DISCOVERY AND OCCUPATION.
Jacques Cartier's Discovery -- Events Leading to Civilized Occupation --Abandonment of the Early Explorations -- Changes Ushered in with the Fifteenth Century -- John Cabot's Explorations -- His Immediate Successors -- European Claimants for the Territory of the New World -- Cartier's Renewed Discoveries- "New France " -- Other French Explorers -- Samuel de Champlain -- His Discovery of the Lake which Bears His Name -- His Battle with the Iroquois -- Henry Hudson's Discoveries -- Settlement of the Dutch on Manhattan Island.
PROBABLY the first European to gaze upon the green peaks of Vermont was the French navigator, Jacques Cartier. On the 2d of October, 1535, he was conducted by an Indian chief to the summit of Mount Real, which now overlooks the city of Montreal, and there "in that bright October sun" was opened to his enraptured gaze the beautiful country for many miles around. Before him the mighty St. Lawrence, coming solemnly from an unknown land, rolled on majestically toward the ocean; the distant horizon was bounded by the lofty mountains of Vermont, crowned with perpetual verdure; while illimitable forests, robed in the gorgeous hues of autumn, were spread out before him in every direction. Donnacona, the Indian king who conducted him to the summit of the mountain, informed him that he might sail westward on the great river for three moons-passing through several immense lakes--
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without reaching its source; that the river had its origin in a sea of fresh water to which no limits were known. Far to the southwest, he continued, there was another great river,[Note 1].which ran through a country where there was no ice or snow; to the north, there was an inland sea of salt water,[Note 2]. extending to a region of perpetual ice, while southward there were rivers and smaller lakes, penetrating a beautiful and fertile country, belonging to a powerful and warlike nation called the Iroquois-including within its limits the present territory of Addison county. Before we proceed to the narration of the historic events directly connected with this locality, however, we will turn back and briefly review the events which led to its discovery and subsequent civilized occupation.
The first Europeans to visit the shores of New England were a party of hardy, adventurous Norwegians. According to the Icelandic sagas, in the spring of A. D. 986 Eric the Red emigrated from Iceland to Greenland, and formed a settlement there. In 994 Biarne, the son of Heriulf Bardson, one of the settlers who accompanied Eric, returned to Norway and gave an account of discoveries he had made to the south of Greenland. On his return to Greenland, Leif, the son of Eric, bought Biarne's ship, and in the year 1000, with a crew of thirty-five men, embarked on a voyage of discovery. After sailing some time to the southwest, they fell in with a country covered with slaty rock and destitute of good qualities, and which, therefore, they called Helluland, or Slateland, corresponding with the present territory of Labrador. They then continued southerly until they found a low, flat coast, with the country immediately back covered with wood, whence they called it Markland, or Woodland, and which is now known as Nova Scotia. From here they sailed south and west until they arrived at a promontory which stretched to the east and north, and sailing round it, turned to the west, and sailing westward passed between an island and the main land and "entered a bay through which flowed a river." Here they concluded to winter-at the head of Narragansett Bay, in Rhode Island. Having landed, they built a house to winter in, and called the place Leifsbuthir, or Leif's Booth; but subsequent to this they discovered an abundance of vines, whence they named the country Vinland, or Vineland, which thus became the original name of the territory now included within the limits of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Other discoverers and navigators followed this expedition, attempts at colonization were made, and the country was explored, in some localities, quite a distance back from the coast; but dissensions among themselves and wars with the savages at length put an end to these rude attempts at civilization, and except a few Icelandic sagas, and a runestone found here and there throughout the territory, marking a point of discovery, or perhaps the grave of some unhappy Northman, the history of these explorations is wrapt in oblivion. Even
[Note 1]. The Ohio. [Note 2]. Hudson Bay
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the colonies which had been established in Greenland were at length abandoned, and the site upon which they flourished became, for many years, forgotten. Finally, however, the fifteenth century was ushered in, marking an era of great changes in Europe. It put an end to the darkness of the Middle Ages; it witnessed the revival of learning and science, and the birth of many useful arts, among which not the least was printing. The perfection of the mariner's compass by Flavio Gioja, the Neapolitan sailor, in the preceding century, having enabled sailors to go out of sight of land with impunity, a thirst for exploring unknown seas was awakened. Long voyages were undertaken and important discoveries made.
It was during this age of mental activity and growing knowledge that this great continent became known to Southern Europe, a discovery accidentally made in a quest of a westerly route to India and China. A little before sunrise on the 3d of August, 1492, the Genoese, Christopher Columbus, set out on a voyage of discovery under the patronage of the Spanish power. A little before midnight, on the 13th of October, he descried a light on the island of San Salvador. From this moment properly dates the complete history of America. From this time forward its progress bears date from a definite period, and is not shrouded in darkness nor the mists of tradition. During the ages which preceded this event no grander country in all respects ever awaited the advance of civilization and enlightenment. With climate and soil diversified between almost the widest extremes; with thousands of miles of ocean shores indented by magnificent harbors to welcome the world's commerce; with many of the largest rivers of the globe intersecting and draining its territory and forming natural commercial highways; with a system of lakes so grand in proportions as to entitle them to the name of inland seas; with mountains, hills and valleys laden with the richest minerals and almost exhaustless fuel; and with scenery unsurpassed for grandeur, it needed only the coming of the Caucasian to transform a continent of wilderness, inhabited by savages, into the free, enlightened republic which is to-day the wonder and the admiration of the civilized world.
Early in the wake of those frail caravels, the Mina, Pinta and Santa Maria, came other adventurous bands of navigators. The first of these was the Venetian sailor, John Cabot, who was commissioned by Henry VII, of England, in 1497, to voyage to the new territory and take possession of it in the name of England. He discovered Newfoundland and portions adjacent. In 1500 the coast of Labrador and the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence were explored by two brothers from Portugal, named Cortereal. In 1508 Aubert discovered the St. Lawrence, and four years later, in 1512, Ponce de Leon discovered Florida. Magellan, the Portuguese navigator, passed through the straits which now bear his name in 1519, and was the first to circumnavigate the globe. In 1534 Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence as far as Montreal, and five years later Fernando de Soto explored Florida. In 1578 an English navigator
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named Drake discovered Upper California. Thus, in less than a century after the landing of Columbus, the different maritime powers of Europe were in active competition for the rich prizes supposed to exist in the New World.
While the Spaniards were pushing their acquisitions in the South, the French had gained a foothold in the northern part of the continent. Here the cod fisheries of Newfoundland, and the prospects of a more valuable trade in furs, opened as early as the beginning of the sixteenth century by Frenchmen, Basques, Bretons and Normans, held out the most glowing inducements. In 1518 Baron Livy settled there (Newfoundland), and in 1524 Francis I, of France, sent thither Jean Verrazzani, a noted Florentine mariner, on a voyage of exploration. He sailed along the coast 2,100 miles in the frail vessels of the period, and returned safely to his country. On his coast voyage he entered a large harbor, which is supposed to have been that of New York, where he remained fifteen days, and is believed to have been the first European to land on the soil of the State of New York. He proceeded north as far as Labrador and gave the whole region the name of New France, thus opening the way for the future contest between France and England.
Jacques Cartier, the French navigator whom we introduced at the opening of this chapter, was born at St. Malo in 1494, and was commissioned by the same French king, Francis I, and put in command of an expedition to explore the New World. After celebrating impressive religious ceremonies, as was the custom at that period before beginning any important undertaking, on the 20th of April, 1534, Cartier sailed from St. Malo with two vessels and with upwards of two hundred men. He touched first the coast of Newfoundland, and then sailing northward passed through the Strait of Belle Isle, landing on the coast of Labrador, where he took formal possession of the country in the name of his sovereign. Continuing his voyage he followed the coast of Newfoundland, making landings at various points and holding friendly intercourse with the natives; at Gaspe Bay he persuaded a chief to permit his two sons to accompany him on his return to France; here also he planted a cross with the French arms upon it, and thence sailed northeast through the Gulf of St. Lawrence and entered the river of that name north of what is now called Anticosti Island. As he sailed up the broad stream on St. Lawrence day (August 10), he applied to the river the name of the illustrious saint whose memory is perpetuated by that day. Here, unaware that he had discovered the mouth of a noble river, and anxious to avoid the autumnal storms, he turned his prow towards France, and on September 5, 1534, he entered the harbor of St. Malo. The succeeding year, 1535, having, under the command of the king, fitted up a fleet of three vessels and organized a colony, to a large extent composed of the younger members of the French nobility, Cartier again sailed from France, empowered by the authority of the king to occupy and colonize the country he had discovered, and to which he gave the name of New France. Arriving
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at the mouth of the St. Lawrence in July he sailed up its majestic course to where the St. Charles (to which he gave the name of St. Croix) enters it near the present site of Quebec, and cast anchor on the 14th of September. Here he was entertained by Donnacona, a prominent chieftain, with the utmost hospitality, and through the aid of the two young Indians, who had returned with Cartier, was enabled to indulge in considerable conversation with the royal savage. From this point he made several expeditions, the most important one being up the river to a large Huron Indian town bearing the name of Hochelaga, on the site of the present city of Montreal. To a prominent eminence back of the town Cartier gave the name of Mont Real (Royal Mountain), hence the name of the modern city. This was the most important town of a large Indian population; they possessed the country for a long distance up and down the river from that point, and appeared to be a thrifty, industrious people, living at peace among themselves and with adjoining tribes. Cartier found them kindly disposed toward him, and received numerous substantial evidences of their hospitality and confidence, to the extent of being permitted to take away with him a little Huron girl, a daughter of one of the chiefs, who "lent her to him to take to France." Though their town was palisaded plainly for the purpose of protection against enemies, he saw before him the open fields covered with ripening corn, attesting alike the industry of the people and the fertility of the soil. His imagination reveled in dreams of conquest and power, as, standing on the lofty hill at the rear of the town, his gaze wandered along the majestic river and the beautiful scenes we have presented, and he listened to the broken story of the Indian king, of the wonders of the strange land to which he had wandered. Over all the delightful scene and his dazzling dreams was thrown the tremulous, softening influence of Indian summer time; the coming winter, with its storms and snows, was an unknown experience to the adventurer.
Returning in October to the point where his vessels were moored, called by the natives Stadacona (now the site of Quebec), Cartier made preparations to spend the winter. The result of this decision brought with it extreme suffering from the rigors of a climate to which the new-comers were wholly unaccustomed, augmented by the affliction of the scurvy, from which disease twenty-five of his men died. The bitter experiences of this winter of 1535-36 on the Isle of Orleans (where they had constructed rude barracks) dimmed the bright hopes of the colonists, and in the spring Cartier, finding one of his vessels unfit for sea, placed his men upon the other two and prepared to return to France. Taking possession of the country with all the formal "pomp and circumstance'' of the age, he and his discouraged companions abandoned the idea of colonization, and, on the 9th of May; 1536, sailed for France. The day before his departure Cartier invited Donnacona and eight of his chiefs to partake of a feast on board his ship. The invitation was accepted, and Cartier, imitating the
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infamy of the Spanish conquerors of the southern part of the continent, treacherously sailed away with them to France as captives, where they all soon died of grief.
No further efforts at colonization were undertaken until about 1540, when Francis de la Roque, Lord of Roberval, was commissioned by the king of France with vice-royal powers to establish a colony in New France. The king's authorization of power conferred upon De la Roque the governorship of an immense extent of territory, shadowy if not illimitable in boundary, but extending in all directions from the St. Lawrence and including in its compass all of what is now New England and much of New York. In 1541 he caused to be fitted out a fleet of vessels, which sailed from St. Malo with Cartier as captain-general and pilot. When, late in August, they arrived at Stadacona, the Indians were overjoyed at their arrival, and poured on board the ships to welcome their chief, whose return they expected, relying on Cartier's promise to bring him back. They put no faith in the tale told them that he and his companions were dead; and even when shown the Huron maiden, who was to be returned to her friends, they incredulously shook their heads, and their peaceful attitude and hospitality hour by hour changed to moroseness and gradually to hostility. The first breach of faith had occurred, never to be entirely healed.
Cartier made a visit to Hochelaga, and returned thence to Stadacona. On the Isle of Orleans he erected a fort for protection during the approaching winter. Patiently waiting and watching for De la Roque, who had promised to follow him early in the season, they saw the arrival of winter and the closing of the river by ice without the vision of the hoped-for vessels.
In the spring following (1542) Cartier departed for France. He ran into the harbor of St. Johns and there met De la Roque, who was on his way to the St. Lawrence. From Cartier the viceroy heard the most discouraging accounts of the country, with details of the sufferings he and his men had endured during the preceding winter, both from the climate and the hostility of the Indians, followed by the navigator's advice that the whole expedition return to France, or sail to some other portion of the continent. This De la Roque declined to do, and ordered Cartier to return to the St. Lawrence. Cartier disobeyed this order and sailed for France. This was his last voyage; he died in 1555.
De la Roque, after his separation from Cartier, pushed on and ascended the river to above the site of Quebec, where he constructed a fort in which he spent the succeeding winter, undergoing extreme suffering from the climate. In the autumn of 1543 De la Roque returned to France, having accomplished nothing towards colonization, and learning but little of the country not already known.
This was the final breaking up of French attempts at colonization at that
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time, and nothing more was done by that nation towards settling in the new country for nearly fifty years. De la Roque, however, in 1549, with his brothers and a number of adventurers, again sailed for the St. Lawrence, but as they were never heard of afterwards, it was supposed they were lost at sea.
From 1600 and on for a few years, one M. Chauvin, having obtained a broad patent which formed the basis of a trade monopoly, carried on an extensive fur trade with the natives, resulting in establishing numerous small but thrifty settlements; but the death of the organizer caused their abandonment.
The year 1603 was signalized by the initiatory steps that resulted in the final settlement of the French in the region of the St. Lawrence. M. Aylmer de Chastes, governor of Dieppe, stimulated by the commercial success that had followed the efforts of Chauvin and others, obtained a charter to establish settlements in New France, and organized a company of Rouen merchants, the existence of which becomes of paramount historic importance as having introduced to the field of his later great work Samuel de Champlain, discoverer of the lakes and the territory of which this history treats, and the real founder of New France, as well as the most illustrious of those who guided its destinies.
"Champlain was born in 1567, at Brouage, a seaport situated on the Bay of Biscay. Addicted to an intercourse with the sea by the associations of his boyhood, near the most tempestuous waters of western Europe, he gratified his instincts by a connection at an early age with the Royal Marine of his native country. Although a Catholic by birth and sentiment, he followed in the civil wars of France the banner of Navarre. When that cause had triumphed he received a pension from the gratitude of his liberal but impoverished leader. Too active and ardent to indulge in the relaxations of peace, he conceived the design of a personal exploration of the colonial possessions of Spain, and to thus obtain a knowledge of their condition and resources, which was studiously veiled from the world by the jealous policy of that government. His scheme was sanctioned by the wise and sagacious head of the French administration. Through the influence of a relative in that service Champlain secured the command of a ship in the Spanish West India fleet. This singular position, not, perhaps, in perfect accordance with modern conceptions of professional honor, occupied two years, and when he returned to France his mind was stored with the most valuable information, and his journal, laded with the results of the keen observation of the regions he had visited, was quaintly illustrated by his uncultivated pencil."[Note 1].
Champlain must have been born with the uncontrollable instinct of investigation and desire for knowledge of the material world that has always marked the great explorers. He made a voyage (1599), landed at Vera Cruz, penetrated to the city of Mexico and visited Panama. More, his journal shows that he conceived the idea of a ship canal across the isthmus by which "the voyage
[Note 1]. Watson's Essex County
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to the South Sea might be shortened by more than fifteen hundred leagues."
At the request of De Chastes, Champlain was commissioned by the king lieutenant-general of Canada (a name derived, it is supposed, "from the Huron word Kan-na-ta, signifying a collection of cabins, such as Hochelaga."[Note 1]). He sailed from the port of Honfleur in March, 1603, in a single vessel, commanded by a skilled navigator named Pont-Grevé.
They arrived at the mouth of the St. Lawrence some time in May, and ascended the river as far as Stadacona, where they anchored. From this point Champlain sent Pont-Grevé upon an expedition up the river to above the Lachine Rapids. At Hochelaga he found, instead of the palisaded city described by Cartier, nothing indicating that the locality had ever been thickly populated. A few scattered bodies of Indians, of a different nation from those met by Cartier, who evinced the greatest wonder and interest in the new-comers, were all that he saw. These natives gave Pont-Grevé much information relative to the regions of the south and west, and other intelligence of a nature to fill the mind of the explorer with the wildest dreams of conquest and empire.
Without enacting more extended measures towards colonization and settlement than making a few brief expeditions of exploration, Champlain in the autumn returned to France; he found that in his absence his patron, De Chastes, had died, and that the concessions and privileges of the latter had been transferred to M. Pierre de Gast, the Sieur de Monts. Though a Protestant, the latter had secured additional favors from the royal hand, covering broad commercial rights, with vice-regal authority over a section of the new country extending from Philadelphia, or its site, on the south, to the forty-sixth parallel on the north, and from the sea shore on the east to an indefinite limit on the west.
Again, in the spring of 1604, Champlain sailed with four vessels, bringing with him a number of people intended to colonize the grants. They landed first at Nova Scotia, and remained there long enough to establish the beginning of a settlement, and, towards autumn, De Monts returned to France and left Champlain to explore the coast to the south as far as his grant extended. Champlain remained for some time at this point, pushing forward his settlement, and exploring the surrounding country, carrying out his employer's instructions to the extent of sailing along the coast as far south as Cape Cod. In 1607 he returned to France.
Expressing to De Monts his belief that the better site for establishing the seat of the proposed new empire would be a point on the St. Lawrence River, some distance from the sea coast, he was sent with Pont-Grevé and a number of colonists, in 1608, to Stadacona, and there founded Quebec (a name of Indian derivation). There houses were built and agricultural operations begun.
[Note 1]. Lossing.
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In 1609 Champlain, who had secured the friendship of the Montagnais Indians, or Montagners, engaged to assist them in an expedition against their enemies, the Iroquois. It is probable that he was partly incited to his action by desire to extend his knowledge of the country, and to widen his sphere of influence. They were joined by a number of Hurons and Algonquins, and in May proceded in canoes up the Sorel to the Chambly Rapids.
The Indians had told Champlain that the country they wished to conquer was thickly settled; that to reach it they must pass by a waterfall, thence into another lake, from the head of which there was a carrying-place to a river, which flowed towards the sea coast. This course of their intended march is clearly understood to-day as leading up Lake Champlain to Ticonderoga, thence up the outlet of Lake George past the falls, thence through Lake George to the Hudson River.
I left the rapid of the said river of the Iroquois, says Champlain in his journal, on the 2d of July. All the savages began carrying their canoes, arms and traps, overland about a league and a half, to avoid the current and force of the rapid. This was quickly effected.
They immediately launched the canoes into the water, two men in each with their baggage, whilst one of the men went by land about a league and a half; which was the probable extent of said rapid, though not so violent as at the foot, except at some points where rocks obstructed the river, which is no more than three or four hundred paces wide. After the rapid was passed, though not without trouble, all the Indians who had gone by land over a pretty good road and level country, though covered with timber, re-embarked in their canoes. My men were also on land and on the water in a canoe. They reviewed all their force and found twenty-four canoes with sixty men. After having completed the review, we continued our journey as far as an island three leagues long, covered with the finest pines I ever beheld. They hunted and caught some wild animals there. Passing thence about three leagues farther on, we camped in order to rest for the night.
Forthwith some began to cut down timber; others to pull off bark to cover lodges to shelter them; others to fall large trees with which to barricade their lodges on the shore. They know so well how to construct these barricades, that five hundred of their enemies would find considerable difficulty in forcing them in less than two hours, without loss. They do not fortify the side of the river along which their canoes are ranged, so as to be able to embark should occasion require.
After they had camped, they dispatched three canoes with good men, as is their custom at all their encampments, to reconnoitre within two or three leagues, if they see anything, after which they retire. They depend the whole night on the exploration of the van guard, which is a bad habit of theirs. For sometimes their enemies surprise asleep, and kill them without having an opportunity of recovering their feet to defend themselves.
Remarking that, I remonstrated with them against the error they committed; told them to watch, as they saw us do,1 all night, and to have out-posts to spy and see if they could perceive anything; and not to live in that style, like cattle. They told me they couldn't watch, and that they labored all day hunting. So that when they go to war they divide their force into three, to-wit: one party, scattered in divers places, hunting; another forms the main body, which is always under arms; and another party as a van guard, to scout along the river and see whether they will not discover some trail or mark indicating the passage of friends or enemies. This they ascertain by certain marks the chiefs of one nation give to those of another, which are not always alike; notifying each other from time to time when they alter any.
_________< P>[[Note 1]. Champlain was accompanied by two other Frenchmen
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By this means they recognize whether those who have passed are friends or enemies. The hunters never hunt in advance of the main body or the scouts, so as not to create any alarm or disorder; but in the rear and in the direction where they do not apprehend enemies. They thus continue until they are two or three days' journey from the foe, when they advance stealthily by night, all in a body, except the scouts, and retire by day into the picket fort where they repose, without wandering abroad, making any noise or building a fire, even for cooking, during that time, so as not to be discovered, should their enemies happen to pass. The only fire they make is, to smoke. They eat dried Indian meal which they steep in water like porridge. They prepare this meal for use when they are pinched, and when they are near the enemy, or when retreating; after their attacks they do not amuse themselves hunting, retreating precipitately.
We left next day, continuing our route along the river as far as the mouth of the lake. Here a number of beautiful but low islands, filled with very fine woods and prairies, a quantity of game and wild animals, such as stags, deer, fawns, roebucks, bears and other sorts of animals that come from the mainland to the said islands. We caught a quantity of them. There is also quite a number of beavers, as well in the river as in several other streams which fall into it. These parts, though agreeable, are not inhabited by any Indians, in consequence of their wars. They retire from the rivers as far as possible, deep into the country, in order not to be so soon discovered.
Next day we entered the lake, which is of considerable extent; some fifty or sixty leagues, where I saw four beautiful islands, ten, twelve and fifteen leagues in length formerly inhabited, as well as the Iroquois rivers, by Indians, but abandoned since they have been at war the one with the other. Several rivers, also, discharge into the lake, surrounded by a number of fine trees similar to those we have in France, with a quantity of vines handsomer than any I ever saw; a great many chestnuts, and I had not yet seen except the margin of the lake, where there is a large abundance of fish of divers species.
Continuing our route along the west side of the lake, contemplating the country, I saw on the east side very high mountains capped with snow. I asked the Indians if these parts were inhabited? They answered me yes, and that they were Iroquois, and that there were in those parts beautiful valleys, and fields fertile in corn as good as I had ever eaten in the country, with an infinitude of other fruits, and that the lake extended close to the mountains, which were, according to my judgment, fifteen leagues from us. I saw others to the south, not less high than the former; only that they were without snow.
At nightfall we embarked in our canoes to continue our journey, and as we advanced very softly and noiselessly, we encountered a war party of Iroquois on the 29th of the month, about ten o'clock at night, at the point of a cape which puts into the lake on the west side. They and we began to shout, each seizing his arms. We withdrew towards the water and the Iroquois repaired on shore, and arranged all their canoes, the one beside the other, and began to hew down trees with villainous axes, which they sometimes got in war, and others of stone, and fortified themselves very securely.
Our party, likewise, kept their canoes arranged the one along side the other, tied to poles so as not to run adrift, in order to fight all together should need be. We were on the water about an arrow-shot from their barricades.
When they were armed and in order, they sent two canoes from the fleet to know if their enemies wished to fight, who answered they desired nothing else; but that just then there was not much light, and that we must wait for day to distinguish each other, and they would give us battle at sunrise. This was agreed to by our party. Meanwhile the whole night was spent in dancing and singing, as well on one side as on the other, mingled with an infinitude of insults and other taunts, such as the little courage they had; how powerless their resistance
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against their arms, and that when day would break they should experience this to their ruin. Ours, likewise, did not fail in repartee; telling them they should witness the effects of arms they had never seen before; and a multitude of other speeches, as is usual at a siege of a town. After the one and the other had sung, danced and parliamented enough, day broke. My companions and I were always concealed, for fear the enemy should see us preparing our arms the best we could, being, however, separated, each in one of the canoes belonging to savage Montagnars. After being equipped with light armor we took each an arquebus and went ashore. I saw the enemy leave their barricade; they were about two hundred men, of strong and robust appearance, who were coming slowly towards us, with a gravity and assurance which greatly pleased me, led on by three chiefs. Ours were marching in similar order, and told me that those who bore three lofty plumes were the chiefs, and that there were but these three and they were to be recognized by those plumes, which were considerable longer than those of their companions, and that I must do all I could to kill them. I promised to do what I could, and that I was very sorry they could not clearly understand me, so as to give them the order and plan of attacking their enemies, as we should undoubtedly defeat them all; but there was no help for that; that I was very glad to encourage them and to manifest to them my good will when we should be engaged.
The moment we landed they began to run about two hundred paces towards their enemies who stood firm, and had not yet perceived my companions who went into the bush with some savages. Ours commenced calling me in a loud voice, and making way for me, opened in two and placed me at their head, marching about twenty paces in advance, till I was within thirty paces of the enemy. The moment they saw me they halted, gazing at me and I at them. When I saw them preparing to shoot at us, I raised my arquebus, and aiming directly at one of the three chiefs, two of them fell to the ground by this shot and one of their companions received a wound of which he died afterwards. I had put four balls in my arquebus. Ours, on witnessing a shot so favorable for them, set up such tremendous shouts that thunder could not be heard: and yet, there was no lack of arrows on one side and the other. The Iroquois were greatly astonished seeing two men killed so instantaneously, notwithstanding they were provided with arrow-proof armor of woven cotton thread and wood. This frightened them very much. Whilst I was re-loading, one of my companions in the bush fired a shot, which so astonished them anew, seeing their chiefs slain, that they lost courage, took to flight and abandoned the field and their fort, hiding themselves in the depths of the forest, whither pursuing I killed some others. Our savages also killed several of them and took ten or twelve prisoners. The rest carried off the wounded. Fifteen or sixteen of ours were wounded by arrows; they were promptly cured.
After having gained the victory they amused themselves plundering Indian corn and meal from the enemy; also their arms which they had thrown away in order to run the better. After having feasted, danced and sung, we returned three hours afterwards with the prisoners.
The place where this battle was fought is in forty-three degrees some minutes latitude, and I named it Lake Champlain.
Authorities differ with regard to the exact location of the scene of this battle, the first of a long series that were to consecrate the locality with the blood of three contending powers. The prevailing opinion has been that it occurred near, if not directly upon, the promontory afterwards occupied by Fort Ticonderoga; but we are inclined to agree with Hon. John Strong, who places it on Sandy Point, directly opposite the town of Addison. After the battle, it is recorded, Champlain and his men retreated across the lake, where they remained until the latter part of the day before continuing their journey. This, if the view suggested be correct, would place them upon Chimney Point, in the southern part of the present town of Addison.
page 47 DISCOVERY AND OCCUPATION.
Here it was, then, in Addison county, that the lake which was destined to be the theatre of such great events in the history of our country, was christened; for the wording of Champlain's journal clearly indicates that it was not until just after this battle that he named the lake, i. e., "The place where the battle was fought is in forty-three degrees some minutes latitude, and I named it Lake Champlain "[Note 1].
Thus came the first white man upon the soil of the territory of which we write, and thus, from the 30th day of July, 1609, dates the period of its history. Previous to this date there is not even the uncertainties of tradition to tell us of its aboriginal occupants-though it undoubtedly did have at one time an Indian population, while the course of Otter Creek was from time immemorial, according to Indian tradition, a favorite pathway of travel. Champlain found the northern Indians, or the Montagners, engaged in a bloody war with the powerful Iroquois, and hence he says of the country bordering the lake: "These parts, though agreeable, are not inhabited by any Indians in consequence of their wars." How long these wars had been in progress it is impossible to state with any degree of accuracy; but certainly for a generation or more. The Algonquins, though the most numerous, lacked the strength of unity, their population being spread over so large an amount of territory, and they were thus generally getting the worst of the contest. It is little wonder then that they hailed with delight this new weapon which the white men brought, armed with which they could, for a time, win victory on any field.
Previous to the formation of the Iroquois Confederacy each of the five nations composing it was divided into five tribes. When the union was established, each tribe transferred one-fifth of its members to every other nation than its own. The several tribes thus formed were named as follows: Tortoise, Wolf, Bear, Beaver, Deer, Potato, Snipe, Heron. The Snipe and Heron correspond with the Great and Little Plover, and the Hawk with the Eagle of the early French writers. Some authors of repute omit the name of the Potato tribe altogether. These tribes were formed into two divisions, the second subordinate to the first, which was composed of the four first named. Each tribe constituted what may be called a family, and its members, who were all considered brothers and sisters, were also brothers and sisters of the members of all the other tribes having the same device. It will be seen that an indissoluble bond was thus formed by the ties of consanguinity, which was still further strengthened by the marriage relation. It was held to be an abomination for two persons of the same tribe to intermarry; every individual family must therefore contain members from at least two tribes. The child belonged to the tribe, or clan, of the mother, not to the father, and all rank, titles and posses-
[Note 1]. The Abenaqui Indians called the lake "Pe-ton-bon-que," that is, "The Waters that lie Between," viz., them and the Iroquois. The Iroquois called it "Caniaderi-guar-unte," that is, "The Lake that is the Gate of the Country." The Dutch and English called it "Corlear," after the celebrated Dutchman of Schenectady, who went down the lake in 1665, and was drowned near Fort Cassin.
page 48 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
sions passed through the female line. The chief was almost invariably succeeded by a near relative, and always on the female side; but if these were unfit, then a council of the tribe chose a successor from among remoter kindred, in which case he was nominated by the matron of the late chief's household. The choice was never made adverse to popular will. Chiefs and sachems held their offices only through courteous, winning behavior and their general good qualities and good conduct. There was another council of a popular character, in which any one took part whose age and experience qualified him to do so; it was merely the gathered wisdom of the nation. The young warriors also had their council; so, too, did the women. All the government of this "remarkable example of an almost pure democracy in government"[Note 1] was exercised through councils, which were represented by deputies in the councils of the sachems. In this peculiar blending of individual, tribal, national and federal interests lies the secret of that immense power which for more than a century resisted the hostile efforts of the French; which caused them for nearly a century to be alike courted and feared by the contending French and English colonies, and enabled them to exterminate or subdue their neighboring Indian nations, until they were substantially dictators of the continent, gaining them the title of "The Romans of the New World."
While the Iroquois Indians were superior in mental capacity and less improvident than the Algonquins and other nations, there is little indication that they were ever inclined to improve the conditions in which they were found by the Europeans. They were closely attached to their warrior and hunter life; hospitable to friends, but ferocious and cruel to their enemies; of no mean mental capacity, but devoting their energies to the lower, if not the lowest forms of enjoyment and animal gratification; they had little regard for the marriage tie, and lasciviousness and unchastity were the rule; their dwellings, even among the more stationary tribes, were rude, their food gross and poor, and their domestic habits and surroundings unclean and barbaric; their dress was ordinarily of skins of animals, until the advent of the whites, and was primitive in character; woman was degraded into a mere beast of burden; while they believed in a supreme being, they were powerfully swayed by superstition, incantations by "medicine men," dreams and the like; their feasts were exhibitions of debauchery and gluttony.
Evidences of an Indian occupation are occasionally met with in the county even at this late day, as the plow sometimes turns up relics in the form of spear and arrow-heads, stone axes, etc. These relics have been found in large quantities along the borders of the lake, Otter Creek, Lemon Fair and other streams, and among them specimens of pottery and domestic implements. Upon the Cutts farm, on the lake shore in Orwell, there is a place where they manufactured their arrow-heads from a kind of flinty stone obtained in the
[Note 1] Lossing.
page 49 DISCOVERY AND OCCUPATION.
vicinity. Large piles of the fragments produced in working out these arrow-heads are yet to be seen. Another manufactory of these implements may be seen on Mount Independence [Note 1]. An interesting specimen of their pottery was unearthed in Middlebury in 1820. It is an urn or pot capable of holding about twenty quarts, and appears to have been made from pulverized granite and clay, baked but unglazed.
Some of the tribes composing the confederacy of the Iroquois emigrated to Canada at an early day, allying with the French in their war against the British. These Indians have repeatedly, even up to a comparatively recent date, presented claims against Vermont for lands lying along the eastern shore of the lake. In 1798 the Legislature met at Vergennes, and during its session was waited upon by a committee of Indians bearing a petition signed by twenty chiefs, representing, as they said, "the seven nations of Lower Canada Indians." This petition, setting forth their grievances, asked for $89,600 in restitution for "all that tract of land lying northerly of a straight line from Ticonderoga to the great falls of Otter Creek [Sutherland Falls], from thence to be continued to the top of the Green Mountains, thence along said mountains which divide the water that runs into the Connecticut River and the water that flows into Lake Champlain and Mississquoi River, to the latitude of forty-five degrees." Among the tribes represented were the Abenaquis and Cognahwaghahs. The latter originally formed a part of the Mohawks, but revolted from that tribe, joined the French, and settled at the Sault St. Louis, above Montreal. If they had any claim it must have been under the Iroquois title; while the Abenaquis "claimed under the title of that nation who once inhabited the whole country east of Lake Champlain, south of the St. Lawrence, and embracing the northern part of New England. This would seem to favor the idea that the Iroquois-as Champlain represents when he discovered the lake- might then have occupied the country on its eastern border. If so, the Abenaquis must have gained possession of it, and occupied it afterwards, until they joined their brethren at St. Francis."[Note 2]. The subject of the petition was referred to a committee, who reported that the lands claimed had, in their opinion, formerly belonged to said Indians, but whether their title had ever been extinguished by purchase, conquest, dereliction of occupancy, or in any other way, they could not ascertain. The Legislature supported the Indian agents during their attendance, gave them a hundred dollars in token of friendship, and they returned to their tribes well pleased with their success, and hoping to succeed still better another season.
It is like a pathetic page from a romance to read, in Champlain's journal, that "the Iroquois were greatly astonished, seeing two men killed so instantaneously," one of whom was their noble chief; while the ingenuous acknowl-
[Note 1]. History of Orwell, by Hon. Rosewell Bottum
[Note 2]. See William's History of Vermont, ll, 282, 290.
page 50 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
edgment of Champlain, "I had put four balls in my arquebus," is a vivid testimony of how little mercy the Iroquois nations were to expect thenceforth from their northern enemies and the pale-faced race who were eventually to drive them from their domain. Still, however, if the Indians were dumbfounded when they witnessed for the first time the deadly effect of firearms, Champlain and his two companions were equally surprised by the fiendish cruelties inflicted by the Indian warriors upon their prisoners. "After proceeding about eight leagues down the lake," says Dr. Fitch in his history of Washington county, N. Y., " they landed after nightfall, and taking one of the prisoners, made a speech to him, upbraiding him with the barbarities which he and his people had perpetrated in the war, without showing mercy in any instance, and informing him that it would now devolve on him to submit to the same destiny. They then told him to sing if he had any courage; this he commenced doing, but in the most sad and dolorous tones. A fire had been previously kindled, and was now burning briskly. Each Indian took from it a brand, and commenced burning the skin of the poor creature, a little at a time, to make him suffer longer torment. Remitting this at times, they would then throw him on his back in the water. Afterward pulling off his finger-nails, they put hot ashes on the ends of his fingers. Next they tore the scalp from the top of his head and then dropped melted pitch upon the naked skull. They then pierced holes through his arms near the wrists, and with sticks drew out therefrom the sinews and nerves, forcibly pulling on them until they were rent asunder. Strange cries at times were uttered by this miserable creature; yet, during the whole of the horrid performance, he was so firm and unshaken that one would have said he did not feel any pain. The Indians urged Champlain to take a firebrand and join them in their employment. But he remonstrated with them, telling them he was unused to such cruelties -- that his people only shot at their enemies with their guns, and if they would only permit him to have one shot at the captive with his arquebus it was all he would ask. They would not consent to this, and, unable to longer endure the sight, he turned away with disgust. Perceiving his disquietude they called him back, telling him to do as he had desired. He thereupon discharged his arquebus at the sufferer with such effect that, as Charlevoix intimates in describing this scene, he had no occasion for desiring a second shot. Even now that their victim was dead they were not satisfied, but, ripping him open, they threw his entrails into the lake, and then cut off his head, arms and legs, preserving only his scalp, which they added to the number they had taken from those who had been killed in the battle. More atrocious still, they took his heart, and cutting it into a number of slices, gave a piece to one of his own brothers, and to each of the other prisoners, ordering them to eat it. These put it into their mouths, but were unable to swallow it; whereupon some of the Algonquin Indians who guarded the prisoners allowed them to spit out the whole and throw it into the water."
page 51 DISCOVERY AND OCCUPATION.
During the time of these occurrences under the leadership of Champlain, who was thus pushing southward from his embryo settlement on the St. Lawrence, other explorations were being made from the sea coast northward, the actors in which were undoubtedly impelled by the same spirit of enterprise, but exemplified in a less belligerent manner. Prominent among these, and particularly noteworthy as opening the pathway of civilization leading to the same territory towards which Champlain's expedition tended, was the exploration of the noble river that now bears the name of its discoverer, Henry Hudson. Possibly, at the time Champlain was performing these feats near the head waters of the Hudson, the English navigator was encamped less than one hundred miles below. Strange that two adventurers, in the service of different sovereigns ruling three thousand miles away, and approaching from different points of the compass, should so nearly meet in the vast forests of wild America, each exploring a part of the continent never before traversed by Europeans. Strange, too, that the vicinity where these adventurers so nearly met should, for a hundred and fifty years, be the boundary between the nations respectively represented by them, and the scene of their frequent and bloody conflicts for supremacy.
Captain Henry Hudson, though an Englishman, sailed in the interest of the Dutch East India Company. After having, in returning from a quest for the coveted northeastern passage to India, sailed along the coast of the continent from Maine to Chesapeake Bay, and, as we have intimated, ascended the river which bears his name to a point within a hundred miles of that attained by Champlain, he returned to Europe. "The unworthy monarch on England's throne, jealous of the advantage which the Dutch might derive from Hudson's discoveries, detained him in England as an English subject; but the navigator outwitted his sovereign, for he sent an account of his voyage to his Amsterdam employers by a trusty hand."[Note 1].Through the information thus furnished was established a Dutch colony on the island of Manhattan, for which a charter was granted by the States-General of Holland, bearing date October 11, 1614, in which the country was named New Netherland. Meanwhile, in 1607, the English had made their first permanent settlement at Jamestown, Va., and in 1620 planted a second colony at Plymouth Rock. These two colonies became the successful rivals of all others, of whatever nationality, in the strife that finally left them (the English) masters of the country.
On the discoveries and the colonization efforts we have briefly noted, three European powers based claims to the territory of which Addison county now forms a part. England, by reason of the discovery of Cabot, who sailed under letters patent from Henry VII, and on the 24th of June, 1497, struck the sterile coast of Labrador, and that made in the following year by his son Sebastian, who explored the coast from Newfoundland to Florida, claiming a terri-
[Note 1] Lossing.
page 52 HISTORY OF ADDISON COUNTY.
tory eleven degrees in width and extending westward indefinitely. France, by reason of the discoveries of Verrazzani, claimed a portion of the Atlantic coast; and Holland, by reason of the discovery of Hudson, claimed the country from Cape Cod to the southern shore of Delaware Bay.
From the date of the death of Champlain [Note 1].until the end of French domination in New France, the friendship established by that great explorer between the northern Indians and the French was unbroken, while at the same time it led to the unyielding hostility of the Iroquois, and especially of the Mohawks. If truces and informal peace treaties were formed between these antagonistic elements, they were both brief in tenure and of little general effect. As a consequence of this and the fact that Lakes Champlain and George were the natural highway between the hostile Indians, they became the scene of prolonged conflict and deeds of savage atrocity, which retarded settlement and devastated their borders. The feuds of the people of Europe and the malignant passions of European sovereigns arrayed the colonies of England against the provinces of France in conflicts where the ordinary ferocity of border warfare was aggravated by the relentless atrocities of savage barbarism. Each power emulated the other in the consummation of its schemes of blood and rapine. Hostile Indian tribes, panting for slaughter, were let loose along the frontier upon feeble settlements, struggling amid the dense forest with a rigorous climate and reluctant soil for a precarious existence. Unprotected mothers, helpless infancy and decrepit age were equally the victims of the torch, the tomahawk and scalping-knife. The two lakes formed portions of the great pathway (equally accessible and useful to both parties) of these bloody and devastating forays. In the season of navigation they glided over the placid waters of the lake, with ease and celerity, in the bark canoes of the Indians. The ice of winter afforded them a broad, crystal highway, with no obstruction of forest or mountain, of ravine or river. If deep and impassable snows rested upon its bosom, snowshoes were readily constructed, and secured and facilitated their march.
[Note 1]. Champlain, who is commemorated in the annals of the country he served so ably and with such fidelity as "The Father of New France," died at Quebec in December, 1635.