An Indian Romance – Published by West Bay City Times-Press (Office: 512 Midland St West Bay City, Mich.)
Dated: March 30, 1900 Friday Evening (Donated by Ken Feder)
An Indian Romance – Origin of the “Lighthouse Tribe” of Connecticut – unknown author
Disappointment in love of a pretty Wethersfield girl and the pique of a Narragansett Indian from Long Island were procuctive of a piece of Connecticut history which is sometimes put down to myth. The last man to prove that it was not a myth died a few days ago. He was Sol Webster, male descendant of the Wethersfield girl, last of of some three hundred others who lived strange lives in the woods and hills around Barkhamsted.
The pretty white maiden, in the old Colonial days, had fallen in love with a young man in Wethersfield, Conn., but her father forbade her marrying him. Thereupon she took a vow that she would wed the first man who offered himself. About that time the Narragansett Indian, a brave named Chaugham, had left his tribe because of some injury to his reputation, and had come to live in Northern Connecticut. When he heard of the Wethersfield maiden, he hurried to her and offer his hand, which, according to her vow she accepted. Together they went to what is now Burkhamsted, and became the progenitors of a people who during this century have been known as the “Lighthouse Tribe”
It was in trying to learn how any people so far from the coast could get such a name that the romance was unearthed. The couple established their home on what is called Ragged Mountain, on the upper waters of the Tunxis, and years afterward the lights from their hut served as a landmark for the stage coaches which passed that way. Hence, it is said, the name “Lighthouse Tribe”
Changham and his wife brought up eight children. The pretty but willful Molly lived to be 105 years old, dying in the 1820, at which time she was known as Granny Chaugham. The halfbreeds flourished at the Lighthouse, a rough and roystering colony, for generations Their doings were many and strange, but actual crimes, such as that of the murdered Mossock, the exploits of whose halfbreed band gave the name Satan’s Kingdom to their resort, below New Hartford, were never lais at their door.
Eventually the began to degenerate through marrying among themselves and from other causes, and in their latter days were ” a band of bleached out, basket making, root gathering vagabonds.” Their cabins became fewer and more miserable, and at last the remanant of the tribe dispersed. One hut alone remained near the villiage of Riverton, a mile from the original Lighthouse, it was occupied by Old Sol Webster and his wife, who were, as far as known, the sole survivors of the family. Their poverty was extreme. The man said he was about eighty years old, but he looked much older. The women is several years younger. Both were lineal descendants of Changham’s daughters, but never were able to untangle their genealogies. The old settlement is situated in a wild spot of great natural beauty.
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