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THE HISTORY OF STRATFORD

WM. HOWARD WILCOXSON

Stratford Indians

 

Long before the arrival of the first white inhabitants within the bounds of Stratford township, the beautiful shores of Long Island Sound, with the inflowing rivers of sweet water, the many inlets and land-locked retreats, were for many long centuries one of the favorite haunts of the aboriginal Red Man. to these "children of the wilderness" it must have been an enchanted country in the abundance it gave to supply his wants and the beauty of its climate and scenery. Here were rich meadows with the deposits of ages; grand old forests and majestic hill overlooking some of the most picturesque scenes in New England. Here, too, were fresh springs, rivers, ponds, and streamlets of pure sweet water, and sweeping as far as the eye could reach from east to west rolled the blue waters of Long Island Sound, across which, against the southern horizon lay SEWANHACKY, the Island of Shells or "Long Island". Truly this was the Indians "Cupheag", the name denoting "a harbor" or "a place of shelter," "literally a place shut in." for how many years this most beautiful haven, formed by the broad mouth of the river which widens at its outlet forming a beautiful bay between the sheltering arms of Milford Beach and Stratford Point, had been occupied by the Red Men, it is impossible to say. The evidence of their existence here, though abundant, are rude and vague. That as early as 1637, white men had visited these shores, is shown by the testimony of Thomas Stanton, who was for many years the Indian Interpreter at Hartford, as appears upon Stratford Records. From this testimony it appears certain the territory was visited by Capt. Mason and his men while pursuing the routed Pequots to Saco Swamp, in Fairfield, the site of "The Great Swamp Fight" which ended the Pequot War of 1637. He also informs us that the Connecticut Colony at this time conquered the Pequots and likewise some of the Pequonnock Indians, who were their allies, selling some of their women into servitude in Massachusetts Bay where they remain (1659) "as captives to this day." The English, he says, "did pursue the Pequots killed divers at New Haven and at Cupheag" and that they also found "only one house, or the karkise of one we found at Milford, without inhabitants." the fight said to be at Cupheag was probably at Pequonnock River where afterwards a gun was found as by the following records:- "General Court, April, 1639. Thomas Bull informed the Court that a musket with two letters, J.W. was taken up at Pequonnock in pursuit of the Pequots, which was conceived to be John Woods who was killed at the River's mouth. It was ordered for the present that the musket should be delivered to John Woods friends until other appear." (Col. Rec. Vol. 1 pg. 29) This was the only battle which ever occurred in the bounds of Stratford township so far as any record appears.

THE CUPHEAGS AND PEQUANNOCKS

 

When the English first came to Stratford they found here several clans or settlements of Indians. On the site destined to become the future village of Stratford, dwelt the "Cupheags", their names as already suggested being descriptive of the locality they occupied. The clan was small and was governed by Okenuck, who soon after their arrival, if not at that time, resided at Pootatuck-now Shelton- whither most of his people removed soon after Stratford Village was settled. Okenuck was the son of Ansantaway, was sachem or chief at Paugasitt, now Derby. Here upon the shores of the Sound they spent the summer months in fishing and clamming, and were daily consuming more of the large, rare oysters of this locality, adding their shells to those immense shining piles, the accumulation of years of oyster eating-the one at Great Neck and the other near Sandy Hollow, at the place long known as Shell-Keep-Point; retiring in the winter months to the sheltered valleys of the inland wilderness, where they secured their daily food by the hunters sport, and then in the spring of the year, they returned to their old seaside haunts, just as their white successors now, in the same season of the year, flee from the hot breath of the inland valleys to the cool breezes of the New England coast. By a town vote of October 10, 1664, it is ascertained that the Indians' wigwams, or some of them at least, were located in the southwest part of Stratford Village, west of Main Street, along the path from Beardsley's Gate that went to the mill at the "Eagle's Nest". A tract of land there was called Wigwam Meadow, in consequence of the wigwams having stood there. It may not have been the only place where wigwams were located and probably was not, since Wigwam Hill some three miles north of ther village elevated sufficiently so that it afforded a beautiful view overlooking the Sound, undoubtedly was so called by reason of its having been thus used at the time of or soon after the first settlement of Stratford. To the westward of Stratford Village were the "Pequannocks" whose territory covered most of the southern portion of the present City of Bridgeport between Pequannock and Uncaway Rivers. The name "Pequannock" means "cleared field", "land opened" or "broken open", land from which the tress and bushes had been removed, to fit it for cultivation, and was applied by the Indians to the tract of land on the west side of Uncaway River, (now Ask Creek) extending from the sound northward to the old King's Highway, and now constituting the western portion of the city of Bridgeport. The name was not at first applied to the water, now called Pequannock River, but to the beautiful plain at the north end of the cove in Black Rock harbor, where lay the Old Indian planting field of about one hundred acres, and on this field near the end of the cove was the old Indian fort.

From Thomas Wheeler's testimony. Already referred to, it is learned that Queriheag was Sachem of the Pequannocks, and had his wigwam on the west side of Uncaway, although it appears that most of his people were on the east side of the River, there being three villages or encampments of wigwams, and one at the foot of Golden Hill on the south side.The last, some years later, is said to have contained about one hundred wigwams.One on the west bank of the Uncoway River, one at the Old Fort, and one at the foot of Golden Hill on the south side, the last some years later, is said to have contained about one hundred wigwams.The one on the west side of Uncoway River was at the head of a cove near a fresh water pond, just south of the old kings highway, south of which the Indians had a planting field which afterwards, constituted a part of the territory called by the first settlers of Fairfield the Concord Field.This place was the old established place of residence for the Sachem of the Pequannock tribe many generations, and was retained by the Indians as their planting ground until 1682, when they sold it to Fairfield.

The Pequannocks, it is said were more numerous than any of the tribes, westward of New London to the Hudson River.On the east bank of the Housatonic were the Wepawaugs.

The number of aboriginal living in Fairfield County at the time of the settlements of Stratford and Fairfield cannot be accurately determined.Dr. Trumbull estimated that in Connecticut there were 20,000.DeForest, who made his investigation many years afterwards, reduces the number to six or seven thousand, but his figures were subject to a number of inaccuracies arising out of his method.

During a truce in the swamp fight at Southport the English offered pardon to all Indians who had not shed the blood of the colonists.About two hundred of the local Indians came out and were spared. That these Indians at Pequannock were of considerable numbers is also evident from the fact that their Old Fort at the north end of the cove in Black Rock Harbor� held a garrison of two hundred.It is also evident from the many names attached to the deeds for territory at Fairfield and Stratford that this clan were very numerous.Then again, it is revealed in a paper from John Strickland of Huntington, Long Island, in 1659, having formerly lived at Uncoway now called Fayrfeyld do remember that I was deputed with some others to treat with Stratford men about the bonds of those two towns ***we of Uncoway desired some enlargement of ours bounds towards Stratford because we were burdened with many Indians,which as we shall see in a later chapter finally resulted in the establishment of the Golden Hill Reservation.

It will not be an exaggeration to suppose that the maximum aboriginal population of Fairfield County during the first ten years of 1639, ranged from between 2000 and 2500.Dr. Trumbull further says that the Indians of Huntington could assemble 300 warriors, and had been more than numerous before they were wasted by the Mohawks.The Huntington Indians were a part of the Paugussets whose villages were located in the territory now comprising Stratford, Milford, Derby, Trumbull, Monroe and Orange.

The Pootatuck resided at what is now Shelton along the banks of the river, then known as the Pootatuck River, and those Indians inhabiting its valley, were the Pootatuck Indians, but being settled at various places along its banks, were spoken by local names.Their territory as is evidenced by the deeds which they subsequently gave covered much of the present area of Shelton, Monroe, and Newtown and soon after the sale of their lands at these places, they retired to other lands at New Milford, which became the point of rendezvous from 1680, until about 1705 when they sold again and moved on west.

Tradition and implements found, indicate that the first Indians of the Housatonic Valley came from the Hudson River the Mohicans coming through the opening in the mountains a little below Kent and finding there, a beautiful cascade or falls at the place now called Bull Bridge and ascertaining further falls, in the river above Canaan and below New Milford, named it Pootatuck meaning falls river.This was the only name applied to the river when the first white settlers came.

The first Indian settlement on the river, south of the Massachusetts line seems to have been in the vicinity of Bull Bridge.This locality they named Scaticoke or Schaghticoke, signifying the confluence of two streams, which is true where what is now called Ten Mile River comes into the Housatonic a little below Bull's Bridge.

Weantinock, situated in the lower part of New Milford a the spot now known as Lovers Leap was probably the second place of settlement on the river, and remained the capital, or place of the Great Council-fire for the whole tribe (or all the various clans) on the river, until the territory was sold to the New Milford Company in 1703.This locality was and is one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots on the river.Here were the Great Falls, the Indian name of which was Metichawandenoting an obstruction or turning back,since these falls stopped the progress of the large fish, and made the Cove below the gorge one of the best fishing places for shad, herring, and lamprey-eels in the Colony.

The point of rocks at the lower end of the gorge is called Lover Leap from a legend that an Indian maiden, forbidden to marry the man of her dreams, leaped with her lover to their doom on the rocks below, but the legend being about the same in all its parts as is told in several other localities in Connecticut and elsewhere, receives but little credence.High above the river on the mountain overlooking the beautiful valley, the old chief Waramaug, the last but one of all the old chiefs of the Indians of Western Connecticut, or of the original Pootatuck tribe, is buried.

TROUBLE WITH THE INDIANS

BOUNDS AND RESERVATIONS

 

Again the General Court in another attempt to secure satisfaction among the Indians and peace and quiet to their English neighbors, made another effort to settle the matter among all parties by the following order:

Hartford, March 7, 1658-59. By the Court of Magistrates. This Court having taken into consideration the business respecting the Indians pertaining to the plantations of Stratford and Fayrefeyld and finding in the last agreement made with the Indians while Mr. Willis and Mr. Allen were down there, that those two plantations aforementioned are ingaged to asure and alow unto those respective Indians pertaining to each town sufficient land to plant on for their subsistence and so to their hearyres and successors:

It is therefore, ordered by this Court, and required that each plantation forementioned exercise due care that the agreement made by the magistrates be fully attended without unnecessary delay, that so the Indians may have no just cause to complayne against the English, but rather may be incouraged to attend and observe the agreement on their parts, that peace may be continued on both sides; and further it is desired that the Indians may be allowed to improve their ancient fishing place which they desire.

To the forthwith published and sent to Fayrfield to be published and record d by the Register.(Vol. 1 page 79)

Three days after the above record the Court took further action:

�March 10, 1658-59.This Court having considered the agreement with the Indians as also for other reasons as particularly that which the town of Fayrfeyld pleaded why their bounds should be enlarged was because they might provide for heir Indians which were many, do therefore order that the towne of Fayrfeyld shall forthwith attend the order as above sent from the magistrates and alow and lay out unto theire Indians that formerly did and now do belong unto that plantation, sufficient planting land for the present and future, that so there may be no disturbance twixt the Indians and the towne of Stratford about any former improprieties which we find are renounced for the future by the last agreement.And the Court judges that the Indians that have for so many and several years been inhabitants of Fayrfeyld bounds shall now and for future be accounted as those that do properly belong to that plantation.

Two months later he Court made some very definite orders respecting the difference between the two plantations and Pequannock Indians as follows:

General Court, May 1659.This court having considered the business respecting the Indians at Pequannock and the difference twixt Stratford and Fairfield about the said Indians; do see cause to order that according unto the desire of the Indians they may quickly possess and enjoy from henceforth and for the future, the parcel of land called Gold Hill; and there shall be forthwith so much land laid out within the liberties of Fairfield as he committee appointed by the Court shall judge fit, and in as convenient a place as may best answer the desire and benefit of the Indians forementioned, for the future.And the said committee is to see so much land laid out within the bounds of Fairfield, for the use and accommodation of Stratford as that golden Hill forementioned is, for quantity and quality, and as may be most convenient for the neighbors of Stratford.And in case Stratford men are willing to accept of and, then the committee shall appoint how much and in what kind the inhabitants of Fairfield shall pay unto Stratford unto Pequannock Indians, according to the premises, shall be full satisfaction from them unto the Indians, forenamed, and that neither they nor their successors shall make any further claims or demands of land from Stratford, but shall henceforth be accounted as Fairfield Indians, or belonging to Fairfield, to be provided for by them for future as is forementioned in the order.And it is ordered that in case these Indians shall wholly at any time relinquish and desert Gold Hill, that then it shall remain to Stratford plantation, they repaying to Fairfield, the one half of that which they received in consideration of the said land.

The committee appointed by the Court to see this order put into execution are, of Norwalk, Mr. Canfield, Mr. Fitch, Richard Omstead, Nathaniel Elye, who are to bound out the lands at Gold Hill, about 80 acres, beginning at the foot of the hill where the wigwams stood, and to run upwards on the hill and within Fairfield bounds, as is above mentioned. And the said committee is to make return to the Court in October, what they do in reference to this order.(Col. Rec. Vol. 1 page 335)

Under this order establishing the Golden Hill reservation in 1659, nearly twenty years after the first settlers came, Stratford was required to furnish the land and Fairfield to reimburse Stratford for the value thereof. About a year after the Court's order, a paper was recorded given the agreement made between the two towns as above referred to.

Again the General Court in another attempt to secure satisfaction among the Indians and peace and quiet to their English neighbors, made another effort to settle the matter among all parties by the following order:

Hartford, March 7, 1658-59. By the Court of Magistrates. This Court having taken into consideration the business respecting the Indians pertaining to the plantations of Stratford and Fayrefeyld and finding in the last agreement made with the Indians while Mr. Willis and Mr. Allen were down there, that those two plantations aforementioned are ingaged to asure and alow unto those respective Indians pertaining to each town sufficient land to plant on for their subsistence and so to their hearyres and successors:

�It is therefore, ordered by this Court, and required that each plantation forementioned exercise due care that the agreement made by the magistrates be fully attended without unnecessary delay, that so the Indians may have no just cause to complayne against the English, but rather may be incouraged to attend and observe the agreement on their parts, that peace may be continued on both sides; and further it is desired that the Indians may be allowed to improve their ancient fishing place which they desire.

To the forthwith published and sent to Fayrfield to be published and record d by the Register.�(Vol. 1 page 79)

Three days after the above record the Court took further action:

March 10, 1658-59.This Court having considered the agreement with the Indians as also for other reasons as particularly that which the town of Fayrfeyld pleaded why their bounds should be enlarged was because they might provide for heir Indians which were many, do therefore order that the towne of Fayrfeyld shall forthwith attend the order as above sent from the magistrates and alow and lay out unto theire Indians that formerly did and now do belong unto that plantation, sufficient planting land for the present and future, that so there may be no disturbance twixt the Indians and the towne of Stratford about any former improprieties which we find are renounced for the future by the last agreement.And the Court judges that the Indians that have for so many and several years been inhabitants of Fayrfeyld bounds shall now and for future be accounted as those that do properly belong to that plantation.

Two months later he Court made some very definite orders respecting the difference between the two plantations and Pequannock Indians as follows:

General Court, May 1659.This court having considered the business respecting the Indians at Pequannock and the difference twixt Stratford and Fairfield about the said Indians; do see cause to order that according unto the desire of the Indians they may quickly possess and enjoy from henceforth and for the future, the parcel of land called Gold Hill; and there shall be forthwith so much land laid out within the liberties of Fairfield as he committee appointed by the Court shall judge fit, and in as convenient a place as may best answer the desire and benefit of the Indians forementioned, for the future.And the said committee is to see so much land laid out within the bounds of Fairfield, for the use and accommodation of Stratford as that golden Hill forementioned is, for quantity and quality, and as may be most convenient for the neighbors of Stratford. And in case Stratford men are willing to accept of and, then the committee shall appoint how much and in what kind the inhabitants of Fairfield shall pay unto Stratford unto Pequannock Indians, according to the premises, shall be full satisfaction from them unto the Indians, forenamed, and that neither they nor their successors shall make any further claims or demands of land from Stratford, but shall henceforth be accounted as Fairfield Indians, or belonging to Fairfield, to be provided for by them for future as is forementioned in the order. And it is ordered that in case these Indians shall wholly at any time relinquish and desert Gold Hill, that then it shall remain to Stratford plantation, they repaying to Fairfield, the one half of that which they received in consideration of the said land.

The committee appointed by the Court to see this order put into execution are, of Norwalk, Mr. Canfield, Mr. Fitch, Richard Omstead, Nathaniel Elye, who are to bound out the lands at Gold Hill, about 80 acres, beginning at the foot of the hill where the wigwams stood, and to run upwards on the hill and within Fairfield bounds, as is above mentioned. And the said committee is to make return to the Court in October, what they do in reference to this order.(Col. Rec. Vol. 1 page 335)

Under this order establishing the Golden Hill reservation in 1659, nearly twenty years after the first settlers came, Stratford was required to furnish the land and Fairfield to reimburse Stratford for the value thereof.About a year after the Court's order, a paper was recorded given the agreement made between the two towns as above referred to.

ESTABLISHING TITLE TO THE LAND

 

In the spring of 1659, the question of the title or right to the land in the plantations of Stratford and Fairfield having been brought before the General Court at Hartford, was settled.The Indians apparently having agreed that if the English could prove that they had received the land by purchase, gift or conquest, it should be theirs; whereupon a number of prominent men in the Colony gave their written testimony under oath upon the subject, and the Court decided in favor of the plantations. Their affidavits are recorded in the first volume of Stratford records.These papers are prefaced on he record with the statement:-

�May 14, 1660A Record of several letters presented to the Court at Hartford whereby together with other evidence the town of Stratford proved, and the Court granted a clear right to their land in reference to Pequannock Indians with whom they had to do.

In the first of these papers given by the Rev. John Higginson of Guilford, Conn., we are informed That in the beginning of the year 1638, during the last week of March, he as an interpreter went with Mr. Edward Hopkins and Mr. William Goodwin, both of Hartford, to treat with the Indians from New Haven to the Hudson River, who assembled in convention at Norwalk.He states that the whole territory was given to the Connecticut Colony in 1638, and in as solemn a manner as Indians used to do in such cases they did with an unanimous consent approve their desire of the English friendship, their willingness the English should come to dwell amongst them and professed that they did give and surrender up all their lands to the English Sachems at Connecticut and hereupon presented us with parcels of wampen the lesser the would give us for our message, the greater they would send as a present to the Sachems at Connecticut, it being not long after the English conquest and the fame of the English being then upon them.The treaty was ratified wit due solemnity at Norwalk and later at Hartford, the council being hel in Mr. Hooker's barn at Hartford, the meeting house being then not completed.The Norwalk Indian Council appears to having taken place about 15 days before the New Haven company landed at Quinnipiac.

The next testimony is that of John Strickland, then living at Huntington, Long Island, but formerly of Fairfield.His testimony deals principally with the difficulties respecting the boundary between Stratford and Fairfield as has been related in the preceding chapter.He informs us, that he was deputed with some others to treat with Stratford men about the bounds of those towns and accordingly we met, we of Uncoway desired some inlargement of our bounds towards Stratford because we were burdened with many Indians, and to my best remembrance it was by Stratford men granted by us all concluded that we of Uncoway should keep our Indians upon our own bounds.

Thomas Stanton, who was for many years he Indian interpreter at Hartford, also informs us that the Connecticut Colony conquered the Pequots and Pequannocks at the same time-1637- that many were killed at New Haven and Cupheag annd some of their women were held as captives to this day(1659) in Massachusetts.From this testimony it appears that the Pequots had conquered the tribes along the Sound west of Quinnipiac, and made them tributary before the arrival of the English, and he further states that the Pequannock Indians engaged with the Pequots, as their allies, in the fight at Cupheag and the Great Swamp fight on the western bounds of Fairfield. He also says I can testify that the Indians at Pequannock did intreat Mr. Haynes and Mr. Hopkins (then Magistrates) that some of the English would dwell by them that so they might not be in fear of their enemies, and that the English should have all their land only providing them some place for planting and he adds which I think is but a reasonable request, and I hope you will attend rules of mercy in that case.It is evident from this testimony that the title to the territory hereabouts passed from the Pequannock Indians to the Pequots; that the English having conquered them, acquired their lands also, for he states in closing, �the ancient Pequots, will prove it conquered land, and I never heard of other ground by which the English did possess it by Conquest and gift. Hence the evidence would seem to be conclusive that Stratford and Fairfield territory was held as conquered or ceded territory and not by right of any formal purchase.

Mr. Stanton�s statement that only one house or the Karkise of one we found at Milford without inhabitants,suggests one very interesting and as yet unsolved mystery, as to who built this frame of a house at Milford as early as the last week in March 1637, nearly two years before the arrival of any settlers at Milford and nearly two years before the arrival of any the New Haven Company under Davenport and Eaton at New Haven in 1638.

The next and final paper in the series given to prove title was by Lieut. Thomas Wheeler, one of the first settlers at Fairfield.This paper is without date, but was probably given in 1659 since it follows the papers given by Mr. Higginson, John Strickland and Thomas Stanton, at which time he was residing at Derby having removed there about the year 1657.

He commences his testimony with the statement That in the time of his being an inhabitant of the town of Fayrefield and having several times in discourse ocation to speake with some of the chiefs of that company which is now called Uncaway Indians they did relate to him concerning the land now in controversie stating that they could lay no clayme or challenge to any of the land on the east side of Hawkins Brooke only they had liberty to hunt and fish.The reasons for this inquiry seems to have been the fact that Lieut. Wheeler, being the owner of a farm on the east side of Hawkins Brook and fearing lest the Indians should lay claim to it as well as to land on the west side of said brook did inquire of ye aforesayd named Indians concerning it.

The most important information to be gleaned from this paper is his statement that Queriheag was he chief Sagamore of he Indians at Pequannock, when the English first came and that he had his place of residence on the west side of Uncaway River, which had been the home of his predecessors by inheritance from generation to generation, giving us some ideas of the importance and antiquity of this tribe who appear to have possessed the territory from what is now the Pequannock River, westward to Sasqua Swamp.

An additional paper given in 1662 by Capt. John Minor an early settler and prominent man in Stratford, who served as an interpreter between the English and the Indians and also later, as town clerk, was apparently given for the particular purpose of disproving the claims of one Captain Beebe, who appears to have commended action against the town of Stratford at Fayrefeyld about Lands.He says, Being desired to speake to what I remember in order to what was spoken and acted by the Indians or English about Captain Beebe�s action the substance of what I can say is briefly this, without any correction or bias of affection contrary to truth and equity.

It appears that he and James Beers were sent by the Court at Fairfield to treat with the Pequannock Indians, who because of a contagion then prevalent were not admitted into the meetinghouse where the Court was sitting. At our first coming to the Indians those present all agreed that they had never given any land particularly to Captain Beebe but that they gave it to Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Haynes and the other Comtee of Connecticut generally.�Having received this answer in reply to their queries, he adds, we went a little remote from the Indians that they might the better to certifie each other how we understood them.It further appears from this testimony that after their first conference with the Indians, several words passed between us, but at last I related to the aforsd Beers what I understood as abovesayed.Capt. Minor and James Beers were not entirely in agreement in their understanding for as he says James Beers contradicted me saying he understood otherwise whereupon they went to the Indians a second time before we went into Court and they confirmed the same and sayd Captain Beebe had no particular interest in any land from them but that the same had been given as already stated to the Connecticut Colony. As this second interview proceeded he says,several questions I propounded to the Indians at this time so that now James Beers sayd I understood them well enough and as they were leaving the Indians, Beers called to Beebe, �Capain! Sayes he, the land is gone, the Indians now utterly disown any particular gift to you,to which he replied then gone it is sayes he.Thus having reached the point where we now both agreeing that we understood the Indians a right they proceeded to return their answer to the Court, but whilst we were abroad before we went into Court Captayne Beebe went to the Indians but what he said was not known, but presently before we had delivered to the Court what the Indians had sayd there was a calling out that the Indians had something more to say.The Court therefore desired us to go forth agayne and be fully resolved what their minds were whereupon we found them of another turn.

Thus was the claim of Captain Beebe examined and disposed of and since the Court had in May, 1650 in consequence of the evidence presented to the Court, given its decision in favor of Stratford, at which time Golden Hill reservations was ordered to be laid out.

ESTABLISHING TITLE TO THE LAND

 

In the spring of 1659, the question of the title or right to the land in the plantations of Stratford and Fairfield having been brought before the General Court at Hartford, was settled.The Indians apparently having agreed that if the English could prove that they had received the land by purchase, gift or conquest, it should be theirs; whereupon a number of prominent men in the Colony gave their written testimony under oath upon the subject, and the Court decided in favor of the plantations. Their affidavits are recorded in the first volume of Stratford records.These papers are prefaced on he record with the statement:-

May 14, 1660A Record of several letters presented to the Court at Hartford whereby together with other evidence the town of Stratford proved, and the Court granted a clear right to their land in reference to Pequannock Indians with whom they had to do.

In the first of these papers given by the Rev. John Higginson of Guilford, Conn., we are informed That in the beginning of the year 1638, during the last week of March he as an interpreter went with Mr. Edward Hopkins and Mr. William Goodwin, both of Hartford, to treat with the Indians from New Haven to the Hudson River, who assembled in convention at Norwalk.He states that the whole territory was given to the Connecticut Colony in 1638, �and in as solemn a manner as Indians used to do in such cases they did with an unanimous consent approve their desire of the English friendship, their willingness the English should come to dwell amongst them and professed that they did give and surrender up all their lands to the English Sachems at Connecticut and hereupon presented us with parcels of wampen the lesser the would give us for our message, the greater they would send as a present to the Sachems at Connecticut, it being not long after the English conquest and the fame of the English being then upon them.The treaty was ratified wit due solemnity at Norwalk and later at Hartford, the council being hel in Mr. Hooker�s barn at Hartford, the meeting house being then not completed.The Norwalk Indian Council appears to having taken place about 15 days before the New Haven company landed at Quinnipiac.

The next testimony is that of John Strickland, then living at Huntington, Long Island, but formerly of Fairfield.His testimony deals principally with the difficulties respecting the boundary between Stratford and Fairfield as has been related in the preceding chapter. He informs us, that he was deputed with some others to treat with Stratford men about the bounds of those towns and accordingly we met, we of Uncoway desired some inlargement of our bounds towards Stratford because we were burdened with many Indians, and to my best remembrance it was by Stratford men granted by us all concluded that we of Uncoway should keep our Indians upon our own bounds.

Thomas Stanton, who was for many years he Indian interpreter at Hartford, also informs us that the Connecticut Colony conquered the Pequots and Pequannocks at the same time-1637- that many were killed at New Haven and Cupheag annd some of their women were held �as captives to this day(1659) in Massachusetts.From this testimony it appears that the Pequots had conquered the tribes along the Sound west of Quinnipiac, and made them tributary before the arrival of the English, and he further states that the Pequannock Indians engaged with the Pequots, as their allies, in the fight at Cupheag and the Great Swamp fight on the western bounds of Fairfield.He also says I can testify that the Indians at Pequannock did intreat Mr. Haynes and Mr. Hopkins (then Magistrates) that some of the English would dwell by them that so they might not be in fear of their enemies, and that the English should have all their land only providing them some place for planting and he adds which I think is but a reasonable request, and I hope you will attend rules of mercy in that case.It is evident from this testimony that the title to the territory hereabouts passed from the Pequannock Indians to the Pequots; that the English having conquered them, acquired their lands also, for he states in closing,the ancient Pequots, will prove it conquered land, and I never heard of other ground by which the English did possess it by Conquest and gift.Hence the evidence would seem to be conclusive that Stratford and Fairfield territory was held as conquered or ceded territory and not by right of any formal purchase.

Mr. Stanton's statement that only one house or the Karkise of one we found at Milford without inhabitants,suggests one very interesting and as yet unsolved mystery, as to who built this frame of a house at Milford as early as the last week in March 1637, nearly two years before the arrival of any settlers at Milford and nearly two years before the arrival of any the New Haven Company under Davenport and Eaton at New Haven in 1638.

The next and final paper in the series given to prove title was by Lieut. Thomas Wheeler, one of the first settlers at Fairfield.This paper is without date, but was probably given in 1659 since it follows the papers given by Mr. Higginson, John Strickland and Thomas Stanton, at which time he was residing at Derby having removed there about the year 1657.

He commences his testimony with the statement That in the time of his being an inhabitant of the town of Fayrefield and having several times in discourse ocation to speake with some of the chiefs of that company which is now called Uncaway Indians they did relate to him concerning the land now in controversie stating that they could lay no clayme or challenge to any of the land on the east side of Hawkins Brooke only they had liberty to hunt and fish. The reasons for this inquiry seems to have been the fact that Lieut. Wheeler, being the owner of a farm on the east side of Hawkins Brook and fearing lest the Indians should lay claim to it as well as to land on the west side of said brook did inquire of ye aforesayd named Indians concerning it.

The most important information to be gleaned from this paper is his statement that Queriheag was he chief Sagamore of he Indians at Pequannock, when the English first came and that he had his place of residence on the west side of Uncaway River, which had been the home of his predecessors by inheritance from generation to generation, giving us some ideas of the importance and antiquity of this tribe who appear to have possessed the territory from what is now the Pequannock River, westward to Sasqua Swamp.

An additional paper given in 1662 by Capt. John Minor an early settler and prominent man in Stratford, who served as an interpreter between the English and the Indians and also later, as town clerk, was apparently given for the particular purpose of disproving the claims of one Captain Beebe, who appears to have commended action against the town of Stratford at Fayrefeyld about Lands.He says, Being desired to speake to what I remember in order to what was spoken and acted by the Indians or English about Captain Beebe's action the substance of what I can say is briefly this, without any correction or bias of affection contrary to truth and equity.

It appears that he and James Beers were sent by the Court at Fairfield to treat with the Pequannock Indians, who because of a contagion then prevalent were not admitted into the meetinghouse where the Court was sitting.At our first coming to the Indians those present all agreed that they had never given any land particularly to Captain Beebe but that they gave it to Mr. Hopkin's and Mr. Haynes and the other Comtee of Connecticut generally.Having received this answer� in reply to their queries, he adds, �we went a little remote from the Indians� that they might the better to certifie each other how we understood them.�It further appears from this testimony that after their first conference with the Indians, several words passed between us, but at last I related to the aforsd Beers what I understood as abovesayed.Capt. Minor and James Beers were not entirely in agreement in their understanding for as he says James Beers contradicted me saying he understood otherwise whereupon they went to the Indians a second time before we went into Court and they confirmed the same and sayd Captain Beebe had no particular interest in any land from them but that the same had been given as already stated to the Connecticut Colony.As this second interview proceeded he says,several questions I propounded to the Indians at this time so that now James Beers sayd I understood them well enough and as they were leaving the Indians, Beers called to Beebe, Capain! Sayes he, the land is gone, the Indians now utterly disown any particular gift to you,to which he replied �then gone it is sayes he.�Thus having reached the point where �we now both agreeing that we understood the Indians aright they proceeded to return their answer to the Court, but whilst we were abroad before we went into Court Captayne Beebe went to the Indians� but what he said was not known, but presently before we had delivered to the Court what the Indians had sayd there was a calling out that the Indians had something more to say.�The Court therefore �desired us to go forth agayne and be fully resolved what their minds were whereupon we found them of another turn.

Thus was the claim of Captain Beebe examined and disposed of and since the Court had in May, 1650 in consequence of the evidence presented to the Court, given its decision in favor of Stratford, at which time Golden Hill reservations was ordered to be laid out.

INDIAN DEEDS AND RELICS

A little more than a year after the Court had rendered its decision in favor of Stratford, a deed was given by the Indians to Bray Rossiter of Guilford, of one hundred acres of land on ye west side of ye river yt, passeth up by Stratford ferry: to begin at ye river and to take all ye breath betwixt two small brooks and so backward until ye said sum be made up. The consideration for this purchase was stated to be for a debt due. This act by one from outside of the town seems to have set the ball rolling, or rather the Indians crazy to sell the land they had just been told they did not own.(This sale was later declared illegal.)

In the years 1660, 1661, and 1665 (and almost every year thereafter) until 1671, the Indians of Stratford continued to sell various large tracts of land to the townsmen and to various individuals.

The next year 1661, another deed was given by the Indians for land called by the English ye Mohegan Hills and by ye Indians Ackqunnockquahou to Joseph Judson of Stratford.This purchase embraced a large part of the town of Huntington, part of Moose Hill, on ye west with ye near sprayne of ye far Mill River called by ye English, ye Trapfalls, and on ye east by ye northwest spraine of ye far Mill River, so running to ye pine swamp at ye head of ye River�.The month and day of execution of this deed is obliterated on the record, but one item of particular interest is the information that there was then �a hop garden hard by ye River through on ye other side, as well as the mention of several local names of interest.The hop garden may, and probably was maintained by Edward Wooster who was the first settler at Derby in 1654 for the special purpose of raising hops, he having applied to Milford in 1651 for a grant of hop-growing land which seems to have been granted to him in the lower part of what is now Ansonia and hence it is not unreasonable to suppose that the business being a profitable one, he extended his grounds to Stratford territory.

As to the purchase of this large tract of embracing more than 5,000 acres, lying between the two branches of the Far Mill River, there appear to have risen some difficulties between the town and Joseph Judson as to the ownership of this land, and the town in 1673 applied to the General Court for a settlement of the matter.The court appointed a time for hearing the claims of the parties, but it seems to have been amicably settled without the help of the Court; probably about as the town had agreed before, and a division of this tract was made some years later among the proprietors Joseph Judson, retaining such proportion as would satisfy him for his outlay in making the purchase.

A second deed, given Sept. 9, 1661, probably a few months after the one previously mentioned, although embracing much more territory and was signed by other parties but probably was confirmatory of the other, since the same Sachems signed both deeds.This strikingly illustrates the separate interest in the lands by the Indians, and the relationship between the Pequannocks or Stratford Indians and the Paugaussetts residing at Derby.

This sale of a great tract of land lying west from ye far mill River included the Walnut Tree Hill district of Huntington and a large part of Monroe, being in all more than five thousand acres of land bounded on ye east with a pine swamp at ye east spraine of ye far mill River bounded on ye west with ye west spraine of Paquannock River, on ye South with ye lower part of place so named about a mile and a half north from ye upper part of Moose Hill, and Norwest with a place called Manantock running as far as Pootatuck path.�This deed was executed by Wampegan who alleges he was ye lawful heir to all ye Indians Rights and privileges yt did aforetime belong to ye Sachems my uncles who were ye legal proprietors� but was also subscribed byAkenotch the Sagamore of Pagusett and Ansantaway, Sachem of Pootatuck, he being related to Wampegan� and is also subscribed by Poridge and Chepenett, first cousins of Wompegan to whom was reserved feel liberty to hunt for deare� on the above ascribed land.

A third deed was given on December 4th, 1661 by Towtanomow, Chief Sagamore of Pagusit and his mother the wife of Ansantaway, the old chief of Milford, who also signed he deed.? This deed was to Samuel Sherman, John Hurd, and Caleb Nichols, townsmen in the name of the inhabitants of the town of Stratford in the Colony of Connecticut? and embraced a tract of land lying and being between the nerer Milne River and the father Milne River commonly called by the English and being the bounds south and northeast upon Stratford River and with the bare swamp called by the Indians Makoron northwest on Black brooks mouth. The price paid to Towtanomow, sagamore of the Paugaussett, and his father Ansantaway was twelve pound worth of trading cloth and one blankit to him in hand payed before the writing hereof. By this deed they relinguished their rights, in all the territory from Pecks Mill north to Farmill river, extending west from the Housatonic River to a point now marked by the line of Huntington Road.

Towtanomow was the chief at Paugaussett at the time this deed was given, but died the same winter, for in the following spring April 22, 1662- Okenouge (more commonly called Okenuck, in Derby deeds) signs a deed in which he states that he is ye only Sachem of Pagasitt, to my loving friends Ensign Joseph Judson and Joseph Hawley and John Minor of Stratford. The deed was sighned by Okenuck alone and was witnessed by Nansantaway and Chipps, and conveys a parcel of land be it more or less lying on ye west of ye land which the aforesaid town of Stratford hath purchased of me and it being all yt lyes on ye west of what is already purchased that belongs to me and Paugaussett Indians.This deed is chiefly of interest because it was apparently intended to convey all the remaining territory of Paugaussett Indians in Stratford bounds. This was known as the Long Hills Purchase.

Although having now disposed of all of their lands in Stratford township excepting the reservations of Golden Hill and Coram the Indians continued to reside at Pootatuck, on the banks of the Housatonic near the confluence of the Naugatuck with the Housatonic River until 1684.

No sooner had the proceedings before the General Court been concluded, declaring that Stratford in 1659, already owned the land it claimed, before the Indians made new demands for payment for their long possessed inheritance, and in an effort to settle the mater peaceably, the town began to yield in an effort to purchase on the most favorable terms possible, a full and equitable title to their lands.

Some of those deeds of purchase are to the town of Stratford, other are to the Townsmen while still others, were made to individuals, probably in behalf of the town.

The earliest of such deeds, of which we have any knowledge, is to be found in the first book of land records, for the Colony at Hartford, being a deed given to Moses wheeler, dated April 12, 1659, and hence it was executed while the question of title was pending before the Court at Hartford. It was a deed for a parcel of ground lying along the side of Potatuck river, the east end bounding to a great rock which reacheth the full length of all that plain piece of ground, and also to have two miles and a half ground on the upland and all the meadow within that bounds.

This deed appears never to have been entered on Stratford Records, although in 1684 Moses Wheeler alleged that the purchase was made at the solicitation of the principal inhabitants of Stratford, to prevent it from falling into other hands and that it cost him upwards of forty pounds. It had been impossible to identify the location of this particular purchase.

In fact it is now almost impossible, in many cases to define the exact boundaries of the different purchases made from time to time. The Indians, when selling their lands to the whites, were parting with that which had no great value in their own eyes, and of which they had a superabundance; consequently they did not haggle about a mile or so of territory, more or less, but adopted in most cases some natural features of the country as the most convenient landmark and boundaries.

But if this first purchase was made by Moses Wheeler in behalf of the Town, it appears that the town allowed him to keep the land for twenty-five years, and then began to lay it out into divisions among the early proprietors, without regard for Moses Wheeler's right in it and without reimbursing him for his expenditure, although he was one of their own number and one of the most prominent citizens of the town. This little oversight on the part of the town was brought to their attention by the General Court in October, 1684, by the following profitable suggestion: - This Court do recommend it to the town of Stratford to come to an agreement with Moses Wheeler Sr., about the purchase he made of the Indians of a tract fo land with their bounds, and some of the townsmen were required to appear at the next court and report the proposition of settlement to be ratified by the Court, which they did by giving Mr.Wheeler half of the land.

A little more than a year after the Court had rendered its decision in favor of Stratford, a deed was given by the Indians to Bray Rossiter of Guilford, of one hundred acres of land on ye west side of ye river yt, passeth up by Stratford ferry: to begin at ye river and to take all ye breath betwixt two small brooks and so backward until ye said sum be made up. The consideration for this purchase was stated to be for a debt due. This act by one from outside of the town seems to have set the ball rolling, or rather the Indians crazy to sell the land they had just been told they did not own. (This sale was later declared illegal.)

In the years 1660, 1661, and 1665 (and almost every year thereafter) until 1671, the Indians of Stratford continued to sell various large tracts of land to the townsmen and to various individuals.

The next year 1661, another deed was given by the Indians for land called by the English ye Mohegan Hills and by ye Indians Ackqunnockquahou to Joseph Judson of Stratford. This purchase embraced a large part of the town of Huntington, part of Moose Hill, on ye west with ye near sprayne of ye far Mill River called by ye English, ye Trapfalls, and on ye east by ye northwest spraine of ye far Mill River, so running to ye pine swamp at ye head of ye River. The month and day of execution of this deed is obliterated on the record, but one item of particular interest is the information that there was then a hop garden hard by ye River through on ye other side, as well as the mention of several local names of interest. The hop garden may, and probably was maintained by Edward Wooster who was the first settler at Derby in 1654 for the special purpose of raising hops, he having applied to Milford in 1651 for a grant of hop-growing land which seems to have been granted to him in the lower part of what is now Ansonia and hence it is not unreasonable to suppose that the business being a profitable one, he extended his grounds to Stratford territory.

As to the purchase of this large tract of embracing more than 5,000 acres, lying between the two branches of the Far Mill River, there appear to have risen some difficulties between the town and Joseph Judson as to the ownership of this land, and the town in 1673 applied to the General Court for a settlement of the matter. The court appointed a time for hearing the claims of the parties, but it seems to have been amicably settled without the help of the Court; probably about as the town had agreed before, and a division of this tract was made some years later among the proprietors Joseph Judson, retaining such proportion as would satisfy him for his outlay in making the purchase.

A second deed, given Sept. 9, 1661, probably a few months after the one previously mentioned, although embracing much more territory and was signed by other parties but probably was confirmatory of the other, since the same Sachems signed both deeds.This strikingly illustrates the separate interest in the lands by the Indians, and the relationship between the Pequannocks or Stratford Indians and the Paugaussetts residing at Derby.

This sale �of a great tract of land lying west from ye far mill River� included the Walnut Tree Hill district of Huntington and a large part of Monroe, being in all more than five thousand acres of land bounded on ye east with a pine swamp at ye east spraine of ye far mill River bounded on ye west with ye west spraine of Paquannock River, on ye South with ye lower part of place so named about a mile and a half north from ye upper part of Moose Hill, and Norwest with a place called Manantock running as far as Pootatuck path.�This deed was executed by Wampegan who alleges he was ye lawful heir to all ye Indians Rights and privileges yt did aforetime belong to ye Sachems my uncles who were ye legal proprietors but was also subscribed byAkenotch the Sagamore of Pagusett� and Ansantaway, Sachem of Pootatuck, he �being related to Wampeganand is also subscribed by Poridge and Chepenett, first cousins of Wompegan to whom was reserved feel liberty to hunt for deare on the above ascribed land.

Here at this old Pootatuck Village stood as old Fort when the English first came, but about this time, or soon after, a new fort was built on Fort Hill on the west side of the river a short distance below Indian Well.

While still resident here on May 26, 1663 �an agreement of friendship and loving correspondence agreed upon between us and the town of Stratford was made by the Indians who pledged we will no more plant on the south side of the Great River Pugusetts (Pootatuck) to prevent a future variance between us in order to (avoid) any damage that might be done to corn.

The first name on this agreement is Okenonge� thus denoting his standing over the Indians on the west side of the river, but he may have signed it as Sagamore while they had another Sachem.It also reveals a benevolent feature in the character of these Indians.Much complaint by the Indians had been made that the white man�s hogs, which were pastured in the woods, destroyed the Indian's corn and the matter being brought into Court an effort was put forth to lead the Indians to make fences around their corn, but this they could not or would not do; and hence in order to end the difficulty they resolved not to plant on Stratford side of the river, south of the Pootatuck in Newtown.

Arrow heads in considerable numbers have also been found at the foot of another ledge a little west of the town on the lower road to Bridgeport, and it is believed that this was the place of their manufacture.

In the autumn of 1883, Mr. Lorenzo Beers and Mr. Robert W. Curtis, both of Stratford, commenced the hunting for Indian relics on the bank, near the mouth of the Housatonic River.When coming to a place of clean loam ground Mr. Beers picked up a small piece of soapstone pot or dish, and Mr. Curtis found a broken piece of spear heads. The search being continues in the vicinity for some months, many valuable Indian relics were found.On further investigation a small nest of implements, all broken apparently, by fire heat were uncovered.The supposition is that these implements were from time to time thrown into the sacrificial fires as offerings of worship, and afterwards buried with quantities of hickory nuts which were found as charred ashes in great numbers.

Then too, there used to be Indian Well on the north end of the old Lordship Farm, which was the only natural fresh water spring in the Great Neck, which tradition says was dug by the Indians.Around it were vast quantities of clam and oyster shells, indicating it to have been a favorite gathering place for their feasts during the summer months.

Frequently during recent years when excavations have been made in the territory about Fresh Pond, the graves of the long departed Red Men have been uncovered, a few bones surrounded by some stone implements, arrowheads, pestle or axe being all that remain to remind us of this now vanished race.

Here at this old Pootatuck Village stood as old Fort when the English first came, but about this time, or soon after, a new fort was built on Fort Hill on the west side of the river a short distance below Indian Well.

While still resident here on May 26, 1663 �an agreement of friendship and loving correspondence agreed upon between us and the town of Stratford was made by the Indians who pledged �we will no more plant on the south side of the Great River Pugusetts (Pootatuck) to prevent a future variance between us in order to (avoid) any damage that might be done to corn.

The first name on this agreement is Okenonge� thus denoting his standing over the Indians on the west side of the river, but he may have signed it as Sagamore while they had another Sachem.It also reveals a benevolent feature in the character of these Indians.Much complaint by the Indians had been made that the white man�s hogs, which were pastured in the woods, destroyed the Indian's corn and the matter being brought into Court an effort was put forth to lead the Indians to make fences around their corn, but this they could not or would not do; and hence in order to end the difficulty they resolved not to plant on Stratford side of the river, south of the Pootatuck in Newtown.

Some few marks or traces of the Red Men's existence yet remain.In the ledge of a rock at the edge of the road now known as Linden Avenue, on the property of Mr. Evert L. Beardsley, is an ancient Indian corn mortar, sunk in bed rock, being nearly eighteen inches in diameter and about three feet deep.Here for many years the Indians must have daily ground their corn.When first uncovered, nearly fifty years ago, the mortar contained its original stone pestle, but this has long since disappeared.Numerous other elics and arrow heads found in the neighborhood indicate that the spot must have been a favorite haunt of the aboriginal Red Man.

In some historical notes by Major W. B. Hinks, published in 1871, the following note is found:Several interesting relics of the Indians were discovered in Stratford a few years since by the Rev. R.L. Swan.They consisted of a fire place, and mortar for grinding corn, excavated in a ledge rock near the house recently occupied by Mr. William Strong, which was built on the site of an ancient inn, kept during and before the Revolutionary War by George Benjamin.The fire place was a semi-cylindrical upright hallow in the rock, several feet in height, from the top of which a pot could be suspended by a cross bar.Below it was the mortar with a rounded stone pestle, as large as a man�s head, still lying on it. Unfortunately these relics were destroyed before measures could be taken for their preservation.

THE WHITE HILLS PURCHASE

 

Having become tired of purchasing the soil by piecemeal, which they in fact already owned, the inhabitants of Stratford, in 1671, entered into an agreement to purchase all the claims of the Indians, within the Town, excepting the reservations at Golden Hill and Coram which had been previously established by order of the Court.

Too this end they brought the matter before the General Court by their Deputies Lt. Wm. Curtis and Mr. Joseph Hawley and the Court ordered a full settlement, by appointing the deputies to attend the execution of the matter and make report. The agreement with the Indians was made on May 17th, 1671 in which it is affirmed by about 20 of Pagassett and Paquannock Indians that Musquatt ye Sachem of ye Paquannock Indians is ye sole proprietor of all ye lands that are now or can be claimed by any Indians within ye bounds of ye township of Stratford. By this agreement Musquatt engageth doth acknowledge yt all ye lands that ye town of Stratford, hath contend within their bounds being twelve miles Northward into ye country in breadth from Fayrefield bounds to Stratford River Eastward should be theirs forever and ye said Musquatt engageth that a bill of sale of all ye land within ye bounds of Stratford being drawn in some convenient time that he or any other person that should be thought necessary would sign it that ye Town of Stratford might have a full title to all ye sd lands.�

In consideration of this agreement the Town agreed to pay ye said Musquatt or his assigns ten coats and five pound of powder and twenty pound of lead, to be paid at or before ye first of October next ensuing.The deed was duly execute on May 25, 1871 by wich they acknowledged all previous agreements and confirm all former sales of lands, �made over by our predecessors when ye English come first to sit down in these parts.�They restate the boundaries as follows;

�The line running from ye Southward to ye Northward twelve miles as it is now settled by ye Court, and from yt North line ye North end of it to runn away easterly to a Pine Swamp and so to a little river commonly called ye half-way river, and so to ye gt River called Stratford-ye North bounds being half way river east bounds Stratford River-and ye south bounds ye Sound or ye Sea- ye west bounds Fayrefeyld, as aforesaid.

By this purchase was secured, or rather the Indians released from all further claims all lands in the Town of Stratford and much of the territory embraced in this purchases lying in the Northern part of the town upon some sandy hills of very light color, hence the name White Hills Purchase by which the territory was designated on the town records.

This purchase cost the town of Stratford over L40 according to the tax list made specially for this purpose.This tax list is interesting, not only as showing the proportion of each man's proprietorship in lands, but the number of, and who were the inhabitants of the town at the time, it being just two years before the Woodbury Company removed.

This settlement seems to have quieted the Indian's just thirteen years, when another squad of claimants had grown up, or at least made their appearance, and doubtless for a consideration confirmed the previous sale, thus:-,We whose names are hereunto subscribed have had a full understanding of the contents of the above written bill of sales,-we do fully concur with those that formerly signed the same, and do approve thereof and do oblige ourselves and our heirs to stand thereto, Golden Hill as stated by the Court excepted.

Thus ended apparently all Indian claims to Stratford lands, except the reservations at Golden Hill and Coram.

In the numerous deeds which had been given from 1659 to 1684 25 years - more than fifty different names are to be found attached with their marks. Of these names of Ansantaway seems to have been important.Towtanemow was sachem at Derby and as such signed the deeds given in 1657, 1659, 1660, and in 1661, but seems to have died soon after for in 1664, Okenuck says he is �Sachem of Pagussettyet Ansantaway name was also attached to it.The last deed that Okenuck signed was on April 22, 1678, although he lived until 1690 being then aged about seventy years.

Soon after the first sale of their lands in Stratford Village, the Indians had gathered under their chief Okenuck, at Pootatuck Village, where now stands the city of Shelton, until after the death of his brother Towtanemow and his father Ansantaway, when he (Okenuck) became the �sole Sagamoreof Paugassett, and made his residence on Derby side of the river. About 1680, or soon after the final sale of their Stratford lands the Indians on the lower part of the Housatonic made a considerable migration with their wigwams up the Housatonic river and concentrated first at Pootatuck in Newtown; then to Pomperaug in Woodbury and finally to Weantinock in New Milford.

Like the last rays of the setting sun, as they fade into darkness, so did the Indians disappear before the advance of a superior civilization. There is a sense of sadness connected with their leaving their ancient hunting grounds here at Cupheag, at Pequannock and at Pootatuck village. We may be sure that the Indian had an eye for beauty and a soul to appreciate the loveliness of nature.It is no wonder that they left this enchanted spot with sad and lingering footsteps.This place where their warriors had gathered during many generations to fish and to hunt, to decide the great questions of peace and war, and whence their wigwams and fort stood, perhaps for hundreds of years, and where also were buried a large number of their kindred ancestors.

 

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