History From America's Most Famous Valleys
Mohawk Valley Indian Notes
Mohawk's Castles of 1634
by Frank Bogaskie
St. Johnsville Enterprise & News May - June 1937 series of articles
(Note to the reader: if you can get past the attacks on Mr. Fea, the article is informative and gives some interesting details about the location of the castles. AJ Berry)
It is now generally known throughout the Mohawk Valley that I contend that the Mohawk's villages and castles reported by Van der Bogawert in 1634 were all located upon the northerly side of the river, and I have pointed out briefly a few of the inconsistencies on the location of said villages and castles as fixed upon by our local historian, Mr. John Fea, upon the southerly side of the river. Nevertheless, it appears that Mr. Fea's locations are constantly and most enthusiastically upheld and supported even to the extent of making positive assertions.
"That the Dutch mylen of 2 ½ English miles is used in setting distances in Van der Bogaert's Journal of 1634-35, of his journey through the valley. Such measurements bring the Mohawks town of 1634, in exactly their proper places."
Upon what authority it was determined that Van der Bogaert's 'leagues' should be interpreted into fictitious "Dutch mylems of 2 1-4 English miles" we know not and neither was the authority disclosed by the originators thereof.
Upon examination of the information on distances which I have compiled I find:
That Peter Munday in his Travels of Europe, about 1640, stated, "A Dutch mile is four English miles."
In 1684 the Mohawks conveyed a tract of land above the township of Schenectady and the lands were described in part:
"Runnes westerly on both sides of the river three Dutch miles, or twelve English miles,
And a most reliable authority who explained the Dutch mylen of various periods, reported that: "The old Nederland milj was somewhat under four ordinary English or London miles."
The fact is that the Dutch mile, mylen or milj is equivalent to 3.92 English or U.S. miles; and that there were no Dutch mile, mylen or milj of 2 1-4 English or U.S. Miles.
Thurs, it appears as if the Dutch mylen of 2 1-4 U.S. miles was especially improvised and advanced as it was the most feasible measurement to fit the distances between the points where the Castles and the Villages of 1634 were fixed by Mr. Fea, and we were so positively assured that my such measurement they "all came out correctly' 'and "in exactly their proper places," and apparently this assurance was accepted. But, for the purpose of demonstrating how accurately this fictitious Dutch mylen located the sites determined by Mr. Fea, let us assume the Van der Bogaert's 'league' were Dutch mylens of 2 1-4 U.S. miles, as claimed, and we shall check the distances given with the locations fixed upon. Also, simultaneously let us point out in what manner the "landmarks" or other topographical and geographical features corresponded with the descriptions given us by Van der Bogaert, or any other facts which are in line with our historical records, either in favor of or against the sites as determined upon by Mr. Fea.
Van der Bogaert, with two companions, a Frenchman and a Dutchman, and five Mohawks departed from Fort Orange on his journey to the Mohawks and the Oneidas, on the 11th day of December 1634 and he noted in his journal for that day and the next, in part as follows:
"We went between nine and ten o'clock with five Maquaes Indians, mostly northwest above eight leagues and arrived at half past twelve in the evening at a hunter's Cabin, where we slept for the night near the stream that runs into their land is named Oyoge. The land is mostly full of fir trees and the flat land is abundant. The stream runs through their land near their "Maquase" castles, but we could not ascent it on account of the heavy freshet."
"At three hours before daybreak, we proceeded again; and after going for an hour we came to the branch that runs into our river and past the Maquase villages, where the ice drifted very fast. Jeronimus crossed first, with one savage in a canoe made of the bark of trees, because there was only room for tow; after that William and I went over; and it was so dark that we could not see each other if we did not come close together. It was not without danger. When all of us had crossed, we went another league and a half and a half and came to a hunter's cabin, which we entered to eat some venison. We went farther, and mostly along the aforesaid kill that ran very swiftly because of the freshet. And after we had been marching about eleven leagues, we arrived at one o'clock in the evening half a league from the First Castle, at a little house. We found only Indian women inside. We should have gone farther, but I could hardly move my feet because of the rough road, so we slept there. It was very cold with northerly wind."
It therefore appears that after the first hour's journey of the second day, this party arrived at the Ancient Fording Place three and one half miles westerly of Schenectady, and this is verified by the fact that they found a little bark canoe, ON THE TRAIL in which to cross the river; and Vander Bogaert clearly disclosed the great risk they assumed in crossing the river to the northerly side in the extreme darkness of the night in a bark canoe amid cakes of ice that 'drifted very fast.' The fact that they crossed the river under such trying conditions, it is convincingly evident that there was no other alternative-and a little boat was at their disposal.
At the end of the second day's journey they arrived at a little house a half league or 1.12 miles, from the First Castle, where they remained overnight.
This little house was located by Mr. Fea on the northerly side of the river directly opposite the village of Yatesville or Randall.
The total distance traveled during these two days was reported to be nineteen leagues or Dutch mylen or 42.75 U.S. miles.
As all early distances of travel are overestimated from five to ten percent, due to overhill travel, on detours to avoid swamps, rocks, fallen trees of gigantic size, and many other obstructions, which fact is conceded by all historians-thus a deduction should be made.
Let us make a computation as to the distance traveled to the "little house."
From Fort Orange to Schenectady by way of the Old Colonial road was twenty miles (correct). Since this distance is somewhat above that of today, reasonably level, over sandy soil and through pine woods, and it being also the first day of travel we should make no deduction, but, above Schenectady, the Trail was extremely rough, rocky, swampy, etc., thus on the remaining distance of 22.75 we should deduct at least ten per cent which would make a corrected distance of twenty miles-and this distance from Schenectady would locate the 'little house' one and one half miles easterly of Tribes hill.
Surely, in locating the 'little house' eleven and one half miles beyond the point fixed by the Dutch mylen figures, was so decidedly erroneous that Mr. Fea should have abandoned all his effort to locate the Mohawks villages or should have adopted another measurement.
"In the morning we went together to the castle over the ice that during 'the night had frozen on the kill, and after going half a league, we arrived at the First Castle, which is built on a high hill. There stood thirty six houses, in rows like streets so that we could nicely pass."
It is claimed by Mr. Fea and his supporters that upon departing from the 'little house' Van der Bogaert and his party crossed the river, over the ice, to the southerly side and thence proceeded to the summit of Watsontha hill, where they locate the first castle, fully tow miles instead of 1.12 miles from the little house. The distance of travel 'over the ice' was less than fifteen one hundredths of a miles, and the castle was located fully one and one half miles beyond the ice. Thus, the description that they "Went together to the castle over the ice" is completely nullified. No, the castle must be located reasonably near the ice.
Furthermore, if all the Mohawks' Castles were located upon the southerly side of the river, as claimed, why should the Mohawks on a trading expedition to Fort Orange, first cross the river to the northerly side, in the near vicinity of the First Castle, and then recross to the southerly side at the Ancient Fording Place where a canoe was maintained; and upon their return from Fort Orange to repeat reversely the same procedure of travel, when it was only necessary to travel by a south side trail, whereby they would eliminate entirely the four inconvenient laborious and dangerous crossings of the river, as well as lessening the distance by three or four miles. Surely, the five Indian guides knew the most direct and most feasible trail to their castles.
The fact is that there was no south side trail and this is confirmed by Father Pierron who informed us in 1669 in his account of the Mohawk-Mahigan battle that the Mohawk's ambuscade was laid on the rocky cliffs of Kinaquariones "from which all roads leading to the Dutch was commanded," thus the Mohawks had no settlements upon the southerly side of the river.
Furthermore, the fact that this party crossed the river from the southerly to the northerly side at the Ancient Fording Place in a little bark Canoe, through blocks of floating ice that drifted very fast and thence continuing their journey on the northerly side, mostly along the aforesaid kill (the river) that ran very swiftly because of the freshet until one o'clock in the night, when they arrived at the little house on 1.12 miles from the first castle-and they said, "we should have gone farther," that is, they should have continued on as before, walking, until they arrived at the First Castle, but as he "could hardly move his feet" they could go no farther, and for that reason they remained at the little house at one o'clock in the night
If the river was so frozen over in the morning so that it could be crossed, surely at one o'clock in the night it was in such a condition that it could not be crossed either walking or in a bark boat, so they could not go farther and the condition of his feet was immaterial.
Now, in all frankness upon the record, isn't it perfectly absurd, to say the least, to determine that this party recrossed the river to the southerly side in the morning of December 13th and upon this absurd conclusion all the castles of the Mohawks were located upon the southerly side of the river.
In the Description of New Netherlands written in 1646 by Dominie Magapolensis, minister of Rensselaerwyck, we find:
"In December it freezes so hard in one night that the ice will bear a man. Even the rivers, in still weather when there is no strong current running, are frozen over in one night, so that on the second day people walk over it."
Again, in 1669 Father Pierron informs us in his account of the Mohawk-Mahigan battle that the Mohawks pursued the Mahigans "in canoes on our river which is very swift and followed the current."
Since the weather was not still but rather very cold, with a northerly wind, with a strong current running in the river and also very swiftly "because of the freshet," it can be concluded from the historical records that the river was not frozen over in the morning and even if conditions were most favorable, a river crossing could not have been performed until the next day. In fact we know from our personal experience that it would be utterly impossible to cross the Mohawk river after a heavy rainfall which would set the ice drifting very fast, with but one night of the most intense cold weather.
Moreover, exceedingly few Indian relics have been recovered from the summit of Watsontha Hill; with the additional fact that those who have examined this summit are inclined to the opinion that this site was used by only small groups for occasional summer camping.
Surely, a site of an Indian Castle consisting of thirty six large houses, occupied from 1626 to 1635 and upwards, should disclose abundant remains so there would be no question on such a site.
The fact is that W.M. Beauchamp did not personally know, nor while he was State Archeologist, did he learn from the records of that office, that the summit of Watsontha Hill disclosed remains of aboriginal occupation, for he did not include this location in the list of sites he compiled where remains of Indian village occupation had been found.
Furthermore, the location is on "a very high hill" whereas, it was described only as on "a high hill".
"We took our departure from Onekagoncka (the First Castle) and after going for half a league over the ice we saw a village with only six houses of the name Canowarode; and after another half league we passed again a village where twelve houses stood. It was named Senatsycrosy. These were like the others, he saying they likewise were not worth while entering; and after passing by great stretches of flat land for another league or league and a half we came into Canagere. It is built on a hill. In this castle are sixteen houses, 50, 60, 70 or 80 paces long."
Mr. Fea located the village of Canowarode upon the northerly side of the river on the site now occupied by the Montgomery county home. Thus upon departing from the summit of Watsontha Hill it would be necessary to travel one and one half miles to the river; thence up the river 'over the ice' for another mile and one half, before one could arrive at a point opposite the county home, a distance of fully three miles, whereas, Mr. Fea has only 1.12 miles for the distance.
The fact is that the county home location was the site of the Castle of Canagere of 1667-1693, which Greenhalgh in 1677 stated it was on a "flatt a stone's throw from the river" and this is precisely true; and Father Pierron informed us in 1669 that the castle of Gandagaro was located "four leagues," eleven miles, from the Castle of Tionontoguen-and this is precisely the distance to a point one and three quarters miles northerly of Nelliston where the castle of Tionnontoguen was located. Thus the location of the castle of Gandagaro cannot be disputed.
Moreover, the remains recovered from the county home site confirm the period of occupancy of the Canagere Castle and they are not of a period as early as 1634.
The distance from the county home location to the village of Sprakers, the site of the village of Senatsycrosy, is one and one half miles; whereas Mr. Fea has only 1.12 miles for the distance. Of course, with an extravagant allowance on the distance, no serious objection to this location could be imposed.
The historical marker designating the site of the Castle of Canagere of 1634, is nine tenths of a mile westerly of Sprakers. The distance given, as averaged, is one and one quarter leagues, or 2.8 miles as claimed by Mr. Fea. Surely, with an overestimate of one and nine tenths miles on this short distance, it cannot be claimed that the Castle of Canagere was reasonably located, or that it "came out correctly" or "in exactly its proper place."
Van der Bogaert informed us that within this distance he passed "great stretches of flat land" and this flat land is located easterly of Nose Hill, and not westerly of Sprakers.
Moreover, a castle site of sixteen houses, 50, 60, 70 or 80 paces in length-sufficient space for two hundred families of Indians-or one thousand inhabitants-should disclose abundant remains; whereas, the fact is but exceedingly few have been recovered from this site and rarely can one be now found.
And strange as it may seem, neither the Rev. W.M. Beauchamp nor Dr. Arthur C. Parker, former State Archaeologist, had any personal knowledge of this site, nor were there any records of it in the Department of Archeology of the State of New York, for they did not include this location on their lists of sites disclosing aboriginal occupation in the valley of the Mohawk which they compiled as official records for the department and as a bulletin for distribution to all archeologists and libraries throughout the State.
The fact is that a few families of aged Mohawk Valley aborigines which the french army apparently did not consider it worth while to raid their small village in February, 1692, built a few cabins on this site the summer of 1693 and it was thereafter known as "The Second Castle" until the summer of 1700, when the Indians abandoned this site and removed to Schoharie. The site of this "second castle" was confirmed by Robert Livingston, secretary of the Commissioners of Indian Affairs when he reported in April 1700 that it was located sixteen miles westerly of the First Castle, on the banks of the Schoharie Creek, and this distance, with the usual allowance will locate the site approximately one mile westerly of Sprakers.
It is clearly evident that not a confirming fact has been produced by Mr. Fea upon which to establish the Castle of Canagere at this location. On the contrary, the determination is so decidedly erroneous that the entire outline of sites should have been completely discarded; but instead, we have a claim that the improvised "Dutch mylen" located this castle, "in exactly its proper place" and we have an historical marker confirming the claim, but it is clearly evident that we must seek elsewhere for the site of this Castle.
"We took our departure from the Second Castle, and after marching a league, came to a stream that we had to pass. This stream ran very fast; besides big cakes of ice came drifting along, for the heavy rainfall during yesterday had set the ice drifting. We were in great danger for if one of us had lost his footing it would cost us our lives; but God the Lord preserved us, and we came through safely. We were wet up to above the waist and after going for another half league we came thus wet, with our clothes, shoes and stockings frozen to us to a very high hill on which stood 32 houses, like the other ones. Some were 100, 90 or 80 paces long. This is the Third Castle and it is named Sochanidisse. Near this castle there is plenty of flat land and the wood is full of oaks and nut trees."
The distance from where the castle of Canagere was located to the Canajoharie Creek, which is claimed to be the creek this party crossed with so much danger, is two and one quarter miles and this is exactly the distance as claimed by Mr. Fea, but from the creek to where the castle is located, in the Happy Hollow section, is fully tow miles and Mr. Fea has only 1.12 miles for this distance.
Furthermore, this castle was established on a "very high hill," whereas the location is on a hill of approximately 220 feet elevation and the neighboring very high hills are from 375 to 500 feet.
It was described that "near this castle there is plenty of flat land," but its location is such that it is doubtful if there is sufficient flat land for the thirty two large cabins.
It is clearly evident that this Castle did not "come out correctly" or "in exactly its proper place," nor is the location in agreement with the land features.
"We started out very early in the morning and thought of going to the Fourth Castle, but after half a league's marching we came to a village with only nine houses, of the name of Osquage and here we saw a big stream that our guide did not dare to cross as the water was over one's head because of the heavy rainfall, so we were obliged to postpone it till the next day."
The distance from the location of the Third Castle to the village of Osquage on Prospect Hill in Fort Plain, is 1.15 miles, and Mr. Fea has only 1.12 miles, for the distance.
Former State Archeologists, W. M. Beauchamp and A.C. Parker, reported that only "recent graves and relics" have been found on this site. Thus the remains preclude the occupation of this site by aborigines in 1634.
The fact is that this was the site of the Castle of Cana-jor-ha of 1689-1715 and this period of occupancy is confirmed by the "Recent Graves and Relics."
December 20. (That is what the article says!)
"When the sun rose, we waded together through the stream; the water was over the knee, and so cold that our shoes and stockings in a short time were frozen as hard as armor and after going a half league we came to a village named Cawaoge. There stood fourteen houses. The village likewise stood on a very high hill, and after going for another league we came to the Fourth Castle, Teontoge. There were fifty five houses, some on hundred, other more or less long."
The distance from Prospect Hill to Sand Hill, where the village of Cawaoge was located, is 1.5 miles and Mr. Fea has only 1.12 miles to meet the distance. Surely the discrepancy is too excessive, but it could be allowed.
The villages of Osquage and Cawaoge were located on "very high hills" but the sites selected by Mr. Fea fall short of the requirement.
From the village of Cawoge to Oak Hill where the castle of Teontoge was located, is 1.5 miles; and Mr. Fea has a Dutch mylen, or 2.25 U.S. miles to place between the two points. With a surplus of three quarters of a mile it certainly cannot be claimed that the location of this castle was reasonably fixed.
In the list of sites disclosing aboriginal occupation in the valley of the Mohawk compiled by Former State Archeologist, the Rev. W. M. Beauchamp and Dr. Arthur C. Parker, in their official capacity from the records of their office, as well as from personal knowledge, this site is not noted on such lists. Surely a location that was unknown until within a few years.
Persons whom I have interviewed who have visited this site have informed me that it is a question if such a large village as Teontoge, fifty five large houses, ever occupied it for the remains disclose but temporary occupation and of a period later than 1634.
Prof. Douglas Ayres, Jr. of Fort Plain, a most energetic searcher for Indian remains, who, without doubt, has examined this site on many occasions within the past fifteen years and upwards, reported that this site was "historic"-that is of a period later than 1634.
It was also reported by Prof. Ayres "that Oak Hill served the Mohawks as a storage of corn," for within two hundred yards of the site of this village there are fifty corn pits.
We who are will acquainted with the contrary nature of corn positively know that it cannot be stored in a damp place for any length of time; in fact it must be first thoroughly cured in narrow slatted bins, well exposed to currents of air, for about two months. Ask any farmer.
We are advised by early writers that the aborigines stored their corn in pits in times of warfare, in order to secrete it from their enemies, and frequently upon their return to their villages they found their corn unfit for use.
Henry Hudson in 1609 reported 'boat loads of corn' at the Indian villages along the Hudson River.
We know that the Mohawks did not store their corn in pits, since Van der Bogaert in 1634 reported upwards of three hundred bushels of corn in the First Castle and at the Castle of Teontoge their "houses were full of corn and beans."
In 1689 the commissioners of Indian affairs warned and advised the Mohawks to secrete their corn in pits as they anticipated the arrival of a French army to destroy the Mohawks.
The Mohawks upon discovering a French Army advancing toward their settlements on Lake George in October, 1666, hurried with utmost speed to their castles and gave warning of the approach of the French, and until the French arrived within their settlement, they surely secreted as great a part of their winter's provisions as was in their power, and surely, the Wolves of the Castle of Teontoge transported across the river to Oak Hill great quantities of their corn and provisions which they concealed in the "fifty corn pits" which are yet in evidence-this the pits are reasonably accounted for, as well as other pits found near Indian village sites.
The French reported in 1666 that, "Our troops halted at each of these (Mohawks) villages which they found empty of men, but full or corn and provisions."
Following the destruction of the settlements of the Mohawks, the Wolves of Teontoge without doubt prepared a temporary shelter in Oak Hill, near their provisions, and remained at such location until their new castle on the northerly side of the river was ready for occupancy.
As the Castle of Teontoge was exceedingly large, "Fifty five houses, some 100, others more of fewer paces long," as reported by Van der Bogaert in 1632, requiring at the least nine acres of cleared land; thus, it is clearly evident that it was necessary for this large population to subdivide in numerous camps for the winter months, as a desired location of ample size could not readily be found in this wooded country or gigantic trees. Obviously true, for within a half mile of this purported site of Teontoge there are three other locations that disclose similar remains of like occupation. Yes, and beyond this half miles distance there are other similar sites, Surely, these facts convincingly support the above conclusions.
The three Jesuit Missionaries, Fathers, Pierron, Fremin and Bruyas upon their arrival in the Country of the Mohawks in September, 1667 reported that the Castle of Tionnontoguen "was rebuilt" a quarter of a league (about seven tenths of a mile) from the site of the same castle that the French burned last year. Was the castle of 1667 was upon the northerly side of the river, or course, we must locate the castle of 1666 and for some years prior thereto upon the same side; and from this fact we can conclude that the villages and castles that the French burned in 1666 were all located upon the northerly side.
But of course this is contrary to the conclusions advanced by other, for all claim that "The Three Castles" which the French destroyed were located upon the southerly side of the river.
The three missionaries also advised us that on September 14th, the day when peace was publicly confirmed at the Castle of Tionnontoguen, that "All the six villages of the Gannierge assembled here, men women, children and old men."
Now as our historians were unable to account for but three Castles, the conclusion was advanced that the Three Temporary Villages on the southerly side of the river, which they were occupying and the Three Castles which the Mohawks were building on the northerly side, made up the Six Villages; but this theory is completely shattered by the french map which discloses that the Kanniege rebuilt six named villages on the northerly side of the river, and we have given the names thereof in our former accounts published in the Enterprise and News.
Now, the fact is, in the Act of Possession in the name of the King of France, of the Mohawk's Forts taken by the French Army in October, 1666 it recites, in part:
"The King's troops being drawn up in battle array before the fort of Andaraque, he (DeTracy) too possession of said Forts and all the lands in the neighborhood as far and in as great a quantity as they may extend, and of the other four forts which have been conquered from the Iroquois in the name of the King and in token thereof hath planted a Cross before the door of said forts, and near this hath erected a post and to these hath affixed the King's Arms. Done at the aforesaid fort of Andarague the day and year above written."
Thus it is positively established that the Mohawks had five forts, or castles, taken and burned by the French. Obviously true, for the five forts, or castles destroyed were, Carenay, Canagere, Schantissa, Canaporha and Teontoge.
And this fact is confirmed by Greenhalgh in 1677 who reported all the above castles, excepting Schantissa, the Castle of the Beaver Tribe, who apparently joined the bear tribe upon the destruction of their Castle.
This it clearly appears that our historians have not advanced conclusions upon the sites occupied by our Mohawks as Castles next prior or subsequent to 1667 that are conformable with our historical records. The question arises, "Are the conclusions upon the Mohawks' villages and castles of 1634 derived from the same source, more dependable-
It can be positively concluded that the Mohawks passed the winter of 1666-67 in temporary shelters covered with what bark they could secure from their hunting, fishing and summer camps, and the remainder with evergreen boughs.
Van der Donck who was well acquainted with the Mohawks and their customs, informs us in his descriptions of New Netherlands published in 1654, that the Indians "On the approach of winter retire to their strong places, or into the tick woods, where they are protected from the wind, and where fuel is plenty."
Accordingly, the Mohawks would not be seriously inconvenienced in temporary shelters; but as they were at war with the Mahigans, it was absolutely essential that their villages be stockaded with the utmost speed; obviously true, for when the three missionaries arrived and Gandaouague and at Tionnontoguen, they reported the Castles enclosed (stockaded) and at the latter castle there were two swivel guns, on at each end of the town. Accordingly the Mohawks were well sheltered and fortified when the missionary arrived, for they reported no temporary shelters or huts, but cabins.
As some of the Mohawk's Castles were exceedingly large, it is most reasonable that they subdivided into a number of temporary Camps-thus these temporary sites exceed the usual villages by a goodly number. As provisions were somewhat limited, the Mohawks surely resorted to a more lavish use of fresh water clams; thus such shells would be temporary sites. Of course, all such locations are now classed as sites of Indian Villages or Small Indian villages. Accordingly it is requisite that the sites of these temporary Camps of this period, as well as of others, be determined in some manner to avoid confusion.
Van der Donck also informed us: "Near their plantations they also frequently erect small works, to secure their wives and children against the sudden eruption of the small marauding parties of their enemies." Since these 'Small Works' (Stockades) were strongly built they surely were occupied over an extended period of years, thus these sites would also disclose abundant remains. Therefore, we should find a goodly number of such sites in proximity of the river flats; for Greenhalgh in 1677, informed us that the Mohawk's corne grows close by the river side."
Van der Donck further stated: "The pidgeons are seen in such numbers in flocks, that they resemble clouds and obstruct the rays of the sun. The Indians, when they find the breeding places of the pidgeons (at which they assemble in countless thousands), frequently remove to these places with their wives and children to the number of two or three hundred in a company, where they live a month or more on the your pigeons which they take, after pushing them from their nests with poles or sticks."
As the pigeons returned to their breeding places year after year, for many elevations are known as "Pigeon Hill" we should find many sites showing considerable occupation of the character.
Furthermore in 1615 Camplain reported: "That married women and girls at certain periods resort to certain little cabins where they seclude themselves while they are affected without any companionship of men who bring them food and necessaries until their return."
And Dominie Megapolensis wrote in 1644: "That intended mothers seclude themselves in cabins away from the villages and return to their villages after the birth of a child."
It would not be unreasonable that these cabins were protected with palisades and that the women occupied themselves in making flint arrow points, as this was an extremely easy task after the knack is once acquired. Also that these cabins were sustained for the same period as the Castle remained at the same location.
Thus such sites would disclose aboriginal occupation according to its number of temporary occupants and the period of its use.
From the above historical records and facts as well as from many others that we have compiled it is convincingly evident that we should find many sites disclosing aboriginal occupation as villages in the country of the Mohawks-but all are not sites of Tribal Villages or Tribal Castles.
Thus it is extremely hazardous to our standing as an historian or as an archeologist to entertain the bug of visualization upon every site where a few clamshells, flint chips and a few other aboriginal remains are found.
Van der Bogaert upon his return journey on January 16, 1635, informs us in part: "In the morning, three hours before dawn, as the moon rose, I searched for the path, which I found at last; and because I marched so quickly I arrived about nine o'clock on the very extensive flat land. After having passed over a high hill I came to a very even footpath that had been made through the snow by the savages who had passed this way with much venison, because they had come home to their castle after hunting; and about then o'clock I saw the castle and arrived there about twelve o'clock.
This was the Castle of Tenontogehaga.
With the exception of the river flats there were no flat lands whatever within eight miles westerly of Oak Hill. Moreover, the rolling hills were so thickly wooded with gigantic trees that it would be utterly impossible to observe the castle on Oak Hill on an upland trail within tow hours' journey or at least four miles, westerly of the Oak Hill site.
Consequently it appears as if Van der Bogaert arrived on the very extensive flat lands and the very even footpath near the East Canada Creek about nine o'clock in the morning and as he was walking down the river over the ice, at ten o'clock he arrived at a point about a half mile easterly of St. Johnsville and from here he saw the castle of Teontoge in the distance on the hills; thus, his view extended down the river for about one mile and this clear view permitting him to extend his vision over the tree tops on the low land along the river for another mile and one half and thence for another mile and one half over the tree tops on slightly inclining hills to the site of the castle; and thence to more sharply rising hills beyond the castle, which apparently were denuded of trees according to the descriptions given by Van der Bogaert. The approximate walking distance was for three miles down the river over the ice; thence for a mile and one half uphill through the woods to the castle where it was located about two miles northerly of the village of Nelliston. As the distance from about East Canada Creek to the point where we have located the castle is approximately eight miles, it is evident that the distance is reasonably confirmed by the three hours required to make the journey.
Naturally this view down the river is substantially identical today to what it was in 1635, but now having less trees and of a smaller size. Nevertheless, the above facts as outlined can be fully confirmed as I have frequently made testy of this view, and of course others may do the same to satisfy themselves.
As the river from about the above point bends continually in a southerly direction with views down the open river for a mile or less, thus the hills on the northerly side are clearly exposed for extended distances; but it is utterly impossible to observe Oak Hill until we reach a point within less than a mile therefrom.
Accordingly, it is clearly evident that the Castle of Tenotoge of 1634 and for some years prior thereto was located upon the northerly side of the river-which fact will also support a conclusion that all the Mohawks villages and castles were also established upon the same side of the river, and this fact is confirmed by the Dutch maps of 1614 and 1616.
It will appear as if the claim that the sites of the Mohawks villages and castles of 1634, as fixed by Mr. Fea or claimed to have been fixed by him, and so enthusiastically and so frequently upheld by his supporters, even to the extent of advancing a positive assurance that by the improvised Dutch mylen of 2 1-4 U.S. miles brought the Mohawks town of 1634, in exactly their proper places, and also that they all came out correctly, were not sufficiently convincing for the further claim was put forth: "Regardless of the mylen figures the landmarks disclosed are in themselves enough to approximately locate the Mohawk towns of 1634."
This surely is astonishing for if the mylen figures were so exact, why disregard the mylen even though it be fictitious. Upon the theory of disregarding the distance clearly given in our historical records, it would be possible to locate the Mohawks villages at any place desired, for there are many, many places on the hills bordering the river where a clam shell or two were found-yes, including a fragment of a broken pot.
Furthermore Van der Bogaert gave no description whatever of the locations of the villages of Cancwaroda or of Senatsycrosy, thus how was it possible to approximately locate these villages by the landmarks disclosed, surely the locations decided upon are not sufficiently outstanding to be selected for sites of Indian villages and besides they were located at a deduction of one third of the required distance.
The fact is that throughout my extensive and intensive search for historical records affecting the valley of the Mohawk I have found no account of Mr. Fea's fixing the sites of the Mohawks villages and castles of 1634 nor any other historical account on the Mohawks written by him and upon inquiry, the most competent authority on our local writers, reported that there were none.
Obviously true, for the most zealous supporters of Mr. Fea's sites failed to include such an account if it ever existed in his monumental history of our valley.
Well, I have to the extent of my ability, clearly, fairly and most reasonably outlined and disclosed how erroneously this fictitious "Dutch mylen" located the villages and castles on 1634, as well as how the landmarks agreed with the topography and other land features as given us by Van der Bogaert and it is clearly, convincingly and conclusively evident that not a village or castle came out correctly or in exactly its proper place; nor did the landmarks sufficiently correspond with the requirements of the records, in fact, the entire outline was inconsistent upon each and every requirement, as well as in the greater part a complete failure and in many instances exceedingly so to say the least.
The line of sites fixed by Mr. Fea, or claimed to have been so fixed by him are of recent determination, possessing no traditional history whatever nor were some of the principal sites generally know to recognized authorities, and are also antagonistic to the conclusions advanced by others as well as having no connectivity with convincing historical records prior of subsequent to 1634. Therefore, we should not have been favored with a lumped assurance that the sites "all came out correctly" and in exactly their proper places; but each and every location should have been adequately, meticulously and convincingly explained in what manner the newly determined sites fulfilled the requirements of the records, as well as upon what additional records the conclusions could be sustained; for it is my contention that any and all historical outlines upon our aborigines advanced subsequent to 1800 are of no value whatever, unless supported with historical records to convincingly support the claim; and I firmly believe that such requirements will be demanded at no distant day and I shall endeavor to meet such requirement in all my accounts.
Of course, one should no tear down unless he is competent and prepared to reconstruct; and we are prepared to convincingly prove that the Mohawks village and castles of 1634, were all located upon the northerly side of the river and we have already disclosed six or seven of the eight locations in our recent newspaper accounts and what is more remarkable all these sites have been known for many years past as castle or village sites-with a possible single exception-but I am grieved to learn that the determinations thereon have been confused with other sites, as well as on the periods of occupancy.
All the Mohawks' villages and castles of 1634, as well as the two streams can be located within a quarter of a mile with the distances as given by Van der Bogaert with a standard of measurement that is recognized thru-out the world-thus, it will not be necessary to establish a fictitious measurement, nor disregard the distances. And what is more remarkable the distance from Fort Orange to the First Castle will be reasonably correct; and not a discrepancy of eleven and one half miles.
Moreover the sites determined upon for these villages and castles will agree precisely with the topography, geography and other landmarks and land features as described by Van der Bogaert and at the same time said sites will disclose or have disclosed, remains agreeable with the period of occupancy.
Also some of the sites will connect with historical records subsequent and prior to 1634 to such an extent that it is most remarkable and none of these sites will confuse, interfere or obstruct any other line of sties of a given period, but otherwise blend in perfect accord with the tribal villages and tribal castles.
Lastly, we accept Van der Bogaert's narrative as being precisely correct in all respects and we extend him our sincere appreciation for the remarkable information given us, especially upon the sites of the villages occupied by the Mohawks; for otherwise I am of the opinion that same could never have been determined as well as some of the sites occupied prior and subsequent to 1634.
Historical outlines should coincide exactly with our historical records-this would insure for each locality its due portion of the early events without the confusion of conflicting claims such as exist today; and eventually our entire history would weave itself into a harmonious and interesting outline of historic facts. But, extravagant claims for some favored place are extremely misleading and the far reaching effect is difficult to survey-as it was related, the head of the family was parading his knowledge of the interesting history of the Mohawk valley; and junior who was an attentive listener remarked, "Dad, where's the Mohawk Valley?" Of course, his senior naturally replied that it extended through the central and easterly half of the Empire State, through which the great river of the historic Mohawk flows, which is now a ship canal and flanked on each side are improved highways; trunk line railroads and extensive fertile plains whereon the great sites of Rome, Utica, Ilion, Mohawk, Herkimer, Little Falls, Amsterdam and the great electrical city of Schenectady are located, and junior interrupted, stared with amazement and exclaimed, "But dad, aren't you mistaken? Isn't this great historic valley somewhere in Fort Plain?" Junior, evidently was a reader of the Standard.
Of course I respectfully admit that historical outlines cannot be explained and disclosed to those who do not wish to hear or read; nevertheless, such conditions re overcome in the usual course of human events, generations come and go, but our actual history goes on forever. Thus, succeeding generations have the privilege to criticize, correct and eliminate all that is antagonistic to our historical records and this they will do, for we are now becoming history minded and historical accounts will not be accepted unless convincingly supported with historical records. I am there fore decided and enthusiastically in favor with such requirements and all my accounts have been and will be presented according, not only for today but also for coming generations. Dated April 3, 1937.
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