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Chief Croton


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Between the island of Manhattoes and the Catskills the Hudson shores were
plagued with spooks, and even as late as the nineteenth century Hans
Anderson, a man who tilled a farm back of Peekskill, was worried into his
grave by the leaden-face likeness of a British spy whom he had hanged on
General Putnam's orders. Old Put doubtless enjoyed immunity from this
vexatious creature, because he was born with few nerves. A region
especially afflicted was the confluence of the Croton and the Hudson, for
the Kitchawan burying-ground was here, and the red people being disturbed
by the tramping of white men over their graves, the walking sachems of
Teller's Point were nightly to be met on their errands of protest.

These Indians had built a palisade on Croton Point, and here they made
their last stand against their enemies from the north. Throughout the
fight old chief Croton stood on the wall with arrows showering around
him, and directed the resistance with the utmost calm. Not until every
one of his men was dead and the fort was going up in flame about him did
he confess defeat. Then standing amid the charring timbers, he used his
last breath in calling down the curse of the Great Spirit against the
foe. As the victorious enemy rushed into the enclosure to secure the
scalps of the dead he fell lifeless into the fire, and their jubilant
yell was lost upon his ears. Yet, he could not rest nor bear to leave his
ancient home, even after death, and often his form, in musing attitude,
was seen moving through the woods. When a manor was built on the ruins of
his fort, he appeared to the master of it, to urge him into the
Continental army, and having seen this behest obeyed and laid a solemn
injointure to keep the freedom of the land forever, he vanished, and
never appeared again.

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