Presentation on theme: "The Influence American Indian Pathways had on Connecticut Transportation Systems & Settlements."— Presentation transcript:
The Influence American Indian Pathways had on Connecticut Transportation Systems & Settlements
How this all got started… For many years before Connecticut was settled, there was a traveled way leading up from the shores of the sound east of the Norwalk River. Passing through Georgetown then heading due North to the land of Pah- quio-que (Danbury) the dwelling place of the southern tribe of the Schaticoke Indians… ~Wilbur F. Thompson, April 1919 The Old Indian Trail
How this all got started… Looking deeper The first Connecticut highway was, so far as we know, the Indian Trail… ~Lewis E. Stanton, History of Highways in Connecticut While the water courses may be aptly termed the primary Indian Highways in New England, there were also many economically important overland trails throughout the area. ~Leaman F. Hallett, Indian Trails and Their Importance to Early Colonists
And these are only the main foot paths!!
Indian Foot Paths Laid & developed through ages of Indian use with an eye to the easiest & quickest topographical [route], many of these ancient Indian foot paths were [later] adopted and enlarged into the bridle paths [by] the early pioneers, and eventually [became] the modern highways of today. ~Leaman F. Hallett, Indian Trails and Their Importance to Early Colonists
Indian Foot Paths Seasonal rotations from planting grounds to fishing & hunting grounds were made over these paths … with inter-tribal communication along the way. Ordinarily there were two main paths running perpendicular to each other: North-South, East-West, quartering each tract. ~Leaman F. Hallett, Indian Trails and Their Importance to Early Colonists
Access to our State… Englishmen of Boston Asked to Travel to Connecticut via Indian Pathways
Paths to Connecticut On April 4, 1631, John Winthrop, Jr. recorded in his Journal that Wahginnacut, a Podunk Sachem on the River Quonehtacut…came to Boston with John Sagamore and Jack Straw (his interpreter) and said he was very desirous to have some Englishmen come plant (settle) in his country…which is not above 5 days journey from us by land. ~Winthrop Journal, I: 223
Roger Ludlow Settles the CT River Valley In 1633 trader John Oldham & three companions traveled to CT and came home to MA with a positive report: The Sachem used them kindly…they traded for beaver, hemp and black lead (graphite)…they lodged in Indian towns the whole way. This report followed by a treaty offer from the Pequots led Roger Ludlow overland to present day Greater Hartford Area in June of 1635 with his Dorchester Association members. Ludlow followed the Connecticut path of the Indians, now Routes 44, 197, 198.
Ludlows Route Hartford Springfield, MA Routes 44, 197, 198
Route 44 I-84 Hartford Springfield, MA Route 5 Indian Paths become modern highways Route 190 Route 140 Route 198 Route Route 6 Route 2
Pequot War Results in Coastal Settlements
Pequot War opens Coastal Settlements In 1636 trader John Oldham was killed on Block Island. To avenge his death the Bay Colony set out to attack the Narragansetts for the murder and the Pequots for their lands. The Pequots had nothing to do with the murder. By this time there were two settlement areas in CT, Hartford & Saybrook. In response to the Bay Colonys attack, the Pequots attacked Saybrook & Wethersfield, killing settlers in Wethersfield. Thus began the Pequot War.
Saybrook Wethersfield Pequot retaliation starts a war
Pequot War opens Coastal Settlements Ludlow declared an offensive war on the Pequots & with the help of Uncas Mohegans and soldiers from Massachusetts Bay they chased the Pequots all over CT, until they finally cornered them in a swamp at modern day Southport where it all ended horribly for the Pequot tribe.
Coastal Settlements Quickly follow the Pequot War 1649 *Roger Ludlow purchased land in Saugatuck & Norwalk (1640) but it wasnt settled until later.
Indians Pushed Inland as Settlers Take Over Their Coastal Villages
Land Sales… Oversight or Misunderstanding? European settlers continually ignored important text in the Indians portion of the deeds: "Reserving in the whole of the same, liberty for myself and my heirs to hunt, fish, and fowl upon the land and in the waters, and further reserving for myself, my children, and grand children…the use of so much land by my present dwelling house or wigwam as the General Assembly of the Colony … shall judge necessary for my or their personal improvement...
Different Viewpoints Indians did not understand land ownership the way the English and their future generations viewed it: in their culture, no tribe nor Indian had exclusive, permanent rights to specific parcels of land, "different groups of people could have different claims on the same tract of land depending on how they used it." By ignoring the Indians provisions within the land deeds, the settlers were exceeding the usage rights the Indians were granting them.
Different Viewpoints What the Indians owned or had claim to- was not the land but the things that were on the land during various seasons of the year…In nothing is this more clear than in the names they attached to their landscape, the great bulk of which related to usage not possession. ~William Cronon, Changes in the Land
Meanings of Indian Names Pok-a-no-ket: at or near the cleared lands. A-bess-ah: clam bake place Mitt-in-eag: abandoned fields Eack-honk: the end of the fishing place Simpaug: beaver pond Aspetuck: at the high place. Ousatonic: land beyond the mountains Waramaug: good fishing place Pequonnock: a small plantation Mash-an-tucket: in the little place of much wood
Oyster Shell Pile! You can see why coastal tribes would not want to leave their lands!!
American Indian Pathways & Early Access to the Interior Lands
Early Interior Settlement Derby is settled in Indian Trails and a Ford where the Naugatuck meets the Housatonic. Woodbury is settled in Indian Trails lead these coastal settlers to the interior. Settlers make their way from Norwalk to Danbury in 1684 to establish a town. Indian Trails lead these coastal settlers to the interior. From 1639 to 1651 there are no English settlements in the Western interior of Connecticut…at least that I am aware of…That changes once Derby, Woodbury & Danbury are settled.
Indian trails used in all these migrations 1651
Why Indian Paths were important
Indian Guides Were Essential In finding their way inland, settlers needed Indian guides to find where the Indian paths were and where they went. One writer noted: they (the English) sadly search up and down for a known way, the Indian paths not being above a one foot road. So that a man may travel many days and never find one. The use of guides would continue into the 1800s. i.e. Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Waterways = Early Indian North/South Trails. Derby
Naugatuck R. meets Housatonic R Fording place. 34
From these Pathways Begins the Progression of our Transportation Systems
The simplest early roads were described as paths cut out i.e. brush was cut out along the Indian pathways and trees were marked with an ax…
Later these paths were made passable for horses by cutting tree limbs high enough to permit the passage of a horse and rider. For many years this was the method of travel throughout our state. Pack horses became common and goods were often transported by packhorse trains…
The next progression, which proves to be an important one, was the widening of bridle paths to accommodate Ox Carts. Oxen were strong and capable of travel over terrain that would be impassable for a horse-drawn cart…
Packhorse lobbyists protested heavily, claiming the construction of wider roads was a waste of taxpayers money but they lost and as a direct result of these new Ox Cart paths, inland settlements in our State increased quickly.
Ox Carts headed to a Ferry…no bridges back then!
This Assembly doth free the town of Danbury from paying country rates this present year (1702), They paying their deputies salary and all other Public charges amongst themselves, and they making a sufficient cart-way from their town and through their bounds and the country lands, for transportation of what they raise to the sea (i.e. the ports of Fairfield and Norwalk). Ox Cart Paths Improve Travel & Access to the Interior Lands
DanburyNewtown Ridgefield Brookfield New Milford Redding Woodbury Southbury Waterbury Naugatuck Seymour Derby Ansonia Bethel Pioneer Settlement Settlements resulting from success of & improvements by pioneer towns
American Indian Pathways as Post Roads
Colonial Postal Route Indian Paths played a major role in the establishment of the postal system in this country. The first colonial postal route was started by a single rider, in the winter of 1673, who rode between New York and Boston with a horse change in Hartford, his route traveled was over the old Indian trails between these points. Travel time? 3 weeks!
Colonial Postal Route The three major alignments of this The Boston Post Road were the Lower Post Road (now U.S. Route 1 along the shore and through Providence, Rhode Island), the Upper Post Road (now US 5 and US 20 from New Haven, Connecticut via Springfield, Massachusetts), and the Middle Post Road (now Route 44 which split from Hartford, Connecticut, and ran diagonally to Boston via Pomfret, Connecticut).
Lower Post Road Route 1 Route 44 Route 5 Upper Post Road Middle Post Road
The Early Postal System In 1692 an attempt was made to establish postal service to Virginia which failed. By 1717 mail was being carried from Boston to Virginia. Travel time? One month in Summer; Two months in Winter. Philadelphia was added in 1720, receiving mail from New York once a week Benjamin Franklin named Colonial Postmaster. Reduces trip from New York to Philly from 3 days to a day and a half.
The Early Postal System By 1765 the postal system of the colonies had grown from a single post rider to about 60 post offices, almost all of which were on the coasts or not more than 60 miles inland. Ben Franklin stated: "...The posts only go along the sea coasts; they do not, except in a few instances, go back into the country..."
Colonial Postal Route Franklin likely noted this because Inland roads in the colonial period were poor, as colonists did not have modern conveniences such as bulldozers and excavators to clear pathways for their travels. Trees and bushes were cut back with hand-tools and oxen teams were harnessed to remove stumps and boulders in order to widen the existing footpaths.
Colonial Postal Route Once mail reached a point on the "coastal" Post Road close to its destination, it would be sent inland via post rider, or it would wait for someone who was traveling in the direction of the addressee to pick it up and carry it the rest of the way inland.
Inland Post Roads
The Post Rider The Post Rider was a man of importance in our rural communities, delivering the weekly newspaper and some letters. He traveled on horseback, with his saddle bags filled and often accompanied by one or two pack horses. He acted as a middleman between local farmers and city dealers, taking the smaller products of the farms - butter, cheese, honey, beeswax, woolens, yarn, flax, etc., to the larger towns - selling them, and bringing back dyestuffs, calicos, needles, pins and other articles used in the rural homes of that day.
The Post Rider Postmasters and post riders were exempt from military duties so as not to interrupt service. These post-riders were allowed the exclusive privilege of carrying letters, papers and packages on their respective routes, and any person who infringed upon their rights was subject to a fine. So in addition to their $100 a year salary, many Post Riders operated side-businesses along their exclusive routes.
Many of these Post Roads were used during the American Revolution
Albany Turnpike To Boston Hartford New Haven New London To Providence Post Road
After the Revolution Turnpikes Replace Existing Cart Paths & Horse Paths
Apparently Our Roads Were in Need of Some Improvement… In 1760, citizens of Hartford petitioned the Assembly to raise 6000 pounds to repair Main Street because it was the worst road in the Colony Speaking of Hartford roads, Prof. Alexander Johnson noted: …the roads of Hartford and its neighborhood had a certain evil preeminence. A Good number of wagons had been sunk to the hub in the native clay of Pearl Street.
Apparently Our Roads Were in Need of Some Improvement… Dr. Samuel Holton in June, 1778, went from Boston to Philadelphia. The only route he describes as very good, was the one from Springfield to Hartford. From Hartford to Litchfield the roads were very bad, while the roads from Litchfield to the New York Line were the worst he had ever seen! Count Chastellux who went through Connecticut in 1780 remarked that in going from Canaan to Norfolk you mount for 4 or 5 miles continually bounding from one large stone to another, which cross the road & give it a resemblance of stairs.
Some Indian Paths just werent made for Turnpikes
The Turnpikes Turnpikes came into Connecticut in the 18 th and 19 th centuries. During this period a large number of turnpike companies were being chartered by the General Assembly in towns and cities throughout Connecticut. The turnpikes were very superior to the old cart paths, generally having straighter alignments, lesser grades, bridges instead of fords, and graveled surfaces.
The Turnpikes Most turnpikes were two-way thorough-fares, about twenty-four feet wide and relatively straight. In New England, in order to avoid muddiness and road erosion, drainage was provided by giving the road a convex surface to shed the water. Connecticut companies tended to spend less money for turnpikes than those in states such as Massachusetts, since many turnpike corporations simply improved existing public roads and therefore avoided heavy expenditures for rights of way.
Early Turnpikes of Connecticut One of the first highways to come into general use was known as the high road to Albany, this ran from Hartford to Farmington, Harwinton, Litchfield, Goshen, Cornwall, Canaan, Salisbury and on into New York. Another East-West route ran from Waterbury, Woodbury, through New Milford and on into New York. These highways pushed Connecticut products to the Hudson River and diminished trade within our State.
Derby Becomes Seaport To keep trade local- a cart part was built in 1761 from Canaan to Derby and a petition was issued to make the Housatonic navigable for two-ton loads. As a result, Derby developed into an important seaport for most of Western Connecticut. In the trade expansion following the Revolution, it was common to see a string of wagons loaded with country produce, waiting hours for their turn at the docks to reach worldwide markets. For Example: The Derby Fishing Co. was carrying on an extensive commerce with the north shore of the Mediterranean.
N.H. Turnpike Hurts Derby In 1798 a turnpike to New Haven was promoted by local business men to improve this trade route, however…instead of helping Derby it diverted many suppliers to New Havens harbor, which was larger. A second Turnpike from Bridgeport to Newtown in 1801 cut off trade goods that had been coming down from the towns above Derby on the Housatonic River.
Early Turnpikes of Connecticut To touch on some other Turnpikes of interest… Running North-South was the Hartford & New Haven Turnpike running down though Farmington, Southington, Cheshire. Hamden and on into New Haven. James Hillhouse directed the building of this road and later was the superintendent of the Farmington Canal project.
Early Turnpikes of Connecticut Other Turnpikes of interest… Running North-South, The Waterbury River Turnpike was chartered in It ran from Naugatuck to Waterbury, then north through- Thomaston, Torrington, Winchester, West Windsor, Colebrook and then crossed the border to connect to the Massachusetts 15 th Turnpike
Stage Coaches With the *improvement of roads, stage coaches appear in the early 1800s. Advertisement by the New Post-Coach Line Dispatch: 6 hours from Hartford to New Haven, leave Hartford at 11am and arrive in New Haven at 5pm. …and you thought your commute was bad!
Stage Coaches *Road Improvement wasnt always a given… In some of these ancient roads the passenger was jolted and distressed going down hill as well as up. In one case an occupant of the Stage Coach called out to the driver- Are you going down any further? For if you are…I must get out, for I do want to remain on this earth a little longer.
No Fear here! Stacked three levels high
Taverns & Postmasters Taverns were often Post Offices. Why? Stagecoaches were used to carry mail because they stopped regularly at Taverns, which in the time period were the social center of most communities. In 1845, Congress abandoned its preference for stagecoaches in an effort to reduce mail transportation costs, opting to use the railroad.
12 MS (Miles) to NW (Norwalk) 1786 On South Street in Danbury, there is a milestone bearing the date of 1787, "67 miles to New York, 67 miles to Hartford"
Hartford to Poughkeepsie Stage Route Marker
Turnpikes & Milestones In the summer of 1763, Ben Franklin completed a five-month carriage tour to inspect post offices. On that tour, he utilized an odometer. The Institute News describing the action of his odometer noted: "When actuated from a carriage wheel having a circumference of thirteen and one-fifth feet, a mile was registered in each four hundred revolutions. If wired to the top of the front axle at the right hand side it was easily set in operation by a hub-type projection on a hub or spoke and the dials were readily visible to both driver and rider."
Many of these turnpikes doubled as freight roads too
Too Slow and Too Expensive Average freight costs in 1820 were about 15 cents a mile per ton, more than twice as much as water transportation. By 1825 more than half of the turnpike ventures in the country had been either partially or totally abandoned. A contributing factor to the failure of these internal overland routes was the emergence of the canal.
Canals… a method of transportation superior to any previously known. ~Charles R. Harte, Connecticuts Canals
Efforts to Establish a Connecticut Canal System Extending from Albany to Buffalo, the Erie Canal was completed on November 4, 1825 and soon became a great commercial success. Before its completion the cost of shipping 1 ton of cargo between Buffalo & NYC ranged from $90 to $125. Within 10 years of the Erie Canals completion, the cost had dropped to $4 per ton.
Efforts to Establish a Connecticut Canal System The wave of enthusiasm that followed the success of the Erie and other canals did not escape the entrepreneurs viewing the productivity & transportation needs of Connecticut. By the early 1820s a total of six (6) canals were proposed for Connecticut. Two (2) would be constructed and placed into service: The Farmington and Enfield Canals.
Connecticuts Proposed Canal System 1.New York and Sharon Canal 2.Ousatonic Canal 3.Saugatuck & New Milford Canal 4.Farmington Canal 5.Enfield Canal 6.Quinebaug Canal
The Farmington Canal In the year 1822 the principal means of transportation between towns in New England was by highway, which was…dusty in the summer, covered in slick, wet leaves in the fall, buried under snow drifts in the winter, and come the spring thaw? It was mud to depths unknown! Travel was slow and pricey too. After May 1 st, leaving Hartford at 3 am you would arrive in Boston at 8pm. Fare? $6.50
The Farmington Canal Planning for the Farmington Canal began in January of 1822 with a $1000 pledge from 17 interested towns to cover the expenses of a survey by Benjamin Wright, the Chief Engineer of the Erie Canal and leading American authority on canal construction. Charters were issued to The Farmington Canal Company in 1822 and The Hampshire and Hampden Canal Company in The canal was to go from tidewater at New Haven through Farmington to the Massachusetts boundary at Southwick, with a side cut northwest via the Farmington R. through New Hartford and Colebrook.
The Farmington Canal July 4 th, 1825 a ground breaking ceremony took place in Granby, Connecticut. It is estimated that between two and three thousand people witnessed the removal of the first shovelful of dirt. Fellow Citizens and Friends: The noble enterprise of uniting the Valley of Connecticut with the city of New Haven by a navigable canal is this day to be commenced! ~ from Gov. Wolcotts address
Farmington Canal For Southwick and Memphremagog
The Farmington Canal Two years later, the little hole started by Governor Wolcott had deepened into a ditch 36 wide from the Massachusetts line to the waters of the Sound. The heaviest machine that had been used was a horse scoop no bigger than the one any farmer kept in his barn. The tools were picks, shovels and wheelbarrows. Anticipation ran high…Taverns were built along the banks and land was marketed for sale as being close to the canal. Industries grew beside the canal even before it held water.
The Farmington Canal On November 24, 1827, water was let into the so- called Cheshire Summit level to great celebration. From what is now West Cheshire, three boats went up a short distance. I have recollection of incidents in Cheshire…I was there. It was about 1827 and I was 6 years old. It was the Fourth of July, at the Canal assembled a crowd of people estimated by myself at the time at one million. I think my estimate was too large…It was a time when almost every man drank a little and on that day several respectable men of Cheshire walked unsteadily… ~noted by Ms. Horace Hitchcock for Cheshire Historical Society
Delays, Delays, Delays It wasnt until July 29, 1835 the Canal opened the full length from New Haven to Northhampton. The first boats in use on the canal were designed for carrying freight and were of not more than 25 tons; but by 1838 passenger boats had made their way to the canal, among these were the Gold Hunter, the Paragon and the Sachem. A trip over the full length of the canal took 24-hours and cost $3.75 (meals included). These boats were boldly painted and towed by teams of big gray horses.
Impressive Numbers! Four million pounds of merchandise were shipped every month from New Haven, through Hamden, Cheshire, Southington, Bristol, Farmington, Simsbury, and Granby, bound for Northampton, Massachusetts, on the Farmington Canal. At three every afternoon, packet boats left the Elm City docks in New Haven, making the trip to Northampton in the unheard-of time of twenty-four hours. The age of canals had arrived in Connecticut.
Water Issues, Debt and the Railroad From 1835 to 1847 the canal suffered extraordinary damages from flooding. Repairs were constant and debt ran high looked to be the year they turned the corner but it turned out to be their most disastrous as a drought interrupted service from mid-July to late September. The Company turned its attention to the practicability of building a railroad. After 1847, the Farmington Canal was never operated through its total length again.
Shelton Railroad and Canal
Railroads Replace Turnpikes/Stage Routes and Canals
Housatonic RR completed 1841 Originally chartered as the "Ousatonic" Railroad in 1836, the charter allowed the company to build either north towards Massachusetts, or west towards New York City. The Housatonic Railroad began construction in 1837, the task was to convert miles of rugged landscape along the Housatonic River into an iron trail that could not exceed a 1% grade…via human labor. There was not any specialized equipment, hardy souls and hand tools would be the only tools employed in the railroad's construction.
Housatonic RR completed 1841 By February 1840 rails stretched from Bridgeport, CT to New Milford, CT. In December of 1841, rails reached to Canaan, CT. Ten years later, the railroad had reached into Massachusetts and had forged links with the Western Railroad of Massachusetts. Major freight commodities on the Housatonic in this period were lime & limestone, marble, iron railcar wheels, coal, tobacco and tools, as well as many agricultural products. And it carried another very important product -- milk…the Housatonic RR was the very first run a scheduled milk train.
Early Indian Trails later used as Iron Trails a.k.a Railroads Housatonic RR
New Milford Housatonic Railroad Falls Village Canaan Kent Cornwall West Cornwall
Danbury to Norwalk RR completed 1852 The Danbury to Norwalk Railroad began construction in the autumn months of 1850, the task was to convert 23 miles of rugged landscape along the Norwalk River into an iron trail that could not exceed a 1% grade…via human labor. Again, there was not any specialized equipment (not even black powder!), hardy souls and hand tools would be the only tools employed in the railroad's construction.
Early Indian Trails later used as Iron Trails a.k.a Railroads Railroad follows Indian Trail
Danbury to Norwalk Railroad 1850s Map
Railroad Workers Pay NameDaysWagesBoardTake-Home Pay John McCauliff21.75$21.75$0.00$21.75 Thomas Corcey19.75$14.81$8.70$6.11 Timothy Sullivan19.25$14.44$10.00$4.44 Andrew Sullivan22.00$16.50$10.00$6.50 John Brody9.75$6.17$7.50-$1.58 Why many workers looked for other work after Railroad was completed
1856 Map Stage Coach looks for new options of which there are few Railroad Post Office moves to RR Turnpike Impact
Stage Coach line moves over to Branchville & Ridgefield
RRs 1893 Competition
Wilson Point on Long Island Sound A 1882 Addition to Danbury/Norwalk Railroad. This leads to profitable agreements with other RRs & is a great benefit to businesses on the Danbury/Norwalk line. Ice, Eggs/ Milk, Wire, Granite, Feldspar, Quartz all products that can now reach NYC ports quickly Shipped Trains To Long Island Crosses Long Island Sound by Steamship avoiding rail traffic on the NY/NH line
Commodities came into Connecticut via the Railroad too Pounds Commodity & Destination 1880 Groceries- Litchfield 750 Salt and Cod- Redding 200 Tea- Derby 1050 Soap and Starch- Ansonia 4800 Tobacco- Danbury 900 Rags- New Haven 1800 Eggs- Bridgeport
In addition to products, immigrants found their way to Connecticut via the railways.
Routes 112, 126, 63 Routes 41, 7, 202, 35 Route 25 Route 1 Route 15 I-395 Route 2 I Route 44 & 198 Route 6 Route 32 Route 5 Routes 67, 317, 6 Routes 7, 33, and RR Line Route 5 Routes 119, 34, 25, and RR Line What is amazing is that Indian Path played a major role in all these transportation systems Canal
To Bridle Paths
To Cart Paths
The Influence American Indians had on Connecticut is Extensive & Deserves Recognition
It has been my pleasure to share this with you today. Thank you all for coming.