City of Derby
New Haven County

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 2

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   



PROGRESS in disintegration and decay in the native tribes may be traced a little further by the examination of documents and records. Mr. J. W. DeForest in his "History of the Indians of Connecticut," a book which, after all deductions are made, is a remarkable production for a youth of one-and-twenty years, makes the following remarks upon the retirement of the Red men before the aggressive race that had landed on their shores:

"Knowing little of European modes of life, and judging of the colonists greatly by themselves, they supposed that the latter would cultivate but a little land, and support themselves for the rest by trading, fishing and hunting. Little did they think that in the course of years the white population would increase from scores to hundreds, and from hundreds to thousands; that the deep forests would be cut down; that the wild animals would disappear; that the fish would grow few in the rivers; and that a poor remnant would eventually leave the graves of their forefathers and wander away into another land. Could they have anticipated that a change so wonderful, and in their history so unprecedented, would of necessity follow the coming of the white Ģian, they would have preferred the wampum tributes of the Pequots and the scalping parlies of the Five Nations to the vicinity of a people so kind, so peaceable, and yet so destructive." -- (Pages 164, 165.)

Of course the natives knew not that they were parting with their homes forever; neither did the new settlers know how swiftly their predecessors upon the soil would melt away before the glow and heat of a Christian civilization. But the process was inevitable, and in New England, at least, however it may have been elsewhere, it was as painless and as little marked by cruelty as it well could be.


Through several documents still preserved there come before us certain Derby Indians in the peculiar character o{ slaves.


To Students of colonial history it is a known fact that not only negroes but Indians were held as slaves in New England. That slavery should have existed in the colonies was almost a matter of course, in view of its recognition by the mother country. The Massachusetts code, adopted in 1641, known as the "Body of Liberties," recognized it, and provided for its regulation and restriction; and Connecticut in its code of 1650 followed in the same path. The ninety-first article of the Massachusetts code was as follows: "There shall never be any bond slavery, vilianage or captivity among us, unless it be lawful captives taken in just wars, and such strangers as willingly sell themselves or are sold to us. . . . . This exempts none from servitude who shall be judged thereto by authority." According to this, persons might be sold into slavery for crime; might be purchased in the regular course of trade; or might be enslaved as captives taken in war; and it will be observed that no limitation is made in reference to color or race. Probably, however, the English distinction was tacitly recognized, which allowed the enslavement of infidels and heathen, but not of Christians. Of the fact that Indians became slaves in the different ways here mentioned, there is abundant evidence. In Sandwich, Massachusetts, three Indians were sold in 1678 for having broken into a house and stolen. Being unable to make recompense to the owner, the General Court authorized him to sell them. In 1660 the General Court of Connecticut was empowered by the United Colonies to send a company of men to obtain satisfaction, of the Narragansetts, for an act of insolence they had committed upon the settlers. Four of the malefactors were to be demanded; and in case the persons were delivered, they were to be sent to Barbadoes and sold as slaves. In 1677 it was enacted by the General Court that if any Indian servant captured in war and placed in service by the authorities should be taken when trying to run away, it should be "in the power of his master to dispose of him as a captive, by transportation out of the country." That the regular slave trade included traffic in Indians as well as negroes appears from several enactments of the General Court. For instance, it was ordered in May, 1711, "that all slaves set at liberty by their owners, and all negro, mulatto or Spanish Indians, who are servants to mas-


ters for time, in case they come to want after they be so set at liberty, or the time of their said service be expired, shall be relieved by such owners or masters respectively." At a meeting of the Council in July, I715,it was resolved "that a prohibition should be published against the importation of any Indian slaves whatsoever." The occasion of this was the introduction of a number of such slaves from South Carolina, and the prospect that many more were coming. In October following, the General Court adopted an act in relation to this matter, which was a copy of a Massachusetts act of 1712, prohibiting the importation into the colony of Indian servants or slaves, on the ground of the numerous outrages committed by such persons. Of Indians captured in war, a considerable number were sold into slavery, but what proportion it would be impossible to say. It was a defensive measure, to which the colonists were impelled by the fact that they were "contending with a foe who recognized none of the laws of civilized warfare." It was resorted to in the war with the Pequots, and again in the war with King Philip.

In a manuscript, sold with the library of the late George Brinley of Hartford, namely, the account book of Major John Talcott (1674-1688), which includes his accounts as treasurer of the colony during King Philip's war, there are some curious entries indicating how the enslavement of Indians in certain cases originated. The following account stands on opposite pages of the ledger (pp. 54, 55):

"1676. Capt. John Stanton of Stonington, Dr., To sundry commissions gave Capt. Stanton to proceed against the Indians, by which he gained much on the sales of captives.

"Contra, 1677, April 30. Per received an Indian girl of him, about seven years old, which he gave me for commissions on the other side or, at best, out of good will for my kindness to him."

Further light is thrown on this matter by the following documents, which are interesting, also, in themselves [They are the property of the Hon. C. W. Gillette of Waterbury.].

The first is a deed drawn up in Stratford, June 8, 1722:

"Know all men by these presents, that I, Joseph Gorham of Stratford, in the county of Fairfield, in the colony of Connecticut, for and


in consideration of sixty pounds money in hand received, and well and truly paid by Col. Ebenezer Johnson of Derby, in the county of New Haven and colony aforesaid, to my full satisfaction and content, have sold and made over unto the said Ebenezer Johnson and to his heirs, executors and assigns forever, one Indian woman named Dinah, of about twenty-six years of age, for him, the said Johnson, his heirs, executors or assigns, to have, hold and enjoy the said Indian woman Dinah as his and their own proper estate from henceforth forever, during the said Dinah's life; affirming the said Dinah to be my own proper estate, and that I have in myself full power and lawful authority to sell and dispose of the said Dinah in manner as aforesaid, and that free and clear of all incumbrances whatsoever. In witness I set to my hand and seal in Stratford, this eighth day of June, in the year of our Lord God, 1722.
Samuel French,
Attorney for Capt. Gorham.

"Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us,
John Curtiss,
John Leavenworth."

The second document traces Dinah's history a little further. It is dated at Derby, November 22, 1728. Before this date Col. Johnson had died, and this is the deed by which his widow disposes of a part of the estate to her son Timothy:

"Know all men by these presents, that I. Hannah Johnson, widow of the late deceased Colonel Ebenezer Johnson of Derby, in the county of New Haven, in the colony of Connecticut, in New England, for the parental love and good will which I have towards my beloved son, Timothy Johnson of Derby, in the county and colony aforesaid, and for divers other good and well-advised considerations me thereunto moving, have given and do by these presents fully, freely and absolutely give, grant and confirm unto my beloved son Timothy Johnson, him, his heirs and assigns forever: that is to say, one Indian woman called Dinah, and also a feather bed that he hath now in possession, and by these presents I, the said Hannah Johnson, do give, grant and confirm and firmly make over the above named Dinah and feather bed, with all their privileges and profits; and unto him, the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns forever, to have and to hold; to occupy, use and improve, as he, the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns, shall think fit, without any interruption, trouble or molestation any manner of way given by me. the said Hannah Johnson, or any of my heirs, executors or administrators, or any other person or persons from, by or


under me. And furthermore. I, the said Hannah Johnson, do by these presents, for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators, covenant and promise to and with the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns, that we will forever warrant and defend him, the said Timothy Johnson, his heirs and assigns, in the peaceable and quiet possession and enjoyment of the above named Dinah and feather bed against the lawful claims and demands of all persons whomsoever. In confirmation of all the above mentioned particulars, I, the said Hannah Johnson, have hereunto set my hand and seal this 22d day of November, in the second year of the reign of our sovereign lord. King George the Second, and in the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight.
Hannah Johnson.

"Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of,
Joseph Hulls,
Charles Johnson.

"Derby, November 22, 1728. This day Hannah Johnson, the subscriber of the above written instrument, personally appeared and acknowledged this to be her own free act and deed, before me.
Joseph Hulls, Justice of the Peace."

At no time in the history of American slavery has the recognition of human beings as chattels been more complete than it is in this old document, in which "the Indian woman Dinah" and "the feather bed" are classed together in so unceremonious a way.

That the purchase of Dinah in 1722 was not Col. Johnson's first experiment in slave-holding is evidenced by another document pertaining to the Indian literature of the Naugatuck valley, also in the possession of Judge Gillette. It is a brief paper from the hand of Colonel Johnson, relating to an Indian named Tobie, and certifying to his manumission. It is given just as recorded:

"these may cartifi whome it may consarn that tobee a Ingan that lived with me I had of a mpheg Indian at new london 307 3'ears agoo. he lived with me 12 year and is now and has bin a free man ever senc. October the 6 1713
Ebenezer Johnson."

There is an Indian deed given by Cockapatana and Ahuntaway, as sachems, and six other Indians, of land at the place still known as Tobie's Rocks, deeded to this same Tobie, in which he is said to be "a Narragansett Indian, formerly servant unto


Capt. Ebenezer Johnson of Derby." The deed is dated September 7, 1693. The deed and the legend concerning Tobie's capture will be found in their chronological order in the body of this work.

The record shows that Tobie was taken in the time of King Philip's war, 1676; that he was twelve years a slave, being made free in 1688; in 1693 received the tract of land from the Naugatuck Indians "in consideration of ten pounds and a barrel of cider," and in 1713 this certificate was made. What circumstances called for such a paper at that time is a question concerning which we have no information; nor has there been seen anything in the records upon which to found a supposition, except that it was the time when he had petitioned, or was about to petition, the legislature for a patent for his land, as the town had just received a patent, although it proved to be unsatisfactory. And what reason the town could have had, if not a selfish one, for opposing Tobie's petition, it is impossible to guess. It is probable that the certificate was given to show his right to hold property and become a citizen.

In 1709, Major Ebenezer Johnson sold another Indian girl, placing her in a vastly more satisfactory relation, according to modern ideas, than either of the other sales effected. The Indians in deeding a certain tract say: "On account of a squaw Sarah, sold unto said Chetrenasut, and three pounds, ten shillings in hand received of Major Ebenezer Johnson of Derby." This tract of land was "lying in a place called 'Nayumps,' bounded northerly with Beacon Hill river, easterly with Milford, westerly with Naugatuck river, south with Lebanon river." This was a happy sale in this, that the Indian Chetrenasut obtained a bride. Well done, thou noble Red man of the forest, thou dost make a woman free, while thy white brother possesses the land that is the price of human, living flesh and blood! O, slavery, what corrupting sin hast thou not committed in the land of Bibles and religion! But there is a favorable thought on the slave-holder's side: he had given one man his liberty. "Seven pounds" was no price for a young slave woman; for a few years later Mr. Johnson paid sixty pounds for one, apparently of about the same value. We may hope that the price was but nominal and the real object benevolent.


Turning again to the Tunxis Indians, with whom the Paugasucks are related, and from whom the Waterbury purchases were made, we find the same process of gradual decay taking place among them which we trace in other tribes. The main body at Farmington was joined from time to time by re-enforcements from the Connecticut valley; and it is very probable that some of the Paugasucks joined them, since we are informed in one deed that some had settled in Hartford, where they were residing when they executed a deed of land in Derby. A school was established among them, a few were admitted as freemen, and a few became members of the church. But, notwithstanding the friendly feeling which existed, the lands which the Indians had reserved slipped gradually from their grasp, and they found it desirable to emigrate. In 1761, the tribe was estimated at less than twenty-five families. They had moved back from their original position and were residing in the north-west part of Farmington and in New Hartford. In 1774, they numbered fifty-six persons. Not long after, some of them removed to the country of the Mohawks; others, subsequently, to Scatacook, and from there to Stockbridge. The Tunxis Indians, as we have seen, had no established camping ground in the Naugatuck valley at the time of its settlement by white men; neither is there any strong evidence that they resided in the valley after they had begun to retire from their old reservation. It is probable, however, that some of the Indians who are still remembered as living in Waterbury, Litchfield and Wolcottville, belonged to that tribe. It is within the present generation that a family living in the Park road, in the western part of Waterbury, has entirely disappeared. Persons are still living who remember Indian families in Wolcottville and Torringford. In the latter place a wigwam used to stand, in the very door-yard of a prominent citizen, Captain Shubael Griswold, some time after the Revolutionary war. Another family had their wigwam, within the present century, in the field west of the brass mill in Wolcottville, where they had resided some years. In the edge of Goshen, a little north of Hart's Hollow, is a cave which used to be the recruiting station for the Indians while on their hunting excursions through that region. Many arrowheads and other implements have been picked up at this place,


indicating considerable occupation of it by these hunters. Another like place is found in Wolcott, or in the edge of the town of Bristol, near Wolcott, where implements have been found and which tradition, as well, claims to have been a resort of the Red man. Wist pond, in the western part of the town of Torrington was so called from an Indian by that name, who, it is said, was drowned in its waters. There used to be an Indian family in a cave in Harwinton, nearly opposite the mouth of Spruce brook, and another on the tract of land called the Wigwam, lying along "West branch," not far back from Reynolds's bridge. In 1850, Mr. DeForest spoke of "one miserable creature, a man named Mossock," as living in Litchfield, "perhaps the sole remnant of the Tunxis tribe." There may be other similar traces of the departing Red man, which by a little effort could be discovered and, if it were worth while, recorded.

It is important to take a further look at the Pootatucks, from whom the extensive Litchfield purchase was made. As to their numbers, it is difficult to determine anything, but some conclusions may be drawn from the number of different individuals who signed the Indian deeds in Derby. From 1657 to 1678, or to the close of the sachem rule of Okenuck, a space of twenty-one years, there were over fifty different signers to these Indian deeds of the Paugasuck Indians. Sometimes only Okenuck's name is attached to a deed; at other times two, five, seven and ten are recorded. The fact {which is demonstrated) that only a few signed when there were others who might have signed but did not, indicates that it was necessary for but a few to sign at a time. Hence, if during that time one in three of the men in the tribe signed, then the tribe consisted of one hundred and fifty men; and, making allowance for deaths and removals, the tribe may have numbered one hundred men, or, on a small estimate, between three and four hundred persons at any time during the twenty-one years. It is quite apparent, nay, almost demonstrable, that the Indians increased in numbers from 1657 to 1700, and afterward. Many of the Paugasuck Indians united with the Pootatucks, from 1680 to 1730.

It is probable that the chief seat of the Pootatucks in 1660 was at the old fort opposite Birmingham Point, on the west side of the Ousatonic, and that the settlement at Pomperaug was


mostly eftected afterwards. In 1671, when this tribe deeded to Henry Tomlinson land on both sides of the river, at what is now Birmingham Point, fifteen names were placed on the deed, and in the next month to a quit-claim deed in confirmation of the territory of the town of Stratford, four others were added and in 1684, to another deed of the same character, eleven more were recorded. Here then, in the space of thirteen years, there are thirty men ascertained; and on the calculations, as in the case of the Paugasucks as above noted, we estimate, making due allowances, there were about seventy men in the Pootatuck tribe, and from two hundred to two hundred and fifty persons. When then, this tribe had increased, as most probably it did, of its own numbers and by accessions from the Paugasucks, up to 1700, it very probably numbered over one hundred men. Hence, when President Stiles of Yale College, in his "Itinerary" in 1760, estimated the number of warriors of this tribe to have been fifty half a century before, he was not far out of the way.

The same writer preserves the account of a great "powwow," which took place at the village of the Pootatucks, somewhere from 1720 to 1725. The ceremonies lasted three days, and were attended by five or six hundred Indians, many of whom came from distant places, as Farmington and Hartford. While the Indians were standing in a dense mass, excited by dancing and other wild rites, a little Indian girl was brought forward, gaily dressed and covered with ornaments. She was led in among them by two squaws, her mother and her aunt; and as she entered the crowd they set up a great yelling and howling, threw themselves into strange postures and made hideous grimaces. After a while the squaws, stripped of their ornaments, emerged alone from the crowd and walked away, shedding tears and uttering mournful cries. Many white people stood around gazing at the scene; but the savages were so excited that none of them dared to interfere. A little white girl, who afterwards related the incident, ran up to the squaws and asked anxiously what they had done with the child, but the only reply was that they should never see her again. It was generally believed by the whites that the Indians had sacrificed her, and that this was an occasional custom.


In 1742, the Pootatucks petitioned the legislature for a school and a preacher, so that, as they expressed it (or some white friend in their behalf), "our souls need not perish for want of vision in this land of light," and their petition was granted. At this time they numbered forty persons. Previous to this, however (in 1733), they had sold about three-fourths of their reservation in Southbury, and many of them had joined the Wyantenucks of New Milford, whither they had been emigrating for more than thirty years. To the fragment of land and the Indian village which remained, known as the Pootatuck Wigwams, they retained a title for a quarter of a century longer; but in 1758, they parted with it and took up their abode with other tribes. A clan of the Pootatucks resided alternately at Bethlehem, Litchfield and Nonawaug, and have been sometimes designated Bantam Indians. In 1761, the Pootatucks who remained in the vicinity of their old reservation consisted of one man and two or three broken families.

One year previous to the presentation of the petition just referred to, asking for a school and a preacher (that is, in May 1741), a petition had been presented by a member of the Pootatuck tribe asking the legislature, first, to allow something toward the schooling and supporting of his children; secondly, to help him to a division of the Indian lands at Pootatuck. The document which is reproduced in full in Mr. Cothren's history of Woodbury, [Pp. l0I, 102.] is a very curious one; but it demands our attention just now because of the name of the petitioner, who speaks of himself as a poor Indian native, "Hatchett Tousey by name." Hatchett Tousey, notwithstanding its English sound, is obviously the same name which appears repeatedly in the Woodbury and Litchfield records as "Atchetouset;" and it is all the more interesting to us because we meet with it under the form "Hatchatowsuck" among the Tunxis and Paugasuck names affixed to the Waterbury deed of December, 1684, and again as connected with the Hatchett family of Derby. It would not be safe to consider the petitioner of 1741 identical with the signer of 1684; but we can certainly trace him in another quarter -- in the town records of Litchfield. On the third day of August, 1732, John Catlin sold to "a certain Indian resident of


Litchfield, commonly known as Hatchatousset, for eight pounds lawful money, one acre more or less of land in the crotch of Bantam river;" and on the 14th of May 1736, Hatchatousset sold this land to John Sutliff for ten pounds, making, as probably he supposed, a fair profit. [These items were furnished by D. C. Kilbourn of Litchfield.] The idea of individual ownership had evidently taken hold of this native of the soil; for in his petition, as we have seen, he prayed the legislature to help him to a division of the Indian land at Pootatuck -- "that I might have my right and just part set out to me, so that they might not quarrel with me; for they say if I am a Christian then I shall not have my land." He had learned, too, that being a Christian does not by any means take away the desire to have land; and that being a Christian secures sometimes the opposition of nearest kindred.

Another personage comes before us, whose name is already inscribed in history among the noble and honored defenders of our country. The name of one of the Indians who sold to the Litchfield settlers was written Corkscrew, apparently an impromptu joke of the clerk at the time, who ought to have written Cotsure or Cocksure. This name within a generation or two became Cogswell; a worthy member of the family which it represents is still living at New Milford, and another, William H. Cogswell, won a lieutenant's commission in a Connecticut artillery company in the late war. The Cornwall History [T. S. Gold's, p. 223.] speaks thus of this honored soldier:

"Lieut. William H. Cogswell died Sept. 22, 1864, aged 25 years, 2 months and 23 days. He enlisted as a private in the Fifth regiment, C. V., June 22, 1861, and was promoted to the Second Connecticut Artillery, for gallant services, Sept. 11, 1862. He was in the battles of Peaked Mountain, Winchester, Cedar Mountain, Cold Harbor and Opequan, and died from wounds received in the last battle.

"A handsome freestone monument, with the above inscription, erected by his fellow-townsmen, stands as a tribute to his memory. As a valiant, faithful soldier he had no superiors, while in power to endure fatigue, agility, strength and never-failing spirits, he had few equals. The writer remarked to his colonel (Wessells) that William was one of


a thousand soldiers. He replied, 'You might well say, one often thousand.'

"It is related of him that when on the march many were falling out of the ranks from fatigue, he grasped the muskets of three or four, carrying them for miles, showing his men what strong and willing arms could do.

"Before he went into the army he was a noted runner at all our local fairs, surpassing all competitors, so that when it became known that he was to run there would be no race.

"He was the eldest son of Nathan Cogswell, to whose skilled hands Cornwall farmers are indebted for many of their fine stone walls, and grandson of Jeremiah Cogswell, a member of the Scatacook tribe."

This grandfather was probably Jeremiah Cocksure, who, removing with the remnant of the tribe from Pootatuck, became one of Gideon Mauwee's principal men. He was one of the converts of the Moravian missionaries, and his name often appears in their lists.

When we consider the Indian's character, the stage of development he had reached, and the ordeal necessarily involved in his being brought suddenly into contact with an aggressive civilization, his behavior in this trying period of his history seems worthy of high commendation. However cruel and bloodthirsty he may have been by nature, in his intercourse with peaceable white men he was peaceable; if they showed themselves friendly -- he was their friend. Much is said of the Indian's treachery, but it was mostly reserved for enemies, and does not differ essentially from the deception and stratagems which in all ages civilized people have considered legitimate in war.

As a rule the conduct of the Indian was peaceable and friendly, but there were exceptions, -- most of them traceable, it is presumed, to the intemperate use of spirituous liquors. Among these exceptions may be mentioned a murder which was perpetrated in the town of Litchfield, in February, 1768. The murderer was an Indian named John Jacob, and his victim was also an Indian. The guilty man was tried and executed the same year. Mention should also be made of Moses Cook of Waterbury, whose residence was on the north-east corner of Cook and Grove streets, where another branch of the family still resides. The crime was committed in the town of Bethany, on the


7th of December, 1771, by an Indian named Moses Paul. It appears that Paul was born in Barnstabh, Mass., about 1742. He lived at Windham, Conn., until twenty years of age, when he enlisted in the Provincial service in the regiment of Colonel Putnam. After the campaign was ended he became a sailor and followed the sea for several years, becoming confirmed in bad habits which he had contracted while in the army. After returning to Connecticut he lived in a very unsteady way for three or four years, staying but a little while in a place, and often becoming intoxicated. On the evening of December 7, 1771, at the house of Mr. Clark of Bethany, while under the influence of liquor, he quarreled with the proprietor. He seized a flatiron weighing four and a half pounds (Paul himself testified that it was a club), and aiming a blow at Mr. Clark, missed him and struck Mr. Cook who was standing by. The wound terminated fatally five days afterward. Paul was pursued and arrested the same evening. He was tried in February, and after a fair and impartial hearing, which lasted a whole day, was found guilty of murder, and sentenced to be hanged in June. The General Assembly, however, on petition, granted a reprieve for three months. At Paul's execution, which took place at New Haven, Sept. 2, 1772, a sermon was preached "at the desire of said Paul," by Samson Occom, a well known Indian preacher and missionary; the author, by the way, of the once popular hymn,

"Awaked by Sinai's awful sound."

A large assembly of whites and Indians had come together to witness the execution, and Occom, taking for his text the words, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," delivered a quite elaborate and impressive discourse, in which there were some characteristic specimens of Indian eloquence. The sermon was subsequently published in several editions, and re-published in England in connection with the treatise of the younger Jonathan Edwards upon the grammar of the Muhhekaneew (Mohegan) Indians. Mr. Occom in his preface says it was "a stormy and very uncomfortable day when the discourse was delivered," and hopes that it may be serviceable to his poor kindred, the


Indians, and that people may be induced to read it because it comes from an uncommon quarter*.

It is said that before the settlement of Torrington, a white man hunting on the hill which rises between the two branches of the Naugatuck river, just above where Wolcotville now stands, saw an Indian and shot him; and from this instance the hill was named Red Mountain. The reason the man gave for his deed, so closely similar to many committed on our Western frontier, was that he "knew if he did not shoot the Indian, the Indian would shoot him, so he shot first and killed him." But the white man's logic was at fault, unless he had good reason to believe that the Indian belonged to some remote and hostile tribe. Indians knew, as well as white men, who were friends and who were enemies, and there was no period subsequent to King Philip's war when any of the Indians of Connecticut would have been likely to shoot down a white man at sight, or without the utmost provocation. The shooting of this Indian was, therefore, without excuse, and the name Red Mountain stands as a dishonor to the white man.

The consideration of King Philip's war, and the other Indian wars of the colonial period, in their relations to the Naugatuck valley, must now engage our attention. Thus far we have been tracing the footsteps of a departing friend; we have also to trace the coming and going tracks of a wily and cruel enemy.

The first war in Connecticut was that waged against the Pequots, in the very beginning of its history as a colony. The Pequots were of the Algonkin stock, but did not belong to the same family as the other Connecticut tribes. "The Pequots and Mohegans were, apparently, of the same race with the Mohicans, Mohegans or Mohicanders, who lived on the banks of the Hudson [DeForest, 59.]." They were, therefore, without allies in the

* It is a fact worth mentioning in this connection, that the skull of Moses Cook was not buried with his body. It was probably prepared for examination and exhibited at the trial of Paul, and was afterward returned to the family. It was for many years in the possession of Mr. Cook's daughter, the wife of Titus Bronson, and mother of the late Deacon Leonard Bronson of Middlebury. This strange souvenir was kept by Mrs. Bronson in a little cloth bag (it was in several pieces), and at her request was buried with her in 1841. Her grandson, Edward L. Bronson, remembers having seen it repeatedly in his boyhood.


war, and were not only defeated, but practically extinguished by it. This was in 1636, and King Philip's war did not begin until forty years later. In the interval, which was a period of undisturbed peace, the settlement of Farmington took place on the one side, and of Milford on the other. The settlement of Derby, as we have seen, was begun as early as 1654, and in 1657 the deed was given in which Mattatuck is first mentioned -- the land around the hill where the black-lead was found. It was during this era of peace that the meadow lands of the Naugatuck were discovered. Preparations had been begun for the settlement of Waterbury, when the colony was startled by the cry of war. The first intimation of a misunderstanding between Philip, who was the chief of the Wampanoags in southeastern Massachusetts, and the colonists, was in April, 1671. From this time, if not before this, Philip skillfully planned to unite all the New England tribes against the whites in a war of extermination. The want of friendship among the tribes rendered this a difficult undertaking, but he succeeded so far as to extend his operations from the St. Croix river to the Ousatonic. An Indian league was formed, and the result was the most formidable war the colonists ever had to sustain. Hostilities actually commenced on the 24th of June, 1675, and were terminated by the defeat and death of Philip fourteen months afterward.

In this bloody conflict the colonists lost six hundred men. Thirteen towns were totally, and eleven partially, destroyed. The eastern part of Connecticut, being nearer the center of the conflict, suffered more seriously than the western; but the valley of the Naugatuck was by no means exempt from anxiety, danger and trouble. If there had been no other sources of hardship, the enactments passed by the General Court and the Council -- which have been correctly characterized as "equivalent to putting the whole colony under martial law" -- must have come heavily upon such new settlements as Derby. At a meeting of the Council, held on the 1st of September, 1675, it was reported "that the Indians were in a hostile manner prepared with their arms near Paugasuck;" and this, with other similar reports, led the Council to pass a stringent law in reference to carrying" of arms by Indians:


"The Council sees cause to order that whatsoever Indian or Indians with arms shall be espied traveling in any of the precincts of our township without an Englishman be with them, if they do not call to such English traveling as they may see, and also lay down their arms, with professing themselves friends, it shall be lawful for the said English to shoot at them and destroy them for their own safety; which it is our duty to provide for thus in time of war."

Two days afterward, it was ordered by the Council, that in each plantation a sufficient watch should be kept "from the shutting in of the evening till the sun rise," and that one-fourth part of each town should be in arms every day by turns. "It is also ordered that during these present commotions with the Indians, such persons as have occasion to work in the fields shall work in companies; if they be half a mile from the town, not less than six in a company, with their arms and ammunition well fixed and fitted for service." In October, the General Court, in view of "great combinations and threatenings of the Indians against the English," ordered that sixty soldiers should be raised in each county, "well fitted with horse, asrms and ammunition, as dragoons;" that places of refuge should be fortified in every settlement, to be defended by such persons as the chief military officer in each town should appoint to that work; and in case of an assault by an enemy or an alarm, any one who should willfully neglect the duty to which he had been appointed should be punished with death, or such other punishment as a court martial should adjudge him to. The "places of refuge" were fortifications constructed of timbers placed vertically in the ground, so close together that no one could pass between. Such a wooden wall, with doors properly secured, afforded good protection against hostile Indians; and to a house thus defended the population could resort with safety at night, and return in the morning to their own houses. In the following March, it was further ordered by the Council -- "in regard of the present troubles that are upon us and the heathen still continuing their hostilities against the English, and assaulting the plantations," -- that the watch in the several settlements, an hour at least before day, should call up the several inhabitants within their respective wards, who should forthwith rise and arm themselves and march to their several


quarters, there to stand upon their guard to defend the town against any assault of the enemy until the sun be half an hour high. Mounted scouts, also, were to be sent out from every town to watch for the enemy, "going so far into the woods as they may return the same day, to give an account of what they shall discover."

It was under such circumstances as these that the inhabitants of Derby sought the advice and aid of the General Court.

In answer, the Court advised them to secure their grain and remove to a more populous village for protection. A few did remove, but some evidently remained.

For further account of this subject, see pages 55 and 56 of the body of this book.




KING Philip's war and its influence upon the fortunes of Waterbury, we should naturally suppose, must have been slight, for the simple reason that Waterbury was not yet settled. Yet it is probably owing to that war that Waterbury is where it is; and it would not be unreasonable to connect the course of its later history as a manufacturing center, and therefore its modern prosperity, with the same event. As we have seen, the first purchase of land around Waterbury Center was made in August, 1674. It was during the same season that a site was selected for the contemplated village, and there seems to have been no thought at first of any other site than the elevated plateau on the west side of the river, overlooking the meadows and the amphitheater amidst the hills where the city is now situated. The land on the east side was low and swampy and full of springs; that on the west side was elevated and airy; and accordingly in this latter situ, ation (known ever since as the Town Plot) roads were laid out, the one which ran north and south being sixteen rods wide. The "home lots," measuring eight acres each, were ranged along this road or street, sixteen on each side. This was accomplished in the autumn of 1674, and apparently nothing more than this. So far as we can see, the settlers would have returned in the course of the following year to resume their work and erect dwellings on the Town Plot; but in June, 1675, the war with King Philip began; and not only was all thought of establishing new settlements abandoned, but some of those already commenced were broken up. There was no assured peace until the latter part of 1676, and meanwhile the Waterbury proprietors (unless indeed some of them went forth to the war) remained in their Farmington homes. In the spring of 1677, tranquillity being restored throughout the colony, they began again to make plans for a new settlement; but in the meantime they had learned to think of the dangers which sur-


rounded them. For several reasons they had become dissatisfied with the site they had chosen on the west side; but the chief reason, the imperative argument against it, was the increased exposure it involved to attacks of hostile savages. At the best, Farmington was twenty miles away -- the only place they could look to for succor or refuge in case of attack -- and they did not deem it best to place between them and their friends, in addition to this broad expanse of wilderness, a fickle and sometimes destructive river. A meeting of proprietors was accordingly called in Farmington, and a committee appointed "to view and consider whether it will not be more for the benefit of the proprietors in general to set the town on the east side of the river, contenting themselves with less home lots." On the east side of the river it was set, and the committee of the General Court, in the October following, ordered that the inhabitants of the new plantation "should settle near together, for the benefit of Christian duties and defense against enemies." It thus appears that the present position of the city of Waterbury, the industrial and vital center of the Naugatuck valley, is itself a memorial of the Red man; a reminder of the perils of war and the cruelty of the Indian as an enemy.

It was natural that the colonists, knowing the character of the Indian and his modes of warfare, should live in a state of chronic anxiety. But from this time forward the people of Connecticut had no trouble with the Connecticut Indians. The league with King Philip was an episode in the history of these tribes; their normal relation to the white men was one of friendship, and in fact of dependence. They were the more anxious to be on terms of friendship with the settlers, especially in the western part of the Colony, because they could then look to them as their allies and defenders when exposed to attacks from their relentless foes, the Mohawks. As already pointed out, the Indians of Connecticut, the Pequots included, belonged to the great Algonkin family of the Red race. The Mohawks belonged to an entirely different stock: they were one of the "nations" of the great confederacy which occupied the territory now comprising the state of New York west of the Hudson, and part of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and represented the Iroquois family of the Red men. So totally distinct


were these two families or stocks, that between the one group of languages and the other -- the Algonkin languages and the Iroquois -- no verbal resemblances can be traced. There are of course resemblances in grammatical structure, for all the Indian languages seem to be formed upon the one plan of thought, but the vocabularies are totally different. As indicated by the stage of development they- had reached, the Iroquois were the foremost people in aboriginal America north of Mexico, and the Mohawks were the foremost of the Iroquois. At the time of the Discovery they were waging wars of conquest, if not of extermination, upon their neighbors on every side, and the tribes of Connecticut, west of Connecticut river, were tributary to them; paying an annual tax, and groaning under the capricious cruelties which they inflicted. The coming of the white man to Cpnnecticut shores was therefore a welcome relief to these feeble tribes, and it was of course desirable in their eyes to have the white man for a friend.

The Connecticut colonists had nothing to fear from the Connecticut tribes on the one hand, nor from the Mohawks on the other, because the confederacy of the Five Nations were on terms of friendship with the English, and after 1684 had a treaty with them. But trouble came frequently from another quarter. The Indians of Canada -- hostile alike to the Mohawks and the New England tribes -- were the constant allies of the French, and were constantly employed by the French in war. Whenever, therefore, war raged between France and England, the French let loose their Indian allies upon the New England settlements, and terror reigned among the colonists. Now the condition of these settlements may easily be imagined when we are reminded that from 1689, the year when William and Mary ascended the throne of England, to 1713, when peace was proclaimed at Utrecht, with the exception of three or four years, England and France were continually at war, and the colonies continually involved in hostilities. The French aimed to expel the English from the northern and middle provinces, if not from the continent; and the English, on their part, made repeated attempts to dislodge the French from Canada; a result which they effected at a later period. As the French availed themselves of the services of their Indian allies, they kept the


frontiers in a state of continual alarm. The savages often penetrated into the heart of the colonies, spreading terror and desolation in every quarter. They destroyed crops, drove off cattle, burned dwellings, and murdered the inhabitants or carried them away into captivity.

During this later war-period the town of Derby, in the lower part of the valley, could hardly be considered a frontier settlement; but Waterbury was decidedly so, at least until the settling of Litchfield, in 1720, and shared in all the alarms, dangers, disasters and burdens of the times. Through a large part of the period now under consideration, Waterbury in common with the other frontier towns (Simsbury, Woodbury and Danbury), was required to keep two men employed as scouts. The business of these men was to keep a good lookout, to discover the designs of the enemy, and to give intelligence should they make their appearance. The citizens performed this duty in rotation, taking their stand on elevated places overlooking the village and meadows where men were at work. In 1690 the danger of invasion and attack was considered so imminent that the General Court established a military watch throughout the Colony, upon which "all male persons whatsoever (except negroes and Indians), upwards of sixteen years of age," were compelled to do duty. Widows and aged or disabled persons, whose estates were valued at fifty pounds, were to serve by proxy, and those absent at sea or elsewhere were to provide substitutes. At the same time (April 1690) it was ordered "that the fortifications in each town appointed to be made be forthwith finished according to the appointment of the authority and commission officers and selectmen in each town." Several years afterward, in March, 1704, another order was issued in regard to fortifications: "The inhabitants of every town in this colony shall be called together with as convenient speed as may be, to consider what houses shall be fortified." But already the town of Waterbury had moved in this direction; for, on the 9th of April, 1700, they had voted to fortify the house of Ensign Timothy Stanley, "and if it should prove troublesome times, and the town see they have need, two more, should they be able." It was voted also to "go about it forthwith -- all men and boys and teams that are able to work, and to begin to-morrow." Four years


later -- not long after the order of the General Court concerning fortifications was issued -- they voted to build another fort, and selected for this purpose the house of their pastor, the Rev. John Southmayd. In the meantime they had provided other means of defense. On the 15th of April, 1703, the town instructed the selectmen "to provide a town stock of ammunition according to law," -- a law which required that each town should keep "a barrel of good powder, two hundred weight of bullets, and three hundred flints, for every sixty listed soldiers, and after that proportion." The stock was duly purchased, and Timothy Stanley, who was by this time Lieutenant and commander of the train band, was made keeper of ammunition for the town. The order of the General Court in respect to fortifications was followed up, at the regular session in May, by other enactments affecting the town of Waterbury. Eight towns, one of which was Waterbury, were designated as "frontier towns," and it was ordered that these should not be broken up or voluntarily deserted without permission from the General Court. It was also ordered as follows:

"That ten men shall be put in garrison in each of these towns, Danbury, Woodbury, Waterbury and Simsbury; and that the rest of the men to be raised out of the counties of New Haven and Fairfield, with such Indians as can be procured, . . . . shall have their chief head-quarters at Westfield: . . . . and said company of English and Indians shall, from time to time, at the discretion of their commander, range the woods to endeavor the discovery of an approaching enemy, and in especial manner from Westfield to Ousatunnuck" [that is, Stockbridge].

As already stated, the whole period now under review was a time of anxiety and alarms. But early in 1707, the Colony was aroused to special diligence in preparations for defense, by the intelligence "that the French and enemy Indians were preparing to make a descent upon the frontier towns of New England." There was also reason to suppose that the Pootatuck and Owiantonuck Indians (the Woodbury and New Milford tribes) had been invited to join the enemy, and that measures must be taken to secure their fidelity and to preserve the small frontier towns. The Council of War was immediately convened at Hartford, and it was ordered, first, that the suspected tribes


should be removed with all convenient speed to Fairfield or Stratford, or if the sickness prevailing among them should prevent this, then two of their chiefs should be conveyed to Fairfield to be held as hostages. It was also "resolved, for the preservation of the frontier towns of Simsbury, Waterbury, Woodbury and Danbury, that order be sent to the inhabitants of these towns to provide with all possible speed a sufficient number of well fortified houses, for the safety of themselves and families in their respective towns." It was further "resolved, that the inhabitants of Waterbury fortify their houses sufficiently for their safety;" and in view of the great losses which the town had recently sustained through extraordinary floods, it was agreed to recommend to the General Assembly an abatement of the Colony taxes of the town. At the same session it was resolved still further, "that the inhabitants of Woodbury, Waterbury and Danbury do every one of them maintain a good scout, out every day, from their respective towns, of two faithful and trusty men to observe the motions of the enemy." These resolutions were passed in council, in February, 1707. In the same month the town of Waterbury responded, by voting "to build the fort that is at Lieutenant Stanley's strong" and "build a new fort at the east end of the town." These defenses were left for a time incomplete; but in June, aroused perhaps by some new alarm, it was voted, "considering our troubles and fear of an eaemy, to lay aside cutting bushes" (that is, clearing away underbrush on the commons) "and this day forthwith to go about finishing and repairing the forts, and to finish them by Wednesday next, at night." That they were duly finished and the defenses of the settlement made satisfactory to the General Assembly, appears from the fact that at the October session the Assembly "allowed to the town of Waterbury fifteen pounds out of the country rate," in view of the expense they had incurred in fortifying. A year afterwards, in an act "for the encouragement of military skill and good discipline," it was ordered by the Assembly that the committee of war in Hartford county should establish garrisons in certain towns, one of which was Waterbury, at the charge of the Colony or of the respective towns as the committee should order. Two garrisoned forts were established at Wa-


terbury at the expense of the Colony, and a third at the expense of the town. One of these forts was at the west end of the town, around Mr. Southmayd's house; one at Lieutenant Stanley's, and the third at the house of John Hopkins, the grandfather of the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, D. D., the famous theologian. This house, in which Dr. Hopkins was born in 1721, stood a short distance east of the center of the city, on the corner of East Main and Brook streets. The forts, it will be seen, were situated so as to accommodate the scattered population.

All these defenses were prepared with reference to attacks coming from the hostile savages of the north, the allies of the French. The Connecticut Indians were habitually employed by the colonial government as reliable soldiers. An act was passed by the General Court in May, 1704, in the following terms:

"It is ordered by this Court that as many of our friend Indians as are fit for war, and can be prevailed with and furnished with all things suitable, shall go with our forces against the common enemy; and Major Ebenezer Johnson [who has already been noticed as the owner of Indian slaves] is hereby empowered and ordered to employ suitable persons to acquaint the Indians in the counties of New Haven and Fairfield of this conclusion concerning them, and to furnish such of said Indians as shall offer themselves for the service as aforesaid, with arms and ammunition and what else may be needful to fit them out for war, and cause them forthwith to repair to Derby, to march with our English forces under the command of the chief officer for the said service. . . . . . And this court allows the [same] wages to such Indian volunteers as those have that have gone to the eastward. . . . . And for the encouragement of our forces gone or going against the enemy, this court will allow out of the public treasury the sum of five pounds for every man's scalp of the enemy killed in this Colony, to be paid to the person that doth that service, over and above his or their wages and the plunder taken by them."

This last mentioned provision shows that the General Court not only recognized the Indian taste of scalping, but was quite willing to encourage it. And when, in 1710, an Indian scout was established, the same encouragement was held out. The scouting company were promised, for each Indian scalp of the


enemy brought to the committee of war, the sum of ten pounds to be divided equally amongst them. In 1724, the award was fifty pounds for every scalp. Another order, passed at the October session of the General Court in 1704, shows that the colonial authorities were familiar with the difficulties of Indian warfare and considered it necessary that the settlers should adopt the Indian's method, -- not, indeed as regards scalping, but to the extent of wearing moccasins and snow-shoes. It was ordered:

"That every town and plantation in this Colony shall be provided with a number of snow-shoes and Indian shoes, no less than one pair of snow-shoes with two pair of Indian shoes for every thousand pounds in the list of the estate of such town, which snow-shoes and Indian shoes shall be provided at or before the tenth day of December next, by the selectmen in every town, at the charge of the Colony, and shall be kept by them in good repair and fit for service when there may be occasion to make use of them."

During the October session of 1708, it was enacted that there should be "allowed and paid out of the public treasury of this Colony the sum of fifty pounds, in pay for the bringing up and maintaining of dogs in the northern frontier towns in this Colony, to hunt after the Indian enemy." It was also ordered, that no person whatsoever should furnish lead, or sell, even to friendly Indians, any gun for any time longer or shorter; and that those who had lent guns to friendly Indians, should recover them as soon as possible.

From all this it is evident that the towns and the general government understood the situation of affairs and were determined to be thoroughly prepared for emergencies. If the defense of the frontiers had been neglected, we know not what disasters might not have overwhelmed the settlements. As it was, the one frontier town of the Naugatuck valley sufTered but little. The only Indian raids upon Waterbury were in 1710. A party of savages came down through Simsbury into what is now the southern part of Thomaston, and killed a man named Holt; probably a hunter from another town. The place where the deed was committed is named Mount Holt, a spur of Mount Toby. Another party from Canada, having made their way into the upper part of the town, ascended a hill on the west side


of the Naugatuck, opposite Mount Taylor, to reconnoitre. To the south, in Hancock's meadow, they saw Jonathan Scott, one of the Waterbury settlers, and his two sons, one of them fourteen years of age, the other eleven. Scott was seated under a large oak tree eating his dinner; the boys were a little distance from him. The Indians approached stealthily, taking such a course that the tree hid them from view; reached him without being discovered, and made him prisoner. The boys took to their heels and would have escaped, but their father was given to understand that it would cost him his life if he refused to recall them, so he reluctantly brought them back. To prevent him from offering resistance, they cut off his right thumb. The three were taken to Canada, where they remained until after the proclamation of peace in 1713. Scott and his eldest son, Jonathan, then returned to Waterbury; but the younger son, John, having become accustomed to savage life, preferred to remain among the Indians and never came home.

It is an interesting fact that the wife of Jonathan Scott, whose name was Hannah Hawks, was the daughter of John Hawks of Deerfield, and that her mother was killed in the Indian attack upon that town, on the 29th of February, 1704. Her only sister was taken prisoner and was put to death on her way to Canada. Her only brother, his wife and his three children were also killed. Mrs. Scott was the sole surviving child, and John Hawks spent his last days with her in Waterbury. After his return from captivity, Scott continued to reside in Waterbury until about 1720, when he removed to Wooster Swamp in the northern part of Watertown, near Scott's mountain. "There he built a saw-mill and lived with his sons. There is a tradition that he died by violence, at the hands of the Indians, while on his way to the north; but it seems to have no foundation in fact." The other tradition is more probable -- that he was buried on Scott's mountain, where his supposed grave is still pointed out. [Bronson's Hist. Waterbury, pp, 105, 106, 185.]

The capture of Scott and his sons, very naturally produced great excitement in Waterbury. The settlement was very weak, for in 1713 it numbered only thirty families and not more than


two hundred souls; and the greatness of the impending danger could not be known, neither could disaster be completely guarded against by the utmost vigilance. In July, following the capture of Scott, the town appointed a committee, consisting of the Rev. John Southmayd and three others, "to draw up in writing the circumstances of the town in this time of war," and to present the memorial to the General Court in New Haven, in August. The General Court in response made special provision for the protection of the town, by appointing "a committee of war, with full power upon the application of the inhabitants of the said town of Waterbury, and in case of danger on the approach of the enemy, to raise and send men thither from the county of New Haven for their relief, by scouting or lying in garrison there, as occasion may require."

There was no further trouble, however, and the proclamation of peace in 1713 brought relief from apprehension. But the upper part of the valley was exposed to similar dangers afterward. Before war broke out again a settlement had been effected at Litchfield, and when Indian raids from the north were renewed Litchfield was the frontier town and exposed to the same perils which Derby and Waterbury had experienced before. Between 1720 and 1730, five houses in different parts of the town were surrounded with fortifications, that is, with palisades similar to those with which we have already become familiar in Waterbury. Soldiers were stationed in the town to guard the inhabitants while in the fields and also while at public worship on the Sabbath. Notwithstanding these precautions, attacks were made by northern savages, and settlers were taken captive. In May, 1721, Captain Jacob Griswold, while at work alone in a field about a mile to the west of the present Court House, was suddenly seized by two Indians who had rushed upon him from the woods. They pinioned his arms and carried him off. Traveling in a northerly direction, they reached by night a spot within the limits of what is now Canaan. They kindled a fire and having bound Captain Griswold, hand and foot, lay down to sleep. In the night Griswold succeeded in disengaging his hands and feet, and although his arms were still pinioned, he seized their guns and escaped. After traveling a short distance through the dark woods, he sat down and


waited for the dawn, when he resumed his journey, still carrying the two guns. When the savages in the morning found their captive was gone, they pursued him and soon overtook him. During the greater part of the day they kept in sight of him, but when they came too near he pointed one of the guns at them and thus kept them at bay. In this manner he traveled until near sunset, when he reached a high place in an open field about a mile north-west of where the Court House now stands. He then discharged one of the guns, which immediately summoned his townsmen to his assistance. The Indians fled and Griswold was restored in safety to his family.

After this occurrence, the settlers were more cautious; but their watchfulness did not last long, for in the following August a more serious misfortune came upon them. The victim this time was a Mr. Joseph Harris. He was at work alone in the woods, not far from the spot where Griswold was captured, when he was attacked by a party of Indians. Attempting to escape, the Indians pursued him; and when they found that he was likely to outstrip them they shot him dead and scalped him. As Harris did not return home at the usual time, the inhabitants became alarmed about him. They searched far him at night as long as they could see, and again in the morning, when his body was found near the north end of the plain, where the road turns toward Milton. From that time forward the plain was called Harris's plain. He was buried in the west burying-ground, near the church. His grave remained unmarked for more than a century; but in 1830 a suitable monument was erected over his dust, which bears the following inscription, in which it will be observed there is no reference to his attempt to escape:

"In memory of Joseph Harris, who was murdered by the Indians in the year 1721. While ploughing in the field, about three-fourths of a mile north-west of the grave-yard, he was shot by the Indians concealed in ambush. He was found dead, sitting on the ground, his head and body reclining against the trunk of a tree. To record the first death among the original settlers, and to perpetuate the memory of a worthy but unfortunate citizen, this monument is erected, 1830, by the voluntary benefactions of individual subscribers."

The war between the French and English was not ended until some time after this, and the attacks of the northern Indians


upon the frontier settlements were still continued. In August, 1723, tidings were brought to the Governor and Council, of an attack upon Rutland and the massacre of several persons by the hostile Indians. They were also advised that about three hundred French Indians were come over Lake Champlain toward Connecticut, probably with evil designs. It was therefore "resolved, that Simsbury and Litchfield are frontiertowns of this Colony, westward of Connecticut river, which are most exposed to danger by these parties of Indians;" and in view of the impending dangers, it was decided that the commissioned officers of these towns should immediately call together the householders in the respective towns, agree upon suitable places for garrisons and encourage the inhabitants to establish such fortifications with speed; also, that the sachems of the several bodies of Indians in the Colony should "forthwith call in all their Indians that were out a hunting in the woods, and that they do not presume to go out again in the woods to hunt north of the road that goes from Farmington through Waterbury and Woodbury to New Milford," without leave from the Council; also, that two scouting parties, consisting each of three Englishmen and six Indians, should range the woods above Simsbury, westward to Stockbridge, to be so ordered that they should meet each other about midway between the two places; and finally, that a military watch should be kept in the towns of Simsbury, Waterbury, Woodbury, Litchfield and New Milford. In May following, the rule in relation to Indians hunting was enacted as a law by the General Court; and in July, in view of the danger of giving false alarms, the same rule was extended by the Council to English and Indians alike. The spring and summer of 1724 was a period of special alarm and excitement. In that year, the Assembly gave Waterbury authority to employ six men "to guard the men in their outfields, at the discretion of the commission officers of said town." The authority thus given was exercised about a month. In Litchfield a small party of Indians was discovered lurking about the town on the night of the 19th of May. Word was immediately sent to the Council at Hartford, and it was ordered that a company of thirty-two men be immediately raised in Hartford, Wethersfield and Farmington and marched to the threatened town without


delay, to serve as a scouting party. On the 21st of June, it was ordered that ten men be impressed, armed and equipped and sent to Litchfield for the defense of that town against the enemy. As some of the proprietors of home-lots in Litchfield tried to escape from serving on the military watch, Capt. John Marsh was instructed to see that the law was duly executed upon all such persons. A line of scouts was established, extending from Litchfield to Turkey Hills, curving around the most northerly and westerly settlements in Simsbury. Capt, Richard Case, of the latter town, was directed to employ ten men on his scouting party, to rendezvous at Litchfield. These men continued in the service until October. So serious were the apprehensions of attack and so threatening the danger, that some of the more timid of the Litchfield settlers deserted their new homes and sought refuge elsewhere. As the inhabitants who remained felt themselves greatly crippled by these desertions, they petitioned the Assembly for aid and it was ordered (October 11, 1724) that whoever had left the town because of difficulties which had arisen there on account of the enemy, and should fail within a month of the close of that session of the Assembly to return to the town to abide there, or else to send some man in his stead to perform military duties, should forfeit all his right and estate in the lands of the town. At the same session of the Assembly, it was ordered that the garrison soldiers at Litchfield be withdrawn and disbanded. But in the following April, tidings were brought "from Philip Schuyler of Albany, that the enemies were all come over the lake," and thereupon the soldiers in the several frontier towns, including Litchfield and Waterbury, were ordered to "be in perpetual readiness to defend themselves and offend the enemy;" and a constables' watch was set up in the towns. A company of twenty-one men was also raised and sent to Litchfield, "to be improved in scouting, watching and warding for the safety of said town." In May, 1725, the Assembly, "taking into consideration the difficulties of the town of Litchfield in this time of trouble with the Indians," ordered that non-resident proprietors should pay and forfeit toward defraying the cost of defending the town the sum of thirty pounds each per annum, and pro rata for any time they should be absent with-


out permission; "provided, however, that the right of Joseph Harris is saved from any forfeiture by force of this act."

The stringency of these enactments shows that the General Court not only appreciated the great importance of defending the frontier rather than abandoning it, but anticipated a prolonged and severe conflict. There is little trace, however, of further troubles until many years afterward. A quarter of a century passed away ere another French and Indian war broke out, and that was the last of the series. In 1752 the old allied enemies of the Colony were making encroachments on the northern and western frontiers; those frontiers not having yet advanced beyond the present bounds of the country. In a historical sketch of the churches and ministers of that region, we read:

"The times, circumstances and duties of these pastors were in some respects peculiar. Their location was in the frontier setdements, and open to the incursions of savages. Instead of directing their attention to Christianizing the heathen, they had, in common with others, to exert all their influence to prevent their coming under the dominion of a persecuting Roman Catholic government. In the former part of this period, the great question was, Shall we continue to enjoy the blessings of civil and religious liberty, or fall under the domination of a colossal anti-Christian power?"

In 1756 war was formally declared by England. The capture of Fort William Henry, in 1757, by the French and Indians under Montcalm, and the Indian atrocities connected therewith, aroused the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and a force was raised which was meant to arrest the further progress of the French. In 1759 the invasion of Canada was actually undertaken, and on the 18th of September, as everybody knows, Quebec was captured, the dominion of the French on the St. Lawrence was broken, and the New England colonies were delivered from further incursions of the hostile tribes of the north.

In this war the towns of the Naugatuck valley were well represented. Waterbury sent a company of thirty-five men, under the command of Captain Eldad Lewis, and besides these thirtyfive, eighteen or twenty others are mentioned in the history of the town as having been engaged at one time or another in the


war, including the Rev. Mark Leavenworth, who went as chaplain. Another Waterbury man, Israel Calkins, played a part not altogether unimportant in shaping the course of events. When Fort William Henry, situated at the head of Lake George, was besieged, the English general, Webb, with an army of four thousand men, was at Fort Edward, fourteen miles away. Instead of marching to the relief of the imperiled fort, General Webb wrote a letter to Colonel Monroe advising him to capitulate. The messenger was interrupted by the Indian allies of Montcalm. But the French commander, thinking' that the delivery of the letter to Colonel Monroe would promote his own interests, forwarded it to its destination, and the surrender of the fort quickly followed. Now the messenger who carried the letter of General Webb was Israel Calkins of Waterbury. After the surrender of the fort he remained in the hands of his Indian captors and was taken by them to Canada. Here he was "redeemed by a French gentleman," sent to France as a prisoner of war, and finally sent in a cartel-ship to England to be exchanged. He landed at Boston on the 6th of October, 1758, and immediately petitioned the Legislature of Connecticut "for an allowance of wages during his captivity," and also a gratuity, in consideration of the severe calamities he had suffered, which, he affirmed, "were more than words can express or imagination paint." He speaks of his property as having been dissipated during his absence, and of his family as extremely destitute, and "implores the pity and compassion of the honorable Assembly." His prayer was heard and thirty pounds were granted him.

There is one more story belonging to the early history of Litchfield, which it is proper to record here. It illustrates, like other incidents which have been mentioned, the Indian mode of warfare, but at the same time brings to view some of the better traits of the Indian nature. It is taken, in a somewhat abridged form, from the "Travels in New England and New York," of President Dwight of Yale College, who vouches for its authenticity.

Not many years after the settlement of Litchfield, a stranger Indian came one day to a tavern in the town, in the dusk of evening, and asked the hostess for some drink and a supper. He


told her he could pay for neither, as he had had no success in hunting, but promised payment at some future time. The hostess refused him, called him a lazy, good-for-nothing fellow, and told him she did not work hard to throw away her earnings upon such creatures as he. A white man who sat by, saw in the Indian's face that he was suffering severely from want and weariness, and directed the woman of the house to feed him at his expense.

When the Indian had finished his supper, he turned to his benefactor, thanked him, and assured him he would remember his kindness and if possible repay him for it. For the present he could only reward him with a story. "I suppose," said the Indian, "you read the Bible?" The man assented. "Well," said he, "the Bible say, God made the world, and then he took him and looked on him, and say, 'It's all very good.' He made light, and took him and looked on him, and say, ' It's all very good.' Then he made dry land and water, and sun and moon, and grass and trees, and took him and looked on him, and say, 'It's all very good.' Then he made beasts and birds and fishes, and took him and looked on him, and say, 'It's all very good.' Then he made man, and took him and looked on him and say, 'It's all very good.' Then he made woman, and took him and looked on him; and he no dare say one such word."

Having told his story, the Indian withdrew, with a sly glance at the landlady.

Some years after, the man who had befriended him, having occasion to go some distance into the wilderness between Litchfield and Albany, was taken prisoner by an Indian scout and hurried away to Canada. When he arrived at the principal seat of the tribe, on the southern bank of the St. Lawrence, it was proposed that he should be put to death; but an old Indian woman demanded that he should be given to her, that she might adopt him in place of a son whom she had lost in the war. He was given to her, and spent the succeeding winter in her family. The next summer, while at work alone in the forest, an unknown Indian came to him and asked him to meet him at a place which he pointed out, on a given day. The captive agreed to the proposal; but before the day arrived, his apprehensions of intended mischief had increased to such a degree


that he determined not to keep the engagement. Soon after, the Indian found him at his work again, reproved him for breaking his promise, and made another appointment with him for another day and hour. This time, the white man was true to his word. When he reached the spot, he found the Indian provided with two muskets, two knapsacks and ammunition for both. The Indian ordered him to follow him, and set off toward the south. Within a short time the white man's fears subsided, although his companion preserved a profound silence concerning the object of their expedition. In the day-time they shot such game as came in their way, and at night kindled a fire and slept by it. After a tedious journey of many days through the wilderness, they came one morning to an eminence whence they beheld a cleared and partially cultivated country and a number of houses. The man knew his home; it was Litchfield! His guide reminded him that some years before he had relieved the wants of a famished Indian at a tavern in that town, and said, " I that Indian! now I pay you! go home." Without another word he bade him farewell, and the white man hastened joyfully to his own house.

The Indian looks out no more from any hill-top upon the cultivated fields of Litchfield, or any part of the valley which was once his own hunting ground. He is gone, and the succeeding race is glad to be well rid of him. The only remains, except the title deeds and traditions to which reference has been made, are the few names of places which echo on the white man's lips the strange tones of their language, and the stone implements which are turned up by the plough in our fields. He is gone. But it is pleasant to think of him, the untutored child of the woods, and to reflect that he had much that was good in him, and not a little that is worthy of remembrance. It may be hoped that what is here given will serve to interest us in his character and render us wiser and kinder in our estimate of those who bear the same name, who in the far West are still carrying on the same hopeless fight with the relentless forces of the Anslo-Saxon civilization.



The following Indian names are attached to deeds recorded in Derby, and three or four deeds in Stratford. Some of the different spellings are given:--




Ahennosse, sagamore.

Ahuntaway (Huntawa), sachem.


Ansantaway (Ansantawa), sachem.



Atrechanasett, Chetrenaset.

Atterosse, sagamore.



Chawbrook (Chebrook).


Chesousamoke, sagamore.


Chushamack, Cheshushumock, Coshoshemack, Chushawmack, and probably Momanchewaug alias Cush (or Chuse) at Pootatuck, sachem.






Chuse, sachem.

Cockapatana (Cockapatanay, Cockapatanah), sachem.



Chubbs (Chupps).

Creahore, brother of Puckwhompe, Crehero, Kehore (Kehow).

Curens (Curex).


Hannah Tous.

Howxon (Heuxon).


Indian Shot.




John Banks.

John Cuckson, in 1731 (and John Cockshure, in 1742. In a Waterbury deed, Cocoesen).

John Howde, alias Towsowan, (the successor to Cockapatana).

Ke Kesumun.


Machet Numledge, Machetumhege. (Machet means "bad.")




Mashekes. (Mashok-ees.)

Matach (Mataret).

Will Mashok.


Melook Took (Tock).

Meskilling (Skilling).




Nannatouse, son of Creahore.

Nanawaug (Nanawauk) sagamore.

Nanatoush (Nanoques).



Neighbor Putt.


Okenuck (Ochenung, Okenug, Okenac, Akenants, Ackenack), sachem.




Pagasett James (Pagasite James).



Pawanet (Paquonet).













Rashkanoot (Rashkanute).







Sasaoso (Sasaouson, Sassoughsough).

Sashwake James (Susqua James).


Sasepaquan (Sassapagrem, alias Piunquesli).



Shoot Horn.




Squaw Sarah.



Suckcoe (Suckskow).


Tackamore, or Sackamore (Tatiymore).

Tarshun (Tazchun).

Tijackomo (Tisachomo).

Thomassoot (Thomasseet).

Towheag (Powheak).



Jack Toto.

John Toto.

Will Toto.

Tom (son of Cockapatana).

Tom's Squaw.


Towtanemo (Towtanamow, Towtanemoe, Tountonimo), sachem.

Towsowwam, squaw.



Yyou Pon (Yyouson).

Wampegon, sachem.



Waskawakes, alias Tom. (Waskawases, possibly the same as Wasawas).


Watakis (Wattaki).

Watagunock (Wataquenock).









Will Doctor.

Will Mashock,



The following names are found in deeds recorded in Waterbury, Litchfield and Farmington, relating to early sales of land in the upper Naugatuck valley. Some of them are included in the foregoing list, but are reproduced here because attached to a different series of deeds:--

Alwaush, Awowas, Wawowas, Wowowis.

Arumpiske, described as "Curan's squaw."

Atumtacko, Atumtockquo (that is, Atumpatucko. He was the son of Patucko).

Aupkt, Abuck.




Conquapatana (known as Konkapot).

Cocapadous (that is, Konkapot-oos).


Corkscrew (elsewhere Coksure, Cotsure).


Hachatowsock (elsewhere Hatchet Tousey?)


James (Pagasset James).

John a-Compound.


Kehow, Kehore (elsewhere Creahore?)



Mantow, Momantow.



Mercy, described as "Sepus's squaw."

Momantow's squaw.

Nenapush squaw.

Nesaheaguri (perpetuated in the name of an Odd Fellows' Lodge as "Nosahogan": the old style e was mistaken for an o).


Notamunk, described as "Curan's sister."

Patucko, Patuckquo, Puttcko.

Patucko's squaw.

Petasus, described as "a [female] grandchild," probably of Awowas {her mark").



Quatowquechuck, described as "Taphow's son."

Querrimus, Queramousk.

Quiump (elsewhere Aquiomp?).

Sebocket (Aupkt, Abuck?).

Sepunkum (elsewhere Wussebucome).

Spinning Squaw.

Suckquunockqueen (elsewhere Wussockanockqueen; "Suckquunock's squaw").







Warun-Compound, described as "Nesaheag's son."

Wechamunck, described as "Cocoesen's sister."


Weroamaug (elsewhere Waramaug).

Werumcaske, described as "Cocoesen's sister."




The following place-names, mostly in the Naugatuck valley, are either of Indian origin or embody some reminiscence of the period of Indian occupancy. They are arranged geographically, beginning at the lower end of the valley.

An ancient name of the (lower) Ousatunnock River; also of a tribe of Indians; also of a village on the same river; called later the "Pootahuk Wigwams": at the present time it is the name of a brook which flows through the town of Newtown.

The original name of Derby, applied by Governor Eaton and others to the Ousatunnock River, perhaps also to the Naugatuck River.

A small place on the Ousatunnock, at the mouth of Four-Mile brook, in the town of Seymour; the name also of the school-district in which it is situated.

A meadow at Great Hill, about three miles below the village of Seymour. Hessekee Meadow Brook separates Seymour from Derby.


A small place on the Ousatunnock, at the mouth of Eight-Mile brook. Perhaps named after the Indian Puckwhomp.

The original name of the spot where Seymour now stands; said to mean "one tree" -- nequut tukh. At an early date it was applied to the River ("the river which cometh from Nawcatock") by those in the lower part of the valley. The town to which the name is now attached was formed from Waterbury, Bethany and Oxford in 1844, and the "Naugatuck Railroad Company" was incorporated in 1845.

The name given to Seymour when it was the camping-ground of Joe Chuse (Joseph Mauweelm) and his band, and by which the place was known until it became Humphreysville.

Localities in the village of Seymour, a little north of the Falls. The Hill is on the south part of the Field.

The Falls are at the centre of Seymour; Rock Rimmon is the name of a bold and craggy hill on the east side of the Naugatuck, near Pines Bridge. The names are probably not of Indian origin.

A tributary of Little River, in Oxford. It is supposed to have been so called after an Indian who bure the English name of Jack.

A long hill or ridge to the east of the Naugatuck, about a mile back from the river, and lying parallel to it, and along Bladen's brook. Also called "Snake Hill" (the Indian for "snake" is askug).

A school district in the town of Beacon Falls, about two miles back from the Naugaiuck. In a Straifurd deed of 1659 the name Nayump is attached to a "small river" emptying into the Pootatuck, apparently some miles below Derby.

A brook which flows southward and empties into Lebanon brook about a mile east of where the latter empties into the Naugatuck, at Beacon Falls. (There is a Hockanum river that empties into the Cunnecticut at East Hartford.) The base of the name is Hocquan, meaning "hook-shaped."

A precipitous ledge on the west side of the Naugatuck, the northern extremity of which is now known as "High Rock." It extends about a mile southward from "High Rock Grove," at Sherman's brook. The name was derived from an Indian who was once the slave of Colonel Ebenezer Johnson, and to whom land was deeded by the town of Derby.

A plain in the north-west part of the town of Beacon Falls; also called Loper's plain; probably not an Indian name.


A pond on the borders of Oxford. The name occurs, along with nineteen others, designating small parcels of land in the southern part of Mattatuck (the original town of Waterbury) in a deed of 1685. The other names, now obsolete, are as follows:

"The land upon the brook or small river that comes through the Straight northward of Lebanon [at Straitsville?], and runs into Xaugatuck river at south end of Mattatuck bounds, called by the English Beacon Hill brook."








WACHU (the "mountain," probably Beacon Hill).

These "nine parcels of land lie on the east side of the Naugatuck river, betwixt Beacon Hill brook and the hither end of Judd's meadow." (Deed of 1685.)

SQONTK, the same as SQUANTUCK.
This name, which has occurred before, is the name given in the deed to "the hither end of Judd's meadow." The ten names which follow, together with Towantuck, designate "eleven parcels of land on the west side" of the Xaugatuck.











These are the two names given in the deed of 1685 to the point at which the eastern boundary line crosses the Naugatuck. In both the name Capage, given above, reappears -- which stands perhaps for kuppo-oke, meaning "narrow place" -- possibly the narrows in the river at Beacon Hill.

The old name of Waterbury, designating a territory of much greater extent than the present town. It has survived until recently as a name of East Litchfield. In the earliest records it is Mattetackoke {Matta-tuhk-ohke), meaning perhaps "place without trees."


A name said to belong to Long Meadow Pond, which empties by Long Meadow Brook into the Naugatuck at Naugatuck village.

A locality in Waterbury, lying south-west of the Town Plot, about two miles from the centre of the city. It is a high ridge or knoll, said to have been the site of an Indian camping-ground.

The spot known as "the Manhan," lies half a mile west of Centre Square, Waterbury, on both sides of West Main street. It was originally an island -- whence the name. The name was taken some years ago by a manufacturing company.

ORONOKE (the same as ORENAUG, WARONOCO, etc.)
A school district in the western part of Waterbury, extending from Westside Hill to Middlebury.

A swamp lying about half a mile from the Park Road, in the western part of Waterbury; fco named from Saul, one of the Indians who lingered in "the Park" until recent times.

This beautiful lake can hardly be said to be in the Naugatuck valley, as it flows through Eight-Mile brook into the Ousatunnuck, but it is much visited by Waterbury people. Mr. Cothren, in his History of Woodbury, gives the meanings "Rocky Pond" and "Beautiful clear water." Possibly the name represents quunosu-paug, that is "Pickerel Pond" (compare Mr. Cothren's reference to the fishing there).

A high hill half a mile south-east of the centre of Waterbury, now a thickly settled district of the city. The name is sometimes supposed to be of Indian derivation; but it seems to be a Spanish word {abrigado) meaning "a place of shelter." The occurrence of a Spanish name in such a connection is remarkable, and invites investigation. There is a cleft rock on the south-west side of the hill which used to be called the Indian's House.

"Tucker's Ring" is a locality on the borders of Waterbury and Wolcott. It is so called from Potucko, one of the signers of the first Waterbury deed, who is said to have kindled a fire in the form of a large ring around a hill, in hunting deer, and to have perished within it. (It is at least a curious coincidence that in the Indian language p'tukki means "round.")

A large shelving rock, in the town of Wolcott, on the old Indian trail from Farmington to Waterbury, where the Indians used to encamp at night.

A district on the borders of Wolcott, commonly supposed to have been so called from an insect of that name. (For the tradition, see Orcuti's History of Wolcott, note on p. 182.) As it is no special honor to a place to be named after an insect too insignificant to be mentioned in Webster's "Unabridged," no harm will be done by suggesting that the name is of Indian origin. At all events, wudtuckqun, in Roger


Williams's "Key" means "a piece of wood," and in Eliot's Bible Wuttuk a "branch" or "bough," hence "wood for burning."

A locality in the north part of Waterbury, apparently well known in early times, and mentioned in one of the first deeds.

Also in the north part of Waterbury, drained by a stream which empties into Hancock brook, and thus into the Xaugatuck at Waterville.

The name given to a strip of land about a mile long, lying along the West Branch of the Xaugatuck, which empties near Reynolds Bridge. It is said to have been the residence of an Indian in late years. The West Branch used to be called Wigwam Brook.

The original name of Litchfield, which still survives in Bantam River, Lake, Falls, and Village. There has been much discussion as to whether the name is of Indian derivation or not. Its origin is shrouded in mystery.

One of the hills of Torrington; the southern end of the oblong hill which lies between the east and west branches of the Xaugatuck. The name is said to be derived from the fact that, previous to the settlement of the town, a white man shot an Indian on this mountain. (See Orcutt's History of Torrington, note on p. 169.)

The name of a hill and a valley in Torrington, above Wolcottville. The hill rises from a plateau between the east branch of the Xaugatuck and Still River. The valley to which the name is attached lies along these two streams. "It was originally called the Shawngum valley after an Indian, or an Indian tradition."

Samuel Orcutt

History of the Old Town of Derby - End of Part 2

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