Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snake Legend

An Indian tread! I know the stealthy sound;
'Tis on some quest of evil, through the grass
Gliding so serpent-like...
"It has been mentioned that the height now known as High Rock was formerly known as Squaw Rock. There are several legends connected with this name, which seem to be variations on a single theme. One of them runs as follows:
Some two hundred years ago, when Indian maidens wandered over the mountains, or paddled their light canoes, and sang like Laughing Water, ' Thinking of a hunter, From another tribe and country,'while the traders came from the coast, and sought to bribe the chieftain Toby, with a quart of rum, to give his daughter to the whites. But she, being as the sequel proves romantically inclined, begged that she might have one-half of the rum before giving her consent. She drank it and fled from her father's wigwam. Failing to return soon, Toby and his warriors started in pursuit of her. Coming out upon the top of Toby's Rock, and looking across the Glen, Toby discovered his daughter standing alone upon Squaw Rock. The maiden perceiving that she was discovered sprang to the edge of the cliff, precipitated herself to the base of the Rock, and was killed. After witnessing the death of his daughter, Toby despatched his warriors to the village, to take from the traders the jug of rum. It was taken to the top of the Rock and thrown thence into the middle of the river ; when, behold I from the spot where it struck, there sprang instantly a huge boulder, which remains to this day—a warning to all future Tobies, who may be disposed to sell their daughters for rum.
Two hundred years ago Toby was a boy and became the slave of Col. Johnson, but he never was a chieftain, and never had warriors at his command.
According to another version, the maiden leaped from the top of the rock upon hearing of the death of her lover. Yet there is still another account of the catastrophe which has been given in the following fashion :—
Long years ago, when the country belonged to the Indians, a certain chief became enamored of a dusky maiden of another tribe and sought to make her his squaw, but she was not in favor of this plan, and one evening, when the chief came a wooing, she took to her heels and made straight for the summit of this cliff. She was closely pursued, and on reaching the edge of the precipice found herself almost within the grasp of the deserted lover. Escape in the direction whence she came was cut off; beneath her yawned the dreadful abyss. Breathing a prayer to the Great Spirit, she threw herself from the brink, and the next moment was a shapeless mass upon the rocks below. Hence the name " Squaw Rock."
It appears that the spirit of this maiden does not rest well, whatever may have been the cause of her death ; for, about half way up Squaw Rock, and down the river from the cliff, there is a narrow crevice, from which the said spirit appears at midnight, on the 2Oth of March and the 2Oth of September, of each year. It takes the form of a snake,—some say with four heads, some, with seven ; and the snake has upon its heads a large carbuncle, which, if anyone can secure it, will make him fabulously rich. Many a night have superstitious persons watched for the snake, hoping to capture this wealth ; but although they may have found snakes with seven rattles, no snake has thus far been secured with heads decorated with carbuncles..."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Turtle Toes

Above: Asian Turtle with Toes
Above: 3 toes, below: 4 toes
Woodbury CT




Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fishweir Blues


Woke Up This Morning, Fishweirs on my Mind,
Woke Up This Morning, Fishweirs on my Mind,
I just can't help it people,
I see those turtles all the time...
Images above from: http://tispaquin.blogspot.com/2009/10/kennebec-indian-post-of-day.html - with my additions for effect. This mental illness called Turtle Vision (http://www.neara.org/macsween/turtlevision.htm) caused me to wonder, "Is that an anthropogenic testudinate construction, perhaps the remnants of a diagonal fishweir?"

Some drawings from the old sketchbook from '97-'98 or so:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ceremonial Landscape - Discussion by Tribal Elders



"Thursday night (Oct. 22, 2009) at the Acton MA public library by invitation of the "Friends of Pine Hawk" [an Acton archaeological conservancy group], several tribal historic preservation officers spoke and answered questions about rock piles and other Native American ceremonial stone structures. They were: Doug Harris, the Narragansett Tribe Ceremonial Landscape Preservation Officer. Chuckie Green: the Natural Resource Assistant Director for the Mashpee Wampanoag; and Bettina Washington: the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Acquinna)..."





Full Story at Native American Tribal Historic Officers speak abo...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clam Gardens





Clam Gardens: Aboriginal Mariculture On Canada’s West Coast

Judith Williams

New Star Books LTD 2006

"Pre-Contact West Coast indigenous peoples are commonly categorized in anthropological literature as “hunter gatherers”. However, new evidence suggests they cultivated bivalves in stone-walled foreshore structures called “clam gardens” which were only accessible at the lowest of tides. Judith Williams journeyed by boat around Desolation Sound, Cortes and Quadra Islands and north to the Broughton Archipelago to document the existence of these clam gardens. The result is a fascinating book that bids to change the way we think about West Coast aboriginal culture." — from the back cover

"Clam Gardens is a delightful little book, written by an artist and resident of the British Columbian archipelago. A native friend told her about the clam gardens, she investigated them, and “re-discovered” a complex maritime aquaculture of great antiquity. After years of study and pestering of university anthropologists, Judith Williams finally convinced them that the vast network of coastal clam beds from Puget Sound to the Queen Charlotte Islands were largely anthropogenic."


From Main Site: westinstenv.org/.../cultivated-landscapes/

Lok'key'wey:

EMC threatens Indian Sacred Stone Mounds in Southborough, MA




[Click here and learn more about the threat to the sites between Gilmore Rd and Rt 9 in Southborough. Scroll down for some more pics.]
"Burial cairns are generally large (10+ ft) and tend to be located on the highest points in the area. Conical mounds commonly contain more than one burial...
Human remains do not need to be present for a location to be a final resting place.
Cairns are sometimes made to ensure that... (i)f that individual should die while away from his homeland, the cairn will ensure that the spirit will return to its home.
Those markers without human remains are no less sacred than those that are associated with human remains..."
APPENDIX D ARCHEOLOGICAL FEATURES
(FROM PETERSON 2003)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Turtle of the Month


Eastern Box Turtle
This turtle gets its name from being able to close its shell completely for protection.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

EMC expansion threatens rock pile sites




"A fine collection of sites that may vanish..."
Below: Facing back south towards the landing strip:

Note the stones in the distance when you click to enlarge:
"Take pictures, survey, capture what you can... if you are from around there, get ready to help inform EMC corporation and the Town of Southborough Historic commission that they should plan their new road so as to avoid destroying valuable historic structures."
Obtuse angle in stone wall:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hawea Heiau


Back in July 2007, I took some good-natured “ribbing” from three of my best friends in the world, all Mental Health professionals, for taking the above photo while driving along the highway in Hawaii Kai, part of Honolulu on the Island Oahu HI. Some low stone rows captured my attention each of the many times we drove by them.
On many short walks to the beach from my friend’s house, between the Hawaii Kai Golf Course and the Highway, so did some other rows that I stumbled around but never took any photos of – I thought it might be something but I couldn’t quite decide if I was looking at human constructed stone “some things.”


My friend suggested that the Menehune [pronounced meh-neh-HOO-neh] might have built them, possibly just to “mess with me.” (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menehune .”
But this morning I stumbled upon a news article at: http://www.petroglyphs.us/index.htm
Crews Bulldozed In Area Housing Hawaiian Petroglyphs By: Honolulu News August 2009


Turns out that the place, Hawea Heiau, is in Hawaii Kai, not far from where my friends live…

Above: Hawaii Kai and Koko Crater from Makapu'u Point Trail
"The simple crossing of a pass at Makapu'u beach changes the landscape from lush tropical plants to a drier look filled cacti, palm trees and succulents. There is less wind so the lava-rock tide pools are more accessible."

(image stolen from: debtorby.typepad.com/connections/travel/)."


More: Developer Investigated In Hawaii Kai Project - Honolulu News Story ...



Developer Investigated In Hawaii Kai Project. Crews Bulldozed In Area Housing Hawaiian Petroglyphs. POSTED: 6:58 pm HST August 5, 2009 ...

Another, posted by Gary E. Weller (http://haweaheiau.blogspot.com/ ): Hawaii Kai Heiau Partially Buried.
Mr. Weller has a bunch of stuff up on his blog about this....

Image from: http://www.hawaiikaihui.org/104734.html?*session*id*key*=*session*id*val*
Hawea Heiau

And this sounds sadly all too familiar: "The report prepared for Hale Alii also concluded that other recognized artifacts — a more than 100-year-old well lined with stacked rocks and remnants of rock walls and terraces — needn't be preserved because the structures have been altered in modern times or are heavily degraded. The state agreed with these findings, too (http://www.hrespecialists.com/article.asp?id=741)."

Friday, October 09, 2009

What is a Weir or Nenameseck?

As Temple recorded it, “These weirs were simply rude stone walls..."
August 15, 2005File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
http://warehistoricalsociety.wetpaint.com/page/What+is+a+Weir+or+Nenameseck%3F
Palmer fishing weir on Ware River.

Evidence of a prehistoric two weir fish trap


By Douglas Watts
Augusta, Maine
September, 2009.
"Evidence since the removal of the Fort Halifax Dam in 2008 suggests the presence of a prehistoric two weir fish trap for alewives and/or American eel at China Lake Stream, Sebasticook River, Winslow, Maine..."
Evidence of a prehistoric two-weir fish trap at at...


Two nice photos of other weirs:

A "W" shaped stone fishing weir for alewives, West Branch Sebasticook River, Pittsfield, Maine.

A large stone fish weir on Seboeis Stream, Piscataquis River, Howland, Maine. Photographed by Douglas Watts in extremely low water in October, 2002.

Monday, October 05, 2009

"foot" snake


MYTHS OF THE CHEROKEE

By James Mooney

From Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology 1897-98, Part I. [1900] - Scanned at www.sacred-texts.com, January-February 2001:


“There was once a great serpent called the Ustû'tlï that made its haunt upon Cohutta mountain. It was called the Ustû'tlï or "foot" snake, because it did not glide like other snakes, but had feet at each end of its body, and moved by strides or jerks, like a great measuring worm. These feet were three-cornered and flat and could hold on to the ground like suckers. It had no legs, but would raise itself up on its hind feet, with its snaky head waving high in the air until it found a good place to take a fresh hold; then it would bend down and grip its front feet to the ground while it drew its body up from behind. It could cross rivers and deep ravines by throwing its head across and getting a grip with its front feet and then swinging its body over…”


Stone Snake

Friday, October 02, 2009

An Old Post from Rock Piles; "Indian Bars"

I dont know how I missed this post:

Indian “Bars”
SUNDAY, MAY 28, 2006

Jim P writes:
It's just a quote I ran into while doing research. It's from William Wood's New England's Prospect, 1634. He's talking about the deer in New England and how hard they are to catch with dogs.
"In summer it is hard catching of them with the best greyhounds that may be procured because they be swift of foot. Some credible persons have affirmed that they have seen a deer leap threescore feet at little or no forcement; besides, there be so many old trees, rotten stumps, and Indian bars, that a dog cannot well run without being shoulder-shot."
I wonder what the, "Indian bars," are that Woods is talking about? A look in the dictionary shows that, "bars," can mean:
"something that impedes or prevents action or progress. synonym - obstacle"
What's more, Woods is also saying that, "Indian bars," are quite numerous.

Norman said...
I would think "Indian bars" refers to stone walls, or what some early writers called "Indian fences."
David Wagner proposed that two converging walls at a stream in Pachaug State Forest in CT were an ancient deer weir, but a friend, who is a colonial historian, concluded they were instead a "sheep dip," where sheep were hearded to wash them in the stream.
Take your pick.
8:58 AM
JimP said...
I think you could be right Norman. If these, "bars," are stone walls, it's significant in my mind to see a primary source indicate an abundance of them in the woods.
8:26 PM


At this late date, I'd say that removable fence rails are sometimes called bars - not an actual gate, but rails you could remove and then replace: A treatise on the law of railroads - Google Books Result by Edward Lillie Pierce - 1881: "The company is required to keep in repair gates and bars which are a part of the fence. It is required to use reasonable diligence to keep them closed ..."



Chambers's journal of popular literature, science and arts‎ - Page 5 - 1858
“A herd of deer was trooping out from the edge of the cypress woods—at that corner where the rail-fence separated the savanna from the cultivated fields.
'Ha!' thought I, 'they have been poaching upon the young maize-plants.'
I bent my eyes towards the point whence, as I supposed, they had issued from the fields. I knew there was a gap near the corner, with movable bars. I could see it from where I stood, but I now perceived that the bars were in their places !
The deer could not have been in the fields then? It was not likely they had leaped either the bars or the fence. It was a high rail-fence, with 'stakes and riders.' The bars were as high as the fence. The deer must have come out of the woods ?”

I think there might be a little of appropriating of Indian Fences and Hunting Techniques that happened in the early days of Waterbury CT:


The town and city of Waterbury, Connecticut‎ - Page 693
by Sarah Johnson Prichard - Reference - 1896

DEER STAKES THE—They are at the east end of Mount Taylor rock. It is not known whether the natural formation of land and rocks furnished the name, or whether stakes were erected there to turn the deer from their course. It is a wild region, well-watered and suitable for deer to range in. Mount Taylor rock extends east and west nearly across Mount Taylor, leaving the place called the deer stakes at the eastern base. It is a narrow passway, of fifteen or twenty rods, from the lower to the upper end of the range, and it can readily be seen that stakes at this place would serve to turn the deer either way. The boulders lying here would'afford excellent hiding places for the hunter. Mr. Southmayd had land laid out on the range that was cultivated.

MOUNT TAYLOR—The rocky, prominent ridge above Waterville and between Naugatuck river and Hancox brook.
It was quite natural, therefore, that it should be used as one of the points of demarkation or departure in the Indian deeds of Waterbury, and also that the undiscovered Mr.Taylor whose name had been given to the height before the first Indian deed of Waterbury was drawn, should have made use of it in viewing and exploring the wilderness in the prehistoric days of Mattatuck.
The most prominent and elevated ridge of Mount Taylor was called Mount Taylor rock. The western extremity of the rock has its perpendicular face to the southward, and, with its abrupt ending at the river westward, it nearly cuts off the valley at that point. The eastern end has a. greater altitude, but terminates on the level summit of a wall of rock which presents an abrupt face to the brook below. At this point were located the " Deer Stakes," where deer pursued and driven from among the hills cither northward or southward of the place would have to pass in close quarters—the large and plentiful boulders thereabouts affording hiding places for hunters.

NICHOLS' PARK, THE PARK, THE PARK GATE, THE PARK FENCE, THE CRANK OF THE PARK—Before 1750 persons in the colony had erected parks or enclosures for keeping and preserving deer. The General Court approved of these parks and made most stringent and effective laws for the preservation of the deer within them, and of the fences, gates and bars pertaining to them. Seven pounds, beside the price of the deer, was the penalty for coursing, chasing, hunting or wounding any buck, doe or fawn kept in any park. For throwing down any fence whereby they might escape, the penalty was thirteen pounds, beside any damage that might accrue thereby.
We find mention, in Waterbury, in 1750. of The Park, also of "The Park fence " and " The Park gate "—leaving no doubt regarding the fact that at that date the region familiarly known as the Park was used as a deer park.
It contained more than three hundred acres, and remains to this day a wild, rugged region, almost untouched by the hand of man. It has had an interesting history. Much of it remains in the realm of tradition, but numerous facts may be gleaned from the records. There was an ancient highway laid out through it in 1716, known as the Stone path. It merits its name, and can still be found without difficulty. It began at the road west of "Westwood" (which in 1729 formed a part of the Litchfield road, and before that period the course of the Common fence) and ran to the Nichols' Farm road, now the Bunker Hill road. The Park road, surveyed in 1763, runs through a section of it. There was also a "way" from the Stone path to the point where the Park road enters the enclosure near Matthew Lilley's house. Here also was the Park gate (the early Woodbury road passing twenty rods distant from the gate). The Crank of the Park was the bend or angle at its more southern point, between the Stone path and the east fence. Tradition tells of a club house. The building stood on the "way" or path between the Stone path and the Park gate.
There is a tract of 17^ acres within it, that has had but two owners—Jonathan Scott (who was taken out of town by the Indians), and the Episcopal Church. Scott laid it out in 1720. He received it "for services done for the proprietors." In 1745, the year in which he died, he conveyed it (calling it woodland) to the Professors of the Church of England in Waterbury. It is still one of the glebe lands held by St. John's church. Daniel Scott—the son who
lived with his father—also signed the deed. At the layout of the land its northwest corner was an oak tree; in 1745 it was a " n>c&-oak tree"; in 1780 or a little later it had become a " largt rock-oak tree"; in 1842 it was an " old rock-oak tree," and in 1884 the shell of the stump of the tree could be seen, out of which two saplings of considerable size were growing. In 1724 a tract of thirty-two acres was laid out to John Richardson, the survey of which included the easterly corner of Scott's land. This overlapping of ancient surveys has full illustration, as found in the Park. This layout of 1724 mentions Bryant's hill. Who Bryant was, and why his name was given to the hill, we have not learned.
James Nichols—the founder and the owner of the Park—in 1733, when his father, Joseph Nichols, died, was a student at Yale college. Because of his studies he resigned the executorship of his father's will. He early sold his right in his fathers farm to John Nettleton. In 1742 he made his first purchase within the territory which he later owned. In 1749 he laid out, bought, exchanged, and bargained for lands all about that region, and became the virtual owner or controller of all the land in and surrounding his future park—so that the string of his purchases extended all the way from the summit of West Side hill to the extreme northern part of Gaylord's hill, including some of the Hopkins land—and this, notwithstanding the title still held by others to lands within the enclosure, probably provided for by "bargains" not on record.
It would be interesting to learn why James Nichols forsook his deer park. We only know that on January 2, 1756, he sold to his " brother" Ebcnezer Wakelee, all the land in the Park that he then owned, and that he was, at that date, living in Salisbury. In 1756 he sold also to Wakelee "sundry pieces outside of the Park fence." The same year Ebenezer Wakelee sold to his brother James Wakelee, for ,£135, " one half of that Land called ye park," and said that it was the land he bought of James Nichols.
The Park field lay in the southeastern portion of it. About 1760, George Nichols began to cultivate the land there, giving it that name. The Nichols family owned lands in that region and all about it, long after James sold out. Tradition indicates at a later period perhaps, and probably in the time of John Nichols (the author of a most remarkable conveyance of land) that a club of Waterbury's young men, built a club house in the Park and filled the region with the echoes of their festivities—but nothing more substantial has reached us than the possible site of this club house, elsewere referred to. George Nichols had an hundred-acre farm, said to be located at Scovill's meadow. It extended from the old Woodbury road northward, probably to the southern limit of the Park, and along on the outside of the western side of it. On it he seems to have built the famous tavern, referred to on page 422.
Solomon Tompkins lived near the southwest corner of Welton's mountain in the Park. The remains of his two houses still appear, one within, one without the fence. His first dwelling place, by tradition a famous Tory rendezvous in the Revolutionary war, is indicated by the ruins of a chimney fireplace, the other, by a cellar. He deeded in 1783, his house and land to his "friend Mary Robbins, living at The Clove in New York." This mysterous personage came to the Park from Satan's Meditation, situated near the Miry swamp in Middlebury, and later, it is said moved to Northeast, N. Y. Notwithstanding tradition, Solomon Tompkins was an American soldier in the war, and a pensioner of 1818. Tradition likewise gives us " Saul's " swamp (which doubtless should be Sol's) and " Saul " as an Indian.
Lemuel Nichols' tavern a little beyond the Park may account for a part of the tradition.
The last land laid out in the Park was, it is believed, Timon Miles's, about 1817.
The descendants of Elijah Nichols (son of Richard, son of Joseph), have lived for many years in that vicinity. Hannah, who owned an acre of orchard in the Park, was his daughter. Wishing to go West with her brothers, Elijah, Jr., and Clement, she, it is said, sold it to Amasa Roberts for a horse. Roberts sold the orchard to Aaron Benedict for a fat sheep. Later, Thomas Lockwood bought it of the Benedict estate, and cut the trees down. Gideon, brother of Hannah, lived a little eastward of the Glebe swamp, where he had a house near a spring, and a rude building in which he wove carpets.
Reuben Nichols lived very near the Park, where the watering place now is. He also built a house on its western edge —a part of it set into the ledge—and along which the Park fence ran. Bethlehem pippins grew there A somewhat celebrated apple tree of the above variety still stands not far from the house. The rail fence, in an angle of which this tree stands, it is said was frequently moved, so as to include the tree—the owner, on either side, contending for its possession.
ISAAC'S MEADOW BARS—At the intersection of the upper road to Woodbury with the Litchfield road, which followed the west fence of the common field to where it crossed the valley of Steele's brook.
http://books.google.com/books?id=sD0OAAAAIAAJ&dq=deer%20stakes&pg=PA693#v=onepage&q=deer%20stakes&f=false

Finally here we find mention of drives and stone piles, just a little west of Waterbury:

INDIAN REMAINS ON THE UPPER YELLOWSTONE*
By Col. Wm. S. Brackett.
The most interesting of the Indian remains on our ranch is at Buffalo Bluff, where there is a remarkable game drive. Under the cliff, which is about 40 feet high, the ground is white with the splintered bones of large game animals that have been driven over the precipice - buffaloes, elks, and deer. Above is a level plain stretching back for several miles into the foothills. The cliff is only about a hundred yards wide at the steep part where the game was driven over. How did they manage to make wild animals run to this narrow cliff and leap over? You can see at once how this was accomplished when you climb to the plain above. There can be seen two long lines, composed of piles of stones, stretching out on the plains, each line about half a mile long and diverging from the edge of the cliff like the two arms of an open fan. The piles of stones are about 10 feet apart and each stone heap is 2 to 3 feet in height. When the Indians last used this game drive, which was about fifteen years ago, they set up wooden stakes about 5 feet long in each stone pile. From stake to stake were stretched lines of stout buckskin cord, like wires on a barbed wire fence, and from these cords were hung at short intervals feathers, strips of bright cloth, and scraps of white buckskin, fluttering in the wind. Of course this fence could be easily broken through, but the frightened animals always turned back from the fluttering rags, feathers, and other objects hanging from the long lines of cords.
A heard of buffalos or deer was carefully surrounded by the Indian hunters, and then gradually driven toward the opening of the drive, which was over half a mile wide. Once within these lines, the hunters drove the heard toward the bluff, waving their blankets as they rode forward. The terror stricken animals rushed toward the precipice, keeping away and turning back in fright from the lines of "fence," which gradually converged toward the cliff. At last, in a wild stampede, the frantic animals were driven over the edge of the precipice, where those who were not killed outright were dispatched by another party of hunters below. Only spears and arrows were used below the cliff, because the noise of firearms would frighten back the animals approaching the edge of the bluff. Among the mass of crumbling white bones beneath this Buffalo Bluff (as it is called here), where so many wild animals have been slaughtered, you can today occasionally find spear and arrow heads, beautifully formed of shining black obsidian, or volcanic glass, the material being formed in large quantities on the great plateau of the Yellowstone National Park.
*Reprinted from "The American Field," Feb. 11, 1893
http://www.livingstonmuseums.org/pcm/pchsmain.html



Just about every zigzag row around where I live is about ten feet from point to point, an interesting coincidence - Tim

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Indian Stone Heap

-OR-
(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...http://books.google.com/books?id=6TMop7dnFYAC&lpg=PA278&ots=zEsE61nae2&dq=indian%20stone%20heaps&pg=PA278#v=onepage&q=indian%20stone%20heaps&f=false "


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:
THE TOWN OE CHARLESTON."