Wednesday, May 27, 2015

"Stone Church" Dover Plains NY

A friend of mine has invited me to this event:

Tabor-Wing Open House and Sign Dedication
Saturday, June 6, 2015 at 2:00pm
Tabor-Wing House in Dover Plains, New York
We are holding this event partly as a lead in event to the Dover Stone Church Ribbon Cutting event the same day. In addition to dedicating our new sign we will have an open house with light refreshments and a display about the Sassacus, Pequot Sachem and the events leading up to him seeking refuge in the Stone Church.
    My friend is of Schaghticoke ancestry and there are all sorts of "connections."
"More than anything else, the English wanted Sassacus. At the end of June, Thomas Staughton landed at Pequot Harbor with 120 men. Finding the Pequot forts abandoned, he started west in pursuit. Mason joined him at Saybrook with 40 men plus Uncas and his Mohegan scouts. With the Mohegan pointing the way, they followed the slow-moving band of Sassacus west. Intent on capturing Sassacus, any Pequot encountered enroute were automatically smashed if they offered the slightest resistance or refused to cooperate - one Pequot sachem near Guilford Harbor was beheaded and his head placed in a tree as a warning (the location is still known as Sachem Head). The English finally caught up with him at Sasqua, a Pequannock (Mattabesic) village near Fairfield, Connecticut. The Pequot retreated to a hidden fort in a nearby a swamp but were surrounded. After negotiations, 200 Pequannock (mostly women and children) were allowed to leave, but the Pequot were well-aware of the fate awaiting them and refused to surrender. During the battle which followed, Sassacus gathered 80 warriors and managed to break free, but 180 Pequot were captured. The others were killed.
Sassacus and his escort fled west to New York. His logical choice for refuge should have been the Mahican (Dutch allies and close relatives), but the Mahican were subject to the Mohawk at the time, so Sassacus was forced to turn to his old enemies for help. The Mohawk, however, had never forgotten who the Pequot were, and they never stood a chance. The Pequot had no sooner reached the Mohawk village, than, without being allowed to speak in council, he and most of his warriors were killed. The few who escaped joined the Mahican at Schaghticoke.
   The Mohawk cut off Sassacus' head and sent it to Hartford as a gesture of their friendship with the English. Since the General Court in Hartford levied a heavy fine on any tribe providing refuge to the Pequot, there was no place for them to go. The remaining Pequot were hunted down by the English, Mohegan, and Narragansett, and the war ended in a series of small but deadly skirmishes. The remaining Pequot sachems asked for peace and surrendered. With the Pequot defeat, English settlement filled in Connecticut Valley and by 1641 had extended down the coast of western Connecticut as far as Stamford..."

Quinnipiac Campaign
Pequot Swamp Fight
Fairfield, Connecticut


It was not until late June and early July that the English organized another campaign against the remaining Pequot.  This force consisted of 100 English soldiers and an unknown number of Native (Narragansett/Mohegan/Montauk) allies embarked from Saybrook Fort. The forces first sailed for Long Island in pursuit of Sassacus.  The Montauk, once allies and Pequot tributaries, submitted to English authority and relayed that Sassacus was at Quinnipiac (New Haven).  The English force disembarked at present day Guilford, and executed three Pequot sachems they captured at a neck of land known today as Sachems Head.  The English continued on to Quinnipiac to learn that Sassacus, who had been informed of their approach, escaped to Sasquanikut (Fairfield), home of their allies and tributaries the Sasqua.  The English force continued on foot to the Housatonic River, encountering scattered groups of Pequots along the way. After crossing the Housatonic River with assistance from their vessels, the English eventually caught up with Sassacus’ group at Sasquanikut where the last major battle of the Pequot War took place (Fairfield Swamp Fight) on July 13-14, 1637 at Munnacommuck Swamp, known today as the Pequot Swamp.
The English force of approximately 100 soldiers and Indian allies forded the Mill River and proceeded southwest along Mill Hill which provided a commanding view of the area to the south and west. At the southwest tip of the hill the English observed the Pequot and their Sasqua allies in a village on the far side of the swamp less than two miles away. The Pequot and Sasqua spotted the English at the same time and fled into the swamp for safety.


The English marched to the base of the hill and continuing on, they encircled the swamp which was approximately one-mile in circumference. Following several hours of combat the English allowed the women and children to surrender with promises to spare their lives (all were sold into slavery either in the Caribbean or New England colonies). The English force of 100 soldiers was not sufficient to prevent Pequot warriors from escaping the swamp and they proceeded to cut the swamp in half to more effectively surround it and contain the remaining warriors inside.  What followed was a 24-hour battle that was one of the fiercest of the war, and one of the only battles where Pequot warriors were reported to have used firearms against the English. Hand-to-hand fighting took place throughout the day and night as the English tried to gain entry into the swamp and Pequot warriors attempted to escape.  On the morning of July 14, under cover of fog, approximately 60-80 Pequot warriors broke through a section of the English lines and escaped, although many were wounded and killed in the attempt.   English accounts of Pequot casualties differ, ranging from seven dead to as many as 60.

Capture of Sassacus, Pequot Sachem
Dover Plains, New York

Artist's rendition of Pequot warrior, perhaps the Pequot Sachem Sassacus
Artist’s rendition of Pequot warrior, perhaps the Pequot Sachem Sassacus
Hours before the English reached Munnacommuck Swamp, Sassacus, with six sachems, a few women (perhaps Sassacus’ daughter) and a body guard of 20 warriors fled north up the Housatonic River and west up the Ten Mile River into eastern New York with the intention of reaching Mohawk territory near Albany, New York to enlist their aid against the English. The Pequot were discovered by a contingent of Mahican or Mohegan (the primary sources are not entirely clear) and Mohawk warriors near the “Stone Church” in Dover Plains, New York.  Following a brief skirmish, Sassacus’ group made their way to Paquaige in late July (west of Danbury, CT) where they were surprised in their wigwams by the Mohegan and Mohawk. Sassacus was killed immediately and the few Pequot who managed to escape were quickly found and executed. The Mohawk sent the “locks” to Agawam (Springfield) and Hartford, reaching Boston on August 5, 1637 effectively ending all Pequot resistance.

  The Great River now called the Housatonic, was and still is  a homeland to the Indigenous People who had "always been there," was considered "conquered territory" by the Europeans:
Map lifted from "In_the_Ground_and_in_the_Documents_Reconstructing_Native_American_Communities" by Dr. Lucianne Lavin here:
(with more here:)

From 'Dover'  By Donna P. Hearn

Illustration from: "Asher B. Durand: An Engraver's and a Farmer's Art"

 By James Flexner

From the same work:
If Durand had been following "Waking Up On Turtle Island:"

1 comment:

  1. Tim there are a few errors in parts of this info from Battlefields web site, we are working our way through it and hope to have an article written soon. The dickshovel part is good and worth reading in its entirety. Great background on the political aspects.