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Relics found on Rogers's Island. A remarkable Skull. Silver Coin found at Fort Edward.
plow turns up some curious relics of the past upon the island, such as bayonets, tomahawks, buttons, bullets, cannon-balls, coin, arrow-heads, &c. Dr. Norton, of Fort Edward, gave me a skull that had been exhumed there, which is remarkable for its excessive thickness; not so thick, however, as to resist the force of a musket-ball which penetrated it, and doubtless deprived its owner of life. It is three eighths of an inch thick where the bullet entered in front, and, notwithstanding its long inhumation, the sutures are perfect. Its form is that of the negro, and it probably belonged to the o . servant of some officer stationed there. *_ = The silver coin found in the vicinity of Fort Edward is called by the people “cob money.” The derivation of this name I could not learn. I obtained two pieces of it, both of which are Spanish coin. The larger one is a cross-pistareen, of the value of sixteen cents; the other is a quarter fraction of the same coin. They are very irregular in form, and the devices and dates are quite imperfect. The two in my possession are dated respectively 1741, 1743. These Spanish small coins composed the bulk of specie circulation among the French in Canada at that time.
Ride from Fort Edward to Glenn's Falls. Appearance of the Country. Interesting Character of the Region.
“Though of the past from no carved shrines,
N. E dined at three, and immediately left the pleasant little - \\ village of Fort Edward in a barouche for Glenn's Falls, by |- * So the way of Sandy Hill, a distance of six miles. The latter village fo is beautifully situated upon the high left bank of the Hudson, where the river makes a sudden sweep from an easterly to a southerly course. no o Here is the termination of the Hudson Valley, and above it the river courses its way in a narrow channel, among rugged rocks and high, wooded bluffs, through as wild and romantic a region as the most enthusiastic traveler could desire. It was early in the afternoon when we reached the Mansion House at Glenn's - Falls, near the cataract. All was bustle and confusion, for here is the brief tarrying-place of fashionable tourists on their way from Saratoga Springs to Lake George. There was a constant arrival and departure of visitors. Few remained longer than to dine or sup, view the falls at a glance, and then hasten away to the grand summer lounge at Caldwell, to hunt, fish, eat, drink, dance, and sleep to their heart's content. We were thoroughly wearied by the day's ramble and ride, but time was too precious to allow a moment of pleasant weather to pass by unimproved. Comforted by the anticipation of a Sabbath rest the next day, we brushed the dust from our clothes, made a hasty toilet, and started out to view the falls, and search for the tarrying-place of Mrs. F-n, of Fort Edward. Here the whole aspect of things is changed. Hitherto our journey had been among the quiet and beautiful; now every thing in nature was turbulent and grand. The placid river was here a foaming cataract, and gentle slopes, yellow with the ripe harvest, were exchanged for high, broken hills, some rocky and bare, others green with the oak and pine or dark with the cedar and spruce. Here nature, history, and romance combine to interest and please, and geology spreads out one of its most wonderful pages for the scrutiny of the student and philosopher. All over those rugged hills Indian warriors and hunters scouted for ages before the pale face made his advent among them; and the slumbering echoes were often awakened in the last century by the crack of musketry and the roar of cannon, mingled with the loud war-hoop of the Huron, the Iroquois, the Algonquin, the Mohegan, the Delaware, the Adirondack, and the Mohawk, when the French and English battled for mastery in the vast forests that skirted the lakes and the St. Lawrence. Here, amid the roar of this very cataract, if romance may be believed, the voice of Uncas, the last of the Mohegans, was heard and heeded; here Hawk Eye kept his vigils; here David breathed his nasal melody; and here Duncan Heyward, with his lovely and precious wards, Alice and Cora Monroe, fell into the hands of the dark and bitter Mingo chief.'
* See Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans.”
Scenery about the Falls. “Indian Cave” and “Big Snake.” Departure for Lake George.
The natural scenery about the falls is very picturesque, but the accompaniments of puny art are exceedingly incongruous, sinking the grand and beautiful into mere burlesque. How expertly the genius of man, quickened by acquisitiveness, fuses the beautiful and useful in the crucible of gain, and, by the subtle alchemy of profit, transmutes the glorious cascade and its fringes of rock and shrub into broad arable acres, or lofty houses, or speeding ships, simply by catching the bright stream in the toils of a mill-wheel. Such meshes are here spread out on every side to ensnare the leaping Hudson, and the rickety buildings, the clatter of machinery, and the harsh grating of saws, slabbing the huge black marble rocks of the shores into city mantels, make horrid dissonance of that harmony which the eye and ear expect and covet where nature is thus beautiful and musical. A bridge, nearly six hundred feet long, and resting in the center upon a marble island, spans the river at the foot of the falls, and from its center there is a fine view of the cataract. The entire descent of the river is about sixty feet. The undivided stream first pours over a precipice nine hundred feet long, and is then separated into three channels by rocks piled in confusion, and carved, and furrowed, and welled, and polished by the rushing waters. Below, the channels unite, and in one deep stream the waters flow on gently between the quarried cliffs of fine black marble, which rise in some places from thirty to seventy feet in height, and are beautifully stratified. Many fossils are imbedded in the rocks, among which - the trilobite is quite plentiful. Here * ... the heads (so exceedingly rare) are fre- quently found. -- By the contribution of a York shilling to an intelligent lad who kept “watch and ward” at a flight of steps below the bridge, we procured his -- permission to descend to the rocks below, and his services as guide to the “Big Snake” and the “Indian Cave.” The former is a petrifaction on the surface of a flat rock, having the appearance of a huge serpent ; the latter extends through the small island from one channel to the other, and is pointed out as the place where Cooper's sweet young heroines, Cora and Alice, with Major Heyward and the singing-master, were concealed. The melody of a female voice, chanting an air in a minor key, came up from the cavern, and we expected every moment to hear the pitch-pipe of David and the “Isle of Wight.” The spell was soon broken by a merry laugh, and three young girls, one with a torn barege, came clambering up from the narrow entrance over which Uncas and Hawk Eye cast the green branches to conceal the fugitives. In time of floods this cave is filled, and all the dividing rocks below the main fall are covered with water, presenting one vast foaming sheet. A long drought had greatly diminished the volume of the stream when we were there, and materially lessened the usual grandeur of the picture. We passed the Sabbath at the falls. On Monday morning I arose at four, and went down to the bridge to sketch the cascade. The whole heavens were overcast, and a fresh breeze from the southeast was driving portentous scuds before it, and piling them in dark masses along the western horizon. Rain soon began to fall, and I was obliged to retreat under the bridge, and content myself with sketching the more quiet scene of the river and shore below the cataract. We left Glenn's Falls in a “Rockaway” for Caldwell, on Lake George, nine miles northward, at nine in the morning, the rain falling copiously. The road passes over a wild,
WIEw Below THE FALLs.
* This view was taken from under the bridge, looking down the river. The noted cave opens upon the river just below where the figures stand.
Williams's Rock. Approach of Dieskau. Hendrick, the Mohawk Sachem.
broken, and romantic region. Our driver was a perfect Jehu. The plank road (since finished) was laid a small part of the way, and the speed he accomplished thereon he tried to keep up over the stony ground of the old track, to “prevent jolting.” On the right side of the road, within four miles of Lake George, is a huge boulder called “Williams's Rock.” It was so - - - - party of Indians under Hendrick, named from the fact that near it --- - - the famous Mohawk sachem. Colonel Ephraim Williams was Dieskau, who was at Skenesborkilled on the 8th of September, ough, marched along the course 1755, in an engagement with of Wood Creek to attack Fort the French and Indians under Edward, but the Canadians and Baron Dieskau. Major-general Indians were so afraid of cannon (afterward Sir William) John- that, when within two miles of son was at that time at the head the fort, they urged him to change of Lake George, with a body of WILLIAMS's Rock." his course, and attack Johnson in provincial troops, and a large his camp on Lake George. To this request he acceded, for he ascertained by his scouts that Johnson was rather carelessly encamped, and was probably unsuspicious of danger. Information of his march was communicated to the English commander at midnight, September 7th, and early in the morning a council of war was held. It was determined to send out a small party to meet the French, and the opinion of Hendrick was asked. He shrewdly said, “If they are to fight, they are too few ; if they are to be killed, they are too many.” His objection to the proposition to separate them into three divisions was quite as sensibly and laconically expressed. Taking three sticks and putting them together, he remarked, “Put them together, and you can't break them. Take them one by one, and you can break them easily.” Johnson was guided by the opinion of Hendrick, and a detachment of twelve hundred men in one body, under Colonel Williams, was sent out to meet the approaching enemy. Before commencing their march, Hendrick mounted a gun-carriage and harangued his warriors in a strain of eloquence which had a powerful effect upon them. He was then about sixty-five years old. His head was covered with long white locks, and every warrior loved him with the deepest veneration.” President Dwight, referring to this speech, says, “Lieutenant-colonel
* This view is taken from the road, looking northward. In the distance is seen the highest point of the French Mountain, on the left of which is Lake George. From this commanding height the French scouts had a fine view of all the English movements at the head of the lake. * The portrait here given of the chief is from a colored print published in London during the lifetime of the sachem. It was taken while he was in England, and habited in the full court dress presented to him by the king. Beneath the picture is engraved, “The brave old Hendrick, the great sachem or chief of the Mohawk Indians, one of the six nations now in alliance with, and subject to, the King of Great Britain.” * Hendrick (sometimes called King Hendrick) was born about 1680, and generally lived at the Upper Castle, upon the Mohawk. He stood high in the estimation of Sir William Johnson, and was one of the most active and sagacious sachems of his time. When the tidings of his death were communicated to his son, the young chief gave the usual groan upon such occasions, and, placing his hand over his heart, exclaimed, “My father still alive here. The son is now the father, and stands here ready to fight.”—Gentlemen's Magazine. Sir William Johnson obtained from Hendrick nearly one hundred thousand acres of choice land, now lying chiefly in Herkimer county, north of the Mohawk, in the following manner: The sachem, being at the baronet's house, saw a richly-embroidered coat and coveted it. The next morning he said to Sir William, “Brother, me dream last night.” “Indeed,” answered Sir William; “what did my red brother
Speech of Hendrick. Fight with the French, and Death of Colonel Williams and Hendrick. Bloody Pond.
Pomeroy, who was present and heard this effusion of Indian eloquence, told me that, although he did not understand a word of the language, such were the animation of Hendrick, the fire of his eye, the force of his gestures, the strength of his emphasis, the apparent propriety of the inflections of his voice, and the natural appearance of his whole manner, that himself was more deeply affected with this speech than with any other he had ever heard.” The French, advised by scouts of the march of the English, approached with their line in the form of a half moon, the road cutting the center. The country was so thickly wooded that all correct observation was precluded, and at Rocky Brook, four miles from Lake George, Colonel Williams and his detachment found themselves directly in the hollow of the half moon. A heavy fire was opened upon them in front and on both flanks at the same moment, and the slaughter was dreadful. Colonel Williams was shot dead near the rock before mentioned, and Hendrick fell, mortally wounded by a musket-ball in the back. This circumstance gave him great uneasiness, for it seemed to imply that he had turned his back upon his enemy. The fatal bullet came from one of the extreme flanks. On the fall of Williams, Lieutenant-colonel Whiting succeeded to the command, and effected a retreat so judiciously that he saved nearly all of the detachment who were not killed or wounded by the first onslaught." So careless and apathetic was General Johnson, that he did not commence throwing up breast-works at his camp until after Colonel Williams had marched, and Dieskau was on the road to meet him. The firing was heard at Lake George, and then the alarmed commander began in earnest to raise defenses, by forming a breast-work of trees, and mounting two cannon which he had fortunately received from Fort Edward the day before, when his men thus employed should have been sent out to reenforce the retreating regiment. Three hundred were, indeed, sent out, but were totally inadequate. They met the flying English, and, joining in the retreat, hastened back to the camp, closely pursued by the French. A short distance from Williams's Rock is a small, slimy, bowl-shaped pond, about three hundred feet in diameter, and thickly covered with the leaves of the water-lily. It is near the battle-ground where Williams and his men were slain, and the French made it the sepulcher for the slaughtered Englishmen. Tradition avers that for many years its waters bore a bloody hue,
dream?” “Me dream that coat be mine.” “It is yours,” said the shrewd baronet. Not long afterward Sir William visited the sachem, and he too had a dream. “Brother,” he said, “I dreamed last night.” “What did my pale-faced brother dream?” asked Hendrick. “I dreamed that this tract of land was mine,” describing a square bounded on the south by the Mohawk, on the east by Canada Creek, and north and west by objects equally well known. Hendrick was astonished. He saw the enormity of the request, but was not to be outdone in generosity. He sat thoughtfully for a moment, and then said, “Brother, the land is yours, but you must not dream again.” The title was confirmed by the British government, and the tract was called the Royal Grant.—Simms's Schoharie County, p. 124.
* Colonel Ephraim Williams was born in 1715, at Newton, Massachusetts. He made several voyages to Europe in early life. Being settled at Stockbridge when the war with France, in 1740, commenced, and possessed of great military talent, he was intrusted with the command of the line of Massachusetts forts on the west side of the Connecticut River. He joined General Johnson, at the head of a regiment, in 1755, and, as we have seen, fell while gallantly leading his men against the enemy. By his will, made before joining Johnson, he bequeathed his property to a township west of Fort Massachusetts, on the condition that it should be called Williamstown, and the money used for the establishment and maintenance of a free school. The terms were complied with, and the school was afterward incorporated (1793) as a college. Such was the origin of Williams's College. Colonel Williams was forty years old at the time of his death