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llli: .\£\V YORK 

Copyright, 1887. 

The Publishers^ Printing Company 

13? jUjd 159 WiLUAii Street 

New York 


WHEN for the first time an Old World traveler is permitted to behold an 
American landscape in Autumn, he is transported at the array of 
gorgeous hues of wliich he had formed no conception. Nowhere does Nature 
take on a brighter hvery than in the vicinity of the Shawangunk ; and there needs 
but the rendering of its history into story by a Scott or a Cooper to immortalize 
the locaUty. Here, beneath the effulgent rays of the October sun, there burns, 
not one bush, but thousands, as with fire, yet are not consumed; and here the 
maple, the sumac, the Virginia creei)er, and the expanses of golden-rod and 
purple asters flood the forests and fields with their matchless coloring. 

It requires no great effort of the fancy to picture the bark canoes of the 
aboriginals still plying upon the bosoms of the many romantic lakes, or swiftly 
coursing along the beautiful streams that, like sinuous bands of silver, wind 
among the verdant meadows. One would be pardoned for being deceived into 
the beUef that the snioke from an embowered cottage arose from the embers 
of an Indian wigwam; and the traveler half expects to meet troops of gobhn 
warriors, as in the Moorish legend, painted and equipped for battle, silently 
threading the forest over the Indian trails yet clearly traceable through the 
mountain fastnesses 

Does the reader desire details of the more tragic sort ? Then lend your at- 
tention while are told tales of midnight marauders, both white and red, who 
fell upon unsuspecting and unprotected families along the frontier; hsten while 
scenes are depicted of by-gone times, when the silence of night was wont to be 
broken by the screams of affrighted women and children, as the murderous 
tomahawk was brandished over its victims, and when scalps reeking with gore 
were borne away in triumph. Every locality in the Shawangunk region has its 
legend of Indian atrocity, or its story of Eevolutionary barbarity: the chain of 

iv Preface. 

stone forts yet standing along the river valleys bear testimonj- to the general 
insecurity of life in those troublous times. 

Or if the reader delights in tales of adventures with the wild animals of the 
forest, of encounters with the nomadic bear, the ferocious i^anther, or the 
prowling woK, and aU the exciting experiences of a woodland Ufe, it is hoped 
the hunting stories of the Shawanguiik vriSi constitute a soiu-ce of thriUing in- 

It may be that he who has leisure and inclination to scan this volume is of 
a philosophic turn of mind, and would prefer to trace a reflex of the religious 
sectarianisms and feudal customs of the Old World in the unsettled society of 
the New. For such a one the history' of Robert Chambers and the Baronetcy 
of Fox Hall, the storj'- of Lewis Du Bois the Walloon, and the nan-ative of the 
Hardenburgh war, all of wliicli are considered at length in these pages, will 
afford abundant material for reflection. 

Then, too, the more humble but no less heroic virtues of the pioneer settler, 
enduring the hardships and privations of a frontier hfe to the end that he 
might cai-ve for himself a home in the wLldemess — such ^vill form a theme no 
less fruitful and interesting. 

It is the usual thing for histoiy to deal exclusively with gi-eat events. The 
conduct of armies, the description of battles, and a record of matters involving 
the interest of the many, are the topics which absorb the attention of the his- 
torian, wliile the individual experiences in the eveiy-day life of the common 
people are lost sight of altogether. The knowledge that a battle was fought 
is of less value than a knowledge of the causes that led to it and the issues re- 
sulting from it; and how can one understand the causes except he enter into 
sympathy with the masses involved; or how can he sympathize miless he is 
familiar with their individual sufferings, and with their manner of life and 
mode of thinking? We know that the battle of Monmouth was fought; the 
number and disposition of the contending forces, at what time and by whom 
the charges were made ; the repulses and all the details of the action are mat- 
tei"S of record; but the individual experiences and home life of the sterUug 
patriots in the lower ranks that participated in the fight are topics yet unde- 
veloped. In the preparation of this volume the end is kept in view of sup- 
plying this deficiency, and thus, in a measm'e, supplementing the more preten- 
tious liistories. 

The most fascinating chapters of the past are those so remote that well- 

Preface. V 

established fact and dim tradition become so blended that one can hardly be dis- 
tinguished from the other. It may be asserted that history then loses its value 
as an educator, as it no longer stands a truthful transcript of the human character. 
But we should not forget that there can be no more interesting and valuable 
study of the general character and standing of a community than a research 
into its current beliefs and traditions, even though the subjects should partake of 
the natm-e of myths and fables. The poems of Ossian possess a rare value in 
that they dehneate the habits and exi)eriences of the people of ancient Ireland 
and Scotland centmies beyond the limit of so-called authentic history; the same 
may be said of the works of Homer, however \vild and chimerical the stories 
may appear. It has been said that the most conscientious history is but the 
development or maintenance of a theory. No man ever witnessed a battle un- 
biased; it is to this biased source that the historian turns for his facts; these 
facts are liable to undergo a still further change in the cracible of his pet theory, 
and the pubhc must accept the result. Compare the works of English writers 
on the causes and conduct of the war of 181^ with the versions of the same 
war by American authors, and, but for the names and dates, one would hardly 
recognize the same event. 

But let not the matter-of-fact reader be dismayed. Though the term 
" legend " has been made use of in the present volume, no narrative has been 
inserted without the authority of contemporaneous history, or well-authenti- 
cated tradition. 

' ' Legend ' ' has a less repulsive sound to the superficial reader than ' ' his- 
tory: " while the genuine student will readily discern and accept a means of 
instruction mider whatever guise it is found. For a like reason each topic is 
complete in itself, thus doing away with the necessity of a consecutive reading 
of the book. Inasmuch as the vicinity of the Shawangunk is attracting the 
attention of the public as a desirable place in which to spend the summer, it 
has been thought a work of this kind, possessing the value of history and the 
charm of romance, would be acceptable. 

'V\Tiile there is much that is here foimd in print for the first time, all avail- 
able published sources have been laid under contribution in its compilation. 
Ancient records have been rigidly searched with a view of obtaining such facts 
not only as were new to the public, but such as would be of general interest. 
The aim has been to make a book as attractive to a citizen of a distant locality 
as to a resident of the Shawangmik region, and by a judicious selection of 

vi Preface. 

topics and a careful revision of the text, to expiuige whatever may have been of 
a local and common-ijlace nature. 

Several standard local works have been freely quoted, and many of their 
interesting features embodied in this volume. Of this class we make mention 
of Stickney's History of Minisink; the Bevier pamphlet, from winch is obtained 
much that is valuable of the Eevolutionaiy history of Ulster; Eager's History 
of Orange Comity; Quinlan's Life of Tom Quick, etc. These books are now 
out of print, and some of them command fabulous prices, such is the demand 
for them. The matter contained in these favorite works ma}' possess a value 
in the present dress above that of new facts. AYe make an especial acknow- 
ledgment of the com-tesy of E. F. Quinlau, M. D., and also of Hon. George M. 
Beebe, both of Monticello, N. Y., who kindly consented to our use of the -wait- 
iugs of James Eldridge Quinlan, the author of Tom Quick and of the History 
of SuUivan county. Mi-. Quinlan possessed T\athin himself the rare combina- 
tion of indefatigable research and a pm-e and forcible diction that claimed the 
attention of the reader; and his efforts are justly regarded as a standard au- 
thority on the subjects of which he has treated. Space would fail were we to 
mention all the favors and faciUties afforded us in the works of research. Xot 
the least of the results hoped for in the production of this volume is that tliis 
romantic and interesting region may, though its instrumentahty, come to be 
better known to the outside world. We shall always treasure the reminis- 
cences of a summer spent in climbing the mountains, saihng over the lakes, and 
tracing out the Indian trails in the forests, in our search for the rare and quaint 
in the annals of the Shawaugunk. 


Tlie Shawanguiik and its Environs, 

The Delawares, 

The First Esopus War, 

The Second Esopus War, 

The Esopus Mutiny, 

The War with the Jerseymen 

The Mastodon, 

Catherine DuBois, 

Greycourt Inn, 

Minisink Battle. 

Brant and the School-girls, 

Claudius Smith, 

Edward Eoblin, 

Lieutenant Burt, 

The DuBois Homestead, 

Massacre at Fantinekill, 

Burning of Warwarsing, 

Kortright's Expedition, 

Anderson and Osterhout, 

Polly Tidd, 

Captivity of Mrs. Coleman, 

Phebe Reynolds and the Tories, 

Miss Land's Midnight Journey, 

The Tories after the Revolution, 

Tom Quick, the Indian Slayer, 







Tom Quick and the Indian Muskwink. 
Tom Quick and the Buck with Seven Skins, 
Tom Quick's Indian Exploits, 
Indian Stratagem to Slay Tom Quick, 
The Savages plan Tom Quick's Capture, 
Early Settlers of the Shawangunk Eegion, 

■A Border Alami, 

Sam's Point, or the Big Nose of Aioskawasting, 
" Gross" Hardenburgh, .... 

Little Jessie Mitteer and the Bear-trap, 

A Eival of Israel Putnam, .... 

Panther Himting at Long Pond, 

Bear Hunt on the Mongaup Eiver, 

Casualty on Blue Mountain, 

Nelson Crocker and the Panthers. 

The Disappointed Groom, .... 

New Paltz, .... . . 

Needderduytse Taal te Schawankonk, 

The Traps, 

Shanks Ben, 

Pacts and Fancies, 


. 112 
. lU 
. 110 
. 118 
. 120 
. 122 
. 12!J 
. 182 
. 135 
. liO 
. 143 
. 144 
. 146 
. 149 
. 1.50 
. 1.52 
. 154 
. 157 
. 159 
. ](;2 
. 165 



THE Shawaugunk is a vast amphitheatre of rocks piled into the most fan- 
tastic shapes, with forests covering its crests and slopes, and sporting 
the exuberance of Natui-e's own flower-garden. Here the arbutus, the azalea, 
and the laurel, successively clothe the sides with vernal beauty. 

The summits overlook the valleys of the Rondout and Walkill, beautiful 
as Paradise, where lie the great grazing and daiiy farms of world-wide celeb- 
rity; while eastward can be traced the valley of the Hudson, from Cornwall to 
the mountains about Lake George. 

From these airy heights mountain views may be seen such as will strike 
the beholder with astonishment. On the south the view is bounded by the 
mountains of New Jersey; the highlands of the Hudson he to the southeast, 
with the white sails of sloops and smoke of steamers in Newburgh bay, plainly 
visible to the naked eye; the Housatonic mountains of Connecticut bound the 
horizon on the east ; the whole hue of the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts, 
and portions of the Green mountains of Vermont, may be seen to the northeast; 
while the Helderbergh mountains on the north, the Catskill and Shandaken 
mountains on the northwest, and the Neversink mountains on the west, com- 
plete a panorama in some respects unrivalled in America. 

If we are moved with emotions of gi-andeur at the sublime power of the 
Creator as manifested in this great panorama of mountains, what must be our 
feehngs, when, mider the light of geology, we have presented for our contem- 
plation the convulsions that have brought these mountains into bemg, and 
the mutations that have marked their history for unnumbered ages ? 

The Shawangunk was old before God had formed Adam out of the dust of 
the gi-ound, and had breathed into him the breath of life; it has Avitnessed 
changes in the earth's condition of which the mind can form no adequate con- 

This globe, geologists say, was once in a fluid state; that in cooling, the 

vmequal contraction of the earth's crust caused some parts to I'ise above sur- 

2 Legends of tlic Shawangunk. 

rounding portions, producing mountain ranges. The whole Appalachian 
system, of wliich the Shawangunk forms a part, owes its existence to this 

They tell us. also, that this continent, mountains and all, was once sub- 
merged beneath the ocean. Marine shells are to this day found imbedded in 
the rocky crests of Shawangunk; no theory other than that the waves of old 
Ocean once beat above it can account for their presence there. 

This submerging jDrocess antedates the period of the deluge of Noah's time, 
as is indicated by the organic remains, which are those of extinct animals. 
Paleeontologists estimate the number of species of fossil remains to be more 
than 12,000, yet scarcely one of tliis number has been identified with any crea- 
ture now hving. 

Gradually the land was elevated to its present level, the oceaii receded, 
and drainage took place from the siu-face of the earth. Lay bai'e to-day the 
rock on wliich the soil of Sullivan county rests, and it will be found to be fur- 
rowed and gi'ooved as the agency of flowing water cariied on for successive 
ages is now known to effect. The general direction of these gi-ooves, together 
with other evidences, show these vast cm-rents to have come from the north 
and northwest. Some of the natural depressions, as, for instance, the Mama- 
kating valley, are filled to a gi'eat depth by masses of sediment deposited by 
the water before it receded. 

There are examples of denudation in this ■v^cinity; that is to say, the hills 
have been worn away and lowered, and the deep valleys made stiU deeper, by 
tremendous cataracts and surges, as the water I'ushed violently over high ledges, 
and fell himdreds of feet into the valley below. Wliile contemplating such a 
scene, the imagination must fall far short of the reahty. The tidal wave that 
destroyed the port town of Lima, or the surge that overwhelmed the Turkish 
fleet in Caudia, destructive as they were, but faintly shadow the teri-ific scene. 

It requires considerable stretch of the fancy to imagine immense icebergs 
floating over these mountain peaks, as, swayed by the combined action of wind 
and current and tide, they impinged against the sides and tops of the elevations, 
causing those huge rents and fissures that constitute a distmguishing feature 
of the mountain scenery of this locahty. 

When the water partially subsided, the ice-floes may have rested on the 
surface, and were congealed to whatever they came in contact with; and, as 
they were subsequently borne up on the flow of the tide, they detached tons of 
rock from its parent bed; then, floating over mountain and valley, the debris 
was deposited when the wasting away of the ice loosened its hold. This seems 
to be the most plausible theory in accomiting for the fact that masses of 
Shawangimk grit, weighing many tons each, were carried up the western slope 
and over the tops of the Shawangmik mountain, and deposited near Newbui'gh, 
where we now find them. 

The series of elevations composing the Shawangunk have a decided Alpine 
character; that is to say, there are numerous peaks elevated above genera] 

TJie Shawangiink and its Environs. 3 

summits, while the summits themselves are broad, wild and rocky. In many 
places the declivities are precipitous and i-ugged in the extreme. There are 
occasional depressions, or passes, which are locally known as "cloves." The 
" Pass of the Mountains," at OtisvUle, on the line of the Erie railroad, is well 
■worthy of study. 

Near the point where the Millbrook stream flows down into the Walkill 
valley, is a series of remarkable nuual precipices, from 300 to 600 feet in per- 
pendicular height. This adamantine wall of parti-colored rock, constitutes one 
of the distinguishing features of the momitain; and a ramble upon its dizzy 
heights, where a walk has been laid out along the very brink, provided one's 
nerve is strong enough, is an achievement long to be remembered. On the top 
of this ledge are found the finest specunens of the far-famed Shawangunk 

This mountain range, so near to the crowded thoroughfare, yet character- 
ized by such wild and picturesque scenery, with deep intervening valleys, and 
abounding in natural lakes, has much to interest the artist and the seeker after 
rest and health. The shades of tint and color, varying with the course of the 
seasons and the daily changes of the weather, are not to be sm-passed in any 
quarter of the world. 

Lying at intervals on the very summit of this mountain, are several con- 
siderable lakes of remarkable depth and clearness. Lake Mohonk is especially 
a romantic body of water, surrounded by masses of huge rocks piled in heaps 
a hundred and fifty feet high. When twihght descends upon the bosom of the 
lake, and the gi-eat rocks that bend over it send out their shadows athwart its 
dark expanse, it blends the gloomy, the grand, and the picturesque in a scene 
that is full of subhmity. 

Washington Irving, who once journeyed over this mountain in company 
with Martin Van Buren, thus describes his impressions: 

" The traveler who sets out in the morning from the beautiful village of 
Bloomingburgh, to pursue his journey westward, soon finds himself, by an easy 
ascent, on the summit of the Shawangunk. Before him will generally be 
spread an ocean of mist, enveloping and concealing from his view the deep val- 
ley and lovely village which lie almost beneath his feet. If he reposes here for 
a short time, until the vapors are attenuated and broken by the rays of the 
morning sun, he is astonished to see the abyss before him deepening and opening 
on his vision. • At length, far down in the newly revealed region, the sharp, 
wliite spire of the village church is seen, piercing the incumbent cloud; and as 
the day advances, a village, with its ranges of bright colored houses and ani- 
mated streets, is revealed to the admiring eye. So strange is the process of its 
development, and so much are the houses diminished by the depth of the ravine, 
that the traveler can scarcely beheve he is not beholding the phantoms of fairy- 
land, or still ranging in those wonderful regions which are unlocked to the 
mind's eye by the wand of the god of dreams. But as he descends the western 
<lech\'ity of the mountain, the din of real hfe rises to greet his ear, and he soon 

4 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

penetrates into the midst of the ancient settlement, of -u'hich we have before 
spoken. ' ' 

Men are noTv Hving in the environs of the Shawangunk -whose experience 
there reads hke a western romance. Tliey will tell you of camping in the woods 
at night, sleeping on a bed of hemlock boughs with only the sky for a covering, 
on the very spot Avhere populous villages are now located; where, in place of 
the sound of chm'ch bells, and the scream of the locomotive, their ears were 
greeted with only the shrill bark of the fox, the howl of the wolf, and the sough- 
ing of the vv^ind in the tree-tops. 

The mythology of the ancients clothed inanimate nature with a new and 
IJoetic interest. Every meadow had its fairy, every forest its wood-nymph, and 
every cascade its vi^ater-sprite; whUe flowery nook and woodland glade were peo- 
pled with a merry crew that danced in the hght of the harvest-moon, or sported 
at will in the dew-bespangled grass. These creations of the fancy, while adding 
a new interest to rural localities, helped to lift the mind out of the prosaic ruts 
which a duU routine of toil induces, and gave the imagination something more 
agreeable to dwell upon than the humdrum cai'es and responsibilities of hfe. 

In like manner it may be said that history and tradition have lent an added 
charm to the natural beauties of the Shawangunk I'egiou. Every lonely I'oad 
has its tale of tragedy, and every mountain pass its story of encounter with 
wild beast or savage Indian- every lake has its legend, and every stream its 
store of border incident. 

For untold ages before the advent of the white man the catamount here 
made liis lair, the bear roamed in search of mast, and the deer fed on the hly 
pads in the ujiland lake. The wild Indian hunted through its fastnesses, fished 
from its streams, and, with stealthy and cat-hke tread, followed the trail into 
his enemy's country. 

The rocky sides of old Shawangunk have more than once been reddened with 
the lurid glare of biu'uing homes; its precipices have echoed back the gi'oans 
of the dying frontiersman, laid low by a shot from an ambushed enemy; the 
night winds have borne along its rugged outhue the shrieks of women and the 
wails of children, mingled with the war-whoop of the savages, as the work of 
carnage went on. 

Here, too, as we have before intimated, may be found a wealth of rare 
attractions to the student of geolog}" — in fact, such as will interest all who desire 
to read the gi'eat lessons of creation traced by a Divine hand upon the rocky 
strata of the mountains, or in the fossils imbedded in the peat and marl of the 
lowlands. Cabinets of rare value may be collected along these hills and at the 
excavations of the mines, dm'ing a ver}^ brief interval of leism'e. 

The rocks composing the Shawangunk are mainly the shells and sandstones 
of the Chemung gTOup. " Shawangunk grit " crops out on the west side of the 
momitain, and has been quite extensively used as millstones, locally known as 
"Esopus millstones." The entire mountain has been pretty thoroughly ex- 
amined from presumed indications of veins of coal. 

The Shawangjmk and its Envir^ 


At the foot of the western slope the Bashaskill and Neversink river flow 
southwardly; on the east side the Shawaugunk kill runs in a northerly direction, 
all the streams lying close under the base of the momitain. This same pecu- 
liarity is observed in the Walkill and Hudson rivers, their general course lying 
])ai'allt'l to eacli other, y^i flowing in opposite directions. 


The whole range is intersected by metalliferous veins. Besides, the vicinity 
is so full of traditions of Indians obtaining both lead and silver in abundance, 
and at so many points in the mountain, that it is looked upon as a bed of ores 
of undisputed riches. The openings to the mines were carefuUy concealed, as 
is asserted, by the Indians and early settlers, and with their death perished all 

6 Legends of tJie Shazvangunk. 

kno"vrledge of the location of the minerals. Stickney relates an account given 
of two men who worked a silver mine somewliere in the moimtain, j^revious to 
the Eevolutiouaiy war. This mine was shown them by some Indians; they 
carried on operations with the utmost secrecy, working only at night, and niak- 
ing long and mysterious jom-neys to dispose of their ore. When the war broke 
out they joined the army, each pledging the other not to reveal the secret until 
the war was ended. One cold, dark night they drew a large flat stone over the 
mouth of the mine, strewed leaves over the jalace, and at the distance of thirty 
paces east marked three trees which stood close together. 

One of the men never returned from the war; tlie other was absent nuie 
years. His family meanwhile had fled for safety to a distant Aallage, and his 
first duty was to look after their welfare, and provide for them another home 
in the forest in j^lace of the one destroyed. When he had leisure to look after 
the mine he found that predatoiy bands of Indians had bm^led the marked trees, 
and obliterated the natural landmarks, and he was unable to locate the mouth 
of the mine. No one has to this day removed that stone from the entrance 
to this cavern of minei'al treasure. 

Another old gentleman related that his father once saw tlie mine. At his 
earnest and repeated sohcitatious, a friendly Indian chief consented to take him 
to it, but he must allow himself to be bhndfolded. He was accordingly led for 
a distance into the wilderness up hill and down dale, and finaU}" went do^^^l into 
the heart of the moiuitain, as he judged by the dripping of the Avater on the 
rocky sides of the cavern. At length the bandage was taken from his eyes, and 
he stood before a sohd A^ein of silver. Though he many times searched aU 
through the mountain, he could never afterwards fuid the place. Old residents 
say "ever}' seven years a bright light, like a candle, rises at twelve (j'clock at 
night above the mine, and disappears in the clouds; but no one that has ever 
seen it has been able in daylight to fuid from whence it arose." 

It is related that the savage Unapois, beholdmg a gold ring on the hand 
of a white woman, demanded why she carried such a tiifle. He was answered 
by the husband of the lady, " If you wiU procure me such trifles I will reward 
you with things suitable for you." "I know," said the Indian, "a mountain 
filled with such metal." "Behold," continued the other, "what I will give 
you for a specimen, ' ' exhibiting a fathom of red and a fathom of blue frieze, 
some white lead, looking-glasses, bodkins and needles, and tendering the savage 
an escort of two soldiers. The Indian declined the escort, but accepted the 
presents, and promised to give a specimen; if it gave satisfaction he might be 
sent back with some of the white people. 

After some days the Indian returned with a lump of ore as large as Ms fist, 
which was found to be of good quality, and a considerable am omit of gold was 
extracted from it, and made into rings and bracelets. The Indian was promised 
further presents if he would disclose the situation of this moimtain. Unapois 
consented, but demanded a delay of a few days, when he could spare more time. 
This Avas acceded to, and after having received more presents he returned to his 

The Dclatvares. y 

nation. He indiscreetly boasted of his presents, and declared the reason of their 
presentation, which led to his assassination by the sachem and others of liis 
tribe, lest lie should lietray the situation of the gold mine. There was a predic- 
tion current ainong the Indians to the effect that after their people had passed 
through a period of punishment for some great offence they had committed, 
the Great Spirit would once more smile upon them and restore them to the land 
of their fathers, and they wished to reserve those mines against their return. 


THE Indian of the Western continent belongs to tlie "bow and aiTOw " 
family of men. To him the chase meant eveiything. Wheu the advent 
of Em-opeans drove the deer from the forests and the beaver from the natural 
meadows, and the pm-suit of hunting was no longer profitable, the red man 
pined and wasted away as though liis hfe was rol)l)ed of everything that made 
existence desirable. The Indian could form no higher ideal of earthly happi- 
ness; and his most bUssful conception of Paradise was that of a hunting-ground 
abounding in game, and where the streams and lakes swarmed with fish. 

A characteristic of the American Indian is a dislike of restraint. A degree 
of personal independence incompatible with a state of society in which each 
individual's actions are modified from consideration for his neighbor, has ever 
caused the Indian to chafe under the restrictions imposed by civilization. The 
greatest chief among them had no delegated authority. His power to ride was 
fomided on public oi)inion, and when that was against him, he was no more 
than a common savage; but when largely in his favor, his powei- was despotic. 
To be foremost in danger, and bravest in battle, were requisites necessary to 
sustain himself in authority. 

Another propensity of the Indian is a passion for war. He followed the 
war-path because it gi-atified the most deeply seated principle of action in the 
savage bi-east, a thirst for revenge; and also because that was the only means 
by which he might hope to satisfy his ambition, and rise to a position of au- 
thority and influence in his tribe. With the aboriginal the forgiveness of 
an injury was reckoned a weakness, while revenge- was considered among the 
nobler virtues. Tales of bloody, retributive vengeance were told about their 
council fires, by way of inciting tlie young warriors to deeds of similar daring. 

The Indian believed in a Great Spirit, everywhere present. He beheved 
also in the existence of subordinate spirits, both good and bad. He belonged 
to a singularly superstitious race, and put the most imphcit faith in dreams and 
omens. When disease came among them, when the chase was unsuccessful, 
when their crops failed or they were defeat;:d in war, they thought the Great 
Spii-it was displeased with them; at sucli times they would perform rehgious 

8 Legends of tke Sliawangu>ik. 

ceremonies with great earnestness and solemnity, by way of propitiation of lois 

Among them the dance was universal; but it was not for pui^Doses of pas- 
time, as among civilized nations. It had a deeper signification. It was a solemn 
ceremony, and was an outward expression of then- sentiments of rehgion and 

It is the logic of events that the red man jaelds to the conquering foot of 
the Saxon. The weaker race has withered from the presence of the stronger. 
" By the majestic rivers and in the depths of the sohtarj' woods, tlie feeble son 
of the ' bow and arrow ' will be seen no more; the cyjjress and hemlock sing 
his requiem." 

The Delawares related a legend to the effect that mauj^ centuries ago their 
ancestors dwelt far in the western wilds. Emigi-ating eastwardly, after many 
yeai's, they amved on the Namcesi Sipu (Mississippi), where they encountered 
the Mengive (Iroquois), who had also come from a distant coimtrj*. The spies 
of the Delawares reported that the country on the east of the river was inliabited 
by a powerful nation, dweUing in large towns erected upon the principal rivers. 

This people were said to be taU and robust, warhke, and of gigantic mould. 
They boi'e the name of AUigewi (Alleghany); their towns were defended by 
I'egular fortifications, many vestiges of which are j'et apparent. The Delawares, 
requesting to estabhsh themselves on their ten-itoiy, were refused; but obtamed 
leave to pass the river that they might seek a habitation farther to the eastward. 
The Alhgewi, alarmed at their numbers, violated their word and destroyed 
many of the Delawares who had reached the eastern shore, and threatened a 
like fate to the remainder, should they attempt the passage. Eoused at this act 
of treachery, the Delawares eagerly accepted a proposition from the Mengwe, 
Avho had hitherto been spectators of the occuiTence, to miite with them for the 
conquest of the comitry. 

A war of extermination was then • cormnenced, which eventuated in the 
expulsion of the AUigewi, who fled from their ancient seats never to i-etm-n. 
The devastated countiy was apportioned among the conquerors, the Mengwe 
choosing the neighborhood of the lakes, and the Delawares appropriating the 
territory further to the south. 

For many years the conquerors hved together in much harmony. Some 
Dela\\'are hunters, having penetrated far into the forest, discovered the great 
rivers, the Susquehanna and Delaware; and crossing the Skeyickby (New Jer- 
sey) countiy, came at last to the MaMcannittuck (Hudson river) Upon their 
return to their nation, they described the country the}' had visited as abounding 
in game, fish, fowl and fruits, but destitute of inhabitants. Summoning 
together their chiefs and principal men, after solemn and protracted delibera- 
tion it was concluded that this was the home destined for them hj the Great 
Spirit; and thither the tribe went and took up their abode, making the Delaware 
river, to which they gave the name of Lenape^vihittuck, the centre of their 

The Delawares. 9 

The Meugwe, thus left to themselves, hovered foi' a time on the honlers of 
the great lakes with their canoes, in readiness to fly should the AUigewi return. 
Having grown holder, and their numhers increasing, they stretched themselves 
along the St. Lawrence, and hecame near neighhors to the Delawares on the 

In process of time the Mengwe and the Delawares became enemies. The 
latter said the Mengwe were treachei'ous and cruel, and pursued an insidious 
and destructive policy towards their moie generous neighbors. Not daring to 
engage in ojien warfare with the more powerful Delawares, the Mengwe resorted 
to artifice to involve them in a war with distant tribes. Each nation had a 
particular marlc upon its war-clubs, which, placed beside a murdered victim, 
denoted the aggressor. The Mengwe killed a Cherokee warrior, and left with 
the dead body a war-club with the mark of the Delawares. The Cherokees, in 
revenge, fell upon the latter, and commenced what proved to be a long and 
bloody war. 

The treachery of the Mengwe was at length discovered, and the Delawares 
turned upon their perfidious neighbors with the avowed pm-pose of extermina- 
tion. They were the moie induced to take this step, as the cannibal jn-actices 
of the Mengwe* had reduced that nation, ui the estimation of the Delawares, 
below the rank of human beings. 

Hitherto the tribes of the Mengwe had acted each under its particular chief. 
Being so sorely pressed by the Delawares, they resolved to foi'm a confedera- 
tion, the better to control their forces in war, and regarlate their afi^airs in peace. 
Thanwewago, a Mohawk chief, was the projector of this alhance. Under his 
auspices, five nations, the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Sene- 
cas, formed a species of I'epublic, governed by tlie united councils of their aged 
sacheius and chiefs. To these a sixth was afterwards added, the Tuscaroras 
of North Carolina. 

The effect of this centralization of power early manifested itself. The 
Iroquois confederacy became a terror to their enemies, and extended their con- 
quests over a large part of the territory lying between the Atlantic and tlie Mis- 
sissii)]ti. Tlie Delawares were frequently at war with the Dutch, and, if ti-a- 
ditiou is to be beUeved, the Dutch and Irocpiois conspired for their destruction. 
However that may be, the confederated tribes, having been taught the use of 
fire-arms by the whites, soon asserted a supremacy over the less fortunate Dela- 
ware Indians, and the latter were reduced to the condition of a conquered people. 

According to a tradition among the Delawares, their forefathers were once 
fishing at a place where the Mahicannittuck widens into the sea, when they 
beheld a white object floating upon the water. Word was sent to the village, 
and the people came to view the wonder. Various conjectures were made as 
to what it could be. Some thought it was an immense animal floating upon 

* The Men°:\ve, or Iroiiuois, sometimes ate tlie bodies of tlieir prisoners. It is said, too, of tlie 
AlgoiKiuins. that tliey drank their enemies' blood. 

lo Legends of the S/iawangtink. 

the water; others said it was a huge fish; otliers still believed it to be a large 

As the apparition moved steadily toward the laud, the uatives imagined 
they could discover signs of life in it. Tlieir chiefs and wise men were sum- 
moned together; after mature deliberation they came to the conclusion that it 
was a very large ■^^^gwam, in which the Great Spiiit resided, and that he was 
coming to visit them. This decision created a profound sensation among those 
simple children of the forest. The Manitou, from Avhom they received the 
choicest gifts, and who so seldom made himself visible to his creatm-es, was 
about to land upon their shores, and be seen by them and converse with them. 

The sacrifice was prepared, the best food provided, and a dance ordered 
to honor Mm, and appease liis angei' if his mood were wrathfid. Fresh lamners 
arrived who declared theu' strange Aisitant to be an immense floating ^Wgwam, 
and that it was crowded w\\\\ h%dng creatm-es. Later still, other messengers 
reported the living things were human beings, \\ath pale faces and strange 
garments, and one of their number was clad in magnificent apparel. The lat- 
ter they decided was the Great ]\Iaiutou himself. 

In due time their wonderful visitors landed. Some of the natives were 
overcome ^vith fear, and were about to run away and liide themselves m the 
woods; but the wise men and warriors of the tribe tried to prevent such an ex- 
hibition of cowardice, and counselled that they unite in giving a fitting recep- 
tion to their marvellous guests. 

A large circle of their principal men was formed, towards which the man 
in gold lace ai^proached, accompanied by two others of tlie pale faces. Saluta- 
tions were given on both sides. The Indians could not conceal their wonder at 
the briUiant ornaments and wliite skin of the supposed Manitou; they were 
sorely puzzled when they found he did not understand the words of his chil- 
dren, and that he spoke in a lang-uage miinteUigible to tliem. 

^^^lile they were regarding him with a respectful gravity, a servant brought 
a large hack-hack (gom-d), from which was pom-ed a liquid Avhich the Great 
Being drank, and then offered to one of the chiefs. The savage looked at it, 
then smeUed it, and was not pleased -wdth its pungent odor. It was then passed 
to the next chief, who followed the example of the first, and gave the vessel to 
the one next to him. In that manner it was transfen-ed to each one in the 
circle, and it was about to be retui-ned to the supposed Manitou, when a gi'eat 
and brave warrior conceived the act would be disrespectful to the Deity, and 
forthwith harangued the warriors on the impi-opriety of their , conduct. He 
explained that while it would be meritorious to follow the example of the Mani- 
tou, to return what he had given them might displease him, and lead him to 
punish them. The speaker would, therefore, drink the contents of the cup 
himself, and though he perished, the sacrifice would save Ms nation from de- 
struction. Having proclaimed his laudable intention, he bade his followers 
farewell, and drank the contents of the cup. Soon he began to exliibit signs 
of intoxication. While the natives were regarding Mm with interest, supposing- 

The Delawares. 1 1 

liim to be under the effects of the poison, he fell to the ground. His companions 
imagined he was dead, but he was only dead dnink. 

Presently the would-be martyr exhibited signs of life; and when he had 
sufficiently recovered from his fit of intoxication to speak, he told the assem- . 
bled chiefs that the liquor had given him the most pleasing sensations that he 
had ever experienced. All of them had an anxiety to feel these sensations. 
More of the intoxicating beverage was solicited; the cup tliis time was not passed 
without being tasted; and a general debauch followed. The supi)Osed Manitou 
was Henry Hudson; and this was the first visit of the white man to the country 
of the Delawares. 

The territory embraced between the Hudson and the head-waters of the 
Delaware, now included in the counties of Orange, Ulster and Sulhyan, is a 
region of pecuhar interest. Less than three centuries ago these valleys and 
hills swanned Avith villages of the Leni-Lenape; and now not one rej^resentative 
of the aboriginal occupants of the soU remains among the scenes sacred to the 
memory of his fathers. The story of the causes that led to their extinction, 
and to the peopling of their Muck-cos-quit-tais, or " corn-planting grounds," by 
pale-faced usurpers, is a tale of thrilling interest, and is well worthy a niche in 

The council seat of the Leni-Lenape or Delawares was at Minisink, near 
the junction of the Neversink and Delaware rivers. Here the chiefs and prin- 
cipal men of the nation met to decide the questions i-elating to the welfare of 
their people; here tjiey smoked the pipe of peace, or determined the question 
of carrying war into the territory of their enemies. 

Near Cochecton was the Indian village where the clans met, in accordance 
with their ancient customs, to celebrate their green-corn dances, their dog- 
festivals, and indulge in their favorite pastime of La Crosse. On the banks of 
the Hudson was the famous Danskamer, or " Devil's Dance Chamber," where 
burned the religious fires of the natives, that were never suffered to go out, 
lest the wrath of tlie Great Spirit should be aroused from their negligence. 

When the white strangers came from over the sea, these natives shai-ed 
with them their hunting- gi-ounds, and generously set apart, for their use, fields 
for planting. Esopus, and other early settlements of Ulster, lay along the old- 
Indian ti-ail connecting the Hudson with the head waters of the Delaware, 
while the ancient settlement of Peenpack grew and flourished in the heart of the 
Delaware country. Thus the savages, thrown into frequent communion with 
the whites, were initiated into some of the customs of their more civilized 
neighbors; while the latter not infrequently adopted some of the habits of their 
dusky friends. 

For years the hardy pioneers and their red brothers would live amicably 
together, fishing from the same streams, hunting through the same forests, 
and tilling contiguous fields of corn. Occasional Ijroils would break out be- 
tween the two races, in which the Indians were not always the aggressors. 
When savage ferocity was once roused, the work would be decisive and sau- 

12 Legends of the Sliawangunk. 

guinary. Without a moment's warning, in the silent, unguarded hours of 
slumber, the settler's home woidd be invaded with terrific war-whoop and mur- 
derous tomahawk, and the whole fainily massacred or carried away into cap- 
, tivity. 

It is to be observed that the difficulties between the Delaware Indians and 
their Avhite neighbors, which caused so much bloodshed on both sides, origi- 
nated mainly from misunderstandings in regard to lands. The natives claimed, 
and not without reason, that they were cheated in then transactions A\'ith the 
Dutch; that the latter assumed possession of more land than was sold to them; 
and that boundaries and hnes were altered, and alwaj's in favor of the whites. 
It camiot be denied that the Indians Avere not always paid the full stipulated 
l^urchase price, and were overreached by then* more wily pale faces in various 
reprehensible ways. 

Lossing, in his " Field Book of the Eevolntion," gives an instance in point. 
The natives had conveyed a temtor}- to the '" Proprietors of Pemisylvania,"' 
the boundaries of wliich were to extend a certain distance on the Delaware or 
"Great Fishldll" river, and as far back, in a northwest direction, as a man 
could travel in a day and a half. The Indians intended the depth of the tract 
should be about fifty miles, the distance a man would ordinarily walk in the 
specified time. But the purchasers employed the best pedestrians in the colo 
nies, who did not stop by the way even to eat while running the hue; the expi- 
ration of the day and a half found them eighty-five miles in the interior ! The 
Indians boldly charged then) -n-ith deception and dishonesty. 

The "Proprietors" claimed that they had become the owmers of the 
lands witliiu the Forks of the Delaware river, by a regular form of conveyance, 
and that the Indians had been fuUy j)aid for them. The Delawares, on the 
other hand, denied the validity of the sale, and asserted that they had never 
received a stipulated consideration. The case was, in 1742, laid before the Six 
Nations for arbitration, Avho, after hearing both sides, decided that the dis- 
puted territory could not be sold by the Delawares, as they were a conquered 
people, who had lost their right in the soil; that if the lands did not belong to 
the Avhite people, it was the property of the Six Xations. With two such rivals 
for claimants, as the scheming whites and the dreaded Iroquois, the DelaAvares 
were fain obliged to forego their claim to the disputed tem'tory. Some years 
ago a quantity of old spui'ious coin was dug up near OtisATlle, on the line of the 
Erie raili'oad. It was so clumsily executed as to preclude the supposition 
that it was the work of a gang of counterfeiters. The more reasonable theoiy 
is that it was intended to be used to cheat the Indians as they were not the best 
judges of money. 

. Such treatment ruffied the tempers of the Delawares, and predisposed them 
to make other complaints. They declared that the whites had spoiled then* 
hunting-grounds; that they had destroyed the deer with iron traps; and that 
the traders of Minisink always made the Indians drunk when they took then* 
jieltries there, and cheated them wliile they were in that condition. The period 

The Dclawares. 13 

of the French and Indian war was now approaching; and had the settlers of 
the Shawangunk region adopted a different pohcy in theii- treatment of the 
Delawares, and so predisposed their dusky neighbors in their own behalf, many 
of the atrocities which thrilled and startled the people of that frontier would 
have been averted. While the Dutch and Enghsh were building up a wall of 
enmity between themselves and the Indians by adopting a coiu-se of treachery 
and artffice, the more %vily French emissaries were making good use of that 
very circumstance to incite them against the English occupants of the teriitory, 
and so win them over to the interests of the French monarch. The results 
of the over-reaching pohcy of the Dutch and English recoiled with terrible 
effect on their owti heads. 

The defeat of Braddock, in July, 1755, on the banks of the Monongahela, 
was another of the causes that led the Indians of the whole territory of the 
Delaware to take sides with the French. That defeat, so discreditable to the 
mihtary prestige of Great Britain, entirely destroyed the influence of the Eng- 
hsh with those tribes. 

Once the murderous tomahawk was unburied, the whole frontier, from 
Virginia to the banks of the Hudson, at once felt the dire effects of savage 
ferocity. The following description does not overstate the reality : "The bar- 
barous and bloody scene which is now open, is the most lamentalile that has 
ever appeared. There may be seen horror and desolation; populous settlements 
deserted, villages laid in ashes, men, women and children cruelly mangled and 
mm-dered, some found in the woods, very nauseous, for want of interment, 
and some hacked, and covered all over with wounds." 

During the winter ensuing, the enemy continued to hang on the frontiers. 
A chain of forts and block-houses was erected along the base of the Kittanning 
mountains, from the Neversink river to the Maryland line, and garrisoned by 
lifteen hundred volunteers and miUtiamen under Washington. It may not be 
generally known that Benjamin Franklin once engaged in a militaiy campaign. 
He received the appointment of Colonel, and in the service of defending this 
chain of forts, he began and completed his mihtary career, being convmced that 
war was not his chosen calling. 

By September of 175H it was estimated that one thousand men, women 
and cliildren had been ^ain by the Indians, or carried into captivity. Property 
to an immense amount had been destroyed, and the jjeaceful pursuits of civil- 
ized life were suspended along the whole frontier. Although Colonel John 
Armstrong subsequently administered a severe chastisement upon the savages 
in their den at Kittanning, killing their chiefs, slaughtering their families, and 
reducing their towns and crops to ashes, yet scalping parties continued to 
penetrate into the Mamakating and Rondout KiU valleys, some of them ventur- 
ing into settlements east of the Shawangiink mountains. Under these circum- 
stances, for the settlers to remain on their farms was to court death in a hideous 
form. The majority of the women and children were removed to Eochester, 
Wawarsing, New Paltz, and other locahties foi' protection. 

14 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

The I'eduction of Canada by the Enghsh, and the consequeut overthro-w of 
the French power and domination on the western continent, did not atford oiu" 
frontiers entire immunity from savage atrocity and outrage, as the settlers had 
hoped. An era of better fellowsliip seemed to be da\\nung between the two 
races, wMch for awhile seemed to promise much; but when the War for Ameri- 
can Independence broke out, the natives again entered upon the war-path, urged 
thereto by British influence, and, as has been asseiied, and by facts substan- 
tiated, by jjroffers of British gold. 

The Dela wares are no more seen along the rivers and valleys of the Shaw- 
angunk region. If the blood of the Leni-Lenape of the xseversink and Walkill 
vaUeys yet flows in the veins of the h%-ing, it is to be looked for in the scattered 
remnants of the Indian clans of the far distant west. 

The Indian, hke his prototype the ^lastodon, who aforetime roamed through 
these fertile valleys, bids fair, as a race, to become extinct. Years ago, a poor, 
friendless Delaware came into the vicinity, the last of the tribe that was ever 
seen here. He was last noticed at Bridge\'ille, Sullivan County, where he ^vas 
made the sport of a lot of vicious boys. A [Mr. Rice, then an invahd, whom all 
supposed in an advanced stage of consumption, rescued him from Ms tormentors, 
and gave huu a hat and some money. The Indian received theiu gi'atefuUy, 
and after gazing thoughtfully for some time on his benefactor, he left the 
neighborhood, nevei- more to return. Some months elapsed, and the incident 
liad nearly passed out of miud, when Mr. Rice received a letter from the Indian, 
in which the latter gave a minute description of his complaint, Avith directions 
for its cure. The treatment was undertaken, and the remedy jiroved so effica- 
cious that Mr. Rice's health was completely restored. The grateful savage had 
travelled f ortj' mUes from his home in the wilderness to deposit lus letter in the 

Competent judges have pronounced the Delaware language the most per- 
fect of any Indian tongue, it being distinguished, they say, by " great strength, 
beauty, and flexibihty. " The tribehave left behind them, as mementoes of their 
former dominion over the soil, names that they gave to mountains, streams and 
localities. Xo people, ancient or modern, bestowed more beautiful names on 
water-coui'ses and valleys than did the Delawares. However long one may 
have been accustomed to perfect euphony and exact lyt-hm. these appellations 
delight the ear as does the rich, sweet cadence of the hermit tlirush that sings 
upon their banks — such words, for instance, as Wyoming, Mamekoting, Moya- 
mensing and Osinsing. Their names of mountains, on the other hand, are harsh 
and rugged, as Shawangiink, Mohunk, Wachung, Scunnemunk, and others. 

The First Esopits JVar. 15 


IT is a peculiar feature of Ameiican history that many of the earlier settle- 
ments owe their establishment to the religious persecutions of the old coun- 
try. Sometimes the Catholics drove the Protestants from their homes to find 
refuge in strange climes, as the French did the Huguenots at the Eevocation of 
the Edict of Nantes; and again we behold a Protestant persecuting dissenters 
and Catholics alike, as the Enghsh did the Puritans of New England and the 
Eomanists of Maryland. Another relic of old Eiuope, the outcome of the 
ancient feudal system, was the custom of granting large tracts to individuals 
caUed Patroons, thus establishing a system of tenantry, with the Lord of the 
Manor as the chief head. Both these causes, as we shall see, contributed to 
the settlement of Ulster county. 

Holland at that time was denominated a " cage of unclean birds," because, 
it being a government founded on religious tolerance, all religions flocked there. 
Some English and French Walloons, who had found temporary refuge among 
the Hollanders, afterward emigTated to America, and settled at Eensselaerwyck. 
The management of the affairs of the Patroon of that section had been given 
to Brandt Van Schlectenhorst, '' a person of stubboi'u and headstrong temper." 
This man was very earnest in defending what he considered the rights of his 
lord against the Governor of New Netherland and the West India Company. 
Stuyvesant claimed a jurisdiction about Fort Orange, and insisted that the 
Patroon was subordinate. Van Schlectenhorst denied both, and went so far as 
to dispute Stuyvesant's right to proclaim a fast in his jurisdiction. To insure 
allegiance, the Patroon pledged his tenants not to appeal from his courts to the 
Governor and Council; and finally, orders were issued for tenants to take the 
oath of allegiance to the Lord of the Manor, This bold proceeding Governor 
Stuyvesant was moved to call a crime. Some of the settlers sided with the 
Governor, and others with the doughty Van Schlectenhorst; the dispute at 
last ran so high tliat the two factions came to blows. 

Among these tenants was one Thomas Chambers, an Enghshman by birth, 
"tall, lean, \\'ith red hair, and a carpenter by trade." He was one of the 
Walloons that fled from his home to escape religious persecution, only to find 
liimself involved in the troubles about the proprietary rights of the new coun- 
try, a quarrel in which he had no interest; subject to the whim of his landlord 
or his commissary, treated as a slave, and victimized by covetous officers. He 
and his companions, therefore, cast about them foi' a new settlement, "where 
they could work or ])lay, as seemed best to them." Chambers emigi-ated to the 
vicinity of Troy; but finding he was still on territory claimed by his old land- 
lord, he removed to Esopus, having heard the land there was good, and that 
the savages had expressed a desire that the Christians would come among them. 

i6 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

Tradition says they landed at the mouth of Esopus Creek, and journeyed up 
until they reached the flats of Kingston. Here Chambers received a ' ' free 
gift " of territory from the natives. 

In 1655 a. general war broke out between the Indian tribes on both sides of 
the Hudson, and the whites of Amsterdam and vicinity. When the news of 
this outbreak reached Esopus the inliabitants all fled, leaving their stock, dwell- 
ings and crops to the mercy of the savages. This action was the more necessary, 
as the few inliabitants were living scattered on their farms, without even a 
block-house for protection. During their absence their empty houses and un- 
protected gi-ain was appropriated by the Indians. Albany records say the 
farmers returned to their homes as soon as peace was I'estored. 

It had been the purpose of the Directors of the West India Company to 
cousti-uct a fort at Esopus, and orders had been issued to that effect. The 
orders were not obeyed, hence the unprotected state of the settlement. The 
savages had then wigwams aU aromid the farms of the white jjeople, and 
then maize-fields and bean-patches were near to each other. The hogs, cows 
and horses of the settlers roamed at wiU on the mitOled flats, frequentlj' de- 
stroying the crops of the Indian women. This made the Indians mad, and 
they complained of the depredations of the stock to the owners, but the animals 
still roamed. 

Now and then a pig was found dead with an arrow or bullet in it. Now 
it was the Christian's tuin to get mad. StiU it might have been possible for 
the whites and Indians to have hved together in comparative amity, but for an 
additional som'ce of trouble. 

Jacob Jansen Stolil, agent for the Governor at Esopus, -wTote to Stuy vesant 
to the following pinport: "The people of Fort Orange (Albany) sell liquor to 
the Indians so that not only I, but all the people of the Great Esopus, daily see 
them dnnak, from wliich nothing good, but the ruin of the land, must be the 

In these transactions the whites were sometimes more to blame than the 
savages, and yet they wrote in this "wise: " Christ did not forsake lis; He col- 
lected us in a fold. Let us therefore not forsake one another, but let us soften 
om- mutual sufferings. " 

In a letter from Thomas Chambers to Governor Stuyvesant, dated May, 
1658, we find additional evidence of the baneful effects of the strong diiiik sold 
to the savages. He writes in substance: " I saw that the savages had an anker 
(ten-gaUon keg) of brandy l}Ting under a tree. I tasted myself and f omid it was 
pure brandy. About dusk tliey fired at and killed Harmen -Jacobsen, who Avas 
standing in a yacht in the river; and during the night they set fu-e to the house 
of Jacob Adrijansa, and the people were compelled to flee for their fives. Once 
before we were driven awaj^ and expelled from our property; as long as we 
are mider the jurisdiction of the West India Company we ask your assistance, 
as Esopus could feed the whole of New Netlierland. I have informed myself 
among the Indians who killed Harmen, and they haA^e promised to deliver the 

The First Esofius Wai'. i 7 

savage in l)onds. Please do not begin the war too suddenly, and not until we 
have constructed a stronghold for defease." 

The following month Chambers again wrote : — ' ' We have done our best to 
apprehend the murderer, but have been mockingly refused by the barbarians. 
In answer to our inquiry who sold them the brandy, the savages refer to no one 
in particular, but to many, now Peter, then Paul. It is evident that it is not 
for the sake of selling their stock of beavers alone that they keej) near Foi-t 
Orange (Albany), where, as the make of the brandy keg proves, the coopers 
have hardly sufficient time to supply the demand by these people. The sav- 
ages set fire to the cow-shed, the pig-sty, and then the dweUiug-house of Jacob 
Adrijaensen, and not being satisfied, compelled us here to plow for them. Upon 
our refusal they take fire brands and hold them under the roofs of our houses, 
to set fire to them. The common savages do not pay any attenticm to their 
cliief s, as the latter seem to have lost their authority. We are obUged to remain 
in our houses, as the .savages would innnediately attack us when we stir about, 
and set eveiy thing on fire; therefore we request yom' favor for a succor of forty 
or fifty men." 

In response to the above letters, at a meeting at which were present Hon- 
orable Director-General Peter Stuyvesant and three councillors, the following 
action was taken: They took up and seriously considered the letters from Esopus. 
By the first they were informed that the savages had kiUed Harmen Jacobsen 
and set fire to tw^o houses, and behaved and acted very insolently and wantonly; 
by the second the savages were continuing in their intolerable insolence and 
boldness, forcing the people there to plow for them, etc. It was therefore I'e- 
solved that the Director-General should go there forthwith, and fifty or sixty 
soldiers as a body-guard, to make arrangements. This Director-General was 
no less a personage than Peter the Headstiong, of whom Washington Ii'ving 
gives the following facetious description: 

"Peter Stuyvesant was the last, and, Hke the renowned Wouter Van 
TwiUer, the best of our ancient Dutch governors, Wouter having sui'])assed aU 
who preceded him, and Peter never having been equalled by any successor. He 
was of a sturdy, raw-boned make, with a pair of round shoulders that Her- 
cules would have given his hide for, when he undertook to ease old Atlas of his 
load. He was, moreover, not only temble for the force of his arm, but like- 
wise of his voice, which sounded as if it came from a bari'el; and he possessed 
an iron aspect that was enough of itself to make the veiy bowels of his adver- 
saries quake with terror and dismay. AU this martial excellence of appearance 
was inexpressibly heightened by an accidental advantage, that of a wooden leg; 
of which he was so proud that he was often heard to declare he valued it more 
than aU his other limbs put together. Like Achilles, he was somewhat sub- 
ject to extempore bursts of passion, which were lather unpleasant to his favor- 
ites and attendants, whose peiceptions he was wont to quicken, after the man- 
ner of his illustiious imitator, Peter the Great, by anointing their shoulders with 

1 8 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

his walking staff." The following is embodied in the journal of Governor 
Stuyvesant's visit to Esopus: 

" We left in the private yachts on the 28th day of Vlq.j. arri\ing at tlie kill 
of the Esopus on the 29th. To avoid commotion among the savages, or causing 
them to flee at the sight of so many soldiers before they could be spoken with, I 
ordered the accompanying yachts to follow separately at a distance, and not to 
anchor near me before nightfall, nor to show too many soldiers on deck at 
once. I sent a barge ashore opposite to two little houses of the savages, to in- 
vite two or tlu'ee of the Indians aboard. The barge presently came back Avith 
two savages, and also Thomas Chambers and another man, who were induced 
to come down to look for help from the good south wind and expected rehef. 
I persuaded the savages by a little present to go inland and induce the Indian 
sachems to meet me at the home of Jacob Jansen Stohl the following day, his 
being the last dwelling in contigniity, or tlie day after that, assuring them that 
no harm should come to them or theirs. They agreed to do it, and Avere put 
on shore after I had some fm-ther taUv with the two Christians, Chambers and 
Van Der Sluys. The other yachts arriving during the evening passed by us 
who were aground close to the shore. I ordered the soldiers landed with the 
least i30ssible noise, without beating the drum; which being done, they were 
to send for me and my people on my yacht. We marched the same evening to 
the ' bouwery ' of Thomas Chambers, that beuig the nearest, for the night. 
On the morning of the 30th, that being Ascension Day, we marched to the 
house of Jacob Jansen Stohl, nearest to the habitations and plantations of the 
savages, where we had made the appointment to meet them, and where, on Sun- 
days and at the usual feasts, the Scriptures were read. 

"When the people had assembled in the afternoon I stated to them that I 
had come Axith sixty soldiers, asking of them their opinion of what it were best 
to do; that I did not think the present time was favorable to uivolve the whole 
countrj' in a general war on account of the mrtrder, the burning of two small 
houses and other complaints about threats of the Indians; that now in summer, 
with the prospect of a good hai-vest, it was not the proper time to make bad 
worse, least of all by giving room too hastily to a bhnd fear; that it was not in 
our power to protect them and the other outlying farmers as long as they lived 
separately from each othei', and insisted upon it contrary to the order of the 

"They answered they should be ruined and indigent men if thej' were 
again obhged to leave their property, which result would follow if they could 
get no protection against the savages. I told them they could get no protection 
as long as they hved separately; that it was necessary that they should remove 
together at a suitable place, where I could and would assist them with a few 
soldiers until further aixangements were made; or they might retreat with their 
wives, children, cattle, and most easily removed property to the Manhattans, or 
Eort Orange for safety; but if they could make up their minds to neither, they 
must not in future disturb us AWtli complaints. 

The First Esopiis ll^ar. ig 

,, " Each was of opinion that it was dangerous to remain in their present con- 
dition; there was a good harvest in prospect, with which they hoped to sustain 
their faniihes the commg winter; to abandon those fertile fields at this juncture 
would occasion great loss, and entail upon them and their families abject pov- 
erty. The necessity of a concentrated settlement was at length conceded, but 
it was thought impracticable to effect the removal of 'the houses and barns 
before harvest time, in addition to the labor of inclosing the place with pali- 
sades. They plead very earnestly that the soldiers might remain with thsm un- 
til after the harvest; this I peremptorily refused, and insisted that they should 
make up their minds without delay. To encom-age them I promised to remain 
with the soldiers until the place was enclosed with palisades, provided they 
went to work immediately, before taking up anything else. Another difficulty 
presented itself — each one thought his place the most conveniently located for 
the proposed enclosure. But on the last day of May the inhabitants brought 
answer that they had agreed unanimously to make a concentrated settlement, 
and each had acquiesced in the place selected, and in the final arrangements. 
The grounds were staked out that same afternoon. 

" In response to my request of the Indian chiefs for a conference, twelve or 
fifteen savages made their appearance at the liouse of Jacob Jansen Stohl, but 
only two chiefs were among them. They explained that the other* sachems 
would not come before the next daj^; that they were frightened at so many sol- 
diers, and hardly dared to appear; also that they had been informed that more 
soldiers were to follow. 

"After assurajices on my part that no harm should befall them, they be- 
came more cheerful; and the same evening about fifty savages made their 
appearance at the house of Stohl. After they had aU gathered under a tree 
outside of the enclosure, about a stone's throw from the hedge, I went to them, 
and so soon as we had sat down, they, as is their custom, began a long speech, 
telling how in Kieft's time our nation had killed so many of their jieople, which 
they had put away and forgotten. 

" I answered that this all happened before my time, and did not concern 
me; that they and the other savages had drawn it all upon themselves by kill- 
ing several Christians which I would not lepeat, because Avhen peace was made 
the matter had all been forgotten and put away among us [their customary ex- 
pression on such occasions]. 

" I asked them if since peace was made any harm had been done to them 
or tlieirs; they kept a profoinid silence. I stated to them and u])braided them 
for the mm'ders, injuries, and insults during my administration, to discover the 
truth and authors of which I had come to Esopus at this time, yet with no de- 
sire to begin a general war, or punish any one innocent of it, if the murderer 
was surrendered and the damages for the burned houses paid. I added that 
they had invited us to settle on their lands in the Esopus, that we did not own 
the land, nor did we desire to imtil we had paid for it. I asked why they had com- 
mitted the murders, burned the houses, killed the hogs, and did other injuries. 

20 Legends of the Shawangjink. 

"Finally one of the sachems stood up and said that the Dutch sold jbhe 
' boisou ' [brandy] to the savages, and were the cause of the Indians becoming 
' cacheus ' [crazy] mad or dinink, and that then they had committed the out- 
rages; that at such times they, the chiefs, could not keep in bounds the young 
men who wei'e then spoUiug for a fight; that the murder had not been com- 
mitted by any one of their tribe, but by a Neversiuk savage; that the Indian 
who had set fire to the houses had iim away and would not be here. That they 
were not enemies; they did not desire or intend to fight, but had no control 
over the young men. 

" I told them if the yoimg men had a desire to fight to come forward now; 
I would match them, man for man, or twenty against thirt)^ or even forty; that 
now was the proper time for it; that it was not well to plague, injm'e or threaten 
the farmers, or their women and children; that if they did not cease in future, 
we might tiy to recover damages. We could kill them, capture their Avives 
and cliildren, and destroy their com and beans. I would not do it because I 
told them I would not harm tliem; but I hoped they would immediately indem- 
nify the owner of the houses, and deliver up the mui'derer. 

"To close the conference I stated my decision: that to prevent further 
hai-m being done to my people, or the selling of more brandy to the Indians, my 
people should all remove to one place and hve close by each other; that they 
might better seU me the whole country of the Swannekers [Dutch] so that the 
hogs of the latter could not ran into the corn-fields of the savages and be killed 
by them. The chiefs then asked through Stolil and Chambers that I \vould not 
begin a war with them on account of the late occurrence, as it had been done 
while they were drunk; they promised not to do so again. 

' ' On Monday, June 3d, the soldiers Avith all the inhabitants began work 
on the pahsades. The spot marked out for a settlement has a circumference of 
about 210 rods,* weU adapted by natm-e for defensive pm-poses; and when ne- 
cessity requires it can be suiTomided by water on three of its sides. To caiTy on 
the work with greater speed and order I directed a party of soldiers and ex^je- 
rienced wood-cutters to go into the woods and help load the pahsades into 
wagons; the others I divided agam into parties of twenty men each, to sharjDen 
the palisades and put them up. The inhabitants who were able were set to 
digging the moat, who continued to do so as long as the wind and the rain per- 

' ' Towards evening of the Ith of June a party of forty or fifty savages came 
to where we were at work, so that I oi'dered six men from each squad to look 
after their arms. After work had been stopped they asked to speak to me. 
They informed me thej^ had concluded to give me the land I had asked to buy 
to ' gi'ease my feet,' as I had come so long a way to see them. They promised 
in futm-e to do no harm to the Dutch, but would go hand in hand and arm in 
arm \s\\h\ them. 

•^ Dutch rod 12 feet. 

The First Esopus Wai\ 21 

" Being in need of gunpowder, of which we had only what was in the ' ban- 
doleers, ' and lacking some plank for a guard-house, and some carpenters to aid 
in our work, I concluded to go in the Company's yacht to Fort Orange for the 
same. I arrived back at Esopus on the afternoon of the 12th, and found every 
body at work, and two sides of the palisades finished. About noon of the 20th 
the stockade was completed, it being necessary only to stop apertures where 
roots of trees had been in the ground: this was completed in good time the same 

" Having accomplished the work so far I set out on my return, leaving 24 
soldiers to assist in guarding the place. As they had themselves 30 fighting 
men, besides seven or eight carpenters, they were in my opinion capable of 
taking care of themselves." 

But the peace begun imder such favorable auspices was of short duration, 
as v/e learn by a letter from Sergeant Lawrens, the officer in charge of the mili- 
tary at Esopus, to Governor Stuyvesant. He wrote: —  

" Send me quickly orders. The Indians are becoming savage and insolent, 
and have killed a fine mare belonging to Jacob Jansen. They are angry that 
you challenged twenty of their men to fight. Those returned from the beaver- 
hunt say if they had been here they would have accepted the challenge. They 
talk about it every day; and to-day about five hundred savages are assembled, 
and their numbers constantly increasing. Provide us as quickly as possible 
with ammunition." Ensign Dirck Smith was dispatched to the relief of the 
garrison with twenty-five additional troops, making the fighting strength a total 
of fifty men, exclusive of the citizens. 

Smith was directed to make secure the enclosed place, mount a sufficient 
guard, and not allow any savage to pass througli except upon permission of 
Jacob Jansen Stohl or Thomas Chambers. They were not to act " hostilely " 
against the Indians, but to stand strictly on the defensive. The agricultural 
labors were to be kept up under a guard of from twenty to twenty-five men; 
the laborers themselves were du-ected to take their arms with them, "that in 
case of attack they may make abetter stand against the savages;" and were 
also instructed to keep as close together as possible. 

In October of 1658 the Esopus sachems made a conveyance of the land as 
they had promised. They said they hoped the soldiers would now lay down 
their arms, that the settlers need now fear nothing. They promised they would 
hunt many beavers and pass right by Fort Orange with their peltries; they 
liked to see the plows work, but no soldiers." The following graphic account of 
a coUision between the savages and the settlers we find in the records: 

" To the Honorable, Wise and very Valiant, His Honor Director General Peter 
Stuyvesant at New Amsterdam : — 

"As on the 20th, at night between 10 and 11 o'clock, some savages raised 
a great noise and yelling under the fort, whereupon Dirck de Coyer and two 
others alarmed me on the guard, I commanded the sergeant to take nine or ten 

22 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

men, and directed him to go out by one of the gates and return by tlie other 
one, and not to molest anybody. The sergeant sent back word that a crowd of 
savages was there. Jacob Jansen Stohl came to the guard, saying ' I will go, 
give me foul- or five men. ' After they had returned I asked them who ordered 
them to fii-e, and they said the savages had shot first. Jacob Jansen Stohl re- 
plied violently that the dogs [Indians] had vexed us long enougli ; that they lie 
in the bushes aU around; and that they have fired innumerable brand arrows 
into grain stacks and barns. They attempted to set fire to the barn of Hap, 
but the barn being covered with plank, the corn was saved; and they have 
killed several cattle belonging to us. One prisoner escaped from them^ he gives 
the number of savages as four hundred. He thought the white prisoners in 
their hands were aU ahve, but badly off. He said fui-ther. if we had not some 
camion here, not one of us, large or small, would have escaped." 

The records say when the Dutch came to the place they fii-ed a volley among 
the Indians as they lay around a fire. 

One savage was knocked in the head with an axe, and was left for dead, 

, but he presently made off. Another, while lying on the gi-ound stupidly dnxnk, 

was hewn on the head with a cutlass, which roused him so that he fled; after 

which the Dutch retreated to the fort with gi-eat speed. We fuid the foUo^^^ng 

version of the affair given by the CatskiU Indians:— 

Eight Esopus Indians broke off corn ears for Thomas Chambers. "V^Tien 
tlie}^ finished work the savages said, "Come, give us brandy." Chambers re- 
plied, ,' ' When it is dark. ' ' When evening was come he gave a large bottle with 
brandy to the Indians. They retired to a place at no great distance from the 
fort and sat down to drink. The eight savages di-auk there mitil midnight; by 
that time they were di-mik, and they began to j^eU. At length the brandy came 
to an end. One Indian said, " Buy more brandy; we stiU have wampum." The 
savage who was afterwards kiUed went to Chambers' house to get more brandy. 
Chambers said, " I have given you all I had." The savage then went to where 
the soldiers were, taking %vith him the bottle which he lud under liis cloak. 
" Have you any brandy ? " said the Indian. "Yes, I have brandy," answered a 
soldier. " Here is wampum, give me brandy for it. " " What is wampmii, and 
what can I do with it ? where is your kettle V said the soldier. " I have no 
kettle, but I have a bottle here under my cloak," rephed the savage. The sol- 
dier filled the bottle, but would take nothuig for the brandy. 

The savage came to his comrades who were lying about and crying, and 
asked them, " Why do you cry ? I have brought brandy !" Whereupon they 
changed their ciy, and asked if he had given all the wampum. " No, a soldier 
gave it to me." They rephed " that is very good," and began to drink lustily 
from the bottle, because they had no goblet or ladle. When the bottle was pass 
ed around the savages began to wrangle and fight. Two of them presently 
said to each other, " We have no cause to fight, let us go away;" so they went 
away, leaving six. After a httle time one of the remaining savages said, " Come, 

TJic First Esopjis 11 'a r. 23 

let us go away; I feel that we shall be killed." Said the other, " You are crazy; 
who should kill us ? We would not kill the Dutch, aud have nothing to fear 
from them or tlie other Indians." '' Yes," repUed he, "■ but I nevertheless am 
so heavy-hearted." 

The bottle was passed twice, and the savage said again, " Come, let us go; 
my heart is full of fears." He went off and hid his goods in the bushes at a 
little distance. Coming back drunk once more the}' heard the bushes crackle 
as the Dutch came there, without knowing who it was. Then this savage went 
away, saying " Come, let us go, for we all shall be kiUed ;" and the rest laid 
dov\ii together, whereupon the Dutch came and aU of them fired into the Indians, 
shooting one in the head and capturing another. One drunken savage was con- 
tinually moving about, whereupon the Dutch fired upon him repeatedly, nearly 
taking his dress from his body. 

• Ensign Smitli knew what the consequences of this outbreak would be, and 
he sought to ascertain who ordered the firing contrary to his express instruc- 
tions. The Dutch cast aU the blame on the Indians, saying that the latter fired 
first. Tlie affairs of the colony being in such an imsatisfactory state, and find- 
ing tlie people would not respect his authority. Smith amioimced his intention 
of leaving for New Amsterdam next day. Great excitement was manifested 
when this became known. The people tried to dissuade him from his i)urpose 
by representing their exposed condition, and making assurances of future obe- 
dience on their part. Smith was intractable, and continued making ])repara- 
tions for his departure; but by an adroit measure of Stohl and Chambers, who 
hired all the boats in the neighborhood, he fomid himself unable to carry out 
his resolution. It was deemed expedient, liowever, to acquaint the Governor 
of the state of affairs, and accordingly Christopher Davis was dispatched down 
the river in a canoe for that purpose. 

Davis was escorted to the river by a company of eight soldiers and ten 
citizens, under Sergeant Lawrentsen, Sept. 31st, KiSO. On the return of the 
escort to the village they fell into an ambuscade near where now stands the City 
Hall; the Sergeant and thirteen men surrendered without firing a shot, the rest 
making their escape. War now began in earnest. More than five hundred sav- 
ages were in the vicinity of the fort, who kept up a constant skirmish with the 
settlers. By means of firebrands they set fire to the house of Jacob Gebers; 
numbers of barracks, stacks and barns were in like manner destroyed. One day 
they made a desjierate assault on the palisades wliich came near being success- 
ful. Failing in this, the savages slaughtered all the horses, cattle and hogs they 
could find outside the defenses. Three weeks was a constant siege kept up so 
that ' ' none dare go abroad. ' ' Unable to take the town they vented their fury on 
the unfortunate prisoners. 

Jacob Jansen Van Stoutenburgh, Abram Vosburg, a son of Cornelius B. 
Sleight, and five or six other were compelled to run the gauntlet; they were 
next tied to 'shakes, and, after being beaten and cut in the most cruel manner, 
were burned a-Uve. Thomas Clapboard [Chambers], William the carpenter, 

24 Legends of the Skawangunlc. 

Peter Hillebrauts and Evert Pel's son were among the captives. These are the 
only names mentioned in the early records. Clapboard ^vas taken by six war- 
riors down the Esopus kill. At night he removed the cords by which he was 
bound, and successively knocked five of his captors in the head Avhile they were 
asleep, killing the sixth before he could fly, and making good bis escape. An- 
other prisoner, a soldier, got home safely after a somewhat rough experience 
Peter Laurentsen and Peter HiUebrants were ransomed; Pel's son, then a mere 
youth, was adopted into the tribe and married among them. Overtui-es were 
afteiTvards made to the Lidians by the friends of the lad for his return; but the 
savages answered that he ""wished to stay ■with his squaw and pappoose, and 
he ought to. ' ' 

News of these events filled the whole colony ^Wth fear and forebodings. 
Stuyvesant had only six or seven soldiers in gariison at Amsterdam, and they 
were sick and unqualified for duty. He then sent to Fort Orange and Eensselaer- 
wA'ck for reinforcements; but the inliabitants of Fort Orange could not succor 
without leaving their own homes defenseless. The Governor asked for volun- 
teers, offering Indians as prizes; only six or seven responded. He then con- 
scripted all the garrison at Amsterdam, the Company's seiwants, the hands in 
his brewery and the clerks. The people made great opposition to this, avening 
that " they were not hable to go abroad and fight savages." 

NotA\-ithstanding these hindrances Governor Stuyvesant set sail October 0th 
\\'ith about 1(>0 men, and reached Esopus next day. Here he found the siege 
had been raised thiiiy-six hours before, and that the savages had retreated to 
their homes whither the Governor's troops coidd not follow them, for the coun- 
try was then inundated A\4th nearh^ a foot of water from the frequent rains. 

In the spring of 1G60, there was a renewal of hostihties; an Indian castle 
having been phuidered, and several savages taken captive, the Indians sued for 
peace and proposed an exchange of prisoners. Stuyvesant declined their over- 
tm-es, and prosecuted the war with vigor, sending some of the captive cliiefs, 
then in his hands, to Cm'acoa, as slaves to the Dutch. 

The clans now held a council. Said Sewackenamo, the Esopus chief, 
"What -wall you do?" "We ■ndll fight no more," said the warriors. "We 
wish to plant m peace," rephed the squaws. " We -will kill no more hogs," 
answered the young men. 

Stuyvesant met their propositions with an extravagant demand for land. 
The fertile corn-planting grounds of the WalkiU and Eondout vaUej's had excited 
the cupidity of the colonists. The savages were loth to give up so much of 
then territory, but they finally acceded to the Governor's demand. Dming the 
negotiations the Indians plead for the restoration of their enslaved chiefs. But 
in pm-suance of Stuyvesant's poHcy, those ancient sachems had become the 
chattels of Dutchmen, and were toihng, under the lash, in the maize and bean- 
fields among the islands of the far-off Caribbean Sea; so the Governor rephed 
that they must be considered dead. Although deeply grieved at this, the chiefs 
agi'eed to the treaty, and departed. 

The Second Esopits U'^ar. 25 


SOME acts of crimination and recrimination having occurred between the 
Dutch settlers of Kingston and Hurley and their Indian neighbors, grow- 
ing out of a niisunderstanduig in regard to some lands, the feud finally 
terminated in what is spoken of in the Documentary History of New York 
as the '■ Massaci-e at the Esopus." To be more certain of success the Esopus 
clans endeavored to get the Wappinger Indians of Duchess, and other of the 
neighboring clans, to join them, and succeeded partially. To lull the suspicions 
of the whites, a proposition foi' a new treaty was made only two days before the 

On the 7th of -June, iri()3, a band of two hundred Indians entered the two 
villages in the forenoon, from different points, and dispersed themselves among 
the dwellings in a friendly manner, having with them a little maize and a few 
beans; mider pretense of selling these they went about from place to i)lace to 
discover the strength of the men. After they had been in Kingston about a 
quarter of an hour, some peoijle on horseback rushed through the mill-gate cry- 
ing out — "The Indians have destroyed the New Village!" And with these 
words the savages immediately fired their guns, and made a general attack on 
the village fi'om the rear, hewing down the whites with their axes and toma- 
hawks. They seized what women and children they could and cariieJ them 
prisoners outside the gates, plundered the houses, and set the village on fii'e to 
windward, it blowing at the time from the south. The remaining Indians com- 
manded aU the streets, firing from the corner houses which they occupied, and 
through the curtains outside along the highways, so that some of the inhabi- 
tants while on then- way to their houses to get their arms were wounded and 
slain. When the flames had reached their height the wind veered to the west, 
otherwise the flames would have been much more destructive. So rapidly did 
the murderers do their work that those in different parts of the village were not 
aware of what was transpiring until they happened to meet the wounded in the 
streets. Few of the men were in the village, the rest being abroad at their field 
labors. Cajit. Thomas Chambers, who was wounded on coming in from the 
fields, issued immediate orders to seciu'e the gates, to clear tlie gun and drive 
off the savages, which was accordingly done. After the few men in the vil- 
lage had been collected, and by degrees others arriving fi-om different quarters, 
being attracted l)y the columns of smoke and the firing, tliey mustered in the 
evening sixty-nine efficient men. The burnt palisades were immediately re- 
placed with new ones, and the people distributed, during the night, along the 
bastions and curtains to keep watch. 

In this attack on the two villages fifteen men, four women and two children 
■were killed. !Most of the Avomen and children killed were burned to death. Of 

26 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

the prisoners taken by the Indians at this outbreak there were thirteen women, 
thirty children, and one man. At Kingston twelve houses wei-e burned, while 
the New Village was enthely destroyed. 

Soldiers were now sent up from New York, and the Indians were hunted 
like wild beasts from momitain to mountain. The force employed, including 
the volunteers from Esopus, numbered nearly three hundred men. Scouting 
parties were sent out in every direction in which it was supposed hostile In- 
dians could be foimd, destroying their crops and burning their wigwams. 

On the 26th of July a party of upwards of two hundred men, including forty- 
one Long Island Indians and seven negi'oes, left Kingston to attack the savages 
at their fort about thirty miles distant, "mostly" in a southwest du-ection. 
They had as a guide a woman who had been a prisoner of the Indians, and took 
with them two pieces of caimon and two wagons. The cannon and wagons 
they were forced to abandon before reaching the fort. They intended to sur- 
prise the Indians, but found the fort imtenanted except by a sohtary squaw. 
The next day they sent a force to surprise the savages on the momitain, but 
were unable to surprise any. For two days and a half the whole party then 
employed themselves in destrojang the gTowing crops and old maize of the In- 
dians, the latter of which was stored in pits. Over two himdred acres of com, 
and more than one hundred pits of com and beans, were rendered worthless by 
the uivading forces. The natives witnessed these proceedings from their look- 
out stations on the Shawangimk and neighboring mountains, but made no re- 
sistance. Quiulan supposes this fort to have been on the headwaters of the 
Kerhonkson. After this expedition the savages proceeded to build a new fort 
tMrty-six miles south-southwest of Kingston. The site of this fort is on the 
right bank of the Shawangunk kill, near the viUage of Bruynswick. Against 
this fort Capt. Kregier marched the following September, with a force of fifty- 
five men and an Indian guide. Kregier says in Ins journal, in substance: 

It having rained all day the ex^^edition must rest for the present. Asked 
the Sheriff and commissaries whetheu they coidd not get some horses to accom- 
pany us, so that we may be able to place the wounded on them if we should 
happen to have any. After great trouble obtained six horses, but received 
spiteful and insulting words from many of the inhabitants. One said, let those 
fui-nish horses who commenced the war. Another said, if they want anythmg 
they wiU have to take it by force. The third said he must first have his horse 
valued and have security for it. 

About one o'clock on the afternoon of the 3d we started from Fort WUt- 
wyck; marched about three miles to the creek and lay there that night, dui-ing 
which we had great rain. The next morning we found such high water and 
swift current in the kill that it was impossible to ford it. Sent men on horse- 
back to Fort Wiltwyck for axes and rope to cross the creek. Crossed over 
about two o'clock in the afternoon and marched f oxu- miles further on, where we 
bivouacked for the right. Set out again at daybreak, and about noon came to 
their first maize-field, where we discovered two squaws and a Dutch woman 

The Second Esopiis War. 27 

who had come from their new fort that morning to get corn. But as the creek 
lay between us and the corn-field, though we would fain have the women, we 
could not ford the stream without being discovered; we therefore turned in 
through the wood so as not to be seen. 

About two o'clock in the afternoon we arrived in sight of their fort, which 
we discovered situated on a lofty plain. Divided our force in two, and pro- 
ceeded in this disposition along the kill so as not to be seen and in order to come 
right under the fort. But as it was somewhat level on the left of the fort, the 
soldiers were seen by a squaw who was pihng wood there, who thereupon set 
up a terrible scream. This alarmed the Indians who were working upon the fort, 
so we instantly fell upon them. The savages rushed through the fort towards 
their houses in order to secm'e their arms, and thus hastily picked up a few 
bows and arrows and some of their guns, but we were so close at their heels 
they were forced to leave some of them behind. We kept up a sharp fire on 
them and pursued them so closely that they leaped into the creek which ran in 
front of the lower part of their maize land. On reaching the opposite side oi 
the kill they courageously returned our fire, so that we were obliged to send a 
party across to dislodge them. 

In this attack the Indians lost their chief, fourteen other warriors, four 
women and three children, whom we saw lying on this and on the other side of 
the creek; but probably many others were wounded. We also took thirteen of 
them prisoners, besides an old man who acconaiianied us about half an liour, 
but would go no farther. We took him aside and gave him his last meal. We 
also recovered twenty-three Christian prisoners out of their hands. A captive 
Indian child died on the way, so that there remained eleven of them still our 

We next reviewed our men and found we had three killed, and one more 
wounded than we had horses. We then held a council of wai'; after delibera- 
tion it was determined to let the maize stand for the present. We however 
plundered the houses, wherein was considerable booty, such as bear and deer 
skins, blankets, elk hides, besides other smaller articles, many of which we 
were obliged to leave behind us, for we could well have filled a sloop. We de- 
stroyed as much as we could; broke the kettles into pieces, took also twenty 
four guns, more than half of which we smashed, and threw the barrels here 
and there in the stream. We found also several horns and bags of powder, and 
thirty -one belts and some strings of wampum. We took the best of the booty 
along and resolved to set oft'. We placed the wounded on horses and had 
one can-ied in a blanket on poles by two soldiers in turns. The first day we 
marched two miles from the fort. 

The Christian prisoners informed us that they were removed every night 
into une woods, each niglit to a different place, through fear of the Dutch, and 
brought back in the morning; but on the day befoi-e we attacked them, a Mo- 
hawk visited them, who remained with them during the night. When about 
to convey the Christian captives again into the woods the Mohawk said to the 

28 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

Esopus Indians — " What, do you caiTy the Christian prisoners every night into 
the woods?" To which they answered "Yes." Hereupon the Mohawk said 
" Let them remain at hberty here, for you hve so far in the woods that the 
Dutch will not come hither, for they cannot come so far without being discov- 
ered before they reach you." So they kept the prisoners by them that night. 
The Mohawk departed in the morning, leaving a new blanket and two pieces of 
cloth, wliich fell to us as a booty. 

Early on the morning of the 6th we resumed our joui-ney. The same day 
came just beyond the Esopus kill, where we remained that night. At tliis place 
the Indian child died, which we tlu-ew into the creek. Ai-rived at Wiltwyck 
about noon of the foUoA%4ng day. 

On the 22d a detachment Avas sent out from AViltwyck to guard some plow- 
men while they labored in the fields. About midnight the party passed along 
the kiU where some maize lay, about two hours march from the Aallage. On 
arriving there they found only a small patch of maize, as it had aU been plucked 
by some stragghng Indians or bears. Our people carried off what remained. 
The Indian prisoners whom we held had first informed us, to-day, that a small 
spot of corn had been planted there principally to supply food to stragglers who 
went to and fro to injure the Christians. Should they come again they'U not 
find any food. 

About eleven o'clock on the following night, a party was sent about three 
miles in a northeasterly direction from Wiltwyck, having been informed there 
was some Indian maize at that place, to see if they could not remove it either 
by land or water. They returned about two o'clock in the afternoon of the 
next da}^ and reported they had been on the Indians' maize plantation, but saw 
no Indians, nor anything to indicate they had been there for a long time, for 
the maize had not been hoed, and therefore had not come to its fuU growth, 
and had been much injured by ■\%"ild animals. One plantation however was 
good, having been hoed by the Indians, but that was likeAvise much injiu-ed by 
wild beasts. They said it was beautiful maize land, suitable for a number of 
houweries, and for the immediate reception of the plow. On Sunday afternoon, 
September 30th, powder and baU were distributed to the soldiers and friendly 
Indians, in the proportion of one pound of powder, one pound of lead and three 
pounds of biscuit for each man, who was to accompany an expedition into the 
Indian comitry. On Monday marched from Wiltwyck with 108 men and 46 
Marseping Indians. About two o'clock of the following day we came to the 
fort of the Esopus Indians that we had attacked on the 5th of September, and 
there found five large pits into which they had cast their dead. The wolves 
had rooted up and devoured some of them. Lower down on the kiU were foru- 
other pits full of dead Indians and we found fm'ther on the bodies of three In- 
dians, with a squaw and a child, that lay unburied and almost wholly devoured 
by the ravens and the wolves. We pulled up the Indian fort and threw the 
palisades, one on the other, in sundry heaps and set them on fire, together vn\h 
the wigwams around the fort, and thus the fort and houses were destroyed and 

The Second Esopus IVai-. 2()- 

burnt. About 10 o'clock we marched thence down along the creek where lay 
divers maize plantations, which we also destroyed and cast the maize into the 
creek. Several large wigwams also stood there, which we burnt. Having de- 
stroyed everything we returned to Wiltwyck, i-eaching there in the evening of 
the next day. 

About noon of Sunday, October Tth, a girl was brought up from the Re- 
doubt [Rondout], who, the day before, had ai'rived on the opjiosite bank at that 
place, and was immediately conveyed across the stream. The girl said she had 
escaped from an Indian who had taken her prisoner, and who resided in the 
mountain on the other side of the creek about three miles from Wiltwyck, 
where he had a hut, and a small patch of corn which he had pulled, and had 
 been there about three weeks to remove the corn. She had tried to escape be- 
fore, but could not find her way out of the woods, and was foi'ced to return to 
the hut. Forty men were at once sent out to try and catch the Indian. They 
reached the hut before sunset, which they surrounded with the intention of 
surprising the savage, but the hut was found to be empty. They found a lot 
of corn near the hut, and another lot at the kill, part of which they burned, 
and a part they brought back with them. They remained in the hut during 
the night and watched there. On the 10th of that month. Lords Du Bois, the 
Walloon, went to fetch his oxen which had gone back of Juriaen Westphaelen's 
land. As he was about to drive home the oxen, three Indians, who lay in the 
bush with the intention of taknig him prisoner, leaped forth. One of the sav- 
ages shot at him with an arrow, slightly wounding him, whereupon Louis 
sti-uck the Indian a heavy blow on the breast with a piece of pahsade, and so 
escai^ed through the kill, and brought the news to the fort. Two detachments 
were instantly dispatched to attack them, but they had taken to flight and re- 
treated into tlie woods. 

The Indians were finally cowed. Their principal waniors had been slain, 
their fort and wigwams burned, and their food and peltries destroyed. A long 
hai-d winter was before them, and the ruthless white soldiers ready to swoop 
down upon them at any moment. Under these cu-cumstances the Delawares 
sued for peace, and the truce was observed for a period of about ninety years, 
or until the bi'eaking out of the French and Indian war. 

When Capt. Kregier marched against the new fort his forces probably 
crossed the Shawangunk kill at Tuthilltown, and keeping along the high ground 
came in rear of the fort. A portion of the command marched down the liill di- 
rectly on the fort, while the other detachment cut off their escape in the other 
direction. This fort stood on the brow of a hill overhanging the creek; in the 
side of this hill there is a Mving spring with the Indian path still leading to it. 
The old Wawarsing trail led from this fort, crossing the Shawangunk mountain 
near Sam's Point. 

30 Legends of the Sliawa7igunk. 


AFTER the capitulation of New Amsterdam aud its dependencies to the Duke 
of York, in Ififii, some English troops were sent to garrison Esopus. 
They were under command of Capt. Broadhead, an arrogant, ill-tempered, 
overhearing officer, whom the Dutch soon came to hate udth all the fervor 
of their natures. There was a constant collision between the Enghsh mil- 
itary authorities and the Dutch civil magistrates. The inhabitants drew up a 
formal complaint against the garrison, and among the charges were the follow- 
ing: - 

Cornehus Barentsen Sleight is beaten in his own house by soldier George 
Porter, and was after this by other soldiers forced to prison, and by some sol- 
diers at Ms imprisonment used very hard. 

Capt. Broadliead hath beaten Tierck Clausen and without any reason brought 
to prison. 

Capt. Broadhead, coming to the house of Lewis Du Bois, took an anker of 
brandy and tlxrew it upon the gi'oimd because Du Bois refused him brandy with- 
out payment, and did hke-nise force the said Du Bois to give him brandy. 
[Broadhead afterwards said in extenuation of the act that the anker was not 
broken, and no brandy spilled.] 

And the said Du Bois' wife coming to Broadhead's house for money, he 
drove her out of the house with a knife. 

The soldier George Porter coming in the barn of Peter Hillebrants, and 
finding there Dierck Hendricks, took his sword and thrast it tlii'ough Dierck's 

Two soldiers commg to ililler's to steal liis hens, and ]kIiUer in defending 
his hens, was by the soldiers beaten in Iris own house. 

Besides aU this we are threatened by Capt. Broadhead and his soldiers that 
they will burn down all tliis tov^'n and all they that are therein — " Therefore we 
do most hmiibly supphcate that you will be pleased to remonstrate and make 
known unto the Governor the sad condition we are in, from whom we hope to 
have redi-ess. " 

In answer to the above "standings," Captain Broadhead rephes that he 
will keep Cornehus Sleight in apprehension " as longe as he thincks good," and 
that in case the inhabitants will " fitch " lum by force, that he would wait upon 

The soldiers in then- own behalf say they went to the bm'gher's [Sleight's] 
house by Broadhead's command, when they found the burghei- with his piece 
cocked, aud his hanger [sword] drawn and laid upon his arm; they disarmed 
him by force aud brought him prisoner to the guard. But at their first ar- 
rival at the aforesaid house they " found Capt. Broadhead %vith his cravat torn 

Tlie Esopus ]\hitiny. 3 1 

and thrown away, and his face scratched and very much abused." [It would 
appear that Sleight and the English Captain liad been indulging in a little 
scrimmage, in which the latter had got the worst of it]. 

Eight or nine Dutchmen went armed to the place where their comrade was 
confined, headed by Hendrick Yockams. Capt. Broadhead with seven men 
marched to them and demanded the occasion of their being in arms. Their 
heutenant made answer that they would have the burgher out of the guard. 
Broadhead commanded them to return with their arms to their houses; their 
lieutenant leplied they would not, but would have the prisoner out of the guard. 

One of their party, by name Anthony, a Frenchman, presented his piece 
against our Captam, being loaded with nine small bullets, and swore if he 
moved a foot he would fu-e upon him, and would not be persuaded nor com- 
manded, but did persist m his rebellious actions. 

They sent for Capt. Thomas Cliambers, who lived outside the stockade, 
thinking he woidd have headed them, but he would not; but connnanded them 
to return with their arms to their houses. They continued under arms until 
about nine in the evening, threatening that they would fetch tlie burgher out 
by force that night, and vilhfying us with our small party of men, saying, 
"What is fifteen or sixteen men to seventy or eighty ? " as continuaUy they 
have done from the beginning. 

Another of the rebellious party by name of Albert Hymons, the chief in- 
stigator of the first rising, gave out speeches in the hearing of the soldiers that 
" if he had been in command he would not have left one English soldier ahve 
in the Esopus." 

Tyerk Clausen says the reason why Capt. Broadhead abused him was be- 
cause he would keep Christmas on the day customary with the Dutch, and not 
on the day according to the English observation. Capt. Broadhead acknowl- 
edged it. 

De Mouts swore that last New Year's Day he had some friends at his house, 
and Captain Broadhead quan-eled with the wife of Harmen Hendrickseu, and 
threw a glass of beer in her face. 

The burghers brought into court a paper to excuse their being in arms,— 
" because Captain Broadhead and the soldiers threatened to burn the town, and 
all that was in it, and also because Captain Broadhead had connnitted a burgher 
to prison, and had misused and cut him, so that his wife and children ran about 
the towm crying that the Enghsh had killed their father."' 

Jacob Johnson and Clans Clasen sworn and said the reason why Antonio 
Dalve presented his gun at Capt. Broadhead was because he made to him with 
his naked cutlass, and threatened therewith to cut him in pieces. 

When Capt. Thomas Chambers commanded the Dutch to return to their 
homes, and they refused, he went to the English guard and told them they 
were a lot of stubborn rogues, and would not be commanded by him. Where- 
upon he said he would have nothing to do with said mutinous rogues, and re- 
tm-ned to his own house. 

32 Legends of the Shawangtmk. 

The wife of Cornelius Sleight, and her daughter, complaining to the Court 
that Capt. Broadhead had gi-ievously cut, beat aud wounded her husband, upon 
which the Court dispatched a messenger to request Captain Broadhead to come 
to the Court and received the following answer, " That if the Commissary would 
speak with him they might come to him," the burghers tlien being in arms. 

The Court thereupon ordered Captain Chambers and Evert Pelce to desire 
Captain Broadhead to release the said burgher, and that if Sleight had offended 
him, he should, according to the Governor's order, complain to the magis- 
trates, who would see that he was punished according to his deserts. To which 
Broadhead made answer, " that he would keep the said Cornehus as long as he 
pleased, and if they would fetch him he woidd be ready to wait upon them." 

Antonio Dalve was heard by George Hall to say, when Captain Broadhead 
was getting some of the young burghei-s to go against the Dutch at All)any, 
" Shall we go and fight with our friends, and leave oiu- enemies at home V For 
this seditious utterance Antonio was called to account. He said in his defence 
that he meant to be miderstood as saying " Shall we go and fight our friends 
[the Dutch at Albany] who sold the savages powder and ball in the last Esopus 
war, and leave om- enemies at home ? meaning the Esopus Indians." 

The Court made an effort to prevail on the bm-ghers to disperse to their 
homes and lay do-vvm their arms. The latter replied that the Enghsh had twice 
tlu-eatened to burn the town, and requested that they be empowered by their 
magistrates to continue under arms; but the magistrates denied the same. 

The English Governor NicoUs sent up two of his privj- comiseUors to tiy 
the case, who, upon hearing the evidence, took four of the offending Dutch 
burgomasters to New York, there to receive from the Governor then final sen- 


FOE some years prior to 1700, and as late as half a centmy afterwards, the 
Mini sink comitry was embroiled in a tedious confhct with their New 
Jersey neighbors, over the question of a boiuidary hne between the colonies of 
New Jersey aud New York. 

The misunderstanding gi'ew out of the difficulty of determining what was 
the " uorthwardmost " branch of the Delaware river. Both parties started 
from the same point on the Hudson river, in latitude iO degTees. New York 
on the one hand contended for a hue that would strike Big Jlinisink island, 
while New Jersey insisted the hue should strike the Delaware river just below 
Cochecton, making a triangTdar gore several miles in width at its western ex- 

The matter was brought to the attention of the General Assembly of each 
colony, and considerable spirit was shown in its consideration. A committee 



\S0 \ 

Tlie War With the Jcrscyiucn. 33 

appointed by the Xew York Assembly reported to the House, October -29, 
1754, that they could not certainly discover what was the " jS^orthwardniost 
branch of the Delaware River; " that they find Minisiiik, and lands to the north- 
ward thereof, have been held by New York patents for nearly seventy years, 
which are bomided south by New Jersey; that the patents of New Jersey, for 
nuuiy years after the "fixation" of said boundary, did not extend northward 
above said bounds, nor did they extend jurisdiction alxive these bounds 

That of late years large bodies of Jerseyites have with violence taken pos- 
session of lands above these bounds; and that New Jersey has erected the county 
of Sussex in part above these bounds. 

That New Jersey Justices have assumed authority over subjects holding 
lands under and paying a submission to New York. 

Also, that New York Justices, officers, and even ministers of the Gosjiel in 
Orange county, have been seized and beaten, insulted, carried into New Jersey 
and held to excessive bail or confined in prisons, and prosecuted by indictments. 

That people of New Jersey have from time to time taken possession of va- 
cant lands in Orange county, etc. 

New Jersey assumed and exercised the right to assess and collect taxes from 
people residing in the county of Orange, so that some chose to desert their pos- 
sessions and move further north. 

Thus while the resjiective Colonial Assemblies were adopting active partisan 
measures in the controvers}", it may be supposed that the people most directly 
interested, acting in the spirit of that semi-lawless age, did not always wait for 
the slow process of legislative enactment to settle their disputes, but took the 
details into their own hands for adjudication in tlieir own way. 

By way of more effectually opposing the incursions of the Jerseymen, the 
people of Orange converted their dwellings into places of defense, armed them- 
selves for sudden attack, and formed organizations for mutual aid and succor. 
Col. De Key, who was also a Justice of the Peace in and for Orange county, 
had settled upon lands within that comity uniler patents granted by New York, 
v.'here he had lived in peaceable possession for fifty years. Having been dis- 
turbed in his land«, and threatened with personal violence and ejectment, he 
proceeded to the residence of James Alexander, Esq., an East New Jersey pro- 
prietor, to lay the case before him, and if possible bring about some agreement 
between the contending parties until the line could be definitely settled. Col. 
De Key was told that if he would become a Jerseyman, and fight agamst the 
New York people, he should want neither commission nor money; that if he 
would do neither he would be dispossessed of his plantations. Col. De Key 
refused to accept of the conditions, went home, and prepared for war. 

Subsequently, a number of armed men from East New Jersey came to the 
residence of De Key, who, seeing them approach, shut himself up in the house. 
They drew up in battle array, cocked their guns, and presenting them towards 
the window where De Key stood, assured him they would shoot him through 
the heai-t; that they would starve him out, and burn the house over his head; 

34 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

that if a man. woman, or child, attempted to escape, lie would be shot down; 
that they had the strength to take all Goshen, and would do it in time. They 
thereupon withdrew without fmther violence, one of them saying — " Take care 
of yom'self, for we will have you yet !" 

Some of the patentees becoming disheartened, sold out to others at gi'eat 
sacrifice and removed, which served to weaken the party in jiossessioi 

Among the pioneers of Orange county was one Harmanus Van Inwegen, 
a bold, strong and resolute man, who had married into the Swartwout family, 
who were among the patentees of the disputed temtory. Van Inwegen was 
by nature and habit well fitted for the times in which he Uved, and was admir- 
ably quaUfied for a leader in enterprises that requii'ed daring and resolution. 
The better to identify his interests mth the cause of the New York patentees, 
he Avas given some of the lands under controvers}'; the result was he soon as- 
sumed the character of a fearless and able partisan. 

One day while Van Inwegen was absent from home, some Indians came 
and commenced abusing his family. He was immediately sent for. When the 
Indians saw him coming they cocked their guns, and aimed them at his breast. 
He rushed in aniong them, tumbled one redskin in one direction, and sent an- 
other flying heels over head in another direction; in short, he handled his un- 
welcome gTiests so roughly that they fled from the house. 

At another time, while Van Inwegen was raking gi'ain in his field, a New 
Jersey constable and three or four assistants came .to arrest him, and to take 
possession of his gi'ain. Not submitting quietly to the process of arrest and the 
confiscation of liis property, the constable Avounded him with his sword. Van 
Inwegen thereupon broke the rake in pieces over the officer's head with such 
effect that all attempts at arrest were abandoned. 

Que Major Swai'twout resided on the disputed lands. The New Jersey 
claimants were for a long time Avatching for an opportunity to enter his house 
and get possession before he could get help from his neighbors. The Major 
kept several loaded guns in the house, and employed an additional number of 
men about the premises, all of whom Avere proficient in the use of fire-arms. 
The Major's house thus became a fortified post, Avith an armament not to be 

Major Swartwout was a large, portly man, possessed of a fine mihtary 
bearing; and, Avhen arraj^ed in the rich and gaudy equipments of Avar, appeared 
to a good advantage on parade. Many a time has the driU-ground at Goshen 
resomided to his word of conmiand. 

NotA\ithstanding aU tho precautionary measures of the Major, some Jersey- 
men effected an entrance into Ms abode during his temporary absence in 1730, 
droA^e out his f amity, remoA^ed Ids goods, and assumed possession of the prem- 
ises. His wife was confined to her bed at the tune by the birth of a child, and 
the removal was the occasion of her death. 

Measm-es Avere at once determined on to reinstate the ]\Iajor in his domicile. 
Some reinforcements haAang arrived from Goshen, his party ambushed on a hiU 

The Jl'ar Jf'///i the Jcrseyineji. 35 

in a piece of woods near the Major's home. It was aiTanged. that Peter Gni- 
maer should go to the house, and at a convenient opportunity enter and ascertain 
the situation of affairs. If he judged the circumstances favorahle for an at- 
tempt at recaptui'e, Peter was to go into the orchanl and thi'ow up an apple as 
a signal. The party on the hiU soon had the satisfaction of seeing Peter make 
the signal kgi-eed upon. They nished out of the woods and into the house with 
such impetuosity as to overpower all opposition. The usurpers were expelled, 
and the Major reinstated in his possessions. 

The people of Orange county employed a spy to act in their interest, who 
was to circulate among the Jersey claimants, acquaint himself with their plans, 
and send back reports of their proceecUngs. The spy soon sent them word that 
on a certain day the Jerseymen intended to raid the disputed territory with a 
strong party, with the view of dispossessing the occupants generally. 

The day came at last; and with it came the sturdy yeomanry of Orange 
county— fathers, brothers, sons, aU— to the home of Hermanns Van Inwegen, 
armed, equipped, and caparisoned for war. The preparations were barely com- 
pleted when the van of the Jersey conqmny came in sight. 

Major Swart wout gallantly led his little army out into the road, and formed 
the men in Une of battle. 

Jacob Cuddeback said. to Van Inwegen, " We are old men; our lives are of 
less consequence than those of our yomiger companions; let us take our places 
in the front of the line." This act of self-sacrifice was immediately carried into 
execution; even the yoimger men evincing no dissatisfaction at the wise ar- 
rangement. The hue was formed in double column, with the two old men in 
front as a cover to those in rear, and the Major himself at the head of his men: 
with this disposition of the force, they calmly awaited the onset ^vith breath- 
less interest. 

The Jerseymen came -wathin gunshot and halted. Such a military array 
as that ^\^th which they were now confronted— at once so unexpected and so 
formidable— served to weaken the ardor even of Jerseymen bent on conquest. 
Another incident, coming also unawares, contributed to strike dismay stiU more 
deeply into the stern hearts of the invaders. 

Gerardus Swartwout, a young son of the Major, who was in the line be- 
hind the old men, called out to his father in a voice loud enough to be heard by 
the invading party : — 

" Is this aU in fun. Father, or in sober earnest; are we to shoot to kiU, or 
only aim to hit them in their legs ?" 

"Shoot to kill," shouted the Major in tones of thunder— " pepper every 
rascal of them ! Down with the ratUess invaders of our soil !" 

This was more than the Jerseymen could stand. Their column began to 
waver, when Van Inwegen called out to the Major to give the order to open the 

"Ready! take aim ! fire!" roared the Major. The two old men in front 
raised their weapons at the word of command, but before they could pull trig- 

36 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

ger the Jerseymen were in full retreat for the woods. Some stray shots were 
sent after them by some of the young men in the rear of the hne of battle, with 
no effect. With this the mihtary operations of the day concluded. 

Some time after this the Jerseymen made another effort to captm-e the 
Major and Captain Johannes Westbrook. They chose the Sabbath as the time 
when, and the door of the church as the place w-hei-e, tliey would be the most 
certain of taking their prey. SomeAvhere between the years ITfi-t and 1767 one 
Sabbath morning, a strong party smroimded the church armed -wath clubs. 
The Major and Captain Westbrook were among the congi-egation of worship- 
pers. After the services were concluded and the people were coming out of the 
church, both men were captured and made prisoners, but not until after a 
long, rough-and-tumble struggle. The ]\Iajor, being reckoned the more danger- 
ous of the two, was taken and confined for a while in a Jersey prison. 


THE Shawangunlc region, even were it wanting in any other recommenda- 
tion to historic mention, is remarkable as ha-ving been the home of the 
Mastodon. Almost mider the shadow of the rock-ribbed ascents, deep in the 
peat and marl of the adjacent vaUeys, several skeletons of these huge mon- 
sters have been exhmned, some of them the largest and most complete speci- 
mens that have come to the sight of man. Li a tamarack swamp near Mont- 
gomery, in 1845, a gigantic and perfect skeleton was found in a peat bog -vvith 
marl beneath, where it stood in an erect position, as if the animal lost its life 
in search of food by getting mired. In the place where its stomach and intes- 
tines lay was found a large mass of fragments of twigs and gi-ass, hardly fossi- 
lized at aU — the remains, doubtless, of the undigested dinner of the monster. 
Tliis skeleton was eleven feet high and upwards of twenty feet long, and 
weighed 2000 pounds. It is now in a hiusemn in Boston. Another skeleton, 
scarcely less remarkable for its size and completeness, was dug up in the year 
1872 in the town of Mount Hope. Tliis weighed 1700 pounds, and is now on 
exliibition in New Haven, Conn. Xo less than nine skeletons, more or less en- 
tire, have been exhumed withm the limits of Orange county. 

The era and haunts of this monster mammalia furnish abmidant material for 
consideration, and is of interest both as attracting the superficial notice of the 
tourist and eliciting the more profound speculations of the geologist. Wliether 
we contemplate the antiquity of his remains entombed for unknown ages in the 
peat and marl of a swamp — preserved by the antiseptic property of the medium 
that caused his death; or whether we think of his lordly mastery over the other 
beasts of liis time, of the majesty of his tread over vaUey and mountain, of Ms 

The Mastodon. 37 

angei- when excited to fury, uttering his wrath in thunder tones —there is that 
in the subject which clothes the locahty in a new and interesting hght.* 

In the north part of a swamp near Crawford's, Orange county, some years 
since, a mastodon skeleton was found. A writer says of it: "This skeleton 
I examined very minutely, and found that the carcass had been deposited whole, 
but that the jaw-bones, two of the ribs, and a thigh-bone had been broken by 
some violent force while the flesh yet remained on the bones. Two other parts 
of skeletons were found, one at Ward's bridge, the other at Masten's meadow, 
in Shawangunk. In both instances the carcasses had been torn asunder, and 
the bones had l)een deposited with the flesh on, and some of the bones were 
fractured. That the bones were deposited with the flesh appeal's from the fact 
that they were found attached to each other, and evidently belonged to only 
one part of the carcass, and no other bones could be found near the spot. 
Great violence would be necessary to break the bones of such large animals; in 
the ordinary course of things no force adequate to that effect would be exerted. 
I tliink it fair reasoning, that, at the deluge, they were brought by the westerly 
currents to the place where they were found; that the carcasses were brought 
in the first violent surges, and bruised and torn asunder by the tremendous 
cataracts, created when the cuiTents crossed the high mountains and ridges, 
and fell into the deep valleys between the Shawangimk mountain and the level 
countries adjacent." 

At what age in the world's history the mastodon hved, how and when he 
died, there is no well-developed theory. 

Is the death and utter annihilation of the race attributable to an over- 
whelming flood which submerged the earth and swept down those animals as 
they peacefully and unsuspiciously wandered ? 

Was it some unusual storm, black with fury, terrible as a tornado, and 
death-dealing as a sirocco, which swept the wide borders of the Shawangunk, 
and in one wTathful, destroying stream swept the Uving mastodon into utter 
obhvion \ 

Was it the common fate of nations, the destiny of every created race of 
animals, that by the physical law of their natui'es, the race started into being, 
grew up to physical perfection, fulfilled the pui-pose of their creation, and be- 
came extinct ? 

Was it some malignant distemper, fatal as the murrain of Egypt and wide- 
spread as the earth itself, which attacked the herd and laid the giants low ? 
Or was it rather individual accident, numerous as the race, befalling each one, 
and which, amidst the throes and toils of extrication, caused them to sink 
deeper and deeper stiU in the soft and miry beds where we find their bones re- 
posing ? 

When did these animals live and when did they perish, are questions no 
more easy of solution. Were they pre- Adamites, and did they graze upon the 

* Eug'er.  

38 Legends of Ike Shawangunk. 

meadows and slopes of Shawangunk in the sunhght of that early period, ere 
man had been created? Or were they ante-dQuvian, and carried to a common 
grave by the deluge of the Scriptures ? Or were they post-dQuvian only, and, 
untn a very recent period, wandered over these bills and browsed in these val- 

A formidable "objection to these animals having lived %'vathin a few hundred 
years is the difficulty of so enormous a creatm-e obtaining sustenance foi- him- 
self tlirough om- winters. It would seem that the mastodon hved in a paUvon- 
tological period more remote, when the cUmate was wai'mer, since the allied 
huge animals do hve in warmer latitudes. Perhaps it was the change of ch- 
mate that destroyed the mastodon. 

Geologists are of opinion that the mastodon flourished about the middle of 
the tertiaiy period. If so, these creatures were here ages before man was 
created. The period of their extinction is thought to be more doubtful, probably 
just before the estabhshing of the fii'st human pair in the Garden of Eden. 

The mastodon belongs to the graminivorous class of quadnipeds. Had he 
belonged to the caiTiivorous race, subsisting on flesh, he would have been the 
most destructive butcher of which we could possibly conceive 

" OtisviUe, Otisvillel'" shouts the trainman from a set of stentorian lungs, 
opening the door of the Erie Railway passenger coach as the train slows up at 
a little station high up the slope of the Shawangunk, at the eastern portal of 
the "Pass of the Mountains.' We ahghted on the platform, and the train 
proceeded on its Avay through the deep cleft in the momitain, and the rum- 
bhng was lost in the distance as it crept along the dizzy heights of the Avestera 

"Will you please point the way to the swamp where the Mount Hope 
mastodon was found \ ' ' we said to the fii-st man we met, who happened to be 
the vfllage post-master 

" Certainly; come with me. I am going that way and will show you the 

Following liis directions, after a walk of about a mile over a rough comitry 
road, we came to the place indicated. The swamp has no distinguishing fea- 
tures, and covers a tract of some half-dozen acres. The liighway winds to one 
side of it, while a side-hiU pastm-e borders the other. The mastodon's remains 
wei'e found near the lower end, only a few feet from sohd gi-ound. The crea- 
ture had evidently ventured into the swamp in search of food, got mired in the 
peat and marl, and perished there — the skeleton being preserved from decay by 
the antiseptic properties of those substances that were instrumental in causing 
its death. 

There is an excavation some ten or more yards in diameter where the bones 
Avere exhumed, which is now filled with water. The circumstances under which 
the IMount Hope fossil was fomid are these: 

Some years ago a family by the name of Mitchel, residing in New York 
city, purchased a farm in the vicinity of Otisville. The land was none of the 


The Ulastodon. 

best; but with commendable enterprise they immediately set about imijrovni: 
the property. Soon a large and commodious brick house was built; fences and 
outbuildings repaii'ed; and the muck and marl from the swamp a few rods 
from the house were drawn out and spread upon the upland. 

The place for the excavation was chosen solely on the ground of conven- 
ience in getting the product to the upland; by a fortunate coincidence that was 
the place where the creature went into the swamp and perished. One day 
while the men were at woi'k they came upon a bone. Its gTeat size astonished 
them and they could not divine what sort of animal it had belonged to. Soon 
after they came upon more bones, similar in form to the bones of animals with 
which they were famihar, only they were of mammoth size. At last they came 
to the bones of the pehas, which were of such huge dimensions that the whole 
neighborhood flocked to behold the curiosity. 

The Mitchels kejrt at the work of digging, but they now had a double pur- 
pose in view. At first the parts of the skeletcin were thrown carelessly into a 
heap, and left there unprotected. Now, as fast as found, they were carefuUy 
guarded, and stored away under lock and key. 

As the work proceeded the water became troublesome. The owner of the 
farm, believing he had found a prize, arranged to have the water pumped out 
while the search continued. The result of their labors was the exhuming of 
one of the most perfect fossil remains of the extinct mastodon that has ever 
been found, and which weighed about seventeen hundred pounds: the skeleton 
when put together stood over ten feet in height, and nearly fifteen in length. 
Some minor parts were missing, either not having been exhumed by reason of 
the difficulty experienced in digging, or having been carried away as souvenirs 
by cindous visitors before their value was known 

News of the finding of this valuable geological specimen spread through the 
countiy. Inquiries poured in by every mail, and some of the leading colleges 
took measures to secure it for their respective cabinets. Negotiations with the 
college authorities reached the point which made it certain that either Yale or 
Princeton would carry off the prize; and the question which of the two should 
get it would depend on whether a Yale or a Princeton representative arrived 
first on the gi'ound. 

Prof. Waterhouse Hawkins, of Princeton college, took passage on a train 
that was scheduled to stop at Otisville, the nearest station on the Erie railroad. 
Prof. O. C. Marsh, of Yale college, adopted, as he said, his usual custom, and 
took the first and s■^^^ftest train that started in the direction he wanted to go, 
and did not trouble himself to inquire whether it stopped at Otisville or not. 
The latter found means to induce the conductor of the train to slow up at a 
point nearest the Mitchell farm; and when Prof. Hawkins arrived by the ac- 
connnodation train some hours later, the Avritings were all drawn in favor of 
Yale, and Prof. Marsh had made all sure by a payment on the same. And 
that is why the Mount Hope mastodon to-day graces the Yale museum instead 
of the college cabinet at Princeton. 

40 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

A resident of Otisville, who was personally acquainted with the conductor 
of the train on which the Yale professor took passage, said to him a few days 
afterwards: — " You had a distinguished jDassenger on board of your train the 
other day, I hear." 

' ' Not that I know of, ' ' said the conductor. 

"Didn't you slow up your train to let a gentleman off ?"-• mentioning 
the day. 

"Yes, I did." 

" That passenger was Prof. Marsh, of Yale college. Now tell me how you 
came to accommodate him so far as to let him get off between stations." 

"Well, I'U tell you how that came about," rephed the railway official, 
knockiiig the ashes from his Havana, and assuming an air of gravity; "you 
see, that fellow had some deuced good cigars with hiin!" 

Dr. Theo. Writer, of Otisville, was present when the Professor was pack- 
ing the mastodon in boxes. The Doctor had in his possession the skull of a 
weasel; and loiowing that Prof. Marsh was an authoritj" on skeletons, took it 
down to show him. " Here, Professor," said the Doctor, " here is a skull not 
quite so large as the one you are packing in that box, but if you will accei)t it 
with my compliments, you are w^elcome to it." 

The Professor looked at it and instantly exclaimed, "That is a weasel's 
skull." And then he went on to give some facts in natural history relating to 
those mischievous little animals. He thanked Dr. Writer for the skull, — no 
gift could have pleased him better. Doubtless that weasel's skull occupies a 
niche in the Yale college museum to tliis day 



IT was early in the month of June — that season of the year in which natui-e as- 
sumes her holiday garb, ere the smi has parched vegetation or the heat be- 
come unbearable— that the follo^vulg incidents are said to have transpu-ed. The 
wheat-fields of ancient Wildwyck were undulating gi-acefully before the sum- 
mer breeze; the rusthug blades of corn gave promise of a i-ich and abimdant har- 
vest, and the forests were gorgeous mth the blossoming laurel and May-apple. 
The high stockade fence, the block-houses and bastions, and log cabins 
pierced with port-holes, seemed out of place in such a scene of pastoral beauty 
and repose. But the surromiding wilderness, melodious mth wild-bird song, 
and fragrant with the perfume of wUd flowers, Avas the covert of beasts of prey 
and lurking savages; hence the utmost chcumspection was necessaiy to protect 
themselves against surprise. A guard was always stationed at the foit, and 

Catlierinc DiiBois. 41 

"vvhen the inhabitants went to lalior in the fields they did so with their arms 
close at hand. 

It was on the morning of the memorable 7th day of June that Lewis Du 
Bois arose and went about his morning duties. Returning to his log cabin 
for breakfast at the usual time, and the meal not being ready, acting under the 
impulse of the moment, he gave vent to his feelings in some unpleasant words. 
The gentle Catherine, who had left her beloved home in the Fatherland, where 
she possessed every comfort, choosing to follow the fortune of Lewis in a new 
and savage country, mider all the privations of a backwoods life, — Catherine 
looked at her husband in surprise at his imwonted words; a tear started to 
trickle down the cheek of the yomig wife, as she seemed on the point of giving 
way to a burst of sobs, but she suddenly checked herself, and assuming the 
dignity of injured innocence, curtly answered him. In short this couple, on 
this eventful day, had their first serious misunderstanding. 

Tlie breakfast was over at last. Unlike all other meals no brisk conver- 
sation was kept up. In fact tins particular breakfast was jiartaken of in 
silence, and at its close Lewis arose to go. It was his turn to labor in the field; 
his work lay some distance from home, and he was to take his noonday repast 
with him. His wife had prepared a choice venison steak, some fresh fish from 
the creek, a cake of the sweetest corn bread, and butter made by her own 
skilled hands; these she now handed him, packed carefully away in a neat little 
basket fashioned of white birch-bark. This she did with an averted glance, 
without proffering the accustomed good-bye. 

Lewis was deeply pained at this: he could but think he was to blame for it 
all. Still his pride stood in the way of an acknowledgement on his part. Once 
on the tlu-eshold he was tempted to return and plead forgiveness; as he passed 
the little window he saw Catherine seated at the puncheon table, with her face 
buried in her hands. He would have gone back, but hearing his name called 
by other members of the working party who were awaiting him, he turned to 
accompany them. 

During the morning Lewis felt ill at ease. His companions noted his taci- 
turnity and vainly tried to elicit the cause. The day dragged wearily l)y; he 
longed for the hour to come when he could hasten to her side and plead for- 
giveness. What if something should occvn-, and be be not permitted to see her 
again! The thought startled him hke a presentiment. 

Notwitlistanding a guaid had been left at Wildwyck, so long a time had 
transpired since any act of atrocity had been committed, that those ordinary 
measures of safety that prudence woidd Jiave dictated were often disregarded. 
On this particular morning a number of savages were noticed about the village, 
going from house to house ostensiblj' to dispose of some maize and a few beans. 
They had entered by all of the gates, coming in singly, or by twos and threes; 
and the people were unsuspectful that a large body of savages were in their 
very midst, ready at the favorable moment to enter upon the work of merciless 
slaughter and pillage. 

42 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

Presently some people on horseback were seen approaching from the direc- 
tion of the new village. They were enveloped in a cloud of dust, and were 
evidently under great excitement. As they drew nearer the people coUected 
to learn the cause of alarm. 

"Indians!" shouted the horsemen. "The Indians have burnt the new 
village; to arms ! to arms 1" 

Almost instantly the war-whoop sounded, and it seemed as if Indians rose 
up in the fated village of Wildwyck by magic, so rapidly did they pour out of 
the log cabins and places of hiding. The work of shooting, tomahawking and 
scalping began. The screams of affrighted Avomen and children, the shouts of 
the men, the groans of the dying, were soon mingled with the roaring of the 
flames and the dreadful sounds of carnage. 

At the time of the attack Lewis was some miles away. The alarm guns 
were fired— the signal for every man to return to the fort. He knew some sud- 
den and appalhng danger was impending over the settlement. 'Then immedi- 
ately followed the rattle of musketry. The fort was attacked. He saw the 
smoke curhng up in the summer sky— the smoke of bm-ning dwellings, and 
what if his owni house was among those marked for destruction ! Solicitude 
lent speed to his steps. On every hand settlers were rushing in the direction of 
the fort, the deepest anxiety depicted on every countenance, for aU, like Lewis, 
had dear ones in peril. 

As Lewis drew nearer the stockade he could distinguish the exultant yells 
of the savages— he Imew the guard had been overpowered. The crackling of 
the flames was distinctly discernible, and the smoke and embers w-ent up from 
new points as the houses were successively fired. Now he heard the i)iercing 
shriek of a female and again the wail of a child. Oh, that he had wings to fly 
to the rescue! 

Ere he came up, breathless, with a score or more of his companions, the 
strife had ceased. The Indians had beheld the reinforcement coming; and se- 
curing such of the booty as they could carry away, together with a number of 
prisoners, they had made good their retreat. Le^as, pale and anxious, rushed 
in thi'ough the gate of the fort. On every side he beheld evidences of slaughter 
and destruction. Dwellings in flames; bodies lying about the streets, scalped 
and otherwise mutilated; friends gathered about the corpses of companions; 
others running frantically about inquiring for missing relatives, while all 
seemed overwhelmed with grief and terror. 

With forebodings Lewis rail to the spot where his cabin stood, where he 
had the last glimpse of his wife at the homely breakfast table a few hours be- 
fore, only to find his home a mass of ruins. He called loudly her name, but no 
response came. Was she taken prisoner or had she shared in the fate of many 
others, who met death by the flames that devoured their homes ? AU were too 
much absorbed in their own giief to heed Iris eager inquiries, or could not give 
him the desired mformation. 

The dead had been collected, such as had not been consumed in the burning 

Catherine DiiBois. 43 

dwellings. Ten men, one woman and three children were among the victims. 
Bleeding, mutilated by the murderous tomahawk, the bodies were laid side by 
side, while sounds of bitter grief were uttered by bursting hearts. Not a soul 
among the li\ang, gathered about the remains of the fallen, but had its store of 
grief. Such a feehng of desolation, dread, sorroAv mingled with regret, as filled 
the hearts of the survivoi's of the massacre of Wildwyck, when they realized the 
loss of friends and homes — such anguish and utter hopelessness, can only be 
realized by those who have passed through the ordeal. 

Among those most deeply stricken was Lewis DuBois. His house and all 
his earthly goods were in ashes; his wife, he at last learned, had been carried 
off a prisoner with other females and some children; and though he could not 
mourn her as dead, yet she might be reserved for a worse fate. It was not the 
least poignant part of his regret that the last words spoken to her — the last he 
might ever be permitted to speak— were those of anger; and that his last re- 
membrance of her was her form seated at the little table sobbing at his harsh 

But those border men were not the ones to waste precious moments in out- 
ward exliibitions of grief when dut}- called to act. To prepare the dead for 
burial, and, if i)ossible, to rescue the prisoners, were measures immediately re- 
solved upon. Tlie former was a sad duty, the latter a most dangerous task. 
All fear was banislied from those whose wives and children were in the hands 
of savages; they would dare anything that promised a rescue. While a few 
were left in cliarge of the fort, a band of thirty resolute men were assembled 
and sent in pursuit of the savages. With heavy hearts and anxious forebod- 
ings the remnant of the village saw this little band of heroes depart on their 
errand of difficulty and danger, following them with tearful and prayerful anx- 
iety until they disajjpeared in the adjacent forest, when they betook themselves 
to the sad rites of the sepultui"e of their slain comrades. 

We A\ ill n<>xt follow the adventures of the weeping captives, torn from 
their homes by a band of whooping savages, red v/ith the blood of their slaugh- 
tered relatives. For the first few miles the demeanor of their savage captors 
was hareh and violent. They would menace them with the tomahawk by way 
of m-ging them to a more rapid movement. The Indians evidently feared pur- 
suit, and they were anxious to put as many miles between tliem and their pos- 
sible pursuers as they could. Once out of reacii of immediate danger tlie party 
slackened their pace, and conducted the retreat more leisurely. Just before 
nightfall one of the prisoners gave out; she was tomahawked and scalped, and 
left where she fell. At last a halt was ordered, and the party prepared to 
bivouac for the night. 

Fires were lighted, and the savages arranged themselves for the evening 
meal. The prisoners were permitted to remain in company, a little apart from 
the savages, witli a single sentinel to keep watch over them. They were not a 
little alarmed at tlie noise made by the wild animals in the woods around them, 
but were spared the knowledge at the time that those sounds were made by 

44 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

beasts of prey, as they fought and feasted on the body of theii- lamented sister, 
tomahawked that afternoon. 

They were here destined to have the remembrance of their misfortunes 
awakened anew, as the savages displayed the booty they had carried off from 
the fort. Mrs. B. beheld a scarlet cloak that her Little boy wore when he was 
brained by a savage— his scream of terror was still ringmg in her ears. Mrs. 
G. recognized a coat as belonging to lier husband, who was sliot do^^^l and 
scalped before her eyes. Catherine DuBois beheld aU this A\-ith feelings of 
mingled emotion. As far as she knew her husband was alive. And as the oc- 
currences of the day came up before her she thought was she not a little at 
fault for the misimderstanding of the morning ? ]\Iight she not have been a 
little more patient, and not have cast back such a retort ? It was their first 
quarrel, and now they might never meet again. Ah, those words ! would they 
had remained unspoken ! 

The next morning the party again took up the line of march, following the 
alluAual bottoms along the baiiks of a stream. Towards noon a messenger ar- 
rived, and after a huiTied consultation the savages divided into two parties, the 
larger one under the leadersliip of a hideously painted savage, while the smaller 
kept to the original comse, which continued in charge of the prisoners. 

Towards the close of the day a halt was called. The captives had now 
traversed the whole distance between the present city of Kingston and the head 
waters of the Shawangunk kill. The savages, probably deeming themselves 
safe from pursuit, had for some time omitted the i^recautions they obsei-ved 
early in their flight, but little heed being paid to their captives other than keep- 
ing them within view. 

Catherine and her companions now beheld some movements of the Indians 
that concerned them gi-eatly. Some of their captors had been gathering fagots 
and piling them into heaps — equal in number to the prisoners — while others 
were driving sharpened stakes into the ground near the pUes of sticks. Under 
other circumstances these proceedings would have filled them \\4th consterna- 
tion; but these heroic women actually looked upon these preparations for their 
own tortm-e with a degree of satisfaction, as they behaved they beheld evidence 
of a speedy deliverance from their earthly troubles. 

The band of Christian women bowed their heads and prayed to the Giver 
of aU Good, that He would, in His infinite mei'cy, if consistent with His wiU, 
restore them to their hoiues and families; or if it should be theirs to suffer at 
the stake, that He would impart strength for the terrible ordeal that they be- 
held awaiting them. Then their pent-up feelings broke forth in song; and 
wilh swelling hearts, yet with voices unbroken, those captives sang Marot's 
beautiful French hynm, of which the following is a part : 

By BabeVs stream the captives sate 
And wept for Zion"s hapless fate; 
Useless their harps on willows hung, 
"While foes required a sacred song. 

Greycourt Inn. 45 

"While thus they sang tlie niournei-s viewed 
Their foes by Cyrus's arm subdued, 
And saw his glory rise, who spread 
Their streets and fields with hosts of dead. 

This was the first Christian song heard on the banks of the Shawangunk 
kill. Tradition says the savages were charmed with the music, and delayed 
the execution of the singers while they listened. Was the last stanza given 
above prophetic of what was then and there to take place '\ In answer to their 
prayers, God had sent them dehverance. A panic seized the red men, and 
they fled in dismay for the mountains. The captives, not knowing the cause 
of alarn), ran after them; but they presently heard the somid of well-known 
voices calling them back. The next moment they were clasped in the arms of 
their husbands and brothers. 

The day was too far spent to start on the return journey, so they composed 
themselves for the night, witli the dried leaves of the preceding autumn for 
couches, and the overhanging branches for shelter. The fires were lighted of 
the fagots gathered by the Indians, tliough, providentially, not for the original 
purpose of torture, but for warmth and comfort. 

The night was sleepless. Each recounted to the others matters of interest 
relating to the death of friends at the \'illage, and incidents of the captivity and 
pursuit. The sympatliy of all was di-awn out towards one of the relieving 
party, who, the day ])revious, liad come upon the remains of his wife in the 
woods. It was she who had been tomahawked and scalped, not having the 
strength to keep up with the other prisoners: a pack of wolves had devoured 
most of the flesh, the only means of identification being her dress. Tlie jour- 
ney home was begun next morning, where a warm welcome awaited them. 


PASSENGERS by the Erie railway, as the train slows up at an unassuming- 
station in southern Orange, will hear the stentorian voice of the train- 
njan call out "Greycourt." This appellation, so rythmical, and made up of 
such a strange combination, at once wins the attention of the tourist; and he 
casts about him for some romantic incident that may have given rise to the 
name. He moves up to the nearest bystander, who appears to be a resident, 
and blandly inquires what this uncanny title means, and is answered in the 
prevalent dialect, " Dun-no." A second venture is met with—'" Can't teU, boss- 
give us an easier one I" The name cannot be of Indian origin, nor does it savor 
of having been handed down from the broad-breeched Dutch ancestral popula- 
tion of the valley; yet it has an historical significance if tradition is to be be- 

46 Legends of the Shawanguiik. 

It was at a time when thousands of oppressed subjects, fleeing from the in- 
tolerance and tyranny of old Eui'ope, first sought freedom and happiness in the 
new land beyond the seas — the America of the west. William Bull, an Irish- 
man, with no fortune but youth and a good constitution, imbiliing the prevalent 
feehng among aU classes, took passage in an English packet bound for New 
York. He counted his money — five guineas— to the sldpper of the packet, and 
was told tlie amount would pay foj" his passage. Arrived in port he tendered 
his five guineas, and was grufflj' told it was not enough. " But it's all I've got," 
said the Irishman. ' ' Then you must be sold to pay the balance of your pas- 
sage money, " said the captain . All expostulation was A'ain; and the skipper 
affected to have no recollection of a preA^ious understanding. William BuU saw 
he was in the captain's power: the laws of England made it obligatory on his 
part to render an equivalent i^ hard labor for the balance claimed, and he had 
no friend to take up his cause against the inirpose of the over-reaching captain. 

" Then I'U go back in the ship," said the outraged Irishman; " if I've got 
to be a slave, I'U be one in my own land!" 

It so occurred that Daniel Cromhne, who resided on the Wawaya'nda pat- 
ent, was then in tlie port at which the packet had arrived. The advent of a 
ship in port in those days was an occasion of importance, and always drew a 
crowd of interested persons and curiosity seekers, and Cromline was among the 
number attracted thither by the novelty. The story of the Irish passenger had 
got abroad, and his case had excited considerable sympathy, especially as the 
avarice and tyranny of sea-captains was a trait by no means rare. Cromline, 
heing in want of a " hand " at his new settlement, forthwith asked to be pre- 
sented to the distressed passenger. The result of the interview was that Crom- 
line advanced an amount covering the deficit in Bull's passage money, and took 
the grateful Irishman home with him. 

Wilham Bull proved to be a great accession to the working force of the new 
settlement in the wilderness. He was strong and -willing, and of a mild and 
hopeful disposition. He was skillful in the use of tools, and fertile in expedi- 
ents — quahties that were especially valuable where tools were scarce and the 
facilities limited; and where, if a much-needed article was obtained, it had to be 
ordered from Holland, or England, and a year was required to get it. 

Daniel Cromline set to work to construct a log mansion that should be far 
superior to any house for miles around. As an iiuiovation in the building art, 
the prmcheon was discarded, and real boards, sawed by Avhips in a saw-pit, en- 
tered into the construction of the floors and doors, and were held m place with 
wooden pins. The prime workman and cMef architect was WiUiam Bull, but 
for whose ingenuity and physical strength the edifice would have been lacking 
in many of its sterling excellencies. 

Though William Bull had emigrated thousands of miles from the scenes of 
his j^outh, and had apparently buried himself in the heart of a vast wildemess, 
it must not be supposed that he had turned savage like the wild beasts and In- 
dians by Avhom he was surrounded. His young and susceptible heart began to 

Grcyconrf Inn. 47 

feel the promptings Of the tender sentiment; and fortunately for liini, Pro\'i- 
deuce had provided a trim and comely lass who was to reciprocate his passion. 

The youtlif ul and imaginative reader has doubtless already jiictured tlie long 
and sentimental walks of these lovers under the sombre shadows of the forest 
by moonlight; or the more cosy and confidential talks seated on the slab bench 
before the roaring fire-place after the old folks had retired, while the wolves 
howled without, and the panther screamed from the lonely glen; and has fan- 
cied the friends of the lady at first objecting to the match, but finally, one and 
all, brought over in favor of the Irishman. And so the story would read, if it 
were the work of fiction; but the stern logic of facts compels the statement 
that there were no friends to concihate, and no old folks to propitiate, for the 
bride was as fi'iendless and portionless as the groom himself. 

Like her future liege lord, Sarah Wells, by the stern and exacting laws of 
the period, had been reduced to involuntary servitude to a landed proprietor on 
Long Island. By the \icissitudes of fortune her master had lost his projierty, 
and Sarah had made her way by the assistance of some friendly Indians t< > tlie 
neighborhood of Goshen. Here her dusky friends had built her a log hut, and 
supplied her for a time with venison, until chance threw her in the way of 
William Bull. 

The marriage ceremony took place in the Cromline log palace, a local mag- 
istrate officiating. Bull was an Episcopalian; his creed required the publication 
of the bans three times, but this formulary was looked upon with disfavor, in- 
asmuch as its observance would defer the wedding-day. The magistrate was 
equal to the emergency— he could both satisfy the scruples of William and 
promptly tie the nuptial knot at the same time. 

So the magistrate went to the rear door of the Cromline mansion and pro- 
claimed aloud to the trees of the forest — " If anyone has any objection to the 
marriage of Williafu Bull and Sarah Wells, let him now make it known, or 
forever keep silent;" and ha^'ing so proclaimed, shut the door and passed to 
the front of the house. This he did tlu-ee times. The forest trees offering no 
objection, he commanded the high contracting parties to stand up before him; 
and then and there was performed the first wedding ceremony, according to 
the usages of civilized society, in the town of Goshen. 

The wedding-feast at the Cromline cabin absorbed the talk for weeks for 
the entire settlement; a slab table, made like a bench, without a spread of any 
kind, was loaded down with refreshments. These were of a plain but substan- 
tial sort. There was the toothsome and tender venison done up in pot-roasts 
and tempting steaks; there was the succulent and juicy wild-turkey, hot and 
steaming, and served iip in a dish of its own gi'av^^ there was the rich and 
tempting corn, grown in the natural meadows on the "drowned lands." and 
made into pone, which served in lieu of wedding-cake, while nietheglin was the 
principal beverage that washed them down. The plates on which the repast 
was served varied in size and pattern, some being of pewter, but more of wood; 
their knives were mainly butcher knives, While their forks were sharpened 

48 Legends of the Shazvangiuik. 

sticks. A dance closed the festivities, aud all made men-}- to the sound of the 
fiddle. All the hunters and frontiersmen for miles around were required to 
make up the party. The men in deerskin breeches and rakish coon-skin caps, 
and the backwoods belles in garb scarcely less primitive, showed to good ad- 
vantage as jigs, four-hand I'eels and double-shuffles were executed iia true fron- 
tier style — for your sedate and spiritless modern cotiUion was to them a thing 
imknown. The old log house stiU stands, almost within sound of the stii" and 
bustle of Goshen, where this couple first set up housekeeping, aud their nu- 
merous descendants to-day are among the most prosperous and influential of the 
valley. The annual gathering of the Bull family is now a firmly established 

The Cromline log mansion, after this event, speedilj- acquired a celebrity 
in border parlance. It was located on the route leading from New Windsor to 
New Jersey; its owner, with an eye to the main chance, entertained travelers 
between those points, and it soon grew to a popular inn, and a place of resort 
for aU classes. As was meet for aU inns of standing and pretension, it Avas in 
due time graced with a sign, in front. This was of an oval shape, painted and 
decorated on either side, and suspended by hinges from a cross-piece on the top 
of a pole some twenty feet high that stood apart from the building. On one 
side of this sign, out of customary deference to the King — for this was before 
the Eevolution — was painted the arms of royalty; on the other, in gaudy colors, 
was represented a goose, because of the proximity of Goose Pond swamp. 
That old house was privileged to behold many a jovial revel, of a different sort 
from the wedding-feast of Mr. and Mrs. William Bull. During the wild days 
of Indian warfare many a redskui passed beneath the sign of the Old Goose 
for his drink of fire-water. And during the trying times of the Revolutionary 
struggle, it was the resort of Whigs, Tories, Cowboys, and mai-auders of eveiy 
sort, who needed the stimulus of brandy to nerve them to their work. That 
house stood for 116 years; when decay and the march of improvement con- 
signed it, notwithstanding all its associations, to the doom of demolition. 

During the War of Independence, the sign with its opiDrobrious English coat- 
of-arms,* came to be the butt of endless jokes and gibes. But the landlord did 
not choose to abate the nuisance The painting finally became weather-beaten; 
the gaudy colors faded; the coat-of-arms turned to an uncertain gi'ey, and was 
derisively dubbed "Grey Coat. " This was gradually metamorphosed into "Grey- 
court, "f a name which the localit}^ still retains. 

* A crown-stone had been obtained from England at agreat outlay for the '" old jail '" at Goshen. 
Bnt such was the feeling against everything that savored of Great Britain that Gabriel Wisner, with 
the approval of tlie people, demolished the offending crown-stone with a hammer. 

f It may interest the reader to trace the transition from primitive " Duck Cedar" into classic 
" Tuxedo." 

JJni/sink Battle. 49 


BRANT and his fighting men were the scourge of the Shawangiink region 
(luring the entire War of the Revohitiou. His name was a terror to tlie 
inhal)itants of that locahty; and deeds of blood and cruelty, performed by 
him and under liis direction, are told to this day that are too harrowing for 

Historians differ as to whether Col. Joseph Brant was a half-breed or a pure- 
blood Mohawk. The traits of character developed in his career would seem to 
indicate the latter as being nearer the truth. He had one sister, Molly, who 
became the leman of Sir WiUiam Johnson. Brant was placed, through the in- 
fluence of Sir William, at a school in Lebanon, Connecticut, where the lad was 
educated for the Christian ministry. It would appear, however, he adopted an 
entirely different mode of life. At the age of twenty he Ijecame the secretary 
and agent of Sir William, through whose influence he was induced to espouse 
the cause of Great Britain in the revolutionary trouble that was brewing. 
Through the same influence he was created a Colonel of the British army; and 
by reason of his birth was a warrior-chief of the Iroquois. Having had the ad- 
vantages of a liberal echication, he became, in consequence, an influential per- 
sonage anaong them, and was treated with much consideration by the British 
monarch. He organized and sent forth the predatory bands of Indians which 
devastated the frontier from the Water-Gap to the Mohawk river. Some of 
these irniptions he commanded in person, particularly those \vhicli visited 
Wawarsing (LTlster county) and Minisink. In 17S0 he boasted that the Esopus 
border was his old fighting ground. 

His personal appearance is thus described: " He was good looking, of fierce 
aspect, tall, and rather spai-e, and well-spoken. He wore moccasins elegantly 
trimmed with beads, leggings, and a breech-cloth of superfine lihie, a short, 
green coat with two silver epaulets, and a small, romid laced hat. By his side 
was an elegant, silver- mounted cutlass; and his blanket of blue cloth (purposely 
dropped in the chair on which he sat, to display his epaidets) was gorgeously 
adorned with a border of red." 

Brant has been denounced as an inhuman wretch. Even an English au- 
thor attributes to him the atrocities of Wyoming. Although in battle he gen- 
erally gave full scope to the murderous propensities of his followers, it cannot 
be denied he endeavored to mitigate the horrors of war whenevei' he could do 
so without destro3'ing his influence with his own race. 

During the summer of 1779, Brant with about three hundred Iroquois war- 
riors set out from Niagara. About the middle of .Jidy they appeared on the 
heights on the west of Minisink. like a dark cloud hanging on the mountain 
tops, ready to break upon the plain below. Just before daylight, on the morn- 

50 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

ing of the 20th, the inhabitants of the valley were awakened from their slum- 
beis by the craclding of the flames of their dwellings. Cries of dismay, the 
shrieks of the victims of the tomahawk and scalping knife, and the war-whoop 
of the savages, broke npon the morning air in all their terror. Some managed 
to escape to the woods with their wives and children, and some to tlie block- 
houses. The savages and Tories plundered, burned and killed as they were 

After destroying twenty-one dwellings and barns, together with tlie old 
Mamachamack church and a grist-mil], and killing an unknown number of pa- 
triots, the enemy disappeared loaded with spoil. They did not attack any of the 
block-houses, for which the red men entertained a wholesome fear. 

On the evening of the same da)' Col. Tusten, of Goshen, received intelli- 
gence by an express of the events of the moiTung. He immediately issued or- 
ders to the officers of his command to meet him the following morning (tlie 
21st) with as many volunteers as they could raise. One hundred and forty- 
nine men were at the i^lace of rendezvous at the apiJointed time. 

A council of war was held to consider the expediency of pursuit. Col. 
Tusten was opposed to risking an encounter with the noted Mohawk chief, es- 
pecially as his followers outnumbered the Goshen niihtia, two to one. Besides 
the militiamen were not weU suppUed with arms and ammunition, and the 
Colonel counseled that they wait for reinforcements which were ceilain to ar- 
rive. Others, however, were for immediate pursuit. They affected to hold the 
Indians in contempt; and declared that they would not fight, and that a I'ecap- 
ture of the plunder was an easy achievement. The counsels of reckless Ijravery, 
nntempered by reason and intelligence, are not always wisest to follow. The 
deliberations were cut short hj Major Meeker, who, mounting his horse and 
flourishing his sword, vauntingly called out — "Let the brave men follow me; 
ihe cowards may stay behind!" 

This appeal decided the question; it silenced the prudent. The line of 
march was immediatel}^ taken up, following the old Cochecton trail seventeen 
miles, where they encamped at Skinner's miU. 

The pursuit was commenced some time in the night. Tradition and the 
testimony of old papers shoAv that the party reached the house of James Finch, 
at what is now Finchville, where they took breakfast. Mr. Finch slaughtered 
a hog, which he roasted and served up to his guests. The patriots partook of 
a hurried meal, gathered up the fragments of the hog into their knapsacks, and 
continued their march over the mountain. They told Mr. Finch not to accom- 
pany them, but to stay and have dinner ready for them on their return, as they 
would be gone but a few hours. Their way led them along the depression 
where the present highway is laid, past the bru-ial ground where the dead of 
the settlement were formerly buried; and from the summit of the pass nearly 
half of. their number took their last view of the eastern slopes. 

Crossing the mountain, they reached the house of Major Decker, then 
pushed on over an Indian trail seventeen miles fm'ther. How many of our 

Afnu'snik Battle. 51 

strongest men, iu these effeminate days, could endure such a tramp, encum- 
bered with guns and knapsacks ? 

On the morning of the 22nd they were joined by a small reinforcement of 
the Warwick regiment under Col. Hathorn, wlio, as the senior of Tusten, took 
the connuand. At Halfway brook they came upon the Indian encampment 
of the previous night, and another council was held. Colonels Hathorn, Tusten 
and others were opposed to advancing further, as the number of Indian fires, 
and the extent of ground the enemy had occupied, were conclusive evidence of 
the superiority of Brant's force. A scene similar to that which had bi-okeu up 
the former couucU was here enacted, with the same results. The voice of pru- 
dence liad less influence than the voice of bravado. It is said that the officer to 
whose tauntings this last rash act is attributed made quite a display of his 
bravery while on the march, but, with his company, was only irithin .hearing 
while the engagement lasted, and could not be induced to go to the rehef of his 

It was evident that Brant was not far in advance, and it was important to 
know whether he intended to cross the Delaware at the usual fording -place. 
Captains Tyler and Cuddeback, both of whom had some knowledge of the 
woods, were sent forward with a small scouting party to reconnoitre Brant's 
movements. What they saw led them to think Brant had already crossed, as 
there were savages and plunder on the opposite shore, and an Indian was then 
passing over, mounted on a horse that had been stolen from Major Decker. 
The two scouts fired at this fellow, and, it is said, womided him fatally. But 
they were immediately shot at by some savages in their rear, and Capt. Tyler 
fell dead. Cuddeback succeeded in reaching the main body of the militiamen, 
and reported what lie had seen and heard. Tyler's death caused a profound 
sensation among his fellow soldiers, but it only served to add fierceness to their 

After leaving the mouth of the Half wa}^ brook * (now Barry ville) it is be- 
lieved that Brant followed the river bank to the Lackawaxen ford, to which 
he had sent his plunder in advance. Hathorn resolved to intercept him at the 
crossing, and to do so attempted to reach the ford first by a rapid march over 
the higli gi'ouud east of the river. As they approached the ground on which 
the battle was fought. Brant was seen deliberately marching toward the ford. 
Owing to intervening woods and hills, the belligei'ents lost sight of each other, 
when Brant wheeled to the right and passed up a ravine known as Dry brook, 
over which Hathorn's route lay. By this stratagem, Brant was enabled to 
throw himself into Hathorn's rear, cutting off a portion of Hathorn's command, 
deliberately selecting his ground for a battle, and forming an amlniscade. 

The battle-ground, says Quinlan, is situated on the crest of a hill, half a 
mile northeasterly from the Dry brook at its nearest point, three miles distant 

* We follow the description given by Quinlan, in his admirable History of Sullivan, as tlie best 
yet given of the battle. 

52  Legends of the Shawatigtink. 

from Barryville and one from Lacka waxen. The hill has an altitude of twent)''- 
five or thirty feet above its base, and two hundred above the Delaware, and 
descends east, west and south, while there is a nearly level plateau extending 
toward the north. This level gromid is rimmed (particularly on the south side) 
with an irregular and broken ground of rocks. On that part of the ground 
nearest the river the Americans were hemmed in, and caught like rats in a 

Tlie battle commenced at nine in the morning. Before a gun was fired. 
Brant appeared in fuU view of the Americans, told them his force was superior 
to theirs, and demanded their suiTender, i^romising them protection. "While 
engaged in jmrley, he was shot at by one of the militiamen, the ball passing 
tlu'ough Brant's belt. Tlie Avarrior thereupon withdrew and joined liis men. 

The battle opened and the forces were soon engaged in deadly conflict. 
Above the din of the strife, the voice of Brant was heard, in tones never to be 
forgotten by those who survived, giving orders for the return of those who 
Avere on the opposite side of the river. 

A part of the Americans kept the savages in check on the north side of the 
battle-ground, Avhile others threw up hastily a breastwork of stones about one 
hundred and fifty feet from the ledge Avhich terminated the southern extremity 
of the i^lateau. Confined to about an acre of ground, screened by trees, rocks, 
flat stones turned on their edges, or Avhatever opportunity offered or exigency 
demanded, Avere ninetj' braA^e men, Avho, Avithout Avater, and surrounded by a 
host of hoAvling saA^ages, fought from ten o'clock to near sundown on a sultry 
July day. 

The disposition of the militia, and the effectual manner in AA^iich every as- 
sailable point Avas defended, reflects credit on the mind that controlled them. 
By dii'ection of Hathorn there was no useless firing. Ammunition Avas short, 
and it was necessary to husband it caref uUy. A gun discharged in any quarter 
roA^ealed the position of its possessor, and left him exposed until he could re- 
load. With the exceptions indicated, every man fought in the Indian mode, 
each for himself, firing as opportunity offered, and engaging in individual con- 
flicts accordmg to the barbarian custom. 

The annals of modern times contain no record of a more stubborn and 
hei'oic defense. In A^ain Brant sought for hours to break through the fine. He 
was repelled at everj' point. 

What the fifty men Avere doing aU that eventful day, who were separated 
from their companions during the morning, no one can now tell. W^e AviU put 
a charitable interpretation on their conduct, and suppose they Avere driA'en aAvay 
by supei'ior numbers. Their moA^ements are A-eiled in obhA'ion, and there let 
them remain. 

As the day dreA\- to a close, Brant became disheartened. The position of 
the brave patriots seemed to be impregnable, and it is said he was about to 
order a retreat when the death of a militiaman opened the Avay into the Amer- 
ican hues. This faithful soldier had been stationed behind a rock on the north- 

Minisink Battle. 53 

west side, where he had remained all day, and kept the savages in check. 
Brant saw the advantage his death afforded, and, with the Indians near him, 
rushed into the midst of the Goshen militia. The latter seeing the savages 
swarming into the centre of the hard-fought field, became demoralized, and 
sought safety by flight. Many of them were killed or wounded in the attempt. 
Some incidents of the battle are worth repeating. 

Brant killed Wisuei- with his own hand. Some years afterward lie was 
heard to say that after the battle was over, he found Wisner on the field so 
badly wounded that he could not live nor be removed; that if he was left alone 
on the battle-field wild l)easts would devom- him; that he was in full possession 
of all his faculties; that for a man to be eaten by wild beasts while alive was 
terril)le; that to save Wisner from such a fate, he engaged him in conversation, 
and shot him dead 

Captain Benjamin Vail was wounded in battle, and after the fight was 
over, was found seated upon a rock, bleedmg. He was kiUed while in this situ- 
ation, and 1)}' a Tory. 

Doctor Tusten was behind a rock attending to the necessities of the wounded 
when tlie retreat commenced. There were seventeen disabled men under his 
care, who appealed for protection and mercy. But the savages fell upon them, 
and all, incluchng the Doctor, fell victims to the tomahawk and scalping-knife. 

Several attem})ted to escape by swimming the Delaware, and were shot. 
Of those engaged in the battle, thirty escaped, and forty-five, it is known, were 
killed. The remainder were taken prisoners, or perished while fugitives in the 

Major Wood, of the militia, though not a Mason, accidentally gave the 
Mason i(; sign of distress. This was observed by Brant, who interposed to save 
Wood's hfe, giving him his own blanket to protect him from the night air 
while sleeping. Discovering subsequently that AVood was not one of the 
Brotlierliood, he denounced the deception as dishonorable, but spared his life. 
The blanket was accidentally damaged while in the prisoner's possession, which 
made Brant very angry. 

One of the militiamen attempted to escape with the others, but was so far 
exliausted that he was forced to turn aside and rest. In a little while he saw 
several Indians, one after the other, pass by in pursuit of the militia, but man- 
aged to keep liimself out of their sight. Presently a large and ])0werful Indian 
discovered him, when, raising his gmi, he fired his last shot and fled. The sav- 
age did not pursue; he was probably disabled by the shot if not killed. 

Samuel Helm was stationed behind a tree, when he discovered the head of 
an Indian thrust from behind a neighboiing trunk, as if looking for a patriot 
to shoot at. Helm fired and the savage fell; but Helm was immediately hit in 
the thigh by a ball from another Indian whom he'had not seen. Helm dropped 
to the earth, but the savage did not immediately itish up to take his scalp, be- 
ing anxious first to discover the result of his shot. This gave Helm a chance 
to reload which he did behind a natural breast- work whick screened him from 

54 Legends of the Shawafigiink. 

view. After dodging about a little the Indian made a dash for his scalj), but 
received a bullet instead, which put an end to his life. Helm said that the 
consternation of the Indian, on being confronted with the muzzle of his gun, 
was traly ridiculous. 

In April of the follo^\^ng year, Brant started from Niagara with another 
force to invade the frontier. At Tioga Point he detailed eleven of his warriors 
to go to Minisink for prisoner's and scalps. With the remainder of his force, 
he started to invest the fort at Scoharie. Here he captured some prisoners 
who made him beheve that the place was garrisoned by several hundred men — 
a bit of strategy that foiled even the wily Indian chieftain. Braut turned back, 
and shaped his course down the Delaware. One day his command was startled 
by the death-yell, which rang tlu'ough the woods like the scream of a demon. 
They paused, waiting for an explanation of this unexpected signal, wlien, pres- 
ently, two of tile eleven Indians who had been sent to the Minisink emerged 
from the woods, bearing the moccasins of their nine companions. They in- 
formed their chief that they had been to ^linisink, where they had captured, 
one after the other, five lusty men, and had brought them as far as Tioga Point 
and encamped for the night. Here, while the eleven Indians were asleep, the 
prisoners had freed themselves from the cords wliicli bomid them, when each 
took a hatchet, and with surprising celeritj' bramed nine of their captors. The 
other two savages, aroused by the noise of the blows, sprang to their feet and 
fled; but as they ran, one of them received the blade of a hatchet between his 
shoulders. Thus was the death of the slain heroes of Minisink avenged. 

For forty- three yeai'S the bones of those heroes slain on the banks of the 
Delaware w'ere allowed to molder on the battle-gi'ound. But one attempt had 
been made to gather them, and that was liy the widows of the slaughtered men, 
of Avhom there were thirty-three in the Presbyterian congregation of Goshen. 
These heroic ladies set out for the battle-field on horseback ; but, finding the 
journey too hazardous, they hu-ed a man to perform the pious duty, wiio proved 
unfaithful and nevei' returned. 

In 1S:?2, the citizens of Goshen were led to perform a long-neglected duty 
by an address of Dr. D. R. ArneU at the annual meeting of the Orange County 
Medical Society, in wiiich he gave a bnef biography of Dr. Tusten. A com- 
mittee w^as 9,ppointed to collect the remains and ascertain the names of the 

The committee at once set upon the duty before them. The first Aax they 
traveled forty miles tlu'ough the wilderness. At Halfway-brook, six mUes 
from the battle ground, the party left their horses. The vicinity was an un- 
broken wilderness, with no trace of improvement of any kind, and the dangej- 
of attempting to ride was so great that they chose to clamber over the rough 
gTound on foot. 

The committee were astonished at the route taken by the little army ; the 
descents were frightful and the country rugged beyond conception. The ma- 
jority of the bones were found on the spot where the battle was fought and 

Miiiisink Jh^tllc. 


near a small niaish or i)oud a few rods east. This fact shows that the militia, 
made reckless by thirst, went for water aiid were kiUed. Some were found at 
a distance of several miles. The}' were the remains probably of wounded 
men, who had wandered away and finally died of their wounds and hunger. 
Wild beasts may liave removed others. The skeleton of one man was found in 
the crevice of a rock where he had i)robal)ly crept and died. The whole num- 
ber of bones coUected by the Committee was about three hundred; other bones 
were subsequently found by himters and brought in 

It may be suggested that all <jf the bones collected may not have been the 
remains of the white soldiers; that it would be impossible to distinguish, so long 
afterwards, the skeleton of a white man 
from that of an Indian It should be 
borne in mind that it was the rule of 
Indian warfare, wlieii successful, to 
gather up and carry off all their slain. 
On this occasion the survivors saw the 
Indians engaged in this very duty. 

The gathered I'cmains were taken 
to Goshen, where thiy were; buried with 
imposing ceremonies in the presence of 
fifteen thousand persons, including the 
militarj' of the county, and a corps of 
Cadets from West Point under tiie com- 
mand of Major Worth 

This monument gra<lually fell into 
decay and no measures were taken to 
preserve it. In ISOO, MeiTit H. Cook, 
il. D., a resident of Orange county, be- 
queathed four thousand dollars for a 
new one, whicli was dedicated on the 
S3d anniversary of the battle, on wliich 
occasion John C. Dinunick, a native of 
Bloomingluirgli, officiated as orator 

„ ,, , -. ... .,,,.,,,, MONUMENT ON MINISINK BATTLE-GROUND. 

ot the day. Mrs. Abigau Mitchell, a 

• daughter of Captain Bezaleel Tyler (slain at tiie battle of Minisink), was pres- 
ent, and witnessed the ceremonies. She was five years old at the time of the 
battle, and had resided tlie greater part of lier life at Cochecton. On the ;i2d 
of July, 1S7!>, the one hundredth anniversary of the Minisink battle, a large 
and enthusiastic gathering was held on the battle-gi"Ound. Although the ap- 
proach to the place was rough and exceedingly difficult, it being necessary to 
cut a road through the woods for the occasion, upwards of two thousand per- 
sons were present at the ceremony. A momuuent was set upon the ground 
sacred to the blood of the slain heroes, and dedicated in commemoration of their 

56 Legends of the Shawangtcnk. 

It was on one pleasant morning in June that we left tlie hotel at Lacka- 
waxen before the peoi^le were astir, and crossing the Delaware and Hudson ac^ue- 
duct, began the winding ascent of the mountaui. After a brisk walk of about 
two miles we came to the residence of Mr. Horace E. Twichell, to whom we had 
a letter of introduction. That gentleman Kindly volunteered to go with us to 
the battle-groimd, which hes partly on his premises, and locate the points of 

The battle-field comprises several acres' of table- land, boi-dered by an abrapt 
(descent on all sides except a narrow neck at its northern extremity. It is 
thickly strewn with pieces of slate rock, Avhich the brave heroes turned to good 
account in standing upon their edges, and lying behind their friendly shelter 
during the engagement. Some of these stones still remain in the position in 
which they were then left. 

On the neck of laiid there is a huge boulder. Behind this natural rampart, 
a hunter had taken his position on the day of the fight, and while his conn-ades 
loaded the guns for him, he so effectually swept the only available approach 
to the battle-ground, as to keep the whole force of Indians at bay during the 
entire contest. At length the hunter was killed, and the Indians, taking advan- 
tage of the circumstance, nished in and the battle became a rout. 

A feAv yards from this rock, screened on all sides by the contour of the 
ground and the protecting ledge, the spot was pointed out whei'e for years lay 
the skeletons of the brave Dr. Tusten and his seventeen slam companions, wlio 
were all tomahawked and scalped after the battle was over. Further on stands 
an old pine tree, on which are tlie initials "J. B.," beheved to have been cut 
in the bark by the Indian fighter, Joseph Brant. 

An incident of the battle was related to me while rambhng over the field. 
A soldier was assistmg a wounded comrade to escape. The Indians were heard 
in close pursuit, and the wounded man soon saw that aU efforts on his part 
were fruitless. So taking his pocket-book and papers he handed them to his 
companion, with the request that he give them to his wife at Goshen, and bade 
him leave him to his fate. The man made good his escape, and delivered the 
package and money as directed. 

Mother McCowan, stiU living at Handsome Eddy, used to see the skeletons 
around the spring to the east of the battle-ground, and remembers seeing some 
of the soldiers that were engaged in the battle. 

Mr. Isaac Mills, about forty years ago, found a skeleton about three-fourths 
of a nnle from the battle-field. Judge Thomas H. Eidgeway, of Lackawaxen, 
informed us that he remembers going to pick huckleberries on the mountain 
seventy years ago, when the skeletons of the slain Minisink heroes lay thickly 
scattered about among the bushes, and distinctly recalls his childish fears of the 

Near the foot of the monument, entirely covered up with loose slate, was 
found the skeleton of a man. This was probably the Avork of the Indians, who, 
for some reason, gave this man a sepulture. 

Brant and the School-Girls. 57 

The round stone o\\ the top of the monument is a white flint houlder, found 
in the Delaware river near the spot where the Indian was shot by the scouts 
previous to the battle. 



'HE name of Bmnt was sufiicient to strike the hearts of tlie early pioneers 
X with terror. Fears of an attack from the I\Ioliawk cliief and his red 
warriors kept the settlements in a continual ferment. Stories of iiillage and 
mm'der, carried on under Brant's direction, were passed from lip to lip— some 
doubtless without foundation, others greatly exaggerated — still the chieftain 
had committed deeds of Itlood sufficient to merit the reputation he bore. 

As might be expected, there were many false alarms, on which occasions 
the women and children would take refuge in the nearest l)lock-house, while the 
men would arm themselves and jjrepare for defense. The young people Avei'e 
particularly alert, and at the least unusual noise in the woods Avould sound the 
alarm. A young man in Sullivan county ran breathless into the nearest village 
declaring that his father's house v.-as surrounded by more tlian twenty savages. 
Tlie men turned out with their guns; but on reaching the scene of the supposed 
danger, they discovered the enemy to be only a number of hoot-owls. 

The dread of Indians overcame all other fear. It is related of Mrs. Overton, 
of Mamakating valley, that, during the temporary absence of her husband, the 
young mother would abandon her log-cabin at night, and taking hei' children 
with her, sleep in the woods or in a lye-field. Tradition says that her youngest 
child was but a few weeks old and very cross and troublesome; but it was ob- 
sei-ved that at such times it was very quiet. 

But if the people were sometimes needlessly alarmed, at other times it 
would have been gi'eatly to their advantage to have been more on their guard. 
The day before the massacre at Minisink, the notorious Brant, with a body of 
Tories and Indians, attacked the settlement in the present town of Deerpark. 
Such of the inliabitants as were warned of their danger in time, fled to the 
blockhouse for shelter. Others were surprised in their homes and in the field, 
and were either captured or slain. 

Some savages entered James Swartwout's blacksmith shop. In the shop 
were Mr. Swartwout and a negro who assisted at the forge. Swartwout di- 
rected the negi'o to stay in the shop as the Indians would not be hkely to molest 
him, while Swai-twout crawled up the forge chimney and concealed himself 
there. Scarcely had he done so Avhen the savages rushed into the shop, and ap- 
peared much disappointed at finding no one Imt the negro present. They, 
however, contented themselves with rummaging about the shop, tumbling 
everything over, and making havoc 01 whatever came in their way. Presently 


Legends of tlie 


one of them, spying the bellows handle, caught hold of it. Finding it would 
move, he began to operate the handle, which of coui'se made the sparks fly. 
He now began blowing at a fuiious rate, and the other savages gathered romid 
to see the operation. Swartwout, being directly over the fire, was nearly suffo- 
cated by the heat and smoke. The negxo, apprehensive that Swartwout could 
not much longer retain his position, called upon the savage to desist, ciying out 
with a A^oice of authority — "Stop, or you \Aill spoil that thing." The Indian 
respected the caution, and ceased to blow. 

Not far away, near the fort of the Shawangunk, was the log school-house. 
The savages raided the settlement while the school Avas in session. While the 
fathers and mothers Avere fleeing for their own safety, they thought of their 
children, a mile or more away, and hoped the school-house might escape the at- 
tention of the saA^ages. But in this they were doomed to disappomtmeut. The 


Indians entered, killed and scalped the teacher, Jeremiah Van Ankeu, in the 
presence of the scholars. Some of the larger boj's shared the same fate, being 
cut doAATi with the tomahawk; others succeeded in escaping to the woods. 
The girls stood b}^ the slain body of their teacher, not knoAving Avhere to turn 
or Avhat to do. 

Presently an Indian came along, and dashed some lilack paint on their 
ajirons, bidding them hold up the mark AA^hen they saAv the Indians coming, 
and that Avould save them; and A\'ith the yeU of a savage he sprang into the 
woods. This Indian was none other than Brant; and as the savages ran about 
from place to place, murdering and scalping such as came in their way, on 
seeing the black mark they left the children vmdisturbed. The girls induced the 
boys to come out of the woods, and the children arranged themselves m rows, 
the girls with the marked aprons standing in front. As the Indians passed and 
repassed thej' wguld hold up the palladium of safety, and A^ere siuffered to re- 
main unharmed. 

Brant and the School-Girls. 59 

Major John Decker resided iii the Mamakating valley, and tradition says 
the Indians raided it for the purpose of obtaining liis scalp, for which the British 
had offered a handsome reward. He w-as Major of the Goshen Regiment of 
Foot of Orange county. 

Tlie Majoi-'s house was constracted of wood, with logs laid up by way of 
fortification, and was closed by a heavy gate. It was the month of July. The 
men were at work in the harvest field, and no one w-as in the house except the 
aged mother and a child. The Major's wife and a colored woman were at a 
spring washing. 

A Tory entered and told the mother they were going to burn down the 
house, and proceeded to build a fire in the middle of the floor. Tw^o pails of 
water stood in the kitchen; the old lady poured this on the fii-e and extinguished 
it. The Indians told her not to do that again or they would Icill her. Mrs. 
Decker attempted to run across the fields to anothei' fort, but Brant sent -a sav- 
age to bring her back; coolly informing her that his object in having her 
brought back was that she might see her husband's liouse burn down; at the 
same time assuring her that she w'ould not be harmed. 

" Can I save anything ? " cried the terrified woman. 

" Yes, anything you can," was the response of the Mohawk chief. 

Mrs. Decker rushed into the burning dwelling, caught up two beds and 
bedding, one after the other, and, with the assistance of some young Indians 
that Brant sent to help her, brought them to a place of safety. That night the 
family of Major Decker slept on the banks of the Neversink, witli no other 
covei'ing than the canopj" of heaven. 

The Major was absent that day at a funeral; it was on his return that he 
had seen from afar the smoke of his burning dwellmg. He put spurs to his 
horse, and i)resently met a party of Indians in the road. The Major rode di- 
rectly tln-ougli the party without being fired at. Then, probably through fear 
of encountering a larger force, he wheeled abfnit and rode back again, when he 
was fired upon and wounded. His horse becoming unmanageable, he rode into 
a tree-top, closely pursued by the savages. Here he left his horse and took 
refuge in a cave, at a place near where the Erie raih-oad now passes. The In- 
dians followed to the opening in the i-ock, Ixit did not find the object of tlieii- 
search. That night he made his wa}' on foot through the mountains to Finch- 
ville, Avliere he found his son, who was one of the lads that had escaped slaughter 
at the school-house. 

This son, on running away from the Indians at the time of the attack, 
found a child a year and a half old, which liad l)een lost by its mother in the 
confusion. He took uj) the little child, found his father's cow by following the 
sound of the bell, gave the httle one some milk, and restored it unliarmed to 
its mother. 

6o Legends of the Shawatigunk, 


I^HEEE is much in the career of Claudius Smith to interest the student of 
human nature. Whether "vve regard his deeds of violence as Init the 
legitimate working of his evil proj^eusities, iia defiance of C4od and man, or 
whether we deem him in a measure fortified in his attitude toward the Whigs 
by his sense of loyalty to the king, we camiot deny that he displayed qualities 
of leadership worthy of a better cause. Had he sho"svn a like energy and 
prowess at the head of a few thousand troops, his praises would have been 
sounded on every lip. We leave for othere to draw the line between the bandit 
chief, whom all abhor, and the lordly conqueror, whom all affect to honor. 

Claudius Smith is described as having been a man of large stature and of 
commanding presence; possessed of powerful nerve and keen penetration; 
cautious and wily; in short, he was admu'ably formed by natore for a bandit 

Claudius early manifested a thieving propensity, in which it is said he Avas 
encouraged by his father. The boy, on one occasion, having stolen some iron 
Avedges, on which were stamped the 0A\nier's initials, liis father assisted Mm to 
grind the letters out. His mother, who appears to have been of a different 
mould, was shocked at the depravity manifested by her son; and she once said 
to him as though with the voice of prophecy — " Claudius, some day you will 
die like a trooper's horse — with your shoes on," meaning that he would come to 
his death by violent means. These words of his mother seemed to rankle in the 
heart of Claudius; and at a subsequent period of his hfe he jDublicly recalled them 
under cu'cumstances that indicated an infernal depravity, deep and ingrained, in 
his nature. 

The topography of the country in which he resided, and the times in which 
he floui'ished, were eminently favorable for the development of those qualities 
which made his name such a terror to the Shawangunk region. The town of 
Monroe, Orange county, is entitled to the distinction of having been the resi- 
dence of Claudius Smith. This and the adjoining towns abomid in Avild moun- 
tains with almost impregnable fastnesses, favorable ahke for marauding incm-- 
sions and the secreting of booty. From these inaccessible mountain haunts the 
robbers would swoop down upon the unsuspecting and defenceless residents of 
the valley, murder and plunder to their hearts' content, and escape to their re- 
treats before assistance could be obtained. Besides, the British forces located 
at Stony Point and Fort Lee furnished a cover for the marauders to whose pro- 
tection they could fly when hard pressed, and likewise a favorable market for 
stolen property; and we may add, the British frequently were known to in- 
stigate these expeditions by the offer of reward. 

Under such conditions, Claudius Smith, who, had circumstances been 

Claudius Siiiith; or the Orange County Tories 6i 

otherwise, might have developed into a respected citizen, speedily acquired a 
local reputation as unenviable as that of Eobin Hood. His name is first met 
with in public records as being in jail at Kingston, " charged with stealing oxen 
belonging to the continent." From Kingston he was transferred to the jail at 
Goshen, where lie soon found means to escape. He had sons old enough to 
join him in his plundering expeditions, and one of them, after the death of 
Claudius, assumed command of the gang. 

The active and influential Whigs of the vicinity were the especial objects 
against which the Tory bandits directed their attacks. Claudius had made 
pubhc threats against Col. Jesse Woodhull, Samuel Strong, Cole Curtis and 
others. From some act of personal kindness shown him l)y Col. Woodhull he 
revoked his threat against that gentleman, but carried it out against Major 
Strong. The Colonel was in such contiiuial dread of his enemy that he did not 
sleep in his own house for months before the threat- was revoked. 

The Colonel had a valuable blooded mare which the freebooting Tory had 
set envious eyes upon, and had given out that he would steal it. For better 
security Woodhull had tlie animal jtlaced in the cellar of his dwelling. One 
evening Claudius, having secreted himself in a straw barrack near the house 
for the purpose, seized a favorable oi)i)ortunity to dart into the cellar while the 
family were at tea, and took the animal out. He had not left the yard with 
his stolen property before he was discovered by the inmates of the house. A 
gentleman at the table sprang up ^\-ith his gun, and was about to fire upon the 
retreating rol)ber when the Colonel stopped liini, obsei-ving, " Don't shoot; he'll 
kill me if you miss him." 

On another occasion Claudius made a forcible entry into the Colonel's house 
during the absence of the latter from home. Mrs. Woodhull possessed a valu- 
able set of silver, and it was that Avhich excited the cupidity of the Tory chief 
and his gang. While the robbers were engaged in breaking down the door, the 
heroic lady had hurriedly secreted the silver in the cradle, and placing her cliild 
into it was apparently endeavormg to cahn the Uttle one to sleep. Claudius 
searched thoroughly for the missing plate; not finding it, he was content to 
leave, taking with him some articles of minor value only. Mrs. Woodhull liad 
some difficulty in quieting the child, who was old enough to talk a little, and 
who inquired of her mother if she thought they would steal her cahco frock. 

It was that same night that the gang attacked the house of Major Strong. 
They came to the Major's house about midnight when that gentleman Avas in 
bed. They broke open and entered the outer door of the house; they next re- 
moved a panel from the door leading to another room out of which opened a 
bedroom, where the Major lodged. The latter had come out of his sleeping 
apartment with a jjistol and a gun; he was fired at by the miscreants, who held 
the muzzles of their guns through the l)roken panel, but was unhurt by the 
discharge. He was preparing to return their fire when his assailants called 
upon hJm to deliver up his arms, when he should have quarter. Setting down 
his gun against the wall, he approached the door to open it; but as he advanced ' 

62 Legends of the Skawangunk. 

they perfidiously fired upon him a second tinie, killing him instantly, two balls 
entering his body. 

Other incidents are given of Claudius Smith's career which would disprove 
the acceiated oijinion that he was lost to the common dictates of liuinanity. It 
is claimed in his behalf that the i^oor man found in him a friend; that he was 
ever ready to share his meal and purse with any who stood in need; and fui-- 
thermore, that what he stole from the affluent he frequently bestowed upon 
the indigent. 

Col. McClaughry was taken prisoner at the faU of Foi"t Montgomery in 1777, 
and confined in British dmigeons and prison ships for a long time. During 
much of his confinement he was absolutel}^ .suffering for the necessaries of life. 
To ameliorate his condition his wife proposed to send hmi some home comforts, 
and applied to Abimal Yomig for a small loan for that i^m-pose, who she knew 
liad plenty of specie by him. The old miserly fellow surhlj^ and peremptorily 
refused the loan, and the poor woman went home discomfited. 

The incident came to the ears of Claudius. "The old miser," exclaimed 
the Tory chief ; " I'h teach him to be a httle more hberal. If he won't lend 
Mrs. McClaughry of his own will, ITl take the money from him and send it to 
the Colonel myself." 

Tradition says that shortly after this, one dark night, Claudius with a few 
trusty followers actually invested the house of Young to force that gentleman 
to produce the desired money. The old man refused to yield to their demands. 
Claudius knew there was money secreted somewhere about the house, but a 
diligent search failed to reveal it. They threatened to no purpose. They next 
took Young out into the yard and told him they would swmg lum up to the 
well-pole if he did not divulge the place of its concealment; he persisted in his 
refusal to tell, whereupon the bandits put a rope around his neck and suspended 
him from the well-pole. 

Letting him down after he had hung a sufficient time, as they judged, he 
soon revived, and they again demanded his money. The old man was still 
stubborn; he refused to reveal the place Avhere it was kept, and again he was 
danghng in the air. This was done three times. The robbers were getting im- 
patient; and the third time they let the old man hang so long that he was 
nearly dead when let down, ^'\^len he finally revived they renewed their de- 
mand, but he had not changed his determination in the least. It was evident to 
them that he would sooner part with his hfe than his money. They returned 
to the house, made another search, and were rewarded by finding some money, 
together with a number of mortgages, deeds and other papers, which they 
carried off. To the credit of Claudius be it said, a part of the booty went to 
minister to the comfort of Mrs. McClaughry's imprisoned husband. 

When Claudius Smith was about to suffer the penalty of death for Ms 
crimes, while he stood at the scaffold at Goshen with the noose about his neck, 
Abimal Young made his way to the platform and inquired of Smith where 
those papers were that he and his followers stole from liim the night they hung 

Claudius Suiitli ; or the Orange Coiinfy Tories. 63 

him up to the well-pole, averring that they could be of no use to him now. To 
which request the hardened man retorted, " Mr. Young, this is no place to talk 
about papers; meet me in the next world and I will tell you all about them." 

An old resident of Orange count)', still referred to as Judge Bodle, on one 
occasion met Claudius in the road in a lonely locality. Each knew the other, 
as they were neighbors; the Judge saw that escape was impossible, so he ap- 
pi'oached the noted bandit with a bold front. The meeting was seemingly a 
friendly one, Claudius evidently enjoying the discomfiture of the Judge. He 
inquired of the latter the news from the river, and continued: " Mr. Bodle, you 
seem weary with walking; go to my dwelling-house yonder ajid ask my wife to 
get you a breakfast, and tell her I sent you." It is not related whether the 
Judge accei)ted the invitation or not; i)robably he made the speediest time pos- 
sible to a place of safety as soon as he was out of sight of his would-be enter- 

The atrocities of tire Tory gang at last became so daring and formidable 
that, after the assassination of Mnjor Strong, Gov. Clinton, October 31, 17TS, 
offered a lai'ge reward for the apprehension of Smjtli and his two sons. Richard 
and James. On being apprised of the Governor's proclamation, he fled to Long 
Island for safety. What is worthy of remark, both Gov. Clinton and Claudius 
Smith — the executive and the outlaw— were residents of southern Orange 
€Ounty, and may have been personally known to each other. 

The determination of Claudius to go to Long Island for greater security 
was most unfoi'tunate for himself. One Major John Brush made up a party, 
and dui'ing a dark night visited the house in which the Tory chief was stopping, 
seized him while he was in bed and carried him across the sound into C'onnect- 
icut. He was next conveyed under a strong escort to FishkiU Landing, where 
he was met by Col. Isaac Nicoll, sheriff of Orange county; and from thence, 
under guard of Col. WoodhuU's trooi) of light-horse, was taken to Goshen. 
Here he was heavily ironed and placed in jail to await his trial. He was tried 
on the 13th of January, 177!', on three indictments for burglary and robl)ery, 
and found guilty on each of them, and nine days thereafter was publicly exe- 
cuted in Goshen. 

During the peiiod of his incarceration at that place, both before his trial 
and while he was awaiting execution, Claudius Smith lived in hopes his men 
would undertake his rescue. Even when he was being led to the scaffold he 
was ol)served to cast furtive glances over his shoulder towards Slate hill, where 
about a mile away was a cave which was said to be a rendezvous of the robber 
gang. But he was so strongly guarded that no attempt at rescue was made, 
and would doubtless have failed if undertaken. One of the guard was stationed 
at all times at the "grief-hole" opening into his cell, with a loaded musket, with 
orders to shoot him dead if any attempt was made on the jail by his friends 

The fated hour an-ived, and Claudius was led out of his gloomy prison and 
pei-mitted to take his last look upon earth. He walked up the steps of the 

64 Legends of the Shawanguttk. 

scaffold with a fii-m tread. He had dressed himself with scrupulous ueatuess> 
in black broadcloth with silver buttons, and white stockings. Tliis was in the 
days of public executions; and he looked from the scaffold into the faces of 
thousands who had gathered there to see him die. He smiled grimly as he 
spoke to several men in the crowd below whom he knew. 

Before the final adjustment of the noose Claudius stooped to remove his 
shoes. When asked why he did so he repeated the words of his mother that he 
would die with his shoes on, and added that he ' ' wanted to make her out a 
liar." He was interred near the scaffold. Years afterwards a gentleman by 
the name of Wood, as he stood conversing with an acquaintance on the village 
green at Goshen, hapi^ening to press upon the greensward with his cane at a 
certain spot, found it would easily pierce the soil as though there was some sort 
of hollow underneath. A shght examination of the place showed it to be a 
shallow grave, and that the bones of a human skeleton lay entombed there. 
Further inquiry proved the remains to be those of the noted bandit chief, 
Claudius Smith. 

Scores of people were attracted to the place, and some of the- more curious 
carried away j^ortions of the skeleton as souvenirs. Oriin Ensign, the village 
blacksmith, made some of the bones into knife-handles; doubtless some of 
them are still doing duty in that capacity. It is even believed by many of the 
people of Goshen that the skull of Claudius Smith is embedded in the masonry 
over the front door of the present court-house in that place. 

Some of Smith's associates were even gi-eater criminals than hunself. His 
son James was hung at Goshen soon after his o'^\'n execution: his eldest son, 
.William, was subsequently shot in the mountains, and the body never was 
buried but became the food of wolves and crows, where the bones lay bleaching 
for years afterward. 

The following facts, gathered from a newspaper printed in iVTi), will serve 
to give a little more of the history of this family : 

"We hear from Goshen that a horrible murder was committed near the 
Sterling Iron Works on the night of Saturday, the 26th of IMarch. by a party 
of villains, five or six in number, the principal of whom was Eichard Smith, 
the oldest surviving son of the late Claudius Smith, of infamous memory. 
These blood}'' miscreants it seems that night intended to nuirder two men who 
had shown some activity in apprehending those robbers who infested the neigh- 

" They first went to the house of John Clark, near the iron works, whom 
they dragged from his house and then shot him. Some remains of hfe being 
observed in him, one of them said ' He is not dead enough yet,'' and shot him 
through the arm again, and then left him. He lived some hours after, and 
gave some account of their names and behavior. They then went to the house 
of a neighbor, who, hearing some noise they made on approaching, got up and 
stood on his defense, with his gun loaded and bayonet fixed, in a corner of his 
little log cabin. They burst open the door, but seeing him stand with his gun, 


Edwai'd Roblin. 65 

the)- Trere afraid to enter, and thonglit proper to march off. The following was 
pinned to Clark's coat:— 

" 'A Warning to the Rebels.— You are hereljy warned at your peril to 
desist from hanging any more friends to government as you did C'lau(hus Smith. 
You are Ukewise warned to use James Smith, James Fluelling, and William 
Cole well, and ease them of their irons, for we are determined to hang six for 
one, for the blood of the imiocent cries aloud for vengeance. Yom- noted 
friend Captain AYilliams and his crew of robhers and murderers we have got 
in our power, and the blood of Claudius Smith shall be repaid. There are par- 
ticular companies of us that belong to Col. Butler's army, Indians as well as 
white men, and particularly numbers from New York, that are resolved to be 
avenged on you for your cruelty and murder. We are to remind you that you 
are the beginners and aggressors, for by your cmel oppressions and bloody 
actions you drive us to it. This is the first, and we are determined to pursue 
in on your heads and leaders to the last //// the tvlwle of you are murdered.'' " 

But this son of Claudius did not possess the quahties of leadership displayed 
by his father, and the clan was finally broken up by the people of Monroe, as- 
sisted by some troops from Washington's ai-my. Richard Smith took refuge 
in Canada; others fled to parts unknown, and thus ended the highwayman's 
profession in Oi-ange county. Many localities of the vicinity will long be re- 
membered from their association with the deeds of blood and crime that made 
the clan famous. Their retreats m the mountains can be readily found to this 
day by the curious. 

That the Tories buried much valuable booty in these mountains may be 
infen-ed from the circumstance that about the year 1805 some of Smith's de- 
scendants came from Canada, and searched for the property according to direc- 
tions that had been handed down to them. They found a lot of nmskets, but 
nothing else. About the year 18:24, descendants of Edward Robhn, another of 
the gang, came from Canada with written directions, and explored the country 
with no better results. Search was made in a certain sprmg where it was said 
valuable silver plate had been secreted, but nothing of value Avas found. Per- 
haps the other meml)ers of the band fomid the depository, and, unknown to 
Smith and RobUn, appropriated the property. 


MORE than a century ago there Uved near the base of the Shawangunk 
mountain, in Orange county, a well-to-do-farmer by the name of Price. 
One day a boy came to him seeking employment. Mr. Price eyed the lad cir- 
cumspectly over the rim of his gold spectacles, asked him a few questions, and 
was so well pleased with his ready answers and intelligent ways that he con- 
sented to take Mm on trial. The boy proved to be an industrious and trust- 

66 Legends of the Shawangiuik. 

worthy hand, and remained with Mr. Price until he had gi-owu up into a tall. 
fine-looMng young man. That lad was Edward EobUn 

Now it so happened that Mr. Piice had a comely daughter named Zadie, a 
year or two yovmger than Edward. Inasmuch as the young people were 
tlu'own much into each other's company, with few other associates of their 
own age, it was but natural that the cluldhke friendsliip of youth should rijien 
and develop into a more tender and endiuing afifection as they grew to maturity. 

Mr. Price was not a very observing naau, or he was too much absorbed ui 
money-making, or else the young people mamtained a very discreet behavior 
during their com-tship; certain it is, that the fh'st intimation the old man had 
of the state of affahs, was when young Edward one day approached Mm and 
formally asked the hand of his daughtei- in maniage. 

Tliis revelation fell upon the father hke a thunderbolt. He flew into a 
towering passion; sent his daughter up stairs, and forbade their speaking to one 
another again. In vain the young man pleaded his cause; he had seiwed him 
long and faithfully, almost as many years as Jacob had seiwed of old. Tlie 
father was unmovable. "You can't have my daughter, and that's the end of 
it," and he sent the yomig man from his presence. 

In one important matter the father failed to exliibit the ^^^se foresight for 
wliich he was noted — he did not discharge the young man; in fact he could not 
well manage the fai-m without him. It must not be thought strange, there- 
fore, that the yoiuig people found means to communicate with each other, and 
to carry on a sort of clandestine courtsliip. 

One morning Edward was not found at his chores. And he was always 
so punctual. Mr. Price went to his room and knocked. Zso response. He 
opened the door. The room was empty, nor did the bed bear evidence of having 
been slept in the niglit before. 

"A pretty how-d'ye-do, I do declare," and the old man flew quickly to 
the door of liis daughter's apartment. He did not stop to knock. The door 
yielded to his touch. Her room, too, was without an occupant, the bed care- 
fuUy made, and the pfllows in place. The truth now broke m upon the mind 
of the old man. 

"It's fully twenty miles to the Dominie's, and, by my troth, I'll be there, 
too ! " ejaculated he. 

He hastened to a local magistrate, where he swore out a waiTant on a false 
accusation against young Roblin for debt. He next secured the attendance of 
a constable, and thus equipped the two went flyiug over the comitiy behind 
Mr. Price's fleetest horse. Ai'rived at the house of the Dominie they did not 
stop for ceremony; there was no tune for that; but they burst unannounced 
into the room just as the young couple were standing up before the minister. 

" Ha, my pretty birds, but I've caught you finely ! " And while the father 
took charge of the young lady, the constable took charge of the young 
man, leaving the Dominie to muse at his leism-e on the mutabihty of 
human affahs, and mourn over his loss of a marriage fee. Zadie, dis- 

Edward Rohlin. 67 

consolate and inconsolable, was taken back to her home; Avhile Edward, 
withont friends and in the clntches of the law, was thrown into prison 
along with felons of the basest sort. In vain he protested he was under no 
pecuniary obligation to Mr. Price: that the money paid to him by that gentle- 
man, on which the charge for his arrest was based, was for services well and 
faithfully rendered. The word of Mr. Price was sufficient to deprive Edward 
of his liberty, whether by just cause or otherwise was then nothing to the ques- 
tion; while his influence was such that he could get the trial postponed for an 
indefinite period. Meanwhile Edward's mcarceration was an insurmountable 
barrier to his love-making for the present; at the same time the old man 
chuckled at the success of his scheme to get Edward effectually out of the way, 
while he proceeded to mature his plan of marrying Zadie more to his wishes. 

To while away the dull hours of his imprisonment Edward learned to play 
the fiddle. He soon became so skillful in the use of the instrument that he 
found in it a new language in which to exj^ress Iris disappointment, and merge 
his never-dying affection for his sweetheart into somids of melancholy melody 
that were wafted far beyond the limits of his prison bars. His story of I'omau- 
tic incident had got abroad; and love-lorn damsels would come with slippered 
feet to listen to his tale of disappointment, as he drew it otit in languishing 
harmonies. Not unfrequently whole bevies of Goshen maidens would gather 
under his window of a pleasant summer evening, and, casting anxiotis glances 
upward at the baiTed window, heave a sigh of pity in his behalf. 

Months roUed by. Edward was still in prison. No tiial had been accorded 
him, with no immediate prospect of any. AU this while he had received no 
word, no token from Zadie. The vigilance of a father was never relaxed, and 
no love epistles could pass between them. 

Driven to desperation by the entreaties and commands of her tyrant father, 
Zadie at last married a man slie abhorred, much older than herself, but who 
liad the reputation of being wealtliy. As soon as this was consummated, the 
fatlier with a malicious pleasure took means to have it speedily communicated, 
to the ears of young Robhn. The strains of the fiddle were now more melan- 
choly and gi-ief-laden than ever; and one of the fair listeners under Edward's 
\vindow was moved to tears, so gi-eat a son-ow did the doleful vibrations convey. 

The jail-keeper had a pretty daughter. It was a part of her duty to take 
food to the prisoners. It may have been the result of accident, or sheer adver- 
tence on her part, but the fullest plate and the choicest slice was apt to be 
handed in at the " grief -hole " of Edward's cell. The jailer himself often con- 
descended to speak a kindly word to him. An interest now began to be awak- 
ened in the minds of outsiders for his release; even Mr. Price himself could now 
have no reason for desiring a continuance of his imprisonment. But young 
Edward did not wait for the slow process of law to relieve him from his con- 

One morning as the jailer was making his accustomed rounds he was sur- 
prised to find the cell of Edward tenantless. An inspection of his dwelling re- 

68 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

vealed the fact that his daughter's room was hkewise unoccupied. Just then 
word came to him from the stable boy that the stall of his favorite chestnut 
gelding was empty. Putting this and that together, the poor jailer was lost in 
imagining all sorts of evils; in short he was so bewildered he knew not which 
way to turn; his grief at the loss of his chestnut gelding was the most bitter of 
all; and to satisfy himself he made a visit in person to the stable, and found it 
was but too tnie— his favorite was gone, the stall was empty, with the exception 
of a hmb from a chestnut tree in the yard, wliich hmb was tied to the manger 
in lieu of the horse. To this hmb was attached a note addi'essed to himself in 
tlie following words: 

My Dear Father-in-Law — As you will be when you read this, — pai-clon the liberty I take in 
exchanging: horses with j'ou. I acknowledg'e this is a liorse of another color, still there is not much 
difference; as j'ours was a chestnut horse the exchange is but fair, for this is a hoi-se chestnut. It is 
the best legacy I can leave you at present, coupled with the best wishes of 

Edward Roblik. 

All the village dames suddenly discovered that the jailer's daughter was 
a shiftless minx. Nothing mo]-e was heard of her or of her husband until Ed- 
ward turned up with the Tory gang of Claudius Smith. Edward was second 
in enterprise and daring to none but Ms chief. 

The husband of Zadie Price turned out to be a poor, miserable fellow, whose 
reputed wealth was only pretension. Zadie soon retm-ned to her father's home, 
rapidly went mto a dechne, and in a few' years died of a broken heart. 


PERHAPS the most severe chastisement ever meted out to the Tories and 
their Indian allies in the region of which we write, was on an occasion in 
which Lieutenant James Burt took an active part. Lieutenant Biurt was a res- 
ident of the town of Warwick, Orange county; and was an active Whig, bold, 
aggressive, and vigUant in defendmg the neighborhood against the attacks of 
the Tory outlaws. 

In the village of Warwick resided a silversmith by the name of Johnson. 
He lived in a stone house, and from the nature of his business, having at times 
considerable silver plate and money about him, he kept his apartments carefully 
scoured and guarded. The promise of so much rich booty excited the cupidity 
of his Tory neighbors;; and they resolved to attack and rob the house on the first 
favorable opportunity. Accordingly, one dark, rainy night, a party of eleven 
Tories surroinided Ms house, some of Jolinson's nearest neighbors bemg with 
the gang, 

. Johnson's household consisted of two sisters and two negro boys, none of 

Lieutenant Bin-t. 69 

them being of any assistance in defending the place. He made a stubborn re- 
sistance; but the robbers broke open the house, and one of them deahng a heavy 
sword-cut on Johnson's shoulder, which disabled hmi, the ruffians were free to 
ransack the house at their -wiU. 

One of the negi-o boys and a Mr. Coe had been out that night eeling. 
Coming home just as the Tories were at the height of their pillagmg, the lat- 
ter, supposing the settlers had mustered to attack them, became frightened aud 
fled, taking with them all the valuables of the house. 

Lieutenant Burt was immediately apprised of the occurrence; and though 
the night was dark, and the rain falling in torrents, he immediately started 
to warn out his company. His way led him thrmigh a piece of woods; and 
while passing through lie thouglit he heard three guns snap. Burt drew up 
his musket to fire, proposing to shoot at random in the direction of the sound; 
1 )ut as he feared the flash, of liis gun woidd expose his position, he refrained and 
passed on. 

He warned out his company, and before morning they were in full pursuit 
of the Tory gang. Coming upon some Continental troops in the mountains, 
the latter were induced to join in the pursuit, the regular troops following one 
side of the range and the volunteers the other. 

Lieutenant Burt's company suddenly came upon the robbers while the lat- 
ter were encamped and eating their breakfast. They at once opened fire ui)on 
the robbers, and killed five out of the eleven. The other six started to run, 
when another of the gang was brought down by a shot in the leg, and secured. 
The other five made their escape and fled toward New Jersey, closely followed 
by their pursuers. A number of stolen articles were found at this place. 

The whole population along the route of retreat was alarmed and every 
body joined in the pursuit of the fugitives. Three more were shot dming the 
chase; the other two made then- way to Hackensack, where each stole a horse 
and continued their flight. They were again pursued, the farmers tendering 
the troops the use of their horses for the purpose; at last one was shot and 
killed, and the other wounded and captured. 

Lieutenant Burt had told the story of his hearing the snapping of guns in the 
woods, but his companions were inclined to discredit his story, and jeered him 
not a little at his groundless alarm. To convince them he was not mistaken, 
Burt led them to the "spot where he heard the guns snap. It was found the rob- 
bers had been seated on a log within a few yards where the Lieutenant passed, 
as was shown by a number of stolen articles they had left there. The rain had 
wet tlie priming of their guns, to which circumstance he probably owed his prov- 
idential escape. 

70 Legends of the Shawangunk. 


AN early settler and patentee of Orange count)\ and one who figured quite 
largely in events pertaining to the frontier history of what is now J] ont- 
gomery to^vl^sllip, was Hemy WUemau, an Inslunau by birth, and a man of 
many sterling qualities. He was the proprietor of a tract of 3000 acres gi-anted 
him in 1709; the estate was located on the east bank of the WaUdll, below the 
village of Walden. His laame appears on the records as a member of St. An- 
drew's church, as early as 1733. A church edifice coustnicted of logs, that had 
been buUt on his land for the use of the society, was standing in 1775. 

WUeman was a free-hver, noble, and generous to a fault. He built his log 
palace on the site whei-e afterward stood the DuBois homestead, of Revolutionary 
fame. It was a beautiful location; the soil was line, and the patentee of 3000 
acres entertained right royally. His convivial propensities frequently carried 
him to excess, and, if tradition is to be credited, the reveMes in the AVUeman 
log house were notorious through the countiy round. 

In process of time Henry Wdeman died, and it was meet that he should 
be buried as became a patentee of 3000 acres. It does not appear that he ever 
married; or that any relative had ever followed him to this distant chme. But 
the rich, when they die, never lack for mournei"s, or at least those who out- 
wardly affect gi'eat sorrow for their death. So it came to pass that the friends 
of WUeman arranged to have the burial take place with aU the pomp and 
splendor and outward tokens of regard for his memoiy that should characterize 
the frmeral solemnities of a great man, according to the notions and customs of 
those early times 

It was then the prevaUing usage to furnish liquor on all such occasions. 
No funeral was complete without it. They would sooner think of doing with- 
out the sermon than without the rum. As Wileman died possessed of his 
thousands of acres, it would be a lasting disgrace to hmit the supply of liquor 
when celebrating his obsequies. The cellar was stored with the choicest wines; 
what could be more appropriate, or what could better voice the pubhc sorrow, 
than that these wines should be drawn forth and made to do duty in assisting 
in the giving of suitable honors to the memory of their late owner ! 

In short, the people, young and old, were urged to drink. If any were 
backwai'd, they were cliided for then' lack of resi^ect for the memoiy of the 
depai-ted, whose obsequies they were then observing; and the wine was handed 
round when they could not well help themselves. 

At length the hour came in which the funeral cortege was to move from 
the late residence of the deceased to his place of sepulchre. This was before 
the day of black caparisoned steeds and heavily draped catafalques. The pro- 
cession was more primitive in its make-up. AU being ready, the bearers of the 

The Dubois Homestead. 71 

remains of the deceased, the bier carriers, mourners, friends and neighbors in 
attendance, , started on foot to the httle burial-place behind the log church, 
where the open grave awaited its tenant. 

'But the people had undertaken a greater task than they could accoinpUsh. 
Ovei-come by the intensity of their sorrow, or by their too frequent and long- 
continued libations of the contents of the wine-cellar, the friends, mourners, 
and finall)^ the bearers, one by one fell out b)- the way, either to sink insensible 
into the highway, or to make their way homeward as best they could. 

In short, the corpse was let down in the road before they had proceeded 
half way to the gi'ave, and there abandoned. 

Among that number there was one sober enough to realize that the dead 
ought not to be left unbuiied, and that it savoi'ed too much of irreverence to 
leave the corpse unattended in the middle of the road. To convey the renmms 
to the churchyard by his own unaided strength was simply impossible; it was 
no less impracticable to carry the coffin back to the house, and await a more 
favorable opportunity to complete the burial. Here was a quandary that would 
have puzzled the brain even of a soberer man. At last he hit upon a way out 
of the difficulty, and put the plan into immediate execution. He procured a. 
shovel, and proceeded to dig a grave in the road by the side of the coffin; when 
he had dug to a sufficient depth he rolled the coffin over into it, and tliere cov- 
ered up the mortal reraams of the free and noble-hearted Irishman, the patentee 
of 3000 acres. With no monument to mark his last resting-place, this was all the 
sepulchre that was accoi'ded him for many a long year. 

By an alteration in the road the grave was thrown into an adjoining field; 
and when Mr. Peter Neaffie afterward excavated a cellar for a dwelling, he unex- 
pectedly came upon the coffin and bones of Henry Wileman, and gave them a 
respectable bmial. 

The fann on which these occurrences took place was the property, at the 
time of the Revolution, of Peter DuBois, a British Tory and a refugee. In 1782 
it was occupied by a detachment of the American army from the cantonment 
at New Windsor, sent here to protect some government property. 

One cold, stormy night, late in October of that year, John McLean, after- 
ward Commissary General of New York for a number of years, was sent from 
this encampment with papers for the Commander-in-Chief at Newburgh. At 
a point in the ShawangTink road where it crosses the Stony brook. McLean was 
waylaid, seized, taken from his horse, gagged, tied to a tree, and the papers re- 
moved from his custody. In this position he was left by the robbers to the 
chances of hbei-ation by a possible traveler. He was relieved from his uncom- 
fortable position early the next morning by a horseman who chanced that way, 
but he nearly perished from cold during the night. This accident, by bringing 
him into notice, contributed not a little to his subsequent political preferment. 
His horse was never recovered, but the government remunerated him for his 
loss. It is believed the marauders were some of the notorious gang of Claudius 

72 Legends of the Sliawangunk. 


THE following incidents occurred (says the Bevier pamphlet) in the midst 
of a settlement of the descendants of the French Huguenots, and bring 
to view the distmguishing traits of that people. They were bold, perseveiing 
and resolute, and were fii-m beUevers in the doctrine of a particular Providence, 
which they did not forget to invoke in eveiy time of need. The three families, 
to whom this naiTative especially relates, hved at Fantinekill, near to each 
other, and about three-fourths of a mile northeast of Ellenville. 

A yoimg negio, known as Robert, hved at Widow Isaac Bevier's. He 
heard an unusual tramping around the house, just at the dawn of day, like that 
of horses. He got up and hstened, and found that the noise was made by In- 

He opened the door, and stepping back for a little start, jumped out and 
ran. In his flight he received a Avomid on Iris head from a tomahawk, and a 
ball was fired thi-ougli the elbow of his roimdabout, but did not hurt him. The 
Indians sang out in their ot\ti tongues, " Run, you black! ruu, you black!" It 
does not appear that he was pursued by them. He made his escape over the 
lowland to Napanock, stopping by the way at a stack to staunch the blood that 
was flowing profusely from his wound. The Indians immediately commenced 
the attack; the widow's sons were both killed, the house was set on fire, and 
the Avomeu driven iiito the cellar. The daughter Magdalene took the Dutch 
family Bible with her. WHien the flames reached them there, tliey chose rather 
to dehver themselves up to the savages than to suffer a horrible death by fire. 
They made then- way through the cellar window, the mother in advance. The 
Indians were ready to receive their unfortunate and unoffending victims. 
What tongTie can describe the feehngs of mother and daughter at that moment ? 
Sentence was immediately pronounced against the mother— death by the ruth- 
less tomahawk— whilst the daughter was detained as a prisoner. It is said that 
a J'oung Indian brave took a sudden fancy for her, and interposed in her behalf. 
The afflicted girl, as soon as she knew the decision of their captors, threw an 
apron over her head so as not to see her mother killed ! All this while she had 
retained the Dutch Bible in her arms; this was now wrested from her and 
stamped in the mud. 

When the Indians left the place they took her a short distance into the woods, 
and sent her back with a war club, and a letter written by the Tories to Capt. 
Andrew Bevier, at Napanock. In the letter the Tories invited the old Captain 
to dine with them next day at Lackawack. There was an allusion in it to the 
club — that so they meant to serve him. Tliis club was stamed with fresh blood, 
and adhering to it were some locks of human hair. On the gM's return she re- 
covered her invaluable treasure— her Dutcli Bible; some of the leaves were 

^Massacre at Fanlinckill 


soiled by the mud, but not materially. It is still i^reserved as a precious relic 
in the family of her relatives. 

. This widow Bevier had a daughter by the name of Catherine, that had been 
lately married to Alira.m Jauseu, whose father lived about four miles southwest 
of Fantinekill. The elder Jansen was strongly suspected of being a Tory, nnd 
of communicating with and assisting the Indians, the following being son^e of 
the circumstances on which this suspicion rested: 1. His premises, altliough 
on the outposts and unguai'ded, were not molested. L'. The prints of Indian 
moccasins Avere seen about his house. 3. His daughter, who was at a neigh- 
bor's house, was importuned to return home the night before FantinekiU was 
burned, -t. It was so managed that his daughter-in-law was absent from her 
mother's house on a visit to Jacob Bevier's at Xapanock. 5. By the death of 
his daughter-in-law's family, his son fell heir to the estate at Fantinekill. 

The family of Michael Sock were all killed. As none survived to tell the 
tale, no i^articulars can be given here. There were a father, a mother, two 
gi"owii-up sons and two small children in the household. A young man, either 
a Sock or a BeAier, had run some distance from the house into a piece of 
plowed ground, where a desperate contest had evidently taken place between 
him and an Indian. A large space had been trodden down, and the scalped 
and mangled corpse of the young man lay ujion it — he had several wounds from 
a tomahawk on his arms. A few days before there had been a training day at 
Napanock, and this same young man had loudly boasted that he was not afraid 
of Indians. 

At the house of Jesse Bevier, the savages and their accompanying Tories 
met with a warm reception. The first salute that Uncle Jesse received was 
when the blocks in the window were stove in, and two or three balls were fired 
just al)Ove his head as he lay in bed. He sprang up and seized an axe, with 
which he prevented them fiom entering the window, at the same time calling 
to his sons David and John, who innnediately responded. A desperate action 
ensued, for this family were all famous marksmen. This was especially trae 
of David, who had some choice powder for his own use, which his mother 
brought forward in the course of the conflict. He declined to use it, saying that 
common powder was good enough to shoot Indians with. They had the powder 
loose in basins on a ^able foi- the sake of convenience, and measured the charges 
in their hands. The women assisted in loading, it being common to have a 
double stock of arms. But the enemy approached from a point against which 
this little band of Huguenot heroes could not bring their guns to bear, and 
found means to set fire to the old log house. 

Their situation now became critical. Every drop of liquid in the house was 
applied to retard the progress of the flames. The women took milk, and even 
swill, in their mouths and forced it through the cracks of the logs, hoping in 
this Avay to i)roti'act their existence until relief could come from Napanock. 
At tliis awful crisis, when death in its most awful form was staring them in 
the face, that pious mother proposed that they should suspend hostilities and 

74 Legends of the Sliawaiigutik. 

unite in petitions to the throne of grace for help David rephed that ' ' she must 
do the praying while they continued to fight." So that mother prayed, and 
the prayer was answered in an imexpected manner. 

In the course of tlie morning, after the hattle commenced at FantinekiU,. 
Jesse Bevier's dog, without any sign or motion from his mastei*. nor having 
been trained to any thing of the kind, ran to Napanock, to the house" of Lewis 
Bevier, his master's brother. He approached Lewis, and jumping up against, 
his breast looked him in the face, then ran to the gate which led to his master's, 
looking back to see if he was coming; this he did several times. Lewis could 
distuictly hear the firing at FantinekiU, and could easily divine what was going 
on. So, taking his arms, he hastened to the house of a neighbor, and told liinr 
the dog had come to call him, and that he was resolved to go to his brother's- 
relief, although the Indians were exjjected there every minute, and it was 
almost certain death to go alone, yet "it was too much for flesh ajid blood to 

Standing by, in hearing of the conversation, was the neighbor's son, Con- 
radt, a stalwart youth who was extremely fleet of foot, and who boasted that 
no Indian could outrun him. This young man's patriotism was kindled by the 
remarks of Lewis, and volunteering his services, the two set out over the low- 
lands for FantinekiU. When they came near, the Indian sentry on the InU 
fired an alarm. The Indians and Tories, not knowing how large a company 
Avas coming, immediately withdrew from the vicinity of the house and the two 
men rushed in. The flames at this moment had extended to the curtains of 
the bed. The door was now thrown open, and the women rashed down the liiU 
to the spring after water, while the men stood at the door with gmis to protect 

Among the women who went to the spring was Jesse Bevier's daughter, 
Catherine. While at the spring she heard the gi'oans of the dying in the 
swamj)}- grounds near by. Ajnong them she I'ecognized some Tories — she 
could distinguish them by their stiiped pantaloons, and by the streaks which 
the sweat made in their painted faces. The fu-e was happily exting-uished, and 
tins familj^ saved from an awful catastrophe. 

Colonel Cortland's regiment had been lying in tlie vicmity of Xapanock 
for some time preceding this event, but their time of senice had expired a few 
days before the attack on FantinekiU; and it is supposed that the Tories had 
made this fact known to the Indians. But the soldiers, having received some 
money, had got into a frolic at a tavern at Wawarsing, and were there on the 
morning of the alarm. They were mustered with aU possible speed, and when 
they came to Napanock, were joined by Capt. Andries Bevier's company, and 
the united forces marched to the scene of action. "VMien they came to the 
Xapanock creek, the Indian yells and war-whoops were heard on the western 
hiUs, and the savages fu-ed upon them as they were crossing the stream, and 
continued to fire upon them as they passed on toward FantinekiU. Their fire 
was returned by the regiment, but it is not known that any loss was sustained 

Massacre at Fantinckill. 75 

on either side at this stage of the action. The Indians bore off west, setting 
fire to the woods as they went to avoid pursuit. 

"V^Hien the war-whoop was heard on the hills west of Napanock, and the 
soldiers were seen leaving the place to go to Fantinekill, the women, children, 
and invalids made a precipitate flight to the Shawangunk momitain, expecting 
the Indians would enter Napanock and burn the place, which they could have 
done with ease. Two sons of Andries Bevier, aged twelve and fourteen, ran 
across the mountain, through the burnt woods, barefooted, a distance not less 
than five miles. They first came to the residence of a Mr. Manse, on the east 
side of the mountain, then jjassed on to Shawangimk village, and gave the 
alarm. Several members of Jacob Bevier's family also made their way through 
the woods; but some of the neighbors missed their wa3% got lost, and were 
all night in the mountain, which was full of people from both sides, with horns, 
looking for them. The smaU children, and those of the inhabitants that were 
feeble and infirm, went only to the base of the declivity, and secreted them- 
selves among the scraggy rocks, esjieciaUy along the sides of a noted defile 
known as " Louis Ravine. " In their flight they were joined by the youiig black, 
Robert, who escaped from Fantinekill. 

In fording the Rondout creek, a child of Andrew Bevier came near being 
swept down with the cun-eut. He was caught by a friendly hand and helped 
ashore. When they annved at the foot of the mountain an invalid soldier 
climbed a tree to see if Napanock was on fire. When he heard the sound of 
musketry he said he could distinguisii the firing of Cortland's regiment from 
that of the Indians, because the former '' fired by platoons." Towards night 
the men came to look for their families; but the womeii and children who were 
in hiding, apprehending they miglit be Tories, gave no heed to their calls until 
they were certain they were friends. 

Mr. Jacob Bevier, of Napanock, was sick and unable to be moved. AU the 
family had fled across the mountain except an insane brother, who was sitting 
on the fence miconscious of his danger, and a daughter who had resolved to 
remain with lier father. Jacob expostulated with her, saying that if the 
Indians came, she could not save him, and in that case both must inevitably 
fall before the tomahawk and scalping-knife. Eveiy feehng of humanity and 
affection I'ose in opposition to the disinterested exhortations of a tender father; 
but his sound reasoning and the instinct of self-preservation at length pre- 
vailed, and she made her way for Old Shawangunk, and being more fortunate 
in finding the path, she arrived first at the place of destination. 

The noble conduct of Capt. Kortright on this occasion is worthy of record. 
As soon as he heard of the affair at Fantinekill, without awaiting orders from 
his superior officer, he directed his sergeant to order out his company, in all 
about seventy men, armed and equipped, with pi'o visions for two days, and to 
report at his house next morning at dayhght. The summons was promptly 
obeyed, and the conii)any was marched to Grahamsville with a view of inter- 
cepting the Indians on their return from Fantinekill. He selected a suitable 

76 Legends of the Shawangtcn/c. 

place, arranged his men in order, and awaited the ari'ival of the Indians. But, 
as usual, the savages discovered him first; and instead of coming by the usual 
route, they passed by in the rear of his men. The first intimation that Kort- 
right had of the presence of the Indians was a voUey deUvered into his midst 
from an unseen enemy. One rifle baU struck within six inches of the old 
Captain's head; but the savages kept at a safe distance, knowing they had an 
old Indian fighter to grapple with. 

One of the soldiers named Johannis Vernooey declared that he was hit by 
a baU. The others, thinking it was only the result of fright, sang out, " Where 
has it hit you, Honsum ? Where has it hit you, Honsmn?" At last it was 
discovered that the strap which held the buckle to his knee was actually cut off 
by a bullet. The Indians soon made their way off, fiUiug the woods with their 
yells and war-whoops, without once coming into view. As an eye-witness of 
the affair exjjressed himself, " You can't see an Indian in the woods." 

BeAder affirms that' six of the persons who perished at Fantinekill were 
buried in one grave near the place where they lived and died. The loss of the 
enem}^ is not known. The only house that stood where the village of EUenviHe 
is now located, was burned. It was owned by John Bodley, and its occupants 
had a naiTow escape. They, in common with other families scattered along 
the valley, fled to the movmtain and secreted themselves. 


THIS last attempt of the savages, under the command and by direction of 
British authoritj^, to exterminate the inhabitants of this frontier, 
occurred on the 12th of August, 17S1, and Avas the most extensive invasion 
dince the commencement of the war. This expedition was fitted out at one of 
the northern British posts, and put under tJie command of a wliite man by the 
name of Caldwell, with exphcit directions to commence his assault at Captain 
Andrew Bevier's at Napanock; and to kill or capture aU the inhabitants, and 
destroy or carry off all the property along the Kingston road to the half-way 
house kept by the Widow Hasbrouck, twelve miles northeast of Xapanock— 
"if he thought he could get back ahve." CaldweU was told if he did not carry 
out his instructions, he should be tried for his life on his retm-n. Such is the 
laugTiage of the Bevier pamphlet. These allegations, were they not backed by 
testimony not to be controverted, would appear to be the creation of some fer- 
tile brain to vivify a page of fiction. We leave for other hands the task of 
attempting to excuse or palliate the crime of authorizing the slaughter of help- 
less women and children, for a crime it was, though sanctioned by the Crown 
of England. 

It may be well here to state that it was the practice along the frontiers to 
keep out ^pies or scouts on the side exposed to savage inroads, who were to 

Btirniiig of Maicarsing. 77 

patrol the woods aud give notice to the settleiueuts in order that they might 
not be taken by surprise. Philii> Hine was one of those chosen to perform this 
duty. In providing himself with a supply of provisions, he had occasion to 
purchase some meat of Jeremiah Kettle, who resided in the vicinity of Newtown. 
Kettle made particular inquiries of Mr. Hine as to where he was going, the 
nature of his business, and the purpose for which he wanted the meat, to which 
the latter made honest replies, not suspecting his interlocutor was a Tory, who 
would find means of commmiicating the information to the Indians. 

Hine, accompanied by another spy named Silas Bouck, started on his 
migratory errand. When they reached the Neversink river, twenty miles or 
more southwest of Napanock, they discovered a body of four or five hundred 
Indians and Tories, evidently bound on an expedition against some of the fron- 
tier settlements. The scouts watched their progi-ess secretly until certain that 
their place of destination was Wawarsing; they then took a circuitous route, 
and struck the road far in advance of the point where they had seen the enemy. 
The Indians had been apprised by the Tory, Kettle, that spies were out, and were 
on the alert. Discoveruig some footmarks where Hine and his companion had 
crossed a stream of water, runners were immediately sent in pursuit, who over- 
took them witlain half an hour after the latter had entered the road. But tliere 
seems to have been a providence in this apparent misfortune, and the perfidi 
ousness of Jeremiah Kettle was made the means of saving many i)recious lives. 

The prisoners were required under pain of death to give a correct account 
of the fortifications and other means of defense along the frontier. Among 
other things they informed their captors that thei-e was a cannon at Capt. 
Bevier's, in Napanock. On account of tliis intelligence the enemy did not caiTy 
out their instnictions and commence their attack at that place. Some of the 
Indians had probably witnessed the destructive power of grapeshot and cannon- 
balls in the war of 17.55, and had a wholesome fear of that engine of destruc- 
tion. But they would not have been injured in this case, for the old cannon lay 
on the woodpile without a carnage, and was useless for purposes of defense. 
Nevertheless the dismantled field-piece intimidated an enemy five hundred 
sti-ong, and saved Napanock from attack. 

The inhabitants of Napanock never lost sight of their gratitude to that old 
cannon. It was given a carriage, and restored to a condition becoming an 
"arm of war." After peace was declared, at each recurring Independence 
Day, the old nine-pounder was brought out where its presence was sure to 
evoke great enthusiasm, and patriotic heai-ts beat faster as they voted it the 
position of honor in the procession. Blooming maidens crowned it with 
wi-eaths, as did their daughters for successive generations after them. Fourth 
of July orations bestowed upon it the meed of unbounded praise. And often 
as the sterling patriots met to live over again in memory the struggle of the 
Revolution, and to march to the sound of fife and drum, arcund the hberty pole 
on the hill at Capt. Simon Bevier's, amid the strains of martial music was 
heard the roar of the ancient nine-pounder, multiijlied into a score of voices in 

78 Legends of tke Shawangunk. 

the echoes that were hui-led back from the sides of old Shawangunk, as though 
the glim old mountain itself had joined in sounding the paeans of hberty. 

After the captors of Hine and Bouck had obtained all the information they 
washed, the piisoners weie taken apait fiom each other, tied to trees, and left 
in that situation until the Indians returned. Here they were compelled to 
remain for the most part of throe days and nights, without anything to eat or 
drink, and liable to attack in their defenseless condition from wild beasts. In 
addition to their physical sufferings were added their well-fomaded appiehen- 
sions that their wives and children would fall a prey to the scalping-knife, and 
also that they themselves might meet with a Uke fate if the enemy wei'e in an 
initable mood on then- return. 

It had been the intention of the enemy to detach one hundred of their 
number, under the command of Shanks Ben, who were to proceed through 
the foi'est from the Delaware river to Newtown, to commence the work of 
death there, and meet their comrades at some place in the valley of the Rondout. 
But by an accident wliich occuired in drjing some damaged powder, several of 
their number were bm'ned, among them Shanks Ben, so that he was unable to 
enter upon that service. It is said they made the proposition to Silas Bouck 
that if he would perfomi that duty, they would gi-ant liim his liberty the 
moment he came to Newtown; but the noble-hearted i^atriot rejected the pro- 
posal with disdain ! 

After securing their prisoners, as above stated, the enemy set forward. 
On that ever- memorable Sabbath, the 12th of August, 1781, at the dawn of the 
morning, they arrived at the old stone fort at Wawarsing, which was situated 
near the old church. Having taken the spies, no notice had been received at 
the fort of their approach, and most of its occupants were yet in their beds. 
Two men had gone out of the fort that morning,- -ilr. Johannis Hornbeck and 
a colored man named Flink. Catherine Vernooey was also about leaving the 
fort to go and milk, when she saw the Indians coming. She returned to the 
fort, closed the door, and called Chambers to assist her in getting the huge 
brace against it. Chambers was stationed on the sentry box at the time, but 
being somewhat deranged, he did not fire his gun. Fortunately, however, he 
smig out " vyand, vyand, " — enemy, enemy. No sooner had the door been 
secured than the Indians came against it with all their might, in order to burst 
it in. Had not the door been secured at that instant, the enemy would inevit- 
ably have gained admittance to the fort, and the fate of its inmates would then 
have been sealed 

The negro, Flink, soon discovered the Indians approaching the fort. He 
concealed himself until he saw they did not obtain an entrance; then leaving 
his milk-pail, he made his way with aU possible speed to Napanock, to apprise 
the people there of the anival of the enemy. Mr. Hornbeck, the other indi- 
vidual who had left the fort, was on his waj' to see his com- field, and heard the 
alarm when about a mile away. Being a large fleshy man, unable to travel 
fast on foot, he caught a horse and rode wit;h all speed to Eochester. "^Tien 

Burning of Waicai-siiig. 79 

he arrived tliere, so overcome was he by excitement and fatigue, that ne fell 
upon the floor as one dead. He recovered sufficiently to be able to return 
home in the afternoon in company with the troops that were sent in pui-suit of 
the Indians. 

The stone fort at Wawarsing was now the scene of active opei'ations. The 
men leaped excitedly from their beds, and, without much regard to dress, seized 
their guns, which were always at hand, and commenced the defense. John 
Grififin was the first who fired, the shot biinging one of the sous of the forest 
to the gromid. Another Indian came to remove his fallen conn-ade, and just 
as he stooped over, Cornelius Vernooey gave him a charge of duck-shot that 
he had intended for a wild duck that came in his miU-pond. The other savages 
hun-ied them away, and it is probable that both of them were killed. The 
Indians did not fancy the reception they met ^\ith here, so they dispersed to the 
more defenseless parts of the neighborhood, to plunder and fire the buildings. 

Peter Vernooey Kved about one-fourth of a mile south-east of the fort. 
The Indians made an attack upon Ms house, but were bravely repulsed by the 
garrison, which consisted of thi-ee men. On the first advance of the Indians, 
Vernooey shot one from a window in the south-east side of the house. One of 
the men went into the gan-et, and discovered some savages behind a ledge of 
rocks to the north-east of the dwelhng, watching for an opportmiity to fire when 
any one came before tlie port-holes. While he was preparing to shoot at them, 
he saw the flash of their priming — he drew his head back suddenly, and a ball 
just gi'azed his face. An old hat hanging up in the garret, which the Indians 
supposed contained a man's head, was found to be full of bullet-holes. 

The conduct of the women of this household was worthy the daughters of. 
liberty. It appears there were three — Mrs. Peter Vernooey, and two of her 
relatives from I^ackawack. One of them loaded the guns for the men, while 
the others stood with axes to guard the windows, which were fortified with 
blocks of hard wood. Mrs. Vernooey had a family of small children. They 
were lying in a bunk, and became very uproarious at the unusual proceedings 
about them ; but the heroic matron addi'essed them in language so decided and 
unequivocal that they instantly became quiet. 

At Cornelius Bevier's the enemy foiuid none to oppose them. They entered 
the house, built a fire on the floor with some of the furniture, and then left the 
premises, taking along a colored woman and two deformed colored boys a short 
distance, until they supposed the flames had obtained sufficient headway, when 
they let them return home. The woman and boys went to work and succeeded 
in saving the house. At no time did the Indians appear to wish to kill the 
blacks. This was probably because they were slaves, and no bounty was paid 
by the British for their scalps. The Indians regarded the negroes as belonging 
to a race infeiior to themselves. 

The next assault was made at Cornelius Depuy's, whei-e a few neighbors 
were assembled, as the custom was, for mutual safety and defense. The enemy 
advanced from the hiUs south-east of the house. The person acting as com- 

8o Legends of the Sliawangunk. 

mander of this little garrison gave the order not to fire until the Indians came 
quite near; but a lad of sixteen was too full of enthusiasm and patriotic fii-e to 
await the word of command. He had his old Holland gun well primed, which 
he leveled at one of the redskins, and brought him to the groinid at the fii'st 
discharge. The enemy thereupon fled. A few shots were sent after them, 
wdth what effect is not known. 

The enemy made theii- next attack at the stone house of .John Kettle, in 
the defense of which the noble conduct of Captain Gerard Hardeuburgh is 
deserving of particular notice. At the time of the alarm Capt. Hardenliurgh 
was at the house of a relative one mile east of Kettle's with six of his men. 
Notwithstanding the risk, he determined to go to the relief of his countiymen. 
When he came in sight of Kettle's he saw a number of Indians in advance in 
the road. To offer battle with his insignificant force in the open field, would 
be an act of madness. 

There was no time to be lost, however, and all depended on the decision of 
the moment. His active and fertile mind instantly devised a stratagem that 
suited his purpose to perfection. He turned aside into the woods with his httle 
band of heroes, so that their number could not be observed by the enemy, took 
off his hat, shouted with all his might, and advanced towards Kettle's house. 
The Indians did not know what to make of this maneuvre. It might mean 
that a company of Tories had come from Newtown to their assistance, and it 
might be that troops were marching up from Pine Bush to the relief of the 
settlement; the savages took the safe course and skulked in eveiy direction. 
This gave the Captain time to reach the house. At that moment the Indians, 
who had discovered the ruse, pom'ed a shower of bullets at them; but the brave 
heroes escaped "Imhurt. The besieged broke holes through the rear of the 
house "with an axe, and also through the roof, for port-holes, through which 
they poured an effective fii-e upon then assailants. Hardenburgh found the 
house occupied by three soldiers and a son of John Kettle. The Indians made 
repeated assaults in force on this fortress, but were as often driven back Avith 
loss. Thirteen of their nmnber were left dead on the field. John Kettle "was 
at Herhonkson at the time of the attack. Jacobus Bniyn had removed with 
his family over the Shawangunk momitain thi'ough fear of the Indians, and 
Kettle had gone up to Bruyn's premises to see that aU was well. He started to 
go to the fort at Pine Bush, but was met in the road by an advance-guard of 
the savages, and shot. His was not the only scalp the Indians secm-ed in tliis 

While these events were transpiring at Wawarsing, the forts at Napanock 
and Pine Bush were the scenes of intense interest and suspense. Wlien the 
fii'ing ceased for a moment, the affrighted inhabitants were ready to conclude 
that the beleaguered garrison had been overpowered, and that the savages were 
engaged in mangling and scalping the bodies of their friends and brethren. 
Then again would be heard the report of one of the Holland guns, which could 
be plainly distinguished from the sharp crack of the light arms of the Indians, 

Bitniiiig oj Wawai'sing. 8i 

telling that the patriots yet lived, and were waging a heroic defense for their 
homes. The rattle of musketry in the first attack on Wawarsing was heard at 
Pine Bush; and as it was unlawful to fire a gun on the Sabbath, except in 
self-defense, or as an alarm, it was known that the place was attacked. Alarm 
guns were immediately fii-ed at Pine Bush, at Millliook, and so along the 
frontier towards Kingston. 

Colonel John Cantine, of Marbletown, was then first in connnand at Pine 
Bush. Capt. Burnet, of Little Britain, and Capt. Benjamin Kortright, of 
Rochester — both brave and resolute officers— had their companies leady at an 
early horn-, anxious to proceed to the scene of conflict; but Colonel Cantine 
made no move to that effect. When the flames of the burning buildings were 
seen ascending ui the lower part of Wawarsing, the captains addressed him as 
follows : — ' ' How can you i-emain here, when, i a aU probability, the Indians are 
murdering our friends at Wawarsing?" There, and not till then, did he i)ut 
the troops in motion to go to their relief. He sent a guard in advance; and 
when they airived at the site of the Middleport school-house, the guard 
returned and told the Colonel that the Indians were at Herhonkson. Cantine 
immediately wheeled about, and with a few others, marched back to the fort. 
Captains Bui-net and Kortright advanced vnih. their companies to the summit 
of the hill, south-west of the school-house, in order to confront the enemy if they 
should advance, at the same time making the greatest possible show of num- 
bers by deploying their men along the brow of the hill, then wheeling suddenly 
and marching again to the suTumit, where they might be seen by the enemy. 
The Indians not making their aj^pearance, and apprehensive that they might 
take a circuitous route and pass them umioticed, Bm-net and Kortright returned 
to Pine Busli. At their suggestion Colonel Cantine ordered out a guai'd some 
distance from the fort on each side to watch the movements of the enemy and 
protect the women and children below the fort. 

As already stated, the negro Flink escaped from the Wawarsing fort as the 
Indians attacked the place, and ran with all speed to Napanock. Capt. Pierson 
was in command at that place; and although suffering from indisposition, he 
left his bed, stepped out in front of the foi-t, and called for volunteers. He said 
he did not want a man to go that would not face the enemy, and fight like a 
hero. He was sohcited by the women and others to remain for their protection, 
but he replied that he was bound by his official oath to go where the enemy 
was. Conradt Bevier and Jacobus DeWitt, and some ten or twelve others, 
tendered their services, and the httle band set forward. When they came to 
the school-house, half a mile from the fort at Napanock, they found it in flames 
—no doubt fired by the Indians. They earned water in their hats and saved 
the building. They then cautiously advanced over the lowland until they came 
in sight of Wawarsing. At this time, an Indian sentinel who had been 
stationed on a hiU to give notice of the arrival of reinforcements to the gari'ison, 
fired off his gun, which caused the Indians to withdraw farther from the fort. 

Those within now made signals for Captain Pierson and his men to approach 

82 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

and enter. To do this the rehef party were obhged to pass over an open space 
exposed to the shots of the enemy; but the vmdertaking was accomplished in 
perfect safety. Encoui'aged by this addition to their numbers, the besieged 
came out, and fought the Indians from behind trees, buildings, and whatever 
objects afforded protection, after the Indian fashion. 

In the meantime the Indians entered the church, and amused themselves 
by throwing their tomahawk at the numbers, wliich, according to tlie custom 
of the times, were placed on the panels of the puljsit to designate the psalm or 
hymn to be sung. These figures served as targets to throw at. With such 
force were the missiles sent that two or tliree tomahawks were driven entirely 
through the panels. This injury was never repaired, but was suffered to remain 
as a memorial of the past. Two Indians were standing in tlie church-door, and 
Wm. Bodly and Com-adt Bevier crept along the fence in the bush to get a shot 
at them. Bevier leveled his piece and pulled the trigger, but it rmfortunately 
snapped. The Indian looked around as though he heard it. Bevier made a 
second attempt, and again it snapped. Bodly then fired, and both ran for tlie 
fort about one-fom"th of a mile awa}". The Indians sent some shots after 
them, one of the balls cutting a limb from an apple-tree under which Bevier 
was passing. Bodly's shot stnick in the door-post, just grazing the crown of 
the Indian's head. Long after the war a man by the name of DeWitt was in 
the western part of New York and spoke with the Indian who mot with so 
narrow an escape at the church-door. The Indian, on learnuag that DeAYitt 
Avas from Wawarsing, enquired if he knew who it w-as that shot at him while 
standing in the church-door. DeWitt told him it was "WUham Bodly. The 
Indian answered — " It was a good shot. If I ever meet that man I wiU treat 
him well." This incident illustrates a trait in the character of a " wariior."' 

Towards noon, when most of the Indians were in the lower part of the 
town, Cornehus Bevier went to water his cattle, accompanied by Jacobus 
DeWitt. They had ascended the hill toward the old burying-groimd, when 
they discovered two Indians walking directly from them in Indian file. Be^aer 
thought he could shoot them both at once, but just as he got ready to fixe, one 
of them ste]3ped aside. He shot one of the Indians and then both men ran for 
the fort. In passing under an apple-tree, DeWitt stumbled and fell; just at 
the instant a shot from the surviving Indian passed over his head. DeWitt ever 
afterward felt he owed liis escape to an interposition of Providence. The 
Indian's body was subsequently found near the place. He had put on new 
moccasins and other extra apparel dui-ing the period intervening between the 
time of his receiving the fatal wound and the moment of his death, as though 
preparmg himself for the final change that was to transport him to the happy 
luuiting-grounds . 

The people at the fort saw an Indian going wdth a firebrand to set fire to a 
dwelling-house occupied by some of the Hornbeck family. Benjamin Hornbeck 
loaded one of the long Holland guns, and tried the effect of a shot upon the 
miscreant. The ball struck a stone on the hOl, and bounded agamst the Indian 

Burning of Wawarsiiig. 83 

who immediately dropped the firebrand, gave a tremendous leap, and ran like a 
deer for the woods. This single shot was the means of saving that house from 
the general conflagration of that eventful day. 

The old neighborhood of Wawarsing on that Sabbath morning must have 
been a scene of subUme grandeur. Thu-teen substantial dwelling-houses, with 
their outbuildings, fourteen barns mth barracks, stacks of hay and grain, and 
one gi'ist-mill, were all enveloped' in flames— no one being able to ofl'er any 
I'esistance to their raging fury. The houses were stored with the articles 
requisite for the comforts and conveniences of civilized hfe — the products of 
the industry of many years; and the barns had just been filled with a plenteous 
haiwest. The Indians remained all that day in the vicinity, pillaging the houses, 
dri\'ing off the stock, and securing whatever plunder they thought would be of 
service to them. Between sixty and seventy horses, most of them very fine, 
and a gi-eat number of cattle, sheep and hogs, were driven off. The Indians 
took some gromid plaster as far as Grahamsville, supposing it to be flour, and 
attempted to make bread of it. At Esquire Hardenburgh's they fared sumptu- 
ously. They took some huckleberry pies, of which there was a goodly stock on 
hand, broke them up in tubs of sweet mUk, and then devoured them. Had not 
the Indians devoted so much of their attention to plunder, they might have 
secured more scalps. Some of the inhabitants who had concealed themselves 
in the bushes along the fences, met with narrow escapes when the Indians came 
to drive the cattle from the fields; they threw Uttle sticks and stones to drive 
the animals away from their places of concealment. 

When the Indians were pieparing to leave the place a personage of no 
ordinary rank and pretension was seen emerging from the woods into the high- 
way near the old church. His appearance was truly imposing. He was 
mounted on a superb horse that had been stolen from Esquire Hardenburgh, 
and was arrayed in gorgeous apparel, according to Indian notions. He had 
silver bands about his arms, and over forty silver brooches wei'e suspended about 
the person of his majesty. He was discovered by some soldiers who were 
watching to get a parting shot at the enemy as they were leaving the town, 
and one of them named Mack fired upon the chief. The latter was seen to reel 
in his saddle, but some other Indians turned his horse into the woods, and he was 
lost to view for a time. Afterwards Cornelius found his cor]>se in the woods 
near the place where he was shot, with the ornaments and trinkets still upon 
him. It is probable that the loss of this chief did much to intimidate the In- 
dians and hasten their retreat. 

In the course of Sunday afternoon, Capt. Pawling came up with some State 
troops from Hurley in time to reheve some of the inhabitants. There was a 
cabin in the woods situated in advance of the others, in which lived a man 
and his wife. At the first appearance of the foe, they fied into their castle, and 
gave battle to a party of savages wiio came up to attack them. The house was 
well supplied with arms, and while his wife loaded the guns he poured such a 
desti-uctive fire into the midst of his foes, that they soon recoiled with loss. 

84 Legends of- the Shawangtink. 

Baffled in their attempts to force an entrance, they collected a heap of combus- 
tibles and set fire to the i^remises. The savages then retired a short distance to 
watch the result. The man ran out with a couple of buckets, prociu'ed water, 
and with it extinguished the flames. The Indians ran down upon him, but not 
being quick enough to prevent his gaining the door, they hurled their toma- 
hawks at his head — happily without effect. Pawling's force being augmented 
by Col. Cantine's troops of Rochester and those of the garrison at Wawarsing, 
the httle army amounted to about foui" hundred men. Tliey lodged ac tlie 
Wawarsing stone fort Sunday night and early the next morning set out in 
IJursuit of the enemy. 

When they came to GrahamsvilJe they saAV where the Indians had lodged 
the night before, and where the}' had attempted to make bread out of ground 
plaster. Towards night the pm-suers arrived at Peenpack, along the Delaware, 
when the advance-gniard retm-ned and informed the officers that they had come 
to a fu'e of small sticks, and that the sticks were not burned through This 
was evidence that the Indians could not be far in advance. It having been ];)ro- 
l^osed to double the advance-guard. Captain Kortright offered to go with his 
whole company. While a consultation was going on among the officers, a gam 
in the hands of Dr. Vanderlyn, of Kingston, was discharged. Tlie report 
alarmed the enemy; the Indians of the party instantly fled in small squads, 
leaving their white commander Caldwell alone with the Tories and the scouts, 
Hine and Bouck, whom they had released on their return march and were con- 
ducting to Niagara. At this place large packages of spoils, including quantities 
of clothing, were left by the Indians in the confusion of their hastj" flight; but 
they were not found by the whites until several months aftei-wards. A council 
of war was held to determine whether to advance or retreat, at which it was 
resolved to give up the pm-suit and return home. Capt. Hardenbm-gh and some 
others were anxious to pui-sue, but Col. Cantine opposed it. Capt. Hardenburgh, 
vexed at what he considered Cantine's somewhat questionable pi-udence, observed 
to his Colonel that ' ' he could not die before his time ; " to which the latter i-eplied 
that if the Indians held a tomahawk above his head his time would be then 
and there. 

A German by the name of Vrooman deserted the Indians on Honk hill, 
while Wawarsing was in flames. He had been with them three years; and 
becoming tired of his allegiance, he left his gmi at a distance and approached 
the troops, maldng signs of peace. Some of the soldiers wished to kill him, but 
this was not permitted. Fi-om this man much of the matter embraced in this 
narrative was obtained. Yrooman said the invading horde was a party from 
Niagara, and that they consumed more . than a month on their journey to 
Wawarsing. During this time they were so much distressed for want of pro- 
visions that they ate up their pack-horses and dogs He reported that the 
garrison at Niagara was in a melancholy situation for want of provisions, and 
that the Tories there most bitterly execrated the day that they were deluded by 
a tyrant's emissaries to take up arms against their native comitry. It is said 

Burning of M'aicarsing. 85 

that the efficiency of the ludians at the descent \x^o\\ Wawarsing was greatly 
impaired by reason of theii- pre\'ious privations, and from eating the soft corn 
they had taken from the corn-fields at Wawarsing. The stjuaws met them, on 
their return to Niagara, with parched coin. 

The commander of the exi)edition, Caldwell, was now in a sore strait. He 
had failed in the main object of his expedition — the taking of prisoners and 
scalps. He was forsaken by his Indian guides, while hundreds of miles of 
trackless forest intervened between him and his base of supphes; and he was 
menaced by a foe greatly outnumbering liis own force who were close at his 
heels, exasperated beyond measure at his work of devastation, and anxious to 
wreak vengeance upon the destroyer of their homes. Had Cautine advanced 
instead of retreating, Caldwell's diminished forces would have fallen an easy 
prey, and a large portion of the spoils would have been recovered. 

Caldwell was now in a measure dependent upon the magnanimity of the 
scouts, Phihp Hine and Silas Bouck. The latter agreed to pilot the party 
through to Niagara on condition that Caldwell would do all in his power to save 
him from rumiing tlie gauntlet when they arrived at the fort. When they 
reached that post, Hine proposed allegiance to the British Crown; and was per- 
mitted to have some Uberty, and went on an expedition ^vith the British troops 
against Troy. It does not appear that he participated in any engagement against 
the Americans. One tradition is that he came back after peace was restored; 
another says that he escaped under pretense of going on a hunting expedition. 
At all events he lived to return to his friends who had mourned him as dead. 

Silas Bouck, his brother scout, was taken to Montreal, put into a log jail, 
in company with two other prisoners, and furnished with a scanty supply of 
[)rovisions, even those being of the filthiest and meanest kind. In this extremity 
the three prisoners set about devising some means of escape. 

They succeeeded in raising up one of the boards of the floor, and with the 
lielp of an old knife dug a hole under the side of the building. In the day time 
they lay still; at night they dug, carefully concealing the dirt under the floor, 
and replacing the board before morning. Having some reason to apprehend 
the time of execution was at hand, and a dark night favoring, they made their 
exit through the subterraneous passage, and entered the St. Lawrence. Bouck 
was ahead. They had not gone far before one of his companions cried qut tliat 
he was sinking. But no assistance could be afforded — each had work for him- 
self. When nearing the opposite side a similar cry was heard from the other. 
Before reaching the shore Bouck too began to grow weak, and he feared he 
should meet the fate of his companions. He thought he might touch the hot 
tom, but was afraid to try. At last he attempted and found it was not beyond 
liis depth; and after reaching the beach he made his way into the wilderness 
Avithout knowing where he was going. 

At length morning came. The sun rose, and by that he shaped his 
course with more certainty. Never were the benignant rays of that luminary 
more welcome to a traveler than on this occasion. Soon hunger began to 

86 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

torture Hin6s already emaciated frame. He saw a rattlesnake iu his path. 
Fortunately he had preserved his pocket-knife, with which he cut a crotched 
stick and put it over the neck of the snake, and then cut off its head. Tliis 
snake he dressed and ate raw. Tliis appeased the appetite for a while, when 
hunger again began to pinch liim hard. 

.As he was pursuing his journey he came in sight of a small house. He 
watched it closely, and ascertained that its occupants consisted of two persons 
only — a man and his wife. He resolved to Avait until the man should leave the 
house, when he would rush in, kill the woman, get some provisions and be off. 
He did not have to wait long for the o^jportunity. The moment he entered the 
door the woman cried out — " You are a deserter ! " Some bread and meat lay 
on the table, which she told him to take and be off or he was a dead man; 
for there was a large body of Indians near by, and that her husband had gone 
to them. He took the bread and meat and fled A\dth all haste into tlae woods, 
and crawled into a hollow log. He had been there but a short time when he 
heard the Indians traversmg the forest in search of him. In the night he 
came out of the log, and resumed his journey. After enduring a degree of 
suffering seldom equalled, he arrived at Catskill, on the Hudson, about fourteen 
months after he was taken prisoner. 

The freemen of Rochester, Ulster county, were assembled at a public-house 
to transact some business of a patriotic nature. The long and bloody war with 
Great Britain was drawing to a hapj^y termination, and eveiy patriot's pulse beat 
high A\ath the prospect of domestic peace and national glory. While in the 
midst of their rejoicing, a person was discovered in the distance having the 
appearance of a way-worn traveler. As the stranger approached some one 
hinted that his step was like the stride of Silas Bouck. They had long supposed 
him dead— still he might be alive. They were not long in suspense. The joy- 
ful news resounded through tire assembly that Bouck was coming, and with 
one simioltaneous rush they ran to meet him. They could scarcely believe the 
evidence of their own eyes. They caught him up, and carried him into the 
house, while the air resounded \Aith their shouts of joy. It was a reunion such 
as is seldom witnessed. After the trials of a protracted and bloody war, tliey 
were now to enjoy, in common, the dearly bought boon of Uberty. 

On the return of the Indians to Niagara it was ascertained that eighteen of 
their nmnber were missing. One of the absent Indians, however, returned late 
in the faU, having driven a cow all the way, and lived on the milk. 


Kortr{s;Jifs Expedition. %-j 


DFRIXn the Revolution three men were hving, with their faniiHes, in the 
vichiity of Pine Bush, in the to\\ai of Rochester, named Shurker, Miller, 
and Baker. Shurker had been suspected of being a Tory. A Whig neighbor 
had once intimated as much to him, personally ; but Shm-ker denied the charge, 
and made the strongest attesta tions of fidehty to the cause of lil )erty. This 
conversation was overheard by the Tories, and by them connnunicated to the 
Indians. Living thus on the outpost, these people had the strongest tempta- 
tions to keep the good will of the enemy, in order to save their lives and 
pix)perty, though at heart they were Whigs. 

One morning, at early dawn, the alarm of "Indians" Avas heard at the 
military posts at Pine Bush. The report of firearms rent the air; and in the 
twilight, flames were seen ascending from the doomed buildings in awful 
grandeui- to the heavens, telling, in unequivocal terms, that tlie destro}'ers were 
there. Capt. Benjamin Kortright, who knew not what fear was, marshalled 
his band and marched to the scene of action. When they came in sight, they 
saw the enemy were already reti'ing. They halted a moment to extinguish the 
flames of a burning building, where they found Shmker with his brains dashed 
out. While the whites were at this place the Indians fired a volley on the hill 
nearby. After putting out the fire, they jjuisned the enemy. When they 
came on the hill, they found Miller, literally perforated with bullet-holes. It is 
remarkal)le that the women and children were not molested on this occasion; 
the most reasonable explanation is that a large jiroportion of the enemy were 
Tories; and that there may have been some ties of relationship or affinity that 
restrained them in this instance from their usual barl)arity. 

Capt. Koi-tright continued the pursuit until tliey came to Vernooey creek; 
then their provisions being exhausted, they returned to Pine Bush. On their 
way they buried the unfortunate Shurker and Miller, who fell martyrs to the 
cause of liberty. The fate of Baker is wi-apped in impenetrable mystery. 
Nothing more Avas ever heard of him. He was the bravest and most muscular 
man of the three. It is probable he was reserved by the Indians as the object 
on which to wreak their vengeance in return for the three savages killed by 

At the time of this massacre a body of three hundred troops were stationed 
at the Foi-t on Honk hiU. The officer in command, on being informed of the 
above facts, resolved to fit out an expedition to waylay the Indians on their 
return at the Chestmit woods, now knowii as Grahamsville, about thirteen 
miles from Napanock. The officer called out for volunteers, and John Graham 
stepped from the ranks. He was asked how many men he would have, to 
which he answered that he would take no more than "his honor" gave him, 

88 Legends of tlie Shawangunk. 

which was a sergeant's guard, and consisted of eighteen men and a sergeant 
and corporal. He was offered more men, but refused to take them. One of 
Graham's party was Abraham Yan Cami^en, a noted hunter and exj^ert Indian 
fighter. The others were from the old settlements east of the Shawangunk 
mountain, and unused to border warfare. 

Graham's company marched on immediatel)^, and reached the Chestnut 
woods in advance of the enemy He selected his position wliere the Chestnut 
brook enters the Papacton creek. At this place the hUls form a triangle, and 
there is a space of nearly level gi'ound at the junction of the streams. Here he 
resolved to remain and sm'prise the Indians if they came that way, in the mean- 
time dispatching Van Campen to procui-e some fresh venison. Before he 
returned, the Indians came, discovered the plot of the whites, and made tlieir 
dispositions for attack. 

One Indian only was sent forward in the regiilar path in front of the little 
garrison; all the rest had approached unobserved, and occupied elevations on 
ever}^ side, where they were securely posted behind ti'ee-trunks, with their 
fingers on the triggers of their guns awaiting the signal of death from their 
leader. Graham had just beeii very deliberately taking a drink from a rivulet 
near his camp; and as he rose, he saw an Indian in the path and directed his 
men to fue. Just as they aimed, the Indian fell upon his face, and the balls 
whistled harmlessly over his head. The next instant he was again upon his 
feet, and disappeared among the bushes as a murderous volley was poured into 
Graham's men from every side. Only two men, beside Van Campen, escaped, 
who made the best of their way back to the fort to cany the news of the 
massacre. Never was a flock of wild bu-ds more effectually and skillfully taken 
in a fowler's net. History does not record the name of the leader of the Indians, 
but the generalship exhibited in the affair leaves little doubt that he was the 
celebrated Colonel Brant. 

It was thought necessary to send a force of three hundi-ed men to bury the 
dead. When the detachment arrived the bodies were falling to pieces from 
putrefaction, and were so offensive that the work of burial was ^\^th difficidty 
performed. They found them all scalped, and divested of every article that 
could be of any use; but their persons were not mangled as was frequently the 
case, with the exception of Graham's, which some declare was disemboweled. 
The bodies were buried in trenches on the spot where they fell. The troops had 
considerable sport with one of the men who escaped. During his hasty flight, 
in jumping across a brook, his bayonet had stuck into the ground, and he had 
left his gun, not taking time to puU it out. It was found to be loaded and aU 
the cartridges were in the box; so it was evident that he had not once fired his 

Some years since a party came to the Chestnut woods to ascertain the 
precise spot where the unfortunate slain were laid. They did not succeed, 
though some were then Hving who could point to the exact location. Quinlan 
says that the burial-place of Graham and his men is a short distance back of the 

Anderson and Osterliont. 8g 

old school-house near the junction of Chestnut brook and the Papacton. A lad 
named Paul Benson, in companj^ with two other boys, were constructing a dam 
across the brook, w^heu they dug up some bones. These they took to Neil 
Benson, who pronounced them human bones, and ordered the boys to take them 
back. This so terrified them that they ran off, leaving the bones with 
Mr. Benson. Quinlan adds that a log, that was cut on the battle-ground, wnen 
sawed into lumber, was found to contain eight birLlets. 


JUST before the beginning of the Revolution, there was a tavern kept at 
Lackawack by a widow lady. This was frequented by Indians as well as 
wliite men. The wadow had a son by her first liusband, wii<ise name was 
Caleb Osterhout. Either Caleb or a friend of his, George Anderson, had at one 
time offended the Indians by advising her not to seU them any more liquor, 
and the latter determined on levenge. Awaiting a favoral)re opportunity 
when tliese men were both at this tavern over night, some Indians entered, 
took them prisoners, and can-ied them off in triumph. While the struggle 
was going on, the woman fled from the house with no other covering than 
her night clothes; she was out all night in the woods and in a shower of rain. 
The next day she made her way to Wawarsing and gave the alarm, when a 
party was sent off in pui-suit. 

George Anderson could understand the Indian dialect, and lie gathered from 
their- conversation that they had determined to scalp Osterhout, as he was in 
poor health and not able to travel fast. They said his scalp would fetch more 
than he would be worth alive. Anderson made known this decision to his 
comi)anion. and endeavored to nei-ve him to the point of making a desperate 
effort to escape. That night, pro\'identially, an opportunity offered. The 
Indians had pai-taken of their supper, secured the prisoners for the night, and 
had lain down by tlie side of the camp-fire. A knife liad been accidentally 
droi)ped by the savages, which Anderson surrejititiously covered with leaves. 
The knife was missed, and search was made for it; but not finding it readily 
the search was given up. Fatigued by the day's march, the Indians were soon 
wi-apped in a deep sleep. 

This was their opportiniity. By the faint light of the fiickering embers, 
Anderson found the knife and cut the thongs that liound his fellow-prisoner, 
and was in tuni freed from bis fastenings; the next thing was to dispatch the 
Indians, and each took a hatcliet and prepared for the work. Anderson com- 
menced, but he was in such baste that he only partially stunned his first 
victim, who rose up and fell into the fire. His next blow killed the second 
Indian instantly. Osterhout had failed in his attempt upon the third Indian, 

QO Legends of the Skaivangunk. 

and Anderson crossed over to the other side of the fire and dispatched him. In 
the meantime Osterhout had pulled the first Indian out of the fire, instead of 
killing him. His conduct can only be explained in that he was, for the mo- 
ment, unnerved and excited by the cu-cmiistauces in which they were situated. 

Two squaws were with the Indians; they were awakened by the noise, ran 
off and made the woods resomid with then- frantic yells. 

One tradition of tliis event says, it was agreed between Osterhout and 
Anderson that the former should kiU the squaws and the latter the Indians. 
Could this have been effected, it would have rendered the position of tbe white 
men more secure. As it was, they were well aware the squaws would waste 
no time in informing other Indians who were lurking in the vicinity. They 
would soon be upon their track hke veritable bloodhounds; and should they be 
so unfortunate as to fall into the hands of the savages after having murdered 
three of their number, they were well aware that the most fearful torture that 
savage ingenuity could invent would speedily be visited upon them. 

Incited by tliis reflection to the most strenuous efforts, and encouraged by 
what they had ah-eady accomplished, they speedily made their preparations for 
returning home. They first appropriated the provisions of the slaughtered 
Indians, and other articles that might prove useful to them in their journey. 
As their route lay through an unbroken wilderness, traversed by bands of 
hostile Indians, the utmost circumspection was necessary on the part of the 
escaping captives. 

Osterhout was naturally a timid man. and of weak constitution, and was 
totally unfitted for such rough experience as they were undergoing. Their 
escape depended mostly on Anderson's vigilance and perseverance. Their 
movements were necessarily slow, each day's journey being fimited by Oster- 
hout's rapidly faihug strength. Then- scanty supply of provisions was soon 
exhausted, and hunger added its tortm-es to theii- sufferings. They had arms 
and ammunition, but they dare not fii-e at any game for fear of being heard by 
Indians. One day they came upon a horse which had been turned into the 
woods; this animal they killed with a spear, and cutting the flesh from the 
thighs devoured it raw. They were obliged to avoid the usual route, and often 
found it necessary to secrete themselves during the day and travel only at night, 
in order to escape the vigilance of the Indians. On one occasion they were so 
hard pressed that Anderson was obliged to swim a river with his companion on 
his back. 

After untold suffering they came to a stockade fort at Honk hiU, at wliich 
lived a man named Timmerman. When provisions were set before them 
Osterhout was fed hke a child. Anderson had self-control sufficient to care for 
himself. Osterhout survived the shock but a short time, when he was num- 
bered with his fathers. 

The conduct of George Anderson subsequent to this event became very 
eccentric. The strength and vigor of his intellect seemed to have vanished; 
we can no longer contemplate him as the brave and undaunted hero. This 

Polly ridd. 91 

was no doubt the result of physical disease, brought ou by the excessive fatigue 
and hardship of his caiativity and escape. He appeared to be constantly 
apprehensive of some imminent danger, the result of a mental derangement. 
He left Wawarsing, wandered on tlie Shawangunk mountain, and took up his 
abode in a cavern in the eastern slope. From this lonely retreat he would sally 
forth in the night, and indulge in petty thieving, by which means he supplied 
his physical necessities. He became a pest to the people, but they forbore to 
punish him out of consideration for his misfortunes, as they were aware he was 
not morally responsible for his acts. 


OX one of the roads leading from Pecksville to Rtormville, in Duchess 
comity, there is yet standing an impretentious dwelling-house in which, 
many years ago, lived a family whose history is associated with a startling 
tragedy. The incidents are but faintly outlined in the memories of even the 
oldest inhabitants of the neighborhood; still there are a few who have a distinct 
recollection of liearing the older settlers teU of the lonely life and eccentricities 
of Polly Tidd, the last survivor of this unfortunate family. 

In this house, some years prior to the Revolution, there lived a well-to-do 
farmer l)y the name of Solomon Tidd. His family consisted of a wife, tuo 
daughters nearly grown, and an only son about ten years of age. One day in 
early autumn, Solomon and his wife drove down to Fishkill village to dispose of 
some farm produce, and to make some necessary purchases for the family, 
leaving the boy and his sisters at home. Ou their return from the village, 
while passing through a piece of woods about a mile from the house, their old 
horse, " Roan, " began to prick up his ears, and to accelerate his pace in a way 
that he had not been known to do in years. "Some painter or bear, likely, 
snooping in the bushes, for there can't be no Ingins about," said Solomon, by 
way of accounting for the strange behavior of their family horse. 

" Hark, did not some one call?" cried out Mrs. Tidd, who was not a httle 
frightened at the idea of the possible proximity of a iianther oi- bear. 

" Seems to me I did hear sunthin," answered Solomon, "but guess I must 
have been mistaken. Old Roan thinks there's some varmint around that he 
don't like, though, and I don't care how soon we get out of this. So do your 
best. Roan "—continued the old man to his usually sedate roadster, who had 
quickened his pace into a gallop. 

" Where are the children," cried Mrs. Ti Id in alarm as she entered the door, 
breathless from her breakneck ride, only to find the house empty, and no one 
within call. "Could it be they'd be foolish enough to come down the road to 
meet us, and got caught by a painter ? " And the good old lady shuddered 
at the thouefht. 

92 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

• No, I guess not," said her husband, yet there was a tremor in his voice 
that showed he, too, had misgivings. 

" And Hariy was so anxious for his new shoes and the girls for their plaid 
frocks! I wonder why they're not here," soliloquized Mrs. Tidd. And then 
glancing at the table. " Well I declare if they haven't eat up all my frait-cake, 
and broke open my best jar of presarves ! 'Pears like as though they'd had the 
whole neighborhood to dinner. But where on "aith are they gone to ? They 
wouldn't have started for wintergi-eens up in the back pastm-e, would they?" 
But the father was too much absorbed in his o^\ti thoughts to give heed to her 

As hour after hour passed, and the missing ones were not found, the 
parents became seriously alarmed. Word was sent to their neighbors, none of 
whom had seen the children, and the whole settlement volmiteered to search 
for them. Night closed in, bat no tidings. Torches were now procm-ed, and 
their gleaming could be seen along the mountain side borne in the hands of 
sympathizing friends, whose voices sounded strangely upon the night air as they 
hallooed the names of the wanderei's, and shouted to one another as they prose- 
cuted their search. Morning came and the news spread far and wide. Men 
and boys of neighboring towns assembled, and that day hundreds were engaged 
in beating the woods for miles in every direction. Bvit aU was of no avail; it 
became evident that f ui-ther search was useless. 

Tlie mother became almost frantic at her loss. Indeed it seemed for awhile 
that her reason would be dethroned; but m time the more violent paroxysms of 
her grief wore away, and she fell into a state of settled melancholy. Years 
passed, and Solomon Tidd and his wife Avere laid to rest in the graveyard on 
the mountain side, in utter ignorance to the last of the natui-e of the calamity 
that had rendered them childless. 

When Solomon and Ms wife had been gone from home about an hour on 
the day of the children's disappearance, a gentle tap was heard at the door. 
Polly, the elder of the girls, was about 'to open it, Avhen her sister Esther 
stopped her, and asked " \^1io's there?" "A friend," was the response. 
Esther quickly detected a pecuhar accent ni the voice, and would have bolted 
the door; but her purpose was diverted by the more persistent Polly, when they 
were confronted by two Indians. The latter entered and asked for food; when 
the frightened children set before them the best the house afforded. While 
eating, the savages enquired in broken Enghsh where theix- fatlier and mother 
were; and the girls, unused to the arts of dii^lomacy, gave honest answers to 
their questions. At this the Indians were observed to exchange significant 
glances; and as they rose to go, informed the children that they were to accom- 
pany them. The lad, terrified beyond measure, set up a cry; when he received 
a blow from the larger Indian that sent him reeling to the floor. The savage 
then brandished a knife and said. " Me kill, if you don't stop noise ! " 

The Indians now manifested the utmost haste. They fairly urged their 
captives into a run across the open field opposite the house, nor did they slacken 

Polly Tidil 93 

their pace until they gained the covert of the woods. The path along which they 
were going led not far from the highway. Presently they heard the rumble of 
a wagon, and the children recognized the voice of their father as he encouraged 
his frightened horse. At this junctui-e the lad essayed to cxy out " Father ! " 
but the word was broken off in mid-utterance by a blow on the head from the 
nearest Indian, wliich stretched the little fellow apparently lifeless upon the 
ground. 'V^''hen the sound of the wheels died away some leaves were hastily 
strewn over the lad, and the flight down tlie mountain path resumed. Presently 
the noise of rapid footsteps was heard behind them, and the party turned to 
behold the boy, who had recovered consciousness and kicked away the leaves; 
and, tenified at being left alone in the woods, had unwittingly ran into the 
power of the worst enemy that he could have encountered. No harm was 
offered the lad, but he was given to understand if he made another outcry he 
should be killed. 

Being so far frf>m the river, the Indians knew their own safety depended 
on the speed of tlieir flight. One savage in advance, the other in the rear, with 
the captives in single file Ijetween — the strength of the children was tested to 
the utmost. It became evident as they progressed that the boy could not keep 
pace with them; and he was taken aside, his brains dashed out with a toma- 
hawk, the body thrown into a cleft of rocks for the wolves and ravens to 
devour, and the flight resumed. 

In due time the savages with their captives reached their village at the base 
of the Shawangimk mountain. Here Polly and Esther were formally adopted 
into two Indian families that had each been recently bereaved of a daughter, and 
they were set at work gathering corn, collecting fuel, and other menial drudgery 
of tlie Indian women. In this way a year or more passed; and the girls were 
blooming into womanhood. Tlie fair face of Esther had attracted the notice of 
a young l:)rave, and he sought her hand in marriage after the manner of coiut 
ship in vogue with his tribe. On two successive evenings he presented hmiself 
at the wigwam where Esthei' lived, partook of the food offered by her hands, 
and recUned on tlie couch of skins. But Esther, while she extended the usual 
courtesy required by the rules of Indian hospitality, was so far unversed in 
savage wooing as not to understand how she was to signify her acceptance. 
The succeeding day Esther was set at work to gather sticks, a hint designed to 
intimidate her to accept his matrimonial advances, though she understood not 
its purport. That evening her swarthy suitor again presented himself at her 
door, dressed in his best deerskins, and received as before the hospitality of her 
wigwam. Her non-compliance with Indian custom was interpreted as a rejec- 
tion of his suit, and the savage departed next morning crest-fallen. 

This was an affront to the tribe that must not be allowed to go unpunished. 
A captive white woman had refused the hand of one of their bravest warriors ! 
Esther w^as told to array lierself in her best apparel, and innocent of giving any 
intentional offense, and with not the faintest suspicion of the fate that awaited 
her, she was led a short distance into the forest where she found the village 

^4 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

assembled. There she was tied to a stake, the wood she had gathered on the 
previous day was piled about her, and she was told that she must die. 

" Let me first speak to my sister," were the last audible words she uttered; 
but the request was Jiot granted, for PoUy had been taken away so that the 
screams of her ill-fated relative could not reach her . 

Some months afterward a young warrior by the name of Wawonda came 
to the A\'igwam where Polly hved as a suitor for her hand. She received him 
with respectful cordiality, and the next evening he came again, remaining a 
guest as before, and departing with the dawTi. That day Polly was set at work 
gathering sticks. As she was thus engaged a friendly squaw approached and 
inquired if she loiew what she was gatheiing those sticks for. She replied she 
did not. "Did not Wawonda visit the wigwam of the pale-face last night?" 
' ' He did, ' ' was the reply. ' ' And did he not come the night before ? " " Yes, ' ' 
was Polly's answer. " Well," continued the woman, "Wawonda wants pale- 
face to keep his Avigwam and dry his venison. He will come again to night. 
If pale-face accepts him all will be well; if not. to-morrow these sticks will lie 
used to bum her at the stake as was burned her sister Esther for refusing 
Warioni ! " When Wawonda ]iresented himself for the third time at the wig- 
wam of the captive, he was accepted as an acknowledged suitor according to the 
custom of the tribe, and thus was Polly duly installed at the head of the domestic 
affairs of Wawonda's household. 

Years rolled by., Polly had heard naught of her relatives since the day of 
her capture. Though hAang in sight of her native mountains she was for a long 
time too closely watched for a successful attempt at escape. Two half-breed 
boys were added to her household, and her tune was too fully occupied to think 
of aught else. As the white settlers increased in number, the game m the forest 
diminished, and notwithstanding Wawonda's skill in hunting, the family was 
often pinched for food. Polly, therefore, found it necessary, inasmuch as her 
hege lord felt it was beneath his dignity to engage in manual labor, to go among 
the white famihes and do their washmg. In this way her rounds took her into 
the vicinity of Newburgh, and now for the first time she seriouslj'' considered 
the purpose of again visiting the scenes of her early home. At the first oppor- 
tmiity she fled with her two boys across the river, and once more stood at the 
threshold where she had been born and reared, and where she had taken her last 
look of her parents. 

But the place had changed, and new faces were at the door. She inquired 
after her parents by name, and was told they had died of broken hearts years 
before. She sought out the companions of her childhood, but they had gi-own 
out of her remembrance: and her most intimate friends could not recognize in 
her the fresh, romping girl they had known in former years, such ravages a 
life of diTidgerj^ among the Indians had wi-ought in her frame. She half re- 
gretted leaving her home in the Avilderness, and but for the interference of 
friends would in all probability have retm-ned to her bondage. Wawonda, it 
is said, used to come down to the river at Newbm-gh, and sit for hom« gazing 

Captivity of Ulrs. ColcDian. 


over at the mountaius where his white squaw and half-breed boys resided, but 
he never dared venture into their vicinity. As Polly's identity Avas established 
beyon<l cavil, the property of her father was placed in her possession, which was 
sufficient, with judicious econoni}', to provide for her wants. 

The two boys grew up tall and slender, but both died before reaching man- 
hood. Polly lived to a good old age, and often related, to gi-oups of eager 
friends, the story of her captivity among the Delaware Indians. 


DURIXCI the perilous times of the French and Indian war tlie settlements 
east of the Shawanguuk were not exempt from visits of scalping parties 
of Indian hostiles. It was at this stormy period that two brothers by the 
name of Coleman occupied a double log house with their families a short dis- 
tance south-east of the present village of Burlingham. 

On a Sabbath afternoon one of the brothers went into the woods to search 
for a span of hoi-ses that had strayed from home. While there he was sur 


prised by a war-party of Indians lying in ambush, and was shot and scalped. 
The savages then proceeded to the house, where the other brother was sick, 
and confined to his bed. There was a crevice between the logs next the bed on 
which the sick man lay, tlu'ough which the Indians could insert the muzzles of 
their guns. The first intimation of danger the family had, was the startling 
report of fii-e-arms, the belching flames of gunpowder from the walls of their 
cabin and the piercing death-shriek of the brother as the fatal bullet penetrated 
his brain. The next moment the painted demons burst into the house, dragged 
the corpse from the l)ed to the door and tore away the scalp with savage exul 
tatiou. The women and children looked on, paralyzed with hoiror, and in 

96 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

monientary expectation of meeting a like fate. The savages chose to spare 
their lives, however, and took them all prisoners. 

One of the women had a child about two weeks old. Being feeble and un- 
able to walk, she was placed astride an old horse, and her feet were tied undei- 
him with a rope. They then gave her the child to carry in her arms. Next 
setting fire to the building the)' hurried off in a north-west direction over the 
ShawangTink mountain. The babe was restless, and cried; and the savages, 
fearing its wailing would guide the whites who might be upon their track, told 
the mother she must keep it still or they would kill it. The mother did all she 
could to calm the little one, but it would not be quieted. Tlien one of the sav- 
ages rushed up to her side, tore the infant from her arms, and taking it by the 
heels luiocked out its brains against a tree before her eyes, and threw it as far 
from the path as his strength would allow. There the body was left to be torn 
and devoured by wild beasts. 

The party passed over the mountain, reaching the Mamakating valley a 
little after dusk. Here they rested a short Inteiwal; as soon as the moon rose 
they I'esumed their journey, traveling the remainder of that night, and a part 
of the next day. The journey througli that night was gloomy and fearful. 
Even tlie little children, after the biixtal mvu'der of the babe, dare make no 
complaints. Like wandenng ghosts in the micertain light they pursued the 
broken path before them, occasionally startled by the howl of a wolf or the 
scream of a panther, their distress heightened and made more unbearable by 
the uncertainty of the fate that awaited them. 

Day came at last to the weary and hapless Avanderers, but it brought no 
revival of their drooping hearts. Their natural protectors, so recently murdered 
by the ruthless savage, and themselves prisoners eutii'ely at his mercy — the 
condition of those widows and orphans was not calculated to revive the spirits. 
As the day advanced then- physical sufferings increased, as, foot-sore and ex- 
hausted, they were urged at an accelerated pace by their inhuman captors. 

The report of the tragedy soon spread throughout the neighboring settle- 
ments,and before Monday morning quite a number of the brave and sympathizing 
settlers had gathered about the Coleman cabin. The mangled bodies of the 
brothers, one of which had been brought in from the woods, where it had been 
found, and the charred embers of the log dwelling, all bore unmistakable evi- 
dence of the tragic event. The men were all armed with rifles and hunting - 
knives, and knew how to use them effectively; for the necessities of border hfe 
had skilled them in the use of those Aveapons. 

At the first streak of daA\Ti the party set out upon the trail. No time was 
lost in a useless discussion of the probable results of the pursuit. It was 
enough that two of their friends had been murdered, and several women and 
helpless children carried off into captivity, by a savage and relentless foe. Lit- 
tle difficulty was experienced in following the trail, the impressions made by 
the feet of the horse being quite distinct. "VSlien they came upon the remains 
of the babe, and discovered the bmtal manner in which it had been killed, their 



Captivity of l\Irs. Coleman. 97 

horror an<l indignation knew no bounds; tliey pressed forward with the greater 
energy witli the stern purpose of wreaking vengeance on the marauders. 

So rapidly did they march that they traveled as far that day as the Indians 
did in a night and day, encumbered as they were with Avomen and children; 
towards night they found they were close upon the savages. The latter became 
aware that they were pureued, while the captives were ignorant of the j^rox- 
imity of their friends. They were then probably (jn the ' ' barrens ' ' of one of the 
Delaware liver towns. The Indians wei'e not in a condition for a fight and 
were aware that their enemies outnumbered them ; so they sought to escape by 

The nature of the ground at this point being such that the horse's hoofs 
Av^ould leave no impression, they turned at right angles from the path and se- 
creted themselves, with the captives in a thicket. This was the first intimation 
the prisoners had that succor was near; but they were informed they would 
suffer instant death if they made the least noise. Presently they heai'd the 
sounds of their friends following in the path they had just left. Nearer and 
neai'er they came, until the individual voices of their neighbors could be distin- 
guished. But the poor children and their mothers did not dare even to look in 
the direction from whence the somids came, for a savage stood over each of the 
trembling and anxious captives with a weapon upi-aised, ready to deal the fatal 
blow if an alarni was made. Would that a kind Providence might interpose^ 
and prevent their passing on without discoveiing that the path had been aban- 
doned. Now that help was so near, the hearts of the poor captives were well- 
nigh bursting at the suspense. They could hardly suppress a cry that they 
knew would bring their fiiends instantly to their side; but they knew it Avas 
in the power of the savages to strike every captive dead before relief could come. 
Gradually the voices grew moi'e and moi-e indistinct, then entirely ceased, and 
hope gradually died in the breasts of the pi-isoners, for the chance of liberation 
had passed. 

After the whites had gone by, Mrs. Coleman, for the first time, was taken 
from the horse, on which she had been tied for twenty-four hours. The party 
remained in their place of concealment until the next morning; then the feeble 
and bereaved mother was again placed in her formei' position, and the journey 

From Sunday afternoon until Tuesday forenoon the party did not partake 
of a morsel of food. The Indians had brought no provision with them, and 
were afraid to fire their guns, fearing to expose their position to the Avhites. 
Before noon on Tuesday a deer was shot, and their appetite appeased. During 
their flight they came successively to the Neversilik and the Delaware rivers; 
in crossing these streams the Indians would drive the horse, with Mrs , Coleman 
on his back, in advance of the others, to measure the depth. But the grief of 
the poor woman at the death of her husband and child, her anxiety for her 
remaming children and her present fatigue. and sufferings, rendered her in a 
measure insensible to the danger of being submerged. 

98 Legends of the S/iawangun/s. 

On Thursday evening they arriTed at an Indian village some fifty miles 
beyond the Delaware river. Their joui'ney over momitains, and through the 
trackless woods was terminated, but not so their sufferings. After the cus- 
tomary rejoicing at the success and safe retm-n of the warnors, a large fire was 
kindled, and the people of the \'illage assembled. The captive white cliildren 
were stripped naked, and then compelled to i-un around the fire, the savages 
following them with Avhips, wliich they apphed to theii- naked bodies without 
mercy. When the children screamed with pain and affright, their tormentors 
would exliibit tlie gi-eatest satisfaction, and yell and laugh until the woods rang 
with hideous mirth. In this cruel amusement the Indian boys participated 
with evident relish. 

Wliile this was going on it seemed to Mrs. Coleman that her heart would 
break. She was unable longer to endure the agonizing screams of her own 
cluldren, as they were pm-sued and lashed about the fire. She knew she was 
powerless to do them any good, so she resolved to flee to some secluded spot, 
where, out of reach of the Indians, she could quietly he down and die. Steal- 
ing away softly and quietly until out of their sight, she ran as fast as her hmbs 
would carry her. Presently she discovered a light in the distance, and by an 
unaccomitable impulse, she resolved to go to it, not caring whether she hved or 
died. Here she found an old squaw who occupied a wigwam by herself. This 
squaw had lived among the white people, could speak their language tolerably 
well, and was known as Peter Nell — a name probably a corru]3tiou of Petro- 
neUa, given her in baptism by the iloravians. To her Mrs. Coleman apjilied in 
her extremity. The Avomanly heart of the squaw was touched. She received 
her white sister kindly; assured her that the Indians should do her no further 
harm ; and maldng her a bed of leaves and bear-skins, bade her rest until she 
could prepare some proper nomishment. 

This kind-hearted daughter of the forest presently came with a dish of ven- 
ison soup prepared after the manner of the white people, Avhich proved very 
refresliing to the sick and exhausted captive. The latter remained with her 
benefactor until her health was completely restored, when the squaw rendered 
her stiU fiu^her service by assisting her to return to her friends in Orange 

The fate of the other captives is uuknoT\Ti. It was many years after- 
Tvards reported that two of them escaped, but of this there is no certainty. 

Phebe Reynolds and the Tories. gg 


MAX is largely a creature of circumstances. AVhatever may be his natu- 
ral endowments we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that his character 
is moulded by liis smToundings. The girl that has been reared in luxury 
and ease, the subject of assiduous care as though she Avere a tender and volatile 
plant, A\ill acquire a softness and effeminacy that will lead her to lose self- 
control upon the shghtest occasion. Her less- favored sister, born with hke en- 
dowments, but who has been brought up amid the hardships and dangers of 
frontier hfe, when her fortitude 'is put to the test, will be found capable of per- 
forming acts -of heroism that will put maiiy of the lords of creation to shame. 
Among all the heromes of the border, whose deeds of hardihood and self-denial 
have l)een put on recoid, there will be found not one excelling in the, subhmer 
virtues the subject of this sketch. 

Phebe Eeynolds was the daughter of Henry Eeynolds, and one of a large' 
family of children. They were residing, at the time of the Revolution, in a log 
cabin in the present town of Monroe, within the region of country infested by 
the notorious Claudius Smith band of outlaws. One night the gang sur- 
rounded Reynolds's cabin with purpose to effect an entrance, but found the win- 
dows and doors securely baiTed and bolted. They next mounted the roof, and 
two or tkree essayed to drop down the Avide-mouthed chimne}-; one of the 
family poured the contents of a feather-bed ujion the fire, and the robbers 
were forced to beat a retreat to escape suffocation. 

Some time afterward a second attempt was made with a different result. 
Benjamin Kelley and Philip Roblin, both of whom were near neighbors of 
Reynolds, together with several others, went to Reynolds's house one dark 
night, and knocked for admission, representing themselves to be a detachment 
-of the American army in search of deserters. After hurriedly dressing himself 
Reynolds opened the door, and then went to the fire-place to procure a Hght. 
\\Tiile his back was turned to his visitors one of them struck him with the flat 
side of his sword, and told him to make haste. This at once i-evealed the char- 
acter of his guests. He made a rush for the door, but just outside stumbled 
over a log, and fell headlong. Ere he could recover himself the gang were 
upon Irim, and he was di-agged back into the house. 

When the struggle began, Reynolds called loudly for his son, then a mere 
lad, to come to his assistance. Wlien the boy came into the room, one of the 
men seized him, set him down upon the floor, and told him if he moved even 
so much as to tuni his head right or left, he would cut it off. This so terrified 
the boy that he sat as motionless as if he had been carved in stone. Mrs. Rey- 
nolds, accompanied by some of the other children, noAv came into the apart- 
ment; when she saw her husband in the hands of ruffians, she fell upon the 


Legends of the Shawaiiguuk. 


floor in convulsions; and it is believed she remained unconscious through most 
of the ensuing strife. 

After binding Reynolds, and wounding him ■\\ath their knives and swords, 
they, in the presence of his family, proceeded to hang him on the trammel-pole 
of his fire-place. HaAdug accomplished this, the members of the gang dispersed 
through the several rooms and commenced plundering, leaving him, as they 
supposed, in the throes of death. 

At this time Phebe Reynolds was twelve years old, but large and robust 
for one of her age. She had become inured to the dangei-s and terrors of bor- 
der hfe, and was resolute and fearless, particularly when her blood was up. 
Taking advantage of their temporai'y absence, Phebe cauglit up a knife and 

hastily cut the rope by which lier fatlier was sus- 
pended. She also threw the noose from his neck and 
managed to get him upon a bed. 

It was not long before the laiflfians discovered what 
had been done, and again tliey gathered in the room 
to mulder Reynolds. The girl boldly confronted them 
with her knife, like a lioness at bay. They commanded 
her to go away, threatening her with instant death if 
she refused. She declared she did not wish to live if 
they mm-dered her father. They then menaced her 
with swords and knives; still she stood her ground 
courageously. Findmg them determined to mm-der her father, she spi-ang 
upon the bed, clasped lier hands tightly aromid him, and attempted thus to 
shield him from their bloody instiniments. One of the men then took the rope 
and cruelly beat the girl; but she did not even moan, or wince, although she 
was marked from head to foot with broad, angry stripes. 

Finding this to be of no avail, the marauders forcibly tore her away, and 
once more Mr. Reynolds was left hanging to the trammel-jaole, while they re- 
sumed their Avork of plundering the house. 

Again did the heroic daughter cut the rope, and was leading her father to 
another room, when his strength gave out, and he sank upon the floor. Again 
did the wretches discover what had been done, and they attacked liim with 
their knives and swords as he lay upon the floor, and once more the brave 
daughter threw herself upon him, and endeavored to jirotect him; receiving on 
her own person many of the blows that were intended for him. In short, her 
clothing was saturated with the blood flowing from numerous cuts in her fore- 
head and breast. Finall}^ the robbers threw Mr. Reynolds into an old chest, 
and, shutting down the lid, they left the place, first destroying his private 
papers and setting fire to the house. They also roUed a large stone against the 
door, which opened outward, and told them they would shoot the first one that 
dared to raise the latch, with the design that the whole family should be burned 
up with the house. 

Phebe now made her way to the chest, and, raising the Ud, found her 

Phcbe Reynolds and the Tories. loi 

father, stiff and rigid, and apparently dead. Witli snch help as her mother 
and the lad could give, the body of her father was lifted from the chest, and 
while this was being done, a low moan escaped his lips. She immediately pried 
open his teeth with a pewter spoon, and gave liim a few drops of water. This 
seemed to revive him, and she gave him more while she proceeded to staunch 
the blood that was flowing from his wounds. 

While thus occupied her mother was moaning and wandering aimlessly 
from room to room, and presently she noticed that a bed, a hogshead of flax, 
and some other inflammable material wei'e on fire. The mother, ai)paUed at 
this disco veiy, cried out, "Oh, Phebe, the house is on fire in three places !" 
"Why don't you put it out ? " demanded the daughter. "Oh, I can't," was 
the disnaayed reply, "if it bm-ns down over our heads ! " " Then come and take 
care of father and let me do it. ' ' The brave girl promptly dashed water on the 
burning beds, threw a drenched nig over the flax, and went back to her father. 

While engaged in dressing his wounds, she told the lad to go out and alarm 
the neighl )orhood ; but the boy did not dare to leave the house. She then, after 
doing all she could for the safety and comfort of her father, set out upon the 
errand herself. Although her person was covered with cuts and Avounds, her 
clothing saturated with her own blood, and she had passed through a scene of 
terror such as few could have had the fortitude to face, yet she was so cool and 
collected that she noticed the crowing of cocks in the neighborhood as she 
passed along the road, and knew that morning was near. 

The alarm spread from house to house. A body of men immediately as- 
sembled, and shortly after suni"ise started in pursuit of the ruffians. The latter 
were followed into their retreat in the mountains with such energy that they 
were taken by sui-jirise and four or five of them were killed. One of the killed 
was Kelley, the leader of the gang, who resided within a mile of Reynolds's 
house, and had passed for a Whig. He was shot by a young man named June, 
who knew Kelley personally. It appears that June had been informed the 
robbers were at a certain place playing cards. When he approached their hid- 
ing place they heard him coming, and rose to their feet. As tliey did so, he 
fired into their midst ; the shot mortally wounded Kelley, whose body was after- 
ward found at a sulphur spring to which he had wandered and died. The re- 
mains were partially covered up with leaves and brush, and near by was the 
wedding suit of Henry Reynolds, tied up with a bark string. This suit Mr. 
Reynolds had preserved over fourteen years; yet he expressed a wish never to 
wear or see the clothes again since they had been oh the back of a Tory. Only 
two of the ruffians escajjed, and they were afterwards ai-rested in New Jersey. 
Reynolds would not consent to ajipear against them, probably on account of 
his Quaker principles. 

While some of the neighbors were pursuing the marauders, others, includ- 
ing the physicians of the town, were attending to the injuries of the family. 
Reynolds, it was found, had been cut and stabbed in more than thirty places. 
An ear had been so nearly severed that it hung down on his shoulder. It was 

I02 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

replaced as well as circumstances would admit, but the wound healed in such 
a way as to disfigure him for hfe. One of his hands was cut so badly that he 
never afterwards fully recovered its use. 

For weeks Eeynolds was on the brink of the gi'ave; but he possessed a 
strong constitution, fortified by a life of temperance and regular habits, and he 
was once more restored to health. His wounds so completely covered his per- 
son that, as he lay bandaged, he more resembled an Egyptian mummy than 
an}iiliing else. His neighbors were veiy kind to hmi; they cut his wheat, 
gathered his hay, and even i^rovided for his family. 

When the physicians turned their attention to Phebe, it was fomid that the 
wounds on her forehead and breast were of a serious natui'e, and that her body 
and hmbs were badly bi-uised and lacerated. Whenever she came ^^^thin her 
father's sight, her bruised and bandaged appearance so affected him, that the 
physicians directed that she should not be allowed to come in his room; and 
instead of exacting fees for then- attendance, the physicians filled Phebe's 
hands Avith coin. 

Soon after this event Hemy Eeynolds removed to Sullivan county, where 
he hved to a good old age, gi-eatly respected by all who knew him. There are 
people stOl living m Fallsburg and Neversink who have heard the facts related 
by Hemy Eeynolds liimself as he exliibited his scai*s. Phebe became the wife 
of Jeremiah Drake, of Neversink Flats, and died in November, 1853; her re- 
mains repose in the little burial-gi-ound, near those of her husband. Her pos- 
terity are among the most highly honored residents of the Neversink vaUej^. 
One himdred years after the marriage of Henrj- Eejiiolds, says Quinlan, it is 
estimated that his descendants numbered upwards of one thousand. 


ON the east bank of the Delaware river, near the Falls of Cochecton, dur- 
ing the Eevolution and for some time thereafter, there stood a log house, 
a fair representative of the rade cabins of the frontier. This was the resi- 
dence of Brj'ant Kane, whose family consisted of a ^Iq and several children. 
Kane was thought to entertain sentiments favorable to the King, for which he 
incm-red the ill-^ndll and suspicion of his neighbors; the feeling became so strong 
against him that he was forced to leave the neighborhood, information having 
reached him that Captain Tyler, who was killed subsequently at the battle of 
Minisink, had issued orders for his arrest. 

Before leaving home Kane engaged a man named Flowers to staj" with his 
famil}^ and manage the farm; and, confident that no harm could befall them, 
and that the feuds and vindictiveness of partisan warfare would not be visited 
upon innocent women and children, he did not take his family with huu. But 
Bryant Kane was never suffered to look upon their faces again. 

Miss L'imf s JMidiiiglit Journey. 103 

On the opposite bank of the river resided Robert Land, also a Tory, and. 
Uke Kane, a refugee from his home. It was known tliat Indians and scouts 
were in the neighborhood, and their pi'esence was a source of uneasiness. One 
day in the month of Ajn-il the wife of Robert Land, and lier son, a lad of nineteen 
years, fearing a visit from the Indians, drove their cattle to a place of conceal- 
ment in the mountains. Here they remained all night to guard them, leaving 
three other brothers and two sisters at home. 

WHien the family had retired, and all were asleep, one of the daughters 
was disturbed by some one in her room. She awoke to find an Indian standing 
by her bed, drawing a spear i)oiiit gently across the sole of her foot. The fel- 
low spoke kindly to her in his broken Indian accent, and told her to get up and 
run to the neighbors and let them know the Indians had come. He had found 
means to enter her sleeping apartment witliout alarming the othei- members of 
the family, and had chosen this novel method of awakening her. Whether 
her nocturnal visitor reallj' intended to befriend the settlers by putting them 
on their guard is not known; but without further explanation he left the house 
as mysteriously as he came. 

Miss Land arose, di-essed herself, and silently left the house. Singularly 
enough she did not alarm her brothers and sisters, who were still wrn])ped in 
slumber. She drew her shasvl closer about her head, for the night vv'as chilly, aiul 
hunied down to the river side. Her way led down the bank through a ravine, 
over wliich a clump of hemlocks cast a deep gloom. Her fancy half pictured 
a wild beast or Indian warrior crouching luider the shadow. She then sought for 
the dug-out, and, having found it, boldly pushed for the opposite shore. The 
wind sighed dismally through the evergreens; an owl, in a dry tree that hung 
over the river, was sounding its bothng cry; the night was dark and the waters 
swollen. Miss Land thought she never before undertook so lonely a journey. 

She pointed the canoe's head to the river i)ath that led up to Kane's house; 
she knew the spot by a large hemlock that stood at the brink and leaned over 
the river. She was soon winding up the zigzag path; she had so often passed 
over it that she knew its eveiy crook and irregularity. 

As she came into the clearing all was silent, save the low moaning of the 
wind among the pines, and the cry of the owl down by the river bank. The 
girdled trees, denuded of their limbs and blackened by fire, stood around like 
grim and ghostly sentinels. Appi'oaching the house, no sign of life Avas visible. 
She thought of the probability that Indians might be lurking at that moment 
in tlie shadows of the charred stumps, ready at the signal to startle the night 
air with the war-whoop, and slaughter the sleeping inmates. 

Her feelings seiwed to quicken her pace. Once at the door of the Kane 
cabin she endeavored to attract the attention of those within. She rapped on 
the door; then went to Mrs. Kane's bedroom window, but could get no response. 
She next tried to open the door; it yielded, and with palpitating heart she en- 
tered the house. She called the members of the family by name, but received 
no answer. All was stiU as the house of death. 

104. Legends of the Shawangunk. 

Presently she stumbled over some object upon the floor. Stooping down 
she fomid it to be the prostrate body of a wonaan, and was horrified to find he? 
api^arel wet with blood. 

Mss Laud fled from the house; she was too much frightened to shriek. She 
qmckly aroused the family of Nicholas ConkJin, the nearest neighbor of the 
Kane's and told them what she had discovered. It was deemed prudent not to 
venture abroad before morning. 

At the break of day Mr. Conklin and some neighbors went to the Kane 
cabin, where they fomid that the entire family, including Mr. Flowers, had 
been mui'dered and scalped. Mrs. Kane had evidently been scalped while 
alive, for she had died while attempting to di'ess herself, and a portion of her 
dress was drawn over her mutilated head. 

After gazing at the horrid scene, the partj- accompanied Miss Land home. 
Her mother and brother John were still absent; while her little brother Abel 
had been taken from the house by Indians during the night. Not long after 
this Mrs. Land and .John returned, and were informed of what had taken place. 
They thought it very strange that- their family should be made a target for 
both parties. Jolm resolved on an attempt to recover liis missing brother: so, 
hastily coUectmg a few of his neighbors, among them some friendly Indians liv- 
ing in the vicinity, he set out upon the trail of the marauders, which led to- 
ward the Mohawk comitrj''. 

After a brief but rapid march they overtook the retreating party, and 
found them posted for battle. Jolin was not disposed to fight; be only wanted 
a parley with a view to releasing his brother. An explanation took place, the 
result of wliich was that Abel was restored to his friends after fu'st being com- 
pelled to run the gauntlet. In executing this feat his speed astonished everj^- 
body present. He received only a few blows, and such was the admiration of 
the Indians for the spiiit and dexteritj" he exhibited, that he was suffered to 
pass through imharmed. The two parties then separated: John and his com- 
panions to their homes, and the Indians, who jn-oved to be a wandering party 
of ]\Iohawks, to their own comitry 

Thi'ee years subsequent to the mm-der of Bryant Kane's family at the Falls 
of Cochecton, Col. Bryant, ■odth a party of Tories and Indians, made a descent 
on Harpersfield, in Delaware county. They captin-ed several of the patriots 
of the settlement, includmg Mi-. Freegift Patchin, whom they took to Niagara. 
Some time after the Revolutionaiy Avar, Patchin published a narrative of his 
captivity, in which he says one of liis captors was Barney Kane, a Torj'. This 
is thought to be the Bryant Kane whose family was murdered on the banks 
of the Delaware. 

Dming the journey from Harpersfield to Niagara, Patchin says Kane 
boasted that he had killed a Major Hopkins, on an Island in Lake George. A 
party of pleasure had gone to this island on a sailing excm'sion, and having 
delayed their departure until too late to return home, determmed to spend the 
night on the island. Kane and his party, perceiving that they were defenseless. 

llic Tories After the Revolutio7i. 105 

proceeded to the place as soon as it was night, and attacked them as they 
were sleeping around a fire. Several of the Americans were killed, among 
them a woman. Tlais woman had a babe which was not injured in the least. 
"This," said Kane, " we put to the breast of its dead mother, and in that man- 
ner we left it. Major Hopkins was wounded, only his tliigh-bone being broken. 
He started up, when I struck him with the butt of my gun on the side of his 
head. He fell over but caught on one hand. I then knocked him the other 
way, but he caught on the other hand. A third blow, and I laid him dead. 
These were all scalped except the infant. In the morning a party of Whigs 
went over and brought away the dead, together with one they found ahve, 
though scalped, and the babe which was hanging and sobbing at the breast of 
its lifeless mother." 

Whether the massacre of Bryant Kane's family so v/rought upon a nature 
not originally Itad as to convert him into a fiend, or whether his own crimes 
against his W^hig neighbors led to the slaughter of his wife and children, is not 
known. The feelings which prompted and the motives which actuated the 
commission of the bloody deeds by the early settlers against their neighbors, 
wiU never be unveiled until the day of final reckoning. 

After the declaration of peace, Bryant Kane wandered from place to place 
in the valley of the Delaware. His property was confiscated; and Iiaving lost 
both family and fortune, he souglit for consolation in the intoxicating cup, and 
finally left the comitry. The time and manner of his death no one can teU. 

John Land became so obnoxious to the Wliigs that he was arrested and 
sent to the "New Jersey log jail." From this he escaped; but was soon 
retaken, wounded in his head with a sword, and hanged until his life was 
nearly gone. He was informed that next time he would be hanged in earnest, 
and after being heavily ironed was once more cast into prison. Subsequently a 
Whig named Han^ey became responsible for his good conduct, and lie was per- 
mitted to enjoy the liberties of the town. He hved with Harvey until 1783, 
when he returned to Cochecton. He became a respectable citizen of the United 
States, although he was stigmatized until the day of his death as " John Land, 
the Tory." 


THE bitter animosity engendered during the Revolutionary war between 
the Whigs and Tories did not subside immediately after the treaty of 
peace in 1783. The few of the latter who remained in the country were ever 
after subjected to social ostracism, and were most fortunate if they escaped per- 
sonal violence. The patriotic inhabitants of the frontier could not so soon forget 
the manner iia which their babes had been taken from the cradle and from the 
breasts of their mothers, and their brains dashed out, by the hated and despised 

io6 Legends of the Shazuangunk. 

Tories; nor could they blot from their memory the fact that those foes to their 
comitry, wliile professing friendship to the "Whigs, acted as spies for. the 
enemy, and secretly joined the predatory bands of Indians in then- iucui'sions 
against their nearest neighbors of the settlements, and shared in the booty wliile 
they excelled their savage allies m deeds of inhmnanity. Indeed, this anti-Tor)' 
feehng only died out when the last patriot of the Eerolution expired. That 
there would be numerous collisions between the two factions was to be expected, 
as that would be no more than the legitimate result of such bitter personal re- 
sentment; nor could the wranglings cease except with the death of the 

At a miUtia training in Rochester, about the year 1783, several individuals 
who Avere known to be Tories attended. The patriots regarded them with 
undisg-uised hatred, and were indignant at their presumption in being present, 
and only waited the slightest pretext to gratify their ill-feeling by a pitched 
battle. They did not hesitate to call them Tories to their very faces and hard 
words passed on both sides. At last a "V^Tiig gave a Toiy a kick, wliich was 
repaid with interest by a blow. Others feU in on both sides, and a general and 
desperate skirmisli ensued. As nothing but fists and clubbed muskets were 
used, the fight was long and obstinate, but attended with no fatal residts. 
When the affray was over, the Tories bent their steps homeward, meeting a 
Whig on their way, on whom the)' administered some retaliatoiy vengeance. 
Braised and bloody, he presented himself before the other AMiigs and related 
what had occurred, adding that the Tories were loading their pieces -with balls. 
The Whigs then charged their guns likewise, and went in pursuit of the 
offenders; presently coming in sight of them they opened fire, but fortunately 
none were IdUed. 

One who went by the name of " The Tory Van Meet "" hved back of New- 
town, in the present town of Eochester. He was taken prisoner at Muiisink, 
and forwarded -nathout much ceremony by the various captains from one raih; 
tary post to another until he was brought up before Captam Kortright, of 
Eochester. That stern old patriot did not deem it best to let Van Vleet pass his. 
hands without some ceremony suited to the times and the occasion. He 
ordered out a portion of his company with a fife and drum. Then stripping his 
prisoner, he caused a liberal aUowance of tar and feathers to be applied to his 
person, and a long yoke with a beU was fastened to his neck by way of distin- 
g-uished comphment. A negro then went ahead with a rope attached to the 
yoke, by Avhich he was led along to the next station, wliich was at Mill Hook. 
The Rogue's March was strack up, and a few soldiers with charged bayonets 
followed to spur him up occasionally. Sometimes the negro would give the 
rope a jerk, when the bell would give a melodious thikle, blending beautifully 
with the martial music. 

There was another Tory by the name of Joe Westbrook, whose father lived 
in Minisink. On his way home from the wai', Joe stopped at Andrew Bevier's, 
at Napanock, and made some enquiries, as though he were a stranger in those 

The Tories After tlie Revolution. 


parts. It has been well observed that hypocris}' is ever addicted to overacting 
its part, and Joe's conduct at that time was no exception to the truth of the 
proverbial remark. In short his attempted deception was the occasion of 
adverse comment, and aroused the sentiment still more against him. A few 
wann-hearted patriots in and about Napanock embarked in a wagon and drove 
down the Mamakating valley in time to reach Miiiisink early in the evening. 
They looked in at the window, and saw the old man and his son Joe sitting and 
talking at the fire. Joe was boasting of his exploits against the Whigs in the 
late war — at least so thought the Xapanock i)atriots. They surrounded the 
house, while Jacobus Chambers, a bi-ave and hardy veteran, was chosen to 

The moment tlie tap at the door was heard, Joe ran into an adjoining room. 
In response to a question from Chambers the old man solemnly declared " he 



had not seen his son Joe since the war." Chambers replied, " Give me a candle 
and I wiU show j'ou your son." " But I have no candle," persisted the old 
man. Chambers retorted, " I don't want your candle;" and producing a taUow 
dip from his pocket he proceeded to light it, and then moved towards the door 
where Joe had secreted himself. 

' ' Loop, jongen, loop .' ' ' (run, boy, runj sang out the old Tory, at the toi> 
of his voice. The boy started for the window, but two or three stalwart men 
were guarding it, and the poor fellow cried out, "Yes, dad, but it's full here 
too. " Joe was taken in the wagon back to Napanock, where a council of war 
was convened to deliberate on his case. Some were for hanging him outright 
as no more than a just recompense for his past misdeeds, while a few counseled 
a less rigorous pmrishment. It is said, while the deliberations w^ere progressing, 
that Joe trembled and shook as did Belshazzar at the hand-writing on the wall 
of his palace, and could not conceal his pleasure when he saw the tar -bucket 
and feathers brought in, and judged by the' preparations that it had been de- 

io8 Legeiids of the Shawangunk. 

termined not to hang him. He was accordingly taiTed and feathered, yoked 
and belled; in lieu of the jiaint which he had formerly used. From the yoke a 
rope was passed to a man on horseback, by which he was led out of town. On 
heing released, he hired a negro in Rochester to clean him for fifty cents, and 
then retm-ned to his home in Minisink. 


THOJIAS QUICK emigi-ated from Ulster county about the year 1733, and 
was the descendant of respectable and affluent ancestors, who came 
over from HoUand previous to Ifi SO. He located some valuable lands at Mil- 
ford, Pennsylvania, where he built a log cabhi, and settled do-uai with none but 
Indians for neighhoi-s. He depended largely on hunting and fishing for Ms 
subsistence, and in this respect his habits differed Mttle from those of the wild 
Indians about him. 

It was not long before other settlers were attracted into that locality. 
Among the few white maidens that had ventured so far into the wilderness 
was a comely lass whom Thomas Quick pi-evailed on to share his fortunes in 
hfe's thorny pathwa}'. Though the bride's trousseau may not have come from 
Paris, though guests in silks and rich brocades may not have graced the occa- 
sion, we question whether loving hearts did not beat as fondly as though sur- 
rounded by the demands and restraints of fashionable life; and whether the 
plain and homely fare of corn-bread and venison was not as thoroughly rehshed 
as the most elaborate wedding-feast of modern days. Here, in due time, several 
cliildren were born to them, among the number Thomas Quick, the subject 
of this chapter. The Quicks had wisely chosen the location of their home. The 
familj' prospered, became the owners of miUs, and the possessors of much 
valuable real estate. 

Notwithstanding that the wealth and social position of the Quicks would 
assure Tom a welcome to the best si^ciety of those border settlements, his tastes 
led him in another direction — a wild life in the forest and the companionship of 
the savages by whom he was sui'rounded proving much more to his liking. 

At this time the various tribes of natives held undisputed sway along the 
banks of the Delaware and its tributaries, except the settlement at Peenpack, 
on the Nevereink; and they freqviented the house of Quick, who had early won 
their confidence, and who, from the first, had treated them with generous hos- 
pitaUty. They took quite a fancy to young " Tom," and " made him presents 
of plmiies of feathers and other articles." He frequently participated with the 
3^oung Indians in theu spoi-ts, became their companion in their hiuiting expe- 
ditions, and learned to speak the Delaware tongue with as much fluency as the 
Indians themselves. So much did he incUne to a hunter's life that he could 

Tom Quick, tlie Indian Slayer. 109 

rarely be induced to follow any other vocation. His associations developed in 
him all those characteristics of the natives wliich inchned them to a hfe of wild 
abandonment, and he grew to be totally unhke liis brothers and sisters; while 
he ranged the woods, they attended a Dutch school that had been established to 
meet the demands of the neighborhood. During this period, however, he was 
familiaiizing himself with the country at the headwaters of the Delaware 
and its tributaries; most of these streams he had traced to theii' sources, and 
thus acquired a knowledge that proved of essential service to him in after 

As has been before stated, the Lidians were on very intimate terms with 
the Quicks, " many of them almost Uving in the family." But these friendly 
relations were not of an enduring character. While the Quicks studiously 
avoided giving any offense to their savage neighbors, and invariably treated 
them with open-hearted hospitality, there were other influences at work which 
induced the Indians to forget the "kind offices of their benefactors; and while 
the latter felt their past favors meiited some consideration, the natives were 
plotting for the total extinction of the white settlement. 

The Indians had become alarmed at the increasing demands and encroach- 
ments of the wliites. Tlie Delaware country was the favorite haunt of the red 
man ; the bones of their fathers were interred in its most pleasant places, and 
within the sound of its waters the clans had gathered, from time immemorial, 
to celebrate their annual festivities. Now the prospect was that the pale-faced, 
lajid-loving race would soon occupy the whole country unless some decisive 
step was taken; that their hunting-grounds would l)e spoiled, and the graves 
of their forefathers desecrated by the white man's plow. 

Though the Quicks had been uniformly kind to them, the fact could not be 
denied that this famil}' was the first to locate on the Indian lands at Milford, 
and that it was througli their influence that other settlers were induced to 
come. Some of the latter were not over-scrupulous in their dealings with the 
Indians, and the Quicks were in a measure held responsible for their acts. It 
lias been liinted that the cupidity of the savages was another predisposing cause 
of their subsequent atrocities, being excited by the great possessions of the 
Quicks, which would fall into their hands in case of open hostilities. Frequent 
and open threats were made to expel the whites out of the territory. 

This was at the time of the breaking out of the Fi'ench and Indian war; 
and under such circumstances it was an easy matter for the emissaries of France 
to rouse the Indians against the adherents of Great Britain, and endeavor to 
drive them back to then- old bounds. Each party feai-ed and distrusted the 
other. A few whites having been killed or captm'ed at exposed points, it was 
resolved to mcrease the defenses of the settlement by erecting block-houses, and 
procuring additional arms and ammunition. The settlers sought to avoid pro- 
voking open hostihties, and hoped the fears of a general uprising of the Indians 
were groundless. 

Owing to the changed attitude of the Indians, Tom Quick had withdrawn 

iio Legends of ike Sliaiuangunk. 

from association ^vith them, and had become quite domesticated in the family 
of his father; and while thus situated an event occurred which crystaUzed 
Tom's life, and changed his Avhole being into one of implacable hatred of the 
Indian race. 

The savages had plotted the destruction of Milford, and were then secreted 
in tlie neighborhood waiting the approach of night, under cover of which to 
put their plan into execution. Unsuspicious of such a critical state of affairs, 
Tom, together \A\X\ lais father and brother, went into the woods across the 
liver for the pm-pose of cutting hoop poles. The river was frozen, so they 
passed over on the ice, and were soon busily engaged in selecting and securing 
the poles. As they proceeded around a ridge near the river, they were dis- 
covered by an out-post of the ambushed Indians. The latter determined to 
attack the Quicks, even at the risk of alarming the settlement, and thus defeat- 
ing the main object of the expedition. 

When Tom and liis companions had approached sufficiently near, they 
were fired upon, and the father fell mortally wounded. The Quicks were un- 
armed; their only com'se vas to fly. Neither of the sons were hurt, and, taking 
hold of their father, they endeavored to di'ag him after them as they i-an. 
Being too closely pressed by the pursuing savages, the dying man prevailed on 
them to leave him to liis fate, wliile they ran for their hves. 

The onlj" avenue of escape involved the hazardous experiment of crossing 
the DelaAvare river on the ice, -within full view of the Indians, and at close rifle 
range. The dash was made; but before they had reached half way, the savages 
appeared upon the banli behind them. There was no protection against the 
murderous rifles of the j^eUing demons, any of whom could hit a deer nine 
times in ten Avhile it was boimding through the forest; but by ninning in zig- 
zag course, and by keeping as far apart as possible, the fire of the Indians was 
less effective. Presently a ball hit Tom, and he fell; at which the savages set 
up a loud shout. But the next moinent he was up again, and nmning as 
rapidly as ever. The ball, as was afterward ascertained, only hit the heel of 
liis boot, but ^\ath such force as to knock his foot from imder him. Again the 
balls whistled past the fugitives; but, coming to the river bank, they were soon 
out of danger. The brothers were both fleet runners, and trained in back- 
woods life. Another circumstance contributing to their escape Avas, that on 
leaving their father, they had sought the cover of an overhanging rock, and 
by striking an oblique dkection were AveU across the rivcjr before the savages 
could get a shot at them. 

Finding they were not pursued, Tom and his brother crept back to the 
river bank to see what was going on. They heard the scalping-whoop, and 
witnessed the rejoicings of the Indians over the remains of their father. It 
was at this jmicture that Tom, rendered frantic by their fiendish conduct, 
made a solemn vow that he would never cease from a war of extermination as 
long as an Indian remained on the banks of the Delaware. This oath of ven- 
geance Tom fulfilled to the letter. It is known that he slew at least twenty 

Tom Quick, the Indian Slayer. 1 1 1 

of tiie Iiated race, while some writers have placed the nuniher of his victims 
at a hmidred. 

With Tom the killing of Indians became a kind of religious duty, in which 
he undertook to redress the great wrong of his father's murder. He pursued 
his bloody work with all the fervor of a fanatic. In after years lie w^ould relate 
his exploits, and give the harrowing details with no more show of feeling than 
if they related to the most trivial affairs; and without any apparent misgiving 
that his work involved a gra^'e moral question. 

According to his own statement, Tom destroyed an indefinite number of 
the hated race while hunting. On hearing the I'eport of a gun in the woods, 
he would creep cautiously to the point whence the sound proceeded, and was 
generally rew'arded by finding an Indian skinning a bear or a deer. It was then 
an easy matter to send a l)ullet on its fatal errand; and wlien in after years a 
hunter came \\\)m\ the Itones of an Indian and a deer blenching together in the 
woods, he would ejaculate— " Another victim of Tom Quick's vengeance." 

The sight of an Indian seemed to suggest but one thought to Tom, and 
that was how the savage could be dispatched with the greatest facility. He 
was many times involved in serious i)ersonal danger in the execution of his 
vow, and seems to have had little regard for his own safety whenever an 
opportunity was offered liim of killing an Indian. 

At last old age came ui)on Tom Quick, the Indian slayer, and his increasing 
Infirnnties compelled him to relinquish his former habits. At this time he lived 
with James Rosecrans, about three miles below Carpenter's point. Here he 
was kindly treated, and furnished with every comfort he could desire. He was 
regarded by those who laiew his histoiy with a kind of deferential awe; and 
was spoken of with as much enthusiasm by his admirers as was ever accorded 
to any hero of modern times. 

He is descril)ed as being six feet in height; gaiuit and angular; with high 
cheek bones; bright and restless gray eyes; and his hair, before it was silvered 
with age, was of a dark brown. He was quiet in his demeanor; his features 
were grave and dignified, seldom relaxing into a smile. So long as he was able, 
he visited each summer the scenes of his adventures. At such times he stopped 
temporarily at the house of a friend at Mongaup island, or in a hut near Hagan 

Tom carried his favorite lifie on his shoulder until the stock was worn 
through. Outlawed and alone he waged war against a race that had incurred 
his hatred, until the Indians were driven from the territory, leaving him in 
possession of their hunting-grounds. Tom died at the house of Rosecrans about 
the year 17'.t.5, regretting to the last that he had not shot more Indians. 

If tradition is to be believed, it is tnie of Tom Quick, as was said of Sam- 
son of old, that "he slew more of his enemies at his death than he destroyed 
during his wliole life." By a strange fatality, Tom was brought down by that 
dreadful malady — small-pox. The Indians, having learned the place of his 
sepulchre, dug up the body of their deceased enemy, and distributed the 

1 1 2 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

portions among the clans throughout the vicinity. Great pow-wows were 
held, every man, woman and child of the sevei-al clans were assembled, and the 
sections of Tom Quick's body were burned with gi-eat ceremony. No more 
effective plan could have been devised to spread the disease, and its ravages 
were not checked until the tribe had been nearly exterminated. 

If the death of any man was ever avenged, the death of Tom Quick's father 
certainly was. 


NOT long after the close of the Frejich and Indian war, an Indian by the 
name of Musk\^'ink retm-ned to Peenpack, in the lower valley of 
the Neversink. He was an idle, drunken vagabond, and spent much of 
his time at Decker's tavern. One day Tom happened at the tavern wliile 
Muskwink was there. As was usually the case, the savage was mtoxicated; 
but he claimed Tom's acquaintance, and asked him to drink. The latter replied 
with some vehemence, which brought on a war of words. The savage, with 
no apparent design other than to irritate Tom, began to boast of lais exploits in 
the late war, and of his participation in the kiUing of Tom Quick's father. He 
declared that he tore the scalp from his head Avith his own hand; and then pro- 
ceeded to give a detailed account of the whole affair, dwelhng at length upon 
the old man's dying moments, interspersing the narration with unfeehng and 
irreverent remarks. As if that was not enough to arouse the demon in Tom's 
heart, the Indian mimicked his father's dying struggles, and even exliibited 
the sleeve-buttons worn by him at the time he was kiUed. 

Tom was unarmed. Suspended on some hooks over the fire-place, in 
accordance with the custom of border settlements, was a rifle. Tom walked 
deliberately across the room, removed the rifle from the hoqks, saw that it was 
loaded and primed, and then cocked it. Before those present divined his pui-- 
pose, or the savage could retreat or resist, Tom pointed the muzzle directly at 
his breast, and ordered him to leave the house. The Indian sullenly complied, 
and resigned himself to the guidance of Tom, who di*ove him into the main 
road leading from Kingston to Minisink. After proceeding about a mile in the 
direction of Carpenter's point, Tom exclaimed, "You Indian dog, you'll kiU 
no more white men:" and puUiug the trigger, shot the Indian in the back. 
Muskwink jumped two or three feet from the gi-omid and feU dead. Tom then 
took possession of the sleeve-buttons that had belonged to his father, di'agged 
the body near to the upturned roots of a tree, and kicking some loose dirt and 
leaves over it, left it there. He then returned to the tavern, replaced the gun 
on the hooks, and left the neighborhood. Several years afterward the Indian's 
bones were exliumed by Philip Decker while plowing this land, who gave them 

Tom Quick and tJic Indian Aliiskwink. 113 

a Christian burial. It does not appear that any attempt was made t(i ai'rest 
Tom for the nmrder of Muskwink; if any such were instituted he eluded them. 
The frontiersmen generally applauded his action, believing the aggravating 
circumstances under which he acted were a full and sufficient justification. 

Not long after this tragedy occurred, Tom was hunting in the vicinity of 
Butler's nft. As he was watching at the foot of the rift, either for wild beasts 
or Indians, he was rewarded by the sight of some savages, coming up the river 
in a canoe. The party consisted of an Indian and squaw, and three children — 
the youngest an infant at the breast. They were quietly passing up the stream, 
unaware of the presence of Tom, who lay concealed in the tall reed-grass gi'ow- 
ing upon the shore. As they approached, Tom recognized the Indian as one of 
those who had visited his father's house before the war, and had been engaged 
in several outrages on the frontier. 

When they had arrived within gun-shot, Tom rose from his recumbent 
posture, and ordered them to come ashore. The Indian had heard of the kill- 
ing of Muskwink; and when he recognized Tom, he "turned very pale," but 
he dare not disoljej', and approached the place where Tom stood. The latter 
then made some inquiries, asking them whence they came and whei'e they were 
going, to aU' of which they made respectful answer. Tom next coolly informed 
the savage that he had reached his journey's end; that his tril)e had murdered 
his father and several of liis relatives during the war, and tliat he had sworn 
vengeance against his whole race. The Indian rephed that it was "peace 
time; " that the hatchet was buried, and that therefore they were now brothers. 
Tom replied there could be no jjeace between the redskins and him; that he 
had sworn to kill every one that came within his power. He then shot the 
Indian, who jmnped from the canoe into the river, whei'e, after a few convul- 
sive throes, he died. Then wading out to the canoe he brained the squaw Avith 
a tomahawk: — the mother, tiaie to her instinct, essayed to fly to liei' youngest 
child after the murderous instrument had cloven through her skuU. Next the 
two oldest children shared the fate of their mother. Tom said he had some 
difficulty in dispatohing them, as they dodged about so, and " squawked like 
young crows. ' ' When he came to the babe, and it looked up into his face and 
smiled, his heart failed him for a moment; but remembering if he let it live it 
would gi-ow and become an Indian, he did not spare even the babe. In his old 
age when asked why he killed the cloildi-en, his invariable reply was, "Nits 
make lice." 

Tom's next duty was to secrete the bodies of his victims. If the affair 

became known, he would incur the enmity of his own people, as they would 

stand in fear of some retaliatory measure from the Indians with whom they 

were then at peace. He brought a number of stones; then with some ropes of 

basswood bark he tied a stone to each of the bodies, and conveyed them one 

after the other to the deep water of the rift, where he sank them to the bottom. 

When all the bodies were thus disposed of, Tom destroyed the canoe, and no 

evidence of the crime remained. As soon as it was safe to do so, he related the 


Legejids of the Shawangujik. 

foregoing facts to his nephew Jacob Quick, of Callicoon, from whom the his- 
torian Quinlan received them. It is said that Tom would relate the circum- 
stances of the affair in an exultant manner, as though he thought himself eii- 
titled to credit. The incident illustrates the extremes of cruelt}' and barbarity 


to which a person may be led by a constant brooding over wrongs, real or im- 
aginarj-, and by the still more reprehensible habit of harboring thoughts of 


DURING- the months of sunmier, Tom Quick followed his favorite avoca- 
tions, which alternated between the business of hunting and that of 
Idlling Indians. Sometimes in company with a boon companion, but more 
frequently alone and miattended, he ranged the forests about the head- 
waters of the Delaware, now pm-suiug the bounding deer, and again following 
with stealthj^ and cat-lilve tread the trail of the Indian Inmter, whom he sent 
without warning to the Indian's paradise His winters were usually spent at 
the house of some congenial spuit in tlie vicinity of his hunting-grounds. He 
always paid well for his entertainment, for he kept the family, with whom he 
was quartered, fuUy supphed with venison and bear meat. While hunting late 
one autunni on a distant fork of the Delaware, he awoke one morning to find 
the forest buried in deep snow, and the rigors of winter at hand in all their 
severity. It was with difficulty that he made Ms way to the house where he 

Tor)i Ouick and tJie Bnck ivith Scvc7t Sknis. 

I I 

l^urposed to spend the winter. So sudden and severe had the season set in that 
Tom had not secured a supply of winter venison. He knew a place out some 
distance from his friend's residence where he could find abundance of game, 
and only waited a favorable change in the weather to go and secure it. 

About this time an Indian came into the neighborhood, and Tom was not 
long in making his acquaintance. Together they talked of the chase,, and 
related their hunting exploits ai'ouud the fireplace of the settler, protracting 
their story-telling long into the night. Ton] at length set out upon his hunting 
exiDedition, accompanied by the Indian. They had agreed to hunt in company, 
Tom i^roposing to take the venison for his share, and the Indian the skins. 
They amved at the destined locahty at the close of a day's march, when they 
bivouacked for the night m the snow. The next day they had unusual good luck 
for they kiUed seven deer. The Indian had as many skins as he could carry, 
consequently he did not Avant to hunt any more at that time; so he got them 
together, iilaced them upon his back, and started through the snow for his 
cabin. It was destined he should never reach 
it, however, for as he started off, a baU frona 
Tom Quick's rifle penetrated the seven skins, 
and entering the back of the Indian kiUed him 
instantly. When Tom reached the settlement 
with all the skins and the venison, his friends, 
who knew the aiTangement that had been made 
in regard to the division of the spoils, asked him 
how he came by all the pelts, Tom rei^lied that 
after he and the Indian had got through hunt- 
ing, ' ' he had shot a fat buck in the woods with 


seven sknis on ms back. 

The Indians suspected that Tom was concerned in the mysterious disap- 
pearance of so many of their huntei's, and frequent attempts were made to 
kiU him. NotAvithstanding they had numerous opportunities, they missed 
their mai-k so often that they Avere inclined to believe he had a charmed hfe, 
and could not be hit by an Indian buUet. One day Tom was splitting rails for 
a man named Westbrook, on land now included in the \'illage of Westbrook- 
ville, in the Mamakating valley. As he was driving in a wedge, he was sud- 
denly suiprised and surrounded by six dusky Avarriors. Tom caught up his 
gun, Avhich was ahvays A\dthin liis reach, and jirepared for a fight even at such 
odds. The Indians did not AA'ant to kill him, preferring to take him alive if 
they could do so. A parley ensued, in Avhich Tom told the savages that he 
would go Avith them provided they would first help him split his log. They 
were so pleased at getting him Avithout a fight that they threAV down their guns 
and came forward to where Tom was at work. According to his directions 
they ranged themselves, three on a side, and thrusting their hands into the s,\A\i, 
pulled Avhile Tom drove tlie wedge. Instead of driving the Avedge in, Tom 
directed a pecuUar blow which caused the Avedge to fly out, and the six Indians 

ii6 Legends of the Shawa7t'gutik. 

were held by their fkigers in the cleft as wath a vise. He then brained them at 
his leisure.* 

At the close of one cold winter day an Indian came to the house whei*e 
Tom Quick was stopping, complained of fatigue, and requested permission to 
stay aU night. He professed to be very friendly, but Tom suspected he was an 
enemy in disguise. During the evening he casually mentioned that he had seen 
a number of deer during the afternoon, and asked Tom if he would not hke to 
go with him next day and get them. Tom readily assented to the proposition, 
and they agi'eed to start at an early hour next morning. During the niglit 
Tom managed to get hold of the Indian's rifle. He drew out the charge, sub- 
stituted ashes in jslace of the powder, replaced the ball, and restored the gun to 
the position in which he found it. The next morning Tom detected the Indian 
covertly examining the chamber of liis rifle and the priming, with which he 
seemed satisfied. This and other circumstances confii'ined Tom in the behef 
that the savage contemplated miscliief. 

There was a deep snow on the gi-ound, and the hmiters found difficulty 
in making then- way through it. The Indian, apparentlj' in good faith, pro- 
posed that one should go-ahead and break the path. To this Tom readilj- 
assented; and fm-thermore offered to be the first to go in advance, at which 
the Indian seemed gi-eatly jjleased. In tliis way they had proceeded a mile or 
more, and had arrived at a lonely spot, when Tom heard the Indian's giui snap, 
and the powder whiz in the i^an. He turned round and asked the Indian what 
he had seen. "A fine buck," v^-as the reply. The Indian reprimed his gim 
and they went on. Pretty soon Tom heard another snap and another fizz. 
' ' Well, brother Indian, ' ' he inquired, ' ' what did you see tlris time ? • ' "I saw an 
eagle sweep over the forest, ' ' rephed the other as he again primed his gun. 
"Brother Indian," said Tom, "the snow is deep, and I am tired. You go 
ahead." " The Yankee speaks weU," said the savage, and he suUenly took his 
station in advance. Tom leveled liis rifle. " Ljang Indian dog, " exclaimed he, 
" what do you see now ? " "I see the spirit land," said the savage gloomily; 
and bo^ving his head and dra^^dng his blanket over his face, calmly awaited Iris 
inevitable fate. 


TOM was one day wandering through the woods without his rifle, which 
was very unusual for him, when he encountered a young Indian 
who was armed. Tom spoke to him in a friendly manner, and they were 
soon on good terms. "Brother Indian," said Tom, "would you hke to see 

* A lady residing- at Westbrookville jiointed out to the writei- the precise spot where this is said 
to have taken place. The histoi'ian Quinlan, from whose writings the above facts are taken, was in- 
formed that an early settler had seen Indian bones at the spot, and believed the story to be true. 

Tom Quick' s Indian Exploits. i i 7 

Tom Quick I " The young savage intimated that he felt a strong desire to do 
so, and Tom agreed to show him the Indian slayer. After a long walk which 
terminated at the briak of a high ledge, Tom told his companion to wait a few 
moments and he would show him the person he desired to see. Tom went to 
the edge of the precipice and peered over to the highway below. Here he 
watched intently for a few minutes, and then suggested to the Indian to take 
his place. The Indian cocked his rifle and hastily advanced to Tom's side. 
" Where is he ? " eagerly demanded the red man. " There," said Tom, point- 
ing so that the Indian would project his' head and shoulders over the brink in 
his desire to shoot the enemy of his race. "Further, a little fru-ther," whis- 
pered Tom. The Indian hmig as far over the precipice as he could ■without 
losing his equilibrium. Tom quickly slipped around, and gi-asping the shoulders 
of the savage from behind, shouted — " Shoot H«e .' shoot ?»e, would you ! " and 
with those words he hurled the Indian over the precipice, where he was dashed 
to pieces among the rocks. 

Two Indians once surprised Tom in his sleep. They bound him securely, 
and after plmidering the cabm in which they found him, set out for their own 
country by way of the Delaware. One savage, with Tom's chattels upon his 
shoulders, walked in advance; Tom came next, \\'ith Ms arms securely tied 
behind him; and the remaining savage, with his rifle and that of his compan- 
ion, brought up the rear. One of these rifles was kept cocked in readiness to 
shoot Tom if he attempted to escaije. Their route led them over a high ledge of 
rocks, where they were obhged to take a very dangerous path far up on the 
cliff. At times the path was very naiTow, and at one point lay directly on the 
brow of the precipice, ^^^len they reached the narrowest and most dangerous 
part of the path, Tom feigned to be verj' dizzy, and refused to ijroceed further, 
although the blows of the Indian fell thick and fast upon his shoulders He 
leaned against the bank on the ui)per side, and shuddered Avhen he cast his 
ej'es toward the river. The savage next attempted to push him along, when 
by an adroit movement Tom got between hiiu and the precipice, and the next 
instant with a loud "ugh -whoop," the savage was making an air-line descent 
towards the river. He fell fifty feet or more and lodged in the fork of a syca- 
nioi-e, where he hung helpless, and roai'ing lustily for his brother savage to 
come and help him out The rifles fell into the river. Tom relied on his heels 
for safety, and ran i)inioned as he was with astonishing celerity for home, 
which he reached without fiuther incident. 

Tom was in the habit of concealing in the woods the guns he had taken 
from the murdered India,ns: and this circumstance on one occasion was the 
means of saving his life. Two Indians had captiued him, and were taking him 
off by the Grassy Brook route. His arms were pinioned with deer-skin thongs. 
It commenced to rain, and Tom was gi'atified to find that the moisture caused 
the thongs to stretch, and ultimately they became so loose that he could, when 
he chose, free his hands. He was very careful to conceal this fact from the 
savages. Near the path they wei-e pui'suing was a very large chestnut tree; 

I 1 8 Legends of tlie SJiawangunk. 

aud in the side of this tree fm-thest from the path was a large hollow space. 
In this trunk Tom had shortly before concealed several guns, a flask of powtter, 
and some bullets. When they reached this tree Tom expressed a great desire 
to go to it, and gave such a good reason therefor that he was allowed to go. 
The Indians both stood by with guns I'eady aimed, to guard against any 
attempt on his part at escape. Once behind the ti-ee which concealed his move- 
ments, he loaded tAvo of the guns with inconceivable rapidity, and fired upon 
one of the savages, who feU dead. His companion attempted to get behind the 
nearest tree, but he never reached it. 

Tom Avas too quick for him and he shared the fate of his comrade. 

Tom Quick was often the guest of John Showers, in the toAvn of Lumber- 
land. On one occasion Quick and three or fom- other white hunters had sought 
the shelter of Showers's bark roof, when a savage entered aud asked to stay all 
night. He was told he might lodge there. After spending the evening pleas- 
antly, chattmg around the ample fii-eplace, the party wrapped themselves in 
their blankets and lay doAATi upon the floor. All wei-e soon asleep except Tom 
Quick, who remained awake for a sinister pui-pose. When the deep breathing 
of his companions announced that they were unconscious, Tom got up and 
cautiously secured his gun. In a few minutes the huntei-s were aroused by an 
ex^jlosiou, and found the saA-age dead in their midst. After the fatal shot Avas 
given, Tom immediately left for the woods. As the Indians were then the 
almost exclusive occupants of that part of the countiy, and would aA^enge their 
brother if the)' knew the Avhites were i-espousible for his death, Ms murder was 
concealed for many yeare. 


' I ^ HE 0A\Tier of the cabin at which Tom was staying kept a hog. An Indian 
JL had formed a plan to make this hog an iastniment to effect Tom's 
destruction. One night, when no one but Tom was in the cabin, this 
Indian got into the pen, and by holding the hog between his knees caused it to 
squeal as lustily as though in the claws of a AvUd animal. This he supposed 
would lead Tom to conclude a beeu" had made a raid on the hog- pen, and that he 
would come to the rescue. But the Avily htmter was not throAvn off his 
guard by tliis ruse. He cautiously peered through a creA^ce of the cabin; the 
pig continued to keep up a great outcry, while Tom could see nothing that 
would indicate the assailant was not an animal. Presently he was reAvarded 
with the sight of an Indian's head above the top log of the pen. The hog 
proA'ed to be of the perverse sort, wliich the Indian had hard work to manage 
and at the same time keep a lookout for Tom's appearance. The hunter, on 
discovering the natui-e of the aggressor, prepai-ed to greet the Indian's head 

Indian Stratagevi to Slay Tovi Quick. iig 

should it api^ear again. The opportune moment arrired; the Iiall was sent 
on its errand; the porker was speedily released, and with a wild yell of pain, 
the savage broke for the woods. But he had received a fatal ^vound, and Tom 
soon overtook liiin, and put a speedy end to his life. 

Once, when Tom was in a field at work, lie was accosted by an unarmed 
Indian, wlio said he liad disco-^'ered something "just over there " that he very 
much wished him to go and see. Tom left his work, but did not fail to notice 
the look of satisfaction on the Indian's countenance, as he started to accom- 
pany him. This plainly indicated the design of the Indian and i)ut Tom on his 
guard. The scheming native had hid his gun m the woods, and hoped to entice 
Tom into the vicinity unarmed, when he could be dispatched. Tom had gone 
l)ut a short distance when he discovered a hemlock knot, which he thought would 
be a veiy good weapon in a rough-and-tumble fight. He stooped to pick it up; 
but the savage perceiving his intention, spi-ang upon liim; and although he got 
hold of it he could not use it. A severe and protracted struggle ensued for the 
possession of the weapon, with varying advantage; and blows were given and 
received with the grim determination of men who fight to the death. Tom 
finally came off victor; but he Avas often heard to declare tliat this was the 
most severe fight in which he was ever engaged. When the affray was over, 
and the Indian lay dead on the field, Tom was so exhausted that it was with 
difficulty he made his way to the house at which he was temporarily stopping. 

Another native Indian attempted Tom's fife while he was at work in the 
saw-mill. Tom, always on the alert, had been made aware of the presence and 
intention of his enemy, and so arranged liis hat and coat as to deceive him. 
The Indian sent a ball between the shoulders of the coat supposing Tom was 
inside of it, at which the latter stepped out from his place of hiding and shot 
the helpless and trembling savage through the heart. 

Tom was once ranging the woods on the lookout for Indians, and came 
upon one unexpectedly. Both parties sought shelter behind trees witliin gun- 
shot, where they remained a long time, each endeavoring to get a shot at tlie 
other without exposing himself. Various stratagems were resorted to with the 
hope of drawing the other's fire, but each found they had a wary foe to deal 
with. Tom at lengtli thrust his cap cautiously from behind the tree, when the 
report of the Indian's rifle was heard, and Tom fell to the ground as though 
gi-ievously wounded. The Indian dashed forward to rescue the hunter's scalp, 
when Tom sprang up and aimed at his breast. As the Indian saw the muzzle 
of the gun within a few feet of him, he exclaimed in dismay, " Ugh — me 
cheated ! " and fell dead at Tom's feet with a ball in his heart. 

1 20 Legends of the Shawangunk. 


AT last, exasperated beyond measure at the death of so many of their braves, 
tln-ee Indians banded together and pledged themselves they would not 
return until Tom's death or capture Avas effected. They lay in ambush 
all one season at one of Tom's favonte hmiting-gTOunds: but their intended 
victim not making lus appearance, the approach of cold weather compelled them 
to seek A\duter-quarters. "With the coming of the next season of flowers they 
resumed then- station and watching. A white man was one day observed com- 
ing up the river in a canoe. The Indians presently made out it was not the one 
foj- whom they Avere watcliiug, but a Tory for whom they entertained a friend- 
ship. This Tory was, however, an intense hater of Tom, and had more than 
once threatened to kill him. Fi-om him the warriors learned that Tom was at 
Handsome Eddy, to which point they resolved to go, and be governed by cir- 

There they learned that Tom was hviug with one of his friends, and that 
he was in the habit of going uato the woods every night after a cow, and that 
a bell was on the cow. The next day the three Indians went to the place where 
the cow was pastured, and secreted themselves. Towards evening they took 
the beU from the cow and drove the animal back into the woods. They then 
took their station near Tom's residence where they could observe what was go- 
ing on Avithout being themselves seen, and commenced rmging the bell. 

Just before simdowu Tom started for the cow, rifle in hand as usual. As 
soon as he heard the bell it occurred to Mm that its ring was unusual. This 
admonished Mm to caution; and instead of proceeding directly toward the 
sound, he took a Avide circuit, dming AvMch he encoimteied the cow. He noAV 
carefuUy crept forward and came up in the rear of the Indians, Avhose attention 
was absorbed m the direction of the house, AA-here they momentarily expected 
Tom to show himself. As Tom approached from behind he saw that one of 
the Lidians had the bell, Avhile the other two held then- arms in readiness for 
the conflict. He determined to attack aU three. He passed cautiously from 
tree to tree, so as to bring them within range, Avith a vieAV to kiU two at the 
fkst shot. Before he got mto position he unfortunately stepped on a dry twig, 
which snapped under his foot. Instantly the beU stopped ringing, and the 
Indians turned toward hmi with their rifles cocked; but he had dodged behmd 
a large hemlock Avhich screened Mm from vieAv. They saAv nothmg but the 
cow Avhich was quietly grazmg and walkmg toAvards them. Supposing her to 
have beeu the cause of their alarm, they again commenced ringing and watch- 
ing. Tom theu left the shelter of the friendly hemlock and reached Ms objec- 
tive point. He took dehberate aim, and the tAvo armed savages Avere killed or 

The Savages Plan Tom Quick's Capture. \ 2 1 

disabled, and the bell-ringei' wounded, l)ut not sufficiently to prevent his escape. 
But in his huiTy he forgot to take his ritie. 

The Indians were more exasperated than ever when they learned the fate 
of the two braves. They organized a band of fifteen or twenty others, and 
determined to spare no efforts to capture or slay Tom. Having found his 
retreat, and a storm of rain accomjmnied by a dense fog favoring their purpose, 
the Indians were enabled to surround the cabin of which he was the solitary 
occupant, before he was aware of their presence. 

When tliey had finally secured bim, the joy of the redskins was unbounded. 
As night was approaching and rain faUing in torrents, the party determined to 
spend the night in Tom's cabin. Tom's skins and other goods were prepared 
for transportation, but his favorite rifle, standing in a dark corner of the garret, 
escaped their notice. Among the tilings which pleased them best was a keg of 
brandy, a hquid that Tom seldom used, but of wliich he generally liad a sup- 
ply in his possession. They drank of it freely, and its effect soon became 
visible; the crowd grew uproarious, and menacing looks and gestures began to 
be directed by three or four of the party towards their unfoi'tunate prisoner. 

It had been the leading object among the Indians to take liim alive, so 
that the whole tribe might participate in torturing him. It was to be feared 
that some of the more ill-natured savages, under thi inspiration of the fire- 
water, would anticii)ate the action of the tiibe and kill him on the spot. To 
put Tom out of reach of danger, and at the same time relieve aU from the 
restraint of standing guard over him, it was proposed to bind him with addi- 
tional tlKJUgs to a rafter in the garret — a proposition that was heartily approved 
by all. 

From his position Tom could hear what was transpiring in the room below. 
He overheard m\ animated discussion, as to whether it was best to take his scalp 
at once, or reserve him for the torture. Tom remained in an agony of sus- 
pense, revolving in his mind, the while, the probability of making his escape. 
But so desperate was his situation that hope died within him. He even medi- 
tated suicide that he might deprive his captors of tlie i)leasure they anticipated 
in his torture, but he was too securely tied to admit of even this alternative. 
About midnight the savages relapsed into a state of quiet. So far as Tom could 
judge, they were either asleep or too drunk to do him any harm Ere long he 
heard the souaid of steps, and some one seemed to be ascending the ladder. 
A moment afterward the head of a savage appeared above the floor. In one 
hand he held a brand of fii-e, and in the other a formidable knife. He approached 
with unsteady feet, and stood before his intended victim, with features dis- 
torted from the effects of his potations, and with eyes gleaming and snakish. 
With knife uphfted, and his body swaying to and fro, he regarded Tom an 
instant and prepared to strike. The moment was a trying one to Tom, thus 
helplessly bound; but instinctively he fell flat upon his face, and the knife 
passed hamilessly over him. The drunken savage, having missed his raai-k, 
and unable to preserve his balance, fell headlong, striking his head so heavily 

122 Legends of tlic Shawangunk. 

against the log wall of the garret, that he lay in a stupid and senseless heap 
upon the floor. 

Having waited long enough to ascertain the noise did not awaken those 
below, Tom essayed- to get possession of the Indian's knife; but the thong 
which was tied to his neck was too short to enable him to reach it. In the 
effort to resume his erect position his foot came in contact ^\ith the oljject he 
sought. Having secm-ed it, and taking the handle between his teeth he soon 
freed his ankles, and cut the thong that bound him to the rafter. He next 
thrast the knife in a crevice so that the blade projected firmly from the log; 
then, by tiu-ning on his back, his hands being tie behuid him, lie managed to 
cut the remaining fastenings. Once free, he got possession of liis rifle, and 
having removed some of the bark which composed the roof, leaped to the 
gi'ound and reached Minisink eutii'ely destitute. 


ON the shore of Pleasant lake, in the town of Tliompson, Nehemiah Smith 
bought a tract of land at the beginning of the present century, built 
a log house, and consti-ucted baiTacks in which to store haj' and grain. 
After putting in some wmter cereals. Smith returned to Southeast, Putnam 
county, where his family resided. The following February, he started for his 
new home ui the wilds of Sullivan, accompanied by four of his neighbors and 
their families. His own household consisted of his wife, two childi-en, and a 
nephew, a lad of thu-teen years. 

Crossing the river at Newburgh, they there hired teams to take them to 
the end of their journey. The Newljiu'gh and Cochecton turnpike was then 
good as far as Montgomery; beyond that point the roads had no existence 
except in name. After leavmg Montgomery, they traveled the fii'st day as 
far as the Barrens, where the accommodations were meagi-e for so large a 
party— one room and an attic. The next night they reached Thompson's MLUs, 
where was a backwoods tavern. Here the facilities for entertaining travelers 
were much better. Beyond this point the road was only a line of blazed trees. 

The.. snow was deep, and the path unbroken; had the gi'ound been bare 
they could not have driven their team over the route on accomat of its rough- 
ness. Up and dov^m ravines, across streams, and under the sombre foUage of 
hemlocks so dark at times that the sky could not be seen, the party plodded; 
and they were obUged to look sharp about them to keep the marked trees in 

Slowly the jaded horses labored through the snow, sometimes sinking 
ahnost to their backs, now plunging over the side of a cradle hole, or stimi- 
bhng over the trunk of a fallen tree. WT^ien the sleigh threatened to ujiset, then 

Early Settlers of the Shaxvangunk Region. 123 

there "was a panic among the women and children; but it was quickly remedied 
when the strong arms of the men came to the rescue. Tiiey were obliged to 
leave one sleigh load in the woods, where the goods remained until tlie men 
returned and carried them on their backs to their destination. At this time 
there was no house in Mouticello, nor even a line of marked trees to that point. 

The dwelhngs of these settlers were very primitive structures, built of logs 
with bark roofs. The floors — as soon as they could afford that luxury — wei'e 
made by splitting logs in half, and laj'ing the flat side uppermost. The fire- 
places were commodious affairs, without jambs, into which a back-log ten feet 
in length could be rolled. For windows they at first used paper, previously 
nibbed \x\W\ h(jg's lard — a kind of glazing that shed a most beautiful light 
when the sun slione on it. The chimneys were made of stones plastered with 
mud; the same primitive cement was used in stopping up the chinks between 
the logs. A\Tien the room was Ughted up of an evening by the glowing fire 
extending nearly across one side of the house, there was an air of comfort with- 
in the intei-ior of that log-cabin that is not to be found in the most sumptuous 
apartment. And when to the music of the winds in the tall pines that grew 
by the door, there are added the lonely howl of the wolf and the scream of the 
panther, while within all was safe and snug, with the children sweetly sleeping 
in their cots — the picture is complete. 

There was no cellar under the floor. Potatoes and other vegetables were 
stored in holes or dirt cellars close by the house. A mound of earth was 
heaped over these depositories, and it seems these mounds were a favorite 
resort for wolves. Fifty years afterwards the wife of Nehemiah Smith used to 
tell of having seen them there at night, when the moon made them visible. 
These animals were a source of great terror to the women and children, and 
their bowlings were generally continued long into the night. 

Sheep were a necessity, as their wool -^vas the chief reliance of the settlers 
for winter clothing; but it was impossible to keep them unless they were put 
into a safe enclosm-e every night. A single wolf would destroy a whole flock 
in a few minutes, its instinct leading it to rush from one victim to another, 
giving each a snap in the throat, which was always fatal. 

The bedsteads were made in the most primitive way, with but a single post 
— let all who believe that four posts are essential take notice— holes bored into 
the logs of the apartment serving the purpose of the missing legs. A bit of 
clapboard, riven from the red oak, supported on wooden pins driven into the 
wall, contained the pewter dishes and spoons. The spimiing wheel was an 
essential adjunct to the family outfit, while a few chairs, some pots and kettles, 
and an eight-by-ten looking glass completed the furniture. 

A majority of the inhabitants of this period were of upright characters, 
bold, energetic, and generous-hearted. Although subject to privations, their 
lot in hfe, as a whole, was not an mihappy one. Said one of them; " When I 
look back upon the first few years of our residence in the wilderness, I am led 
to exclaim, Oh, happy days of primitive simpHcity ! What httle aristocratic 

I 24 Legends of the Shawangun/c. 

feeling one brought with him Avas soon quelled, for we soon found ourselves 
equally dependent on one another; and we enjoyed ovu' winter evenings arovuid 
cm- blazing hearths in our log huts cracking nuts much better than has faUen 
to our lots since the distinctions and animosities consequent upon the accumu- 
lation of wealth liave crept in among us." The followong is said to have been 
an actual occurrence: 

In one of the back- woods settlements a visit was aiTanged hy some of the 
ladies, by way of paying their respects to a neighboring family who lived a Mt- 
tle out of the way. The lady of the house was very much jjleased to see them, 
and soon commenced preparing the usual treat on such state occasions — a cup 
of tea and accompaniments. As the good woman had but one fire-proof vessel 
in the house — an old broken bake-kettle — some time would be consumed in the 
preparation of the repast. In the first place, some pork was tried up in the 
kettle to get lard; secondly, some doughnuts were made and fried in it; thirdly, 
some short cakes were baked in it ; fourthly, it was used as a bucket to draw 
water; fifthly, the water was boiled in it; and sixtlil}' the tea Avas put into it, and 
an excellent beverage made. Thus with the old cracked bake-kettle a dehcious 
meal Avas prepared, and a veiy agreeable " social tea " was the result 

Bears were formerly quite plenty in Sullivan count}^- —probably wintering 
on the loAvlands which border on the lakes, and wandering into the hills in sum- 
mer. One of Nehemiah Smith's neighbors was a man by the name of Bailey. 
Bruua, was frequently seen passing tlu'ough BaUej^'s premises. He seemed to 
have a special fondness for hog's flesh, and sometimes raided Bailey's pig-pen to 
satisfy his appetite. One night when Mr. Bailey was from home, Mrs. Bailey 
was putting the httle ones to bed when she heard a ten-ible squeahng out among 
the pigs. She miderstood what that meant — a bear had got into the pen. She 
wen knew the danger incurred by going out, but she could not endure the 
thought of losing a fat pig. So bidding the childi-en be quiet until she returned, 
she took some blazmg fii-e-brands and rushed out to the sty, where a huge bear 
confronted her. The heroic woman shouted with all her might, and pelted the 
bear with her blazing brands, so that bruin was beaten off without getting his 
pig. Having the satisfaction of seeing the hungiy intinider nin off into the 
woods, she retm'ned to the house and resumed her household duties. 

Another neighbor of the Smith's, by the name of Waning, Avent out one 
night to shoot deer. While chopping a few days before in the vicinity of 
Dutch pond, he had noticed that deer-tracks were very plenty, and that two 
ruuAvays passed within rifie shot of a large rock. He promised himself some 
fine sport the first moonhght night. Such a night soon came; and, tehing his 
family he might remain aAvay all night, but that they could expect some veni- 
son steak for breakfast, he shouldered his rifle and started for the woods. In 
due time he took up liis position on the rock. There Avas snow on the gi'ound, 
and the bright moon overhead so hghted up the earth that he could see a pass- 
ing object distinctly. 

He watched the tAvo runways very patiently, but saw no game, and heard 

Early Settlers of the Shawaiigimk Region. 125 

no sound except the hooting of an owl in an adjacent grove of hemlocks. His 
A-igil was becomhig dull and tedious; the night was waning; he was about 
making prGparations to go home, when pat, pat, came the sound of rapid steps, 
and he noticed a dark object coming up the path. Without waiting to dis- 
cover what the animal was, he fired. The creature gave a howl of mingled pain 
and rage, iiished at the hunter furiously, and attempted to jump upon the rock 
where he stood. It would have reached him, and the snarling jaws would have 
closed upon him, only that he made a vigorous thrust with his rifle and pushed 
the animal back. Again and again it leaped at the man on the rock, and was 
as often beaten back. At last the ani)nal, whatever it Avas, ran one way and 
the hunter the other. Wamng reached home at an unexpected hour, but 
brought no venison. He visited the place the next morning with his boys, and 
ascertained by the blood and tracks around the rock that he had shot and 


wounded a very large wolf. Though wolves were very numerous at the time, 
it, was rare that they were so pugnacious as this one showed himself to be. 

Another settler in the vicinity of Pleasant lake was very much annoyed 
with wolves. They seemed to gather at a certain pond about a mile away, and 
every night would make the woods ring with theii- howling. One day this 
settler slaughtered a cow-, and hung up the meat in the attic of his log cabin. 
That night the w-olves gathered in numbers under his very eaves, and the 
father being al)sent, the mother witli the children went up into the attic, 
drawing the ladder after them, being gi-eatly terrified as they heard the hmigry 
beasts leaping against the door, and snarling and snapping under the windows. 

The first inhabitants of Sullivan had another source of annoyance— the 
bark roofs of their cabins could not always be depended upon. On one occa- 
sion, during the temporary absence of Nehemiah Smith from his home, there 

126 . Legends of tJie Shawangunk. 

occurred a gi-eat storm of wind and rain. Wlien the stonn was at its height, 
the roof of their house was blown away, and the family were left at the mercy 
of the elements. Mrs. Smith put the children where they would be partially 
sheltered and was dihgently sweeping out the water when the neighbors came 
to her rehef . 

One Avinter's night the family were gathei'ed around the ample fire-place, 
in wliich glowed a section of a tree that would have put to shame the tradi- 
tional yule-logs of om' British ancestors. The night was tempestuous; snow 
had been falling all day, and lay piled up in the woods to the depth of sevei'al 
feet, but within all was snug and comfortable. The laboi-s of the day were 
over; the children were at their games; the older members of the family were 
relating Eevolutionary stories and incidents of frontier experience; m short, 
the storm outside was unheeded, excej^t when an unusual blast swept along, 
ratthng the windows and cloore, and screeching dismally down the cliimney. 
The hour was approaching that the family were to retire to rest, when sounds 
of disintegTation were heard. The roof was gi\iug way above them. Mr. 
Smith slowly and cautiously ascended the ladder by which they reached the 
loft — stairs were a luxury unknown at that time in Sullivan county — when 
ther6 came a crash ! One half of tlie roof had slid over the outer side of the 
house, leaving that part of the dwelhng roofless; and the other half of tbe roof, 
together Avith two feet of snow that had accumulated on it, had fallen in upon 
the puncheons of the upper floor. Had the catastrophe occurred an bom- later, 
the rafters and snow would have fallen upon the cliildren, whose beds were in 
the attic. Tliis Avas an unfortmiate dilemma for a stormy night, Avith a family 
of little cluldren, and the roads impassable. Yet the family hved through it; 
and in after years used frequeiitly to relate the incident to crowds of eager 

Jehiel Stewart was another pioneer settler of SuUivan county. He came 
originally from Middletown, Connecticut; he fii'st settled in Ulster county, and 
after remaining about a j'ear, he again emigrated, tliis time joiu-neying over 
the ShaAvangmik mountain. He travelled dov\Ti the Beaverkill, crossing and 
recrossing that stream twenty -fiA^e times before he reached the Big Flats,. Avhere 
he concluded to settle. He cut his way through the woods with an axe. His 
family and household goods he transported on ox-sleds, driAang his stock before 
him as he progressed. He camped out each night, unproAasing some tents to 
protect them from the night air and from the rain. 

One evening after he had located liis encampment and made preparations 
for the night, he formd that his coavs Avere missing. ]\Iounting a rock near by, 
he saw some animals at a distance quietly feeding in a small opening, which 
he supposed to be the missing cows. He called to his children to go after 
them; but as the children approached the opening, the animals Avinded them 
and ran off, making a peculiar rattling noise Avith then* hoofs as they ran. 
They proved to be a drove of elk. 

It Avas during this journey that his little daughter got lost in the woods. 

Early Settlers of the Shaicaugitnk Region. 127 

Night canie, and she did not return. The father and mother Ininted for her 
all night, and their fears were great when they lieard the wolves howling in 
the woods, and also the noises made by other wild animals. Morning came, 
and still no traces of the child ; they made up their minds she had 1 leen torn in 
pieces and devom-ed by the wild beasts they had heard during tlie night. They 
renewed their search next morning with sorrowing hearts and fearful forebod- 
ings, lest they shoidd come upon her mangled remains in the forest; what was 
their great joy presently to see her coming toward them alive and well. In 
answer to their eager inquiries as to how and where she had spent the night she 
said "Alongside a log, sleeping.' With childhke faith she had gone to sleep in 
the wildQi-ness, undisturbed by the noises around her. 

Jonathan Hoyt, ^vho, in 1S04, moved into the town of Thompson, was 
another representative jjioneer settler. He came from Norwalk, Connecticut, 
and Ins family consisted of a wife and three children. In April of tliat year he 
started for his new home in the wilds of Sulhvan, his caravansary consisting of 
a span of horses, a yoke of oxen, and an immense butterfly cart. 

In the broad and flaring box of the cart were bestowed the household goods 
of Mr. Hoyt, includuag smidry small canvas bags filled with coin and placed 
inside the family chest. On top of all, Avhen on their journey, were perched 
the wife and children, who climbed to their elevated position by means of a 
ladder. They first journeyed to a port on Long Island somid, where the family, 
the teams, the butterfly cart and all. were put on board a sloop, and in due 
time were landed at Xewburgh. 

Here the more serious obstacles of the journey were encountered. The 
oxen and horses were attached to the cart, and the movement Avas made west 
ward on the Newburgh and Cochecton road. The turnpike, so far as completed, 
had been but recently made; besides, the frost was only partially out of the 
gi-ound, so that their progress was slow. Sometimes the wheels would sink so 
deep into the slough-holes that it became necessary to partially unload the cart 
before the team coidd proceed. At other times one wheel of the cart would 
remain firm on the partially thawed soil, while the other would sink to the 
axle, causing the elevated wings of the vehicle to lurch with an energy that 
threatened to hurl the women and children into the mud. So forcible was this 
side movement that the chest was broken in pieces, and the silver money it 
contained scattered over the bottom of the cart-box. Fortunately the box had 
been so well constracted, and of such good materials, that the money was foimd 
all safe when they reached the Neversink 

Towards the close of the sixth day from Newburgh the journey was made 
down the west side of the ShawangTxnk mountain. There at the foot was a 
Ijroad, tm-bid, and impassable river. The Basha's kUl was swollen with the 
s[)ring freshet, the turnpike was submerged, leaving nothing visible but the 
l)ridge. There was not at that time a solitary building on the western slope of 
the naountain that w^ould afford them shelter — not even a barn. They could 
neither advance nor retreat, so they sxient the night where they were, in the 

128 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

mud. homesick and heartsick, and doubtless contrasting the wilds of Sullivan 
with the pleasant home they had left in the land of i^lenty and comf oi-t. 

The next day the floods subsided so that Mr. Hoyt mounted ou one of liis 
horses, crossed the kill, and went in search of assistance. At the west side of 
the Mamakating valley an enteiprising individual had opened a log tavern. 
Here Mr. Hoyt obtained an extra team, with which he returned to his family. 
With the united efforts of the three strong teams tlie cart was safel.y In'ought 
over the stream. That night the family found more comfoi-table quarters in 
the log tavern. 

When they reached the vicinity of their new home on the east bank of the 
Neversink, Mr. Hoyt learned that the cabin he liad built was untenable: the 
snow of the pre\'ious winter had broken down its bark roof, and it was httle 
better than a ruin. The settlers informed him there was a small log stnictm'e 
on the opijosite bairlc of the Neversink that had been used as a school-house, 
but was at that time vacant. Into this he moved his family until he could 
build another house. Tlie tracks of aU sorts of wild animals could be seen 
around the cabin when the Hojiis arrived there. 

There was a saw-mill at Katrina falls, and Mr. Hoyt commenced hauling 
wliite-pine lumber from this establishment. Settlers were scarce in tlie vicinity, 
but money was much more so; and ]\Ii-. Hoyt ha'v'ing brought Avith him a 
goodly supply, of silver coin, men wei'e found who were wolhng to leave their 
own farm work to get it. In two weeks' time j\Ii'. Hoyt's new house was so 
far completed that he moved his family into it. 

For several years the wolves annoj'ed them veiy much, and he found it very 
difficult to rear cattle or keep sheep. On one occasion the wolves killed eigh- 
teen sheep near the entrance to his door yard, where he fomid them lying 
about on the snow next morning. It was quite common for him to find the 
carcasses of yearlings in his fields, and occasionally his cattle w^ould come home 
bleeding from wounds inflicted by the blood-letting and stealthy bmtes. 

A few years of labor brought comi^arative competence to the early settlers, 
whose privations for a time were very great. Here and there, throughout the 
vaUeys, was a small clearing, hteraUy choked with stumps and stubborn roots; 
and in the midst of the clearing stood a little, low, bai'k-roofed, inud -plastered 
log-cabin, with a stick-and-mud chimney, with a hole sawed in the logs that 
served as a window. Neai' this was a log pen, open to the blasts and snows of 
winter, in which the pioneer stored whatever of hay or grain he could gather 
for the subsistence of his shivering cattle. These " children of the wilderness " 
had no difficulty in procming meat, as the surrounding woods abounded in 
deer and bears, wiiich could be had fresh from the shambles in a few homes' 
time. Wherever the beech-nut flourished the sweetest pork could be fat- 
tened, in wliich toothsome edible bears often came in for their share with the 
settlers. Wheat could be raised in sufficient quantities alongside the charred 
stmnps, but to get it converted into flour was the gi-eat difficulty. It often 
required a journey of days to reach a flour miU, and then each customer was 

A Border Alarm. 129 

requii-ed to await his tiu-n for his grist, which sometimes consumed a day or 
two more. 

Samp and coarse meal were made at home m various ways. Some had a 
heavy wooden pestle fastened to a spring pole, with which a half bushel of corn 
could be pounded at once. This was tliought to be a great institution. Later on, 
smaU mill-stones, made from the "giit" of Shavvangunk mountain, and oper- 
ated by hard labor, were introduced mto the settlements, by which laborious 
and tedious operation a semblance of flour could be obtained 

Even the water-mills of the most approved pattern of those times were 
cumbersome and unsatisfactorj^ affairs. One of these was put up in Sulhvan 
county by a man named Tliompson, and was facetiously dubbed Thompson's 
samp-mortar by the early settlers. The whole building would shake and quake 
to such an extent when the stones were revolving tliat even venturesome boys 
would flee from it. 


THERE is nothing that will excite the sympathies of a border settlement 
more than the alarm of a child missing or lost in the woods. The 
uncertainty as to its fate, compassion for its agonized parents, and a real- 
izing sense of the feehngs of the little one, exposed to Indian capture, or to be 
torn m pieces and devoured by wild beasts, or to the slower process of perishing 
by cold and hunger.— all call forth the deepest human sympathy. 

In 1810 the entire popiUation of Bethel * town turned out, and for eight days 
searched the woods for little Johnny Glass, and did not relinquish their efforts 
until all liope of finding him alive was abandoned. 

The lad was living with his parents near White lake. His mother sent 
him to cany dinner to his father, who, with some men, was chopping wood 
about a mile away. He reached them safely and started for home, but for 
some reason got bewildered and lost his way. When the lad did not return in 
the afternoon, his mother felt no anxiety, as she surmised Johnny had got per- 
mission from his father to remain in the woods with the men until they returned 
at nightfall. But when the father amved in the evening and reported that the 
lad had immediately started on his return trip, the dreadful truth flashed upon 
the minds of the household 

Every parent can imagine the scene that ensued— the distress of the mother, 
the -ivild energy of the father. Hastily summoning his nearest neighbors, the 
father spent the niglit in a fniitless search in the woods, while the mother 
remained at home rendei'ed frantic by the intensity of her grief. 

By the next morning the tidings had spread far and wide, and a thorough 


1 30 Legends of the Shawangiaik. 

and systematic search was instituted — all the settlement joining in the work of 
beatmg the swamps and tliickets. The search was continued from day to day, 
until all corn-age and hope were lost. Xo trace of the boy could be found, and 
the supi^ositiou was that he had perished from teiTor, cold and hunger, or 
that he had met -nith a more speedy and less dreaded death by bemg devoured 
by wild beasts, which were then numerous and ferocious. 

As was aftei-ward ascertained, when little Johiuiy left the path he traveled 
ahnost directly from home. When night overtook liim, be^Wldered, weary and 
hungry, he lay down by the side of a fallen tree and cried himself to sleep, 
where he slept luitil moiTung. On awakening he again started to find liis way 
out of the woods, wandering at random. In this way he continued to travel 
ten daj^s, with notliiug to eat except wild hemes, and seeing no living thing 
except the beasts and wild birds of the forest. 

One night as he lay in a fevered sleep on his couch of leaves alongside a log, 
he was aroused by the bleating of a deer in distress; tlien he heard the angry 
growl and snarl of a catamount, and knew the ferocious animal was di-inking 
the blood of liis harmless victim. He lay very quiet, as he did not know how 
soon he might meet with a similar fate. 

On the eleventh day of his wanderuigs he Avas a pitiable object. His clothes 
were tattered; liis body emaciated and cheeks smiken; his hmbs had scarcely 
strength to cany his bodj^ about, wliile his feet were so sore and swollen that 
he could scarcely bear his weight on them. He was about to lie doA\ni ex- 
hausted, fii'st caUing the name of mother, as he had done scores of times before, 
with no answer save the echoes of the forest, when his ears were greeted with 
the tinkling of a cow-bell. The sound gave him renewed hfe. It nerA'ed 
him for one more effort. With difficulty he slowl}- made his way in the direc- 
tion of the sound, leaving marks of blood on the leaves at everj- step. He soon 
came to a clearing in which were several cattle feeding At sight of liim the 
animals started for home. It was near night and he knew if liis strength lasted 
he could find succor. Finally he was obliged to crawl on liis hands and knees, 
and thus he proceeded until he came in sight of a house. Tliis proved to be the 
dwelling of a Mr. Lain, who hved on the Calhcoon. 

When ]\Irs. Lain started to niiUc the cows she discovered the lost boy on 
the ground near her door. She took him in her arms and carried him into her 
dweUing. The good woman had a kindly heart and a sound head, and she 
treated the wanderer as she would her own son, and Avitli as good judgment as 
though bred a physician. She bathed liim, dressed his sores, put him into a 
wai'iii bed, judiciously fed and cared for him until he had reA'ived suificientl}' to 
tell Ms name and residence. News of his safety was then sent to his parents, 
who for ten days had moiu-ned liim as dead. He hved to be an old man. but 
he never full}- recovered from the effects of the adventure, and ever after 
needed the controlling influence of a mind more sound than his own. 

In the town of Forestburg, years ago, there hved a httle girl named Maiy 
Frieslebau. She was a lovely cliild, fuU of hfe and arumation. One day she 

A Border Alarm. 131 

went to the house of a neighbor on an errand with some other children. It 
Avas in winter; a deep snow lay on tlie ground, and the wood-choppers and 
lumbermen had cut the Avoods up into roads in all directions. In playing hide- 
and-seek on their way home, Mary became separated from the other children, 
and they lost sight of her altogether. Calling her by name, and receiving no 
answer, the children returned without her, and supposing she would immedi- 
ately follow, did not mention the circumstances when they reached home. An 
liour or more afterward, Avhen her parents sought for her, the children pointed 
out the spot where she was last seen; and although a score or more engaged in 
the search, they failed to find her. 

It so happened that a quack doctor by the name of Heister was living in 
Orange county, Avho Avas looked upon Avith suspicion by the people of this 
neighborhood Avhere he sometimes came on professional visits. Inasmuch as 
he Avas seen to pass along the road with his Avife about the time of Maiy's dis- 
appearance, they surmised he was concerned in abductmg her. Some children 
having reported they had seen Mary in Heister's sleigh, serA^ed to confirm their 
suspicions; and accordmgly a Avan-ant was made out, and the doctor and his Avifa 
Avere an-ested and brought to Forestburgh for examination. Tavo days Avere 
spent in investigating tlie affair by a Justice of Peace, and the evidence Avas so 
much against the prisoners that aU beHeved them guilty; they were therefore 
held for trial and Avere required to give bail 

A rain liad meantime fallen, Avhich carried off a portion of the snow with 
Avhich the gi'ound was covered, Avith the i-esult of exposing a portion of the dress 
of little Mary, Avhere she lay in the snow Avith her face downward. She had 
fallen doAvn exhausted after being separated from her companions, and was 
concealed from view by the snoAV Avhich at the time AA^as rapidly falUng. She 
had probably perished before her parents had set out to look for her. 

This chapter would not be complete did it not include the adA'entures of 
Mi-s. Silas Reeves, the Avife of an early settler of FaTlsburgh. Her husband 
manufactured miU-stones and Avas absent from home most of the time. Mrs. 
Reeves Avas one of your time women, who met the hardships and privations of 
frontier life with a (-ourage undamited. At one time she traveled several miles 
to the house of a neighbor and brought back living coals to replenish her fire. 

One evening, her cows having failed to come home, she bade her children 
remain in the house Avhile she went after them, and told them not to be afraid 
of the dark, as she would be gone but a little Avhile. Taking up the chubby 
babe and kissing it, she gaA^e it and its little sister into the charge of their elder 
brother, a bright lad of six; then shutting and securing the door behind her, 
started on her errand. As it began to grow dark the smaller ones shoAved 
symptoms of fear; but the little felloAv Avas equal to his charge. As the hours 
Avent by, and the mother did not return, he gave them their frugal supper and 
put them both to bed; not, however, Avithout a protest from the babe, who 
wanted to sit up till his mamma came home. Then propping himself up in his 
chair, the Avhole household was soon Avrapt in slumber. 


Legeiids of the Shawangtmk. 

Early next morning, a neighbor in passing found the cliildren alone, and 
heard their story. The two younger were clamoring lustUy for their mamma, 
while the boy was offering such consolation as he was able. The cliildren were 
at once sent to the house of a relative to be cared for, while the neighborhood 
was aroused and search made for Mrs. Keeves. For three days the inhabitants 


far and near were ranging the woods looking for her, and when they at last 
foimd her, she was exliausted and almost speechless, havuig lain do\vn to die. 
One night she chmbed to the top of a high rock to get out of the reach of the 
wolves that were on her track. Here she was serenaded all night, during 
wliich they made many unsuccessful attempts to reach her; nor did they leave 
her until the dawn of day, when they vanished into the forest. 


THE traveler in the region of the Shawangunk has not failed to notice 
that remarkable featm'e of the momitain known as Sam's Point. Even 
when seen at such a distance that the mountain looks like a blue cloud sus- 
pended above the earth, this promontory stands out in fuU rehef against the 
sky. The name has its origin in one of those quaint legends with which the 
vicinity abounds. The story as handed down by tradition, and stUl related by 
the residents of the neighborhood, is as foUows: 

Samuel Gonsalus was a famous hunter and scout. He was bom in the 

Sam's Point, or the Big A^ose of Aioskawasting. 133 

present town of Maniakating; was reared in the midst of the stirring scenes of 
frontier Ufe and border warfare, in which he afterward took such a conspicuous 
jjart; and was at last laid to I'est in an unassuming grave in the vicinity where 
occurred the events which have caused his name to be handed down, with some 
lustre, in the local annals. 

He lived on the west side of the mountain, a locality greatly exposed to 
Indian outrage, and liis whole life was spent in the midst of constant danger. 
His knowledge of the woods, and his intimate acquaintance with the hamits 
and habits of his savage neighljoi-s, rendered his services during the French and 
Indian War of mestimable value. He possessed many sterling quahties, not 
the least among which was an abiding devotion to the cause of his country. 
Ko risk of his life was too imminent, no sacrifice of his personal interest too 
great, to deter him from the discharge of duty. 

When the treacherous Indian neighbors jjlanned a sudden descent on an 
unsuspecting settlement, "Sam Consawley," as he was familiarly called, 
would hear inimors of the intended massacre in the air by some means known 
only to himself, and his first act would be to carrj^ the people warning of their 
danger. At other times he would join in the expeditions against bands of hos- 
tiles : it was on such occasions that he rendered the most signal service. Though 
not retaining any official recognition of authority, it was known that his voice 
and counsel largely controlled the movements of the ai-med bodies with Avhich 
he was associated, those in command yielding to his known skill and sagacity. 

His fame as a hunter and Indian fighter was not confined to the circle of 
his friends and associates. The savages both feared and hated him. Many a 
l)ainted wari'ior had he sent to the happy hunting-gi-ounds; many a time had 
they lain in wait for him, stimulated both by revenge and by the proffer of a 
handsome bounty on his scalp; but he was always too wary for even the wily 

In September of 1T5S a scalping party of Indians made a descent into the 
country east of the Shawangunk. The warriors were from the Delaware, and 
had crossed by the old Indian trail * leading through the mountain pass known 
as "The Traps;" their depredations in the valley having alarmed the people, 
they were returning by this trail, closely pursued by a large body from the set- 
tlements. At the summit of the mountain the party suiprised Sam, who was 
hunting by himself. 

As soon as the savages saw him they gave the war-whoop, and started in 
pursuit. Now was an opportunity, thought they, to satisfy their thirst for 
revenge. Sam was a man of great physical strength, and a fleet runner. Very 
few of the savages could outstnp him in an even race. But the Indians were 
lietween him and the open country, and the only way left was toward the 
precipice. He knew all the paths better than did his jjursuers, and he had 

* Duriiif^ the spring of 1887, the wi-iter followed this old war trail for a considerable distance, 
it being' still plainly visible. 

134 Legends of the Shaivangunk. 

already devised a plan of escape, while his enemies were calculating either on 
effecting his captui'e, or on his throwing liimself from the precipice to avoid a 
more horrid death at their hands. 

He ran dhectly to the pomt, and pausing to give a shout of defiance at his 
pui'suers, leaped from a chff over forty feet in height. As he expected, his fall 
was broken hj ^ clump of hemlocks, into tho thick foUage of wliich he had 
directed Ins jump. He escaped with only a few shght bruises. The Indians 
came to the chff, but could see nothing of their enemy; and supposing him to 
have been mutilated and killed among the rocks, and being thenibelves too 
closely pursued to admit of delay in searching for a way down to the foot 
of the ledge, they resinned their flight, satisfied that they were rid of him. But 
Sam was not dead, as some of them afterward found to then- sorrow. To com- 
memorate this exploit, and also to bestow a recognition of his numerous seiwices, 
this precipice was named Sam's Point. 

Sam had a nephew by the name of Daniel Gonsalus, who was captured by 
the Indians when he was alx)ut five or six years old. The savages were lurk- 
ing in the %'icmity of Mamakatiug farms; and being too feeble in numbers or 
too cowardly to make an open attack, they sought to effect their pm-pose by 
making secret reprisals. One day the boy, having ventm-ed too far from home, 
was captured and can-ied away. He was soon missed, and search made for 
him, but all to no avail; and after some days his parents gave him up as lost. 
TSTiether he had been can-ied off by some strolling baud of Indians, or had 
become bewildei'ed in the woods, and so perished, was to his agonized parents 
merely a matter of conjectm-e. 

The Indians, on leaving the valley, stopped and rested at a lake in the 
mountains, where they remained several days. The boy became the adopted 
son of a wamor and liis squaw; he formed an acquaintance with several of the 
young Indians, and engaged with them in their sports. Among other thmgs 
they brought together some smaU stones and made a miniature wall. After 
this the band wandered from place to place, and Daniel lost aU knowledge of the 
direction in which his parents hA^ed. 

For a time he was watched closely ; but eventuaUy was regarded as fully 
adopted into the tribe, and was suffered to go where he pleased. After some 
time had elapsed, the band again encamped by a lake, when Daniel discovered 
the httle wall of stones he helped build when he was first captured. His love 
for his wliite friends had not diminished, nor had his desire to return to them 
abated. He would have made his escape from his captors long before, only 
that he did not know wliich way to go. Here was a discovery that made 
plain the way to home and friends. 

Waiting a favorable opportunity he set out on his journey, reaching the 
residence of his father safely after an absence of three years, where he was 
received by the family as one raised from the gi'ave. 

Elizabeth Gonsalus, another relative of Samuel, was captirred by savages 
when she was seven years of age. She was carrying a pail from her father's 

"Gross" Hardotbun^h. 135 

house to a field near by. Her way led through bars; the rails were all down 
but the upper one; and as she stopped to pass under this, she was caught by 
a painted Indian. He so terrified her by threats that she could not give an 
alarm, and conveyed her to his party encamped near by. In company with 
other captives she was taken several days' march in a southwest course over 
the mountains and along the banks of the rivers until they reached a town in 
interior Pennsylvania. Here she remained a prisoner twenty years. 

Her disappearance from home had been so sudden and mysterious, that her 
friends were m deep distress as to her probable fate. Had she wandered into 
the woods and perished ? Such instances were comparatively frequent. Had 
she been killed and devoured by wild beasts ''. Such a fate was by no means 
uncommon in a country abounding with wild animals. Or, worse than all, had 
she been carried olf to become the unwiUing slave of a brutal savage ? These 
questions had been asked for twenty long years. Her father inchned to the 
theory that she had been captured liy the savages, and continued, year after 
year, to make inquiries of those Avho had been among the Indians, in the almost 
despairing hope that he would yet find tidings of his lost daughter. 

At last he heard of a white woman who was with a clan near Harrisburgh, 
the circumstances of whose capture led him to suspect she might be the one 
long sought. He lost no time in searching for the clan, ^\'ith whom he had the 
good fortune to find the white woman. Twenty years of a life of servitude, 
with brutal treatment, had so changed her appearance that he could trace no 
resemblance in her to the little girl he had lost so long before. He listened to 
her story, some particulars of whicli led the father to claim her and carry her 
back to his home. She had entirely forgotten the names of her family. When 
taken to the house in which she was born, she went directly to the bars where 
she was taken prisoner by the Indian. The shock and fright of her capture 
twenty years before had fixed the locality so firmly in her memory, that she 
pointed out the place where the Indian seized her, and gave some of the details 
attending her capture. There was no longer any doubt— the lost one was 
restored to the fold. 



THE man whose crimes and subsequent history form the subject of this 
chapter was a resident of the Neversink valley. The deeds of violence 
attributed to this man are yet traditionary in that locality, and still serve as 
themes to while away ir.any a winter evening as they are told by the fathers to 
the younger members of the family, seated by the firesides of the log-cabins 
and cottages of the neighborhood. 

136 Legeftds of the Shawaiigimk. 

Near the begiuuing of the present centmy the people of this vallej^ were 
agitated oA^er the question of title to lands. The settlers had very generally 
paid for the farms they occupied, the title to Avhich thej^ had acquired under 
the Beekman patent, and had made considerable improvements in the Avay of 
clearing up wild lands, and putting up comfortable log-cabins and barns, which 
greatly enhanced the value of the property. They had settled down with the 
purjiose of obtaining a competence that would assure them a serene aiid com- 
fortable old age; and now they were tlu-eatened with the loss of the fniits of 
years of trial and sacrifice by a defective title. Tliese pioneers would not look 
with favor on any one who sought to dispossess them of their farms, even were 
he a man of sterhng qualities, and in possession of a valid title; but it does not 
appear that Gerard, oi' " Gross " Hardenburgh, who figured as a rival claimant 
to the land, enjoyed either of these qualifications. Gross Hardenburgh— we 
take the hberty of using the name by wliich he is usually siwken of — was the 
son of Johannis Hardenburgh, and Avas born in Rosendale, Ulster county. He 
was of a haughty and willful temper, and greath^ addicted to drink. In early 
life he married Nancy Eyerson, an estimable lady, by whom he had several 

Dming the War of the Revolution he espoused the cause of the Colonies 
Avith a devoted patriotism, and frequently imperiled his life in the struggle. 
His time, his means, and his influence were throA\Ti Avithout reserve into the 
scale. Quinlan, Avhom we quote largelj', says he organized two companies of 
infantry, both of Avhich Avei-e engaged in defending the frontier against the 
incursions of the savages, one of them being commanded by him in person. 

At the attack on Wawarsing, in 1781, it AviU be recollected that Captain 
Hardenburgh hastened forward to the relief of the settlement; and haAdng 
throAvn his detachment into a small stone house, he with a force of onlj^ nine 
men bravely withstood the advance of nearly four hundred Indians and Tories. 
So stubborn Avas the defense of the httle garrison that thirteen of the enemy 
were left dead on the field. This Captain AA-as none other than Gross Harden- 
burgh, by whose courage and leadership Wawarsing AA^as saved from utter 

As he advanced in years his habits of dissipation grew upon him to such 
an extent, that his existence was httle better than one continuous debauch, 
AA'hich tended to confirm and inflame his OA^il propensities, while it obscured 
what Avas commendable in his disposition. He became morose, impetuous, 
tyrannical and uncongenial in the extreme. It is said of him that in his old age, 
when traA'eling about the country, he Avould order the iiuikeeper with whom 
he lodged to coA^er his table A\-ith candles and the choicest liquors, and taking his 
seat solitary and alone, drink himself into beastly insensibihty. 

OAving to his vicious and morose ways, his father disoAvned him, and devised 
his share of the paternal estate to the heirs of his A\'ife, Nancy EA'erson. This 
act of the elder Hardenburgh seemed to extinguish the last spark of manliood 
that lingered in the heart of his eccentric son. 

'^ Gross" Hardcnbiirgh. 137 

The death of Nancy Ryerson antedated that of hev husbarnd, and several 
of her children died unmarried; consequently the purpose of the father was 
defeated, the dissipated son.mheriting the property of his deceased children. 
Gross Hardenburgh is said to have made the impious and heartless boast, that 
while his father disinherited him, the Almighty had made all right by removing 
some of his own cliildren. Such were the antecedents of the man who was 
about to enter upon the work of e\'icting the settlers of Sullivan. Little hope 
of mercy could any expect who were in his power. 

His controversy with his father, his wife, his children, and the settlers of 
the Neversink valley, had the effect of arousing a spirit of antagonism against 
him wliich time has scarcely softened, nor the teachings of charity perceptibly 
modified; few, even at this late day, choosing to say a word in liis defense. 
He hated his family, and defied the world. When he at last met liis fate there 
was not one left to mourn liis loss; while many could not conceal their joy that 
his presence would no longer afflict them. 

Before proceeding to extreme measures, Hardenburgli made a general 
offer of one himdred acres of wild upland to each settler of the disjiuted terri- 
tory for his improvements; but tlie occupants of the valley met his overtures 
with defiance. They had purchased the bottom lands of the Neversmk in 
good faith, and were not disposed to yield up their improvements for wild 
mountain lands. They believed that Hardenbui-gh's claim was fraudulent; or 
should it iJrove otherwise, that the state would provide a remedy for the diffi- 

Meanwhile, finding that his offei-s were refused, Hardenburgh instituted 
suits of ejectment against several of the settlers. Without waiting, however, 
for the courts to decide the question, he took the law into his own hands, and 
commenced the work of seizing upon property and forcibly dispossessing the 
inhabitants. In the fall of 1800 he took six himdred bushels of grain in bidk, 
and all the gi'owing crops, from James Brush and his three sons. The grain 
was placed in a grist-miU owned by himself, which stood on the site of the 
Hardenburgh saw-mill.* Gross also o\\med a house and barn in the vicinity, 
and his son also o%vmed some Ijuildings there. Among the latter was a barn in 
which was stored three hundred bushels of grain, which had been forcibly taken 
from the settlers. 

It was not long before the mill, liouses, and barns, were all destroyed by 
fire. Undei' such circumstances it was strongly suspected that the dissatisfac- 
tion of the settlers had an intimate comiection with the burning of the propei-ty, 
and that a terrible vengeance awaited upon the patentee. Some of the Har- 
denburgh family were then residing near Ijy, but became so alarmed that they 
soon left the neighborhood. 

During that same year it is asserted that Hardenburgh forcibly set the 
family of James Brash out of doors, and kicked Mrs. Brush as she went, though 

*Quinlaii"s " History of Sullivan." 

138 Legends of tlie Shawangiink. 

only tlu'ee days before she had. given bu-th to a cliild which she then held in her 
arms. Dui-iug the absence from home of a neighbor, Jacob Maraquet, liis 
family were ejected, Mrs. Maraquet being dragged from her home by the hair 
of her head. She died a few days aftenvard from the effects of her treatment. 

During the two years follo^ving, outrage followed outi-age. Hardenburgh 
was excited to frenzy, and the blood of the settlers was fully aroused. The 
usurper of their lands was looked upon as a common enemy, whose death would 
prove a pubhc blessing. 

In November, 1S0>;, Gross Hardenburgh passed through the Meversink 
valley. He was at that time seventy-five yeai's of age. Xot"^^'ithstanding he 
had led a hfe of dissolute habits, he was still active and energetic, and con- 
trolled his spirited and somewhat perverse hoi-se with sldll and boldness. He 
was, Mithal, possessed of a magnificent physique, on wliich neither time nor 
dissipation had made jjerceptible inroads; and he boasted of a Aveight of two 
hundi-ed and fifty pomids. He feared neither man iior beast and appeared to 
entertain no respect for his Creator. 

Calling on his way along the valley at the house of one of the Grants, he 
made the emphatic declaration that ' ' he Avould raise more hell in the next seven 
years than had ever been on earth before."' 

When passing along what is locally Iuioysti as the ' " Dugway, ' ' he noticed 
that the cliimney of a house owned by him, and occupied by a man named 
John Coney, was not completed. Calling Coney from the house he upbraided 
Mm in a towering passion, and concluded with the remark that "unless the 
chimnej^ was topped out when he came back he would throw him out of doors." 
Coney immediately employed the services of a neighbor, and the cliimney was 
finished next day. 

Hardenburgh spent that night at the house of his son, and soon after sun- 
rise on the foUowiug morning he started to go up the river. About an hour 
afterward he was found in the road, helpless and speechless. His horse was 
caught about a mile above. Hardenburgh was taken to a neighboring house, 
where he lingered Luitil about three o'clock the next morning, when he died. 
He did not know that he had been shot, and those about him did not think best 
to acquaint him with the fact. Before he died he was heard to remark, that 
his friends had often told liim liis horse would throw and probably kill him, 
" and now," said he, " he has done it." 

While preparing his body for burial, a buUet-hole Avas found in his coat, 
and a wound m his shoulder. His friends were uuAvilhng to admit he had been 
murdered, and were on the point of burpng liim A\^thout an uiquest. An old 
soldier standing by, who had seen many woiuids received in battle, declared 
that nothing but lead could have made the hole in the dead man's shoulder. A 
coroner was sent for, and the nearest physicians (one of them Hardenburgh 's 
son Benjamin) Avere requested to be present 

A crowd of people siu'roimded Van Benscoten's house where the inquest 
took place, and was attended Avith scenes and incidents almost too shocking for 

"Gross" Hardcnburgh. 139 

credence. Some of them In-ought jugs of whiskej' to make merry over the 
death of theu- enemy, and drunkenness became the order of the day. One, who 
had just come from butchering hogs, as he beheld the dead man prepared for 
dissection, exclaimed: That is fatter pork than I have killed to-day." The 
speaker bore unfriendly I'elations to one of the physicians; and, while the dis- 
section was going on, he continued : ' ' That is more than T ever expected to 
see — my two greatest enemies — one cutting the other up I " When the body 
was opened, and the heart exposed, he cried: "My God! that's what I've 
longed to see for many a day I " 

Another composed and sang an obscene and irreverent song, in which he 
described the death of Hardenburgh, the feeding of birds on his body, and 
other indelicate details. This greatly pleased the assembled multitude, and was 
repeated so often, that some can yet recite parts of the composition 

Quinlan, from whom we glean most of the preceding, says that a woman 
of the neighborhood, whose descendants are among the most respectal)le citizens 
of Fallsbm-gh, declared that " Gross had gone to — , to fee more lawyers." One 
of the witnesses, oil Iteing asked if he knew who shot Hardenbuigh, answered 
that he did not; but expressed regret that he did not himself do the deed, as 
" Doctor Benjamin had offered two hundred acres of land to have his father 
put out of the way." 

These remarks evoked shouts of merriment from the crowd. Vain were 
all efforts to preseiwe order; decorum and decency were set aside; the rejoicing 
of the settlers, inflamed by the all-potent nun, took the form of the revels of 

From evidence elicited at the inquest and from subsequent developments, 
it is supposed the assassins were three in number, and that they were posted 
behind a tree aliout eight rods from the road, where they had cat away some 
laurels that had obstiaicted their view. The l)all had entered the victim's 
shoulder, and passed through, breaking the back -bone; and the shock to his 
neiwous system was such as to instantly deprive him of sensation. Tlris 
accounts for the cncumstance of his not hearing the report of the g-un. 

Several were suspected of being implicated in the murder, some of them 
being arrested either as principals or accessories; it is probable that a number of 
individuals in the " infected " district could tell more than they were willing to 
disclose. "^Hien the fatal shot was heard in the valley, one of the men who 
was at work on the chimney at the "Dug- way," slajiped his hands and 
remarked, " That's a dead shot ! An old fat buck has got it now ! " 

A tradition is current in the neighborhood that a suspected person moved 
west, who, on his death-bed, confessed that he assisted at the murder, but 
stubbornly refused to disclose the name of any of his accomplices. If the death 
of Gross Hardenburgh was the result of a conspiracy involving a number of per- 
sons, the secret has been well kept; and guilty souls, blackened with the hor- 
rible crime, have gone dowai to the grave with the burden of their unconfessed 
transgression. After the assassination, such of the settlers as had not 

i^o Legends of the Shawangunk. 

removed from the valley, found no difficult}' in making satisfactory terms -with 
the heirs of Hardenbm-gh. Thus was ended what the old settlers termed rfie 
" Hardenburgh war," a term by Avhich it is usually spoken of to this day by 
the residents of the valley. 


^ ^ T3 E sm-e and start for home early; you know I don't like to have Jessie 
J3 out after dark, when thei-e are so many wild animals about. You re- 
member it Avas only a night or so ago that we heard the wolves howl dreadfully 
over by the creek; and I heard to-day tliey killed some sheep of Job Jansen's." 

Such was the parting injunction of Mrs. Samuel Mitteer, as her husband 
and little daughter Jessie set out one afternoon on an errand to the house of a 
neighbor some three miles distant. The husband bade her not to disturb her- 
self on that account, assuring her that he would be home before nightfall; and 
the httle girl, fii'sfc Idssing her mamma good-bye, took her father's hand and 
departed in lugh spirits. 

They reached their destination, but were obhged to wait a short time for the 
neighbor to return. The business being arranged, the men engaged in a friendly 
chat, and the moments flew by unheeded. The sun had already disappeared 
behind the Avail of forest to the Avest AAdien Samuel bethought himself of his 
promise to his Avife. Still, he did not di-eam of any more serious result than 
a httle anxiety on the part of the good Avoman; and taking his daughter by the 
hand, set out on their homeward journey as fast as her httle feet could cany 

Her merry voice rang tlu'ough the Avoods, noAV gi-owing dim and solemn 
Avith the gathering darkness; and they had akeady passed the Hemlock AA^amp, 
and Avere more than half way home, Avhen their ears Avere greeted Avith a somid 
that made the father involmitarily clutch the arm of his httle companion with 
an energy that could not fail to alarm her. Again the sound came through 
the darkening forest aisles and echoed from hill to hill, and at last died away 
to a Avhisper. 

"What is it, Papa?" exclaimed the child, Avhose quick glance noted the 
strange demeanor of her father; " is it anything that wih hurt us ? I do Avish 
I Avas with Mamma ! " Without deigning a reply, Samuel caught the child in 
his arms, and ran in the direction of home with all his might! 

Eeader, did you ever hear the howl of a wolf in the woods of a still night— 
Avhen some old forester opens his jaws and sends forth a volume of sound so 
deep, so prolonged, so changeful, that, as it rolls through the forest and comes 
back in quavering echoes from the momitains, you are ready to declare that 
his single voice is an agglomerate of a dozen all blended into one ? Then as you 
Avait for the sound to die away, perhaps, across the valley, another will open 

Little Jessie Mitteer and the Bear-Trap. 141 

his mouth and answer with a howl as deep, and Avild, and variable as the first; 
then a third and a foui'th will join in the chorus until the woods wiU be full of 
howling and noise ? If you have heard this weird music of the forest, far from 
home, without means of protection, and with helpless beings in your charge, 
then you may reahze the feehngs of Samuel I\Iitteer as he fled along the path 
with the speed of a deer. 

Mr. ^litteer hoped he might reach home before the first wolf had time to 
call the others to its assistance, as he understood their habits sufficiently to 
know these animals seldom attack singly. He was within a mile of his house, 
and less than half that distance from the clearing. So great was the effort he 
was making in his flight, encumbered by the weight of the child, that he began 
to show signs of exliaustion; he feared lest his strength should fail entirely 
before he reached a place of safety. 

To add to his terror he knew by the well-known sounds that the pack had 
collected, and that the hungrj^ brutes were upon his track. The disclosure 
added new energy to his frame. He was a powerfully built man, and rock and 
tree flew by as he sped on in his flight. Yet his were the efforts of sheer 
despair, as he heard the din of snarhng beasts, and knew they were rapidly 
gaining in tlie race. 

He thought of home; he wondered if his friends heard the howUng of the 
pack, and knew that he was making a race for life. He imagined what would 
be their feelings when they should find his fleshless bones in the woods next 
day; and even calmly conjectured as to what would be the sensation of being 
torn limb from limb by the fierce brutes. 

Xearer, ever nearer, came the howling and snarhng of the pack. He real- 
ized that his moments were numbered if he depended on the speed of his flight 
alone. By abandoning his child he knew he could chmb a tree beyond the 
reach of his j^m-suers; but he could not do so with her on his shoulders. Eather 
than leave her to her fate he would die with her — the little one whose arms 
Avere then encircling his neck, and whose In-eath came thick and fast against his 
cheek. Ah, that death shriek, when at last her form Avould be ci-ushed in the 
jaws of the bloodthirsty bnites — would it strike him dead ? 

" I see them coming, Papa," said httle Jessie, who from her jjosition could 
look back over her father's shoulder, "and, oh. Papa, there are so many of 
them; you won't let them hurt me, will you ?" A scarcely avidible groan was 
the only response. 

While eA-ery means of escape was being canvassed in the mind of the 
agonized parent Avith a rapidity that is possible only in times of great danger, 
he bethought himself of a bear-trap he had seen in the A^cinity but a short 
time before. Coidd he reach the trap ? It Avas worth the trial. All that 
human energy could do he would accomplish. Striking oVjliquely from the 
path he bounded away. The door to the trap Avas raised Avhen he last saw it; 
if still in that position he beheved he could place the child inside and spring the 
trap; but if the door Avas doAvn, he kneAV he Avoidd not have time to raise 


Legends of the Skawangicnk. 

the ponderous weight, and all would yet be lost. It was a forlorn hope at the 

What is that object looming up directly in his path ? It is the bear-trap. 
But the door ! the door ! The shadows of the forest render the vision indis- 
tinct. He cannot tell whether the door is shut or raised. It appears to be 
shut. A few more steps wiU decide. Ah-eady he hears the panting of the 
brutes at his heels, and expects each moment to feel their sharp claws in his 
flesh . There is a mist before his eyes. He feels that liis strength is faihng. 
One moment, and — "Thank God," he cries, "the dooi' is raised." AVith a 
wild energy begotten of despair he tears the temfied child from liis breast, 
thrusts her through the opening, touches the spindle and down comes the pon- 
derous door witli a thud. Then seizing an overhanging hmb he s^vung himself 
up out of reach just as the jaws of the foremost wolf came together as he 
snapped after his prey. 


Now that the necessity for immediate exertion no longer existed, the re- 
action was so great that Mr. Mitteer feared he would fall from the tree from 
sheer exhaustion; to prevent such an occmTence, he tied himself seciu-ely ^ith 
his cravat and handkerchief. AH night long the wolves perambulated about 
that bear-trap and tree, and made the night hideous with their howhng. It 
was a night "ever to be remembered by both father and child. They were suffi- 
ciently near to one another to converse, so they could cheer each other dmiug 
the long and tedious honrs 

The trap in which little Jessie lay was built so strongly that the largest bear 
could not get out after it had once spning the door. The father had told her 
to keep as near the centre of the pen as she coidd, and she would be safe. 
Though out of reach of harm, her position -was far from enviable, with the 
ferocious brutes aU around and over her prison, thrusting their noses and their 

A Rival of Israel Putnam. 1 43 

sharp claws into the crevices between the logs in tlieir frantic efiforts to reach 
her. Morning came at last, but Mr. Mitteer dare not leave his perch for fear 
tlieir late assailants might yet be lurkuig in the vicinity. 

The people in the village of Liberty where he I'esided had heard the unusual 
howling of the wolves dm'ing the night, and much anxiety had been felt, as it 
was feared they were on liis track; the wife and mother had been inconsolable. 
She had spent the whole night in alternately going to the door of her log cabin 
to listen to the wolves in the forest through which her husband and child were 
to return, and then throwing hei'self ujjon the bed and giving way to violent 
paroxysms of gi'ief. Before sunrise a party Avas sent in search of the wan- 
derers. Proceeding along the Hurle}^ road the relieving party hallooed the 
names of the missing ones, and presently were rewarded with an answer. 
Then, following up the du-ection of the sound, they came upon Mr. Mitteer 
still in the tree, and little Jessie safe and sound in her bear -trap. The wolves 
had gone, but had left behind abundant evidences of their visit. The father 
and child were speedily restored to their friends, who had given up all hope of 
ever seeing them alive. Though Samuel Mitteer hved many years after this 
occurrence, he ever after exliibited an almost childish terror at the howhng of 
a wolf. 


EVERY schoolboy has heard the story of Israel Putnam and the wolf. 
Comparatively few have heard of the similar experience of a lad in a 
panther den at Callicoon. Without detracting from the glory of Putnam, we 
think the story of little William Lane, of Callicoon, worthy of honorable 

In the spring of 1 s-l:') the track of a very large panther was discovered, and 
a party of hmiters turned out and followed it to its den in a ledge of rocks. 
Closing up the entrance to the cave carefully, they went home, px'oposing to 
return next day with reinforcements. 

The following day they were on the ground and found everything as they 
had left it. They first dislodged the rocks for about twenty feet, or half way 
to the extremity of the den, so as to admit the passage of a man to that point; 
beyond this they found the hole too small and the surrounding material im- 
movable. A small lamp was tied to the end of a pole and thrust inward far 
enough to enable the " fiery eye-balls " of the monster to be seen. A candle 
was next placed so that the light would shine on the barrel of a rifle, and thus 
enable the daring man who attempted ito shoot the panther to take sure aim. 
The first shot was fii'ed by William Adams, who wounded the game, causing 
it to scream so tembly that every one fled from the spot, fearing the enraged 
creature would emerge and rend them in pieces. Except a few contusions, 

144 Legends of the Shawangiuik. 

caused by a hasty scramble over fallen tree-truuks and scraggy rocks, no 
damage was incurred. One by one the hunters returned and obtained a furtive 
view of the scene of terror. All seemed quiet, and after a hasty consultation, 
the entrance Avas again securely walled up and the place abandoned for the 

On the third day all the men and boys that the surroimdiug country 
afforded were assembled to Avitness the sport. They were armed with an end- 
less variety of weapons, — rifles, shot-guns, bayonets, hatchets, axes, crowbars, 
and butcher knives. It was agreed to resume the plan of operations adopted 
the day previous. The boulders were once more rolled away from the en- 
trance, and the lights properly placed. A brother of William Adams, the hero 
of the previous day, went into the passage as far as he was able and fired. 
The same scene followed as on the second day, the screams of the panther 
causing a panic in the whole crowd, and the forty men and boys ran as if life 
depended on the celerity of their flight. 

The company rallied sooner than on the former occasion, however, and 
John Hankins fired the third sliot, prostrating the panther in his lair. But 
how to get him out was the difiiculty. None but a lad could enter; and now- 
was a rare opportunity to test the bravery of the boys. One lad volunteered 
but at the last moment his courage failed hijn. Next a spirited httle fellow 
named William Lane threw off his coat, hat and vest, and arming himself 
Avith a hunting axe and dirk, AA-ent into the den, accompanied by Mr. Hankins 
as far as the latter could get. '\'\liile his friends remained outside in breathless 
suspense, young Lane cautiously crept through the narrow passage, pausing 
occasionally to listen. The panther still exhibited signs of life, as the boy could 
see by the faint light of his lamp. As soon as young Lane was Avithin reach 
he bui-ied the blade of his axe in its brain, and then applied the dirk to its 
throat— a very hazardous experiment. The young hero then ended his adven- 
ture by hauhng out the body of the panther, which proved to be the largest of 
its kind. 


NO spoi'ts are more thoroughly enjoyed by robust men than those of hunt- 
ing and trapping. The freedom from restraint; the moimtain air and 
vigorous exercise; living in constant communion with Nature, Avith just 
enough of danger to add relish to a calling fuU of excitement and adventure 
— these are among the causes that lend to such an existence a char mthat no 
other life can giA^e. 

Cyrus Dodge had a thrilling adventure at Long Pond, one of the many 
beautiful sheets of Avater found in the comity of SulUvan. This pond was 
conspicuous, in times gone by for its large trout, and for the numbers of deer 

Panther Hunting at Long Pond. 145 

found in its vicinity. One day in mid summer, Dodge went to this lake to look 
for deer. He sat under some huge trees that grew near the shore, waiting for 
the deer to come to the water. While thus engaged, his attention was directed 
to a suspicious noise overhead. Looking ujj he saw a large catamount on a 
hmb just above him. The animal was watching him intently, as though men- 
tally discussing the relative merits of a man or deer for dinner. Believing 
there could be no merit in procrastination Dodge brought his rifle to his shoulder 
and fired. The next instant he heard a dull thud on the gromid at his feet, 
and saw that the turf and dead leaves were being crimsoned by the blood of a 
panther in its dying throes. 

The report of his rifle started other lithe forms into activity among the 
tree-tops, and, as Dodge declared afterwards, he believed the woods were full 
of panthers, and realized that he was in great peril 

Knowing the aversion of the cat-tribe to water, he waded out into the lake 
waist deep. As he loaded his gun he counted no less than five panthers among 
the trees that lined the shore. They were probably a mother and her young; 
and the latter, though nearly grown, had continued to follow the old one. 
The hunter kept up a fusilade from his position in the water until three more 
panthers were brought down. The other two ran off and were seen no more. 
He then waded ashore, skinned the f oiu* panthers and made the best of his way 
homeward, sensibly concluding that it was a dangerous locahty for deer 

One day in mid-winter a hiuiter by the name of Sheeley discovered the 
track of a large animal not far from a cabin occupied by a widow. He fol- 
lowed the track until it led to a den in the rocks. He examined the entrance 
carefully, but did not care to explore the interior alone. The next day, in 
company with a companion, he revisited the place. The passage into the lair 
of the animal was very narrow, so that a pei-son could enter only by creeping 
on his hands and feet. Procuring a sapling, they tied a birch bark to one ex- 
tremity, and thrust the lighted end into the hole. By the light they discovered 
a very large panther quietly reposing in the cave. A rifle-1 lall speedily deprived 
the animal of hfe, and the hunters started home with their game. On their 
way they came uj^on the half-devoured carcass of a large buck, which the 
panther had killed, and had been feeding upon. 

William Woodward, while roaming through the woods in the towii of 
Rockland, discovered a panther's den. Though entirely alone he crept into it. 
The lady of the house was not at home, but was absent foraging, leaving her 
children to take care of themselves. Woodward took up the little panther 
kittens, thrast them inside his torn shirt, and canned them home. Had the 
old mother panther discovered him in the act of purloining her httle ones, this 
stoiy would have had a different ending. 

Peter Stewart and a young friend were once hunting in this town, out 

with no success. Game seemed to be scarce. They examined the mountain 

i-unways, and the crossings in the soft spongy soil of the valleys, without find- 

1 46 Legends of tlie Shawanguiik. 

ing the print of a hoof. While passing near a ledge tliey discovered a hole in 
the rocks, near which were a number of bones of deer and other animals. This 
they concluded was the laii- of some wild beast, which was in the habit of 
bringing food home to its young. Examining cai-efully the priming of their 
guns, they secreted themselves within easy gim-shot of the liole, and awaited 
the development of events. 

In a few moments they saw a bear come out of the hole with a young 
panther in his mouth. As Stewart's friend was about to shoot, the othei- sig- 
naled liim to withhold his fu'e. The bear quickly crunched the hfe out of the 
kitten, went back into the hole, and presently issued forth with another one 
strugghng in Ms teeth. Biiiin had come upon a pantlier family in the absence 
of the old ones, and had thought this was his opportmiity. As he crushed this 
second kitten between Ills jaws, it gave a loud squeal. The ciy was heard by 
its mother who happened to be retm-ning home. Soon there was heard the 
sound of swift feet, and the crashiug through brash and dry branches of some 
rapidly moving body. Then a large panther merged into view, witli eyes blaz- 
ing and hail- bristUng— boding dire vengeance on the despoiler of its home. 

The bear saw the panther coming, and his animal instinct took in the situa- 
tion. He saw he was about to reap the fi-uits of Ms indiscretion. He made 
an awkward effort to shamble away, but was too closely pm'sued by the in- 
furiated beast; to escape he took refuge in a tree. But the tree afforded no 
asylum from the sharp claws and teeth of the panther. The bear rolled liim- 
self into a ball and dropped to the gi'oimd, and again essayed to shuffle off. 
His autagomst was once more upon him; and foi'ced to extremities Bruin turned 
to fight and a fierce and bloody conflict ensued. The hmiters were meanwhile 
looldng on with breatMess interest while the actors in this drama of the forest 
were contributing to their entertaimiient. However, the end was soon reached. 
The bear proved no match for Ms adversary, and the fehne monster, fastemng 
its teeth in the shoulder of Ms victim, with its hind feet ripped out Ms mtestines. 
The hunters now both fired upon the panther and killed it. Then skinning 
both ammals, they hmig the bear meat out of the reach of wolves, and went for 
assistance to take the carcass home. 


THE pioneers of the region of the Shawangimk, who were, by tui-ns, lum- 
bermen, farmers, himters and soldiers, as inchnation led or occasion 
reqmred, Avere a robust race of men, fearless and active, who thoroughly 
enjoyed forest life. Encounters with the fierce demzens of the forest were 
frequent, always exciting, and occasionally hazardous in the extreme. This 
territory aboiuided in wild game, and was a famous hunting-ground for both 

Bear }Iunt on the Mongaup River. li^'j 

white and red nieu, even after the country adjacent had settled down to civihza- 
tion. After the War of the Eevohition it is said that " John Land, the Tory," 
trapped enough beaver in the town of Cochecton to pay for four liundred acres 
of land. David Overton used to tell of standing in his father's door in the town 
of Eockland, and shooting deer enough to supply the family. Once he counted 
thirty of these animals at one time in a pond near the house. Five or six of 
the larger ones seemed to be standing in a circle and pawing the water with 
their forefeet. 

In the winter of 1S19, three yomig men by the name of Buruham, Horton 
and Browu, residing in Forestburgh, engaged in a bear limit. Burnham, while 
returning from his work in the woods, discovered fresh bear tracks in the 
snow, and engaged the others to go with him and capture the animal. Armed 
with rifle and axe, before daylight the next morning they were on the trail, 
wliicli they followed for several hours until the track came to a flat on the 
Moiigaup liver. Here the snow was very much trampled, and they judged 
the bear's winter quarters must be in the vicinity. The three commenced to 
search, when Burnham found a hole near the centre of the flat under some 
large rocks, with bear tracks leading to and from it. He called out to his com- 
l)anions that he had fomid the den, and presently all three were peering into it, 
but could see nothing 

They then cut a pole and thi-ust it iuto the opening, when they found the 
end of the pole came in contact with some soft substance. Burnham then 
split the end and twisted it vigorously against the substance, and was rewarded 
with some short, black hairs, which were held in the split. They had found 
the bear, and the animal was within reach of the pole. One of the men sug- 
gested they would l^etter go home, but Burnham utterly refused to leave until 
he had Idlled the bear. 

His next move was to make the stick very sharp, with which he pimched 
the bear with all his might. Immediately there was an angry growl within, 
^vith a scrambhng of feet and scratching of claws; the bear seized the shai'ii- 
encd end and pushed the pole outwardly, carrying Buinham with it. Burnliam 
dropped the pole, stepped back, caught up his rifle, and aimed it just as the 
bear reached the entrance. A^ he showed his head at the hole, Burnliam fired, 
and the bear fell back into his retreat. 

At first they could not determine whether or not the bear was dead; a few 
vigorous punches with the pole satisfied them on that point. They then tried 
to get out their game with crooked sticks, but their efi'orts were fruitless. Then 
Bmiiham went head-first into the den, and taking hold of the bear's shaggy 
coat, his companions, by pulling on his legs, drew out both him and the bear 

While waiting to get breath, they heard a noise under the rocks, and 
presently the head of another bear was thrust forth, which speedily met the 
fate of its companion. 

It was now dusk and they were occupied with the question as to how to 
get the bear home. The feet of the small bear were tied together and slung 


Legends of the Shawangunk. 

across the shoulder of one of the party. The large bear was suspended from a 
pole and earned by the other two. In this way they reached the road, a mile 
distant, just at dark, where they met a team with an empty sled, on which 
they were pemiitted to deposit their game. On reaching home, tired and 
hungiy as they were, they would not eat mitil a steak was cut from one of the 
bears and prepared for their supper 

Zephauiah and Nathan Drake, also of the town of Forestbm-gh, once had 
an adventm-e with a bear. They were out hunting and the dogs had driven 
Bruin up a tree. The hunters came up and saw the bear seated on a hmb thirty 
feet or more from the gi-ound, calmly eyeing the dogs. Zephaniah quicldy 
brought his rifle to bear upon the animal, when Nathan meekly advised him 
to be careful and make a sure shot. " Why," said Zeph., a little vexed at the 
suggestion, "I can shoot the critter's eye right out of his head." The ball, 
however, missed its mark, but it shattered the upper jaw so that the bear's 


nose and about half of its upper teeth turned up over its forehead The bear 
feU to the ground, and the dogs fell upon the bear. The bear caught one of 
the dogs between his paws and attempted to crush it; when the other dog bit 
the black brute so viciously, that he dropped the fii-st dog and turned his atten- 
tion to the other. Thus the battle went on back and forth, the animals being 
so mixed up that the brothers dare not shoot, for fear of kilhng their dogs. 

Zephaniah finally sailed in Avith liis huntiug knife, when the bear left the 
dogs and attacked his human assailant. The man retreated as the animal 
advanced upon liim. His heel caught in a laurel bush, down he went upon his 
back, with the bear on top, and the dogs on top of ah. For a brief period there 
was a hvely tussle among the bushes. Every actor in that drama was in 
earnest, as much so as though thousands were witnessing the progress of the 
fight. From impulse Zephaniah threw up his hand to keep off liis assailant as 
much as possible, and thrust his finger into Bruin's mouth. The bear's jaws, 
torn and mangled, as they were, closed on one of the fingers and crashed it. 

Casualty on Blue Alouiilai'u. 149 

Fiiiiilly, as Zephaiiiah was about giving up for lost, the l)ear, by some means not 
now known, Avas killed; but the hero of tliis bear fight ever afterward ex- 
hibited a crooked finger. 


ONE method ado^ated by the early settlers in clearing up timber lands was 
by " jamming." This consisted in partially cutting through the trunks 
of a number of trees, and by felling some of the outside ones against the 
others, all would be brought down, and a considerable saving of labor effected. 
Li a few months the interlaced limbs would be sufficiently dry, when fire 
would be apphed, and usually nothing but the charred stumps and prostrate 
trunks would remain. 

Other farmers would first cut tlie brushwood and small trees, while the 
larger ones were girdled and left standing. The latter, particularly the hem- 
locks and other evergreens, the foUage of which would remain green too long 
after girdhng, were sometimes trimmed from the top downward. This method 
was adopted to save the labor of gathering the trunks into heaps for burning, 
a veiy laborious undertaking where the timber is large. When the limbs 
and brushwood had became thoroughly dried, and no rain had fallen for several 
days, the refuse was set on fire. If the result Avas "a good black burn," the 
gi-ound was ready for planting. Wlaen the standing tnmks began to decay, 
fire was again appUed, and in a few years all was thus consumed. Sometimes, 
however, the burning was not good, when the fallow would be abandoned, and 
allowed to bo overrun with briers and othei' rubbish. These "fallow fires, 
gleaming in the spring time," are still a feature of Sullivan county. 

Years ago, in the town of Liberty, there occmTed an incident that is stiU 
fresh in the minds of the people residing in the locality. One of these aban- 
doned fallows was on Blue luountain, near the residence of Nathan Stanton. 
This fallow had come to be a famous spot for blackberries, and the children 
were in the habit of visiting the place to fill their baskets and pails with the 
frait. It was near the middle of August, and the day mild and pleasant, that 
the four children of Nathan Stanton went thither to gather berries. While 
there one of the trees toppled and fell, and, in its fall, struck against another, 
until a number of the immense trunks were brought to the ground. When the 
children heard the first sound of warning, they ran for a place of safety, only 
to be caught under the wide-spreading branches of the tnmks that were falling 
all around tliem. Two of the three boys were killed outright, and the sister 
was injured badly. The children had gone forth happy and joyous, and before 
the hour set for their return, two had met a violent death, and a third was 
dangerously if not fatally injured, by a . casualty so remarkable and unprece- 
dented as to appear like a dispensation of Providence. The dead bodies were 

150 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

extricated, aud taken to the house of mouiTiing, where soon the neighbors 
gathered to witness the sad occasion of bereavement, and to bestow such aid 
and consolation as it was in their power* to give. It was an affecting burial 
scene at the httle rural grave -j'ard on Blue mountain, when the settlers assem- 
bled about the open graves of the Stanton children aud participated in the last 
sad rites of their sepulture. 

What added to the impressiveness of the occasion, was the superstitious 
awe with which the earl}- settlers regarded the mysterious phenomenon which 
led to the children's death. Those trees had withstood the blasts of the pre- 
vious winter and spring, and on a bright day in midsummer, when scarce a 
breath of air was stirring, they were laid prostrate. What unseen hand caused 
them to fall ? "What unkno^vn agency in nature made those forest giants to 
quiver and reel and then come rusliiug headlong to the ground, when to mortals 
there seemed to be no cause ? Is it the result of some chemical change in the 
atmosphere, or are we to aAvait a solution of the ])roblem until the super- 
natural is unveiled to our understanding ? 

Though no one has yet explained away the mystery, it is a well-attested 
fact that trees do thus fall. When the sun is shining brightly, and all natm-e 
seems to repose in the beams of the morning; when not a zephjT fans the 
cheek and no im wonted sound disturbs the ear, lo ! a monarch of the forest sud- 
denly begins to tremble, and totter, and then falls crashing to the earth. Now, 
far away, a duU heavy roar wiU arise: and again nearer at hand, comes the 
rushing sound of the bushy top of some lofty pine, as one patriarch after 
another yields to its fate. It seems as if the direct agency of God produced 
these effects; and the hunter, untutoi-ed though he may be, as he beholds these 
evidences of the power and incomprehensibleness of the Infinite, breathes a 
silent prayer of adoration. 


NELSON CROCKER was a noted hunter, of whose adventures in the 
woods many interesting stories are told. It is said that when he ac- 
companied a hunting expedition his companions felt certain of bagging their 
game. The following narrative, wliich is given by Quinlan, is higlily illus- 
trative of early Ufe in the wilds of SuUivan, 

Northwest of Big pond in the town of Bethel, there is a tract of low, wet 
land known as Painter's swamp. la former times this gi'ound Avas as good 
for deer hunting as any in the country; and where deer were found, panthers 
generally abounded This was, consequently, a. favorite huutirg-ground for 
Crocker; but on one occasion he found more panthers than he wished to see. 

While rambh'ng one day with his dog on the outskirts of the swamp, he 
counted the tracks of no less than seven of these ferocious animals. As they 

Nelson Crocker and the Panthers. 151 

are generally found singl}^, or at most in pairs, Crocker could not conjecture 
why so many were together. He followed the tracks until he was hungry, and 
then sat down to eat his luncheon. Dividing this into two parcels, he proffered 
one to his dog; but the latter instead of sharing the tempting meal, showed his 
teeth, and seemed bristling for a fight with an unseen enemy. Just as the 
hunter swallowed his last mouthful, a large panther sprang by him, almost 
gi-azing his shoulder as it 25assed. Crocker caught up his rifle, fired at the 
beast at random, and saw it disappear unharmed An instaiit afterward his 
dog was fighting another of the monsters at a httle distance; but the dog was 
soon glad to get out of reach of the claws of his antagonist and run to his 
master for protection 

As Crocker was reloading, he saw a third panther coming toward him. 
He shouted at the top of his voice, and it ran up a tree. This one he shot and 
killed. As soon as he could reload he caught sight of another, which he also 
shot and brought down from its perch in a tree. Here the fright of the dog, 
which seemed to feel safe nowhere but between his master's feet, and the 
screaming of the panthers in every direction, caused Crocker to lose heart. To 
get out of that swamp without delay he believed to be his first and supreme 
duty. He ran with all his might for safe ground, and did not stop until he 
beheved himself out of the reach of danger. 

The next day Crocker returned to the scene of this adventure for the 
purpose of skinning his game. While thus engaged he discovered a largs luale 
panther in the crotch of a tree. He fired at the beast and it fell; but it imme- 
diately ran up a sapling until the top was reached, when the sapling bent with 
the weight of the beast until its branches reached the ground. As the panther 
came down, the dog, forgetting the rough usage of the previous day, stood 
ready for battle. A rough and-tumble fight ensued, in which the dog was 
speedily whipped, when he fied yelping toward his master, closely pursued by 
the panther. Crocker's rifle was unloaded; and as he had no rehsh for a hand- 
to-claw encounter he concluded to run too. A race ensued in which the dog 
was ahead, the hunter next, with the panther in the rear, driving all before it. 
Crocker expected every moment to feel the weight of his pursuer's claws on 
his shoulders, and consequently made excellent time. Finding his rifle an en- 
cumbrance, he dropped it as he ran. This proved his salvation; for the beast 
stopped a moment to smell at it, and decide whether it should be torn in pieces. 
This enabled Crocker to get out of the swamp before the panther could over- 
take him, and the beast did not seem inclined to follow him to the upland. 

After waiting some hours, Crocker, armed with nothing but his hatchet 
and hunting knife, stai-ted once more for the swamp from which he had twice 
been driven ingloriously. Eecovering his gim, he reloaded it carefully, and 
endeavored to induce his dog to follow the panther's track; but he declined, 
having had enough of panther hunting. As they were leaving the swamp the 
dog commenced to howl. The panther answered with a loud squall, and started 
towards the hunter, repeating the challenge as it came, evidently bent (ju a 

152 Legends of the Shawangunk. 

fight. The dog crouched close to the feet of the hunter, while the latter coolly 
awaited the approach of the ferocious monster. Wlien it was witliin one 
bound of liim, and about to spring, Crocker sent a ball crashing into its brain. 
Without further adventm-e he skiiuied the game he had shot dming his two 
days' hunt, and retiuned home. 


WALTER MANNES^G was a native of Ulster county. At the age of 
twenty he fell heir to a property of several thousand doUars. Dis- 
regarding the advice of his friends to let his inheritance remain in real 
estate, he converted most of it into cash, and started for the west to make 
a more colossal fortune. In due time he arrived in California. His talkative- 
ness soon apprised the people of the town that he was a young man of property, 
which he proposed to invest when a desirable occasion offered. It was not 
long before a speculator, Avho had landed property on his hands tliat was 
quite slow of dividends, by dint of much flatter}' and persuasion, convinced 
young Manning that his was just the property he required, and that it was 
certain to bring rich returns in the near future. The result was that Walter 
paid a large portion of liis patrimony for the estate, and set up his pretensions 
as a landed proprietor. The next essential for house-keeping was a house- 
keeper, and Walter cast about him for a wife, A young man of reputed 
wealtli, witla a large estate and money in bank, good looking and accom- 
plished, ought to be in no lack of young ladies wdUing to share liis fortunes. 
And so it proved in the case of young Walter. ]\Iothers with mamageable 
daughters vied with each other in their attentions to the young landholder; he 
was invited to teas, pHed with calls, and in short was lionized by the female 
world generally. 

But Walter Manning, with all his wealth, his devotion to the sex, and the 
largeness of his philanthropic soul, could not marry them all. He must needs 
single out one of the number of his admirers, and content himself with the 
love and adoration of her alone, so imreasonable and circumscribing are the 
marital regulations of modern society. Among the most beautiful and accom- 
pUshed of those damsels, he thought Virginia Green the most to Ms liking. 
She was a blonde, possessed a petite figure, bore the reputation of a superb 
dancer, and withal was an excellent conversationalist. As soon as Walter's 
preference became known, he was no longer iuAdted to afternoon tea-parties. 
The mothers of marriageable daughters were fain to pass him unrecognized. 
But if he had lost caste in the eyes of the feminine pubhc, he was more than 
compensated by the smiles and caresses of Virginia Green. Not a day passed 
but lie was found in her society; and what liis passion overabounded in intensity, 

The Disappointed Groom. 153 

her affection counterbalanced in devotion. In short they became engaged. 
And now tliat the matter was settled, Avhy delay the day of nuptials I When 
love was so fervent, the mansion in want of a mistress, and a bachelor heart so 
much distressed for lack of a ministering angel, procrastination was a loss to 
all concerned. Walter pressed his suit for an early wedding, and the young 
lady, after a show of reluctance which amounted to nothing, appeared to bend 
to his desires. 

"But," said the young lady, "you know that fortune is fickle, more in- 
constant even than affection. Why not bestow upon your future wife a mar- 
riage portion! It will be yours to enjoy as though held in your own name, 
and should fortune fail you, you will have something; saved from the wreck, 
to fall l)ack ui)on. Besides, it will be a slight token of the sincerity of your pro- 
fessions of love to me." " That I will readily do," said Walter. " I'll give you 
the deed to this estate, to be given you at the altar on the day of your nuptials, 
to be celebrated at the parish church next Thanksgiving Day, two months 
hence;" to which she assented in tones of never-dying affection. 

Now followed the busy note of i^reparation. Numerous journeys to the 
metropolis, a half score of milliners, dressmakers, hair-dressers, and assistants 
were found necessary to bring out a trousseau suitable for the future mistress 
of Redwood HaU. The coming wedding absorbed the talk of the town: and 
Walter thought hinrself foi-tunate in that he could now revenge himself for the 
slights of his former admirers, by leading the most beautiful of them all to the 
altar. Every body received cards of invitation, and no less than three clergy- 
men were invited to be present, that there might be no hitch in the ceremony. 

Thanksgiving Day arrived at length, and a most auspicious day it proved. 
The air was bland, the sun shone brightly, and natm-e seemed to don a holiday 
attire in keeping with the occasion. The church was gaily trimmed; carpets 
were spread from the doors to the carriage-way, and the pews were literally 
crammed with people clad in fashionable attire. The organ pealed forth its 
most joyous wedding march, and presently a flutter in the audience showed 
that the contracting parties had arrived, As the bride swept up the aisle, a 
bewilderment of feathers, lace and white satin, a murmur of admiration ran 
through the enth-e assembly. And, too, the manly bearing of Walter was such 
as to cause a perceptible flutter in the hearts of more than one damsel present. 

As they took their places in front of the altar, and just as the highest flom-- 
ish of the Weddmg March was reached, Walter took a package from his pocket 
and gave it to the woman at his side. It was the deed of Eedwood Hall, made 
over to Virginia Green, made to her before she was his bride, as a husband may 
not transfer real estate to his wife. 

The last notes of the organ died away in semiquavers among the arches of 
the ceiling when the minister stepped forward and in solemn tones said, "Let 
the parties join hands," and in a moment continued, " If any one have reason- 
able objection to the marriage of Walter Manning and Virginia Green, let him 
now make it known, or forever hold his peace." 

154 Legends of the Shawangttnk. 

A pause ensued in which the silence became oppressive. Presently a voice 
was heard. It Avas that of a young man in the rear of the audience. ' ' I object 
to the bans." All eyes were turned in the direction of the speaker. " State the 
grounds of your objection," said the officiating clergyman with forced com- 
posure. " On the ground that the lady at the altar is already my wife," was 
the calm reply. And then aU present knew a -uToug had been done that robbed 
Walter Mamiing, in one moment, of a bride and an estate. "In one hour's time, 
the disappointed groom had arranged his pecuniary affairs, and was on his way 
witii the remains of liis f ortmie to his home in the east. 

The statements in the foregoing narrative are based on facts. The names 
only, for obvious reasons, ai'e fictitious. 


ON the 1CA\\ of May, 1077, an agreement Avith tlie Esopus Indians was made, 
pursuant to a license from the Hon. Governor Edmund Andros, dated 
28th of April, H)77, concerning the purchase of land " on the other side of the 
Rondout kin," known in history as the " Paltz Patent." 

Matsayay, "VVachtonck, Senerakan, ^layakahoos and Wawawanis acknowl- 
edged to have sold Le\vis Du Bois and his associates the land within the f oUow- 
iug boundaries: Beginning at the high liiU called Moggoneck [Mohonk], thence 
southeast toward the Great river to the point called .Juffrow's hook in the 
Long beach, by the Indians called Magaat Ramis [point on Hudson river on 
line between the toA\Tas of Loyd and Marlborough]; thence north along the 
river to the island lying in the Crum Elbow at the beginning of the Long Reach, 
by the Indians called Raphoos [Pell's island;] thence west to the high liiU at a 
place called Waraches and Tawaeretaque [Tower a Tawk, a point of white 
rocks in the Shawangunk mountain]; thence along the high hill southwest to 
Maggoneck, including between these bomidaries, etc." This tract the Indiana 
agreed to sell for the goods specified in the following list: 

iO kettles, 40 axes, 40 addices, 40 shirts, 100 fathoms of Avhite wampum, 
100 bars of lead, 1 keg of powder, 60 pairs of socks. 100 knives, 4 ankers of 
wine, 40 guns, 60 duffel coats, 60 blankets, 1 schepel of pipes, etc. 

Having thus extingiiished the Indian title to this tract by the present of 
articles valued by the red man, the settlers of New Paltz enjoyed a comparative 
immunity from savage outbreak during the early wars. In order to arrive, 
however, at a more complete imderstanding of the history of this settlement, 
reference wiU be made, in brief, to an event in the chronicles of the old world. 

The French Protestant Huguenots were celebrated for their love of hberty 
and zeal for their chosen religion. Persecutions against them were temporarily 
abandoned during the reign of Henry IV, King of Navarre, from 1589 to 1610, 



New Paltz. 155 

especially after he proclaimed the celebrated Edict of Nantes in 1598. Louis XIII 
repeatedly violated its stipulations; and a formal revocation of the Edict was 
made in 1685, which cost the lives of 10,000 of the Huguenot people, who per- 
ished at the stake, gibbet, or wheel. Thousands fled to other lands for refuge, 
especially to the I>ower Palatinate, or Pfaltz, along the river Rhine. Some of 
the persecuted Hollanders likewise fled to the Lower Palatinate, and when they 
svibsequently returned to Holland the Huguenots accompanied them, and both 
finall}' emigrated to America. These two peoples were attracted to each other 
by reason of their adoption of the same religion, and this fellowship was ren- 
dered still more firm in consequence of the free intermarriage among them. 
This accounts for the presence of Dutch i)hysiognomies with French names, 
observable, even at the present day, among the congregations in locahties 
where are fomid the posterity of the once persecuted HugTienot-s. 

There seems to be no definite information as to the course the Huguenots 
took in coming to America. They were hospitably received bv the Dutch at 
Wiltwj'ck, or Wildwyck, the modern Holland for wild retreat, or wild parish, 
from its primitive and rougli appearance. Soon after the granting of the New 
Paltz patent the Huguenots set out for their new home in the wilderness. 
Their weary way lay through the trackless forests; and their families and 
household goods were conveyed in wagons so constracted as to answer the 
double purpose of transportation and shelter. Arriving at a broad meadow on 
the banks of a limpid stream they named the place " Tri-Cors," Three Cars, in 
allusion to the three primitive vehicles in which the possessions of the exiles 
were transported. The river itself tliey named WalkiU. probably from Wael, one 
of the branches into which the Rhine divides itself before emptying into the 
North Sea, and Kill, tlie Dutch for river; while to the settlement was given the 
appellation of New Paltz, in remembrance of their ever dear Pfaltz— their 
ancient home on the Rhine. Here, in the midst of the beautiful alluvial valley, 
the ciystal waters of the river at their feet, the blue dome of heaven above them, 
and the towering hills a gallery of attendant witnesses, the Huguenot refugees 
opened the Bible brought from their old homes, read a lesson from the holy 
book, and with faces turned toward France, joined in , a hearty and joyous 
thanksgi^-ing to the God that had led them safely thus far, and liad permitted 
them once more to breathe the air of religious freedom. 

The first conventional act having l)een that of public worship, it was resolved 
that their first building should be a church. This was built of logs, and was 
also used as a school-house. Temporary residences were at first jiut up on the 
west bank; but the Indians advised their removal to the higher ground on the 
opposite side, as the place first chosen was subject to overflow during the 
spring freshets. 

From a minute in French, still in possession of the church, we find that 
on January 22, 1863, M. Pierre Daille, Minister of the Word of God, arrived 
and preached twice at New Paltz. He proposed that the people choose, by a 
vote of the fathers of famihes, an elder and a deacon, to aid the minister in the 

1^^ Legeiids of the Shawanguiik. 

management of the church. They chose Lewis Du Bois, elder, and Hugh Frere, 
deacon. Thus was organized the Walloon Protestant Church of New Paltz, 
and for fift}' years service Avas held in the French language. But the Holland 
tongue had become the vernacular m Ulster and adjacent counties, and gradually 
became adopted by the Huguenot settlers of New Paltz. The fii-st Dutch entry 
in the chm-ch bears date of the 6th of July, 1718. During the period interven- 
ing between 1709 and 1730, there was no stated supply at New Paltz: the earnest 
Christians were obliged to go to Kingston to attend preaching —whither they 
often went on pious pUgrimage. 

Eev. Stephen Goetscliius accepted a call from the congregation, at New 
Paltz and New Hurley. His ministry healed the breach that threatened to 
disrupt the church at New Paltz. He is described as small in stature, and bent 
in form. He boarded at the house of Lewis Du Bois, and manied liis daughter. 
He was a soimd preacher, and occupied a high place in the estimation of his 
people. His vacant Sabbaths were spent at Wawarsing. At that time the 
Indians were visiting the defenseless inhabitants \v\\h. fire and slaughter. 
Goetscliius writes of preaching in a puli^it cut and disfigm-ed by the tomahawks 
of the savages; the church itself showing evidences of having been set on fii-e 
by the same agency, but which providentially went out. He fm-ther writes: 
"At the close of the war I perceived there were jjlaces where new congi-ega- 
tions might be gathered. I did undertake to collect the people together, and 
under the blessing of God organized nhie churches." At that time Goetscliius 
was the only minister in the Dutch clnu'ch in Ulster. 

The log church was soon found to be unequal to the demands of the grow- 
ing colony. Anew church was built of stone, "of small dimensions," the 
records say, "and finished with brick brought from Holland. Its form was 
square, each of the three sides having a large window, and the fourth a door 
inclosed by a portico. In the centre of the steep and pointed roof was a little 
steeple, from which a horn was sounded for rehgious services." This was dedi- 
cated December 29, 1720. October 25th, 1771, it was resolved to erect a third 
house of worship. The site of this edifice coiTesponds nearly with the location 
of the present church, and is described as having been a "substantial, well- 
proportioned stone building, with a lupped roof, sm-mounted with a cupola, and 
a beU." The builduig was dedicated in 1773. The old square church was 
broken doivn, and the material used in the constraction of a school-house, 
which was afterward converted into a residence. It is worthy of note that both 
churches were built while the people were without a pastor. 

It was dm-iug the ministry of Eev. Douw Van Ohnda, a gentleman of 
marked executive ability, that the New Paltz academy was. erected and put 
into active operation ; and he was largely instrumental in carrying forward the 
project to a successful termination. During liis pastorate the third church was 
taken down and a new brick chm'cli erected on its site, which constitutes the 
eastern extension of the present house of worship. 

There were twelve original proprietors of the New Paltz patent. These 

Needdcrdiiytsc Taal Tc ScIiawanko7tk. 157 

twelve patentees exercised the governmental conti-ol of the colony, one of their 
number presiding, constituting what was known as the " Dusine," a primitive 
form of civil administration, out of which sprang the Town Meeting of New 
England. Most of them constructed substantial stone dwellings along one 
street, now known as Huguenot street. Six of these stone edifices are yet 
standing, and are shown in the accompanying illustrations. The Holland bricks, 
the quaint little Dutch windows with glass set in lead, and the ancient port- 
holes in the walls of the houses, are yet sho^vn to curious visitors, and yearly 
attract scores of antiquarians to the locality. 



THE Reformed Church of Shawangunk was organized in and the 
present church edifice — the oldest in the consistory — was built the same 
year. The society first woi'shipped in the " Owl house," a temporary struct- 
ure near the kill. Johannis Mauritius Goetschius came over from Switzer- 
land and organized the infant church in the wilderness. Barent Frooman, a 
native of Schenectady, was called to the pastorate at Shawangunk, New Paltz 
and Walkill [Montgomery], February -tth, 17.')1. He was sent that same year to 
the University of Utrecht, where he remained two years. He started home in 
company with Jacobus and Ferdinandus Frelinghuysen, and Johamiis Schune- 
man. The first two died on shipboard of small-pox. Frooman preached at 
NeAV Paltz August 20, 17.i3, at Shawangunk September -1, and at Walkill 
[Montgomery] September 9. No record is given of any installation. His salary 
was fixed at £00, one -third to be raised by either church. He hved at Shawan 
gunk, now Bruynsvvick, a house and one hundred acres of land having been set 
apart there for his use. He maiiied Alida, daughter of David Vanderbyken, 
of Albany. He was called to Schenectady in 175-t, and died at that place in 
178-i, in the sixtieth year of his age. 

Eev. .Johannis Mauritius Goetschius was born in the Canton of Thorgan, 
Switzerland, in 1724. He studied and practiced medicine before he entered the 
ministry, but was drawn to the study of theology and began to preach without 
due authority in 17.54. He was a warm advocate of the Coetus jirinciples, and 
three years later was called to the pastorate at Scoharie at a salary of £60, par- 
sonage house, one farm, and 40 schepels of ^vheat. 

Goetschius was called to Shawangunk and New Paltz in 1760. He livetj 
in the Shawangunk i)arsonage, then one story high, and was paid a salary of £80, 
one-half borne by each church. He died at the parsonage March 17, 1771, of 
dropsy. He was long sick, and was a great sufferer. He preached the last 
time at New Paltz September 9. 1770. During the ten years of his ministry he 

158 Legejids 0/ the Shawangunk. 

baptized 320 persons at Shawanguuk, and married 75 couples; at New Paltz 
he baptized 212 persons, and performed -±1 maniage ceremonies. He was buried 
under the pulpit of the Shawangunk churcli, in accordance A%ath the ancient 
custom of the society, where his ashes still repose. His -nadow, Catherine Hager, 
continued to Hve at Shawangunk, and married her husband's successor, Eev. 
Eynier Van Nest 

Van Nest, the third minister, was early converted, but studied late in 
life for the ministry. He was for several years clerk in a country store at 
Bound Brook. He was licensed by the Synod of Kmgston October 7, 1773, 
receiving his call to preach at Shawangimk and New Paltz April 16, 1774. His 
stipulated salary was £(30 and parsonage; New Paltz was to pay £20, and the 
service was to be divided acccjrcUugly. The records say he baptized 384 persons 
at Shawangunk, and 45 at New Paltz. His labors seem to have extended to 
Montgomery, where he performed 307 baptisms. His pastoral connections were 
dissolved by the Classis in April, 178.5. His personal appearance is described as 
follows: height, five feet, ten inches; fleshy as he advanced in age; wore a wig, 
and was very neat and particular m dress; possessed regular features, with a 
somewhat prominent nose; he spoke with a loud voice, and was considered a 
good preacher when speaking in Dutch, but never succeeded well in English. 
He was held in high estimation. The fourth mmister was Eev. Moses FreUgh, 
who was licensed to preach in 1787 by the Synod of New York city, called 
to preach at Shawangimk and Montgomery February 20, 1788, and was ordained 
in the Shawangunk church the same year by Eev. Blauvelt Eysdyk, Steven 
Goetschius and De Witt. First baptism at that place was a child of George 
Upright and Maria Ehinehart; fu-st baptism at Montgomery, a child of William 
Christ and Ehzabeth Decker. FreUgh married Sarah Varick, of New York, in 
1788, and died at Montgomery February 10, 1807, at the age of 54 years. 

Eev. Hemy Polhemus next succeeded to the ministry. He was born at 
Harlingen, N. J.; was licensed by the Classis of New York in Ajiril, 1798; called 
to Shawangunlv: January 23, 1813; installation service June 13th of that year, 
Eev. Moses Freligh preaching the sermon. Polliemus died in November, 1815. 
He had been to ]S ew Jersey, and on his way home was attacked with bilious 
fever. His remains were deposited under the pulpit, along with those of 

The next in succession was Eev. G. B. Wilson, who was licensed by the 
Classis of New Brunswick, and was called to Shawangunk and Paughcaugh- 
naughsink [New Prospect] in Janv;ary, 1816. He was dismissed in 1829 on 
account of feeble health. The following is a Kst of ministers up to the present 
time, with the date of settlement ; Henry Mandeville, 1831; Jolin H. Bevier. 
1833; John B. Alhger, 1845; diaries Scott, 1851; Cyril Spauldmg, 1868; P. K. 
Hageman, 1882. 

The stone edifice of tliis church has been subjected to changes suggested 
by modern taste. The ancient pulpit, beneath which the remains of the two 
faithful pastors, Goetschius and Polhemus, were deposited, was located on the 

The Traps. 159 

north side of the building, and the entrance was opposite the pulpit. An ex- 
tension, surmoiuited by a spire, and partially enclosing the present entrance to 
the building and a stnirway to the gallery, has more recently been added to the 
west end, and the puljtit moved to the east side of the structure. 


THERE is a singular and romantic formation on the top of the Shawan- 
guuk mountain known as The Traps. Quite a village has si)rung up 
within its sheltering bosom, and boasts of a hotel, store and chapel. Benj. 
Burger and his wife Helena were among the first settlers. They put up 
a log cabin and commenced housekeeping in a pi'imitive way. At first 
the wild animals were so fierce that fires had to be kept at night as a protection 
to their cattle. A colt was killed by the blood-letting bnites, and the mare was 
badly bitten and torn. Burger sometimes worked for the farmers in the valley, 
and when he returned home at nightfall he was obliged to carry a torch to keep 
off the wolves. He used to tell of seeing their teeth as they gathered about 
liim m the darkness and followed him up the mountain, growhng and snarling, 
yet keeping at a safe distance through fear of his blazing pine knots. 

On the east side, near to the highway leading over the mountain, there still 
stands a straggling building known as The Traps Tavern. Many years ago, a 
number of young men from the vicinity of High Falls were at this tavern, and 
were having a grand frolic. Their visit was protracted far into the night; and 
as the company seemed in no humor to depart, one of their number named Hill 
determined to go home. So, mounting his horse, he set out alone over the 
mountain road. Whde passing leisurely down on the op]3osite side, his horse 
began to prick uj) his ears, and exhibit other symptoms of alarm ; and presently 
young Hill detected the stealthy tread of some animal that was moving in the 
underbrusli Ijy the roadside. He at last awoke to the fact that wolves were on 
his track; and, giving the reins to his horse, the frightened animal went gallop- 
ing down the inigged mountain road at a breakneck speed. The iron shoes of 
liis horse sent the sparks flying at every step; and the clatter of hoofs, the 
shouts of the rider, and the sharp quick cries of the wolves in close pursuit, 
startled the night air and awoke the sleeping echoes among the mountains. A 
false step, or a failure to retain liis seat, and all would have been over for young 
HUl. In this way the cavalcade went dashing down the defiles, and finally 
brought up before another hotel at the foot of the mountain. Here the pack 
turned off into the forest, and the panting horse and terrified rider sought the 
friendly shelter of the hostelry until morning. 

Some thirty years since the neighborhood of The Traps was the scene of a 
starthng tragedy. Ben. Goshue, a man of middle age and married, became 

i6o Legends of tlie SJiawangunk. 

intimate with a young mulatto girl by the name of Maria Cross. One Sabbath 
afternoon he invited her to take a walk, and their rambles led them along the 
brink of one of the dizzy precipices with wliich the locality abounds. Ai'riv..(l 
at a point of the rocks where the crag juts out three hundred feet in perpen- 
dicular height over the base, Ben remarked to his companion that he knew 
where was an eagles' nest, and asked if she would not like to see it. Steiiping 
aside he went to the brink, and, holding by a small saphng, leaned fonvard 
over the frightful chasm until he could see the face of the precipice. Preseutlj'" 
he called out that he could see the nest, and -that there were some young eagles 
in it. Unsuspicious of treachery, ]\Iaria took his place, and leaned over the 
edge as far as she dared, but failed to see the nest. " Stand a httle nearer," 
said Ben, " I will not let you faU." So, taking his hand, she took a step for- 
ward until her head and shoulders hung over the beetling crag; at this moment 
Ben loosened his hold, gave her a gentle push, and, with a piercing shriek, 
the girl went ?)ver the precipice. 

Providentially a hemlock tree gi-ew out of the face of the rock, near to the 
bottom, into the thick branches of which the girl chanced to fall. The momen- 
tnra of her descent Avas thus broken, so that she was not killed by the shock 
when she struck at the foot of the precipice. She managed to drag herself the 
distance of a few yards, where she lay in her agony mitil moiTung. 

Dm-ing the night she observed a hght moving among the rocks Avhere she 
fell, as though a lantern were being borne in the hand of some person there. 
Maria came to the conclusion it was her seducer and would-be murderer, 
searching for her mangled body. In the belief that Ben would yet kill her if 
he found her alive, she lay very quiet; and her visitor, after clambering a long 
time among the rocks, went away. In all probabihty it was Ben Gosline, who 
had come to remove aU traces of his double crime. He doubtless concluded 
that she had escaped ahve, or that some one had discovered and removed the 
body; in either case his only safety lay in immediate fliglit. Ben was never 
seen in the ^dciuity afterward. 

The next morning, by dint of great exertion, Maria crawled over the broken 
ground towards the nearest house, when her cries of distress were fortunately 
heard. When fomad she was nearly exhausted, and her bowels trailed upon the 
ground as she urged her way along. Strange to say, she recovered from the 
effects of her fall; and it is beheved is yet hving ui comfortable circmnstauces. 
Her chUd, bom not long after the above adventm-e, lived to grow to maturity. 
The incidents of the attempted murder, and her miraculous escape from instant 
death, form themes yet fresh in the minds of the residents of the locahty. 

One day, late in autmnu, the wife of Calvin Bm-ger thought she heard the 
wliir of a rattlesnake under the floor of their log cabin. She told her husband 
of the circumstance on his retmii, but he affected to beheve she must have 
been mistaken. The snake continued to sound his rattle every day dui'ing the 
winter, whenever the heat from the stove warmed liis suakeship into some- 
thing hke life; still the husband mamtained at least an outward show of in- 

The Traps. 1 6 1 

crerlulity, knowing that any other course on his part would necessitate the 
taking up of the floor to search for the snake, or removing from the cahin. At 
length there came a mild day in spring. It chanced that Burger was obliged 
to be away from home on that day, but he directed his wife to watch for the 
snake, as he would most likely come out into the sunshine. Mrs. Burger kept 
a close watch, and was rewarded by seeing a large rattlesnake crawl out 
through a chink in the foundation wall of her cabin. She found means to dis- 
patch it, and proudly exhibited the remains of her late unwelcome guest to her 
husband on his return. The snake proved to be one of the largest of its species. 

In the vicinity of The Traps are vast crevasses in the rocky ledges, some of 
them of unknown depth. These fissures vary in width fronr a few inches to as 
many feet, and constitute a feature of the natural scenery of the region. Table 
Rock is a cliff that apparently has l)oen partially detached from the parent 
mountain by some con\Tilsion of the past, but still maintaining its position, and 
rearing its head high among the smTounding elevations. At an early day an 
active and intrepid hunter by the name of Decker chased thi-ee deer to the edge 
of the precipice, two of which leaped from the rocks and were dashed in pieces at 
the bottom. The third, a huge buck, took up a position on Table Rock, and 
facing about, boldly defied his pursuer. Decker had thrown down his rifle in 
the haste of his pursuit, and had nothing but his hunting knife. Undaunted, 
he closed in with the buck, and a desperate conflict began Grasping the deer 
by the horns. Decker essayed to cut the animal's throat. The latter attempted 
to throw off his assailant, repeatetUy lifting the hunter from his feet, at times 
suspending him over the brink of the pi'ecipice, so that he hung dangling by 
the buck's horns. Again the hunter was obliged to exert his strength to pre- 
vent the deer from falling over. Long and uncertain the battle waged; at 
lengih the courage and agility of the hunter prevailed, and the life-blood of 
the buck reddened the face of the rock. 

At the foot of the mountain, near The Traps, many years ago, lived a man 
by the name of Evans. In his employ was a negro boy named Jed, some nine 
or ten years of age. One afternoon Jed was sent up in the back lots to bring 
home the cows. Not returning after the usual absence, Evans went to look 
for the lad, and was bonified to find him bound to a bar post in a standing 
position by a huge black snake, and stone dead. The snake had probably 
attached himself to the post, and, as the boy attempted to pass through, it had 
taken a turn around the lad and squeezed him to death. 


1 62 Legends of the Sliawangutik. 


JOHN MACK was an old resident of Wawarsing. John Mentz, his son-in- 
law, lived on the east side of the mountain. The only communication 
between the two families was by an Indian trail leading over the moun- 
tain, known as the Wawarsing path. Some time during the Revolution Mack 
started on a visit to his daughter, Mrs. John Mentz, accompanied by his 
yoiniger daughter, Elsie. On their way they called at the house of a neighbor. 
While there, Elsie, who was dressed in white, catching a \Tiew of herself in the 
glass, declared that she "looked hke a corpse." As she was of a vivacious 
temperament, the remai'k impressed itself on the minds of her friends, some 
regarding it as a premonition of some evU that was to befall her. Without 
further incident they accomplished their journey, and made the contemj^lated 

On then- return, John Mentz accompanied them as far as the top of the 
mountain, with two horses for the old man and his daughter to ride. Mentz 
proposed taking along his rifle, but was dissuaded from so doing by Mack, who 
thought it was not necessary. On arriving at the summit where they were to 
separate, the father and daughter dismomited, the former seating liimself upon 
a log and lighting his pipe. Presently strange movements of the horses indi- 
cated they saw something miusual: and looking down the path over which 
they had just come, Mentz saw two Indians advancing, while a tliird, whom he 
recogmzed as the notorious Shanks Ben, was taldng a circuitous route through 
the woods, so as to get in advance of them. 

Mentz rmderstood the significance of this movement, and reaUzed the 
danger of their situation. He bitterly regi-etted he had not followed his own 
counsel, and brought along his rifle. He might easily have killed the two 
Indians in the path at a single shot. He had formerly been on intimate terms 
with Slianks Ben. They had hiuited in company, and together had engaged 
in the labors of the farm; but a quarrel about a dog, and the bitter feeling en- 
gendered by the war, had contributed to destroy their friendship, and they were 
now sworn enemies. The old man, knowing it would be vain for Mm to attempt 
■escape, sat stiE, resigned to his inevitable fate. Mentz started with Elsie m a 
direction designed to elude pursuit; coming to a precipice, he was obhged to 
leave the girl, in spite of her earnest entreaties that he would not abandon her, 
and save himself by jumping off the ledge some twenty feet in height. In his 
leap he injured his ankle badly, but succeeded in making good his escape. 
Mentz said he might have saved the girl had it not been for a little dog that 
followed them and kept constantly barking. 

When Mentz came in sight of Colonel Jansen's, he saw a nimiber of men 
collected there. A rehef partj^ was inmiediately made up and dispatched to 

S/iaiiks Jnn. 163 

the mountain, where they found tlie bodies of the old man and blooming 
maiden, side by side, covered with purple gore, and mutilated by tlie tomahawk 
and scalping knife — their immortal spirits gone forever ! The scene was solemn 
beyond description; and it was with difficulty that, in after years, Mentz could 
be induced to speak of it; and he never related the story without shedding a 
flood of tears. 

At the time of the murder of John Mack and his daughter Elsie, Shanks 
Ben and his associates were retuiiiing from Col. Johamies .Jansen's. Lured by 
the prize offered by the British for the scalp or person of the doughty Colonel, 
the wily savages liad attempted to ambush Jansen as he was leaving the house 
in the morning. The Indians were discovered by some of the family, and the 
alarm given. The Colonel ran with all his might for the house, hotly pursued 
by Shanks Ben. and closed the door just as the latter hurled a tomahawk at 
his head. This door is still presprved as a relic of tlie past, bearing the prints of 
the Indian's weapon. Failing to enter tlie main building, the assailants plun- 
dered the kitchen: and hearing Mrs. Jansen call out as if the neighbors were 
coming, they hastily left the place. 

A young wliite girl, named Hannah Grunenwalden, daughter of a neigh- 
bor, was that moniing coming to spin for Mrs. Jansen, and was approaching 
the house as the Indians were engaged in their plunder. Mrs. Jansen called to 
her to go back, but Hannah misunderstood the warning, and fell an easy cap- 
tive. Tlie Indians also took with them two negro l)oys, that were never heard 
of afterwards. Fearing her screams would guide pursuers, Shanks Ben and 
his companions soon killed and scalped the girl. 

red spot on the top of a large rock on a farm belonging to Biimdage 
Peck is still shown as the place where Hannah met her fate— a stain which the 
storms of a century have not effaced. When the remains of Hamiah, together 
with those of J<jhn Mack and his daughter Elsie, were deposited in their last 
resting-place, the whole commmiity. on either side of the mountain, mingled 
their tears in the common sorrow. 

There is a tradition in Shawangunk that some time after the close of the 
war, John Mentz went off into the woods Avith his rifle, and for more than a 
year he was not heard of by liis family or friends; that he would never give a 
satisfactory account of his absence; that lie shook his head mysteriously when 
Shanks Ben was mentioned, and that the latter individual was never again seen. 

Shanks Ben, at this time, was about forty years of age. He was tall and 
athletic; hair jet black, and clubbed liehind; forehead wrinkled, and brown 
eyes deeply sunk in their sockets, and his cheeks hollow and furrowed. The 
natural f rightfulness of his visage was heightened by an accident; and when 
arrayed for war, he was one of the most hideous specimens of humanity the 
eye could rest upon. 

One day Shanks Ben and two other savages came upon a log cabin in the 
towm of Shawangunk. The man was not at home; but his wife saw them ap- 
proaching, and escaped to the woods, leaving an infant sleeping in its cradle. 

164 Legends of the Sliawangunk. 

One of the Indians raised his tomahawk, and was about to slay the cWld, when 
it looked up into his face and smiled; even his savage heart was touched and 
he restored the tomahawk to Ms belt. With a fierce oath Shanks Ben thrust 
his bayonet tlu-ough the innocent babe, and ran about the place holding up the 
child impaled on the ciiiel instmment, in the hope that its screams would 
entice the mother from her concealment. Failing in this, Ben dashed out the 
httle one's brains against the door-post; and the marauders depai-ted, first 
appropriating what they could conveniently cany away. 

Duruig the Eevolution, Cornelius Decker was one day at work in a field 
near the present village of Bniynswick, Avhen he felt a strange oppression, 
as though some gi'eat personal danger were impending. He could not shake 
off the feeling and presently returned to the house, where he was laughed at 
for liis caprice. After the war was over, Shanks Ben came through the neigh- 
borhood. In an inter\'iew -n-itli Decker and others, Ben pointed to a log in the 
field above mentioned, and remarked that he one day lay behind that log %\'ith 
the intention of shooting Decker when he came to his work; but that the latter, 
having always deported liimself as a friend, he could not find it in his heart to 
take his life. On comparing the day and horn' of Ben's concealment behind 
the log, it Avas foiuid the time coincided precisely -with that of Decker's feeling 
of presentiment. 

In 1784, Shanks Ben and two other Indians visited their old camping 
grounds on the Delaware to fish and hunt. They were first seen at Cochecton, 
where they were adWsed to go no further, as there were some dangerous char- 
acters below — Tom Quick among the number. They did not heed the advice, 
however, but went as far down as Shohola, where a hunter named Haines dis- 
covered them. Haines urged them to visit his cabin, setting apart a day for 
the piu'pose. In the meantime Haines connnunicated with Tom Quick and a 
man named Chambers, and a plan was aiTanged by which Shanks Ben and his 
companions were to be killed while they were his guests. 

Accordingly Haines proposed to Ben and liis comi^auions to fish at the 
Eddy, taking up then- position on a rock near which Quick and Chambers, by 
previous agreement, had secreted themselves. Presently two rifle shots were 
heard. One of the balls wounded Ben's companion, who ran to Haines and 
claimed his protection; but Haines seized a pine knot, exclaiming — " Tink, 
tink ! how you ust to IdU white folks ! ' Pent, 'pent ! I'll send yom- soul to heU'n 
a moment ! " and dispatched him by beating out his brains. Even Tom Quick 

was shocked at the perfidy of Haines and shouted as he came up, "D a 

man that Avill promise an Indian protection, and then knock him on the head ! " 
Shanks Ben, who was unharmed, jumped into the river, and made good his 

facis and J'uiuics. 



'"'F^HE Rondout Freeman is responsible for first giving publicity to the fol- 
X lowing story. Some slight changes are liere made to conform more 
closely to the facts.. Up back of Lackawaxen lived Farmer Cole. While 
at work in his field one day, with his man Olmstead, word came that a bear 
had raided his pig-pen, and was carrying oft' a pig; and presently the Babel 
of sounds in the direction of the house amiounced that something unusual was 
transpiring. Cole and his man made a dash for the scene of the disturbance. 
The former caught up a hay-knife which happened to be lying near, while 
Olmstead had secured a stout hickory club from the wood-pile. On reaching 
the house the bear was seen crossing the orchard back of the sty, walking 


upright on his hind feet, and carrying a pig in his fore paws. The pig was 
squealing lustily, and struggling to get away. Close upon the heels of the 
bear came the sow and the rest of the litter, which' seemed to know all was not 
right and made a great uproar. Xext followed Mrs. Cole and her three daughters, 
armed with brooms and such other weapons as they in their haste could secure. 
Farmer Cole, his two sons and the liired man joined in the pursuit, and a for- 
midable force was presented. At the back of the orchard was a fence. The 
bear climbed over with his pig, but the fence prevented the sow and her htter 
from following; the rest, however, followed on, and carried the war into the 
adjoining field. Farmer Cole gave the hay-knife into the hands of his son 
James, caught a rail from the fence, and running ahead of the bear, he and the 

1 66 

Lege7ids of the Shawajigunk. 

hired mau by taking hold of either end tripped Bruin up. The bear did not lose 
his hold of the pig, but gathered liimself up and made off towards the woods. 
The rail was held as before, and a second time Avas he tripped up. This enraged 
the bear, aud he dropped the pig, which was now dead, and made a dash for 
Farmer Cole. A third time was the animal tin-own to the gi'ound. and the 
men, liy holding with all their united strength against the raU, held the bear 
down until James came up with the hay-knife and cut his throat. 

In Southern Ulster there is a burial-ground that in times gone by was set 
apart for the interment of slaves. The headstones were selected from the fields; 
and though i^artially liidden from the casual observer by grass and shiTilibeiy, 
the inoimds and rude monuments can yet be located. Some of the older in- 


habitants say that apparitions are sometimes seen loitering among the graves; 
aud that on verj' dark and stormy nights a figure is seen to rise and soar away 
into space. In former years, it is said, the ghostly visitant used to frequent a 
house ill the vicinity, and disturb the quiet of its occupants. Sometimes steps 
could be heard ascending the stairs. Then there would follow the crealdng of 
a door on its hinges, though no door could be seen to move, and a figure in 
white would advance to the centre of the room, and pause as if intently look- 
iug for some object, and then vanish out of sight. The more knowuig ones 
shake their heads when the subject is mentioned, and aver that if the dead 
could speak, some great wrong would be exposed: that by reason of this great 
wrong the spnits ai'e not allowed to rest in their gi-aves, but are forced to do 
penance as punishment for the acts connnitted during Ufe. It is related that 
the good dame who once lived there used to punish her diminutive but some- 
what refractory husband by doubling him up into a bucket, and letting liim 

Facts and Fancies. 167 

down into a deep well, until his spirit was reduced to something like submis- 
sion. Be that as it may, there are those living in the vicinity, who, when they 
have occasion to jjass the graveyard in the night-time, keep an eye over their 
shoulder until they get well beyond the ghost-haunted spot. 

Yannaker Rosecraus, a domestic in the family of Col. Jansen, was a char- 
acter in her way. She had a wen growing on her neck half as large as a man's 
head. She frequently stood sentry at the house of her employer. One night 
she detected a nmnber of Indians lurking in the currant bushes near the house. 
She fired two or thi-ee shots in the direction of the sound, and declared some 
of them were hit, as she presently heard the noise of tomahawks, and supposed 
the Indians were cutting poles to carry the wounded away. Old peo[)le claim 
she could hold up a barrel of cider and drink out of the "guimel."' She 
boasted that no two men could take her alive. It is said that Shanks Ben once 
lay in ambush for the purpose of taking her prisoner as she came to fodder the 
cattle; but at the sight of her, armed as she was with a huge pitchfork, he de- 
clared his heart went " pitty-patty, " until she was out of reach. At another 
time, while the Colonel had taken refuge in the chinniey, she kept the Indians 
away from the fire-place by throwing hot supi)awn at them vni\\ a spoon. 

It was one of the most melancholy featm'es of the battle of Minisink, that 
the friends of many of the patiiots engaged in tliat sanguinary conflict were 
left in painful solicitude as to their fate. Whether killed in the heat of the 
strife, massacred in cold blood by the marauding savages, left to perish in the 
wilderness, or carried away captive, — to many of the kinsfolk about Goshen 
these were questions of conjecture, which only the judgment day will reveal. 
Major Wood was among the number who failed to return home with the rem- 
nant of the little army, and of ^vhom the sm-vivors were able to give little or 
no account. It could not be determined whether he was among the slain, or of 
the number taken prisoner. As years went by. and one liy one a few re- 
turned fi'om their captivity, the wife eagerly sought for tidings of her husband. 
Her inquiries were all in vain, and she finally felt constrained to give him up 
as lost. After the lapse of several years the widow had a favorable offer of 
man-iage. Though she had no positive proof of the death of her husband, 
there was little probability of his being yet alive; so acting under the advice of 
friends, she accepted the offer. The second marriage proved a happy one, and 
two children blessed the union. Twelve years after the battle of Minisink, 
Major Wood returned to his home. He had been kept a close prisoner during 
all that time, and had not once heard of his family. He embraced the first 
opportunity to escape from captivity; and returned to find that he had long 
been mourned as dead; that his wife had married again, and had another 
fahiily growing up around her. Much as it pained him to break the ties that 
bound the new family together, she was still his wife, for the law would not 
recognize the second marriage, now that the legal husband was known to be 

1 68 Legends of the Shawangiuik. 

alive. But the way out of the difficulty was reached in an unexpected manner. 
The second husband went from home, ostensibly on business, and a few days 
afterward his liat and some of his clothing were found on the banks of the Dela- 
ware. Whether lie really committed himself to the mercj^ of the water witli 
suicidal intent, or only sought to convey the impression that he was dead, wlaile 
he left for parts unknown, has never been told. Tliose who knew him best 
inchne to the view that, from motives of compassion for the feehngs of his 
family, he chose the latter alternative. Major Wood lived many years after 
his return, and liis descendants are held in- high estimation at the present time. 

One of the gi'eatest curiosities, in point of the mysteriousness of its origin 
in the county of Ulster, is that bit of ancient masomy in the to'^vm of PlattekiU 
known as the "Indian Dam." It is located on what is known as the Levi 
Bodine farm, now occupied by J. S. Ter^viUiger, jr. The dam m question 
consists of two stone walls joined at an obtuse angle, and is about one hundred 
and fifty yards in length, eight or ten feet in height at the highest part, and 
four feet in width at the top. It is built across a stream at the outlet of a 
heavil)' timbered swamp, and would submerge about one hundred acres. As 
there is scarcely any peixeptil)le fall, the dam could hardly have been built to 
furnish water power, hence the question as to the piu-pose of its construction 
has never been satisfactorily answered. \^niat is stranger stiU, when the first 
settlers came into the vicinitj-, more than a century ago, the dam was there in 
the same condition in which it is now found; nor could they ascertam when, 
by whom, or for what liui'pose it was built. Though called the Indian Dam, 
it is not probable the Indians had an}"thing to do with its constraction, as they 
were not given to wall-buildiug Its ongin may have been coeval with that of 
the ancient roads in the vicinity of the Shawangunk mountain, called the 
' ' Mine Roads, ' ' indications of wliich may yet be seen at various points at the 
foot of the decli%atie3 on either side, of which neither history nor tradition can 
give a satisfactory account.