Sunday, November 18, 2007

More on Waramaug's Grave - from Norman Muller

Norman writes:

Lion Miles, an excellent researcher from Stockbridge, MA, sent me the message below about Waramoug Monument:

I'm positive that the woodcut of the Waramaug Monument does not come from the De Forest book. I own a first edition of it, published in 1851, and there is no such engraving. My copy is complete, containing four wood engravings of landscapes and six so-called "fancy pieces." Both Howes and Sabin list three later editions, in 1852, 1853, and 1871, but they all have the same collation as the 1851 edition. Further evidence that the picture does not come from De Forest is the fact that his text makes no mention of the monument at all.
De Forest wrote that his woodcuts were copied from John Barber's Connecticut Historical Collections (New Haven, 1838). I own a second edition of that from 1846. It has 200 steel and wood engravings, but not the picture of the Waramaug Monument. However, it does talk about it:
"For some time after the white people came here [New Milford], an Indian chief or sachem, named Werauhamaug, had a palace standing near the Great Falls, where he resided. ... He was so considerable a personage as to have reserved, as his hunting ground, a considerable part of the present society of New Preston, which always, until the incorporation of the town of Washington, of which it is a part, was called Raumaug, after the original proprietor, dropping for convenience sake, the prefix we. I have often seen the grave of this chief in the Indian burying ground, at no great distance from his place of residence; distinguished, however, only by its more ample dimensions, from the surrounding graves, out of many of which large trees are now growing.
There is a similar burying ground on the west side of the river, opposite to and in sight of our village, (New Milford) on the bluff, bounding the Indian field, so called, and contiguous to Fort Hill, the site of the last Indian fortress known to have existed in this town."
I have a very extensive library and I may find the source of that print somewhere but, for the moment, the best description of the monument comes from Samuel Orcutt's The Indians of the Housatonic and Naugatuck Valleys (Hartford, 1882), page 111:
"[On Falls Mountain], where it rises gradually towards the northeast, at a distance of about eighty rods from the gorge, is located Waraumaug Monument -- a rude pile of small field-stones, circular in form, of two and a half feet in diameter, cone-shaped, with a single stone standing upright at the top -- all of it nearly six feet in height. Here Waraumaug was buried (of which fact there can scarcely be a doubt, since the Rev. Daniel Boardman, probably, attended his funeral, and at the least knew where he was buried), he having requested, as it is said, to be buried here, that he might look abroad upon the beautiful country of his people, and not feel lonely in the future life to which he was going. Here was he laid to rest about the year 1735, and the monument was then erected, for as it now is, so it was seventy years ago, as testified to by the oldest inhabitants, and 'so it had been,' said their fathers, from the first. It is said that the Indians had a custom that whenever they passed this monument they brought a small stone and threw it down at the base of the pile in honor of the departed chief, and hence, scattered about within three feet of it are a bushel, perhaps, of such stones, indicating by this small amount that not many years after his burial his brethren the Red men ceased to pass that way, having removed to a distance, and that the white brethren have scarcely disturbed a stone of that monumental pile."

I'll keep searching for the woodcut in question. A clue would be the name of the engraver in the lower lefthand corner but it is difficult to read. I also know Trudy Richmond and could simply ask her where it came from.

Update (more from Lion Mile):
This is from the 1938 edition of the W.P.A. Guide to Connecticut, page 453:
"On the summit of Lovers' Leap, Chief Waraumaug was buried. The spot, in the Hurd Estate (not open), was formerly marked by a rough stone monument and the usual pile of stones built by passing warriors as a mark of respect, but the great house was erected, and the main fireplace now stands directly over the chief's grave."


Geophile said...

Interesting, the bit about Werauhamaug having a 'palace'. I wonder what that consisted of.

JimP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JimP said...

All of this raises far more interesting questions than the origin of the engraving.

Barber's source for the Waramaug story was a combination of the Rev. Stanley Griswold's sermon, with the rest coming from the Hon. David S. Boardman.

Boardman clearly places Waramaug's grave in a customary burial place. He said, "I have often seen the grave of this chief in the Indian Burying Ground . . ."

Orcutt, citing the Rev. Daniel Boardman (David's father??), places the grave by itself on Falls Mountain where the chief chose to be buried so that, "he might look abroad upon the beautiful country of his people."

Somewhere in between is Dwight. Rather than relying on an informant, Dwight was an eye-witness and actually visited the monument of stones in New Milford himself. Dwight said the grave was outside of customary burial places.

In fact, Orcutt's account of the monument seems to be a hybrid of Dwight and Barber.

Looking at all the evidence, including information from Speck, the only logical conclusion I can find is that there was more than one monument of stones -- one in New Milford, and another on the Schaghticoke reservation near Kent.

Tim MacSweeney said...

Waramaug's "palace" is probably his long house, decorated with pictures of all sorts of animals on the inside of the bark covering.
Perhaps I can find and post some descriptions...

Anonymous said...


"Connecticut Historical Collections" by Barber has been reprinted and is available on

"History of the Indians of Connecticut" by John Deforest has also been reprinted and is available on

James Gage

Anonymous said...

Oops, I copied and pasted the wrong link for deforest. the correct link for "The History of Indians of Connecticut" is

JimP said...

I own a copy of Barber's book that I bought a few months ago.

The entire text of DeForest's book is available for free online through Google Books.

The entire text of Dwight's book, Travels in New-England and New-York, is also available for free through Google Books.

Tim MacSweeney said...

"On the inner walls of this palace, (which were of bark with the smooth side inwards), were pictured every known species of beast, bird, fish and insect, from the largest down to the smallest. This was said to have been done by artists whom a friendly prince at a great distance sent to him for that purpose, as Hiram to Solomon. In this palace, the forementioned chief was visited by the Rev. Mr. Boardman, first minister of this town, during his last sickness, and at his death. Mr. Boardman has left in manuscript, a minute and circumstantial account of his labors with the sachem to enlighten him in right Christian doctrines, as also the singular, rude, and abusive behavior of the other natives on the occasion; from whence it appears that a few or none of those people, (the sachem excepted), were disposed at that time to embrace Christianity; and so far as those people in this town and its neighborhood were ever converted to the Christian religion, it was a considerable time afterwards, by the Moravian missionaries. Count Zinzendorf himself came to this town and preached here. After the conversion of the natives by the Moravians, they quitted their settlements here on religious accounts, and removed to Bethlem, in Pennsylvania, where the brethren of that communion chiefly resided. But finding it very unhealthy for them there, and a large number dying, the remnant removed back again, where they have lived and gradually dwindled ever since.** The natives had sundry fortresses, or military stations, in and about this town, to guard against attacks from distant tribes. Some spots in the town bear an allusion to this day, as Fort Hill, Guarding Mountain.

Geophile said...

Thank you, Tim. Strangely, it is exactly the Moravians in Pennsylvania and Zinzendorf whom I have been researching lately. A bit of serendipity.