City of Derby
New Haven County
Connecticut

History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut



The History of the Old Town of Derby, Connecticut, 1642 -- 188O.
by Samuel Orcutt and Ambrose Beardsley

Published: Press of Springfield Printing Company, Springfield, Mass., 1880.

Part 1


Introduction    Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5    Part 6    Part 7    Part 8   
Part 9    Part 10    Part 11    Part 12    Part 13    Part 14    Part 15    Part 16    Part 17   


xv

PREFACE

TO THE INDIAN HISTORY.

This part of the History of Derby has grown far beyond the limits contemplated in the original plan of the work. After some of the material for it had been collected, information was received that the Rev. Joseph Anderson, D. D., of Waterbury, was preparing a brief course of lectures on the aboriginal history and antiquities of the Naugatuck valley, and at once a request was made for the use in this work of such parts of those lectupes as related to Derby. The request was very cordially granted and the offer made of any further assistance which Dr. Anderson might be able to render in giving completeness to this part of the work.

From Dr. Anderson's researches it was evident on the one hand that the Milford tribe was the stock from which the aboriginal inhabitants of the lower Naugatuck. and Ousatonic valleys had sprung, and on the other hand, that the Tunxis Indians, who came into the Naugatuck valley from the east, were related to these others in various important ways; so that any large and thorough treatment of the subject would naturally embrace the whole field covered by the lectures. It was therefore determined to make the lectures the groundwork of this part of the History. They are given entire, and such other facts are added as could be obtained by diligent search from whatever sources, the additions being chiefly from the Indian deeds recorded in Derby, Milford and Stratford, which were not within the lecturer's reacli at the time his lectures were

xvi

prepared. These deeds were forty in number, covering the space of time from the date of the first to the last one of over one hundred years.

The pubhc, therefore, as well as the authors of this work, arc indebted to Dr. Anderson, who is second to few in regard to the extent and thoroughness of his researches in this department, for something more than one-half of this aboriginal history. His accurate description of the Naugatuck valley, and his brief ethnological sketch of the Indian tribes our readers will without doubt appreciate.

In view of all the facts it is believed that the treatment of this field equals in thoroughness and accuracy, if it does not exceed, that accorded to any other piece of territory within the bounds of Connecticut. To the thoughtful reader it will not only afford instruction and pleasure in the perusal; it will aid him in forming a truer judgment respecting the mutual relations of the native inhabitants and the early settlers of New England.

The Authors.




xvii

INDIAN HISTORY.

CHAPTER I.

PRIMITIVE CONDITION.

A 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 north -- prominent 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 Ouassapaug. Just above the second bend, where it turns to go

xviii

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 bight 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 bights. 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 meadows -- the "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 pictur-

xix

esque; 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 Middlebury, 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 O.xford 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, Waterbury, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour and Derby. Those which, although lying back from the river, are drained in part by its tributaries, are Morris, Middlebury, Wolcott, Prospect, Bethany, Woodbridge and Oxford.

It may be seen from this rapid sketch, that this region, of country is but a narrow valley drained by a tributary river

xx

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 away -- in 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 -- the meadows excepted -- was covered with stately forests. The woods abounded in game, and the streams in fish; but the country was a pathless wilderness -- the 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

xxi

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 discovered -- the 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 the 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. In the same year lands were purchased at Stratford, and a settlement was begun, but by a different company of emigrants. All these

xxii

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 stock -- a 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 whose 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," esti-

xxii

mates their number at "eighty to one hundred warriors, or about four hundred individuals." Whatever other chiefs they may have had, the authority 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, -- a people known around New Haven harbor as Quinnipiacs. They claimed the land for many miles to the north, and the 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 Ousatonic. It extended in fact from the West river, which separates New Haven from Orange -- or 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 of the well known sachem Ansantaway, whose "big wigwam" is said to have been on Charles Island. Outside of Milford, 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 [Lambert, 131]; 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

xxiv

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

xxv

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" [Wesquantook was the original Indian name, not Squntook.], 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 persons 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 Neck, 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 east 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

xxvi

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."

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.

xxvii

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. -- We 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, 1 67 1, and signed by Musquatt, Nesumpau and Robin Cassasinnamin. And another was signed a week later by:

Musquatt,    Takymo,
Nisumpaw,    Sucksquo,
Sasapiquan,    Ponseck,
Shoron,    Totoquan.




xxviii

CHAPTER II.

ETHNOGRAPHIC HISTORY.

THE 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 Paugasetts [This name was written for many years Paugasuck bv the best spellers, but after-wards the name Paugasett became more familiar and it has been mostly used in public prints.] 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 Waterbury the settlers found it expedient to purchase the same lands from different tribes, without attemptins: 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, [New Haven Col. Rec. I. 265.] but no deed has been seen of that sale. The next purchase was made in 1653, by Mr. Goodyear [Ibid. 156] 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.

xxix

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 Derby Indians 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, Stanlev 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,

xxx

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,-- to 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

xxxi

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, 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 Ouassapaug 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 alreadv bought bv 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 on the north and Beacon Hill brook on the south, extending

xxxii

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. The third name is Oueramoush, which has already been met with, in the deed of 1657; for it was Ouerrimus 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 time-stained 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

xxxiii

of the 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 of the signers are new; Judas (another English name, Mantow, Momantow's squaw, Mercy (Sepuses's squaw) and Ouatowquechuck, 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 deed, 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, whoever 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 of the claim, deemed it expedient to extinguish it by purchase. A deed was accordingly drawn, dated February 28,

xxxiv

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.* 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

* Twenty parcels of land, by their names distinguished as follows:

Wecobemeus, 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, Musquauke, Mamusqunke, Squapma sutte, Wachu, "which nine parcels of land lie on the east side of Naugatuck 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 Naugatuck river eastward to Wallingford and New 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 butments 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, -- these parcels of land lying and being within the township of Mattatuck, bounded as aforesaid, situate on each side of Naugatuck and Mattatuck rivers."

xxxv

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, 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, Cacasahum, Wenuntacum, Arumpiske, described as Curan's squaw, and Notanumke, Curan's sister.

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 i8th 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 Naugatuck 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.[Conn. Col. Rec. 3, 225.] As has already been seen, a portion of this territory, sixteen miles in diameter, had been con-

xxxvi

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 Pethuzo and 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 lands*. 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.

xxxvii

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 Maquash [Mauquash, the last sachem of the Pootatucks, died about 1758. Wooodbury Hist.] (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 Ouiump, under the form of Aquiomp, was also

xxxviii

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 histdrian, 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 were "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 else 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 185 i, 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. Bronson's "History of Waterbury" [Hist., pp. 64-65].

xxxix

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 generation 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. "Sorte 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.

xl

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." [Lambert, p. 130.] 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.




xli

CHAPTER III.

CHUSE AND THE LAST FAMILIES.

SCATACOOK 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 Mauwee [So spelled on Derby records and not Mauwehu.] (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 most writers have followed what is said of him by Mr. John W. Barber in his "Historical Collections." Mr. Barber 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. [Hist. Conn. Indians, p. 60.] 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 worthy of remark that if Joseph Chuse was descended from

xlii

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 lor 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 Tomlinson [J. W. Barber, 199.] 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 fore

xliii

side of the right ear and a half tenant [tenon] the underside the left ear. June 27, 1759." It is said, 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, [Page 200.] 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.[This subject will be further treated of in the history of Chusetown, or Humphreysville.] 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 [Hist. Col. 199, 200.]:

"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

xliv

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 [1836] 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

xlv

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 [1836] at Scatacook and it is from her that most of the particulars respecting Chuse and the Indians are derived.

"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 cured by this method were formerly quite an article of traffic.

"The Indians in the interior used to bring down 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 great 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 the assistance of the dying Indian, who begged for water. Durand 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

xliv

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." [Hist. Col. 199, 200.]

"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." [DeForest's Hist. 406, 407. Town Rec.]

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 Rock Rimmon 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, Hes-

xlvii

ter, 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, Derby 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 liave come under observation: Joseph Mauwee, 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 eightv) 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." [De Forest 389.]

This opinion is not only probable, but demonstrated by the

xlviii

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, Wonawak and Tomassett. 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; Wonawak 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 Scaghticook "[Pish-gach- ti-gock, -- the meeting of the waters." Benson J. Lossing.] 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.

xlix

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." [Sharpe's Hist, of Seymour, p. 37.] 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.



MOLLY HATCHETT.

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, -- a fact which

l

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.

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 flocked 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,

li

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 a drink of "uncupe." "Can't give it to you," said the conscientious merchant, "it is against the law to sell by the glass," "Uh," 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

lii

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?" "Oh! 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,' Naugatuck and 0usatonuck." When she received a gift her reply was, "Arumshemoke, 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 fathers arose. Alone, and the last of my race,
I watch where their ashes repose.
The calumet now is no more,
No longer the hatchet is red;
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 appear.
Once we listened to hear the war song,
Once we sailed on the Naugatuck's wave.
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 kindred arose,
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 prom-

liii

ise, 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

liv

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

lv

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 Pann 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 up -- so 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.



INDIAN BURYING-GROUNDS.

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 proba-

lvi

bly 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."


History of the Old Town of Derby - End of Part 1

Introduction    Part 1    Part 2    Part 3    Part 4    Part 5    Part 6    Part 7    Part 8   
Part 9    Part 10    Part 11    Part 12    Part 13    Part 14    Part 15    Part 16    Part 17   


USGenWeb City of Derby CT Home Page & Search



Search billions of records on Ancestry.com