Chief Croton





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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