The City of Holyoke

The Natural History & Resources of Western Mass

Adapted from New England Magazine

The City of Holyoke by Edwin L. Kirtland
      When the forefathers reached New England, it was occupied from the eastern shores to the Connecticut river by numerous tribes of the great Algonquin family, while west of the great river roved fierce tribes of the Iroquois, called Mohawks, man eaters, by the Algonquins, doubtless with reason, having their home villages in what is now New York state, using the intervening territory as their hunting and fishing grounds, and exacting tribute from the tribes of Algonquins which subsisted along the fertile valleys and fish teeming waters of the Connecticut and its tributaries. The Algonquin tribes most intimately connected with the life and progress of the white immigrants were the Massachusetts nation having their home villages on the shores of Massachusetts bay and adjacent islands; the Nipmucks or Nipnetts in central Massachusetts; the Pokanokets or Wampanoags living along the easterly shore of Narragansett bay and contiguous parts of Massachusetts; the Nansetts along Cape Cod, - a tributary branch of the Wampanoags; the Narragansetts and their sister tribe, the Niantics, along the westerly shore of Narragansett bay in western Rhode Island; the Pequot nation between the Narragansetts and the river Thames, then called Pequot river, in southeastern Connecticut; while between the Thames and the Connecticut dwelt the faithful Uncas and his Mohicans. These tribes spoke different dialects of a common language, and intercommunication among them was not difficult. Although the Indians roamed over rather than occupied these lands, it is true that they cultivated the fertile meadows and river borders, raising corn, squashes, the seiva bean and sun flower, preparing their fields by burning over each fall, fertilizing each hill by burying near the plant a single fish, which custom still prevails among the sea-shore farmers of New England.
      These conditions, apparently fixed by countless generations of unprogressive existence, awaited the advent of the forefathers and another civilization.
      It was but a few years after the settlement of Plymouth and Boston before many began to be dissatisfied with local conditions and only awaited favorable occasion to try their fortune further westward. The Indians situated near the two colonies had been peaceful and faithful to the colonists, who had bought the land upon which they settled and otherwise treated them with kindness and consideration; but

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