Kendall and the Weathersfield Pine: Another Memory Marker

pines meetinghouse hill rain autumn

Edward Augustus Kendall was a British traveller, translator, social campaigner and writer. He is best known to Americans as the author of a journal with the self-explanatory title of “Travels through the northern parts of the United States in 1807 and 1808, in 3 volumes” (New York, I. Riley, 1809). His name will come up elsewhere on this blog as a chronicler of the petroglyphs at “Indian Rock,” as he knew the carvings at the mouth of Wantastekw/West River, at Wantastegok/Brattleboro. That account is also found in the aforementioned  travel journal; fyi, the references to Vermont instances of Native carving are all recounted in Volume 3.

Kendall recounts that he saw a pine tree in Weathersfield, VT with carvings on four different facets of the trunk. He may have made some leaps of logic in his explanations, but the observation itself stands as an example of memory marking in the landscape utilizing trees, similar to that of Quintin Stockwell’s account at Pocumtuk. We can discuss his interpretations of the individual figures that he witnessed in another post down the line. As Kendall’s book hasn’t been digitized to my knowledge, but it has been scanned, I post here screenshots of his narrative from the pertinent section:

kendall travels weathersfield 1

kendall travels weathersfield 2

 

kendall travels weathersfield 3

Kendall’s historical attribution of the pine carvings may be a little off too, dating it to the 1704 Deerfield raid.  But that’s not something we need to disparage right now. Suffice it to note that his record is another example of awighigan encoded in landscape features.

 

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Quentin Stockwell 1677: Memory Marking in the Landscape

life in the wigwam samuel g drake 1850

Samuel Drake’s Indian Captivities or Life In The Wigwam, 1850 a compilation

From the Narrative of the Captivity of Quintin Stockwell, Who was taken at Deerfield, in Massachusetts, by a Party of Inland Indians, in the Year 1677; Communicated in his own Words, and Originally Published by the Eminent Dr. Increase Mather, in the Year 1684

In the year 1677, September the 19th, between sunset and dark, the Indians came upon us. I and another man, being together, we ran away at the outcry the Indians made, shouting and shooting at some others of the English that were hard by… They now took and bound me and led me away, and soon was I brought into the company of other captives, who were that day brought away from Hatfield, who were about a mile off… About the break of day we marched again, and got over that great river at Pecomptuck [Deerfield] River mouth, and there rested about two hours. Here the Indians marked out upon trees the number of their captives and slain, as their manners.

Recall is made of the story of Roanoke’s Lost Colony, and the tree found with the word “Croatoan” carved on the trunk.

4th Annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival on August 5

pocumtuck homelands festival 2017

The 4th  Annual Pocumtuck Homelands Festival, a celebration of Native American Art, Music, and Culture,  takes place on Saturday, August  5, 2017,  from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Unity Park Waterfront in Turners Falls, MA.  The event is free, family friendly, fun, educational, accessible, and of interest to all ages.

Performances include live traditional, original, and fusion music, a story teller, and three drum groups. There will be outstanding  Native American artists, and games, activities and crafts for children. Also featured will be primitive skills demonstrations, a books and authors section, and condensed history lessons about Great Falls. The Mashantucket-Pequot archaeology team will be on site for the second time to analyze early contact period artifacts people bring to them. And Tim MacSweeney, keeper of the website Waking Up On Turtle Island, can help explain the significance of threatened sites considered sacred to the tribes such as in Shutesbury and Sandisfield. Food will be available, including Native American fare.

Performers will be Hawk Henries, Nipmuc flute player and flute maker;  the Kingfisher Singers and Dancers, Wampanoag from the  Mashpee, Aquinnah, and Herring Pond communities;  story teller Larry Spotted Crow Mann,  Nipmuc; the Medicine Mammals Singers;  and Lee Mixashawn Rozie,  who uses instrumental virtuosity and stories to illuminate the indigenous and African roots of “American” music.  Be energized by the presence of three drums: Chief Don Stevens and the Nulhegan-Coosuk Band of the Abenaki Singers, plus returning favorites, the Black Hawk Singers (Abenaki),  and the Visioning B.E.A.R. Circle Intertribal Coalition Singers.

Donations appreciated. Find more information and the schedule the week before the event at www.nolumbekaproject.org. and/or turnersfallsriverculture.org.

The Fork in the Trail, South Deerfield

south deerfield trail fork recorder sanderson

The two yellow lines forming an inverted V show the ancient fork in the road that greeted settlers at the site of the Bloody Brook ambush in South Deerfield. The solid black line follows Main Street to Long Plain Road in Whately. The red dashes show the approximate course of an abandoned path leading straight to the foot of Mount Sugarloaf and on to River Road in Whately. Both indigenous paths led to nascent Hatfield village in the 17th century. Contributed map/Peter A. Thomas

Recorder Staff, Friday, May 26, 2017

Associated with ancient bloodshed and modern fender-benders, a familiar site in South Deerfield has a deep history that reveals a forgotten footpath fork, with a long-ago abandoned leg leading straight to the southern base of Mount Sugarloaf and beyond.

We’re talking about South Deerfield’s famous Bloody Brook Corner, a sharp curve on North Main Street passing the Bloody Brook Monument, commemorating the infamous Sept. 19, 1675, King Philip’s War ambush where Capt. Thomas Lathrop and 75 colonial soldiers and militia met their doom. Back then, both forks led to the nascent Hatfield village by roughly parallel routes at slightly different elevations.

The discovery of this forgotten fork in the road at a historical landmark came to light in the mid-19th century journals of Deerfield surveyor/mapmaker/historian Epaphras Hoyt, author of “Antiquarian Researches: Comprising a History of the Indian Wars in the Country Bordering Connecticut River and Parts Adjacent,” published in 1824. Born in Deerfield, Hoyt (1765-1850) began keeping a journal late in life. These journals were handed down privately among extended Hoyt family members for 165 years before they were assembled and sold at auction for more than $30,000 to Historic Deerfield in December 2015. Now available to researchers, these important papers provide an invaluable peek into upper Pioneer Valley history, and especially into the settlement of Bloody Brook, which became South Deerfield. So, of course, this fresh information about my hometown was of great interest to me personally.

I grew up in a house overlooking Bloody Brook Corner and could see the obelisk monument across the street through the posts at the foot of my bed. Maybe there’s a curse on that site, because I was awakened from many a sound sleep by loud nighttime car crashes. As a boy, I explored the meadows, hillside pastures and North Sugarloaf ridgeline across the street without ever getting so much as a faint whiff of an ancient fork in the road there. Centuries of tillage have likely erased any trace of that ancient path, although it’s not impossible that random pieces remain on farm roads between the monument and the youth baseball diamond a mile away at the southwestern foot of Sugarloaf.

My late father, a South Deerfield native with roots reaching to the very beginning of the village, was surprised to hear of the old fork in front of his house. A veteran land surveyor, he knew that the line dividing the eastern and western lots drawn by Deerfield’s earliest proprietors was the road leading from Old Deerfield to the Whately line — passing through The Bars to Mill Village Road, across Routes 5 & 10 to South Deerfield, and down Main Street to the Whately line at Brookside Cemetery. But he had no clue that what’s known as the Pocumtuck Path had originally forked into two trails at Bloody Brook Corner.

Now, thanks to Epaphras Hoyt’s resurrected journals and tireless research by retired historian Peter A. Thomas, we have a much clearer picture of the indigenous trail system between Hatfield, Deerfield and beyond. Thomas photographed and transcribed journal excerpts related to King Philip’s War and Bloody Brook before diligently searching for related papers in the dusty Historic Deerfield and PVMA archives. Despite his yeoman efforts, a couple of questions linger that may never be answered:

1.) What route did the Lathrop and his troops take from Hatfield to Deerfield to salvage winter grain before imminent Indian warfare swept the valley?

2.) What was their intended route back to garrisoned Hatfield with cartsful of grain when ambushed crossing Bloody Brook approaching the fork in the road?

Because the left fork to Sugarloaf appears to have been discontinued by the third quarter of the 18th century and was forgotten until very recently, and because the right fork became a county road and is still a heavily traveled secondary road, most historians settled on the latter as the most likely route Capt. Lathrop and his Flower of Essex troopers took that dreadful day.

However, documentary evidence in 1672 Indian deeds for Hatfield and Deerfield establish the presence of a commonly used trail crossing Sugarloaf Brook at a marked tree in the general vicinity of today’s Hagar Cross Road in South Deerfield. Likewise, the road following the river from Hatfield to Deerfield shows up on a primitive 1709 map. Also, on an August 1716 trip to the Connecticut Valley recorded in Judge Samuel Sewell’s diary, the Salem Witch Trials jurist stayed overnight in Hatfield with Col. Partridge before guide Samuel Childs of Deerfield toured him past Sugarloaf to view the Bloody Brook battleground and gravesite. Sewell’s written description strongly suggests that the route taken was the river road. Then again, Sugarloaf is on prominent display along the upper road as well, especially once you break into the sandy plain traversed by Long Plain Road. This outwash plain was, according to several archaeologists I’ve spoken to, probably open sandbanks in 1675.

Although Lathrop’s path is still a mystery that may never be solved, Hoyt’s journals provide more than enough exciting new clues to keep local-history sleuths busy for decades. Isn’t that what keeps historians’ engines revved?

Recorder sports editor Gary Sanderson is a senior-active member of the outdoor-writers associations of America and New England. Blog: http://www.tavernfare.com. Email: gsand53@outlook.com.

Link to original Recorder article.

Hike the Pocumtuck Ridge

pocumtuck ridge hike nolumbeka

From Nur Tiven and Nolumbeka Project:

Dear Friends,
Please join me and David Brule from the Nolumbeka Project on Saturday, May 13th, for a half-day hiking and Native history tour along the Pocumtuck Ridge Trail.  The PRT passes through beautiful highland wilderness and riverside forests, offering some great vistas along the way. On the walk, we’ll learn about the history of the region and it’s original inhabitants and stewards, the Pocumtuck people. The history will span before, during, and after contact with the European immigrants.

ROUTE
We’ll start in Great Falls (Turners Falls) and walk south on the PRT through the wilderness of Greenfield’s Rocky Mt. Park, Highland Park, Connecticut River, Deerfield River, ending at Woolman Hill Conference Center in Deerfield (Approx 5 miles)

At 6:30pm, we’ll end with a talk at Woolman’s Meeting Hall, open to the public, with more in-depth historical information and narratives from the research of the Nolumbeka Project.  By Donation, Open to Everyone (must be able to walk 5 miles along mostly gentle terrain)

Questions? Please email me! I hope you’ll be able to join us!
Nur Tiven                                  nurhabib1@gmail.com

 

Gill-Montague Board Votes 6-3 to Remove Turners Falls Indian Mascot

jasmine-goodspeed-turners-falls-mascot-vote

The Gill-Montague Regional School Committee has voted to change the Turners Falls High School mascot from the “Indians” in a 6-3 vote on Tuesday night.

About 70 were in the crowd of the auditorium as the five-month debate came to an unanticipated close when the School Committee voted to change after an hour of discussion on the issue.

The School Committee was partially through a process to review the mascot that they discontinued last meeting. Those who advocated for the vote said it was because the process had become overwhelmingly divisive in the towns and schools.

Read the full report by Miranda Davis in the Greenfield Recorder!

Video coverage of the School Committee meeting from Montague Community Television:

More coverage (some duplicate wire services):

http://www.westernmassnews.com/story/34506389/turners-falls-vote-to-change-high-schools-indian-mascot

School committee voted to remove Turners Falls High School ‘Indians’ mascot

http://www.dailyprogress.com/massachusetts-school-board-dumps-native-american-mascot/article_675ca1ec-b904-5666-acf9-da02b690c20e.html

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/02/turners_falls_high_school_to_s.html

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2017/02/massachusetts_school_board_dumps_native_american_mascot

https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2017/02/15/massachusetts-school-board-dumps-native-american-mascot