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The Mockus

The high ridge along the western edge of the family farm I recall from my youth being called "the mockus." At some point I began to wonder what that term meant and its origins. Reading some early Hudson Valley history I found that the Dutch name for the Mohawks was Maguas. Since then I've stmbled on the word many times in that context. But why that as the name for the ridge?

Some observations:

  1. From up on the maquas one can see a great distance.
    1. The Hudson River to the southwest
    2. Albany to the northwest
    3. Castleton (Site of the Mohawk castle) is to the west - is that visible too?
  2. I vaguely remember my father saying the area we called "the Sand Knoll" and "the Fox Knoll" were the site of an Indian encampment.
    1. Why camp there? To use "The Maquas" as a lookout, signal hill?
  3. Local legend (history?) has it that Johnathan Ford, his family, and his entourage, on coming into the Red Rock valley were met by Indians.
    1. Did the name of "Indian Creek" predate their arrival?
    2. Did they come up the valley from the west and meet my Fox Knoll Indians, or did they come over the hill from the east (They having come from New England - where from?) as Ward Stone assumes ?
      1. Did the party follow the New England Path then turn back toward the east and up into Red Rock?
    3. Why did Johnathan Ford choose to site his farm on Cemetery Road? Where did the others settle first? Was there a Goodrich among them?
    4. Were these Maquas (Mohawks)?
    5. Ox carts need a trail developed enough to accomodate them - does that mean such a trail existed through/into Red Rock at the time. If so was it on a shortcut from Chatham to Gt Barrington?

The New England Path

Today I find this:

The principal trails of the Indians through the wilderness, unbroken save by patches here and there under crude tillage, were two: one near the river; and the other, following the lines of least resistance, nearly identical with the roadbed of the Boston and Albany Railroad and long known as the "New England Path.


Their Council fire and palisaded village or castle were in Schodack, meaning Fire Place or Place of Council.  The site was Castle hill within the present village of Castleton.  another place of rendezvous was in Valatie, the Indian name of which (Pachaquak) signifies Meeting Place.  Beeren Island was long known as the island of the Mahicans, and Smack's as Aepjen's Island.

Does this indicate that the New England Path ran below the point of "The Maquas" as does the B&A, between Chatham and East Chatham? Great Barrington legend (history?) has the trail coming into the "lower?" Housatonic Valley which seems to indicate something along Rt 23. Where was the Knox Trail - and did it follow the New England Path?

John Kern related to me a story of the County Highway crew finding in the ditch below Grandma and Grandpa Goodrich's retirement house a cannon ball "this big" (roughly a bowling ball!) [?? (lives or did on the Nine Mile Run across from the airport) - can't think of the name right now - Willy Aiken or Donny Aiken maybe] took it home.