Stiles' Description of the Indian Fort at East Haven, Connecticut

Indian fort[1] by Mr. Hemingway’s[2] in East Haven  burying yard,[3] forty-two feet, eighty-six feet, I measured, perhaps thirty paces square.  Thus:                                                                 

                                                                       

F________E________________A                            

                                                                       

                                                                               

                                                                                

86 feet

                                              B                        

                                                                                

                                                                       

                                                                                 

                                                                       

                                                                                 

                                                                       

                                                                                 

                                                                                 

                                                                       

  _________________________

G              D     42 feet                C

AC  The ruins of the ridge of earth very apparent

B     Enclosure over the graves of Reverend Mr. Hemingway and his wife[4] on the east side of the old fort

CD  Broken but distinguishable remains of south ridge

AE  The north ridge distinct thus far

DE  The line on which I measured the length

CD  The line on which I measured the breadth.  I also measured the north side (AE) and paced from A

        to  C.

  _________________________

G              D     42 feet                C

 

As we could not distinguish the west ridge before we came to a fence which we thought might possibly stand on it, Mr. Street,[5] who was with me having walked from A to C about thirty paces, also walked from each of those corners (A and C to F and G) thirty paces each, though we could not discern or distinguish the ridges beyond D and E by reason of graves and a road.  But Mr. Goodsell[6] afterwards told us the west ridge did not extend to the fence.  On the whole, the fort could not exceed eighty-six feet square and most probably was nearly eighty-six by seventy.

Reverend Mr. Niles[7] of Braintree born at Block Island, is now AD 1761, age 88, writing the history of New England wars.[8]

Cataloguing:     454

 

[1] The date of the construction of this fort is unknown; however, it has been asserted that the Quinnipiacs used it in defense against the Mohegan and the Mohawk, which suggests a continued existence into the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  Some time after the Quinnipiac sachem Momauguin sold the land to English settlers from New Haven in 1638, the land on which the fort stood became part of East Haven village’s town green.  In 1707, village authorities dedicated a part of the Fort Hill commons on the south side of the pond as the community’s burial place.  According to the historical record, the cemetery was often overrun with cattle, horses, geese, sheep, and calves. 

[2] Jacob Hemingway

[3] This burial ground is presently called The Old Cemetery in East Haven, Connecticut.

[4] Rev. Hemingway had two wives.  His first was Lydia Ball (c. 1681-1738), whom he wed in 1711.  After Lydia’s death, he married Sarah Wooster (d. 1749).

[5] Nicholas Street

[6] It is unclear who Mr. Goodsell is here.  Stiles may be referring to one of the sons of Thomas Goodsell, an East Haven resident whose property abutted Quinnipiac land.

[7] Rev. Samuel Niles (1674-1762)

[8] Niles’ A Summary Historical Narrative of the Wars in New England with the French and Indians in the Several Parts of the Country (written c. 1760) was printed from the original manuscript in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Volume 6, Third Series (American Stationers’ Company, 1837),141-279.