Friday, September 28, 2007

Indian frontier

I was thinking about back when this place where I live was considered the Indian Frontier.
A little before, really.
Before the entire river system was taken as a right of conquest, after the last "battle" of the Pequot War, in a swamp near the mouth of the Housatonic:

"The Great Swamp Fight Here Ended the PequotWar July 13, 1637."

The war was the major turning point in the history of the Indian-white relations in colonial America, marking an end to any illusion that the Indians and whites could coexist on an equal footing. Some historians consider it one of the most important wars in New England history because it set a permanent precedent for the colonists to seize land from the Indians..."

Fairfield County's Paugussetts
Excerpt from:Westport ConnecticutThe Story of a New England Town's Rise to Prominence.
by Woody Klein
Chapter 2 The Native Americans

"The Pequot war ended with the Battle of the Great Swamp Fight located at Sasqua Swamp in Southport, Connecticut. Below is an excerpt of the Great Swamp fight from the writings of Capt. John Mason who led the search, attack and capture of the Pequot Indians

We then hastened our march towards the place where the enemy was. And coming into a corn field, several of the English spied some Indians, who fled them: they pursued them; and coming to the top of a hill, saw several wigwams just opposite, only a swamp intervening, which was almost divided in two parts. Sergeant Palmer hastening with about twelve men who were under his command to surround the smaller part of the swamp, that so he might prevent the Indians flying; Ensign Danport, Sergeant Jeffries & c, entering the swamp, intended to go into the wigwams were there set upon by several Indians, who in all probability were deterred by Sergeant Palmer. In this skirmish the English slew but few.; two or three of themselves were wounded. The rest of the English coming up, the swamp was surrounded..."

[edit] Quinnipiac Refugees
The “Quinnipiac Trail of Heartaches”[7] refers to the numerous relocations of the Quinnipiac people who became refugees as a result of the encroachment, religious conversion, and ethnic cleansing by the Puritans. Large groups, who could not remain at the regional reserved lands, embarked on a series of removals to other Algonquian groups. Some of these included, but were not limited to the Schaghticoke enclave, which began in the year 1699, after old Joseph Chuse married Sarah Mahwee (Mahweeyeuh). Sarah told Ezra Stiles of Yale that she was born at East Haven and Dr. Blair Rudes confirmed that she was indeed Quinnipiac. Joseph was a Paugusset and they were a sub-sachemship of the Long Water People, as noted by James Hammond Trumbull. The last families who had been at Turkey Hill/Naugatuck moved to Kent, Connecticut, where the Schaghticoke emerged. Today they have split into the Schaghticoke Nation and the Schaghticoke Tribe.
Other groups of refugees migrated to Brotherton at Oneida, New York, then to the White River and Muncie, Indiana; some to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and Stockbridge, Wisconsin; some to Odenak (St. Francis) and Quebec, Canada.
Others who migrated went to Pennsylvania, eastern New York, and northern New Jersey, at the Ramapo Mountain refugium, by moving from rock shelter to rock shelter, in order to survive. In the 1850s to 1900, the Quinnipiac began to return to the Long Water Land..."

I also looked at this list I found at:

Among all of them, these two stuck out:
"1634: Dutch traders introduce smallpox to what is now Connecticut. Ninety-five percent of the American Indians living along what is now the Connecticut River die. The epidemic moves north to what is now Canada. "
And the year of the Great swamp fight, 1637: "A disease believed to be scarlet fever kills New England Indians and spreads west to the Great Lakes region."

The History part of where I live begins at this time. Somewhere up the Housatonic river system, at a place called the fresh water fishing place, there once lived a band of Indian survivors of these catastrophes. In 1659, English colonists planted crops in already cleared meadows along the river, "quite to Nonnewaug Falls." Mavor and Dix, somewhere in Manitou, wrote about villages coming together at sacred places, especially by waterfalls, during these times of great upheaval.

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