Saturday, June 12, 2010

Antiquariana: The Yankees of Old Weathersfield

"The most prominent of these was a certain rambling propensity, with which, like the sons of Ishmael, they seem to have been gifted by heaven, and which continually goads them to shift their residence from place to place, so that a Yankee farmer is in a constant state of migration, tarrying occasionally here and there, cleansing lands for other people to enjoy, building houses for others to inhabit, and in a manner may be considered the wandering Arab of America....
"...while the renowned Wouter Van Twiller was daily battling with his doubts, and his resolution growing weaker and weaker in the contest, the enemy pushed farther and farther into his territories, and assumed a most formidable appearance in the neighborhood of Fort Goed Hoop. Here they founded the mighty town of Pyquag, or, as it has since been called, Weathersfield, a place which, if we may credit the assertions of that worthy historian, John Josselyn, Gent., 'hath been infamous by reason of the witches therein.' And so daring did these men of Pyquag become, that they extended those plantations of onions, for which their town is illustrious, under the very noses of the garrison of Fort Goed Hoop, insomuch that the honest Dutchmen could not look toward that quarter without tears in their eyes."

-Washington Irving, A History of New York: From the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty, by Diedrich Knickerbocker, 1809

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