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Wilkesbarré — The landscape - Indian names of Wyoming - The Dela
wares and their origin - Ancient remains - The Shawa nese sent to Wyoming -- Relations between the Delawares and Six Nations - Indian Council at Philadelphia, in 1742 - Canassateego - his speeeh - The Delawares driven to Wyoming — Tradition of the Delawares respecting their submission to the Six Nations — Refutation by General Harrison.
The first glance into the far-famed Valley of Wyoming, travelling westwardly, is from the brow of the Pokono mountain range, below which it lies at the depth of a thousand feet, distinctly defined by the double barrier of nearly parallel mountains, between which it is embosomed. There is a beetling precipice upon the verge of the eastern barrier, called “Prospect Rock," from the top of which nearly the entire valley can be surveyed at a single view, forming one of the richest and most beautiful landscapes upon which the eye of man ever rested. Through the centre of the valley flows the Susquehanna, the winding course of which can be traced the whole distance. Several green islands slumber sweetly in its embrace, while the sight revels amidst the garniture of fields and woodlands, and to complete the picture, low in the dista ce may be dimly seen the borough of WilkesBarré* ; especially the spires of its churches.
The hotel at which the traveller rests in Wilkesbarré is upon the margin of the river, the waters of which are remarkably transparent and pure, excepting in the seasons of the spring and autumnal floods. But a few rods above a noble bridge spans the river, leading from Wilkesbarré to the opposite town of Kingston. From the observatory of the hotel a full view of the whole valley is obtained — or rather, in a clear atmosphere, the steep wild mountains, by which the valley is completely shut in, rise on every hand with a distinctness which accurately defines its dimensions, — while the valley itself, especially on the western, or opposite side of the river, presents a view of several small towns, or scattered villages, planted along, but back from the river, at the distance of a few miles apart, — the whole intervening and contiguous territory being divided into farms, and gardens, with fruit and ornamental trees. Comfortable farm-houses are thickly studded over the valley; among which are not a few more ambitious dwellings, denoting by their air, and the disposition of their grounds, both wealth and taste. Midway through the valley winds the river, its banks adorned with graceful and luxuriant foliage, and disclosing at every turn some bright spot of beauty. On the eastern
* This compound was formed, and bestowed upon this borough as its name, in honour of John Wilkes and Colonel Barre — names famous in the annals of British politics at the time when it was planted by the whites.
side, in the rear of the borough, and for a few miles north, the dead level of the valley is rendered still more picturesque, by being broken into swelling elevations and lesser valleys, adorned in spots with groves and clumps of trees, with the ivy and other creeping parasites, as upon the river's brink, clinging to their branches and adding beauty to the graceful foliage. The village or borough of Wilkesbarré, so far as the major part of the buildings are to be taken into the account, is less beautiful than it might be. Nevertheless there are a goodly number of well built and genteel houses, to which, and the pleasant gardens attached, the pretty couplet of the poet might be applied :
Tall trees o'ershade them, creepers fondly grace
Lattice and porch, and sweetest fowers embrace. The people are for the most part the sons and daughters of New-England, and have brought with them into this secluded region the simple manners and habits, and the piety of their fathers.
This valley of Wyoming is rich in its historical associations, even of days long preceding the events of the American revolution, which were the occasion of its consecration in the deathless song prefixed to the present narrative. The length of the valley, from the Lackawannock Gap, where the Susquehanna plunges into it through a narrow defile of high rocky mountains at the north, to a like narrow pass called the Nanticoke Gap, at the south, is nearly twenty miles -- averaging about three miles in width. As already mentioned, it is walled
in by ranges of steep mountains of about one thousand feet in height upon the eastern side, and eight hundred feet upon the western. These mountains are very irregular in their formation, having elevated points, and deep ravines, or openings, which are called gaps. They are in general yet as wild as when discovered, and are clothed with pines, dwarf oaks and laurels, interspersed with other descriptions of woods — deciduous and evergreen.
Like many other places of which the red man has been dispossessed, and which may previously have belonged to different clans or tribes of the same race, this valley has been known by a variety of names. By the Lenelenoppes, or Delawares, its original proprietors, so far as its history is known, the valley was called Maugh-wau-wa-mc, or The Large Meadows. The Five Nations, who conquered it from the Delawares, called it s'gahon-to-wa-no, or The Large Flats. The early German missionaries, Moravians, catching the sound as nearly as they could, wrote the name Mochweuwami. Other corruptions and pronunciations succeeded, among which were Wiomic, Wajomick, Wyomink, and lastly Wyoming, which will not soon be changed.
The territory forming the states of Pennsylvania, New-Jersey, Delaware, and part of Maryland, was principally in the occupancy of the Lenelenoppes, consisting of many distinct tribes and sub-divisions, at the time of the settlement of the country by the Europeans. The name Delaware was given them by the English, after the name they had bestowed upon the river along which their larger towns were situated, in honour of Lord De la Warr.* There were indeed clans or military colonies of the Aquanuschioni, or “United People;' the Maquas or Mengwes of the Dutch, and the Iroquois of the French, but chiefly known in American history as the Five, and afterward the Six Nations, already among them, both within the territory now forming New-Jersey and Pennsylvania. But these were not large, and the Lenelenoppes, or Original People, as the name denotes, composed the great majority.t
It is said by those who are skilled in Indian researches, that the Lenelenoppes, although claiming thus to be the original people, were not originally the occupants of the country in the possession of which they were found; but that they came hither from toward the setting sun--that terra incognita “the great west.” According to their own traditions, when on their way they found strong nations, having regular military defences, in the country of the Mississippi, whom they conquered. Pursuing their course toward the east, they took possession of the sea coast from the Hudson river to the Potomac, including the country of the Dela
* The Indian name of the Delaware was Maku-isk-kiskan. † The Lonelenoppes, at that time, consisted of the Assumpinks, Rankokas, (Lamikas, or Chickaquaas,) Andastakas, Neshaminies, Shackmaxons, Mantas, Minisinks, and Mandes; and within what is now New Jersey, the Narraticongs, Capitinasses, Gacheos, Munseys, and Pomptons. — Vide Proud's Pennsylvania.