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- Once Upon A Time In Connecticut - 5/19 -

boundaries and had come upon land that belonged to the Mohegans, and, therein the wilderness, the brother of Uncas, who walked behind Miantonomo, lifted his hatchet and silently drove it through the captive chieftain's head.

On Sachem's Plain a great heap of stones soon marked the spot where Miantonomo had been overtaken, for each Mohegan warrior who passed the place cast a stone on the pile with a shout of triumph, and each Narragansett added to it with cries of sorrow and lamentation for the loss of a noble leader. In after years the stones disappeared, and a monument was erected on the spot in 1841, in honor of the Narragansett sachem. It is a large, square block of granite with the name and the date carved upon it, "MIANTONOMO, 1643." It can be seen to-day in Greeneville, two miles from Norwich.

Uncas lived on for many years and was a very old man before he died; "old and wicked and wilful," one account describes him. He quarreled with his neighbors and gave much trouble to his friends, the English. The Narragansetts attacked him after the death of Miantonomo, to avenge the death of their chief, and they drove him into one of his forts on the Pequot River. The colonists had helped him to build this fort on a point of land running out into the water, and it was too strong for the Indians to take it by assault. They took possession of the Mohegan's canoes, however, and they sat down patiently before the fort, on the land side, to starve out Uncas and his warriors.

But the story says that one night Uncas sent out a swift runner, who got safely past his enemies and carried the news to the English. Thomas Leffingwell, one of the settlers at Saybrook, "an enterprizing, bold man, loaded a canoe with beef, corn, and peas, and under cover of night paddled from Saybrook" around into the mouth of the Thames, or Pequot, River and succeeded in getting the provisions into the fort without the knowledge of the Narragansetts. The next morning there was great rejoicing among the Mohegans and they lifted a large piece of beef on a pole to show the besiegers that they had plenty to eat. The Narragansetts, finding that the English had once more come to the rescue of Uncas, gave up the siege in despair and melted away into the forest.

There is an old legend which says that each night while he was waiting for relief, Uncas himself secretly left the fort and crept along through the shadows on the river-bank until he came to a ledge of rocks from which he could look down the stream; that he sat there stern and motionless until morning watching and hoping for help from the strange, new owners of the lands which had belonged to his fathers. These rocks afterward went by the name of "Uncas's Chair."

Uncas was buried in the royal burying-ground of the Mohegans near the falls of the Yantic River. His monument is there now in the heart of the city of Norwich.


1. DeForest, John W. History of the Indians of Connecticut. J. W. Hammersley. Hartford, 1853.

2. Drake, Samuel G. Book of the Indians. Boston, 1845.

3. Caulkins, Frances M. History of Norwich. Hartford, 1874.

4. Sylvester, Herbert Milton. Indian Wars of New England. W. B. Clarke Co. Boston, 1910.

5. Winthrop, John. History of New England. Edited by James Savage. Boston, 1825.


"It hath a fair river, fit for harboring of ships, and abounds with rich and goodly meadows." This description of New Haven, or Quinnipiac, as the Indians called it, was brought back to Boston in the summer of 1637, after the Pequot War, by some of the English soldiers who had pursued the flying Pequots into that part of Connecticut and had noticed the good harbor of New Haven as they passed.

The report sounded so pleasant and so satisfactory in the ears of a company of London merchants, who, with their families and their fortunes, had recently come to New England and were looking about for a suitable spot in which to settle, that they decided to visit this place and judge of it for themselves.

These people, about two hundred and fifty in number, had arrived in Boston in June of that same year, after a voyage of two months. Of course in the small ships of those days there must have been many discomforts, even in a pleasant season, and no doubt some of the people were seasick. An old record of that time says, "We fetched out the children and others that lay groaning in the cabins, and having stretched a rope from the steerage to the mainmast, made them stand some on one side and some on the other and sway it up and down till they were warm. By this means they soon grew well and merry. ... When the ship heaved and set more than usual a few were sick, but of these such as came upon deck and bestirred themselves were presently well again, therefore our captain set our children and young men to some harmless exercises, in which the seamen were very active and did our people much good, though they would sometimes play the wags with them." When at last the Hector dropped anchor in Boston Harbor, and "there came a smell off the shore like the smell of a garden," her passengers must have been glad that the long voyage was over.

The two leaders of the company were Theophilus Eaton, a successful shipping merchant of London, a man of affairs and of great personal dignity and kindliness, and his friend, Reverend John Davenport, a London clergyman, who, like many other Puritan ministers of those days, had been obliged to leave England on account of his religious opinions. These two men had been schoolboys together in the town of Coventry, they had been associated later in London, they came together to America, and they remained friends to the end of their lives.

As many of their party were merchants, and not farmers like a large number of the settlers on the Connecticut River at Hartford, it was important to select a place for their colony which would be convenient for trade and where there was a good harbor for the commerce they hoped to establish. For this reason the report of Quinnipiac interested them, and in September several members of the company went to Quinnipiac and liked it so well that seven men were left there through the winter to prepare for the coming of the rest in the spring. In April the whole number removed there from Boston.

The people of Massachusetts Bay were sorry to have them go. They would have been glad to have this rich and influential company join their colony, but these new settlers wished to found a colony of their own in which they could carry out their own ideas of what a model state should be, both in civil and religious matters. They took ship, therefore, from Boston for Quinnipiac, carrying all their goods and provisions with them. The expedition was well fitted out and all its details had been carefully planned before they left England. Friends already in the colonies had written offering suggestions: "Bring good store of clothes and bedding with you; bring paper and linseed oil for your windows, with cotton yarn for your lamps."

As they sailed into Quinnipiac Harbor they saw for the first time the two great cliffs, the East and West Rocks, called by the Dutch "the Red Hills," which still stand like guardians, one on each side of the present city of New Haven. On the level plain between them, which is watered by several small streams, they determined to build their town and to place it at the head of the beautiful harbor.

They made large and generous plans for it. They laid it out in regular squares and set aside a great open space in the center for a market-place. This is the New Haven Green, which exists to-day just as John Brockett, the surveyor, laid it out in 1638. It is still the largest public square in the heart of any city in the United States. In the middle of the Green they built the first "meeting-house." It was fifty feet square, made of rough timbers, with a small tower on top where the drummer stood on Sundays to "drum" the people to church; for at first there were no bells. Each person had a seat carefully assigned to him, or her, in the meeting-house. Sometimes the boys sat with the soldiers near the door. We read later in the records that at one time the children in the galleries were so restless during the long sermons, that "tithing-men" were appointed "to take a stick or wand and smite such as are of uncomely behavior in the meeting and acquaint their parents." On week-days the children went to school in a schoolhouse which was built on the Green.

The town of New Haven was soon noted for its large and fine houses, Eaton's having nineteen fireplaces according to tradition, and Davenport's, thirteen. But at first any kind of shelter was used for protection. The people met under an oak tree for service on the first Sunday after landing and Reverend John Davenport preached a sermon to them on the "Temptation of the Wilderness," so it is said. During the first winter some of them slept in cellars dug out in the banks of one of the creeks and covered with earth. A boy named Michael Wigglesworth, who came to New Haven with his parents in October, 1638, when he was nine years old, lived in one of these cellars. When he grew up he wrote his autobiography and in it he says, "I remember that one great rain brake in upon us and drenched me so in my bed, being asleep, that I fell sick upon it, but the Lord in mercy spared my life and restored my health."

When the settlers at Quinnipiac, or New Haven, as it was soon called, had been there a little more than a year, they met in Robert Newman's barn "to consult about settling civil government" and also about establishing a church. Up to this time they had lived under what was known as the "Plantation Covenant," which was a simple agreement among themselves that they would all "be ordered by those rules which the Scripture holds forth." At this meeting on June 4, l639, they decided that they would continue to accept the Bible as a code of laws, and that only church members should hold office or have the right to vote for magistrates. They did this under the direction of John Davenport, who in one of his writings had described this colony as "a new Plantation whose design is religion." This agreement, made in Robert

Once Upon A Time In Connecticut - 5/19

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