Category Archives: Indians

Connecticut River and New England Natives, ritualistic landscapes, sacred stones, old trails, you name it.

Great Beaver Tale Evolves

The ancient, indigenous Great Beaver Tale about the origin of Deerfield’s Pocumtuck Range has changed dramatically since 1890, when East Charlemont antiquarian Phinehas Field’s 105-word, 1871 description was published in Volume 1 of History and Proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association (1870-79). Soon after that bare-bones account by a white Christian man of deep Puritan […]

Sugarloaf Beaver Tale All Began In 1871 With Phinehas Field And The PVMA

A venerable, solemn Phinehas Field is displayed in the formal, sketched portrait accompanying his online Find A Grave profile. A man who volunteered for Civil War service after his 60th birthday, Field had, by the time of this formal portrait, served many years as deacon of the Charlemont Congregational Church and lived a distinguished, pious life. Phinehas […]

Mishebeshu In Montague?

An underwater panther in Montague? Well, bear with me. An adventure, indeed. Credit Acton kayaker Al Peirce with the interesting May 20 discovery, made while killing time awaiting takeout following his maiden Deerfield River paddle. Launching from Montague, across from the Deerfield’s dangerous Connecticut River confluence located between the General Pierce and bicycle-path bridges, Peirce had maneuvered […]

What Was Canterbury of Early Hatfield/Whately?

Canterbury came into existence as a place between places in early Hatfield-Deerfield lore, a perilous no-man’s land where only the brave dared linger, even then on high alert.Thus the confusion about the specifics of this place, named in the early days of Hatfield, that ultimately became the northeast corner of Whately. No one is certain […]

Shad Traps

It’s April, the month that ushers in our annual Connecticut River American shad-spawning run, a natural phenomenon that has for millennia pulled valley people – be they ancient, indigenous villagers, colonial families and commercial fishermen, or contemporary sportfishermen and women – to advantageous May fishing sites. So, what better for a longtime observer of this […]

Valley Fishing Calendar Has Changed Little Since Colonial Days

Friend Peter Thomas is back at it, nose to the grindstone. The good doctor of anthropology and archaeology is at his core an historian. These days the retired author of In the Maelstrom of Change: The Indian Trade and Cultural Process in the Middle Connecticut River Valley, 1635-1665 is photographically digitizing the Sylvester Judd Manuscripts at Northampton’s Forbes Library […]

War-Club Speculation

Scholar Marge Bruchac filled the house. Standing room only for her January 26 presentation that kicked off Historic Deerfield’s three-legged Winter Lecture Series, “Captivated: Histories and Legacies of the 1704 Raid on Deerfield.” Who said the Happy Valley doesn’t give a hoot about our indigenous past? Deerfield Academy security officials would beg to differ. They had to bar the doors at […]

The Curious Case of Capt. William Turner’s Bones

There is but one published account documenting for posterity the tease that human bones unearthed by Judge Francis M. Thompson in the Greenfield Meadows could have been those of “Falls Fight” commander Capt. William Turner. Lucy Cutler Kellogg, on page 1,400 of her three-volume History of Greenfield, 1900-1929 (1931), wrote of her fellow historian and […]

North Parish Memories Fading Fast

Memories fade over time, and a half-century is a long of time in the local-history realm. Thus, I suppose it should come as no surprise that recollections of Greenfield’s old Nash’s Mills neighborhood at the beginning of Leyden Road are quickly sliding into oblivion. The church, the dam, the pond and other buildings did, after […]

New Look At Falls Fight Retreat Path

How about a couple of new twists to a centuries-old tale – one bringing in natural history, another introducing a largely forgotten waterfall that vanished in the name of progress and interstate highways? Today’s discussion is centered around the fabled “Falls Fight” of May 19, 1676, a surprise attack that turned King Philip’s War in […]

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