockanum river that empties into the Connecticut at East Hartfurd.) The base of the name is Hocquan, meaning "hook-shaped."
A precipitous ledge on the west side of the Naugatuck, the northern extremity of whkh is now known as "High Rock." It extends about a mile southward from "High Ruck Grove," at Sherman's brook. The name was derived from an Indian who was once the slave of Colonel Ebenezer Johnson, and to whom land was deeded by the town of Derby.
A plain in the north-west part of the town of Beacon Falls; also called Loper's plain; probably not an Indian name.
A pond on the borders of Oxford. The name occurs, along with nineteen others, designating small parcels of land in the southern part of Mattatuck (the original town of Waterbury) in a deed of 1685. The other names, now obsolete, are as follows:
"The land upon the brook or small river that comes through the Straight northward of Lebanon [at Straitsville?], and runs into Naugatuck river at south end of Mattatuck bounds, called by the English Beacon Hill brook."
Pacawackuck or Agawacomuck.
M Egu.n H Att Acre.
Wachu (the " mountain," probably Beacon Hill).
These " nine parcels of land lie on the east side of the Naugatuck river, betwixt Beacon Hill brook and the hither end of Judd's meadow." (Deed of 1685.)
Sqontk, the same as Squantuck.
This name, which has occurred before, is the name given in the deed to "the hither end of Judd's meadow." The ten names which follow, together with Toï¿½ataxfufi; designate " eleven parcels of land on the west side " of the Xaugatuck.
Mecen H Uttack.
Panoetan (perhaps Panootan.)
ACHETAQOPAG or MARUSCOPAG.
These are the two names given in the deed of 1685 to the point at which the eastern boundary line crosses the Naugatuck. In both the name Capagc, given above, reappearsï¿½which stands perhaps for htppo-oke, meaning " narrow place "ï¿½ possibly the narrows in the river at Beacon Hill.
The old name of Waterbury, designating a territory of much greater extent than the present town. It has survived until recently as a name of East Litchfield. In the earliest records it is Mattetackoke (Matta-tuhk-ohke), meaning perhaps "place without trees."
A name said to belong to Long Meadow Pond, which empties by Long Meadow Brook into the Naugatuck at Naugatuck village.
A locality in Waterbury, lying south-west of the Town Plot, about two miles from the centre of the city. It is a high ridge or knoll, said to have been the site of an Indian camping-ground.
The spot known as " the Manhan," lies half a mile west of Centre Square, Waterbury, on both sides of West Main street. It was originally an islandï¿½whence the name. The name was taken some years ago by a manufacturing company.
Oronoke (the same as Orenaug, Waronoco, etc.)
A school district in the western part of Waterbury, extending from Westside Hill to Middlebury.
A swamp lying about half a mile from the Park Road, in the western part of Waterbury ; so named from Saul, one of the Indians who lingered in " the Park " until recent times.
This beautiful lake can hardly be said to be in the Naugatuck valley, as it flows through Eight-Mile brook into the Ousatunnuck, but it is much visited by Waterbury people. Mr. Cothren, in his History of Woodbury, gives the meanings " Rocky Pond " and " Beautiful clear water." Possibly the name represents quunosu-paug, that is " Pickerel Pond " (compare Mr. Cothren's reference to the fishing there).
A high hill half a mile south-east of the centre of Waterbury, now a thickly settled district of the city. The name is sometimes supposed to be of Indian derivation ; but it seems to be a Spanish word (abrigado) meaning " a place of shelter." The occurrence of a Spanish name in such a connection is remarkable, and invites investigation. There is a cleft rock on the south-west side of the hill which used to be called the Indian's House.
Tucker's Ring and Ptuckering Road.
" Tucker's Ring " is a locality on the borders of Waterbury and Wolcott. It is so called from Poiucko, one of the signers of the first Waterbury deed, who is said to have kindled a fire in the form of a large ring around a hill, in hunting deer, and to have perished within it. (It is at least a curious coincidence that in the Indian language p'tukki means " round.")
A large shelving rock, in the town of Wolcott, on the old Indian trail from Farmington to Waterbury, where the Indians used to encamp at night.
A district on the borders of Wolcott, commonly supposed to have been so called from an insect of that name. (For the tradition, see Orcutt's History of Wolcott, note on p. 182.) As it is no special honor to a place to be named after an insect top insignificant to be mentioned in Webster's " Unabridged," no harm will be done by suggesting that the name is of Indian origin. At all events, wudtuckqun, in Roger HISTORY OF DERBY.
DERBY is situated at the junction of the Ousatonic and Naugatuck Rivers, nine miles by the old turnpike road from New Haven and thirteen miles from Bridgeport on Long Island Sound. The land at this, place, lying between these rivers, is formed by high rocky bluffs on the Ousatonic, and, in the general, descends gradually towards the Naugatuck, and to the Point whereon is situated the village of Birmingham, and is one of the most beautiful locations for a city, in either the valley of the Ousatonic or Xaugatuck Rivers. The land east of the Naugatuck rises eastward gradually, except at the lower portion where it is a little abrupt and culminates in what has been called, from the earliest settlement, Sentinel Hill,1 from which a most charming view of Long Island Sound and the surrounding country may be had. The portion of land between the rivers in the rear of Birmingham has been called the Neck from the first laying out of farms in that quarter. Northward of the Neck the territory of the original town is hilly, and Great Hill being the largest elevated portion was well named, and the most elevated part of it affords one of the finest views of the surrounding country and the Sound, that there is in the State.
The course of the Naugatuck through the town is south, that of the Ousatonic, on the western boundary, south-east, and these rivers, after their union, form a beautiful water view, from Birmingham, of nearly three miles in extent, closed in on each side by wooded hills.
'The story that Sentinel Hill was so named from sentinels being stationed on it in the Revolution, to watch war vessels on the Sound cannot be true, since the name is recorded more than a hundred years before the Revolution.
The territory of the town as granted by the General Court in 1675, and for which a satisfactory charter was not obtained until 1720, extended from Two Mile Brook on the south, twelve miles northward, and on the southern boundary, eastward from the Ousatonic two and a half miles, and on the northern boundary seven and a half miles, making an area of about fourteen thousand acres, in the original township. At present, however, the extent of territory does not equal half the original, by reason of parts having been taken to form other towns.
In 1642, four years only after the settlement of New Haven, some workmen were employed by Mr. John Wakeman of New Haven2 within this territory, now known as Derby, but then called Paugasuck by the Indians, and afterwards named Paugassett by the English, and because thus employed, they were excused from standing on night guard for the protection of New Haven. The object of Mr. Wakeman in this work appears to have been the building of a trading house for the establishment of direct mercantile relations with the Indians in the valleys of these rivers, and perhaps to secure trade with the Mohawk Indians also.
This was the beginning of the Englishman's work on these hills and along these rivers, and the end to which this work has now come is to be the story of this book. The present number of inhabitants is about ten thousand; in 1860, it was 5,443, and in 1870, 8,027.
At this mercantile enterprise at Paugasuck, the suspicious and eager Dutchman, holding the honorable position of governor of New York, took exceptions in 1646, and sent a characteristic letter to the governor of New Haven. The action of the New Haven court in regard to this deliverance is thus recorded : "A protest from the Dutch Governor was read in court and an answer to the same sent, and directions given to them that keep the trading house. And it was fully and satisfyingly voted, that the court would make good their titles here, and at the trading house, and leave the issue of things to God, whatever they may be."3
As these letters are in reality a part of the history of Derby, the one containing remarkable geographical inaccuracies, the other, an illustration of pure Pilgrim independency and cleverness, they are given in full.
2New Haven Col. Rec., I. 74. 'New Haven Col. Rec., I. 265.
The protest came in Latin, and the reply was made in the same.
The Governor's Letter.
" We Willyam Kieft, General Director, and the Senate of New Netherland, for the high and mighty Lords the States of the United Belgicke Provinces for his excellency the Prince of Orange and for the most noble Lords the Administrators of the West India Company. To thee, Theophilus Eaton, Govenor of the place by us called the Red Hills in New Netherland, (but by the English called New Haven.) we give notice, That some years past, your's, without any occasion given by us, and without any necessity imposed upon them, but with an unsatiable desire of possessing that which is ours, against our protestations, against the law of nations, and against the antient league betwixt the king's majesty of Great Britain and our Superiors, have indirectly entered the limits of New Netherland, usurped divers places in them and have been very injurious unto us. neither have they given satisfaction though often required. And because you and yours have of late determined to fasten your foot near Mauritius River in this Province, and there not only to disturb our trade of no man hitherto questioned, and to draw it to yourselves, but utterly to destroy it, we are compelled again to protest, and by these presents we do protest against you as against breakers of the peace and disturbers of the public quiet, that if you do not restore the places you have usurped and repair the loss we have suffered, we shall by such means as God affords, manfully recover them, neither do we think this crosseth the public peace, but shall cast the cause of the ensuing evil upon you.
" Given in Amsterdam Fort, Aug. 3, 1646, new styl.
" Willyam Kieft."
" To the Right Wor". Win. Kieft, Govenor of the Dutch in New Netherland,
"Sir: By some of yours I have lately received a protest under your hand dated August the 3, 1646, wherein you pretend we have indirectly entered the limits of New Netherland, usurped divers places in them, and have offered you many injuries ; thus in general and in reference to some years past, more particularly to the disturbance, nay to the utter destruction of your trade, we have lately set foot near Mauritius river in that Province.
" We do truly profess we know no such river, neither can we conceive what river you intend by that name, unless it be that which the English have long and still do call Hudson's River. Nor have we at any time formerly or lately entered upon any place to which you had or have any title, nor in any other respect been injurious to you. It is true we have lately upon Faugassett River which falls into the sea in the midst of these English plantations, built a small house within our own limits, many miles, nay leagues from the Manhattoes, from your trading house and from any part of Hudsons River, at which we expect a little trade, but can compel none ; the Indians being free to trade with you, us, Connecticut, Massachusetts or with any other, nor did we build there till we had first purchased a due title from the true proprietors. What injuries and outrages in our persons and estates, at Manhattoes. in Delaware River, &c., we have received from you, our former letters and protest do both declare and prove, to all which you have hitherto given very unsatisfying answers, but whatever our losses and sufferings have been, we conceive we have neither done or returned anything, even to this very day, but what doth agree with the law of nations, and with that ancient confederation and amity betwixt our superiors at home. So that we shall readily refer all questions and differences betwixt you and us, even from first to last, to any due hearing, examination and judgment, either here or in England, and by these presents we do refer them, being well assured that his majesty, our Sovereign Lord Charles. King of Great Britain and the Parliament of England now assembled will maintain their own right and our just liberties against any who by unjust encroachment shall wrong them or theirs, and that your own principal upon a due and mature consideration, will also see and approve of the righteousness of our proceedings.
"New Haven in New England.
"Aug. 12, 1646, old style.4 T. Eaton."
A FURTHER REFERENCE TO THE TRADING HOUSE.
Van der Donck, as cited by O'Callaghan, History of New NetherInnd, vol. I. 375, says, in allusion to this post: "The English of New Haven have a trading post on the east or south-east side of Magdalen Island, not more than six (Dutch) miles from the North River, for this island lies towards the upper part of the North River, twenty-three
(Dutch) miles and a half higher up than Fort Amsterdam, on the east bank."
Hence it may be concluded that hereafter it will be in order for the people of this locality to represent themselves as residing either at Mauritius, or Magdalen Island, or Birmingham, whichever they prefer!
In this, correspondence several items of history are established ; that, notwithstanding the error as to locality, there was a trading house in 1646, at Paugasuck on the "east side of the island" or Point, and that the New Haven court determined to maintain it, and make sure the title. No Indian deed of the sale of this land at that date is now to be found, but a purchase was made before 1646, as stated by Governor Eaton, "and it was fully and satisfyingly voted, that the court would make good their title at the trading house," or in other words, maintain their rights. This house stood on the east side of Birmingham point, and the vessels sailed up to it, for trading purposes, as the bed of the Naugatuck River passed close to the bank at that time.
An Indian deed recorded in Stratford, dated 1671, says: " Who are right owners of one island in the great river Oantenock where Mr. Goodyear had a trading house." Mr. Goodyear and Mr. Wakeman were partners in this trading post, and being referred to in so early a deed confirms the other writings copied, and determines the location, without any doubt, for no other trading house was established in this region nearer than Milford.
Paugasuck, then, for this is the spelling adopted much of the time by the best writers in recording the acts of the place, and town, was the name of the locality now called Birmingham, but afterwards was applied to the village east of the Naugatuck; the Paugasuck River is now the Naugatuck, and the Pootatuck is now the Ousatonic. These items should be remembered in reading the Indian deeds.
The work, and the trading house, and the mercantile enterprise continued, probably, without interruption with some success, until April, 1654, when the record of the New Haven court was made as follows : " Mr. Goodyear was desired to informe those of Newhaven which have part of Paugaset with him, that the court expects an answer from them, at the general court in May next, whether they will put the said place under this jurisdiction or no."5 But no report was made at the specified time, and the matter passed until May, 1655, when inquiry was made concerning it, and " Mr. Wakeman one of the owners, . . desired a little respite before he gives answer. The governor informed the court that Richard Baldwin, if not some others of Milford, had been with him and desired liberty from the court to buy some land of the Indians about Paugaset, but the magistrate and deputies for Milford desired they might not have leave till they more fully understand the mind of their town, to whom they think it will be offensive if granted."
Before the meeting of the Court in the next October, Richard Baldwin and others had purchased of Mr. Goodyear his claims at Paugasuck, and at that session of the Court the subject came up and Mr. Baldwin made reply, that they desired to inform the Court " that they are thankful that the court will take that matter into their consideration, and that they are very willing and desirous to have it under this jurisdiction upon the considerations hereafter expressed."
The conclusion of the Court was rendered in nearly the words of the considerations specified. They say, "that they had considered the several things propounded, and according to their desire they do accept him and the rest of the company, (whose names were now given)* and the place called Paugassett,7 under the jurisdiction, and from henceforward shall look upon it as a part thereof.
"And first, the court gives liberty that if the place upon serious view be found fit for a small village, they grant them liberty so to be, without being under New Haven or Milford. . " They do also condescend that they shall have liberty to purchase what lands they can of the Indians suitable to this village intended, provided it be without prejudice to these two plantations, or to the hindering of any other plantation that may be set up hereafter further into the country.
ï¿½New Haven Col. Rec. II. 77.
"But not recorded.
'Hence the English name is Paugassett, because so stated by the Court, but the Indian name was Paugasuck, as given by the best spellers for 100 years.
" They are willing that one from among themselves, such as the court shall approve of, shall be entrusted with power and authority to call meetings, execute warrants, moderate in cases of difference, and take the best course he can to carry on things in art orderly and peaceable way.
" They are content that what estate they have wholly employed at Paugassett shall be rate free for three years.
" Which things were thankfully received, and Paugassett declared to be under and a part of this jurisdiction.
" Richard Baldwin was now appointed to be the man to carry on the trust before mentioned, he also now declared that they did intend to purchase large tracts of land of the Indians, but when they had clone they should submit it all to this court to allot them out such a proportion as should be thought meet for them."8
Under such considerations and grants the village of Paugassett seemed prepared to grow into a prosperous plantation, and had there been no opposition just at that time when the spirit of enterprise was fresh and courageous, there might have been more progress made in ten years than was made in forty, as it was. The next spring the people of Milforcl, headed by their minister, Rev. Mr. Pruden, appeared at court and made remonstrance to the following effect: " The magistrate and deputies for Milford objected against it, and Mr. Pruden on behalf of their town declared that it would be very prejudicial to Milford several ways, so much as they could not comfortably carry on their occasions there by reason of the straitness of accommodations for commonage for their cattle which they should suffer, by reason that Stratford river and New Haven bounds do so confine them to so narrow a compass, all which were duly considered, as also that Richard Baldwin and others concerned in Paugassett did say, . . but after much time spent in many debates about it, the court saw that there was not like to be a comfortable closing betwixt them if the planting of Paugassett went on as had been intended, wherefore it was propounded to both parties that those concerned in Paugassett would resign their purchase to Milford, they paying them for
the same, and that the town of Milford would accommodate those of their town, that did intend to sit down at Paugassett, with comfortable accommodations for their subsistence."
It will be seen by these records that Milford makes no claim of property right in the land then owned by Richard Bal'dwin and his company at Paugassett, but that Milford needed it for general accommodations, and that the town would purchase it, and it is probably true that Milford never owned a rod square of the territory granted by the Legislature to constitute the original town of Derby.
In those days cattle constituted a large part of the wealth of, and subsistence for, the people, as will be hereafter seen, and the meadow lands and Indian fields of Paugassett offered large assistance in sustenance for the herds, and this was one reason why the establishment of a village was proposed at that time ; for such an enterprise could much more easily succeed where there were meadows already cleared and supplying quantities of grass.
This question came up again in court in the spring of 1657, when the Paugassett company had offered to deliver their interests to Milford on terms which seemed to be reasonable, but which had been rejected, upon which the court desired to know the terms, and they were presented in writing, "which the court considered of, and thought them reasonable, with something added which they acquainted him [Mr. Baldwin] with, and to which for himself and the rest he consented, and therefore upon the terms hereafter expressed, they desire Milford and they may join in a loving way, but if Milford refuse, it is likely New Haven will accept them."
First, that they have liberty to buy the Indians' land behind them (that is over Naugatuck river9 and not toward New Haven bounds, and also above them northward up into the country).
Secondly, that according to the number of persons there interested, they shall bear their equal share of men which shall be pressed to any public service.
"All the land owned by Baldwin's company at this time lay cast of the Naugatuck River.
Thirdly, that they be free from all such rates which particularly concern the town of Milford, paying the jurisdiction rates and to the maintenance of the ministry at Milford so long as they enjoy the same, and a share toward the magistrate when Milford shall agree upon any allowance to that end, and their part of common charges about the meeting-house for the future while they stand a part of Milford, and to bear their share toward the killing of wolves and foxes, and if there be any other questions hereafter which is not now thought of and determined, it shall be considered and issued by this general Court, as also how long they shall continue a part of Milford or New Haven, and when it is fit they should be a village of themselves."
At the same time it was ordered concerning the boundaries, that, " The bounds of their land with reference to Milford is agreed, that toward Milford, betwixt their purchase and a brook now called Steephill brook, runing into Paugassett river, a division be equally made runing a line eastward, the one-half next Milford to lie to Milford common, and the other half next their purchase, to go to them for common ; also to run a line from their purchase, thereabout where their houses stand, cross to the line betwixt New Haven and Milford where it is conceived it will meet with Paugassett path, or thereabout, and then divide it in the middle north and south, and leave that part to Milford common next to New Haven line, and that part to Paugassett that is next them."10
These boundaries give us important information, namely that at this time, March, 1657, there were "houses" on this land standing at what is now known as Riggs Hill. The record says: "a line from their purchase" [the northeast corner of it,] " thereabout where their houses stand, cross* to the line betwixt New Haven and Milford, where it is conceived it will meet with [coinside with] Paugassett path," which as we shall see was at that place. Dividing this territory as proposed, from north to south would leave a strip of land on the east side of the Naugatuck river about two miles long and two miles and a half wide, and the river meadows. This truly
would have made a "village" of the whole plantation, and a small one at that, covering one hill on the east bank of the river. This indicates the restricted opinions those people had of the territory necessary for the support of a few families, by the cultivation of the soil. Send ten old farmers, such as Derby had a hundred years later, to consider such a proposition of planting a colony on such a garden patch and they would throw up their hats and laugh the thing to scorn, with a relish.
The truth is, these men were practically merchants and tradesmen, and knew very little about farming, as all their work shows. Doctor John Hull, who, thirty years later on removing to Wallingford, received a little friendly present of over a mile square, or seven hundred acres of land, nearly one-fourth of the size of this proposed Paugassett wilderness garden patch !
And what kind neighbors these Paugassett planters had ! If Milford would not accept of this big slice instead of the whole, New Haven would, especially if she could secure in the same bargain those who would live on the borders and kill the "wolves and the foxes ! "
However, these delays and haltings did not entirely subdue the spirit of enterprise and activity, for, while Milford was dreaming about this matter, and New Haven was waiting for her to wake out of sleep, Lieut. Thomas Wheeler of Stratford makes a purchase or rather accepts a gift of land, in May, 1657, on the point where Birmingham now stands, and thereby completely disarranges, the plans and dispels the dreams of Paugassett's loving neighbors. No skillfully planned campaign of a great war general could have perfected the defeat of a contending army more decidedly than did this Lieutenant Wheeler, wheeling into the Great Neck, at this time, the counsels of * Milford and the New Haven court. His deed received from the Indians reads in part as follows, it being the first Indian deed given that is now to be found of lands in Derby :
" This present writing" witnesseth that I Towetanome Sagamore att pagaset & Raskonate with y* consent of all Pagaset Indians Doe frely
"There are given two or three specimens of the spelling and manner of writing, but beyond that, while the words of the original will be carefully given, all else will be in modern style.
& fully make over from us our Heirs & asigns & Doe freely give apercell of land lying bee Twene Poodertoke River & Nagatuck River, Podertoke River bounding it on the Southwest, Nagatuck River northeast ; & Bounded on ye northwest with trees marked by ourselves & other Indians ; To Thomas Wheeler of Stratford his Heires & asigns for ever quiatly to possess it & doe ffree y* said land from all claims of any Indian or indians ; & this afore said land wee doe freely give to the afore said Thomas Wheeler & his Heires for ever upon condition that hee come to live on it himself; & if the said Thomas Wheeler seles the said land it must be to such a man as wee like; in witness here of we have sett toe our hands; May, 1657.
In presents of Towetanamow, his mark
Ruth Wheeler, her mark Kaskenute, his mark
Timothy Wheeler. Waampegon, his mark
Manomp, his mark
James, his mark"
This same land with these precise words of boundary was again deeded to Thomas Wheeler ï¿½' to have it recorded to him and his heirs according to the laws and customs of the English . . this 2Oth of April, 1659.
Subscribed in the The mark of Towtanamow,
. presence of us Pagahah, his mark
John Wheeler Pagasite James, his mark
Richard Harvee Munsock, his mark
Thomas UfTott Sasaouson, his mark"
In May, 1658, Thomas Wheeler applied to the New Haven court to have this land taken under that jurisdiction, "upon the same terms which those other proprietors, at or near Paugassett were received," to which the court answered that they' " do incline to his motion, but desired first to speak with Lieutenant Wheeler himself, before they give a full answer in the case." At the same time the court having some information as to questions about the taxes ordered that, "for the cattle which are for the most part at Paugassett, belonging to the settled inhabitants there, rates are to be paid to ye jurisdiction only," and Lieutenant Treat and Ensign Bryan of Milford were required to send a list of them to the treasurer at New Haven ; the which list if only it had been preserved would furnish us with thfe names of those settlers then there.
What were the precise relations of Paugassett for several years is not stated in the records. It had been regularly accepted as a village or plantation by the New Haven court, and then that decision informally suspended and negotiations entered, to make some new combination, but the language of Thomas Wheeler in the above application indicates that he supposed they were a separate plantation under the New Haven jurisdiction.
In May, 1659, Edward Wooster desired to know where and of whom he should receive pay for seven wolves he had killed at or near Paugassett. He was told that "if Paugassett stand in relation to Milford as a part of them, then he is to receive his pay there, but if they stand as a plantation or village of themselves, then they themselves must bear it; nevertheless, it being thought by some that both New Haven and Milford have benefit by killing wolves at Paugassett, it was agreed that it should be recommended to both the towns to see what would be freely given him in recompence of his service in thus doing."
" Edward Wooster was also told [by the court] that the encouragement given to the proprietors at Paugassett was in reference to a village to be settled there, which the court now saw no likelihood of, and in the way they were in they saw not how they could attend their duty in reference to the Sabbath, being at such a distance from the means, which the court would consider of; which being debated and considered, it was ordered that if the place called Paugasset become not a village to the purposes formerly expressed by the court, betwixt this and the General Court in May next, that the place shall be deserted in reference to settled habitation."
But Edward Wooster was not the man to be discouraged by the high authority of New Haven court, any more than to be frightened at the wolves on Sentinel hill or those other gentle cubs from Bear swamp. He intended a life work of honor and success, and being on the ground had no thought, apparently, of leaving. So also was Richard Baldwin, although residing at Milford, struggling manfully against great odds, but was making progress, slowly. The court had done the most discouraging thing that could have been done, by suspending its decree of independency and protection, at the moment when the courage of the company was most enterprising and hopeful, but now it saw fit to complain of these men. Especially was this true the next May (1660), when Richard Baldwin, having made another purchase, desired it to be connected with Paugassett, " where some further preparations had been made this winter by fencing, for the carrying on a village which they intended to pursue." This application Milford opposed, " since it would straiten their plantation if that should be granted." This was about Hog meadow, and to Milford Mr. Baldwin replied " that either it be an appendix to Paugassett, or as he is a planter at Milford he may enjoy it, or if Milford have it he may have a valuable consideration for it." Upon which the most frank and honest clerk of the New Haven court recorded, " Concerning which meadow the court did nothing at this time, but the order made (in 1658) was read and they were told that this matter of Paugassett had been four or five years under consideration, and that the court had been often exercised with it, and it was now expected that they should have heard that Paugassett had been in a settled way to the ends propounded, before this time ; but when the return is given they only say, they have done something about fencing, and so it is delayed from court to court and held in a dallying way for four or five years together." Nobody had been " in a dallying way " but the court! The misfortune is that that was not the last old granny court that ever sat in America! To this wonderful eloquence of the court Sargent Baldwin replied, " that he was hindered by obstructions he had met with by the ordinary [tavern] at Milford and by sickness the last summer." Whereupon the court declared, " that they would make trial one year more, but if Paugassett become not a village by that time, what was ordered last year, they expected to be attended, and that if the work go not on in the meantime to the satisfaction of the court of magistrates in October next Edward Wooster, with any other that is there, shall be removed and not suffered to live in such an unsatisfying way as now they do." While making this wonderful deliverance, the court must have forgotten all about the seven wolves, besides foxes and bears that Edward Wooster was killing per year, " to the benefit" of other people, while living alone ten miles in the wilderness !
From 1660 to 1664, Paugassett taxes were received separately from Milford or any other place. The amount of these taxes for three years was, in 1660, ï¿½i 8s. 8d.; in 1661, ï¿½i 6s. 2d.; in 1662, ï¿½,\ 18s. Sd.
On the second of March, 1660, another flank movement was made by which Richard Baldwin secured advantage to his company, as will be seen by the following deed :
" At a meeting of Towtanimoe, Sagamore of ' Pawgasutt' together with some other Paugassett Indians his subjects, at the house of .Richard Baldwin oi Milford, Mar. 2, 1659-60: ï¿½The said Sagamore did grant . . the meadow known and denominated by the name of Hogg meadow . . unto Richard Baldwin, . . agreeing also to sell other lands when Paugasuck should become settled. And likewise doth engage in the meantime not to make over, sell or dispose of any land . . between the west branch of Milford Mill river and Pootatuck river east and west, and from the little river on the north side of Grassy hill and so northward unto the hither end of the place commonly called Deer's Delight, unto any other persons whatsoever.
Towtanimoe, his mark. Secochanneege, his mark.
James, his mark. Sassaughsough, his mark.
Chub, his mark. Wauwumpecun, his mark.
Succuscoge, his mark."
In September, 1661, Richard Baldwin made another purchase of "all the upland adjacent to Hogg meadow."12 This purchase completed the Paugassett territory eastward and made the plantation of some considerable extent.
Towtanimoe deeded to Richard Baldwin, "all the upland adjacent to Hogg meadow, to begin at Milford line on the south side, and the north side goeth up to the path which goeth from Pagasett to New Haven; and the west side from Milford line where the cartway now is that goeth over the brook which is on the north side of Grassy Hill, and so broad as it is there, to Milford Mill river, the same breadth it is to run from the said Mill river at Pagasett path on the north side towards Pagasett; also all the great swamp that lieth on the east side of said Mill river from Milford line northward and eastward, unto the utmost bounds of it.
Towtanimoe, his mark.
Younkitihue, his mark.
Towheage, his mark."
Another deed, given to Thomas Wheeler, was executed as follows:
" Aprill 4, 1664. This may certify that I, Okenuck, Sachem of Paugassett, have sold Thomas Wheeler of Paugassett an Island lying in the river called ï¿½ Podertock ' river, lying before his house, southward from his house, containing three or four acres. The said Thomas Wheeler, in consideration is to pay me two yards of cloth and two pair of breeches " Witness the mark of
Ansantaway, his mark.
Agonahog, his mark."
Lieut. Thomas Wheeler settled on his land on the Point, probably in the spring of 1657, and remained there until the winter or spring of 1664, when he removed to Stratford, and in the following June sold this farm, containing as the deed says, " about forty acres," to Alexander Bryan of Milford, and was none the poorer for the adventure as indicated by the deed of sale; he having received it as a gift and sold it for .ï¿½200."
This was the parcel of land deeded to Mr. Wheeler by Towtanimow, which the author of the History of Woodbury supposed to be nearly as large as Litchfield County. It contained "forty acres, more or less." And this deed is recorded in close proximity to the Indian deed of this same land, which he copied, bounded in the same words. The same author errs when he says this " seems to have been the last sale of lands by the Derby Indians;" since there were over twenty afterwards. He errs again when he says "their right to sell the land at all, seems somewhat doubtful, as the most of the territory sold, was occupied by the Pootatuck Indians." No evidence has been seen indicating that the Pootatucks occupied separately any land east of eight mile brook and the Ousatonic River, but they signed deeds with the Paugasucks.
The Pootatuck sachems signed five or six deeds with the Paugasuck Indians, and the Paugasucks signed several deeds with the Pootatucks, as will be seen by a glance at the names attached to the Indian deeds of Derby and Woodbury. The very close relationship of these two tribes is given in part on page twenty-two of Woodbury history, and indicates that the J'augasucks had as much right to sell Derby soil as the Pootatucks to sell Woodbury territory. The same author says again : "It is certain that Aquiomp, sachem of the Pootatucks in 1661, was independent of the Paugassett sachem, and that his succesors in the sachemdom, after that date, made numerous grants to the English." But every deed thus given, after that date, as represented in Woodbury history, was signed by Paugasuck Indians, with the Pootatucks.
a" Jan. 6, 1664. I,t. Thomas Wheeler for a consideration of .ï¿½200 in hand paid hath granted and sold . . to Alexander Bryan one parcel of land and houses wherein he now liveth and occupieth, it being as followeth : bounded with Pootatuck river south-west, Naugatuck river north-east, and on the north-west with trees marked by Towtanimow, sachem. This land containing forty acres more or less.
The truth is, that both these clans descended from the Milford Indians, and removed up the rivers before the incoming English ; and while living in different clans or families, were one in descent, and the claims of ownership in the lands, by both parties, are recognized by the English, from the first to the last. The sale of a tract of land lying on the Pequonnuck, in Stratford, in 1661, confirms this opinion, and also indicates that the Paugasuck Indians were regarded as having superiority over all others; else they could not have given a deed of land occupied by the Pootatucks as they did. It is quite evident that the Paugasucks living in Derby territory were twice the number of the Pootatucks from 1650 to 1680; at which last date the former began to join the latter in considerable numbers, at the mouth of the Pomperaug.
It was in consequence of this gift of land to Lieut. Wheeler that the planters had some misgiving about the validity of the title, and upon the death of Towtanimow a bond14 was given by the Indians in the sum of five hundred pounds not to molest the possessors in regard to this title.
""June 37, 1664. This present writing witnesseth that I, Okenuch, Sachem of Paugassett and Ansantaway living at Paugassett; considerations moving us hereunto do bind ourselves joyfully and severally . . in a bond of five hundred pounds, that we will not molest or trouble Thomas Wheeler, now or late of Paugassett, nor Mr. Alexander Bryan of Milford . . about a parcel of land that was given to said Thomas Wheeler by Towtanimow, sachem then of Paugassett.
Akenants [Okenuck] his mark.
Ansantawav, his mark."
On June 14, 1665, Alexander Bryan sold this farm of forty acres and the island to Joseph Hawkins of Stratford, and John Brown of Paugassett, and on the twentieth of the next July Mr. Bryan passes over to Joseph Hawkins "h.is part of the farm at Paugassett, to be paid eighty pounds a year for three years," making a profit to himself of forty pounds, if this was the same land he bought of Mr. Wheeler, in which case the sale to Hawkins and Brown was a failure. Afterwards this land was passed to the town, and Joseph Hawkins received another allotment.
At this time, Mr. Richard Baldwin, desirous of securing a perfect title to these lands, and a united plantation, obtained a deed from the Indians covering all other deeds heretofore received, which was a statesman-like policy, on not a very extended scale, although of very great importance. This deed has been relied on hitherto, very much by writers, as the commencement of the enterprise that finally issued in the town of Derby, and so far as it relates to the boundary of the town is of importance.15 It takes in no new land and covers only the forty acres on the Great Neck. It is not certain whether the old trading house went with the forty acres or not. Mr. Wheeler may have converted it into his dwelling house, or continued it as a store or trading house, for there are certain indications that Alexander Bryan, with others, perhaps, kept some sort of a trading house from the time Mr. Goodyear sold his interests there (1654), until after the plantation became a town. After he had sold the Wheeler farm on the Point, he is still said to have land there, and what or where it could be except 'at the trading house it is difficult to conceive.
""Know all men by these presents bearing date Sept. 15, 1665, that I Ockenunge the sole and only Sagamore of Pagassett together with all the Indians my subjects and proprietors at Pagassett aforesaid, . . do sell unto Richard Baldwin and his company, a tract of land bounded as herein expressed; bounded north with the present path that goes between New Haven and Pagassett, on the south with the bounds of Milford town, on the east with the Mill river of Milford, and on the west with the Great river at Pagassett. I do sell the above said tract of land, except what was formerly sold particularly to Ricard Baldwin or granted upon considerations whatsoever, . . for and in consideration of full satisfaction already by me reccved.
Ochenunge, his mark.
(.'hupps, his mark.
Nebawkumme, his mark."
At this time Abel Gunn, a young, unmarried man came to the place, and being a good writer, with a talent and disposition for business habits, obtained a book and commenced keeping accounts and records in behalf of the company, and this book has now the high honor of being A number one. of the Town Records of Derby; never having had the ornament of being dressed in a cover of any kind. Many thanks to Abel Gunn, well named [Able], and of great service an-1 honor to old Derby !
The first record made in this book is without date, but from various circumstances there is evidence that it was written in January, 1665-6, when he first obtained the book. This entry gives us important information :
"Item. Mr. Goodyear, Mr. Wakeman and Mr. Gilbert of New Haven hath bargained and sold to
Richard Baldwin, John Burwell,
Edward Riggs, Samuel Hopkins,
Edward Wooster, Thomas Langdon,
John Brown, Francis French,
Robert Denison, Isaac Platt,
of Milford, a tract of land at a place called Paugasuck, and by these men above named put under New Haven jurisdiction in the year 1655. the bounds of which tract of land is as hereafter followeth, namely, with Naugatuck river west, a small rock south, with a swamp on the east, and a little brook or spring that runs into the Beaver river north."
The next record made gives some idea of the location and the work then being done to make the beginning of a settlement :
" Paugasuck Inhabitants reconed with Edward Wooster this 2d of January 1665-6 and they are indebted to him as follows :
For the grass land so called ,150
For the middle island so called ,3 o o
For the two mile island so called 14 o
" They have further agreed this 2d of January that he is to stay for this money till he hath had the sum by their purchasing their lands or other common works belonging to the place.
" They have also renewed upon ' Edward Wooster a former grant of land, namely, the Long lot so called, only there is to be a sufficient cart way through it, and the fishhouse island so called, and the two mile island so called ; the above said Edward Woosterhath three grants conferred upon him ; also these conditions as followeth, namely, present security that he is not to drive any cattle through the meadow without it be where it is common ; and that he is not to common in the meadow but proportionally according to his lands.
" Debts due to the company as followeth, Edward Riggs 75 zd. The company is indebted as followeth
2:11: 65, John Brown i 3
7 : 12 : 65, Joseph Hawkins for going to Stratford 5 Work done upon the general account April 1666
Samuel Riggs three days and a half 07 06
John Brown three days and a half o 07 06
Francis French two days o 05 oo
John Brown one day o 02 06
Samuel Riggs one day o 02 06
John Brown and his son Joseph each half a day 01 08
Francis French half a day i 03
Joseph Riggs half a day i 03
John Bruer for goodman Wooster half a day i 03
Francis French one day 2 06
Joseph Riggs one day 2 06
1667. Work done on the general account
Setting up that fence which was bought of Samuel Riggs
s. d. Francis French 3 days and a half 8 9
Samuel Riggs 389
Abel Gunn 389
Francis French i day more 2 6
Samuel Riggs i 26"
It is probable that in the spring of 1667 was made, among the ten proprietors,
THE FIRST DIVISION OF LAND.
It is stated as preliminary to the division that John Burwell sold his right to Thomas Hine, and he to Henry Lyon, and he to Henry Botsford. Also that Samuel Hopkins, one of the ten, sold his to John Smith, and then the division was made.
The laying out of this tract of land above mentioned, and the number of acres both of upland and meadow :
Home Lot. Upland. Meadow.
John Brown i 1-2 acres 4 acres 3 acres
Isaac Platt i 1-2 " 43
Edward Risigs 11-2" 43
Richard Baldwin 2 andarod 641-2
Edward Wooster i 1-2 4 3
Francis French i 1-24
Henry Botsford i 1-243
Robert Denison 11-2" 4 " 3 ''
John Smith 112" 4 '' 3 "
Thomas Langdon i 1-243 Thomas Langdon hath his home lot where his house stands.
After this plan was adopted and before the land was laid out, it was recorded that Alexander Bryan had bought of Thomas Langdon all his right at Paugasuck, and Edward Wooster had bought the same of Mr. Bryan ; upon which Thomas Langdon seems to Rave removed from the place.
The description of the laying of these lots is important in order to know where the settlement first began, and thereby to know many other things which transpired in the town.
" At the laying out of the meadow, Edward Wooster accepted the lower end of the meadow, for his meadow lot, bounded with Richard Baldwin north, with Naugatuck river west, with a creek south and a creek east.
" Richard Baldwin hath a piece of meadow bounded with Edward Wooster south, Naugatuck river west, and Francis French north, and a creek running under the hill east.
" Francis French hath his meadow lot bounded with the foot of the hill east, with Richard Baldwin south, with Naugatuck river west, with Edward Wooster north."
In this manner they continue to measure out the meadow lots until they came to John Smith, the last of the ten, when they declare that his meadow and upland are joined together, (as in the accompanying plan), that is, his upland joined the east end of the meadow and then went up the hill east, making the southern boundary of the village as then arranged at the place known now as Up Town or Old Town.
A portion of the' Naugatuck river at that time came down along the eastern bank a short distance below the old burying ground, then turning to the right, as is still apparent by the trees and the depression in the meadow, passed over to the Great Neck (or Birmingham) and then down by the old trading house. Hence the meadow land was bounded "west with Naugatuck river," and at the east a little way "with a creek," or the water flowing up by the tide, and after two lots, the others were bounded on the "east with the foot of the hill," there being no creek there. The confirmation of this river course will be quite clearly established hereafter.
Of the upland lots, five of them are bounded on the west with Naugatuck river, and east with a highway; the other tier are bounded on the west with a highway and on the east with the foot of the hill.
This was the first formal laying out of land by the company. Edward Riggs had selected him a farm on the hill, and Francis French, also. Edward Wooster and Thomas Langdon had built their houses, at this place, near the river, but all this was done without a formal division of land. When this division was made Edward Wooster and Thomas Langdon received lots where their houses stood, and these houses were probably built in 1654, and Edward Riggs built at the same time on the hill. Francis French built his later, that is, in 1661, when he was married. ,
Soon after this division was made Richard Baldwin died and his widow sold all her interest in Paugassett to Alexander Bryan, and then followed an interesting time in buying and selling lots as in many other real estate enterprises since that day; the most important of which was that of John Brown, who sold all his land on the east side of the river and with Joseph Hawkins bought the Wheeler farm, on the point; but which purchase Mr. Brown soon gave up and removed to Newark, N. J.
Here then was the village of Paugassett as laid by authority in 1665-6, containing two houses, perhaps more, inhabited, and the house on the Wheeler farm ; and Edward Riggs's and Francis French's houses on the hill east. Edward Woosler's house stood on the lot laid at the north end of the plot, as it is said the road began "at his gate," and then went south between the two tiers of lots. Mr. Wooster was a farmer and made a specialty of hop raising in Milford, as indicated by the following town record : "A General Court, Oct. 24, 1651. Considering the pressing need of hops, the town grants to Edward Wooster an acre, more or less, lying up the Mill river, to be improved for a hop garden, according to his request. This is not to pay rates while improved for hops."16 It is probable, that the raising of hops on the meadow land at Paugassett was a leading object in Edward Wooster's settling here in 1654, as he did.
Edward Riggs was one of the first settlers in 1654, being one of the original ten proprietors, his house standing on the place still known as the Riggs farm on the hill a mile east of Old Town, or the first village lots laid out. In his house two remarkable men found shelter and protection; they were Messrs. Goff and Whalley, judges of Charles the First of England. President Stiles, in his history of these men and the place of their resort called The Lodge, says, " They left it and removed to Milford, August, 1661, after having resided in and about New Haven for near half a year, from 7th of March to the igth of August, 1661. During this time they had two other occasional lodgments in the woods; one at the house of Mr. Riggs, newly set up in the wilderness at Paugassett or Derby, another between that and Milford." The same author, speaking of two houses near West Rock a little out of New Haven, says, "these were the only two houses in 1661, westward from New Haven, between-the West Rock and Hudson's river, unless we except a few houses at Derby or Paugassett. All was an immense wilderness. Indeed, all the environs of New Haven was wilderness, except the cleared tract about half a mile or a mile around the town."
In another part of his book, President Stiles gives the following important information :
"The judges might have some other secret retreats and temporary lodgments ; I have heard of two more within ten miles around New Haven, but not with so perfect certainty. The one about four miles from Mil ford, on the road to Derby where an old cellar remains to this
KIambert's History of Milford.
day , said to have been one of their recluses. This is called George's Cellar, from one George who afterwards lived there. The other at Derby on the eastern bank of the Naugatuck river at a place then called Paugasset and near the church. Madam Humphreys, consort of the Rev. Daniel Humphreys, and the mother of the ambassador, was a Riggs, and a descendant of Edward Riggs, one of the first settlers of Derby between 1655 and 1660. She often used to speak of it as the family tradition that the judges who sometimes secreted themselves at the cave and Sperry's farm, also for some time secreted themselves at Derby, in the house of her grandfather, Mr. Edward Riggs ; whose house was forted or palisadoed. to secure it from the Indians; there being, 1660, perhaps fewer than half a dozen English families there in the woods, ten or a dozen miles from all other English settlements, and they all lodged in this forted house. They might probably shift their residences, especially in the dangerous summer of 1661, to disappoint and deceive pursuivants and avoid discovery. This tradi. tion is preserved in the Riggs and Humphrey families to this day."17
Here we have the information that Edward Riggs's house was fortified, or made like a fort, in 1661, and that all the families [in times of danger] " lodged in this forted house." This information is reliable, because Madam Humphreys lived several years cotemporary with her grandfather, Ensign Samuel Riggs, (not Edward, as Dr. Stiles has it); she being the daughter of Capt. John and not of Ensign Samuel.
From the fact that these men were protected at Mr. Riggs's home, we learn that the family were residing here at that time, and if so, they probably did not return to Milford after their first settlement in 1654, that is, Edward Riggs's family ; Samuel Riggs was not married until 1667 ; and we have confirmed another supposition that there were no dwellings between West Rock, New Haven and the Hudson river, so far back from the Sound shore. Such was the loneliness of the place where three or four families resided about ten years.
Francis French was another of these settlers of 1654, but was not married until 1661. His house, no doubt, was built on the hill half a mile east of the village, and it is probable that his lot as laid in the village, joined at the foot of the hill, his land on the hill.
"Stiles's Judges, 113.
Thomas Langdon was living in his house mentioned in bounding the lots first laid out, and being one of the original purchasers, may have resided at this place some of the time since the first settlement, but how much we are not certain.
John Brown was here and did work, and land was laid to him, and it appears that he resided here, but of it we are not certain. He soon removed to Newark, N. J.
Henry Botsford may have resided here, but it is very doubtful.
Isaac Platt and Robert Denison sold their rights and never resided here so far as is known.
John Smith did not settle here, but his son, Ephraim, did, in 1668; and he may have worked here as a single man, some years before.
Richard Baldwin did not reside here, probably, but his descendants did some years afterwards.
There was a John Brewer working here, but the name is not seen again on the records in many years.
Joseph Hawkins purchased land on the neck soon after the village lots were laid out, but was not married until 1668; his father, Joseph, senior, did not settle here.
The best information thus far obtained leads to the conclusion that the first settlers came in 1654, and were Edward Wooster, Thomas Langdon, located at Old Town; Edward Riggs, located on the hill east; and Francis French on the hill in 1661 ; Lieut. Thomas Wheeler lived on the Point from 1657 or 8 to 1664. and returned to Stratford.
That there was a settlement made here in 1654, is without doubt, since they made application in the spring of 1655, and were admitted by the New Haven court into the jurisdiction as a village, which could not have been if there had been no settlement.
It has been entertained that the first settlement was wholly at Squabble Hole, where the first meeting house was built, but that house was built twenty-seven years after the first settlers came, at which time the settlement had extended over Sentinel Hill; and the people evidently thought a large proportion of future settlers would be in that part of the town, but found themselves quite mistaken after a few years.
In the autumn previous to the laying out this first land, the colonies of New Haven and Connecticut were united, and the General Court put on a different face towards the little plantation in the Naugatuck valley.1"
"This court upon the petition of the inhabitants of ' Paugasuck' do declare that they are willing to afford the best encouragement they can to promote a plantation there and if there do a sufficient number appear betwixt this and October next that will engage to nvike a plantation there, to maintain an orthodox minister among them, that they may be in a capable way to enjoy the ordinances of God and civil order amongst themselves, then the court will be ready to confer such privileges as may be for their comfort, so they do not prejudice the town of Milford or New Haven in their commons. Oct. 12, 1665."'"
The Englishman's Hogs And The Indians.
Although from first to last the English and the Indians preserved great friendliness and fidelity, there were some differences of sentiment and manner of living, especially in regard to the cultivation of the soil. The Paugasuck Indians at this time dwelt on the Great Neck, a little back of Birmingham, and down by the side of the Ousatonic river in the vicinity of the present dam. ï¿½ The Pootatucks dwelt on the west side of the Ousatonic where the village of Shelton now stands, and below towards the narrows. Some few Indians may have been dwelling at Turkey Hill, although it was after this or about this time that the Milford Indians as a body took their abode on that hill, just south of the boundaries of Derby; a few may have been living at the narrows.
The Indians made no fences around their cornfields, or very few and poor ones ; the English did about theirs, and desired to allow their hogs and cattle to run in common in the woods adjoining the fenced fields and meadows, but if this was allowed, the animals, not discerning the difference of ownership, would go into the Indians' corn, and especially when led by the red man's creatures, which though few, always roamed at large, so that the Indians' corn was sometimes nearly annihilated by his own animals, with a strong inclination in their owners to lay the damages upon the English. This seems to have been about the only trouble that ever occurred between the Derby people and the Indians. It was in view of this difficulty that Lieutenant Wheeler of Stratford, two years before, when of Paugassett, had requested advice of the New Haven court, and that body ordered the people of Paugassett and the Indians there and at Milford, to meet the court in the autumn session at Milfor-d and have a hearing from both sides. Mr. Wheeler in his request stated "that he found some annoyance by the Indians planting so near their borders and not fencing anything like, but their creatures may go in as they will, that h^ can keep no hogs but in pens; and how far their duty was, and the Indians in reference to fencing he desired to be informed."
18 Very particular attention and study has been given to these items of the first settlement, since the traditions and public prints differ concerning them. A careful examination of the town records will verify what is here written.
Conn. Col. Rec. i.
Hence, "At the General Court, May, 1666, a committee as follows : Capt. John Nash, Mr. Banks, Mr. Fairchild and Ensign Judson or any three of them are desired and appointed to view a tract of land that Towtannamo hath made over to Richard Baldwin of Milford, and to consider what the nature and quantity is of meadow and upland and swamp, and also to hear a difference between the Indians and English at Paugassett and the Indians at Pootatuck and also to view the land at Paugasuck whether it may be fit for a township."''*
What difference there was between the Pootatucks and the English, if any, is not suggested anywhere in the records, but one of the greatest annoyances the English endured was the manner of the Indians in coming into their houses without giving any notice or warning, and this would have been endurable if they would stop when they had entered, but this they would not do. The Indian must see everything in the house, in all the rooms, upstairs and down cellar, in the pantry, the pork barrelï¿½anywhere and everywhere unless hindered by the barring of doors or peremptory commands by those who had strength to execute their orders. The toiling housewife, going out to hang the washed clothes on the line, would return to find a not very tidy squaw peering through the cupboard, handling the dishes, the meats, vegetables, breadsï¿½no matter what nor how, only that the marvelous curiosity should be gratified. And, the most trying of all, any amount of gentle remonstrance or otherwise would be met with that cold, indefinable, meaningless look that nobody could exhibit but a squaw, not even an " injun," that patience would seem no longer to be a grace, and yet any other grace would be risky, unless a large amount of force was near at hand in case of need. Therefore, between the trouble of the Englishman's hogs in the red man's corn and the Indians in the white man's houses, there was so little choice as to challenge the wisdom of the General Court and the ingenuity and endurance of the planters and the Indians to the utmost extent. How Lieutenant Wheeler's family endured six years on Great Neck, the only English family there or within reach without crossing a river, close to the thickest of the Indian settlement, is a marvel, almost beyond belief in the present day. He made seven thousand dollars, apparently, by the enterprise; his wife should have had twice that amount as her part. No wonder they returned to civilization before they could sell the farm !
Then Edward Wooster's and Thomas Langdon's families at Old Town several years, and not another family within eight miles, except Edward Riggs's on the hill and Thomas Wheeler's on the Neck, and in one respect Wheeler was favored, the Indians protected him on the north from the wolves, but not so with Wooster and Langclon ; they alone must kill the wolves or the wolves would clear their barn-yards to the last pig, and not be very delicate about the little ones of the family. Probably Wooster's seven sons had about as many wolf stories in which they were actors as was agreeable, without reading any romance of that character. It is not all romance, however, when we read as we do, a little later, of Samuel Riggs's wolf pit probably half a mile north-east of Wooster's dwelling and the Bear swamp; they were realities uncomfortably near to those solitary homes. It is not much wonder that the New Haven court threatened to remove Edward W'ooster to the abodes of Christian people if Christian people would not go to him.
Nor is it surprising that the General Court had the opportunity of recording this request in May, 1667, "Edward Wooster, in behalf of some in Paugassett, petitioned for the privilege of a plantation and a church," and the court gave them two years to increase their number so as to be able to maintain a minister, but it is surprising that the court would not allow them to admit any inhabitants except such as might be approved by Mr. Bryan, Mr. Bishop, Mr. Fairchild and Mr. John Clarke, all of Milford, and in the meantime should pay rates at Milford, thus placing them wholly at the pleasure of that people. And upon his petition at the end of two years, the court condescended to continue their privileges and encouragement on the same conditions as at this time, that is, two years more of hope and delay. But the court did take one little step forward, so gently as not to hurt any one, by appointing Edward Wooster constable for the year 1669; Mr. Bryan to administer the oath to him. This was really the first officer with which the plantation had been honored, and it was properly bestowed on Edward Wooster, the wolf-killer, and for living so long alone in the wilderness, the Lion-hearted. Hence they endured long, and some of the wonderfulness of that endurance we shall see in the progress of this history.
Trouble and difficulty in saving their corn in the autumn after it was grown, led to the following AGREEMENT.
" Paugasset inhabitants met together and have made the following agreement to secure their corn which was as followeth, that they were to measure their fence to the mouth of the creek that goeth into Naugatuck river and set so much upon the hill, and Joseph Hawkins and John Brown is to measure theirs (or as much) and set it upon the hill, and if any be wanting of their railing they are ail of them to join together and make it up and then to divide it equally. They have also agreed that every man's yard shall be a pound and that any cattle that are found in the meadow without a sufficient keeper shall be poundable except when the meadow is common ; and it shall not be laid common without a joint consent; and if any swine come into it and take the corn, the owner of them shall shut them up and keep them up after they have warning till the meadow is common ; and if any man shall willingly put in any beast, horse or any other beast into the meadow he shall forfeit five shillings for every such offence. This agreement is to
stand authentic till we see cause to alter it." This agreement was
made " this 4th of Sept., 1667.
John Brown81 Ephraim Smith
Francis French Abel Gunn
Samuel Riggs Joseph Hawkins
The fence was built around the meadow land lying below Ansonia, and between the hills on either side of the valley. The fence was outside, leaving the river inclosed with the meadow, for if set inside the floods would have swept it away every year. The fence being removed back on the hill for a distance on either side would make two small fields, secure from the water, and yet fenced in from the cattle that roamed in the adjoining woods. It is said, and there are many evidences confirming it, that the main bed of the river was on the west side of this lot, where the railroad now is, but after the settlement of the place the river went to the east side of the valley, as now, while considerable water continued on the west side and was called the Old river and the other the New.
A gentleman (Mr. William B. Lewis) recently deceased, at an advanced age, a native of the town, an old school teacher, quite intelligent and reliable in all he said, and given also to scientific investigations, gives, in a letter to Dr. A. Beardsley, an account of the change of the river bed in this place.
" When our ancestors came to Paugassctt the Naugatuck pursued a different course through the meadow from the present one. From near the present Birmingham dam, south of the Ansonia bridge, the stream continued down the west side of the valley, not so direct as the race now is, but sometimes closing up to the bank, at others inclining eastward, entering the Ousatonic where the race of the Iron and Steel Works and Foundry now does, leaving a narrow strip of meadow attached to the Point House farm, on which our regimental trainings were held before Birmingham was built.
"A continuation of the Beaver brook wound through the meadow along the east side, carrying the drainage of that side of the valley, and entering the Ousatonic through the creek south of the causeway which now makes an island of the south part of the meadow, which then joined the Paugassett shore. This alluvial bottom land, being mostly clear of trees and covered with grass suitable for hay, was found to be of great value to the new coiners before they had opportunity to clear and cultivate artificial meadows. The upper end of this meadow, being rather dry and sandy, Mr. Wooster undertook to irrigate by plowing and digging a trench from a bend in the river, and flowing the meadow; in which he succeeded admirably for the first summer. But, neglecting to close his ditch in the fall, and old Naugatuck being unusually swollen at the following spring freshet, found it a very convenient means of disposing a part of its surplus waters, and thus in a few years the main body of the river passed down the east side of the valley, forming what was then called the New river; the west branch which continued for a long time to carry a part of the water, being called the Old river. The southern portion of it continued to drain the west part of the meadow and its adjacent bank after it had been closed above at the building of Hull's mills, which was done to connect their race with the creek from Beaver brook, as that gave a better outlet. The restless Naugatuck being dissatisfied with the monotony of the east bank, has, within the last sixty years, seceded from it and gone into the meadow westward, and filling up the channel on the east side so that cultivated fields and timbered land now occupy the place where vessels were built and launched, before the bridge and causeway were built. * " The south part of the Old river was formerly famed for fish. Eels were abundant; large numbers of the delicious smelt were caught in a deep hole or enlargement of the stream a few rods east of the present waste-weir which is not yet quite filled up, notwithstanding the erasive effort of the annual flood. Roswell, the aged colored man of Ansonia, was celebrated when a boy for skill in taking trout from the Old river. He was often secretly watched to learn his art, but was never excelled. The Derby boys once saw his two little brothers stirring up the mud up stream, and felicitated themselves, like Deliah and the Philistines, but a repetition of the experiment proved its fallacy and Roswell bore the palm alone."
21This is the last appearance of John Brown's name on the records.
This description agrees with all terms used in the records of the town, except that for a time the New river, on the east side, did not continue close to the bank as far down as the present Derby bridge, but when a little below the old burying ground it crossed the meadow to Birmingham .side into the old river, and afterwards cut the channel by Derby village where the vessels were built. That may not have been long after 1665, at which time in laying the meadow lots at that place they are bounded on the east by the hill and not by the river, which must have been if it were there. The Indian field, spoken of frequently in the records, consisted of the upper part of this meadow land, extending down to about the present New Haven road, crossing the valley ; and the Long lot extended from that road south, or down the valley, to where the river crossed from a little below the old burying ground south-westerly to the Point, now Birmingham. Some years later the whole valley from Ansonia to the causeway, or a little below, was probably in one lot, as the fence on either side measured about two miles long, as recorded.
In 1665, the General Court required that the owners of Paugasuck22 should purchase no more lands until they had become a separate plantation, and for three years they gave heed to the injunction, but the temptation was too powerful, there being so much land to be had, and the Indians being charmed, almost to a frenzy, with the possibility of selling land and receiving pay. The latter seemed to have no idea that such sales would ever necessitate their removal from the community, but only that they should thereby obtain such things as the Englishman had, guns, dogs, clothing, ornaments and drinks. The Indians afterward complained that the white man had taken away their lands for inconsiderable considerations, but every circumstance of the sale of the lands here, indicates most unmistakably that they were urged upon the English over and over, and upon various parties under a diversity of circumstances, some of which indicate debts that would not otherwise have been paid.
At this time Mr. Joseph Hawley and Henry Tomlinson of Stratford, (they not being proprietors of Paugasuck,) purchased a piece of land on the Great Neck, north of any owned by the English, and opened anew the real estate enterprises of the wilderness.23
2'2In the Conn. Col. Record*, this name for some years is spelled mostly Pawgasuck.
" Be it known . . that I, Puckwomp, by virtue of full power unto me given . . by my brother Kehore, now living in Hartford, who hath sent his son Nanatoush to join with me to sell to Joseph Hawley and Henry Tomlinson, both of Stratford . . all that tract of land lying upon Great neck near unto Paugassett, bounded by the Great river on the south-west, north and north-west by a small river and the south end of the Great hill. South and south-east by marked trees; all which land . . reaching into the middle of the neck, for which land we do confess to have received now in hand . . in several goods to the just value of five pounds sterling.
Subscribed i6th Aug., 1668.
Atterosse, Sagamore, his mark, Poquonat, his mark,
Nanatoush, his mark, Cherakmath, his mark,
Kehore, his mark, Chesusumock, his mark,
Rourkowhough, his mark, Machetnumledge, his mark."
Mr. Alexander Bryan the merchant of Milford, followed, by a purchase on the east side, (the Indian deed of which has not been found,) and sold Dec. 17, 1668, to John Hulls and. Jabez Harger of Stratford, " a tract of land at Paugassett called Pequacs plain, with meadow adjoining called by the name of James meadow, with all privileges." . . This land lay north of any covered by former deeds, which left its owners unprotected by any grants already made to Paugassett; they agreeing to inhabit and fence this land and these improvements to stand as security to Mr. Bryan for the sum of twenty-four pounds in current pay at or before the first day of March in the year 1668, or the next March, as they then divided the year.
These were new men and both settled in the place, but Mr. Hulls not until some years later, and their descendants are still residents of the old territory as well as being numerous and scattered in all directions through the land. Doctor John Hulls, after being in Stratford a short time, settled here and became a prominent man ; remained about thirteen years and removed to Wallingford, where he deceased. Jabez Harger married in 1662 the daughter of Henry Tomlinson, who had now (1668) made the purchase on the west side with Mr. Hawley, and made his home here in 1668-9.
''A part of this and other Indian deeds are given in order to preserve the local names; names of the Indians, and to indicate the progress of the settlement.
Abel Gunn made two entries in his book about this time that are a little too much abbreviated as to dates to give perfect satisfaction :
THE FIRST ENTRY.
"March 15, 166, 70: The Trew And Right Proprietares of Pagaset, That Have the sole Dispose of all Lands That are By Them Purchased, They Are as Foloeth, Mr. Haly [Hawley]: Ed. Woster: Frances French : Samuel Rigs : Abell Gun : Ephram Smith: Joseph Hawkins: Hen. Boxford."
THE SECOND ENTRY.
''March 15, 166, 70. The inhabitants of Pagaset are as followeth : Ed Woster : Francis French : Joseph Hawkins : Samuel Rigs : Ephram Smith: Abell Gun : Stephen Person : Jeremiah Johnson."
The one entry was made probably in 1667 and the other in 1670, as the latter gives us two new names, Stephen Pierson and Jeremiah Johnson, who became settlers in that year (1670). Mr. Pierson came here from Stratford where he had married Mary, daughter of Henry Tomlinson.
Mr. Johson was from New Haven wjth a family, and was the grandfather of Bennajah, the early settler at Beacon Falls, and his father, Jeremiah Johnson, Sen., was with him.
Why Doctor Hull and Jabez Harger are not mentioned as proprietors is supposed to be, because they were not "of Pagaset" or of the territory recognized by the court; the reason why Mr. Hawley is mentioned as a proprietor and Mr. Henry Tomlinson as not, is unexplainable, unless the former retained something of the purchases made previous to this last.
In the first of these enumerations the persons are called proprietors, some of whom resided elsewhere; in the other they are inhabitants. Samuel Riggs had married the daughter of Richard Baldwin, June 4, 1667, and she was without doubt the second bride in Paugassett, or the town of Derby. Abel Gunnmarried the sister of Ephraim Smith Oct. 29, 1667, the third bride in the place; about which time, probably, Joseph Hawkins, Jr., married, April 8, 1668, a sister to Ebenezer Johnson's second wife, and settled on the Neck. The result of the settlement at the end of sixteen years as to resident families and number of persons may be supposed as follows :
Families. Children. Families. Children.
Edward Wooster 9 Ephraim Smith o
Francis French 5 Abel Gunn o
Joseph Hawkins Jr. 2 Stephen Pierson 2
Samuel Riggs i Jeremiah Johnson Jr. 4
In all thirty-nine persons besides servants and help employed ; which was quite an improvement on the lonely habitation of Edward Wooster a few years previous.
In May, 1670, Alexander Bryan received another deed24 of land on the Neck, lying north of the one he had sold recently to Hawley and Tomlinson, and sold the same to John Brinsmade, Sen., Henry Tomlinson, and Joseph Hawley [senior] of Stratford, completing a belt of land from the Ousatonic to the Naugatuck river, extending north to the four mile brook and the brook coming into the Naugatuck at West Ansonia, containing, as we afterwards learn, about five hundred acres. This land, with the other sold to Mr. Hawley, is afterwards for many years called the Hawley purchase.
At this time (spring of 1671) the Paugassett company accepted the Hawley purchase, if it had not been previously, as company property ; and divisions were made to those of whom the tracts of land had been received. For the Hawley purchase Abel Gunn and Samuel Riggs gave their bond to Alexander Bryan for thirty-four pounds, and afterwards the following persons bound themselves with the former to pay the sum :
A tract of land lying in the Great Neck, between Paugassett river and Pootatuck river, bounded with Pootatuck river on the west side, with a little brook and the English purchase on the south, with a brook that runs from Naugatuck river to a brook called the four mile brook, . . and Naugatuck east, . . to Alexander Bryan . . in consideration of the sum of seventeen pounds in hand received.
Chubbs, his mark Wasawas, his mark
Coshoshemack*, his mark Atrechahasett, his mark
Ke Ke Sumun, his mark Johns, his mark
Wataquenock, his mark Sasaoso, his mark"
This is Ghusumack, and probably Momanchewaug alias Cush (or Chuse) of Pootauick, of Mauwee, whose son or grandson was Old Chuse, of Chuse Town. Everything in the several deeds indicates this relation of these families.
Edward Wooster. Francis French.
Joseph Hawkins. Ephraim Smith.
Ebenezer Johnson. Jonas Tomlinson.
John Tibbals. Moses Johnson.
The reason for this leading of Abel Gunn and Samuel Riggs is, probably, that they were the most energetic business men in the place, and hence were more ready to run a venture than the others, but there was another one coming, yea, already at their doors, they knew it not, who was, by his marvelous endurance and energy, destined to surpass them all so far as to scarcely allow friendly comparison ; the marvelous Ebenezer Johnson.
From this time for many years the question of dividing lands was most important and most difficult. Those persons already in the company must be made equal in proportion to the money invested. New-comers were in the plantation and others proposing to come, and to encourage those without to come, they entered upon a plan of making appropriations gratis, upon conditions that the individuals should build themselves houses and fences, and with their families become residents of the place. They were to come within two years and stay four, or the appropriation should revert to the company.
Under this plan grants were made in 1670 to John Tibballs, Stephen Pierson, and to those already in the place various grants were made that year; and in April, 1671, to Ebenezer Johnson a lot bounded on the north with the common, on the west with the Great river, on the south with the .Devil's Jump, so called, and on the east with common land. Mr. Johnson had been in the town probably a short time, and in the next November married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward Wooster, and fullfilled his engagement to settle on the land granted him. The Devil's Jump was a narrow, deep ravine a little north of the mouth of Two-mile brook.
Whether this land extended so far east as to include that whereon afterwards his house was built, a mile east of the narrows, is not known, but soon after this date he received other grants of small pieces on the " east side of Sentinel hill," and made a purchase of land in the vicinity, so that he became very early a large land-holder, for that day ; and on it built a fine estate, noted for many years.
In February, 1672, it was "voted that Francis French, Samuel Riggs, Henry Botsford, Ephraim Smith, Abel Gunn, Mr. Hawley, are to be made up equal in lands with Edward Wooster, according to proportion. Edward Wooster gave in his land which he had more than those above mentioned, and he gave it in as twenty acres of sizable land, and it was agreed that those men should have forty acres of sized land on Sentinel hill; they are to have ten acres for one; forty for a double share and twenty for a single share; and they are to take this land upon Sentinel hill where they see cause, provided highways be not obstructed." There was already a fenced lot on Sentinel hill inclosing lands laid out to ten persons, the older owners.
Circumstances and toil having brightened somewhat, the appearance of success and the subject coming up in the May court, that body seemed to wake out of sleep, as to this corner of their vineyard, and issued their encouragement in a tone so spirited as to put new life into the whole enterprise.
"Whereas this Court have manifested themselves ready to encourage a plantation [at] Paugasuck provided the people there may be in a capacity to maintain an orthodox minister amongst them there, which this Court cannot see it will be capable unless there may be thirty families entertained ; and for the encouragement of such as shall see cause to plant there, this Court are willing and do hereby grant that their bounds shall be on the south on Milford bounds, on the west on Pootatuck river, and from their South bounds into the north, twelve miles ; and that they shall have liberty to improve all the meadow lying on Pompawraug river, although it be out of their bounds, till the Court shall see cause otherwise to dispose of it."
This deliverance gave confidence to every movement, and a warrant of success, and the only wonder is that it was not said years sooner.
"April ii, 1672. The inhabitants of Paugasuck being lawfully warned, met, and voted that all that now are or shall be to the number of thirty, shall pay to the purchasing of the minister's lot, every man alike, and . . all inhabitants shall go equal in all purchases that hereafter shall be made by them, and shall have alike in all divisions, to the number of thirty inhabitants; only those that shall come after the making of this order shall be made up equal in lands with those that are the last comers to the place, as Ebenezer Johnson, Moses Tomlinson, John Tibballs, Stephen Pierson and Joseph Hawkins."
They also agreed, a little later, that no inhabitant should be admitted without the lawful meeting of all the inhabitants ; and that no land should be granted except on a vote of two meetings.
In 1670 a division was made to Joseph Hawkins of quite a tract of land, which seems to indicate that he surrendered to the town his part of the Wheeler farm, although no deed to this effect has been seen. The boundaries to Mr. Hawkins's grant reads : " bounded with the present fence east (along the west branch of the Naugatuck) with the channel of Pootatuck river west, with the land between Mr. Alexander Bryan and Joseph [Hawkins] on the south, and with the present path that goes to the old fort and the brook on the north. The terms are as followeth, that no highway convenient for Mr. Alexander Bryan shall be hindered, and that the company shall take up land elsewhere according to proportion." Here it is clear that Mr. Bryan was still in the possession of the Wheeler farm on the point; and if so, was probably engaged in building ships, as the reason why special care is taken not to obstruct the highways to his injury. And it is probable also, that, merchant as he was, he had some kind of store or trading house here, which he and his son Richard continued some years later and which was passed into the hands of Mr. Joseph Hawkins, probably about 1685, or a little earlier.
Alexander Bryan was a very energetic business man, a merchant, not only at Milford where he resided but also at Paugassett. He was a member of the court at New Haven a number of years, and also of the General Court at Hartford. He was selected by the New Haven court in 1655 to send the laws of the Colony to England to be printed and to ship as a merchant the provisions to Barbadoes to procure the money to pay the bill for printing, thus indicating that he was the most extensive trader in the Colony. As early as 1640 he "sent a vessel to the Bay [Boston] laden with beaver, otter, and other precious furs," and in return brought such goods as were desired at Milford and the region. And it may have been that those furs were, a considerable portion of them at least, obtained in the region of Paugassett, and became the occasion of stirring Mr. Wakeman of New Haven to build here the trading house in 1642.
In 1675, Mr. Bryan, his son Richard, also a merchant, and William East of Milford, merchant, owned two brigs and one sloop, which they kept engaged in trade to the West Indies and Boston, and his vessels, most probably, brought to Derby most of the goods imported, and carried out the surplus provisions, iurs and staves that were provided for the market. His credit is said to have stood so high that his notes of hand were as current in Boston as bank bills at any time.
A large proportion of the deeds from the Indians of Paugassett lands, passed through his hands as the real owner, and his friendly and constant help in this matter was of very considerable advantage to the plantation. A grant of land was made to his son Richard, "merchant," in 1680, to become an inhabitant of Derby, and after a short time the grant was renewed with special inducements mentioned, showing that there were negotiations for such an end entered into by him, but the matter failed, and soon after he passed from his earthly work and his father settled his estate property here. Richard Baldwin was the first father of the plantation, Alexander Bryan was the second.
In May, 1673, Nicholas Camp and John Beard were accepted as inhabitants, and a grant of land lying near to the new Indian fort was granted them under the rules established, but they do not appear to have settled in the town, unless some years later. This same year, also, Alexander Bryan purchased the westernmost island15 in the Ousatonic River in front of Birmingham, and delivered it to the town, probably soon after. This deed was signed by the name Chushumack, who is probably the
*"A11 my island in the Great River called Pootatuck . . being situate against the Indian field, which formerly I sold to Mr. Alexander Bryan, senior, and against the Indian fort . . in consideration of a gun and other good pay in hand received. This 5th of June, 1673.
Chushamack, Sachem, his mark. Ponomskut, his mark.
Robbin, his mark. Pawanet, his mark.
Amonequon, his mark. Chawbrook, his mark."
Kehow, his mark.
grandfather of the Chuse who was chief at Seymour some years later. He signed the deed given to Joseph Hawley and Henry Tomlinson, in 1668, of land above Birmingham. This is the more probable as the gathering of the Indians at Chuse-town was made of the remnants of those who had dwelt lower down on both rivers, the Pootatuck and Paugassett. The name Ckuse, therefore, may have been an abbreviation of his full name, which was a very fashionable custom in those days for English as well as Indians, and not the result of Indian accent in pronouncing the word choose.
Another deed of lands partly in Stratford and partly in Derby was signed by this same sachem and fourteen Pootatuck Indians, which included a tract of land larger than the present town of Derby, covering a large portion of the Great Neck.26
In the next year (1674), in March, two parcels of land were deeded, one to Jabez Harger, and the other to Jonas Tomlinson, his brother-in-law, in the vicinity of Horse hill,'2" and in the following April another piece to Samuel Riggs and Abel Gunn, extending the plantation to the north side of Horse hill and to Beaver brook.
"Be it known to all Christian people, Indians and others whom it may con. cern, that I Pocona and Ringo and Quoconoco and Whitnta who are right owners of one Island in the Great river Oantcnock where Mr. Goodyear had a trading house and also the lands on both sides of the river, we do by this present writing grant . . unto Henry Tomlinson of Stratford the above mentioned island and the land on both sides the river three miles down the river southeast and the land on both sides the river upward northwest, which amounts to seven miles in length and accordingly of each side the river three miles in breadth which amounts to six miles in breadth; all which tract of land and island, to have . . We confess to have received one piece of cloth and other good pay to our satisfaction. April 25, 1671.
Pocono, his mark. Tone, the second son of
his mark, his mark, his mark, his mark, his mark, his mark."
" Be it known unto all men to whom this present writing shall come that we whose names are hereunto subscribed being Indians belonging to Paqunocke that whereas we have had formerly interest in those lands lying within the bounds of Stratford ; the aforesd lands being made over by our predecessors when the English came first to sit down in these parts; we do therefore for our parts jointly and severally confirm, etc., forever, all that tract of land aforesd being bounded on the west with Fairfield bounds, . . the north bounds being the Halfway river, the east bounds being the Stratford river, and the south bounds the sound or sea. May 25, 1671.
Jabez Harger was the first settler in this vicinity east of Samuel Riggs, and Dr. John Hulls the next, but apparently did not remove his family thither until 1673 or later. The Weeds, spoken of by Mr. J. W. Barber as among the first settlers in this vicinity, came after 1700, and if here, then were they scarcely settlers at Derby Landing as represented by the same writer.
Sucskow, his mark. Musquatt, his mark.
Susqua James, " " Nesinpaes, " "
Peowse, " " Sasepaquan, " "
Totoquan, " " Shoran, " "
Tatiymo, " "
This deed was confirmed in 1684, by the following:
Papuree, his mark. Chickins, his mark.
Ponamscutt, " " Sashwake James, " "
Aennhe, " " Crehero, " "
Robin, " " Nasquero, " "
Matach, " " Cheroromogg, " "
Siacus, " "
Oct. 8, 1671. A receipt was signed by the following in full acknowledging the receipt of " 20 pounds of lead, five pounds of powder, and ten trading cloth coats, the which we acknowledge to be the full satisfaction for all lands lying within the bounds of Stratford.
Musquatt, his mark. Sassapagrem
or Piunquesh, his mark."
17 For and in consideration of one Indian coat in hand paid by Jabez Harger of Pagasett and other considerations . . one parcel of land . . adjoining to the said Hargers land and John Hulls, south and east, bounded with a rock north as high as Plum meadow, and bounded with the west side of Horse Hill. Also to Jonas Tomlinson ten acres lying on the south of Horse Hill.
Indian witness, < >kenug, his mark.
Husks, his mark.
*" I Okenuck, sole and only sagamore of Pagasett do sell . . to Samuel Riggs and Abel Gunn . . a parcel of land called . . Horse hill, bounded on the south with a brook, and on the east with a swamp and the Indians land, on the north with 2 brook, and on the northwest and southwest with two brooks called Beaver brook and Horse Hill brook; for and in consideration of one blanket by me.
April 20. 1674. Okenuck, his mark."
In the autumn of 1673. as indicated by the following record, a very important enterprise was planned and put in form to be executed in due time, with a precision becoming the dignity of what was regarded in those days, the great component part of a plantation. Abel Gunn wrote the record with the most careful definiteness, ornamenting the commencement of every line with a capital letter, and although it may appear odd, there is about as much propriety and beauty in it as in the present custom of ornamenting poetry in the same way.
11 Item. At a lawful meeting of the inhabitants of pagasett together with those proprietors of Slraiford And Mil ford that have some land in improvement there, mtvember iS, 1673. It was voted and agreed that they would build Mr. John Bowers a dwelling house 36 feet In length and 18 feet and a half in breadht and story an half in height Mr. Bowers Finding what glass, nails, and iron works that shall be necessary for the house; this is to be finished so as Mr. Bowers may live in it with his family by the next May Ensuing the date above written.
" Item. It was agreed between Mr.
flowers and the inhabitants of Papasttt that in case the said
Mr. Bowers should come to the possession of this house if he should be taken away by death
Within the space of .six years, thai then this house shall be to his heirs and assigns
For ever, but in case the Lord continues his life he haih not ihe power of dispo
Sal of it in way of selling until he hath fulfilled the just time of six years with
Them in the Ministry; but afier the term of six years Mr. Bowers hath full power
Of the disposal nf the above said house and in case Mr. Bowers shall see case within
The space of this six years to remote from them it is always provided that the
Inhabitants shall pay him for what it is any ways better by his improvement and then
The [house] to remain to the inhabitants
Item. The inhabitants at the same time have
agreed with John Hulls to build this house
I) intentions as above said for the value of 33 pounds, the condition of which agre-
Ment is this that the said John Hulls shall do nil the timber work concerning
This house and get the planks for the lower floors; the inhabitants do eng.i-
Ge to grt the clapboards and shingles and to cart all the timber; they also engage
Aredinessto help in case they are called and desired by John Hulls provided ihey
Have a day's warning before hand; and for every days work this winter season
Till March they are to be allowed two shillings a day, and after the first of Mar-
Ch they are to have as 6d. per day.
" Item. At the same time Mr. Hawley,
Nicholas Camp, John Beard, Henry Tomlinson & John Urins-
Mead did engage 20 pounds towards the building of the house hi equal proportion amo-
Ngst themselves; and to pay ten pounds if it be demanded at the rearing and ten pounds
At the covering of the house and because of present distance they are to be cxemp-
Ted from particular days works about the building 29
" Item. It is agreed by the inhabitants that they will cause to be paid to Mr. Bowers After the first year, from year to year the full and just sum of ^35 in such Ways as may best suit his needs, either in work or otherwise, they still maintaining him with firewood such as may be comfonable from time to time.
" Item. As to the fiist year, seeing the inhabitants are like to be at great expences in Building; Mr. Bowers, is willing to take up with what the inhabitants shall or will Voluntarily do for that year.
" Item. But in case the house return to the inhabitants upon the terms specifiEd, then they shall pay unto Mr. Bowers the proportion of the first years salary As they paid the second year.
hey all resided then in Stratford.
" Item. The inhabitants do allow Mr.
Bowers, laacres in his house lot. 6 acres on Senti-
Nel hill, 20 aero on Horse hill, as soon as it is purchased ; which land he hath
Upon the same terms he hath the house abovu said.
Mr. Bowers desires and the inhabitants do grant him a watering place in
His home lot, and the improvement of the parsonage, upland and meadow. These
Articles of agreement between Mr. John Bowers and the inhabitants, of Paugassett,
As also between John Hulls and the inhabitants there, as also what the pro-
Pr.etors engage and consented to at a lawful day and year above
Written 1 say have mutually consented that these articles and every part
Of these particulars shall be recorded and to stand firm in law to all true
Intents and purposes whatsoever."
The Colonial law for the maintenance of ministers was as follows :
"Whereas the most considerable persons in these Colonies came into these parts of America that they might enjoy Christ in his ordinances, without disturbance; and whereas among many other precious mercies, the ordinances are and have been dispensed among us with much purity and power, The Commissioners took it into serious consideration, how some clue maintenance according to God might be provided and settled, both for the present and future, for the encouragement of the ministers who labor therein, and conclude to propound and commend it to each General Court, that those that are taught in the word in the several plantations be called together, that every man voluntarily set down what he is willing to allow to that end and use ; and if any man refuse to pay a meet proportion, that then he be rated by authority in some just and equal way ; and if after this any man withhold or delay due payment the civil power to be exercised as in other just debts."30
In 1672. a lot called sometimes the minister's lot, at others the parsonage lot, was fenced since the one so laid in 1665, in the village had been sold, or exchanged, and the lot rented yearly ; and it was the use of this that Mr. Bowers asked.
It will be observed that the record says repeatedly that the inhabitants make these agreements ; which was according to the matter of fact, there being no other way since Paugassett was neither a town nor an ecclesiastical society in a town. Ecclesiastically they were a part of Milford. and paid to the support of the minister there, where they attended church, and all that was paid for preaching in Paugassett before it became Derby was in addition to the paying of their full share at Milford. There were services here before 1675, as Mr. Bowers was here as early as 1672. Those men, therefore, of Stratford who owned land here, must pay their full tax in Stratford, and then their tax on Paugasett land for the support of preaching in Milford, and then in a voluntary way for the minister in Paugasett, if they desired to prove that a minister could be maintained in this last place. Mr. Bowers's house was built according to contract, and he probably took possession of it as soon as finished.
Preparations being made at this time under the expectation that the Court at its coming session would do something for them, the voters assembled and arranged some rules for the
ADMISSION OF INHABITANTS.
"April 16, 1675. The inhabitants of Paugasuck being sensible of the great inconvenience of men coming and taking up land and not dwelling and improving it according to the expectation of the inhabitants, dn now order and agree that all which shall be entertained for inhabitants, for time to come, shall build a sufficient house according to law, and fence in his home lot and convenient outland, and inhabit constantly for the space of four years after the jrrant of all such lands, and that all persons that have and do take up land upon this grant, if they do not fulfill the order and shall go from the place and not fulfill these conditions shall forfeit all his and their grant of land and pains about it except the inhabitants see cause to favor him or them."
If such conditions were granted, at the present day, on the unimproved lands of the United States, they would be eagerly accepted by hundreds of thousands yearly. The grant usually made was four acres as a home lot, or lot to build on ; eight or ten acres of upland or tillable land, and as much more in swamp, or meadow; making twenty or twenty-four acres. The home lot was to be fenced, and the individual was to take his part in the fences about the large fields if he had lands within them ; and must " build a sufficient house and inhabit four years," and then the land became his forever.
" General Court at Hartford, May 13, 1675. PON the motion of Joseph Hawkins and John Hulls to have the privileges of a plantation granted to the inhabitants of Pawgassett there being about twelve families settled there already and more to the number of eleven preparing settlement forthwith, and that they have engaged a minister to come and settle amongst them speedily, and have expended about one hundred pounds in preparing a house for the minister; This Court for their encouragement do grant them the power and privilege of a plantation ; and for their bounds, this Court do reserve power in their hands to settle their bounds (when they are informed of the state of those lands,) so as may be most accommodating and least inconvenient to the said Pawgasuck and the new town going up at Mattatock; and do order that the future dispose of lands within the bounds to be granted them and settlement of what is purchased already for improvement, shall be oidered and disposed by the committee appointed by this Court to see to the settlement of both the bounds and distribution of lands, so as may be best for the upholdment of a plantation as is now granted to them ; which committee is Capt. John Nash, Capt Wm. Curtiss, Lieut. Thomas Munson.
" The plantation of Pawgasuck is by this Court named Derby,' and is freed from Country Rates for three years next following, they defraying their own charges."
THE TWELVE FAMILIES WERE:
Edward Wooster, Stephen Pierson,
Francis French, John Hulls,
Joseph Hawkins, Jeremiah Johnson,
Samuel Riggs, Jabez Harger,
Ephraim Smith, Ebenezer Johnson,
Abel Gunn, John Tibballs.
Those intending " to come in forthwith," and who had received grants of land, were:
Mr. John Bowers, George Beaman,
Dea. Abel Holbrook, John Brinsmade,
Capt. John Beard, Henry Tom 1 in son,
Nicholas Camp, Jonas Tomlinson,
Joseph Hawley, Henry Botsford,
All settled here within a few years except Mr. Hawley; Henry Tomlinson and Mr. Camp did not come in for some years, if at all.
The fact of being organized into a plantation guaranteed all the powers and privileges of an ecclesiastical society without a separate organization. The plantation, (or town as they began to call such organizations about that time,) held all powers which have since been delegated to ecclesiastical societies to provide for the preaching of the gospel, and thus it continued more than one hundred years, and there probably were no records other than town records of ecclesiastical doings in this parish until after the Revolution. The church proper kept records from the first, as is indicated in one or two town records which have been seen, but nothing of these can now be found.
A MINISTER ENGAGED.
Rev. John Bowers had been preaching here some time when the record of November, 1673, was made, and the proposition of the town to settle him and provide for his support proffered and accepted by him. He was in Branford, it is said, in 1671, and may have come here in the next year, but the probability is that he came first in the summer of 1673, and after a few months the proposition to settle him was fully considered and the conclusion reached as recorded, upon one condition, namely, that the Assembly would grant them to be a separate plantation, for they could not continue to pay to the support of Milford church and support their own many years, as they were then situated.
Mr. Bowers's house was most likely built in the winter according to the agreement, and probably he made his home in it in the spring of 1674, as proposed. This house was located on the hill in the vicinity where the first meeting house was located : since his land is said in the records to have joined that of Francis French, Samuel Riggs and Jeremiah Johnson.
A vote of the town was passed in February, 1674, " that all lands granted and claimed within the bounds of Pawgassett should pay to the full maintenance of the minister, and that the minister's maintenance shall be levied by no other estate, but only by lands, and all lands shall be laid out and prized to tillable lands either in quantity or quality." So that those who had accepted grants of land, whether they occupied them or not, must pay their full share according as their land rated in the classes. The classes were as follows, being appraised in 1670, for Derby, by the court: " House lands twenty shillings per acre, other improved lands one-fourth part twenty shillings per acre, the other three-fourths ten shillings per acre, and all other lands improved [without] fence, one shilling per acre."
Such were the efforts made by these few settlers at this time, in a deep, thick wilderness, to secure homes and the ordinances of the Gospel A little while, only, they were to live and labor, and then go hence to return no more. The Gospel brought the only hope of any good beyond their earthly toils, and without that, the wilderness, though it should blossom with every joy and comfort beside, would be but a wilderness of fears and death. The efforts of these persons were really wonderful, amazing! Twenty-three families, twelve only in the place, support a minister nearly two years, while at the same time paying their full share of ministerial tax elsewhere, and building a minister's house at a cost of one hundred pounds, and they in a new country, with but little land cleared upon which to raise any produce. In half of the twelve families the parents were married only a few years, and had but little with which to lay the foundation of their life work on new farms. Under these circumstances the struggle for success was beyond description. But three ways were open before them ; to go without the Gospel, or go to Milford, or support a minister at home. Nearly twenty years some of them had gone to Milford on Sunclay and back, to obtain all the good they had had from the means of grace, and they knew quite well how much that cost.
A story is still told which illustrates the religious character of the people of that day and the perils of the wilderness. The occurrence must have taken place between 1670 and 1673. A family by the name of Johnson, (and there was but one here then,) before services were held in Paugassett, consisted of small children and the parents. The father went to Milford on Sunday morning to the meeting to remain to the two services. The mother was engaged dressing the children for the Sabbath, when sitting near the door which stood open, she heard some animal near it, and thought it to be a hog. But the next sound seemed different from such an animal, and she reached and shut the door which fastened with a latch, making it quite secure. She then rose and made it more secure by the usual method, and went upstairs and looked out the window to see what creature it was, when, lo! a bear of full size and power was seen. She took the gun, it being loaded for just such interesting occasions, and exercising the best of her skill, fired, and old bruin gave up his life at once. The hours of that day went slower in that house than ever before, until the master came. On arriving home the husband called the neighbors in general campconsultation as to whether it would be wicked to eat that bear, since he was killed on Sunday, for had it occurred on any other day except a fast day, there would have been no question, as such meat was judged quite delicious and healthful. The decision of the council was that since it was "killed in self-defense it would be Christian!}' consistent to eat the meat;" although how the bear could have entered the house to the injury of the family after being fastened out, is not easy to sec at this late distance. The decision having been rendered, the animal lay untouched until the sun was quite down, when he was dressed, and furnished some two hundred pounds of provision. But it had cost a severe fright to that mother and her little ones. So far as she could judge the bear might be dead and harmless, or he might not; she could not venture out to see, and there she remained six hours in a prison of fear. Nor were the people without their apprehensions of such visitors every day. After the father of this family had left that morning, another family on their way to Milford meeting, called, and the woman had it in her mind to propose to stay with the mother and children instead of going to the meeting, as she apprehended danger imminent to such a family.
Hence it was that this people petitioned so often and earnestly for the organization of a plantation, for with that would come the minister, the meeting services in their own vicinity, and new planters, as well as officers for the protection of life.
When, therefore, the young people of the present day propose to laugh at the faith of the old people, it would be well to consider how much those old people did and endured because of their faith, without which we should never have enjoyed the national grandeur and blessings which are now our inheritance. As well might a son smite his father for loving him as for the favored sons of the nineteenth century to laugh at the faith of their fathers of the seventeenth.
Most perfectly does the language of Dr. A. Beardsley paint the contrast between the old'and the new; the former days and the latter, and how much we are indebted to those who endured as seeing that which should be, but died without the sight.
"A simple narrative of events often becomes a mirror, reflecting the good or ill, the great or ignoble of mankind. In our small and ancient settlements germinated the government of this western world, which has so long provoked the admiration and terror of despotic Europe.
Our commonwealth was among the first to lead the way. The little Colonies began upon the shores of the sea-coast and the principal rivers, and as they became extended it required their combined power to protect themselves against the savage, who might justly have styled himself king in his own land. The settlements, uniting in a common defense and for a common humanity, found it inconvenient to assemble their freemen, and deputies were convened to enact laws and regulations, deriving authority directly from the people. The head of the family was the mouth-piece, the ruling, governing principle ; tainted by no bribery, corruption, fraud or inglorious love of money, and
thus originated the purest democracy the world ever saw. The river settlements and those emanating therefrom voluntarily attached themselves to the center at Hartford, while those upon the sea-shore joined New Haven, but in time it was more reasonable and more safe to connect the two, and thus we had given us under one name, Connecticut. From the river and shore Colonies, peopled mostly from Massachusetts and fresh importations, emanated a second class of settlements branching out into the country.
Derby, long known by the Indian name of Paugassett, was one of this class, and she has the honor of being the first inland settlement made up the Naugatuck valley. Being an offshoot from Milford, Stratford, and New Haven, the pioneers were few, and her early growth gradual. Just two hundred and twentysix years ago the sturdy Englishman, guided by the river banks with no pathway save the Indian's trail, set foot upon this soil, to survey in wonder and pious devotion these hills and this valley in all their primitive loveliness. Shining rivers, laughing brooks, trees and flowers in all their wild variety, through changing seasons spake their Maker's praise, while the wilderness was enlivened by birds, savage beasts, and still more savage man.
How great, how astonishing, the change as we look out upon this amphitheater of picturesque scenery, teeming with her population of thousands, noisy with the roar of waters, the hum of machinery, the shudder of gongs, the shriek of the steam whistle, and the varied voices of industry and enterprise, all blending and harmonizing in one perpetual song of development and progress!
As we look back through the dim retrospect and trace the early footprints of barbarism down to the higher walks of civilization, and then consider what grandeur the principles of this civilization has wrought out within this brief period, how refreshing, how consoling the thought that our lot has been cast in more favored times. Nor should we forget or despise the endurance, the courage and the faith of those who have <riven us this inheritance. These early settlers had within them elements of success, besides a divinity of purpose, and like most of the New England settlers, were descended from the upper stratum of society ; the very brain, bone and muscle of the Old World. The more we study the more we admire the simplicity and honesty of their character. They came to this country for high and noble pursuits, and among these they chose to worship God after the dictates of their own conscience. They had their failings, incident to humanity, for which they have ever been ridiculed and criticised by writers and travelers, but some author in his warm defense of the Pilgrims has ventured the remark that, " God sifted a whole nation that he might send good grain into the western wilderness."
The long toil of twenty years in the wilderness was sufficient to convince the stately General Court at Hartford that it would be safe to grant the humble petition of these faithful subjects and to condescend to meet the demands of justice, which had long laid prostrate at their feet. There is something pitifully ignoble in the deliverance of the court when granting the petition. "This court for their encouragement do grant." They did not need encouragement, having shown a marvelous amount of courage in themselves under the puerile reproaches of the New Haven court, and the surprising indecision of the General Court. One writer has stated that a general rule had been established in the state that no less than thirty families would constitute sufficient foundation for the organization of a plantation, but this is an error. The court judged that in this case such a number would seem to be the least that could be trusted to sustain the grant if once given. But had not this little company surpassed all their surrounding neighbors in supporting a plantation in fact years before the honor was conferred upon them ? And not only so, but had they not all the time been helping poor Milford pay her minister, repair her meeting-house, and discharge her town obligations, besides killing the wolves to save her sheep, and for which she refused to make any considerations to the hero, Edward Wooster ? Twelve families at Paugassett, pleading for the privileges granted to, and sustaining themselves equally with, one hundred and fifty families at Milford ! Need of encouragement! " This Court, emulating the courage of the planters at Paugassett, do grant, pledge our support" would have sounded far better for that Assembly after those twenty years of stinted confidence. At the very start the New Haven court, by the weight of its own power, after fully establishing the plantation, broke it down, and then complained of the want of energy of the planters, 'and threatened to make their village a desolation if they did not do something worthy of themselves. How often since that day has the same spirit ruled ? The strong, well-fed man ; the rich, the honored, have tauntingly asked, Why does not Mr. Jones rise up and show himself a man ? Why does not Mr. Smith use his money so as to make himself somebody ? And then place their iron heels upon the necks of the same men at each different business transaction in life, and grind them until the mystery is that there is any courage or manliness left.
But at last Derby had a n&me and a place in the little constellation then rising along the shore of a mighty continent.
Scarcely had the town time to elect its officers after receiving the glad tidings of its authority, when the sound of terrible war rolled over the whole land ; and worst of all, an Indian war. King Philip had kindled the fires, and the smoke began to be seen. On the first day of July, 1675, intelligence of the breaking out of the Indian war in Plymouth Colony, and of the danger to which the eastern towns in Connecticut were exposed was received from New London and Stonington by the governor and council, and the governor convened the court on the ninth of the same month to take action in the matter. The reports, which were found afterwards to be too true, represented that the Indians were in arms in Plymouth and in the Narragansett country, that they had assaulted the English, slain about thirty persons, burned some houses, and were engaging other Indians as far as possible " by sending locks of some English they have slain, from one place to another." The court appointed a council to have this matter in charge after the adjournment of that body, and ordered troops to be raised and dispatched as speedily as possible to the relief of the people in the eastern part of the state. Evidences soon came that the Long Island Indians were being persuaded to join in the effort for a general extermination of the English.
In addition to all this, Governor Andros, then of New York, being informed of the Indian troubles, appeared at Saybrook on the 8th of July, 1675, with two sloops bearing armed forces, under pretense of rendering aid against the Indians, gave the Colonies great suspicion that he was secretly inciting the Indians to this hostility and general uprising against the English, in order to wrest from the Colonies their liberties.
In a letter sent by the General Court at Hartford, dated July i, 1765, to the magistrates at New Haven and the south-western towns, after describing the perils of the time, it is said : " The people of Stonington and New London send for aid, and accordingly we purpose to send them forty-two men to-morrow, and have given order to ye several plantations here to put themselves in a posture of defence speedily ; and these lines are to move yourselves forthwith, to see that the same care be taken in your parts for your security, and that all the plantations have notice hereof, both Guilford and so onward to Rye, that they also be complete in their arms, with ammunition according to law."
The hostility of the Indians was confined apparently to those of the eastern part of the state, and Major Robert Treat of Milford being made commanding general of the forces of Connecticut, was sent to the eastern part of the state, taking the soldiers raised by proportion from the plantations. How many went from Derby* is not definitely known, but taking all the drafts made in the summer of 1675, a few must have been taken, although the council very thoughtfully directed that in this matter the " smaller plantations be considered and favored in the press."
Revs. Mr. Bowers and Mr. Walker say in their address to the General .Court, after the war, that there were more taken from Derby and Woodbury than was the proportion for those towns.
On the sixth of August, the>Council ordered that: "The Providence of God permitting the heathen to make disturbance amongst the English by hostile attempts upon them, hath occasioned forces already to be sent forth, and brings a necessity upon us to take special order, therefore, that all persons be duly prepared and provide with arms and ammunition according to law; and therefore upon this urgent and necessitous occasion the council hath seen special reason to declare and order that all those who are to provide arms and ammunition according to law, meet on Monday morning next by sun an hour high at the meeting house, in their respective plantations, upon the penalty of the forfeiture of five shillings for non-appearance, there to attend such farther directions as shall be given them in charge by their commanders."
Although the Derby people had no meeting-house at which to assemble, yet there must have been gathered that morning fifteen or twenty soldiers at the accustomed place of worship, to be examined as to their compliance with the law in providing themselves with guns, ammunition and war equipments, and while they gathered Indians were near observers on every side.
There was not at this time any regularly organized military company in the town, but as they were to take care of the interests in their own town, it is probable that some minor officer was appointed by Milford, if there were none in regular standing in Paugassett.
On the first of September next, the Council being informed that " the Indians being in a hostile manner, prepared with their arms near Pawgasuck, and Mr. Bryan had posted to them for help," and that other demonstrations of hostility in the western part of the state were manifested, recalled Major Treat from the east to Hartford to protect the people. This is the first and the only mention in the records of hostility by the Paugassett Indians or their neighboring brethren. The Milford Indians complained to the Council about this time of severe treatment by the English, and the council wisely and properly ordered that special care should be observed not to give the Indians reason for unkind feelings.
It was ordered also (Sept. 3), " that in the several plantations of the Colony there be kept a sufficient watch in the night, which watch is to be continued from the shutting in of the evening till the sun rise," and that one-fourth part of each town be in arms every day by turns, to be a guard in their respective plantations ; to be ordered and disposed as the chief military officers shall appoint; and all soldiers from sixteen to seventy years of age, (magistrates, commissioners, ministers, commission
officers, school masters, physicians and millers excepted,) are to attend their course of watch and ward as they shall be appointed. It is also ordered that, during these present commotions with the Indians, such persons as have occasion to work in the fields shall work in companies, if they be half a mile from town, not less than six in a company, with their arms and ammunition well fixed and fitted for service. And whosoever shall not attend these foregoing orders shall forfeit for every defect, five shillings, provided it be complained of within fourteen days ; any one Assistant or Commissioner to hear and determine any one such defect."
At the same time it was ordered that "whosoever shall shoot oft" a gun without command from some magistrate or military commander, until further order be given by authority, he shall forfeit for every such transgression the sum of five shillings."
It was under such circumstances that Derby asked advice of the Court what they should do to secure themselves from harm, and received this answer: "Oct. 14, 1674. The Court return that they judge it the best and safest way to remove their best goods and their corn, what they can of it, with their wives and children, to some bigger town, who, in a way of Providence, may be in a better capacity to defend it, and that those that stay in the town do well fortify themselves and stand upon their guard, and hasten their removal of their corn as aforesaid what they may ; and all inhabitants belonging to the place may be compelled by warrant from any Assistant to reside there until this may be done. The like advice is by this court given to all small places and farms throughout this colony to be observed."
It will be seen by this that all were to remain until the corn was mostly gathered, which would be but about a month, but it soon became more apparent that the Mohegan and Pequot Indians and the Indians west of the Connecticut river, were not in the league against the English and could be trusted as friends, and as allies in defending the colonies. And the first fright of the people on the Ousatonic having passed away, and the fact that the Indians of Milford had appealed to the court for protection, gave strong assurances that the western planters were comparatively safe.
That Mr. Bowers and some of the other families removed to Milford that winter is quite certain,3 but it is also quite certain that a number of them remained and continued their work as usual, with doubtless the observance of the suggestions intimated by the court. Although they built no regular fort, they may have fortified their houses4 as well as their hearts, in a comparatively secure manner, and especially so, so long as the Indians of Derby were friendly and on the watch for the enemy. The transactions of the town recorded in the spring and summer of 1676, show that the place was not deserted, but that the spirit of enterprise and progress still reigned triumphant with that marvelously persevering community. What they could not withstand has not yet been written, if ever it shall be.
In the spring of 1676, several town meetings were held ; a grant of land was made to Mr. Bowers of three acres of David's meadow; Edward Wposter was engaged to make a " highway through the Long lot and the fishing place to the most convenient place to carry corn and other goods, or land them, . . the highway is to be a sufficient highway for two carts to pass." And in the autumn of that year they were active in the same manner, appropriating and laying out lands, and making improvements.
When the Assembly granted them the powers and privileges of a town, a committee was appointed to fix a place for a ferry and settle some matters of dispute as to lands which had been purchased by individuals above Birmingham, or on what was then called the Neck, which included land between the Ousatonic and Naugatuck rivers, which the town claimed the right to control, and to make apportionment to the purchasers in common with the other inhabitants. This land had been purchased in two parcels, forming a belt across the Neck, the northern boundary being at Four-mile brook and across to what is now West Ansonia, or thereabout.
"In October, 1676, Mr. liowers with Rev. Mr. Walker of Woodbury, addressed a letter to the General Court, saying: "We make bold before our return to request this honored court to resolve us in one important inquiry, namely: In case the war with the Indians should be again renewed, what may we expect and trust to, from the authority of this colony, in order to our protection ?"
'We learn from President Stiles's History of the Judges, that Edward Riggs's house was fortified in the years of the early settlement, and if so, was probably again made as a fort for the people to resort to if necessary, during the Indian war of 1675.
The report is a little lengthy, but shows the progress of settlement, and some old landmarks of importance. Mr. Joseph Hawley and Jonas Tomlinson of Stratford, had made one of these purchases, and the former had built a house on his land in the vicinity now known as Baldwin's Corners, and Mr. Tomlinson had commenced a house at the same place. The work of the committee was concluded in February 1676ï¿½7, but reported the following May.
At the time of the appointment of this committee, the Court ordered that the town of Stratford should lay out a country highway, from their town to Pawgasuck, in the most convenient place where the ferry shall be settled."
THE REPORT OF THAT COMMITTEE.
Derby, February, 1676.
At a meeting of the Committee, appointed by the General Court, May, 1675, to state a place for a ferry and a highway from it to Woodbury, and for the distribution of lands in settlement of the place etc.
And first concerning the ferry, they order and appoint it to be at the lower end of the old Indian field, and that little piece of land between the rocks and the gully or creek, to be for a place to build any house or houses upon, and yards for securing of goods or cattle that may be brought to the ferry, from VVoodbury. Mattatuck etc
Also for the encouragement of a ferryman, they appoint eight acres of land out of the said old field, next adjoining the aforesaid little piece of land, beginning at the said gully or creek, to be Jaid out from the highway by the river to the hill, of a like breadth in front and rear, and upon the hill fourteen acres of land adjoining to the aforesaid rocks and land on the southwest of it, with an highway to the ferry from the highway that goeth from Joseph Hawkins ; and also six acres of swamp or low land upon that hill against the said old field, as near and as convenient as may be for the making of meadow ; and also a proportion with others of tillable land upon the hills in any common field that shall be fenced in for the inhabitants that dwell above the ferry upon that Neck; and also commonage with other inhabitants proportionably.
Also they do appoint a highway of four rod wide from the said ferry by the river side upward towards Woodbury, unto the upper end of the aforesaid old field unto the highway that is now used towards Woodbury, and also that the highway from Joseph Hawkins's house to Mr. Hawley's lie where, or very near where it now doth.
Lieutenant Joseph Judson, declared that if the inhabitants of Derby, would put in a ferryman in convenient time, they were content, or else upon notice given they of Woodbury would put in one whom the town of Derby should approve for an inhabitant, and that without any charge to Derby or the country.
DISTRIBUTION OF LANDS.
And for the distribution of lands and settlement, for the farthering the plantation of Derby, they have viewed the lands and considered the state of things there, and finding some difficulties and inconveniences, there having been several tract-* of land purchased by several persons at several times, both of English and Indians, and after consideration for the best good of the place, with their best judgment, order as follows ; first, for the lands on the Great Neck. Mr. Hawly having built a house upon one which himself with Jonas Tomlinson had from the Indians, they do appoint unto the said Mr. Hawly and Jonas Tomlinson all that land both above and below and the said house which they have fenced and improved, and also all the rest of the improvable lands for tillage or orchards below the hills, within that purchase to the river ; and also any low and swampy land, to make meadow, which is within that said purchase ; and that the said Mr. Hawly and Jonas Tomlinson. (he one having built a house and the other having begun to build, do finish each of them a dwelling house, and both of them dwell upon it and become inhabitants there, or settle each of them an inhabitant approved by the town, within one year next ensuing, or else the town of Derby or such as the Court shall appoint shall have power to dispose of the said lands and homesteads to such as will come and settle inhabitants with them, and they divide their proportions as they may agree: secondly, for the rest of the lands below the said Hawley's, between the river and the hill (to wit. that plane where the old fort stood, and the adjoining land and the old field, as low as the ferry land) be divided unto at least six or seven inhabitants, and they to have home lots at the upper end towards Mr. Hawley's, and each or them four acres to his home lot, and to be at as little distance from each other as the place will bear, and the rest of the said plane and old field to be equally divided among those six or seven, and that the low, moist or swamp ground upon the hills be laid out to the said six or seven in proportion, to make meadow, after the six acres for the ferry is laid out as aforesaid; and also any land that is fit for tillage upon the hills (within the purchase from Mr. Bryan) shall be divided among the seven or more inhabitants, and also any farther field or fields that the aforesaid seven or more inhabitants together with the ferryman shall have need of and desire to take in and improve upon the hills above Mr. Hawley's house until each of them have his quantity of fifty acres beside swamp land for meadow,*leaving liberty to the town to add to a man of more than ordinary use among them twenty acres, or within that quantity as they shall see cause. And then the rest of the lands within that neck to lie in common, until the town or such as the Court shall appoint, see cause farther to dispose for encouragements of inhabitants there.
Thirdly, that Plum meadow and the adjacent land is by estimation about twenty acres, lying on the east side the river that cometh from Naugatuck, be divided to accommodate at least two inhabitants.
William Curtiss, V Committee.
The Court confirmed all the above, except granting Mr. Hawley and Mr. Tomlinson longer time to settle their land.
The Old field was a cleared tract of land lying west of the Naugatuck a little back from the river, extending so far as to include about sixty acres.
The Old Indian fort, stood near Baldwin's Corners, a little south possibly. The New Indian fort was on the east bank of the Ousatonic, on what has been known many years as the Talmadge Beardsley place. The old fort must have been built before the English came to the place, and the new one after they came, as it is said to have been built on the river bank for the purpose of preventing the English sailing up the river.
In 1678, this land was laid out according to the directions of the Court; to Mr. Hawley, Mr. Tomlinson, and the ferry-man whoever he should be, and to the six men to whom were to be apportioned fifty acres each, who were : William Tomlinson, Samuel Brinsmade, Samuel Nichols, Isaac Nichols, afterwards one of the first deacons of the church, John Pringle and John Hubbell, all of whom settled in the town.
Plum Meadow, was a piece of land, as said, on the east side of the Naugatuck, and is probably that now occupied by the lower part of Ansonia; or it may have been half a mile up
Beaver brook. Of this meadow, twelve acres were allotted to Thomas Wooster, son of Edward, at this time, and some of it to his brother David, in 1680 ; and a part of it to Samuel Griffin, the blacksmith, in 1682.
But the difficulty between Mr. Hawley and the town as to these lands was not yet settled, and in 1679 Mr. Hawley had sued the town, and the town appointed Joseph Hawkins and Abel Gunn to defend in the trial. Mr. Hawley at the same time petitioned the Court for just pay for his land, and a full proportionment for his son, and the Court appointed the same committee as before, who rendered their decision promptly, but the matter did not become adjusted, and in 1679 the Court sent a committee to see the land measured ; the deeds which Mr. Hawley held (received from the Indians) delivered to the town, and the money paid, or guaranteed to Mr. Hawley. The committee made their report the next year, and Samuel, son of Joseph Hawley is spoken of, as owning the land at what is now Baldwin's Corners.
The following shows how the town paid Mr. Hawley.
March 31. 1680-81. Paid by the Town of Derby to Mr. Joseph Hawley of Stratford for his purchases on the Great Neck.
Item. Paid by Mr John Bowers 5 o
Paid by Jonas Tomlinson 6 8
Paid by Jonas Tomlinson ^17 o
Paid by Wm. Tomlinson 3 11 o
Paid by Jonas Tomlinson for Francis French 8 o
Apr. 13 Paid by 4 bushels, 3 pecks of Indian corn n 10 1-2
Paid by Francis French 8 9
Paid by a cow hide 33 Ibs. 2 oz 8 10 1-2
Paid by Indian corn 18 bushels & a peck 2 571-2
15 bushels & a half Indian corn i 18 9
Joseph Hawkins in Indian corn 012 o
a bushel summer wheat &DaBrinsmead o 17 5
Ibs. hops 10 10
Samuel Nichols 3 bushels & i 2 a peck
of wheat 18 i 1-2
Apr. 14 Mr. Isaac Nichols of Stratford 6 05 5
Mar. 15 Mr. Hawley one rate 6 o
March 31. 1680. Money paid by the town of Derby to Mr. Nicholas Camp for Mr. Joseph Hawley & by his appointment as the Court ordered us
One steer of two year old & upward z 17 6
By John Prindle to Mr. Camp 6 05 6
Per four yards & a half of cloth i 02 9
Per Ebenezer Johnson o 16 2
Per 7 bushels & half a peck of Indian corn &
i bushel & three pecks of rye i 491-2
March 31, 1680. Paid by the town of Derby to captain John Beard for Mr. Joseph Hawley & by his appointment . .
Paid by Mr. Bryans Bill i 15 6
Paid by two 2 year old steers 410 o
Paid by Mr. Richard Bryan 2 10 o
Paid by Flax 7 pounds & a quarter 6 o
Per Samuel Nichols 3 bushels 1-2 peck wheat 18 i 1-2 & 13 Ibs hops 10 10
Apr. 14. Paid by Isaac Nichols of Stratford in soap 555
No traditions are now heard about this ferry ; every one supposing that the first and only ferry was just above Derby Narrows. But several circumstances as well as as the wording of the report establish the locality of the ferry.
Woodbury was very much interested in the ferry and did finally plant it, as will be seen, but that people had no use for a ferry across the Ousatonic at old Derby landing, for they would not wish to cross the Ousatonic above Derby, for the sake of crossing it again below that place. The Derby people had no need of a ferry at that place for all lived some distance up the river. Again the people on the Neck did need some way to cross the Naugatuck when the water was high; and the only path or road out of the plantation, south or east, was from Old Town and several of them owned land which they cultivated on Sentinel hill, besides the meetings were held on the east side where they were about to build a church.
The ferry was established at the place where the old New Haven road now crosses the race between Ansonia and Birmingham on the west side of the Naugatuck valley, where was then the main bed of the Naugatuck river. Here was the " point of rocks," and " the gully " mentioned in the report, and the " little piece of land " on which to build houses for the protection of cattle and other merchandise that might come thither to be freighted across. Besides, the ferry-man's land was to join this little piece of land ; and when this land was laid out in 1683, the lot of one of the six men who were to be settled near Mr. Hawley's house was laid, bounding on Mr. Henry Williams's lot, who was the ferry-man, and both of these lots were in the old field. The location of Mr. Hawley's house is fixed very definitely by the town records in the vicinity of Baldwin's Corners.
When the committee made this report on a ferry, Woodbury offered to put in the ferry and furnish the ferry-man if Derby could not or did not do it. This offer they fulfilled upon the invitation of Derby. The agreement of Woodbury and the ferryman was by the faithful Abel Gunn recorded among the land deeds, where it might surely be a witness to the engagement.
"Woodbury Sept. 8, 1681. Be it known . . that we the Selectmen of Woodbury on the one part and Henry Williams on the other part in order to the settlement of a ferry at Derby, appointed by the General Court:
" First. That the said Henry Williams shall have the boat that belongs to the town of Woodbury, furnished and fixed as his own
That the said Henry Williams shall have as his ferryage for those of Woodbury that have occasion to improve him, if a single person and horse, then at six pence per time ferryage, and two persons with one horse eight pence ; two horses and two persons or more at four pence per person for each time ferried over.
It is concluded that this shall no ways hinder any travelers from Woodbury riding over the river at any season when with safety they may adventure.
" It is concluded that our interest in that accommodation settled by the aforesaid committee of a ferry with the consent and approbation of our neighbors and friends of Derby, shall be and remain the said Williams's absolute propriety duringjiis well and seasonable attending the said ferry, at his own charge and cost successively as it relates to providing boats forever.
That this is our mutual agreement is signified by our subscribing hereto.
Henry Hitt Joseph Judson
Elizabeth Minor John Minor
Henry X Williams"
The families as established on the west side of the Naugatuck river in 1681, as near as can be ascertained were Joseph Hawkins, John Pringle,* who may have resided a short time on the east side, William Tomlinson, son of Henry, of Stratford, Samuel Brinsmade, Samuel Nichols, Isaac Nichols, John Hubbell, who afterwards removed from the town, and Henry Williams, the ferry-man.
It does not appear, so far as seen, that any of Mr. Hawley's family had settled in the house he had built here. Samuel may have lived here a short time, but soon after he is said to be of Stratford. A large grant was made to him afterwards in the western part of the town, which he may have accepted in place of this at Baldwin's Corners.
There may have been other residents here who were not yet accepted as inhabitants. Isaac Nichols, sen., may have been proprietor instead of his son Isaac, or he may have resided with one of his sons, and yet he may have come later.
In 1677 town meetings were held nearly every month, and grants of land made on the usual conditions to Daniel Collins, Samuel Nichols, Josiah Nichols, Paul Brinsmade and William Tomlinson, who all afterwards settled in the town, probably within the two years following.
The town located several pieces of land for Mr. Bowers according to the agreement made in 1673; and the whole community seemed to put on new courage, without regard to what had passed. They do not seem to have once looked behind them, for, having escaped the land of bondage, they did not desire to go back, not even for leeks and onions, but rather to find the milk and honey of the land possessed and now their own in the truest sense.
Hence, early in the year they commence a movement of progress that would constitute them truly an independent people, so far as methods, privileges and established ordinances could secure that endï¿½the organization of a church. They had nobly wrought out, step by step, and scarcely more than a step at a time were they allowed to go by the authorities who should have lent a helping hand, their right to the privilege of a township.
One thing should not be forgotten ; that, whatever the character of the red man as generally reported, the Indians, in and around Derby, during the King Philip's war, were true friends to their neighbors, the white man, never harming one hair of his head, but the rather rendering important service, so far as all reports and records show, and hence the planters moved on, after a brief pause, almost as though no war had existed in the country ; and the taking possession of this old field, and building houses at the door of the Indians' wigwams caused the Indians to remove to the new Indian fort, and to Wesquantock.
GATHERING A CHURCH.
At Milford the church was first organized, then the town out of the church, or by the authority of the church. In Derby the town was first organized, then the church, by the authority of the town and the state.
"At a town meeting of Derby. Feb. 25, 1677. The Lord having by his providence called a company of his dear servants into this corner of the wilderness, calls upon us first to seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, which hath put several persons upon the enquiry of the town for their free will and consent to gather a church at Derby and to walk in a church and set up the ordinances of God according to gospel rules as near as we can attain, according to our best light. The town having had two meetings about the same. The first, all the inhabitants were willing, and gave their consent in the thing; at the second meeting which was Feb. 25, 1677. all gave their consent by word of mouth, not to hinder so great and so good a work, but do encourage to set upon it and will help to maintain if settled, and give their consent to ask counsel and consent of neighboring churches in order to a church gathering."
This done, a petition was prepared to set before the court the desire of the inhabitants ; which was dated May 6, 1678, and signed by John Bovvers, John Hulls and Joseph Hawkins. This petition appears in Mr. Bowers's handwriting, and is a wearisome thing to read, and if his preaching was like this writing.it would be a sufficient ordeal for all the grace common mortals obtain to hear him preach two sermons a week the year through.
On the 3Oth day of the next April (1678) the town appointed Joseph Hawkins and Abel Gunn to go to the General Court with the petition and secure its request, " provided it be for the good of the town." A certificate was given these men as their authority, signed by John Hulls and Samuel Riggs, and recorded on the town book by the faithful Abel Gunn.
In reply to this petition the court made its record dated at Hartford, May 9, 1678 :
" Upon the petition of the inhabitants of Derby this court do see good reason to grant the said people of Derby free liberty in an orderly way to settle themselves in a church state ; and do desire the Lord's gracious blessing presence to be with them, guiding and directing them therein.
"In regard to the troubles that have been there late years, the court see cause to remit unto the inhabitants of Derby their ordinary country rates for three years, to commence October next."
The troubles referred to were probably the partial removal of the inhabitants during King Philip's war, and the consequent losses and expenses.
No records of the organization and attendant ceremonies are to be found, but the " orderly way" enjoined by the court, and the request that the court should give its consent " to ask counsel and consent of neighboring churches in order to a church gathering," guarantee that the usual order and services were observed. There are no traditions as to where or in what house such services were held, nor whose was the house in which Mr. Bowers held services, some five years before the meeting-house was built, but with the spirit and devotion manifested there is no reason to doubt that ready accommodations were cheerfully offered in the dwelling-houses of the place. It is possible that the first three or four houses were log-houses, and after that others may have been built in the newer settlements, but after the laying out of the first land the houses seem to have been constructed with a frame and covered with clapboards and shingles; these being rived from the logs instead of sawed, there being no saw mill nearer than Milford at that time.
The organization of this church was strictly in accordance with law.6 They first asked authority of the town, next of the state (colony then), then the advice and consent of neighboring churches. No church could be organized at that time without consent of the court, no doing in church matters without such consent would have been legal, and all such illegal acts were punishable by law. When New Haven and Milford organized their churches they were under no jurisdiction, but with Derby it was very different. Nor is it surprising that it was so, for the colonists had come from the mother country, where the church was the state, and the state was the church as to authority in government.
Mr. Bowers was probably installed at the same time the church was organized. The only mystery in the lives of these planters is, that demanding certain rights of freedom, they could not see the propriety of granting the same to others. Aside from this they did surprisingly well.
It was a misfortune, or more definitely a want of wisdom, that when they sought to become more truly devoted to religious life, they went back three thousand years and placed themselves voluntarily under the old Mosaic laws, instead of taking the gospel of Christ as revealed in the sermon on the mount. However, it is just the same thing that is re-enacted over and over at the present day ; most of the dissenters from any denomination go back, for one thing or another, two hundred and a thousand years ; and some as far back as Moses, again, to find what they are pleased to call "the old paths." But this their folly is their ruin. Forward, not backward, says the gospel.
6" This Court orders that there shall be no ministry or Church administration entertained or attended by the inhabitants of any plantation in this colony district and separate from and in opposition to that which is openly and publicly observed and dispensed by the settled and improved minister of the place, except it be by approbation of the General Court and neighboring churches, provided always that this order shall not hinder any private meetings of godly persons to attend any duties that Christianity or religion call for, as fasts or conference, nor take place in such as are hindered by any just impediments on the Sabbath day from the public assemblies by weather and water and the like." Col. Rec. I, 311.
HOW THEY PAID TAXES.
At a general court held at Hartford October n, 1677, notices were sent to the towns as follows :
This court doth grant a rate of eight pence upon the pound upon all the ratable estate of the Colony, to discharge the country debts, to be paid in good and merchantable wheat, peas and Indian corn, pork and beef ; winter wheat at five shillings per bushel; corn at 2 shillings and six pence per bushel; pork at three pounds ten shillings per barrel . . and beef . . forty shillings per barrel ; always provided if there be above one third paid in Indian corn it shall be at two shillings per bushel."
This last item indicates what was the great article of exchange, because of the abundance of it. Corn grew everywhere except in the swamps, and rewarded the planter with larger profits than any other kind of grain. Wheat was the gold coin, or standard, for paying taxes or anything that must be paid, or in other words was demanded by law, but corn was the silver exchange, and fell a few grains short of the standard under some circumstances. However, in the simplicity of their arithmetical calculations they had not learned to equalize the matter by making the bushel a few grains short when the supply was abundant. That art was left for the high aspirations of later ages ; they could not compass all things in one generation
Possibly this abundance of corn and corn meal for bread was the foundation of that remarkable physical strength, great endurance and long life experienced by the people of the new settlements during the early times of pioneer life. Certain it is that Indian pudding was an article well known in Connecticut. In one town many years since a peddler sold his wares at different times and observing that the people of the principal road in the town always had hasty pudding at their meals, honored that part of the town with the name Pudding street, and from such glory that street has never yet escaped.
In the northern part of Litchfield, Conn., lived a sedate old captain, whose word was never doubted, who used to make the remark of honor to his wife, that she had made an " Indian pudding every day for forty years, Sundays excused." That was steady habits, as to food, sufficient for any granivorous enthusiast on the continent, in all probability.
Corn was the circulating medium more than a hundred years in Derby, and not much less than that time a legal tender, by colonial law, without depreciation of value, except when more than one-third of the taxes was paid in that commodity.
The methods and customs of living, were very simple at this time, and that of necessity, but were seasoned with more cultivation than became the practice one hundred years later. The necessity for perpetual work under circumstances of privation and great difficulties, had not a refining effect on society ; and add to this, the consequent very limited social opportunities, and want of general education, and there is a state of community favorable to indifference to culture, with a tendency to morbid roughness of manners and language, and hence, in the general, society degenerated during the first hundred years, rather than improved. The privations were greater at first, but afterward, habit made it honorable to make much out of little, and, to see, not how much comfort could be secured, but how much discomfort could be endured, and maintain a respectable existence. Sacrifices became the heroic idea, and men, women and children, were subjected to needless hardships, to test their physical powers and spirit of subjection to the idea of honor in sacrifices.
The year 1678, was one of great activity and considerable success. Lands were appropriated by small pieces, for special accommodation, and also to be rid of some pieces left in the divisions already made. The land continued to be parceled out by pieces of three, four, five and ten acres as at the beginning. The first settlers, supposed there could be no good meadow, except in the swamps, (an old country idea) and hence, every swamp was as carefully divided into pieces of two, three and four acres, as th'ough they were the very fountains of life. Every hill, covered with scattering cedars, was pieced out in the same way, for plow land. Sentinel hill, which then meant the whole elevated land for a mile and a half or more, east and southeast of the present Old town, (or Uptown) was parceled out into ten-acre pieces, and home lots of three acres, but several pieces were inclosed by one fence around the whole, making a lot of a hundred acres. Home lots of four acres were laid on Great hill after 1700, just the same, and the swamp and upland the same. Hence, there was much buying and selling of lots, in order to get the farms into one body. Whenever these sales or exchanges were made, no deeds (usually) were given, but the fact entered by the town clerk upon the records, and that was all. One book contains nearly all the deeds, exchanges, records of town meetings, marriages, deaths, births, marks of cattle, that were made before seventeen hundred. Besides, when the General Court enacted regulations effecting the town directly, that faithful recorder, Abel Gunn, wrote them in this book. In October, 1677, the Court sent him the nominations made for the next spring election, and down he put them, in this book, many of them in an abbreviated form, as Major Robt. Treat Esq., Cap. Ben Newberry, Mr. Sam Sherman, Mr. Ed Grisvvold, Cap. Dan Clark, Mr. Dan Wetherell, Leu. Rich Olmsted.
As to faithfulness, Abel Gunn was not surpassed, except in the record of births, and in that only by Rev. John James, who as Town Clerk made this entry : " At a town meeting, Jan. 13, Samuel Riggs, son of John and Elizabeth Riggs, was born, at Derby." " Born at a town meeting " would suggest, that young Samuel should have delayed important events, or the town meeting should have adjourned to another place. Promptness, however, has been characteristic of the Riggses, from Capt. Samuel, down, as is still witnessed by the appearance of the old farm, and hence, there could be no delay out of respect to a town meeting.
In this year it is recorded, that Joseph Gardner, having built a small house upon a lot that was formerly granted him upon conditions, which were never fulfilled, " therefore, the town have taken the forfeiture into their own custody, and sold it to Philip Denman for thirty shillings." If this was the usual cost of houses, they were not very safe fortifications against bears or Indians.
In laying out land this year on the Neck, the locations are designated by Paul's Plains, East hill, Indian field, Bar Plains ;
which last is supposed by some, to have meant Bare plains, but as there was another name for land a little further up the river, apparently called Baren plains, the former may have been called Bear plains, where the bears came to obtain grass.
Boundaries between adjoining towns received attention, both by the General Court and the town, and of the difficulties in this matter there was no end for a hundred years.
In April of this year, a tract of land was purchased of the Indians,7 at what is now Seymour village, lying on both sides of the Naugatuck river, including what is now district number five and district number four, to Bladen's brook, and extending east into Woodbridge and Bethany to Mill river. In this deed, a reservation was made by the Indians of" the fishing place at Naugatuck and the plain and the hill." This was probably mostly on the east side of the river, but may have, by the term " fishing place," taken in some land on the west side. This was the land on which Chuse and his company settled. Mr. J. W. Barber says Chuse's father, gave him this land, then called the Indian field. But this was the reservation of the Paugasuck Indians. Yes, and the Pootatucks as well, for the leading men of each tribe signed deeds conjointly, for many years, denoting general property ownership. Mr. Barber says, the father, "Gideon Mauwehu, lived in the vicinity of Derby." Very likely, for he was probably the son of Chusumack the Pootatuck chief or sachem, who removed from where the village of Shelton now stands, opposite Birmingham, to Pootatuck at the mouth of Pomperang.
This indenture made the 22d. of April, 1678, witnessth that we do sell unto the inhabitants, a tract of land at Pagasett, bounded on the north with Kladcn's brook, and northeast with the Mill river, and south and southwest with the Englishman's ground, and west and northwest with a hill on the west side of Naugatuck river part of the bounds and Naugatuck river the other part,. . all of which we do confirm unto the said inhabitants; only the said Indians do reserve the fishing place at Naugatuck, and the plain and the hill next the river, at the fishing place. Further, the Indians do grant all the grass and feed and timber on the plain against rock Rimmon, and do engage to sell it to them if they sell it, . . all which grants we do confirm for forty pounds to be paid to them at Mr. Bryan's.
Okenung Sagamore, his mark.
Husks, his mark.
Suckcoe, his mark.
Chettrenasuck at the top of the deed, signed his name as Cockapatana at the bottom, or his signature was omitted at the bottom."
Hist. Col. 199.
It will be observed that the deed says, " the fishing place at Naugatuck," naming the place rather than the river. This agrees with tradition, which reports that the place was first named Naugatuck, and afterwards that name was given to the river, in the place of the name Paugassett. In one early deed, the stream is spoken of, as the " river that cometh down from Naugatuck."
Land having been purchased of the Indians in the vicinity of Rock Rimmon, lying on both sides of the Naugatuck, the town granted to Ebenezer Johnson "the upper plain land against Rock Rimmon, and that it shall lie for division land ; and the town grant the said Ebenezer to take in another man with him." The other man was Jeremiah Johnson, the father or grandfather of Bennajah, and the town afterwards confirmed a grant to him in that place "at the lower plain." Samuel Riggs, John Tib balls and Daniel Collins received also a division each at this same time and at the same place. These were the first owners of land in the vicinity of what is now Seymour village, on the east side of the Naugatuck river. This was in February, 1678-9. Soon after this the town granted Ebenezer Johnson one hundred and'fifty acres of the land he had purchased at this place in consideration of the money he paid to the Indians for this land, and he delivered the deed to the town.
Further progress was made in 1679, in the settlement of inhabitants and perfecting the methods of town work. They seem to have become alarmed as to the supply of timber and made
This indenture made this igth of Keb. 1678, witnesseth We with approbation of Okenuck sagamore, have sold to Ebenezer Johnson three small parcels of land, bounded on the northwest with Rock Rimmon, and on the east with Lebanon, and on the south with a small brook and Naugatuck river, and on the west with an hill on the west side of Naugatuck river so as to take in the little plain; for seven pounds in hand received.
Ahuntaway, his mark.
Chetrenasut, his mark.
Jack, his mark."
this rule or law : " No man or men shall have any liberty to make any clapboards, or shingles, or pipe-staves, or any coopers' timber, to transport out of the place, upon the penalty of forfeiting all his or their timber, or the value thereof to the town treasury."
This is as strange as the laying out the land for the six men as ordered by the court committee. They began at Paul's plains, laying a highway by the side of the river, and then measured to each, three acres as nearly as might be, making up deficiencies and deducting surplus, elsewhere. These men were Isaac Nichols, Samuel Brinsmade, John Pringle, William Tomlinson, John Hubbell and Samuel Nichols. The Ferry man received his at the same time, or a little after. At East Hill, each received four acres ; at Bare plains one acre each; at Hasaca meadow two acres each ; in the Indian field eight acres each, and four acres each adjoining, for a home lot; and on Woodbury road, another amount each. Then swamps and other items, to make fifty acres each. Men receiving grants of land this year and the next, were Hope Washborn, William Washborn, John Davis, John Johnson, John