Deerfield — Objects Of Interest
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
The Pocomptuck Valley Memorial Association, with headquarters at Deerfield, was incorporated by an act of the Legislature in 1870. The then "Trustees of the Old Indian House Door"—George Sheldon, Robert Crawford, Nathaniel Hitchcock, Luke Wright, and Samuel F. Wells—were named as corporators. The meeting for organization was held May 26, 1870. The officers chosen were George Sheldon, President; Josiah D. Canning, of Gill, and James M. Crafts, of Whately, Vice-Presidents; Recording Secretary and Treasurer, Nathaniel Hitchcock; Corresponding Secretary, Bev. Robert Crawford, D.D.; Councillors, Rev. P. N. Finch, of Greenfield; D. O. Fish, of Shelburne; Jonathan Johnson, of Montague; Moses Stebbins, of Bloody Brook; Rev. Edgar Buckingham, L. W. Rice, of Greenfield. The date of the annual meeting was fixed for the last Tuesday in February. The president, secretaries, and treasurer have been annually reelected. The objects of the association are collecting and preserving memorials, books, papers, ancient furniture, relics, implements, etc., which may tend to illustrate the history of bygone generations, both Indian and English.
The association has had 130 members, scattered through the Northern States. It now owns the Deerfield Academy building, which will soon be fitted up to receive the collections, and be the Memorial Hall.
No stranger comes to Deerfield but has heard of the tragic events of Feb. 29, 1704, and has a curiosity to see the "Old Indian House Door," with its rough carvings by Indian hatchets. This relic—"old, and brave, and scarred"—is now in the hands of the Pocomptuck Valley Memorial Association, and will soon be placed in Memorial Hall.
Around the spot occupied by the monument at Bloody Brook, where Capt. Lothrop and the flower of Essex
"their rich currents gave,
And from that stain, that spread its awful hue
O'er streamlet and o'er sod,
what stainless spirits woke their way and fled,
Triumphing, to their God!"
The matchless oration of Edward Everett when laying the corner-stone in 1835, and a poem by his gifted son at the bicentennial celebration of the massacre, which is one of the finest lyrics in the language, will always be associated with the fate of Lothrop and his men.
Wequamps,* an eminence of 500 feet, overlooking the spot, is much visited for the beautiful prospect it gives. Pocomptuck Rock, towering 750 feet above the Old Street, is a locality unsurpassed in the quiet beauty of the landscape it presents, not excepting the Bay of Naples," says a distinguished traveler.
The scene of the Bars fight is a point of historic interest, and, near by, the romantic Stillwater, where the wearied Pocomptuck sleeps in a cradle which it has quarried hundreds of feet deep from the solid rock.
The grand old trees which sentinel the Old Street and shade its quiet walks are rarely excelled, while the Champney elm, queen of them all in size, grace, and majestic beauty, has scarce its fellow in all New England.
* Sugar Loaf.
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03 Aug 2005