STORIES OF NEW JERSEY
FRANK R. STOCKTON
New York—Cincinnati—Chicago American Book Company 1896
Copyright, 1896, by American Book Company.
STO. OF N. J. W. P. I
This volume of stories, composed of historical incidents, or material connected with the history of New Jersey, is not intended to be a record, even in a condensed form, of the rise and progress of the State. The stories are arranged chronologically, but there has been no attempt to give a complete and continuous account of events or epochs. The material for the stories has been collected from many sources; and the selections have been made with regard to the interest, the instructiveness, and as far as possible the novelty, of the matter chosen. There has been a constant endeavor, however, to present a series of historical incidents in a panoramic form, so that the reading of the stories in their regular succession would give an impressive idea of the discovery and settlement of the State, of its people, manners, and customs, and of its progress and achievements, as it was gradually evolved from the Indian region of Scheyichbi into the State of New Jersey.
In these stories there is nothing imaginative or fanciful, except where a reference is made to the early imaginings and fancies of the aborigines. The stories are not founded on facts, but they are made up of facts carefully collected from the authorities referred to in the table of contents. Some of the stories are well known, but could not be omitted because of their representative character; but others, it is hoped, will be found familiar only to the professed student of history. The period of the stories extends from the earliest times of Indian tradition down to what may be called our own day; but as there was so much available matter, and so little space for it, and as there was no intention to give a comprehensive history of the State, it was deemed well to deal only with the incidents and people that have passed out of the boundaries of current history.
PAGE THE STORY OF THE DISCOVERY OF SCHEYICHBI; or, The Aborigines of New Jersey. (Period, prior to 1600.) 9
Authorities: MSS. regarding Indians. Rev. John Heckewelder. "History of New Jersey." T. F. Gordon. "History of New Jersey." I. Mulford.
THE STORY OF A PEACEMAKER. An Indian Woman's Friendly Act. (Period, 1632.) 18
Authority: "History of New York." Brodhead.
THE WINNING OF THE PRIZE; or, The English Ownership of New Jersey. (Period, 1664.) 24
Authorities: "History of New Jersey." I. Mulford. "History of New Jersey." S. Smith. "History of New Jersey." T. F. Gordon.
HOW SCHEYICHBI REALLY BECAME NEW JERSEY. (Period, 1609-1758.) 31
Authorities: "History of New Jersey." S. Smith. "History of New Jersey." I. Mulford. "History of New Jersey." T. F. Gordon.
FINS, RATTLES, AND WINGS; or, The Wild Animals of Early Days. 42
Authorities: "History of New Jersey." S. Smith. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "The Burlington Smiths." R. M. Smith.
THE STORY OF A GIRL AND A HOGSHEAD. A Story of the Swedish Settlers. (Period, prior to 1655.) 51
Authority: "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe.
THE STORY OF PENELOPE STOUT. (Period, prior to 1669.) 57
Authorities: "History of New Jersey." S. Smith. "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "Story of an Old Farm." A. C. Mellick.
THE SCHOOLMASTER AND THE DOCTOR. (Period, from 1693.) 69
Authorities: "Colonial History of New Jersey." Grahame. "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "History of Medicine in New Jersey." S. Wickes.
THE SLAVES OF NEW JERSEY. (Period, 1626-1860.) 83
Authorities: "History of New Jersey." T. F. Gordon. "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "Story of an Old Farm." A. D. Mellick.
A JERSEY TEA PARTY; or, The Burning of the Tea at Cohansey. (Period, 1774.) 93
Authorities: "History of New Jersey." I. Mulford. "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "Story of an Old Farm." A. D. Mellick.
THE STORY OF A SPY. (Period, 1758-80.) 102
Authority: "Our Home," published in Somerville, N.J., 1873.
A MAN WHO COVETED WASHINGTON'S SHOES; or, The Story of General Charles Lee. (Period, 1758-85.) 117
Authorities: "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "Story of an Old Farm." A. D. Mellick. "Life of Lord Stirling." W. Duer.
THE MAN IN THE "AUGER HOLE." From the Journal of Mrs. Margaret Hill Morris. (Period, 1776-82.) 130
Authorities: "The Burlington Smiths." R. M. Smith. "History of New Jersey." T. F. Gordon.
THE STORY OF TWO CAPTAINS. Captain Huddy and Captain Asgill. (Period, 1781.) 141
Authorities: "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum. "Story of an Old Farm." A. D. Mellick.
THE STORY OF TEMPE WICK. (Period, 1780.) 155
Authorities: "Story of an Old Farm." A. D. Mellick. "Morris County History." W. W. Munsey. "Authors and Writers Associated with Morristown." J. K. Colles.
THE STORY OF FORT NONSENSE. (Period, 1776-80.) 163
Authorities: "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum. "Story of an Old Farm." A. D. Mellick.
AN AMERICAN LORD. Lord Stirling of Basking Ridge. (Period, 1726-83.) 177
Authorities: "Life of Lord Stirling." W. Duer. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "Story of an Old Farm." A. D. Mellick.
MOLLY PITCHER. (Period, 1778.) 186
Authorities: "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe.
THE MORRISTOWN GHOSTS. A Story of 1788 193
Authorities: Pamphlet published in 1792. Anonymous. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe.
A JERSEYMAN AND HIS ROYAL CROWN. Joseph Bonaparte at Bordentown. (Period, 1815-39.) 204
Authorities: "Encyclopaedia Britannica." "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe. "Bordentown and the Bonapartes." J. B. Gilder. "Joseph Bonaparte in Bordentown." F. M. Crawford. "New Jersey Newspaper Clippings."
THE DEY, THE BEY, AND SOME JERSEY SAILORS. The Barbary War. (Period, 1800-4) 214
Authorities: "History of the United States Navy." J. F. Cooper. "Historical Collections." Barber and Howe.
SEA FIGHTS WITH A NOBLER FOE. The War of 1812 230
Authorities: "History of the United States Navy." J. F. Cooper. "Field Book of the Revolution." B. J. Lossing.
THE STORY OF THE TELEGRAPH AND THE STEAMBOAT. (Period, 1787-1838.) 239
Authorities: "Appletons' Dictionary." "New Jersey Newspaper Clippings." "American Inventors of the Telegraph." F. L. Pope. "History of New Jersey." J. C. Raum.
NEW JERSEY AND THE LAND OF GOLD. The Conquest of California. (Period, 1816-66.) 246
Authorities: "Appletons' Dictionary." "Biographical Encyclopaedia of New Jersey."
STORIES OF NEW JERSEY.
THE STORY OF THE DISCOVERY OF SCHEYICHBI.
The North American Indians, the earliest inhabitants of this country of whom we know anything definite, were great story-tellers; and their histories consist entirely of stories handed down from parents to children, or, more likely, from grandparents to grandchildren, for grandfathers and grandmothers are generally more willing to tell stories than fathers or mothers. And so these traditions, probably a good deal brightened by being passed along century after century, came down to the Indians who were first met by white people, and thus we have heard many of them.
The stories told by the Indians inhabiting the country which is now the Middle States, all agree that their remote forefathers came from some region beyond the Mississippi River. Like the traditions of most nations, these go so very far back that they are vague and misty; but, as this gave the Indians a great opportunity for their imaginations, it is not wonderful that they improved it. These Indians believed that in the very earliest stages of their existence they were all animals, and lived in caves under the earth. They were hunters; but their game consisted of mice, and creatures of that sort. One of them accidentally discovered a hole by which he got out on the surface of the ground; and, finding it so exceedingly pleasant, it was not long before the whole of his tribe came out, and began life in the light of day.
It may be supposed that these animals gradually changed to human beings, and built villages, and planted corn; but in one respect they did not change, nor have they changed at this present day. Many of them still call themselves after the names of animals; and now the greater part of the noted Indians of our country have such names as "Sitting Bull," "Black Bear," and "Red Horse." But the stories say that all of the animals did not come out of their underground homes. Among these were the hedgehog and the rabbit; and so some of the tribes will not eat these animals, because in so doing they may be eating their family connections.
Gradually the ancestors of the Indians who told their stories to the first settlers, and who afterwards called themselves the Lenni-Lenape, moved eastward, and after many years they reached the Mississippi River. By this time they had become a powerful body. But in the course of their journeys they discovered that they were not the earliest emigrants in this direction, for they met with a great tribe called the Mengwe, later known as the Iroquois, who had come from a country west of the Mississippi, but farther north than that of our Indians.
We do not hear that these two great tribes of early Indians interfered with each other; but when the Lenni-Lenape investigated the other side of the Mississippi, they found there still another nation, powerful, numerous, and warlike. These were called the Alligewi, from which we have derived the name Allegheny. At first the latter tribe was inclined to allow the Lenape to pass the river; but after a time, finding that the newcomers were so numerous, they fell upon them and drove them back.
But the Indians at that remote period must have been as doggedly determined to move eastward as are our pioneers to move westward; and they were not to be stopped by rivers, mountains, or savage enemies. The Lenape were not strong enough to fight the Alligewi by themselves, and so they formed an alliance with the Mengwe; and these two nations together made war upon the Alligewi, and in the course of time overcame them, and drove them entirely from their country.
After years, or perhaps centuries (for there are no definite statements of time in these Indian traditions), the Mengwe and the Lenape, who had been living together in the country of the Alligewi, separated; and the Mengwe emigrated to the lands near the Great Lakes, while the Lenape slowly continued their progress eastward.
They crossed the Alleghanies, and discovered a great river, which they called Susquehanna, and then they moved on until they came to the Delaware. This grand stream pleased them so much, that they gave it a name of honor, and called it the Lenapewihittuck, or "The River of the Lenape." Then they crossed the river and discovered New Jersey.
Here they found a pleasant climate, plenty of game, and no human inhabitants whatever. They therefore appropriated it as their own, and gave it the name of Scheyichbi; and any one who endeavors to pronounce this name will be likely to feel glad that it was afterwards changed by the white settlers.
Before this first discovery of New Jersey, the Lenni-Lenape had settled themselves in the beautiful and fertile country about the Susquehanna and the west shore of the Delaware, and here established their right to their name, which signifies "original people;" and if their stories are correct, they certainly are the original inhabitants of this region, and they discovered New Jersey from the west, and took rightful possession of it.
It is a law of nations, founded then upon the same principles of justice as it stands upon now, that discovery by a nation, or the agent of a nation, of unknown lands entirely uninhabited, gives the discoverers the right to those lands; and, in accordance with that law, the Lenape became the discoverers and original owners of New Jersey.
We will not now allude to the rights they then acquired to the country which is now Pennsylvania and other States, because we are confining ourselves to what relates to the country of Scheyichbi, the land where their eastward migrations ceased. Now, they could go no farther towards the rising sun, and they were satisfied to stop.
These Lenape, or "Grandfather Tribe" as they were often called, were not merely cruel and ignorant savages: they had many admirable traits of character, and some of their manners and customs might well have been imitated by those who found them here.
They had an admirable system of government; and at regularly appointed periods their wisest men met at the great "Council House" to make laws, and arrange the affairs of the nation. Their conduct in their councils was far more decorous and becoming than that we often hear of among legislators of the present day, whether they are met together in Congress, Parliament, or Reichstag. These chiefs, chosen for their wisdom and experience, treated each other with the highest regard and respect. When one of them arose to address his fellow-legislators, every man in the council room paid the strictest attention to what he said; and interruptions, jeers, and ridicule, such as legislators often make use of at the present day, were totally unknown among these grave and earnest Indians.
There can be no doubt that the Lenape were superior to other Indian nations, and worthy of the proud title which they gave themselves; and in later years, when the river was named after Lord De la Warre, and they were called the Delawares, they were considered the noblest of the Indian tribes.
I dwell upon the good qualities and high character of the Lenape, because it was from their main body that numerous tribes came across the Delaware River, and became the first Jerseymen, or, if any one likes it better, Scheyichbians. They settled in many pleasant places, building wigwam villages, many of which have since grown into modern towns, and still bear their old Indian names. In fact, the modern Jerseyman has had the good sense to preserve a great many of the names given to rivers, mountains, and villages by the first owners of the soil.
But, after all, Scheyichbi was not sufficiently discovered and settled for the purposes of civilization, and its fertile soil waited long for the footsteps of the new immigrants. These came at last from the east.
About the end of the fifteenth century there was a strong desire among the maritime nations of Europe to find a short passage to China and the East Indies. It was for that reason that Columbus set out on his expedition; but with his story we have nothing to do, for he did not discover the continent of North America, and in fact never saw it. But after John Cabot and his son Sebastian, then looking for a passage to Cathay in the interest of the King of England, made a voyage to North America, and had contented themselves with discovering Newfoundland, Sebastian came back again, and accomplished a great deal more. He sailed along the coast from Labrador to the southern end of Florida, and in the course of this voyage discovered New Jersey. He made a map of the whole coast, and claimed all the country back of it for the King of England.
There is no proof that Cabot knew whether this country had inhabitants or not. He saw it from his ships; but he did not make any attempt to settle it, and thus establish a legal right to the soil. He simply declared it the property of the Crown of England, and it is upon this claim that England afterward based her right to the eastern coast of North America.
And so New Jersey was discovered from the east.
About a quarter of a century after Sebastian Cabot's voyage, the French took up the idea that they would like to discover something, and Francis I. sent an Italian mariner, named John Verrazano, across the Atlantic Ocean.
After having sailed far enough, John Verrazano discovered the coast of North America, which he called "a new land never before seen by any man, ancient or modern." He took possession of it in the name of his king, and, in order to settle the matter, called the whole coast New France. There is reason to believe that Verrazano discovered the southern part of New Jersey, for in sailing northward he probably entered Delaware Bay.
But it appears that New Jersey was not yet sufficiently discovered, and after having been left for a long time in the possession of its true owners, the Lenni-Lenape, it was again visited by Europeans. In 1609 the celebrated Henry Hudson, then in the service of the Dutch East India Company, started westward to try to find a northwest passage to China. In those bygone days, whenever a European explorer set out to find an easy passage to the East, he was very apt to discover New Jersey; and this is what happened to Henry Hudson. He first discovered it on the south, and partially explored Delaware Bay; then he sailed up the coast and entered New York Bay, and sailed some distance up the river which now bears his name.
Hudson did more for New Jersey than any of the other discoverers, for his men were the first Europeans who ever set foot upon its soil. Some of them landed in the vicinity of Bergen Point, and were met in a friendly way by a great many of the original inhabitants. But the fact that he found here possessors of the soil made no difference to Hudson: he claimed the country for the Dutch. Five years afterwards, that nation made a settlement at New York, and claiming the whole of the surrounding country, including New Jersey, gave it the name of New Netherland.
Thus was New Jersey discovered on the north; and after the efforts of four nations,—the Indians first, the English under Cabot, the French, and the Dutch (for Hudson was now in the service of that nation),—it may be said to have been entirely discovered.
THE STORY OF A PEACEMAKER.
After the outside boundaries of New Jersey had been pretty thoroughly discovered, it was quite natural that some nations who laid claim to the State should desire to find out something in regard to its interior, and make settlements upon its soil.
This was not done by the English, who had made the first claim to the land, but by the Dutch. In the early part of the seventeenth century, the West India Company of Holland sent out a ship containing the foundation for a little colony,—men, provisions, and all things necessary. They sailed into Delaware Bay; and the commander, Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, gave his name to Cape May. The expedition went up the Delaware River till they reached Timber Creek, probably not much more than ten miles from the spot where Philadelphia now stands. There they settled, and built a fort, which they called Fort Nassau. But this was not looked upon with favor by the Indians, and it was not long before the whole colony was destroyed.
This unfortunate beginning of the white settlement of New Jersey did not deter the Dutch, who are a persevering and dogged people. About twelve years later, another Dutch commander, De Vries, sailed up the Delaware River, or, as the Dutch called it, the South River; his main object being to catch whales, very different from the Delaware fisheries of the present day. He set up a little colony on shore; but it appears that the Indians were very much opposed to this sort of thing, and this settlement was destroyed before long.
But De Vries still kept up the whaling business; and in the course of time, getting out of provisions, he left his vessel, and sailed up the river in a small craft which was called the "Squirrel." He went up as far as the deserted Fort Nassau, and there anchored to trade with the Indians.
It is quite plain that the Indians of New Jersey were now greatly concerned about the visits of white people to their shore; for they perceived that these newcomers were inclined to settle and occupy such places as pleased their fancy, without asking permission, or proposing to buy or to pay rent. All this was very disagreeable to the red men, who had never shown any disposition to open up their country to foreign immigration.
When De Vries anchored, he was very well received; and about forty Indians came on board his yacht, and made a call upon him. They were dressed in their best, and, in order to make the visit more agreeable, they brought some of their musical instruments with them, and gave the Dutchmen a taste of Indian music.
The dress of some of these visitors was a surprise to De Vries and his men, of whom there were only seven on the yacht. It was winter time, and most of the Indians were arrayed in furs, but several of them wore jackets made in the English fashion. The visitors were very friendly, and urged De Vries to sail his vessel up a stream, now known as Big Timber Creek, which, they declared, was a much better place for trading.
Now, according to some of the old histories, a woman appeared in the double character of peacemaker and guardian angel.
Among the Lenni-Lenape, as well as the other tribes of North America, women often had a peculiar part to play in national and social affairs. If ever the services of a peacemaker were desired, that position was always given to a woman. It was considered derogatory to the dignity of a male Indian that he should at any time, of his own accord, desire peace. He and his enemy might both be thoroughly tired of fighting; but neither of them would lower himself in his own estimation, and in the estimation of his countrymen, by allowing any man to know the state of his mind.
But he did not in the least object to tell his wife that he wanted to stop fighting; and she, very gladly in most cases, would confer with the wife of the other brave; and when they had concluded peace, the two men would immediately sit down together, smoke the calumet, and be good friends; and all this without the slightest loss of dignity.
This method of making peace was pursued not only by individuals, but by nations. Very often women had this important political duty thrust upon them,—a duty for which they were probably very well qualified, for it is seldom that the women of a nation desire war.
This national disposition in regard to peacemaking was once the occasion of a serious misfortune to the tribe of Lenni-Lenape. The tribes to the north, who had formed themselves into a powerful body called the Five Nations, had long been jealous of their neighbors the Lenni-Lenape, and contrived a plan to humiliate them, and render them less important in the eyes of the Indian world. Being at war with some other tribes, these Five Nations came to the Lenni-Lenape and pretended to desire peace, but stated that this was too important a case to be managed by women. They declared that this was a great work, which should be given only into the hands of a quiet, dignified, and honorable tribe, such as their great neighbors, and urged the Lenape to undertake negotiations for the cessation of hostilities.
As all this seemed reasonable enough, the Lenape were at last persuaded to become peacemakers, and, as might be supposed, they were entirely successful; but they suffered for their kindness and good feeling. Ever afterwards they were looked upon by other Indian tribes as no better than women. In Cooper's novels there are references to the fact that the noble Lenape were sneered at as peacemakers and squaws.
But we will now return to our guardian angel. It was after a visit of the Indians to the vessel of De Vries, that the peacemaking instinct took possession of the wife of one of the Indian chiefs; and quietly and stealthily, unperceived by her people, she managed to get on board the "Squirrel," when she informed the commander of the real object of his visitors, who had invited him to sail up Timber Creek. It was the desire of the Indians to destroy this company of white men; and the narrow stream where they wished to make the attempt was much better adapted for their purpose than the broad waters of the river.
Wishing to prevent an encounter in which the sturdy Dutchmen would probably kill some of her countrymen before they themselves were destroyed, she had come to implore the whites not to run into the trap which had been set for them. She told them that the crew of an English shallop, which not long before had come to visit the place, probably from a ship afraid to venture higher up the river, had all been slaughtered, and that it was the jackets of these men that some of her countrymen were wearing.
Like a sensible man, De Vries paid attention to this story, and did not venture into Timber Creek. Whether or not he rewarded the good woman who came to warn him of his danger, is not known; but his account of the affair places her in the position of one worthy of a monument by the women of the State.
When the Indians came again to De Vries, he declared to them that his Great Spirit, or "Maneto," had revealed their wicked purposes, and that he would not sail up the Timber Creek, nor would he allow one of them upon his vessel; and, having ordered them all on shore, he dropped some distance down the river.
This conduct doubtless inspired the Indians with great respect for the brave Dutchmen, and shortly afterwards the chiefs from nine different tribes came on board the "Squirrel" for the purpose of making a treaty of peace and commerce with the Dutch. All of these were now dressed in furs, which were their ordinary garments; but some of them were recognized as the same men who had formerly worn the jackets of the murdered English sailors. These, however, were just as cordial and friendly as any of the others, and there is no reason to suppose that they now intended treachery. The visitors sat down on the deck of the yacht, and held a regular council, and, with appropriate ceremonies, made presents of beaver skins to the whites, and solemnly concluded a treaty of friendship.
THE WINNING OF THE PRIZE.
After the importance of the discovery of North America came to be properly appreciated by the nations of Europe, the ownership was looked upon as a great national prize, and there were several nations who were anxious to play for it. This country, so readily approached by the Delaware, became attractive not only to kings and sovereigns, but to settlers and immigrants. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden granted a charter to a company called the West India Company, which was formed for the purpose of making settlements on the shores of the Delaware Bay and River, and commissioned them to take possession of this country, without the slightest regard to what the English sovereign and the Dutch sovereign had granted to their subjects.
The Swedes came to Delaware Bay. They stopped for a while at Cape Henlopen; and then, of course, they sailed up the Delaware, when things soon began to be very disagreeable between themselves and the Dutch, who were there before them.
The Swedes were a warlike set of people, and they held their ground very well. Besides making some settlements, they built a fort which they called Elsinburgh; and, if a Dutch ship happened to pass by that fort, it was obliged to strike its flag in token of submission to a superior power. The Indians, who were perhaps as much opposed to the Swedish settlement as they had been to those of other nations, do not appear to have been able to attack this fort with any success; and as for the Dutch, it is not certain that they even attempted it. So the Swedes at that time governed the passage up and down the Delaware, as the English now govern the passage through the Straits of Gibraltar.
It was probably winter time or cool weather when the Swedes built their proud fort on the banks of that river which they now named "New Swedeland Stream;" but when the warm and pleasant days came on, and it was easy to travel from the interior to the river shore, and when the weather was so mild that it was quite possible to spend the nights in the woods without injury, there came an enemy to Fort Elsinburgh which proved far more formidable than the Indians or Dutch.
The fort was surrounded; and frequent and violent attacks were made upon it, especially in the night, when it was almost impossible for the garrison to defend themselves. Many bloody single combats took place in which the enemy generally fell, for in bodily prowess a Swede was always superior to any one of the attacking force. But no matter how many assailants were killed, the main body seemed as powerful and determined as ever. In course of time the valiant Swedes were obliged to give way before their enemy. They struck their flag, evacuated the fort, and departed entirely from the place where they had hoped a flourishing settlement would spring up under the protection of their fort.
The enemy which attacked and routed the Swedes was a large and invincible army of mosquitoes, against whom their guns, their pistols, their swords, their spears, and their ramparts afforded them no defense. After that, the deserted fort was known as Mygenborg, meaning Mosquito Fort.
The Dutch looked with great disfavor on the Swedes, who continued to establish themselves at various points; and although they did not make an alliance with the body of natives who had driven these northern people away from Elsinburgh,—for a compact of that kind would be dangerous in many ways,—they took up the matter by themselves; and finally the Dutch, under their valiant Peter Stuyvesant, completely conquered the Swedes, and sent their leaders to Holland, while the ordinary settlers submitted to the Dutch.
But this state of things did not continue very long; for the English, who, although they had not yet settled in New Jersey, had never given up their pretensions as the original discoverers, came in strong force, subdued the Dutch, occupied their principal town, New Amsterdam, and took possession of the country, including New Jersey.
But it seemed to be a good deal easier to discover New Jersey than finally to settle its ownership. Now that the Dutch and the Swedes were disposed of, there arose difficulties regarding the English claims to the State. Early in the seventeenth century, Queen Elizabeth had granted an immense tract of land to Sir Walter Raleigh, which was called Virginia, and that included the whole of New Jersey. Afterwards Charles II. granted to his brother, the Duke of York, an immense tract of land, which also included New Jersey, and which was called New York. So what is now New Jersey was then at the same time both Virginia and New York.
The Duke of York, who then owned New Jersey, leased the whole State—lands, forests, rivers, wigwams, Indians, fisheries, Dutch settlers, Swedish settlers, everything—to John Berkeley (Baron of Stratton) and Sir George Carteret for the sum of twenty nobles per year (thirty-two dollars of our money). Some authorities, indeed, state that the sum paid was much smaller.
After a time, however, the claims of Virginia were withdrawn; and not only did Berkeley and Carteret enjoy undisturbed possession of the State, but they gave it a name, and called it Nova Caesaria, or New Jersey, its name being given on account of Carteret's connection with the Isle of Jersey. The Latin name was used for a time; but the settlers preferred English, and so the name now stands. New Jersey was soon afterwards divided into two provinces,—East Jersey and West Jersey. The accompanying map shows the line of division between the two provinces, which was made in 1676. It ran from the southern end of what is now Long Beach, in Little Egg Harbor, to a point on the Delaware River. Two other lines of partition were afterwards made, both starting from the same point on the seacoast; one running somewhat to the west, and the other to the east, of the original line.
After some changes in the proprietorship of the Colony, West Jersey came into the possession of twelve men, one of whom was the celebrated William Penn, whose connection with West Jersey began six years before he had anything to do with Pennsylvania.
Penn and his colleagues gave West Jersey a purely democratic government, founded upon principles of justice and charity, in which the people themselves ruled. Full freedom in regard to religious views was insured; trial by jury was granted; and punishments were made as lenient as possible, with a view to the prevention of crimes rather than the infliction of penalties. The result of this was that for a long time there were no serious crimes in this Province, and the country was rapidly settled by thrifty Quakers anxious to live where they would have liberty of conscience.
In the course of time, East Jersey also came into the possession of Penn and his eleven associates, and the number of proprietors was increased to twenty-four. At the end of the century the two provinces were united into one, and shortly afterwards they passed into the possession of the Crown of England, and became subject to the ordinary British laws. For a long time afterwards, however, the State was known as the "Jerseys."
HOW SCHEYICHBI REALLY BECAME NEW JERSEY.
A point in the history of New Jersey, more important in a moral point of view than that of its European ownership, was that of the purchase of the lands from the first and true owners, the Indians. As has been said, Berkeley and Carteret issued an injunction that the settlers should purchase their lands from the tribes which had lived upon them. This system was subsequently carried out until every foot of the land of the whole State was bought and paid for,—the first transactions of the kind, having taken place several years before Penn's treaty with the Indians in Pennsylvania.
Up to the time when the country finally passed into the hands of the English, the Indians had resisted the attempts of the whites to settle among them; but now, finding that they were to be fairly dealt with, a better feeling arose, and the red men were content to dwell with the whites as friends and neighbors. Of course, all the settlers did not promptly pay for their lands, and there were some minor disputes from this cause; but in general the whites regularly purchased the land upon which they intended to make their homes, and in time all were obliged to do so. As may be supposed, very large prices were not paid for these lands; but the transactions were strictly honorable, because the parties on each side gave what they had, and all were satisfied with what they got.
The payments for land frequently consisted partly of ready-made coats, kettles, and in some cases of jew's-harps. Tracts of land large enough for a town were sometimes sold for a barrel of cider. Now, this might appear rather a hard bargain for the Indians; but it must be considered that they had more land than they wanted, and no ready-made coats, or kettles, or jew's-harps, or cider.
But it was not to be expected that the Indians would always be satisfied with their treatment; and in fact they had a good many grievances. As has been said, a settler sometimes established himself on a good piece of land without consulting the Indians of the neighborhood, or offering them payment, and in such cases there would be remonstrances from the red men. Then, again, the whites could not always understand the nature of Indian bargains. A man would buy a piece of land, and think that he owned not only the ground, but all that grew upon it, all that flew in the air above it, and everything that swam in its waters; and when the Indians, after having received payment for the farm, came there to hunt and fish, and strip the bark off the trees, the purchaser was apt to object.
A notable difficulty of this kind occurred on Sandy Hook, where a man named Hartshorne had bought a tract of land from the Indians, and afterwards found, that, according to their ideas, he had no exclusive right to the fish, game, and timber of his new purchase; and he was especially made to understand that he had not bought the wild plums. This matter of the ownership of the plums afterwards became a source of considerable trouble, and was settled by Hartshorne paying to the chief of the neighboring tribe the sum of thirteen shillings, by which he acquired the entire right to the plums and all the other things on his land.
The Indians had also a grievance of a different kind. There was a conference held in Burlington, between the Indians and the whites, in 1678, which was convened on account of a complaint by the Indians that the English, in selling them some ready-made coats, had also sold them the smallpox. The temper of the Indians may be shown by one of their speeches on this occasion. A leading chief declared: "We are willing to have a broad path for you and us to walk in; and if an Indian is asleep in this path, the Englishman shall pass by him and do him no harm; and if an Englishman is asleep in the path, the Indian shall pass him by and say, 'He is an Englishman; he is asleep; let him alone; he loves to sleep!' It shall be a plain path. There must not be in this path a stump to hurt our feet. And as for the smallpox, it was once in my grandfather's time, and it could not be the English that could send it to us then, there being no English in the country. And it was once in my father's time, they could not send it to us then, neither. And now it is in my time, I do not believe that they have sent it to us now. I do believe it is the man above who has sent it to us." Soon after this, the two parties exchanged presents, and went away satisfied.
For many years after this, there seem to have been few or no troubles between the Indians and the settlers of New Jersey. But matters changed about the middle of the next century; and when the Indian wars began in Pennsylvania, the red men of New Jersey showed symptoms of hostility to the whites. Matters grew worse and worse; and the Indians began to murder families, burn buildings, and carry away prisoners.
This state of affairs grew so alarming that the Legislature took the matter in hand. They appointed commissioners to examine into the treatment of the Indians, and see if there were any good cause for their sudden enmity; and, after a conference with some of the chiefs, a bill was passed by the Legislature to put an end to a good many of the impositions of which the Indians complained. Among these was a habit of the whites of giving the Indians spirits, and then making bargains with them when they were not at all in a condition to do business of that kind. The Indians also complained of the practice of trapping deer, thus decreasing the game in the forests, and the occupation of land, without payment, by the settlers who were continually coming into the country.
Another bill was passed appropriating 1600 pounds to buy from the Indians the entire right to all the lands which they yet held in New Jersey. But as there was no desire to banish the Indians from their native land, one half of this sum was reserved as payment for a large tract of land, or reservation, which should be their home, and on which no white man would have any right to settle, whether he was willing to buy the land or not. When this had been done, it was necessary to submit the matter to the Indians; and a council was called at Burlington, at which were present the governor of the Province, and some of the most prominent Indian chiefs.
At this conference there was a notable exhibition of Indian etiquette. The governor had called the Minisinks, a tribe of the Delawares, to meet him; and they had informed the Mingoians, who, with some other northern tribes, were then gathered together at the grand council fire at the forks of the Delaware, where is now Easton. This was done, because at that time the Mingoians considered themselves superior to the Delawares, from whom proper respect was due.
One of the chiefs from the council fire was sent down to represent the Mingoians. After some speeches were made, he told the white governor that the Minisinks, being Delawares, were women, and were not able of themselves to make treaties, therefore he had come down to look into the matter. As his people were then holding a grand council fire at the forks of the Delaware, they did not wish to put it out and build another council fire on this side of the Delaware. The reason which he gave for this was figurative and Indian-like.
He stated that the river roared and thundered, and made a great deal of noise; and, if the council were held on this side, the distant Indian nations who dwelt to the west of the Delaware could not hear what was said at the council, and therefore it would be unfair to them to hold it on this side of the river. He concluded with a cordial invitation to the governor and his party to meet the Indians at their own council fire.
About a month afterward, the governor, with some members of the Legislature, and other white people from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, met over five hundred Indians at the forks of the Delaware in grand council. Some of the speeches on this occasion were very interesting. A chief of the United Nations, speaking for the Delawares, who, having made themselves women by becoming peacemakers, had no right to speak for themselves, addressed the council as follows:—
"Brethren, we now remove the hatchet out of your heads, that was struck into it by our cousins the Delawares. It was a French hatchet they unfortunately made use of, by the instigation of the French. We take it out of your heads, and bury it underground, where it shall always rest, and never be taken up again. Our cousins the Delawares have assured us they will never think of war against their brethren the English any more, but will employ their thoughts about peace and cultivating friendship with them, and never suffer enmity against them to enter into their minds again."
Another chief said: "Brethren, I speak in behalf of the younger nations,—those who are confederated with the Six Nations, the Cayugas, Oneidas, Tuscaroras, Tutaloes, Nanticokes, and Conoys. A road has been made from our country to this council fire, that we might treat about friendship; and as we came down the road, we saw, that, by some misfortune or other, blood has lately been spilt on it. Now, we make the road wider and clearer. We take the blood away out of it, and likewise out of the council chamber, which may have been stained. We wash it all away, and desire it may not be seen any more, and we take the hatchet out of your heads."
The governor of New Jersey also addressed this council, particularly urging them to require the Indians who had taken away prisoners to return these unfortunate people to their homes. In answer to this, one of the great chiefs of the United Nations made a speech to the Minisinks and the Delawares, in which he gave them a good scolding for not having returned these prisoners before; for it seemed that they had promised to do so.
The council continued several days; and the Minisinks promised faithfully that they would search all the towns in their territory for prisoners, and return them to their own people. This matter having been settled, Governor Bernard made a formal proposition to buy all the lands which the Indians still retained in New Jersey; and, after a good deal of consultation, the chiefs of the United Nations advised the Minisinks and Delawares to accept the terms which were offered. After much talk, it was done, the necessary papers were signed, and the State of New Jersey was formally bought from its Indian owners.
After this great matter had been settled, the tract of land which was to be set apart for the occupation of the Indians of the State, south of the Raritan River, in Burlington County, was purchased. It consisted of three thousand acres, which reached to the seacoast. There was plenty of fishing on it, and there were wild lands and forests, in which game abounded. Here the Indians could live as they pleased after their old-fashioned fashions, and never need fear disturbance by white men. Here they removed, and here they did live, apparently perfectly satisfied; and after this there were no further Indian troubles in New Jersey.
The Indians on this reservation came to be known as the Edge-Pillocks, and in course of time considerable civilization crept in among them. It is a proof of this, that one of them, who took the name of Stephen Calvin, kept a school, and that his son Bartholomew went to Princeton College, and afterwards taught school. It is said that in his school there were as many white scholars as Indians.
In 1801 these Edge-Pillock Indians were invited by the Mohicans of New York to leave their New Jersey home and come and live with them. In their invitation the Mohicans said they would like them "to pack up your mat and come and eat out of our dish, which is large enough for all, and our necks are stretched in looking toward the fireside of our grandfather till they are as long as cranes."
The Edge-Pillocks sold their reservation, had the money invested for them in United States stocks, and went to join the Mohicans. After that, both tribes decided to buy land in Michigan, and the Edge-Pillocks disposed of their stocks to pay for their share.
But our New Jersey Indians did not fare well in the West. Their fortunes did not prosper, and they grew poorer and poorer, until in 1832 their numbers decreased to about forty. Feeling the pressure of poverty, their Indian disposition suggested to them a remedy. They remembered, that, although they had sold their reservation, nothing had been said in the deeds concerning the game and the fish on the property; and they chose to consider that these still belonged to them. They therefore sent Bartholomew Calvin, who was now their oldest chief, to New Jersey to ask the Legislature to buy these remaining rights. The Legislature promptly agreed to do this, and appropriated two thousand dollars, which was the sum Bartholomew named, to buy of the Indians all their remaining rights of every kind in New Jersey.
This act may be considered as one of kindness and charity to the former owners of the land, rather than as an act of justice, because there is no doubt, that when the Indians sold the reservation, and invested the proceeds, they intended to sell every deer, fish, bird, and mosquito on the whole tract. But it is an honor to the Legislature of that day that it was willing to make happy the last days of the New Jersey Indians by this act. That the Indians appreciated what had been done, may be seen from the following extract from a letter from Bartholomew Calvin:—
"Upon this parting occasion I feel it to be an incumbent duty to bear the feeble tribute of my praise to the high-toned justice of this State in dealing with the aboriginal inhabitants. Not a drop of our blood have you spilled in battle, not an acre of our land have you taken but by our consent. These facts speak for themselves, and need no comment. They place the character of New Jersey in bold relief,—a bright example to those States within whose territorial limits our brethren still remain. Nothing save benisons can fall upon her from the lips of a Lenni-Lenape."
But the love of their old home did not die out entirely in the hearts of all the Edge-Pillock Indians, who emigrated, first to New York, and then to Michigan. There was one Indian brave and his squaw, who, after living at Oneida for some time, began to long again for the old hunting ground in New Jersey; and, before the rest of their tribe went West, these two came back to Burlington County, and established themselves in a little house near Mount Holly. Here these two Indians lived for about twenty years; and when they died, they left a daughter, a tall powerful woman, known in the neighborhood as "Indian Ann," who for many years occupied the position of the last of the Lenni-Lenape in New Jersey.
She lived to be more than ninety years old; and her long straight black hair, her copper-colored skin, and bright eyes, gave the people of the neighborhood a good idea of what sort of people used to inhabit this country before their ancestors came over the sea. She had many true Indian characteristics, and loved to work in the open air better than to attend to domestic matters in the house. Even when she was very old, she would go into the woods and cut down trees as if she had been a man. She did not die until December, 1894; and then the people who had known her so long gathered together at her funeral, and buried the last of the Indians of New Jersey.
Thus Scheyichbi, the land of the Indians, became truly and honestly New Jersey, the land of the English settlers; and to this State belongs the honor of having been the first in the Union in which the settlers purchased and paid for the lands on which they settled, and in which the aboriginal owners were so fairly treated that every foot of the soil not purchased of them by individuals was bought and paid for by the government of the State.
FINS, RATTLES, AND WINGS.
When the first settlers came to New Jersey, they found in that country plenty of wild animals, some of them desirable, and some quite otherwise. In the first class were great herds of red deer (especially in the central portion of the State), beavers, hares, and squirrels, and, among the dangerous kinds, bears, panthers, wolves, wild cats, and rattlesnakes. There were also many foxes, which were a great injury to the poultry yards of the settlers. Some of these creatures were so troublesome, that bounties were paid for the heads of panthers, foxes, and some other animals.
The white settlers found New Jersey a capital hunting ground. Nothing, however, that is told about hunting in the early days of New Jersey equals the accounts which are given of the fishing in the waters of that State. Soon after the settlement of Burlington, one of the townspeople wrote to his friends in England, describing the manner in which the people fished in that place.
The Delaware abounded in fish, and in the spring it swarmed with herring. When the early Burlingtonians wanted to catch herring, they did not trouble themselves about nets, or hooks and lines, but they built in the shallow water near the shore a pen, or, as they called it, a "pinfold," made by driving stakes into the sand so as to inclose a circular space about six feet in diameter. On the side toward the open water an aperture was left; and a big bush was made ready to close this up when the proper time came. Then the fishermen waded into the water, carrying with them great birch bushes. Sweeping the water with these, they slowly advanced toward the pinfold, driving swarms of herring before them, and so surrounding the frightened fish, that they had no way of escape, except by rushing through the entrance of the pinfold. Into the inclosure the shining creatures shot,—pushing, crowding, and dashing over each other,—until the pen was packed with fish, almost as closely jammed together as sardines in a tin box. Then the bush was driven down into the opening; and all that it was necessary to do, was to dip into the pinfold and take out great handfuls of fish. In this way bushels of herring could be procured at one time.
It is not to be supposed that in those days game fishing flourished to any extent; that is, sportsmen did not go out with rods and flies to catch little fish one at a time, when it was so easy to scoop them up by dozens.
Shad, too, were very abundant in those days, but not so highly valued as now. In fact, it is stated that when the settlers became more numerous, and the herring fewer, these fish were held in higher repute than shad; so that, when a man bought one hundred herring, he was expected to take ninety-five herring and five shad, or something in that proportion, shad being then rather a drug in the market.
In those early days there were denizens of the waters on the shores of New Jersey very much more valuable than herring, shad, or any other of these finny creatures, no matter in what dense throngs they might present themselves. These were whales, of which there were numbers in Delaware Bay, and even some distance up the river. When the Dutch De Vries first came into these waters, he came after whales; and even at the present day one of these great water monsters occasionally investigates the western coast of New Jersey, generally paying dear for his curiosity.
There were a great many snakes, many of them rattlesnakes, especially in the hilly country. The early settlers had a curious way of making themselves safe from these creatures. When they were going to make a journey through the woods or along wild country, where they expected to find snakes, they would take with them several hogs, and drive these grunting creatures in front of them. Hogs are very fond of eating snakes, and as they went along they would devour all they met with. It did not matter to the hogs whether the snakes were poisonous or harmless, they ate them all the same; for even the most venomous rattlesnake has but little chance against a porker in good condition, who, with his coat of bristles and the thick lining of fat under his skin, is so well protected against the fangs of the snake, that he pays no more attention to them than we to the seeds of a strawberry when we are eating one.
Rattlesnakes were in fact the most dangerous wild animals with which the early settlers had to contend; for they were very numerous, and their bite, if not treated properly at once, was generally fatal. The Indians, who well knew the habits of the snake, were not nearly as much afraid of it as were the whites.
In order to protect one's self against these creatures, unless there are too many of them, it is only necessary to make noise enough to let the snake know that some one is approaching, and it gets out of the way as fast as possible; or, if it has not time to do this, it coils itself up and springs its rattle, thus giving notice that it is on hand, and ready to strike.
It has often been said that the snake's rattle is for warning to birds and other animals; but this is now known to be a mistake, for when a snake rattles, it strikes its victim almost at the same time, if it has a chance.
It is now believed that the rattle is used to attract the attention of birds and other small creatures; and when they turn, and look into the eyes of the terrible serpent, they are so overcome with terror that they cannot fly away, and soon become its prey. This is commonly called snake charming; and a great many instances of it are related by people who are in the habit of telling the truth, and who have seen a snake charm a bird which could have flown away just as well as not, had it not been for the terrible attraction of those great eyes, which drew it nearer and nearer, until at last it found itself in the jaws of a snake.
The Indians did not give this significance to the rattle: they believed, as many people now do, that it was merely used as a warning. So, when an Indian met with a snake which rattled before he came up to it, he took it to be a snake of honest, straight-forward principles, who wished to deceive nobody, and therefore gave fair notice of its presence. Such a serpent was never molested. But if a snake rattled after an Indian had passed, the red man went back and killed the creature, on the ground that it was a sneak and a coward, which had neglected to give warning to the passer-by.
A farmer living in Cumberland County tells a story about having discovered an island in a swamp, which so abounded in snakes, that he and some of his neighbors conceived the idea that this was the place where they made their headquarters, and from which, in summer time, they wandered to forage upon the country. The farmers waited until winter before they made an attack upon this stronghold; and then they came and dug up the ground, knowing that these reptiles always pass the cold season in a torpid state underground.
It was not long before they came to what might be called in these days a cold-storage vault. This was a flat-bottomed cavity, filled to the depth of about three inches with clear spring water; and in this water were packed away a great number of snakes, evenly laid side by side, so as to take up as little room as possible. The majority of these creatures were rattlesnakes; but there were black snakes among them, and one large spotted snake. Besides these, there were, as the narrator expressed it, at least a peck of spring frogs; these having probably crawled in to fill up all corners and vacant places. All these reptiles were of course dormant and insensible, and were easily destroyed.
There is another story which gives even a better idea of the abundance of rattlesnakes in the new colony. In a quarry, from which the workmen were engaged in getting out stone for the foundations of Princeton College, a wide crack in the rocks was discovered, which led downward to a large cavity; and in this cave were found about twenty bushels of rattlesnake bones. There was no reason to believe that this was a snake cemetery, to which these creatures retired when they supposed they were approaching the end of their days; but it was, without doubt, a great rattlesnake trap. The winding narrow passage leading to it must have been very attractive to a snake seeking for retired quarters in which to take his long winter nap. Although the cave at the bottom of the great crack was easy enough to get into, it was so arranged that it was difficult, if not impossible, for a snake to get out of it, especially in the spring, when these creatures are very thin and weak, having been nourished all winter by their own fat. Thus year after year the rattlesnakes must have gone down into that cavity, without knowing that they could never get out again.
The great rivals, in point of numbers, to the herring and other fish in the rivers of New Jersey (and the snakes in their winter quarters underground), were the wild pigeons in the air. Several times in the year the settlers would be visited by vast flocks of these birds, which came in such numbers as to shut out the light of the sun, as if they had been clouds in the sky. They would remain in one place for a few days, and then pass on. As it was unnecessary to use hooks and lines to catch a few fish out of the multitudes which swarmed in the streams, so it was hardly worth while to waste powder and shot on the vast flocks of pigeons which visited New Jersey in those days. When they came to roost in the forests, they could be knocked down with poles and stones; and thousands and thousands of them were thus obtained by the men and boys, and very good eating they were.
There was a summer in which the settlers were very much astonished by the advent of a vast army of invaders to which they were not at all accustomed. These were locusts, probably of the kind we now call seventeen-year locusts; and the people were amazed to see these creatures come up out of the ground, clad in their horny coats of mail, which they afterwards cast off, when they appeared as winged creatures.
They could not understand how insects encumbered by such hard, unwieldy shells, could penetrate to such distance below the surface of the earth; for they did not know that each one of these locusts came from a little worm which had dropped into the ground many years before, and which had worked its way down to a great depth, and then, about a sixth of a century afterward, had reappeared on the surface as a hard-shell locust, ready to split its back, get out of its shell, spend a few days flying about in the summer air, lay its eggs in the twigs of trees, and then, having fulfilled all its duties on this earth, to die.
Although the farmers probably supposed that their crops would be eaten up by this vast horde of locusts, no great injury was done to them; for, as we now know, the seventeen-year locusts do not appear upon earth to destroy crops and vegetation, being far different from the grasshopper-like locusts which in our Western countries sometimes devastate large sections of farming lands. The twigs of the trees, which had been punctured in order that the eggs might be deposited, recovered their life, and put forth their leaves again when they had ceased to act as insect incubators.
THE STORY OF A GIRL AND A HOGSHEAD.
Settlers came to New Jersey in various ways. Their voyages were generally very long, and it often happened that they did not settle at the place for which they had started, for there were many circumstances which might induce them to change their mind after they reached this country.
But there was one settler, and a very valuable one too, who came to New Jersey in an entirely original and novel fashion. She was a girl only sixteen years old, and a Swede. There is no reason to suppose that she wanted to come to America; but circumstances made it necessary that she should get out of Sweden, and this country was a very good place to come to. It is said that this girl, whose surname we do not know, but who was called Elizabeth, was a connection of the Swedish royal family; and, as there was great trouble at the time between different factions in the land, it happened that it was dangerous for Elizabeth to remain in Sweden, and it was very difficult to get her away. It is quite certain that she was a person of importance, because it was considered absolutely necessary to keep the authorities from knowing that she was about to sail for foreign lands.
There are people at the present day who, when they first go on board an ocean steamer, are very much surprised and disgusted at the small size of the stateroom they will have to occupy during the voyage; but if they could have seen the accommodations with which Elizabeth was obliged to content herself, they would not look with such contempt upon a room in which three persons can sleep, leaving space to move about.
The people who had Elizabeth's passage in charge conceived the idea that the safest way to get her on board the vessel, which was waiting at the dock, would be to ship her as freight. So she was put into a large hogshead, and securely fastened up, and then carried on board. She must have been a girl of a good deal of pluck, for the vessel was not to sail for several days, and she must remain in the hogshead all that time, as the officials of the port might come on board at any moment and discover her, if she should get out of her hiding place. I have no doubt that she was supplied with three or four meals a day through the bunghole.
Not only was Elizabeth's precious self thus duly consigned to America as if she had been ordinary merchandise, but a great many of her valuable possessions, jewels, clothes, etc., were also shipped to accompany her. In the course of time, and it must have been a dreary time to this poor girl, the ship moved out of the dock, and started on its voyage across the North Sea, and then over the Atlantic to the new country. Not until the vessel was well out of sight of land, and free from danger of being overhauled by a vessel of the Swedish navy, did Elizabeth come out of her barrel and breathe the fresh sea air.
At that time, early in the seventeenth century, a good many vessels crossed the Atlantic, and most of them must have made safe and successful voyages; but it so happened that the ship in which Elizabeth sailed was not a fortunate craft. When she reached the far-stretching Jersey coast, dangerous even now to mariners who know it well, this vessel was overtaken by storm, and soon became a hopeless wreck.
It might have been a very good thing if Elizabeth had concluded to end her voyage as she began it. If she had put her valuables into her hogshead, and then had jumped in herself and had asked some of the sailors to fasten her up, there is no doubt that she would have floated ashore, if she had known how to keep the open bunghole uppermost,—which no doubt she did,—and would have saved all her possessions. If one must float through stormy waves and great breakers, there is no safer way to do it than in a hogshead, as has been proved by the man who in that way navigated the fierce rapids at Niagara. But Elizabeth did not go back to her hogshead. She took her chances with the rest of the people on board, and with them was cast on the shore of New Jersey.
This shore was absolutely wild and bare, and what became of the others who reached it, we do not know; but Elizabeth eventually wandered off by herself, alone and lost in a strange land. If the people who had been so much concerned about her connection with the Swedish throne had been able to see her then, they would have been perfectly satisfied that she would give them no further trouble. How she lived during her days of wandering and solitude is not told; but when we remember that New Jersey is noted for its berries and for its clams, and that it was probably summer time when she was cast ashore (for mariners would generally calculate to arrive at the settlement in good weather), we may give a very good guess at Elizabeth's diet.
It was not very long before she found that there was another wanderer in this desolate and lonely place. She met with a white hunter named Garrison; and very much surprised must he have been when his eyes first fell upon her,—almost as much surprised, perhaps, as if he had come upon a stranded hogshead, with a human voice calling through the bunghole to be let out.
When a possible heiress of a royal crown meets with a solitary hunter, probably poor and of no family to speak of, her reception of him depends very much upon surrounding circumstances. In this case, those circumstances induced Elizabeth to look upon Garrison with more favor than she had ever looked upon a king or noble, for there is no doubt that she would have perished on that wild and uninhabited coast if she had not met with him.
Of course, the hunter gladly undertook to guide this Swedish girl to a settlement; and the two started off on their long tramp. It is not at all surprising that they soon began to like each other, that it was not long before they fell in love, and that in course of time they were duly married. If she had ever thought of a marriage with a high-born Swede, Elizabeth gave up all such notions when she entered her hogshead, and left all her proud hopes behind her.
This young couple—one of royal Swedish blood, the other a hardy hunter of the New World—settled near Bridgeton, and there they flourished and prospered. Elizabeth lived to be ninety-five years old. She had ten children, and in 1860 it was computed that her descendants numbered at least a thousand. That any of these considered themselves better than their neighbors, because it was possible that they might have a drop or two of royal blood in their veins, is not likely; for but few American families would care to base their claims of social superiority upon such a very diluted foundation as this. But they would have good reason to trace with pride their descent from the plucky girl who started for America in a hogshead, and who was able to land alone and unassisted on the Jersey coast in a storm, and to take care of herself after she got ashore.
THE STORY OF PENELOPE STOUT.
In the early days of New Jersey, the Dutch settlers suffered very much from Indian hostilities. It was at the time that New Amsterdam, afterwards New York, was in the possession of the Dutch, that a ship came from Holland, bringing passengers who intended to settle in the new country. The ship was unfortunately wrecked in the neighborhood of Sandy Hook; but all the passengers managed to save themselves, and reached the shore.
Among these was a young couple whose names we do not know, except that the wife's maiden name was Penelope Van Princis. Her husband had been very sick during the voyage; and getting ashore through the surf from the wreck could not have been of any benefit to him, for, after he had reached dry land, he felt even worse than he had upon shipboard, and needed all the attention his wife could give him.
Although the passengers and crew of this vessel had reached the shore, they did not by any means consider themselves in safety; for they were very much afraid of the Indians, and desired above everything to make what haste they could toward New Amsterdam. They therefore started away as soon as possible. But Penelope's husband was too sick to go any farther at that time, and his wife was too good a woman to leave her husband in that lonely spot; and so these two were left behind, while the rest of the company started for New Amsterdam, promising, however, that they would send help to the unfortunate couple.
The fears of these immigrants in regard to the Indians were not without foundation; for the main party had not long departed, when a band of red men, probably having heard in some way of the wreck of the ship, appeared upon the scene, and discovered poor Penelope and her sick husband. It is unfortunately the disposition of most savages to show little pity for weakness and suffering, and the fact that the poor young man could not do them any possible harm had no effect upon them, and they set upon him and killed him; very much as a boy would kill a little harmless snake, for no reason whatever, except that he was able to do it.
Then they determined to kill Penelope also, and, attacking her with their tomahawks, they so cut and wounded her that she fell down bleeding and insensible. Having built a fire, these brave warriors cooked themselves a comfortable meal, and then departed. But Penelope was not killed, and, coming to her senses, her instincts told her that the first thing to do was to hide herself from these bloodthirsty red men: so, slowly and painfully, she crawled away to the edge of a wood, and found there a great hollow tree, into which she crept.
This made but narrow and doleful quarters for a wounded woman, but it was preferable at that time to the blue sky and fresh air. She did not leave the tree until nightfall, and then she made her way to the place where the fire was still glimmering; and by great care, and with what must have been painful labor, she kept this fire from going out, and so managed to get a little warmth.
In this way, living in the tree the greater part of the time, and depending for food chiefly upon the fungous excrescences and gum which grew on the outside of it,—for she was not able to go in search of berries and other food,—poor Penelope lived for a few days, with her dead husband on the beach, and her almost dead self in that cavern-like tree. The hours must have passed mournfully indeed to this young woman who had set out for the New World with such bright hopes.
That she survived her terrible hardships was due entirely to the existence of the danger she most feared; that is, the reappearance of the Indians. On the second morning, nearly famished and very weak, Penelope was making her way slowly over the ground, endeavoring to find something she could eat, or a little dew in the hollow of a leaf, that she might drink, when suddenly there came out of the woods two tall Indians, who, naturally enough, were much surprised to find a wounded white woman there alone upon the seashore.
Penelope gave herself up as lost. There was nothing now for her to do but to submit to her fate. It was a pity, she thought, that she had not been slain with her husband.
But the Indians did not immediately rush at her with their tomahawks: they stood and talked together, evidently about her, with their fierce eyes continually fixed upon her. Then their conversation became more animated, and it was soon plain that they were disputing. Of course, she did not then know the cause of their difference of opinion; but she found out afterwards that one of them was in favor of killing her upon the spot, and the other, an older man than his companion, was more mercifully inclined, and wished to carry her off as a prisoner to their camp.
At last the older man got the better of the other one; and he, being determined that the poor wounded woman should be taken care of, took her up and put her on his shoulder, and marched away with her. That an Indian should be able to perform a feat like this is not at all surprising; for when one of them shoots a deer in the forest, though many of those animals are heavier than Penelope was, he will put it on his back and carry it through the forests, perhaps for miles, until he reaches his camp. And so Penelope, as if she had been a deer wounded by some other hunters, which these men had found, was carried to the Indian camp.
There she was taken care of. Food and drink were given her. Her wounds were dressed and treated after the Indian fashion. In due course of time she recovered her health and strength, and there—living in a wigwam, among the women and children of the village, pounding corn, cooking food, carrying burdens as did the Indian women—she remained for some time, not daring even to try to escape; for in that wild country there was no place of safety to which it was possible for her to flee.
Although there was a good deal of bad feeling between the Indians and the whites at that time, they still traded and communicated with each other; and when, in the course of time, it became known in New Amsterdam that there was a white woman held as a prisoner in this Indian camp, there was every reason to suppose that this woman was the young wife who had been left on the seacoast by the survivors of the wreck. Consequently some of the men who had been her fellow-passengers came over to the Indian camp, which was not far from where Middletown now stands. Here, as they had expected, they found Penelope, and demanded that the Indians should give her up.
After some discussion, it was agreed that the matter should be left with Penelope herself; and the old Indian who had saved her life went to her,—for of course, being an inferior, she was not present at the conference,—and put the question before her. Here she was, with a comfortable wigwam, plenty to eat and drink, good Indian clothes to wear, as well treated as any Indian woman, and, so far as he could see, with everything to make her comfortable and happy; and here she might stay if she chose. On the other hand, if she wished to go to New Amsterdam, she would find there no one with whom she was acquainted, except the people who had rowed away and left her on that desolate coast, and who might have come in search of her a long time before if they really had cared anything about her. If she wanted to live here among friends who had been kind to her, and be taken care of, she could do so; if she wanted to go away and live among people who had deserted her, and who appeared to have forgotten her, she could do that.
Very much to the surprise of this good Indian, Penelope declared that she should prefer to go and live among people of her own race and country; and so, much to the regret of her Indian friends, she departed for New Amsterdam with the men who had come for her.
A year or two after Penelope had gone back to New Amsterdam, being then about twenty-two, she married an Englishman named Richard Stout, who afterwards became an important personage. He, with other settlers, went over to New Jersey and founded a little village, which was called Middletown, not far from the Indian camp where Penelope had once been a prisoner. The Indians still remained in this camp, but now they appeared to be quite friendly to the whites; and the new settlers did not consider that there was anything dangerous in having these red neighbors. The good Indian who had been Penelope's protector, now quite an old man, was very friendly and sociable, and often used to visit Mrs. Stout. This friendship for the woman whom he had saved from death seemed to have been strong and sincere.
One day this old Indian came to the house of Mrs. Stout, and, seating himself in the room where she was, remained for a long time pensive and silent. This rather unusual conduct made Penelope fear that something had happened to him; and she questioned him, asking him why he was so silent, and why he sighed so often. Then the old man spoke out and told her that he had come on a very important errand, in which he had risked his own life at the hands of his tribe; but, having saved her life once, he had determined to do it again, no matter what might happen to himself.
Then he told her that the good will of the Indians toward their white neighbors had come to an end, and that it had been determined in council that an attack should be made that night upon this little village, when every person in it—men, women, and children—should be put to death, the houses burned, and the cattle driven away. His brethren no longer wanted white people living near them.
Of course, this news was a great shock to Penelope. She had now two little children, and she could not get far away with them and hide, as she herself had once hidden from Indian foes. But the old man told her that she need not be afraid: he could not save all the people in the village, but he was her friend, and he had arranged to save her and her family. At a certain place, which he described so she could not fail to find it, he had concealed a canoe; and in that she and her husband, with the children, could go over to New Amsterdam, and there would be plenty of time for them to get away before the Indians would attack the place. Having said this, and having urged her to lose no time in getting away, the old Indian left.
As soon as he had gone, Penelope sent for her husband, who was working in the fields, and told him what she had heard, urging him to make preparations instantly to escape with her. But Mr. Stout was not easily frightened by news such as this. He pooh-poohed the whole story, and told his wife that the natives over there in their camp were as well disposed and friendly as if they had been a company of white settlers, and that, as these red men and the whites had lived together so long, trading with each other, and visiting each other with perfect freedom, there was no reason whatever to suppose that the Indians would suddenly determine to rise up and massacre a whole settlement of peaceable neighbors, who had never done them any harm, and who were a great benefit to them in the way of trading. It would be all nonsense, he said, to leave their homes, and run away from Indians so extremely friendly and good-natured as those in the neighboring camp.
But Penelope had entirely different ideas upon the subject. She thoroughly believed in the old Indian, and was sure that he would not have come and told her that story unless it had been true. If her husband chose to stay and risk his life, she could not help it; but she would not subject herself and her children to the terrible danger which threatened them. She had begged her husband to go with her; but as he had refused, and had returned to his work, she and her children would escape alone.
Consequently she set out with the little ones, and with all haste possible she reached the place where the canoe was moored among some tall reeds, and, getting in with the children, she paddled away to New Amsterdam, hoping she might reach there in time to send assistance to Middletown before the Indians should attack it.
When Farmer Stout found that his wife had really gone off, and had taken the children with her, he began to consider the matter seriously, and concluded that perhaps there might be something in the news which the old Indian had brought. He consequently called together a number of the men of the village, and they held a consultation, in which it was determined that it would be a wise thing to prepare themselves against the threatened attack; and, arming themselves with all the guns and pistols they could get, they met together in one of the houses, which was well adapted for that purpose, and prepared to watch all night.
They did not watch in vain, for about midnight they heard from the woods that dreadful war whoop which the white settlers now well understood. They knew it meant the same thing as the roar of the lion, who, after silently creeping towards his intended victim, suddenly makes the rocks echo with the sound of his terrible voice, and then gives his fatal spring.
But although these men might have been stricken with terror, had they heard such a war cry at a time when they were not expecting it, and from Indians to whom they were strangers, they were not so terrified at the coming of these red men with whom, perhaps only the day before, they had been trading buttons for venison and beans. They could not believe that these apparently mild and easy-going fellows could really be the terrible savages they tried to make themselves appear.
So Richard Stout and his companions went boldly out, guns in hand, to meet the oncoming savages, and, calling a parley, they declared that they had no intention of resting quietly, and allowing themselves and families to be slaughtered and their houses burned. If the Indians, who had so long been their good neighbors, were now determined to become bloody enemies, they would find that they would have to do a good deal of hard fighting before they could destroy the village of Middletown; and, if they persisted in carrying on the bloody job they had undertaken, a good many of them would be killed before that job was finished.
Now, it had been very seldom that Indians who had started out to massacre whites had met with people who acted like this; and these red men in war paint thought it wise to consider what had been said to them. A few of them may have had guns, but the majority were armed only with bows and tomahawks; and these white men had guns and pistols, with plenty of powder and ball. It would clearly be unsafe to fight them.
So, after discussing the matter among themselves and afterwards talking it over with the whites, the Indians made up their minds, that, instead of endeavoring to destroy the inhabitants of Middletown, they would shake hands with them and make a treaty of peace. They then retired; and on the following day a general conference was held, in which the whites agreed to buy the lands on which they had built their town, and an alliance was made for mutual protection and assistance. This compact was faithfully observed as long as there were any Indians in the neighborhood, and Middletown grew and flourished.
Among the citizens of the place there were none who grew and flourished in a greater degree than the Stout family. Although Penelope bore upon her body the scars of her wounds until the day of her death, it is stated, upon good authority, that she lived to be one hundred and ten years old; so that it is plain that her constitution was not injured by the sufferings and hardships of the beginning of her life in New Jersey.