Early Divisions of Eastern Vermont — Cumberland County — Gloucester County — Champlain's Voyage — Squakheag or Northfield — Philip's Wars — Indian Incursions — King William's War — Burning of Deerfield — The March to Canada — Attempts of the English to reduce Canada — Port Royal captured — Treaty of Utrecht — Equivalent Lands — Great Meadow — Order to build a Block House above Northfield — Timothy Dwight — Fort Dummer — Its Defences — Indian Soldiers — Chaplain — Joseph Kellogg — Scouting Parties — Skirmishes — Peltry Trade at Fort Dummer — Journal of James Coss — Rev. Ebenezer Hinsdell — "Scaticook" and Caughnawaga Indians — Treaty at Fort Dummer.
VERMONT is divided into fourteen counties. Of these Windsor and Windham, situated in the south-eastern part of the state, comprehend nearly the same territory that under the government of New York was known, during a part of the last century, by the name of Cumberland county. This county was the first established in Vermont, then called the New Hampshire Grants, and probably received its name from Prince William the Duke of Cumberland, who in 1746 met with distinguished success in opposing the rebels in Scotland.
Its boundaries, as declared in the act of establishment passed by the Legislature of the province of New York, on the 3d of July, 1766, were described as "beginning at the west bank of Connecticut river, opposite to where the division line between the province of the Massachusetts Bay comes to the aforesaid river ; thence running on a direct line, about twenty-six miles, to the south-east corner of the township of Stamford ; from thence, on a direct line, about sixty miles, to the north-east corner of the township of Rutland ; thence north, thirty-one degrees east, eighteen miles ; thence easterly, to the north-west corner of the township of Linfield ;* thence easterly, along the north side of
* Now the township of Royalton.
2 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1766—1781.
the townships of Linfield, Sharon, and Norwich, to Connecticut river aforesaid ; thence, along the west bank of the said river, to the place of beginning."
When the subject was brought before the Lords of the Privy Council, in order that the "royal approbation or disallowance" might be signified, the King, on the 26th of June, 1767, declared the act of the New York Legislature by which the county of Cumberland was established, void, and the Governor of the province of New York was ordered to act in accordance with this decision. Numerous applications were now made to the Crown for a new charter, and the inconveniences to which the inhabitants of the disfranchised county were subjected, through the want of a due administration of justice, were plainly set forth. In consequence of these representations, the King, on the 19th of March, 1768, re-established the county of Cumberland, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Province of New York, within the following limits :—
"Beginning at a point on the west bank of Connecticut river, opposite to where the line run for the partition line between our said provinces of the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, touches the east side of the same river, and running thence west, ten degrees north on a direct line about twenty-six miles to the south-east corner of a tract of land called Stamford ; thence north, about thirteen degrees east on a direct line fifty-six miles to the south-east corner of the township of Socialborough in the county of Albany, in the south bounds of a tract of land formerly called Rutland ; thence north, about fifty-three degrees east on a direct line thirty miles to the south-west corner of the township of Tunbridge ; thence along the south bounds thereof and of Stratford and Thetford about eighteen miles to Connecticut river aforesaid, and thence along the west banks of the same river to the place of beginning."
By an act of the Legislature of New York, passed March 24th, 1772, the boundaries were again changed, as will appear from a description of the limits then constituted. "Beginning on the west bank of Connecticut river opposite the point where the partition line between the colonies of the Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, touches the east side of the river, and extending from thence north eighty degrees west until such line shall meet with and be intersected by another line proceeding on a course south ten degrees west from the north-west corner of a tract of land granted under the Great Seal of this colony, on
1766—1781.] EARLY DIVISIONS OF THE STATE. 3
the 4th day of September, 1770, to James Abeel, and nine other persons, and extending from the said point of intersection, north ten degrees east until such line shall meet with and be intersected by another line to be drawn on a course north sixty degrees west from the south-west corner of a tract of land granted under the Great Seal of this colony, on the 13th day of November, A.D. 1769, and erected into a township by the name of Royalton, and running from the last-mentioned point of intersection south sixty degrees east to the west bank of Connecticut river, and so down along the west bank of the river, as the same river winds and turns to the place of beginning."
On the 1st of April, 1775, other alterations were made, and the western portion of the county was so extended as to be bounded by a line, beginning in the north boundary line of the province of Massachusetts Bay, at the south-west corner of the township of Readesborough, and running thence along part of the westerly bounds thereof, to a certain tract of land, granted to George Brewerton, Junior, and others, and erected into a township by the name of Leinster ; thence along the southerly and westerly bounds of the said tract of land, to the north-west corner of the same ; thence on a direct course to the south-easterly corner of the township of Princetown ; thence along the easterly bounds of the same tract, as it runs to the north-easterly corner thereof ; and thence on a direct course to the southerly corner bounds of the township of Hulton, where it meets with and is intersected by the west boundary line of the county of Cumberland, as established" by former acts. By this change, the townships of Readesborough, and what are now Searsborough, Somerset, and Stratton, were added to Cumberland county.
At the first session of the General Assembly of Vermont in 1778, the state was, on the 17th of March, divided into two counties. The territory lying on the west side of the Green Mountains was called Bennington county, and that on the east side, Unity county. The latter name was on the 21st of the same month changed, and that of Cumberland was substituted. By an act of the Legislature, passed February 11th, 1779, the division line between these two counties was fixed. Commencing at a point in the south line of the province of Quebec, fifty miles east of the centre of the deepest channel of Lake Champlain, it extended south to the north-east corner of the
4 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1766—1781.
town of Worcester, and along the east lines of Worcester, Middlesex, and Berlin, to the south-east corner of the latter town ; thence on a straight line to the north-west corner of Tunbridge, and on the west line of Tunbridge to the southwest corner of that town ; thence in a straight line to the northwest corner of Barnard ;* thence on the west line of Barnard and Bridgewater and the east line of Shrewsbury to the south-east corner thereof ; thence west to the north-east corner of Wallingford ; thence south on the east lines of Wallingford, Harwich,† Bromley,‡ Winhall, and Stratton, to the south-east corner of the latter, and west on the south line of Stratton to the north-west corner of Somerset ; thence south on the west line of Somerset to the south-west corner thereof ; thence east to the north-west corner of Draper;§ thence south on the west lines of Draper and Cumberland || to the north line of Massachusetts. Cumberland county was bounded on the south by the north line of Massachusetts, on the east by Connecticut river, and on the north by the south line of the province of Quebec.
In the laws of Vermont, passed October, 1780, the county of Cumberland, as just described, was referred to as being divided into the half-shires of Cumberland and Gloucester, the division line between them being nearly identical with the northern boundary of what is now Windsor county. By an act of the General Assembly of Vermont, passed in February, 1781, "for the division of counties within this state," the county of Cumberland, as established in 1778 and 1779, was subdivided into the counties of Windham, Windsor, and Orange. Connecticut river being the eastern boundary, and the division line on the west from Quebec to Massachusetts, remaining as fixed in February, 1779, all the land south of a line "beginning at the south-east corner of Springfield, thence running westerly on the south line of said Springfield and Chester to the east line of Bennington county," was erected into the county of Windham. The land included between the north line of Windham county, and the north lines of the towns of Norwich, Sharon, Royalton, and Bethel, was called Windsor county. Orange county comprehended all north of this to the Quebec line. Various changes have since been made in the limits of Wind‑
* In the printed act Bradford. Barnard was undoubtedly intended.
† Now Mount Tabor. ‡ Now Peru.
§ Now Wilmington. || Now Whitingham.
1766—1781.] EARLY DIVISIONS OF THE STATE. 5
ham and Windsor counties, by the addition of towns, and from other causes which it will be of but little benefit to record here.
After the second establishment of Cumberland county by New York in 1768, immigration to the "Grants" increased, and the north-eastern part of that territory became the abode of a mixed and heterogeneous population. The more peaceable and intelligent portion of the inhabitants, being desirous of a county organization, presented their request to the Council of New York, and on the 16th of March, 1770, an ordinance was passed, establishing as a separate county, by the name of Gloucester, "all that certain tract or district of land, situate, lying, and being to the northward of the county of Cumberland, beginning at the north-west corner of the said county of Cumberland, and thence running north as the needle points fifty miles; thence east to Connecticut river; thence along the west bank of the same river, as it runs, to the north-east corner of the said county of Cumberland on the said river, and thence along the north bounds of the said county of Cumberland to the place of beginning."
On the 24th of March, 1772, by an act "for the better ascertaining the boundaries of the counties of Cumberland and Gloucester," these limits were changed, and thenceforth Gloucester county was bounded" on the south by the north bounds of the county of Cumberland ; on the east by the east bounds of this colony ; on the north by the north bounds thereof ; on the west, and north-west, partly by a line to be drawn from the north-west corner of the said county of Cumberland, on a course north ten degrees east, until such line shall meet with and be intersected by another line proceeding on an east course from the south bank of the mouth of Otter creek, and partly by another line to be drawn and continued from the said last mentioned point of intersection, on a course north fifty degrees east, until it meets with and terminates at the said north bounds of the colony."
After the establishment of Vermont as a "separate and independent" jurisdiction, the counties of Cumberland and Gloucester, by an act of the Legislature, passed March 17th, 1778, were merged under the name of the county of Unity, which name was changed to Cumberland on the 21st. This large county, comprising the whole of Eastern Vermont, was subdivided in February, 1781, and Windham and Windsor counties
6 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1609.
were established with limits nearly identical .with those by which they are now bounded. At the same time, the remainder of the territory east of the mountains, and extending to the Canada line, was formed into a county by the name of Orange. From Orange county, Essex and Caledonia counties and a portion of Orleans county were taken on the 5th of November, 1792. At a later period other encroachments were made by the formation of Washington county ; and thus, by gradual curtailment, Orange has been reduced to its present limits.
It will be seen by the boundaries which have been recited, that much doubt prevailed as to the true western line of Cumberland and Gloucester counties. Certainty on this point is of but little consequence, except geographically, as the events which form the HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT were mostly
confined to the towns lying east of those composing the most western tier.*
The territory now comprising the state of Vermont, although noticed by Champlain in his voyage in 1609, when he discovered the lake that bears his name, was probably never visited by him. In the account which he gave of the exploration of Lake Champlain, passing reference is made to the Green Mountains and to the plains which lie at their foot. "Continuing our route along the west side of the lake, contemplating the country, I saw," said he, "on the east side very high mountains capped with snow. I asked the Indians if those parts were inhabited. They answered me, yes, and that they [the inhabitants] were Iroquois, and that there were in those parts beautiful vallies, and fields fertile in corn as good as I had ever eaten in the country, with an infinitude of other fruits, and that the lake extended close to the mountains, which were, according to my judgment, fifteen leagues from us. I saw others to the south not less high than the former ; only that they were without snow." This is undoubtedly the first information on record in regard to the scenery, condition, and inhabitants of Vermont, and like the accounts which were generally given by the Indians to the early travellers in. the New World, contains, in some
* Book of Council Minutes, 1751-1768, xxvi. 442: also, 1764-1772, xxix. 250. Act of 12th George III., in Laws of New York, 1691-1773, Van Schaack's ed., pp. 698-700. Act of 15th George III., in New York Colony Laws, 1774, 1775, pp. 127, 128. Acts and Laws of General Assembly of Vermont, February 11, 1779, p. 7. Also, those of February, 1781, p. 1. Brattleboro' Eagle, June 10, 1850, and September 27, 1849. Slade's Vermont State Papers, pp. 294, 295.
1672-1675.] PHILIP'S WAR. 7
particulars at least, the usual amount of exaggeration and fancy.*
Owing to the comparatively small immigration, and the difficulties incident to a new and dangerous mode of life, settlements did not extend very rapidly; and it was not until more than sixty years had passed, that any settlement was made within the territory which Champlain described, either from the lake side or from the banks of Connecticut river. In the year 1672, a township was granted to John Pyncheon, Mr. Pearson, and others, at Squakheag, afterwards Northfield, on Connecticut river, and in 1673, a few people removed there from Northampton, Hadley, and Hatfield. The township was laid out on both sides of the river, and inclosed an area of six miles by twelve, extending several miles into the present states of Vermont and New Hampshire, and including a valuable tract of interval land. The northern boundary of Massachusetts being undetermined at that time, the whole of this town was supposed to be within that province.†
For several years preceding the settlement of Northfield, the Massachusetts Indians had carried on a war with the Mohawk tribe who dwelt on the banks of the river of that name in the province of New York. As the English extended their boundaries, the enmity of the Indians towards one another seemed partially to abate, and centre upon those whom they regarded as their natural foes. The war of Philip, which raged most fiercely during the latter part of 1675, was characterized by the savageness and determination with which the red man hunted the white, and the white man, in turn, attacked the red. To detail the events of this period, would be foreign to the purpose of this work, as it would involve the recital of acts but little connected with the history of the territory afterwards known as Vermont. It may not, however, be out of place to refer to some of the incidents which occurred within the limits of Northfield. Philip, having made an attack upon Swanzey, on the 24th of June,
* Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii. 6.
† "A deed to William Clark and John King, of Northampton, agents for the proprietors of Northfield, covering the grant, was made August 13th, 1687, by Nawelet, Gongegua, Aspiambelet, Addarawanset, and Meganichcha, Indians of the place, in consideration of 'two hundred fathoms of wampum, and fifty-seven pounds in trading goods.' It was signed with the marks of the grantors, and witnessed by Jonathan Hunt, Preserved Clap, William Clark, Jr., Peter Jethro, Joseph Atherton, and Israel Chauncey." Northfield Town Book in Hoyt's Indian Wars, pp. 77, 78
8 HISTORY OF EASTERN. VERMONT. [1675.
1675, deserted Mount Hope, his favorite retreat, and was immediately pursued by Capt. Benjamin Church, and others, conspicuous as leaders at that time. With the removal of Philip, the scene of the war was changed from the neighborhood of Plymouth; and Lancaster, Marlborough, and Brookfield, towns in the more inland parts of Massachusetts, soon began to suffer from the incursions of the Indians. After they had burned Brookfield, a large military force was stationed at that place, under the command of Major Simon Willard, and the country adjacent being thoroughly scoured by detached parties, the Indians fled westward and joined their allies at Deerfield. Small garrisons were now posted at Northampton, Hatfield, Deerfield, and Northfield; and Hadley was made "the English head-quarters for this part of the country." But no vigilance could ward off the invasions of the Indians. Deerfield, slightly guarded, was attacked on the 1st of September, 1675, and before assistance could be brought, one man had been killed and several houses burned. Shortly after, nine or ten persons were killed in the woods at Northfield, and a garrisoned house saved the lives of a larger number, who otherwise would have been exposed to a similar fate. For some time after, these two towns were wholly deserted by the English, and served as rendezvous for the Indians. Depredations were now constantly recurring, and scarcely a day passed that did not record some story of pillage or slaughter. An expedition for the purpose of driving the Indians from Northfield was at length decided upon, and the Connecticut and Massachusetts commanders having joined their forces, proceeded up Connecticut river in two columns, one on either bank. They destroyed quantities of fish and other articles which the Indians had collected and concealed; saw the places where the Indians had tortured and burned their captives, and the very stakes to which these captives had been tied. Of the living enemy, they made no discovery, but the effective measures taken, proved of great security to the towns on Connecticut river.
With the death of Philip, departed the power which had given life and direction to the enmity of many of the Indians. Some of the settlers who had been driven from their homes on the Connecticut, now returned; but the Indians in the north-western parts of Massachusetts, who had not depended upon Philip as a leader, still continued their depredations. Some of these tribes having attacked Hatfield on the 19th of September,
1677-1698.] SKIRMISH WITH THE INDIANS. 9
1677, were pursued by the English. Resting one night at Northfield, they continued their retreat northward, and at a place in the neighborhood of the present town of Rockingham, Vermont, built a cabin, where, secure from the scouting parties of the whites, they remained for some time.
From the year 1689, when the French papists began to spread their doctrines among the Indians in Canada, until the year 1763, the border settlements on the Connecticut and Merrimack rivers were constantly exposed to the ravages of the French and Canada Indians, and the territory of Vermont would have become the seat of war, had there been attractions enough within her borders to excite the feeling of lust, or wealth sufficient to arouse the desire of plunder. Poor as they were, her early settlers patiently bore their share of suffering and violence; manfully sustained the attacks of the enemy, and cheerfully contributed their quota of men and arms for defence. The peace of Ryswick, signed in September, 1697, and proclaimed at Boston on the 10th of December following, closed the war between England and France, but it did not put a stop to incursions against the English colonies. Among the incidents which occurred at this period, the following, related by Hoyt, may be mentioned. One evening in the month of July, 1698, a short time before sunset, "a small party of Indians killed a man and boy in Hatfield meadow, on Connecticut river, and captured two lads, Samuel Dickinson, and one Charley, put them on board of canoes, and proceeded up the river. The intelligence being received at Deerfield, thirteen miles above, twelve men were detached from that place, to intercept the Indians."
Advancing about twenty miles, they chose a favorable spot on the right bank of the river, within the present town of Vernon. Here they lay till morning, "when they discovered the Indians coming up near the opposite bank with the captured lads, in two canoes. Carefully marking their objects, the whole party gave the Indians an unexpected fire, by which one was wounded. The others, with one of the lads, leaped from the canoes, and gained the shore. They then attempted to kill the lads, but receiving another well directed fire, they fell back, on which the lad on shore joined his companion in the canoe, and both escaped across the river to their deliverers. Five or six of the party then embarked with the design of seizing the other canoe, which at this time had lodged on an island a little
10 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1702—1704.
below. Two Indians who lay secreted not far distant, fired and killed Nathaniel Pomroy, one of the party. The Indians then retired into the woods, and the English returned to Deerfield."*
On the death of William III. of England in 1702, and the accession of Anne to the throne, war was again declared between France and England, and as a natural consequence, between the French and English colonies in America. Northfield, at the commencement of King William's war, had been protected by small works, and occupied by a few settlers. The people having been compelled to abandon it, the houses and forts were destroyed by the Indians, and the place was not reoccupied at the beginning of Queen Anne's war. Intelligence was received in the summer of 1703, that an attack was to be made on the frontier towns, and the truth of the report was soon after fully realized. In the winter of 1704, Major Hertel de Rouville, aided by his two brothers, and a force of two hundred French, and one hundred and forty-two Indians, set out from Canada for the purpose of attacking Deerfield, then one of the most flourishing, and with the exception of Northfield, the most northern town in Massachusetts. Proceeding up Lake Champlain to the mouth of Winooski river, and following up that stream, they crossed over to Connecticut river, down which they passed on the ice, and reached Deerfield on the evening of the 29th of February. At midnight the attack was made, and by sunrise they had killed forty-seven of the inhabitants, taken one hundred and twelve captive, and burned every building in the town, with the exception of the meeting-house, and one dwelling. The story of the capture of the Reverend John Williams, the minister of this town, and his family, has long been familiar to every American schoolboy, and its fame has now become world-wide as connected with the late attempt to identify the Reverend Eleazer Williams, the reputed great-great-grandson of the Reverend John Williams, and Louis XVII. the dauphin of France, whose fate has been so long shrouded in obscurity.
During their march to Canada, the captives suffered the most cruel privations. They rested at the close of their first day's journey, at what is now the town of Greenfield, the Indians having first taken every precaution available to prevent
* Hoyt's Indian Wars, p. 161.
1704.] THE MARCH TO CANADA. 11
their escape. The second night was spent within the limits of the present town of Bernardston. The fourth day brought them to a spot probably in the upper part of what is now the town of Brattleborough, where light sledges were constructed for the conveyance of the children, the sick and wounded. The march, being now performed on the ice, became more rapid. On the first Sunday of their captivity, the prisoners were allowed to rest. Their halting-place is said to have been at the mouth of Williams's river in the present town of Rockingham, where the Reverend John Williams delivered a discourse from these words: "The Lord is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandments: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow ; my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity."* From this circumstance the river received its name. At the mouth of White river, Rouville divided his company into several parties, and thence they took different routes to the St. Lawrence. That party which Mr. Williams accompanied ascended White river, and passing the highlands struck the Winooski or Onion, then called French river. Journeying down that stream to Lake Champlain, they continued their march on the lake to Missisco bay. Thence they proceeded to the river Sorel where they built canoes, and passing down to Chambly, continued on to the village of Sorel, where some of the party remained, but Mr. Williams was conveyed thence down the St. Lawrence to the Indian village of St. Francois, and was subsequently sent to Quebec.
Another party ascended Connecticut river, and halting some time at Coos meadows, their provisions being exhausted, barely escaped starvation by procuring wild game; two of the party actually died of hunger. The majority of the captives were soon afterwards redeemed, and were allowed to return to their friends. One of them, however, Eunice the daughter of the Rev. John Williams, became so much attached to Indian life, that she married an Indian, and became the ancestor of the Indian branch of the Williams family.†
The enemy, emboldened by the success they had met with at Deerfield, were continually harassing the frontier settlements, and endeavoring to cut off the scouting parties which were
* Lamentations, chap. i., v. 18.
† Biographical Memoir of Rev. John Williams, Greenfield, Mass., 1837. Hoyt's Indian Wars, pp. 186-191. Williams's Hist. Vt., ed. 2d, 304-307.
12 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1704—1713.
sent out from them. On the 31st of July, 1704, they attacked Lancaster in Massachusetts, and reduced most of the dwellings to ashes, and in the years 1705 and 1706 many towns in New Hampshire and Massachusetts suffered severely from their depredations. In order to put an end to these incursions by destroying the sources whence they emanated, an army was sent in 1707 against Port Royal in Canada, but the issue was unsuccessful, and the troops returned home, having effected nothing of importance. The next year Hertel de Rouville, at the head of a party of French and Indians, plundered and burnt the town of Haverhill in Massachusetts on the 29th of August, killed about forty of the inhabitants, and took a large number of them captive. Not long after, as a scouting party from Deerfield was returning from White river in the present state of Vermont, one of its members, Barber by name, was killed by the Indians, and another, Martin Kellogg Jr., was captured.
Calling into service a larger body of troops, the British government again resolved, in 1709, on the reduction of Canada. The event of this attempt was like that of the former. The English squadron did not arrive, and the New York forces being greatly lessened in numbers by sickness, the expedition proved a complete failure. The French, notwithstanding the threatened invasion of Canada, kept small parties of Indians on the English frontiers. By some one of these straggling forces Lieut. John Wells and John Burt, while on a scouting expedition, were, in May, 1709, killed in a skirmish on Onion river in the present state of Vermont. Enraged at this loss, the scout to which they belonged penetrated to Lake Champlain, and killed several of the enemy. In June of the same year another attack was made on Deerfield by a force of one hundred and eighty French and Indians, under the command of one of the De Rouvilles, but on account of the vigilance of the inhabitants the effort proved unsuccessful. In 1710 an armament raised in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, in conjunction with forces from England, all commanded by Colonel Nicholson, sailed from Boston, besieged and captured Port Royal, and changed the name to Annapolis.
During the year 1711 another expedition was fitted out against Canada. The fleet accompanying it sailed from Boston on the 30th of July, but was wrecked at the mouth of the St. Lawrence on the 25th of August following. As the result of this disaster, by which a thousand lives were lost, time expedi‑
1713.] EQUIVALENT LANDS. 13
tion, the third which had been made against Canada in the space of four years, was abandoned. The treaty of Utrecht was signed on the 11th of April, 1713, and on the 29th of the following October, was proclaimed at Boston. A formal peace was made with the Indians on the 11th of "July, 1714, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and for a few years the land had rest from war.*
Previous to, and during the late wars, the General Court of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay had granted several large tracts of land, which were supposed to be situated within the provincial limits. Upon this presumption these tracts had been taken up and surveyed by the grantees, and many of them had already become the centres of permanent and flourishing settlements. On determining the boundaries between this province and the colony of Connecticut, in the year 1713, 107,793 acres of the land so granted, were found to be without the true limits of the former government. Massachusetts, wishing to retain all the territory which she had hitherto supposed her own, entered into an agreement with her sister colony, in accordance with which it was determined, "that the said colony of Connecticut should have 107,793 acres of land as an equivalent to the said colony for lands allowed and granted to belong to the said province, that fall to the southward of the line lately run between the said province and colony." Although the southern boundary of Massachusetts was fixed by this determination, yet it was still uncertain how far her territory extended to the north.
The equivalent lands were located in four different places. One of the portions containing 43,943 acres, situated above Northfield, on the west bank of Connecticut river, within the bounds of the present towns of Putney, Dummerston, and Brattleborough, in the state of Vermont, was limited in the following manner : "The north east corner boundary is the mouth of the brook, at the northward end of the Great Meadow, where sd brook emptieth itself into Connecticut river att the foot of Tayler's island, from whence it bounds upon Connecticut river (as the river runs,) eastwardly down to the mouth of the brook that emptieth itself into Connecticutt river att the lower end of the Meadow, about three miles southward of the West river. And from the mouth of sd brook it extends west north west by the needle of the surveying instrument six miles and half and from
* Hoyt's Indian Wars, pp. 196-203.
14 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1713.
thence it extends nearest north north east by the needle of the surveying instrument twelve miles, which is the westerly boundary of sd lands, and from thence it extends east south east by the needle of the surveying instrument six miles and half to the mouth of the brook at the uper end of the Great Meadow."*
The colony of Connecticut, having received all the land to which she was entitled, caused it to be sold in Hartford at public vendue, on the 24th and 25th of April, 1716. It was divided into sixteen shares, and was bought by gentlemen from Connecticut, Massachusetts, and London, who paid for it six hundred and eighty-three pounds, New England currency, which amounted to "a little more than a farthing per acre." The money thus obtained was applied to the use of Yale College.†
The purchasers of the land, being then tenants in common, made partition of the whole amount, and the tract situated above Northfield, on the west bank of Connecticut river, fell to William Dummer, afterwards Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, Anthony Stoddard, William Brattle, and John White. By a deed from the Honorable Gurdon Saltonstall, Governor of Connecticut, and the rest of the proprietors, this tract was conveyed to the four above named gentlemen, "as their part and proportion," and was by them, and those holding under them, improved and possessed for many years.‡
The colonies being now at peace with the Indians, the frontier settlements began to assume a more prosperous appearance, and the losses which had been sustained by the ravages of the enemy were in a great measure repaired. But by the time that affairs had become so arranged as to invite immigration, and warrant the safety of new settlements, Massachusetts and New Hampshire were again compelled to prepare to defend their borders against the Indians. By the instigations of Sebastian Rale, a French Jesuit, who had gained the esteem and respect of the Indians, they, in 1721, began their usual depredations, and the next year war was declared against them by Massachusetts.
Northfield and Deerfield were still the frontiers of this pro‑
* Records in the office of the Secretary of the State of Connecticut, entitled, "Colonial Boundaries, vol. iii., Massachusetts, 1670-1827."
† See Appendix A. Trumbull's History of Connecticut, i. 471. Williams's History of Vermont, ii. 10. Doc. Hist. N. Y., iv. 547, 548.
‡ Petition of Joseph Bryant, dated August 11th, 1766, in office of the Sec. State N. Y., Land Papers, 1766, vol. xxi.
1721—1724.] BUILDING OF FORT DUMMER. 15
vince on Connecticut river, and these, with other exposed towns, were rendered defensible against the attacks of the enemy. In order more effectually to secure the safety of the inhabitants, the General Court of the province of the Massachusetts Bay voted, on the 27th of December, 1723, "that it will be of great service to all the western frontiers, both in this and the neighboring government of Connecticut, to build a Block House, above Northfield, in the most convenient place on the lands call'd the Equivalent Lands, and to post in it 40 able men, English and Western Indians, to be employed in scouting at a good distance up Connecticut river, West river, Otter creek, and sometimes eastwardly, above great Monadnuck, for the discovery of the enemy coming towards any of the frontier towns, and that so much of the said Equivalent Lands as shall be necessary for a Block House be taken up with the consent of the owners of the said land, together with five or six acres of their interval land, to be broke up or plowed for the present use of the Western Indians, in case any of them shall think fit to bring their families thither."*
To fulfil the provisions contained in this vote, to which Lieutenant-Governor Dummer gave his assent, Col. John Stoddard† of Northampton was ordered to superintend the building of the block house. The immediate oversight of the work was committed to Lieut. Timothy Dwight,‡ who with a competent force, consisting of "four carpenters, twelve soldiers with narrow axes, and two teams," commenced operations on the 3d of February, 1724.§
Before the summer had begun the fort was so far completed,
* Massachusetts Court Records, 1723-1725, p. 153.
† An estimate of the character of "this distinguished man" is given in Dwight's Travels, i. 331-335.
‡ Lieut. Timothy Dwight of Northampton, Mass., was the first commander at Fort Dummer, and probably occupied that position from February, 1724, until the close of the year 1726. But this office did not engross his whole attention. In July and August, 1724, he superintended the erection of a fort at Northfield, and in 1725 was engaged as a surveyor. He was afterwards a Judge of Probate in the county of Hampshire, and was preceded in that station by John Stoddard of Northampton, and Samuel Partridge of Hatfield, and succeeded by Israel Williams of the latter place.
§ "It [the fort] was built by carpenters of Northfield at 5 shillings per diem, except Crowfoot [John Crowfoot, an Indian of Springfield] who received 6 shillings. The soldiers slept in the woods, and earned 2 shillings per diem besides their stated pay. The horses worked hard, eat oats and nothing else. They earned 2 shillings for service, per diem."—Records in office Sec. State, Massachusetts, lii. 32.
16 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1724.
as to be habitable. It was situated on the west bank of Connecticut river, in the south-east corner of the present town of Brattleborough, on what are now called "Dummer Meadows," and was named Fort Dummer, in honor of Sir William Dummer, at that time Lieutenant-Governor of Massachusetts.* This was the first civilized settlement within the borders of the present state of Vermont. The fort was built of yellow pine timber, which then grew in great abundance on the meadow lands. In size it was nearly square, the sides measuring each about one hundred and eighty feet in length. It was laid up in the manner of a log-house, the timbers being locked together at the angles. In a letter dated February 3d, 172¾, written by Col. John Stoddard to Lieutenant-Governor Dummer, in reference to its construction he said, "I forgot to take notice of your thought of setting stockadoes round the fort to keep the enemy at a distance. I don't well apprehend the benefit of it, for we intend the fort shall be so built that the soldiers shall be as safe, if the enemy were in the parade, as if they were without the fort." In an answer to this letter, Governor Dummer advanced other suggestions. "Until," wrote he, “the frost be out of the ground how will you lay yr foundation, and I think there ought to be a good one of stone and that carried some height above ye Ground, and also cellars for the use and conveniency of so many people." The houses within were so constructed that the walls of the fort formed the back wall of each building. The roof was a single one, slanting upward to the top of the fort walls. All the houses fronted on a hollow square, and were arranged in such a manner, that in case the enemy should burst the large gate which closed the entrance to the fort, and gain access to the parade, they could be instantly rendered defensible by barricading the doors and windows. Besides the small arms with which the soldiers were furnished, the garrison was also defended by four pattararoes.
From the time the fort was commenced until the first of June following, Captain Dwight's force numbered in all fifty-five effective men, of whom forty-three were English soldiers, and the remainder Indians. The latter belonged to the "Maquas" tribe, and were under the command of their sachems, Hendrick
* The site of Fort Dummer and the adjoining meadow belonging to it, form a portion of what is now known as the "Brooks farm."
1724.] INDIAN SOLDIERS. 17
Maqua, of Connauchiwhory, and Umpaumet, who dwelt on the banks of Hudson river.*
Great importance was attached to the presence of the Indians, and various means were taken to retain them. the service. On the 20th of June, 1724, a committee which had been appointed by the General Court of Massachusetts to examine a demand made by the Maquas, engaged in the service of that government at Fort Dummer, reported, pursuant to the promise of Col. Schuyler, "that two shillings per day be allowed to Hendrick and Umpaumet, as they are sachems, and the first of that rank that have entered into the service of this province; That none of ye Indians be stinted as to allowance of provisions That they all have the use of their arms gratis, and their guns mended at free cost; That a supply of knives, pipes, tobacco, lead, shot, and flints, be sent to the commanding officer at the fort, to be given out to them, according to his discretion; That four barrels of rum be sent to Capt. Jona. Wells, at Deerfield, to be lodged in his hands, and to be delivered to the commanding officer at the Block-House as he sees occasion to send for it, that so he may be enabled to give out one gill a day to each Indian, and some to his other men as occasion may require." But with all these and other endeavors the Indians could not be induced to remain at the fort for more than a year.
From the time the fort was commenced those to whom it was intrusted seem to have exercised a care for the moral welfare of those who were there stationed. In the letter of Col. Stoddard, above referred to, he remarked on this subject: "Dwight thinks they should live a heathenish life unless a chaplain be allowed, and besides the advantage the English soldiers may receive from him, it may possibly be an opportunity to Christianize the Indians, which the Assembly (in the former part) seemed very desirous of." In accordance with this wish the General Court voted on the 3d of June, that "Dr.
* The names of these Indians, with their residence, are contained in the annexed list.
Under Hendrick Maqua.
Ezerus of Connauchiwhory; Kewauchcum
of Westonhook ;
Cosaump of Wittaug.
Under Umpaumet or Ampaumet.
Pomagun, Poopoonuck, from Hudson river;
Waunoouooseet, Suckkeecoo from "Scahticook."
18 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1724.
Mather, Mr. Coleman, Mr. Sewall, Mr. Wadsworth, be desired to procure a person of gravity, ability, and prudence," to be presented to the Governor for his approval, as chaplain to the fort. Daniel Dwight, of Northampton, was chosen to this post, but it does not appear that he held it long. His pay was fixed at one hundred pounds for the year, and besides his duties as chaplain it was more especially enjoined upon him to "instruct the Indian natives residing thereabouts in the true Christian religion."
The soldiers were provided with goods and clothing by the commander of the fort, who received his supplies from the Treasurer of the province of Massachusetts, and sold them at a more reasonable rate than they could have been obtained elsewhere.
No sooner were the necessary arrangements completed, and the fort garrisoned by English and by friendly Indians, than the hatred and suspicion of the Canada tribes in the employ of the French and of the Maseesqueeg or Scatacook Indians received a new impulse, and their reconnoitring parties began to be sources of the greatest annoyance. On the 25th of June the Indians attached to the fort discovered tracks to the south which appeared to have been made only a short time previous. A. party of sixteen proceeded on a scout, and soon after fell in with about forty of the enemy; but their force being too small to accomplish what they had wished, they returned without hazarding an attack. On the 11th of October Fort Dummer was attacked by seventy of the enemy, and four or five of its occupants were either killed or wounded. Col. Stoddard of Northampton, who was at that time intrusted with the defence of this quarter of the country, immediately marched from that place with fifty men, but the enemy had left the fort before he arrived.
Capt. Joseph Kellogg, who was engaged at this time in watching Fort Dummer, and two other garrisons on the western frontiers of Massachusetts, having received orders to scout, commenced sending out parties on the 30th of November. The routes which they took "for the discovery of the enemy" were various, and can be easily traced at the present time, the names by which the streams, mountains, and falls were then designated being in most instances the same as at present. Sometimes their course lay along the west side of Connecticut river, and ended at the Great Falls.* Again they would
*Now Bellows Falls
1725.] SCOUTING PARTIES. 19
follow up West river a few miles, and then striking across the country, reach the Great Falls by a different route. Sometimes their place of destination would be the Great Meadow, and anon we read that they "came upon Sexton's river six miles from ye mouth of it, wc empties itself at ye foot of ye Great Falls, and then they came down till they came to ye mouth of it and so returned." On another occasion they were "sent up ye West River Mountain, there to Lodge on ye top and view Evening and Morning for smoak, and from thence up to ye mountain at ye Great Falls and there also to Lodge on ye top and view morning and evening for smoaks." Thus most of the winter was spent, in traversing the wilderness, fording bridgeless streams, and climbing mountains slippery with snow and ice. To such vigilance and activity it was owing that for nearly a year, and at a time when the Indians were exceedingly troublesome and unfriendly, Fort Dummer and the adjacent garrisons were unmolested by them.
During the month of July, in the year 1725, Capt. Benjamin Wright, of Northampton, being on a scouting expedition with a corps of volunteers, consisting of about sixty men, ascended the Connecticut river as high as Wells river, which stream he explored some distance and after having passed several small lakes, struck Onion or Winooski river, and followed it until within sight of Lake Champlain. Provisions becoming scarce, the party retraced their steps and returned to Northfield without meeting the enemy. In his journal, Wright mentions "a fort at the mouth of Wells river." As we have no other account of such an establishment than the one here given, the suggestion of Mr. Hoyt is no doubt correct, that it was "probably a small stockade, for the security of the scouts." On the 28th of September, Capt. Dwight, of Fort Dummer, sent out a party of six men to scout in a westerly direction. On their return, while halting to refresh themselves, they were attacked by the Indians, who, fourteen in number, came suddenly upon them. The scouts fired, but successful resistance was out of their power. Thomas Bodurtha of Springfield, and John Pease of Enfield, were killed; Edward Baker of Suffield, John Farrar of Ashford, and Nathaniel Chamberlain of Hatfield, were captured; and Anthony Wiersbury, a German, reached the fort in safety, being the only one of the party who escaped unharmed.*
* MS. papers in office Sec. State, Mass. Hoyt's Indian Wars, p. 215.
20 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1725—1731.
Although attacks were frequently made on the English settlements in New Hampshire and along the Connecticut, by the French or Abenaquis Indians, yet it must be remarked that this conduct did not arise from the enmity of France and England, for at that, time those nations were at peace with one another. In order, if possible, to bring to an end the war in America, commissioners were sent from Massachusetts and New Hampshire to Canada. They were politely received by the Marquis de Vaudreuil, Governor of Canada, but were unable to effect with him the object of their mission. A few depredations were committed after the commissioners returned, but it was soon ascertained that the Indians were not averse to peace. In accordance with their desire, a treaty of that nature was held at Boston on the 15th of December, and was ratified at Falmouth the following spring. This being publicly declared, the garrisons were withdrawn from many of the forts, and on the 27th of August, 1726, the forces "at the Block-House above Northfield" were ordered to be dismissed from the service. By a mistake, the order was withheld until news came on the 24th of November, that some of the Canada tribes were, by the command of the Governor of Canada, "spirited out for mischief on the frontiers." On the receipt of this information, by the advice of the Lieutenant-Governor, the garrison was continued until the cause of danger was removed.*
Capt. Joseph Kellogg, who had been for many years a prisoner among the French and Indians in Canada, and had learned the manner in which the peltry trade was conducted between them and the western Indians, having presented a memorial to the General Court of Massachusetts, on the 15th of January, 1727, in which he expressed his belief that the same kind of trade might be carried on by the Massachusetts government to good advantage, followed up this statement with a request that a trading-house might be established at Fort Dummer or further up Connecticut river. To this petition a favorable answer was given. In order to insure a continuance of the friendship of the Indians, the General Court agreed to supply them with such articles of food and clothing as they should need, and take their furs in exchange. Fort Dummer, being conveniently situated for a "Truck-house," was selected for that purpose, and was thus "improved” for many years, the business being
* MS. papers. Belk. Hist. N. H., ii. 70-80.
1725-1731.] JAMES COSS'S JOURNAL. 21
under the charge of Joseph Kellogg, who bore the titles both of Captain and Truck-master.*
The Indians, finding that they could carry on a cheaper trade at this station than at the French trading-houses, resorted hither in large numbers, bringing with them, among other articles of traffic, deer skins, moose skins, and tallow. The fort was soon found to be too small to accommodate all who came to it, and Capt. Kellogg was accordingly ordered, on the 10th of April, 1729, to raise an out-house in some convenient place near the Truck-house, "for the reception of the Indians." At the same time he was directed to build a boat for transporting the supplies, to advance fifteen instead of fifty per cent. on provisions, and to supply the soldiers with clothing at the same price with the Indians. He was also permitted to sell beaver skins to the people residing in the vicinity who should desire to obtain them for the purpose of converting them into hats. In July, 1731, further improvements were made at the block-house by the addition of a store-house at the back of the main building, and by repairs which had become necessary.
The route which the Indians usually took in going from Canada to Fort Dummer, was by Lake Champlain, Otter creek, and Black and Connecticut rivers. The government of Massachusetts being about to take measures to ascertain the exact course of this "Indian road," obtained from a certain James Coss or Cross, the following diary of a journey from Fort Dummer to Lake Champlain, performed in the year 1730. From it something may be learned of the manner of travelling in the wilderness in those early times, and of the hardships pertaining thereto.
"Monday, ye 27th April, 1730, at about twelve of ye clock we left Fort Dummer, and travailed that day three miles, and lay down that night by West River, which is three miles distant from Fort Dummer. Notabene. I travailed with twelve Canady Mohawks that drank to great excess at ye fort and killed a Skatacook Indian in their drunken condition, that came to smoke with them.
* The first appropriation for trading purposes was made on the 19th of June, 1728, when the General Court voted to set apart "£1000, equal to about £333 6s. 8d. sterling, for the purchasing goods to be lodged at the Truck-house above Northfield, to supply the Indians withal." The Truck-master was ordered "to advance 50 per cent. on rum, sugar, and molasses, and 25 per cent. on European goods."
22 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1725-1731.
"Tuesday. We travailed upon the great River* about ten miles.
"Wednesday. We kept ye same course upon ye great River travailed about ten miles, and eat a drowned Buck that night.
"Thursday. We travailed upon the great River within two miles of ye Great Falls† in said River, then we went upon Land to the Black River above ye Great Falls, went up in that River and lodged about a mile and a half from the mouth of Black River, which days travail we judged was about ten miles.
"Fryday. We cross Black River at ye Falls‡ afterwards travail through ye woods N.N.W. then cross Black River again about 17 miles above our first crossing, afterwards travailed ye same course, and pitched our tent on ye homeward side of Black River.
"Saturday. We crossed Black River, left a great mountain on ye right hand and another on ye left.§ Keep a N.W. course till we pitch our tent after 11 miles travail by a Brook which we called a branch of Black River.
"Sabbath Day. Soon after we began our days work, an old pregnant squaw that travailed with us, stopt alone and was delivered of a child, and by Monday noon overtook us with a living child upon her Back. We travail to Black River. At ye three islands, between which and a large pound we past ye River, enter a mountain,|| that afforded us a prospect of ye place of Fort Dummer. Soon after we enter a descending country, and travail till we arrive at Arthur Creek†† in a descending land. In this days travail which is 21 miles, we came upon seven Brooks which run a S. W. course at ye north end of said Mountain. From Black River to Arthur Creek we judge is 25 miles.
"Monday. Made Canoes.
"Tuesday. Hindered travailing by rain.
"Wednesday. We go in our Canoes upon Arthur Creek, till we meet two great falls in said River.** Said River is very Black and deep and surrounded with good land to ye extremity of our prospect. This days travail 35 miles.
* Connecticut river.
† Bellows Falls.
‡ At Centre village in the town of Springfield. See Zadock Thompson's Vermont, Part III., p. 164.
§ In the township of Ludlow.
|| In the township of Plymouth, where Black river rises.
†† Otter creek.
** Probably in the town of Rutland.
1725-1731.] INDIAN COMMISSIONERS. 23
"Thursday. We sail 40 miles in Arthur Creek. We meet with great Falls,* and a little below them, we meet with two other great Falls,† and about 10 miles below ye said Falls we meet two other pretty large Falls.‡ We carryd our Canoes by these Falls and come to ye Lake."
The garrison at Fort Dummer, which had been reduced in 1727, was, in January, 1731, reinforced by the addition of ten soldiers, and from that time until the year 1750, it seldom numbered less than twenty men, and in times of danger often amounted to fifty. The Rev. Ebenezer Hinsdell || was in 1730 appointed to the chaplaincy of the fort, which post he probably held twelve or fourteen years, being much beloved both by the Indians and the English.¶
In order to render trade with the Indians more advantageous, and to strengthen the bonds of peace and friendship, Capt. Kellogg received into the fort on the 8th of October, 1734, three commissioners from the "Scaticook" tribe, whose names and titles were, Masseguun, first captain; Nannatoohau, second captain; Massamah, lieutenant; and on the 1st of September, 1735, three other commission officers of the Caughnawaga tribe,
* Middlebury Falls. † At Weybridge. ‡ At Vergennes.
§ Bound MSS. in office Sec. State, Mass., A. xxxviii. 126, 127.
|| He was for several years a missionary to the Connecticut river Indians. In a letter which he wrote from Fort Dummer, dated January 26th, 1732/3, referring to his labors, he stated that "a good disposition" was prevalent among the Indians, that on Sunday a number of them usually assembled to listen to him, that a child had been presented to him for baptism, to which he had refused to administer the rite because its parents were not Christians, that he had endeavored to instruct the parents in Christianity, but had as yet met with no success. In 1743, Mr. Hinsdell erected a fort within the limits of the present town of Hinsdale, New Hampshire, and in the same year he and Josiah Willard, the commander of Fort Dummer, were appointed under-commissioners for the northern portions of Massachusetts, and the adjacent frontiers. This post they held until October 26th, 1746. Hinsdell's efforts in behalf of the growth and prosperity of the province were not unobserved, and on November 10th, 1748, Governor Shirley desired the General Court "to provide a few men for the defence of Mr. Hinsdell's fort below Fort Dummer for the winter season," a request which was undoubtedly complied with. In the year 1759, he resided near Sugar Loaf Mountain, in the town which is now known as South Deerfield, Massachusetts.
¶ It is difficult to ascertain the exact date of transactions which occurred at this period, owing to the burning of the Town House in Boston, on December 9th, 1747, at which time were destroyed "The Books of Records of the General Assembly of Massachusetts, from July 5th, 1737, to September 30th, 1746, and of his Majesty's Council."
21 HISTORY OF EASTERN VERMONT. [1735—1738.
named Ontaussoogoe, colonel Thyhausilhau, lieutenant-colonel Conneighau, major. Yearly pensions were granted to them, and they remained in the pay of the truck-house until 1744, when it was again turned into a fort.
Massachusetts having deemed it necessary to renew a certain treaty which had been made with the Indians some years before, appointed John Stoddard, Eleazer Porter, Thomas Wallis, Joseph Kellogg, and Israel Williams, commissioners, who by agreement met Ontaussoogoe and other delegates of the Caughnawaga tribe, at Fort Dummer, on the 5th and 6th of October, 1737. Friendly speeches were made by both parties, the health of King George was drank, and the death of the Governor's lady deplored. Blankets and wampum were exchanged, and the representatives of the Indians and the English separated with expressions of mutual good-will and friendship.* In the same year the truck-house was burned, but whether entirely or partially, there is nothing on record to show.†
During this season of comparative quiet, Massachusetts and New Hampshire granted several new townships on their frontiers, the former extending her grants to the northward and westward, and along Connecticut river, above Northfield, embracing on the east banks of that stream the present towns of Hinsdale, Chesterfield, Westmoreland, Walpole, and Charlestown. These five towns were at first included in four, and for several years were known by their numbers. Beginning at Hinsdale, Charlestown was Number Four. As to the settlements west of the Green Mountains, the first of them was made by the French in 1731, at Chimney Point, in the south-west corner of what is now the township of Addison. But this, as well as the settlement at Fort Frederick, now Crown Point, on the west side of the Lake, was subsequently broken up, and the settlers, with the garrison of the fort, were, in the year 1759, removed to Canada.
* See Appendix B, containing an account of the proceedings at the renewal of the treaty.
† The only hint of this circumstance is contained in a petition to Governor Jonathan Belcher, from John Sargent, dated Nov. 29th, 1738, in which he says he was "formerly taken prisoner to Canada, afterwards was under Captain Kellogg at the truck-house, north of Northfield, and was a great sufferer in 1737 when it was burned."