Captors and Captives

The Little Brown House on The Albany Road

nial legislature, this tract was cut up into small lots by the town and sold to tradesmen. It had been laid out originally between the house lot of the "Worshipful John Pynchon" on the south and the Middle Lane to the meadows on the north. The Pynchon lot was later the home of Mehuman Hinsdale, the first white man born in Deerfield, "twice captivated by the Indian salvages," as his grave-stone testifies. The Middle Lane became in due time the high road from Northern Hampshire to Albany and the scene of military operations against Canada by the way of the lakes. The lots sold to tradesmen faced north on this road. Many now living have seen the guide-board at the head of the "Lane," on which was a hand with the forefinger pointing westward, directing the traveler "To Albany."

Very soon this poor and barren land bore abundant fruit. Buildings sprang up, and new sounds were heard all along its border. The clang of the anvil and the blast from the bellows of Armorer Bull answered to the hissing of the flip iron and tan of the toddy-stick of his neighbor, Landlord Saxton. The ting-a-ling of Silversmith Parker more than held its own with the muffled thud from the loom of Elizabeth Amsden the weaver, and the soft music of the flickering bowstring of Felt-maker Hamilton, as it rained blows on the fine fur of the beaver, muskrat or raccoon. The mallet of Hitchcock, the hatter, responded feebly in a dull monotone to the sharp speaking strokes of the hammer on the lap-stone of David Saxton, as he sat at the east window of the kitchen in the little cottage on the old colonial road.

Should the traveler from the Hudson, coming over the Hoosac Mountain to the Connecticut Valley, be waylaid by prowling Indians, and stripped of all his effects, he could be refitted and refreshed within the borders of the old ministerial lot. Had his horse been spared, it could be fed, shod, furnished with a new saddle and a portmanteau; or had fortune been more cruel, had the horse been taken, the traveler could be provided with a new one from the choice stud of Breeder Saxton. He could buy a hat, shoes, cloth for a coat, and a watch for his fob. He could procure a sword, musket, or a pair of pistols, and, after

The Household Familiars
The Household Familiars.

These pages are © Laurel O'Donnell, 2006, all rights reserved
Copying these pages without written permission for the purpose of republishing
in print or electronic format is strictly forbidden
This page was last updated on 11 Feb 2006