Thursday, October 01, 2009

Indian Stone Heap

(Would they have to take this sign down if it was in MA or CT
or would they just
Rename it the "Field Clearing Agricultural Stone Pile"?)

"Somewhere between this [Schoharic] creek and Caughnawaga, commenced an Indian road or foot-path, which led to Schoharie. Near this road, and within the northern bounds of Schoharie county, has been seen from time immemorial a large pile of stone, which has given the name 'stone heap patent' to the tract on which it occurs, as maybe seen from ancient deeds. Indian tradition saiih that a Mohawk murdered a brother (or two of them) on this spot, and that this tumulus was erected to commemorate the event... "

The road leading directly north from Oak Ridge was the old Indian road...

It was also on this road that the famous " stone-heap " was situated.
There is a tradition that, long prior to the Revolutionary war, a white
man was murdered at this spot, and the edict was issued that every In-
dian, in passing the spot, should throw a stone upon it. Who issued the
command, and when it was issued, are questions whose answers are lost
in the dim distance of time. The fact remains that every Indian who
passed the spot did cast a stone upon it. One authority says: " Somewhere
between Schoharie creek and Caughnawaga commenced an Indian road or
foot-path which led to Schoharie. Near this road * * * has been
seen, from time immemorial, a large pile of stones, which has given the
name ' Stone-heap Patent' to the tract on which it occurs, as may be seen
from ancient deeds." Rev. Gideon Hawley, in the narrative of his tour
through the Mohawk country, by Schoharie creek, in 1753, makes the fol-
lowing allusion to the stone-heap : " We came to a resting-place and
breathed our horses, and slaked our thirst at the stream, when we perceived
our Indian looking for a stone, which, having found, he cast to a heap
which for ages had been accumulating by passengers like him who was our
guide. We inquired why he observed that rite. He answered that his
father practiced it and enjoined it on him. But he did not like to talk on
the subject.
* This custom or rite is an acknowledgment of an
invisible being. We may style him the unknown god whom this people
worship. This heap is his altar. The stone that is collected is the obla-
tion of the traveler, which, if offered with a good mind, may be as accept-
able as a consecrated animal. But perhaps these heaps of stones may be
erected to a local deity, which most probably is the case." On this, Rut-
tenber remarks: "The custom referred to had nothing of worship in it.
The stone-heaps were always by the side of a trail or regularly
traveled path, .and usually at or near a stream of water. The Indians
paused to refresh themselves, and, by throwing a stone or a stick to a cer-
tain place, indicated to other travellers that a friend had passed - from:

No comments:

Post a Comment