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Read before the New Jersey Historicsl Society, September 11th, 1851,

BY

REV. GEORGE C. SCHANCK.

From the highest points of land bordering on the Raritan Bay, the prominent features in the distant landscape, when looking to the West, are, as first meets the eye, the mountain range in the vicinity of Boundbrook, inclining to the North: or, inclining to the South near. ly opposite, the Rock mountain, terminating at Nashanie ; while fur. ther still, and looking up, the great central valley of New.Jerseythe valley of the Raritan-we see appearing with more irregular and bolder features than either of the former, the Round Mouniains in the vicinity of the White House ; called in former times by the Indi. ans, Knshitunk. This mountain we suppose to have been the one designated by the English as “Mount Ployden,” mentioned in the pamphlet entitled “Description of New Albion," published by Beauchamp Plantagenet, Esq., in 1648.

The description of this mount, as the singular and romantic seat of the King of the “Raritans,” in the days of their prosperity, before encroached on by the white man, is quoted in a note on page 24 of the work by Mr. Whitehead—“East Jersey, under the Proprietors:"the quotation is as follows: “Twenty miles from Sand bay Sea, and ninety from the ocean, next to Amara hill, the retired paradise of the children of the Ethiopian Emperor; a wonder, for it is a square rock, two miles compass, 150 feet high, a wall like precipice, a strait en.

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trance easily made invincible, where he keeps two handred for his guards, and under is a flat valley, all plain to plant and sow."

This description in correspondence with the general character of those in the pamphlet in which it is found, is doubtless vague and romantic, and yet embracing statements founded on facts. Those of a prominent character are likely to be correct, as it is somewhere rela. tod of the author, or of the one for whom he wrote, that he spent some months among the Indians, and in all probability was at the place he describes.

Presuming, then, there is a locality answering the statements we spenk of, and that, at the time referred to, the name of Ployden was applied to some prominent feature in the assumed possessions of Sir Edm nd. It seems most probable, for the purpose of hono: ing and perpetuating his name, it would be given to such mountain as presented the most single and boldest feature in the country around; and, therefore, more likely to be the single and higher Round Mountain than the one near Boundbrook, as represented by a respected author in a handsomely written and affecting tale of Indian love, publisbed some time since in the Somerset Messenger, the scenes of which was laid in the mountain gorge at that place. Again, for Mount Ployden, as the seat of Indian royalty, we must look not to the first prominent eminence that occurs in passing upward, but to a second, as “ Mount Ployden is next to Amara hill.”

The location of the Raritan Indians, who appear to be the same as those some times spoken of as the Naraticongs, was along and in the vicinity of the Raritan, particularly on the north side of the river; and were probably so called by the whites, as other tribes were, from the stream along which they resided, while the Indians used their own peculiar names by which they designated among themselves their sev eral tribes.

At the earlier periods within the range of authentic history, they resided higher up on the river, and more in the vicinity of the mountains. In the “ History of New Netherlands," it is related that this tribe occupied a rich and fertile valley, situated between two high mountains, some distance the one bom the other, through which flow. ed a fresh-water river that disembogued in the Navesink bay, lying between Sandy Hook and Staten Island. The account of Planta. genet, written about the same time with that of the original from which O'Callaghan derives his statement, must refer to a former la cation of the Raritan Indians, for O'Callaghan further states that some 30 years after this (that is, after they were first known to Euro.

peans) they were " forced to migrate from their former country, by the spring freshets which destroyed their provisisions, and by the repeated attacks of the Minsi and Delaware Indians, whom the Dutch distinuished by the name of Sankbicans.” It appears they moved farther down on the Raritan, nearer the whites, for about 1641 they entered into a treaty of peace with the Durch, and which they forever after preserved unbroken, even when all the neighboring tribes raised the hatchet against the inhabitants of New Netherlands," In these subsequent times of their history, they fixed their principal seat at Piscataway, and here their kings, or two principal chiefs, Ca-nack. a-wack and Thingorawis resided, when in 1677, they conveyed away their lands in that vicinity.

But to recur to the account of their former seat: it is stated to have been twenty miles from Sand bay Sea. The distance to our supposed site from Raritan Bay, somewhat exceeds this; but yet in a description somewhat vague, corresponding sufficiently near. But it is further represented as ninety miles from the ocean. This distance should be considered as that part of the shore of the ocean to which this tribe was in the habit of resorting. The shore of the ocean nearer to them being frequented by another tribe, the Navesincks. The Raritans, it is stated, came down to the ocean about Little Egg Bay and Sandy Barnegate," or what is now the southern part of Ocean county. The distance from this point somewhat exceeds, yet still corresponds sufficiently near to the situation we assign to Mount Ployden.

It is spoken of as a “Retired Paradise.” No other spot within our knowledge so well answers this representation as the Round Val. ley, enclosed by this mountain. It is about two miles in diameter, and its general form is that of an immense bowl. Excepting one or two narrow entrances, it is entirely surrounded by a narrow ridge of mountains, rising to varying heights from about 150 to 500 feet above the surrounding country, with a very steep ascent on both sides; 80 as properly to be represented as a “wall-like precipice." The valley has a fertile soil and gently varying surface, and presenting from the elevated points overlooking it, a romantic and beautiful aspect. It was here, as if in keeping with the character of the place, given it by Plantagenet more than a century before, that Mr. Walter Rutherford and Mr. John Stevens, the forefathers of the respected families of that name in this state, and who at that time, in connection with Mr. James Parker, owned the entire valley, retired with their families for safety from the dangers and turmoils of the war of the Revolution.

The outlet for the small stream with which the valley is watered, is a narrow gorge on the south-west, leading down to the south branch of the Raritan, and can only be seen when looking in the line of its direction. It may be here, or at the other point of access, two hun. dred guards were kept to defend the abode of the Raritan King. That this valley was the former abode of Indians is evident, from the fact that to the present generation of inhabitants the tradition has been handed down, that the Indians living there were formerly numerous.

Below on the highly fertile bottoms of the South Branch, or in the plain country of the smaller streams leading into it, may be found the “flat valley all plain to plant and sow.” The Indians as well as whites knew where to select the choicest lands for such agricultural purposes as they needed, and there are some traditious still preserved of Indian plancing lands along the branches of the Raritan, and in the vieinity of the Mount, where we attempt to fix the former seat of Indian Royalty.

REVIEW

OF THE

TRIAL OF THE REV, WM. TENNENT

FOR

PERJURY,

IN 1742.

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READ BETORE THE "NEW JERSEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY," SEPTEMBER 1178, 1851.

BY

RICHARD S. FIELD, ESQ.

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