Hawk's Nest; or, The Last of the Cahoonshees. A Tale of the Delaware Valley and Historical Romance of 1690.
Transcriber’s Note: A large number of spelling and printing errors havebeen corrected without further note. There are still some discrepanciesin the spelling of personal and place names, and the text for the mostpart doesn’t use speech marks.
Hawk’s Nest, or The Last of the Cahoonshees.
Entered according to Act of Congress in
the year 1892, by
JAMES M. ALLERTON,
in the office of the Librarian of Congress
at Washington, D. C.
CHAPTER I.—A Bird’s Eye View of the Delaware andNeversink Valleys from Hawk’s Nest Mountains.
CHAPTER II.—The Water Spout.
CHAPTER III.—Tom and Drake at the Lifting Rocks.
CHAPTER IV.—The Bear and Panther.
CHAPTER V.—Parting of Mother and Child.
CHAPTER VII.—The House of Death.
CHAPTER VIII.—Cahoonshee on the Origin of Man.
CHAPTER IX.—The Teacher and Pupil.
CHAPTER X.—Asleep on her Mother’s Grave—Going Fishing—Trueuntil Death.
CHAPTER XI.—The Second Lesson—Completing his Education—Foundnew Friends—The Mutiny—Death ofSambo.
CHAPTER XII.—Moccasin tracks in the sand—Cahoonsheeat the Climbing Tree—The Battle of the Neversink—Drake’sfearful leap—The virtue of the Grape Vine.
CHAPTER XIII.—The Dead Shot—The Bee Tree—Amy aPrisoner in the hands of the Indians.
CHAPTER XIV.—Restored to reason—Cora, the RoughDiamond—A Temperance Lecture—Found two Grand-Fathers.
CHAPTER XVI.—The bee hunters—Drake and Rolla onthe trail—Call of the tree toad—Answer of the blue-jay.
CHAPTER XVII.—The storm—Buried in the river—OldShell to the rescue—Which is which and what iswhat?
CHAPTER XVIII.—The hunt—The fatal shot.
CHAPTER XIX.—Mutual mistakes—The lost child found—Cahoonshee’slast will.
CHAPTER XX.—Farewell to earth—Cahoonshee on the future—Deathof Cahoonshee—Married on her mother’sgrave.
CHAPTER XXI.—Cora receives her reward.
CHAPTER XXII.—Death of Thomas Quick, Sr., and thethreat of his son Tom.
CHAPTER XXIII.—Tom kept his vow and had his revenge.
CHAPTER XXIV.—Killing a buck with seven skins—Thebiter bitten—Throwing a young Indian down the rocks—Hidingguns in hollow trees.
CHAPTER XXV.—The whiskey scene—Six Indians roasted.
CHAPTER XXVI.—Capture, escape and death of Tom—Honoredby a monument.
A Bird’s Eye View of the Delaware and Neversink ValleysFrom Hawk’s Nest Mountain.
It is contrast that makes the beautiful. What a monotonousworld this would be if it was one entire level plane. Itis the variegated colors that makes the landscape beautifuland harmonious. In fact it is upon contrasts that we buildall of our notions of the beautiful. Yet the same object seenby different persons, from the same standpoint, creates differentimpressions. Some admire the Alpine mountainsand deep blue sky of Italy, and the towering majesty of MontBlanc. Here, with them, all creation is centered, and thereis nothing beautiful that is not connected with Italian skies,hills or landscapes.
Others view Vesuvius, and admire the smoke and fire as itis thrown heavenward. Others immure themselves withinthe walls of cities like New York or London, and satiatetheir eyes with brick and mortar, and their ears with a jargonof sounds. Others admire a more extended scenery, orrather a scenery where nature is represented in all its variegatedcolors; where river and rivulet are blended into one;where the cascade and cataract drop their moisture into thedepth below; where the fauna and flora are equally distributed;where the mountain ascends thousands of feet, in contrastwith the plain below. In a word, where nature’s greatarchitect has faithfully executed the fore-ordained design.
But where can this perfection be found? Where is thisEden?
I have gazed upon all the cities of the world: From MontBlanc I have viewed Italy and Switzerland; From Pike’sPeak I have viewed the Pacific and the western slope; Ihave stood over the thundering and majestic Niagara andviewed the spray going heavenward. All these views aregrand and sublime, yet they lack contrast between great andsmall things that are calculated to make nature beautiful inall its parts and satisfy the mind, eye and ear at a singleglance.
Yet there is one such spot on earth; one beautiful placewhere all these things are combined; one pinnacle of themountain top, where the eye can take in all these beauties ata single glance.
It is that pinnacle that rises hundreds of feet above thelevel and embraces within its view the beautiful valley ofthe Delaware.
It is Hawk’s Nest Mountain. Here the Shawangunk rangerises hundreds of feet above the Delaware river, and the beholderimagines himself transported to the skies. Theseheights are perpendicular, or rather they project over theriver, and in its side are deep furrows, crevices and caverns.And in these crevices and caverns, the hawks andeagles build their nests and rear their young without fearof being molested by man.
A few feet from the Hawk’s Nest are the Lifting Rocks.In looking upon these, you gaze upon one of the wonders ofthe world. Here are three large rocks, but a few hundredfeet apart, weighing from 30 to 100 tons, elevated above theground about five feet and resting on three stone pillars.These pillars are equal distance apart—as much so as if theyhad been placed there on geometrical principles.
Where did these huge rocks come from? When were theyplaced there, and by what power were they raised and placedon these triangular pillars?
Geologists say that they were brought from a great distanceby the ice during the glacier period, and that their setting onthese pillars of stone is one of the freaks of nature beyond thecomprehension of man.
Standing at Hawk’s Nest and looking southeast, we behold“High Point,” the most elevated land in the State of NewJersey, it being the highest point in the Shawangunk range.Northeast of us the Appalachian mountains rise to the horizonas far as the eye can reach.
Turning to the southwest, “Pilot Knob” comes into view,towering hundreds of feet above the surrounding hills. Tothe northwest rises the Carbon mountains that furnish uswith coal. And above all towers Mount Arrat, where it rainsor snows every day during the year.
This direction also brings into view the rocky fortresswhere Tom Quick, the Indian Slayer, dug his cave and lay inambush to wreak vengeance on his deadly foe. Northwesterlyrise the “Fish Cabin” mountains, through whose rocksthe water has cut a channel hundreds of feet in depth, andfalls in the Delaware below. At Handsome Eddy and Shohola,the rocks rise in majesty above the river, and just beyondis the fatal battleground of the battle of the “Minisink.”At the north the country is dotted by the thrifty farmer withhis cattle grazing on a thousand hills.
About five miles east from Hawk’s Nest rises the Shawangunkmountain, and at its base flows the lovely and placidNeversink (Mahackamack) river.
The Neversink valley runs northeast and southwest whilstthe Delaware Valley runs northwest and southeast. The watersof the Delaware and Neversink unite about five milesfrom Hawk’s Nest, at a point called “Tri-States Rock,” thisbeing a place that a person can stand in three states at thesame time—New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Two miles above Hawk’s Nest, the waters of the Mongaupempty into the Delaware river. One-and-a-half miles east ofHawk’s Nest, the rapid Shinglekill plunges into the Delawareriver. The fountain-head of this stream is a Big Pond,a small lake, about three miles from Huguenot. The watersof the Steneykill and Little Pond unite with the Shinglekill.The Sparrowbush unites with the Delaware about three milesfrom Hawk’s Nest. Below Hawk’s Nest Rock is Hawk’s Nestroad, a lovely and romantic drive, from which can be seenthe beautiful views I have described. Hundreds of feet belowthis road runs the Delaware and Hudson canal. As ourvision extends across the canal and river to the Pennsylvaniashore, we see the iron horse, puffing and blowing, as if toescape from the power of man. As we watch it in its course,it dashes across the iron bridge at Saw Mill Rift and entersthe state of New York. At the angle of the Neversink andDelaware rivers, nestling between the mountains, lays thebeautiful city of Port Jervis, with its factories, churches andmonuments. On the west rises the lofty spires of MountWilliam and Point Peter, and opposite in the sister State ofPennsylvania is located the beautiful village of Matamoras,the rival town of Milford, whilst a little to the south is locatedthe pretty village of Tri-States. About five miles northeastfrom Port Jervis, on the line of the canal, near the banksof the Neversink, is the old Peanpack (Huguenot) settlement.Thus I have described the Delaware Valley as seen by a bird’seye view in July 1891.
But it is not of this time I write. Our tale of love andsuffering dates back two hundred years ago; when the redman of the forest held sway, and contended for every inchof ground that the white man attempted to appropriate;when the war whoop, instead of the steam whistle, washeard.
The Water Spout.
On a cold rainy day in the month of September, 1689, twoemigrant wagons, each drawn by a pair of oxen, was seenpassing along the old Kingston trail, on the east side of theNeversink, toward Peanpack. The day was far advanced,and the night was threatening. The women, children andfurniture were concealed within a covered wagon. The drivers,with a hickory gad in their hands, were beside theoxen. And thus, over stump, log and stone, they trudgedalong. An opening is made in the cover, and a sweet, prettyface peeps out. Lewis, ain’t we most to Peanpack? I’mcold, tired and hungry, and Amy is quite sick. Get along,said Lewis, at the same time bringing the gad down on theoxen. Yes, replied he, we will soon be there, and if thepesky red-skins will let us alone we will have a good night’srest. This was Lewis Powers with his wife and child en routefor the far west in search of a home. Amy, their daughter,was a bright little girl, five years old. His wife was a modelof a wife and mother, twenty-two years old, whilst Lewiswas twenty-six, a strong, robust and healthy man. Thenext wagon contained William Wallace, wife and boy. Justas the sun was hiding itself behind the western hills, theparty reached the Peanpack ford. This was passed safely,and, passing up the banks a few rods they encamped for thenight. The wagon was unpacked, and out came a youngNewfoundland dog and two white cats. A fire was built andin a short time the party sat down to supper. The partyhad left Connecticut eleven days before and had now reachedwithin three days journey of their future home. Wallace’sboy’s name was Walter and he was six years old. The nextmorning they broke camp and the next night camped on thewest side of the Mongaup. The next day brought them toBeaver Brook, and just after sunset of the third day they arrivedon the banks of the Callicoon, or East Branch of theFishkill (Delaware.) They selected a spot on the south sideof the stream and went to work in earnest to clear a farm.Wallace located about half a mile up stream above Powers. Inthe course of a few days each of them had built a small, butcomfortable log house. A confiding friendship was soon establishedbetween Walter and Amy, and the dog, Rolla, grew tobe large and sagacious. Wallace’s house stood but a fewrods below a large beaver dam that flowed over several hundredacres. They brought with them a large quantity of ammunitionand traps. Otter and beaver were plenty in the streamsand before the arrival