By Michael Suchorsky
I’ve been jumping time these past few years while occupying the space at the current moment.
Today I parked my car on the Tremperskill Road and walked up and over the top of Dingle Hill to Lower Dingle Hill and back. When I reached the point where Under Sheriff Osmond Steele was shot by the “Calico Indians” I saw the (new to me) installation by the Andes Society for History and Culture, that had an excellent accounting of the event. It surprised me that this occurred on this very spot on a hot humid day like today; as a matter of fact, it was this very day, August 7th, but in 1845. I love this time travel.
As I turned away from the sign, Fred and Jane Berghammer stopped their car and we spoke for a while. I mentioned the synchronicity of time and place and Jane said her great great grandfather was one of the Calico Indians who was present that day.
Spent several evenings this summer sitting by Council Rock, a meeting place for Native Americans on Otsego Lake. It is literally at the headwaters of the Susquehanna River, first brought to my attention by James Fenimore Cooper’s book The Deerslayer— reaching back to the beginning of the French and Indian War.
One evening while I was walking through 9 dams to see if NYC had missed killing any of the beavers that built those dams, I then wandered up through a field and into the cemetery which “houses” all the graves that were moved there when NYC built the Pepacton Reservoirs. Quite a number of graves had markers designating that the grave was one of a veteran of the Civil War. I was particularly surprised to see a few graves of veterans of the Revolutionary War—graves of vets that were born prior to the French and Indian War.
The sun was setting as I jumped time realizing those particular graves were of men born when the western front of the Colonies was the Delaware River. A few bold settlers went illegally—Britain did not allow settlers to move any further into Native lands— into land as far west as the foothills of the mountains running up the middle of Pennsylvania. Only trappers visited those lands and traded with the Indians.
Taking note that now it is pretty much solid sprawl from Richmond to Boston, with a few areas like Harriman, and the Catskills before reaching the great northern forests, I feel so very lucky to be here in Andes. My heart sinks whenever I leave these mountains and see the endless conversion of farms and forest to. . . . . . . progress.~