Sunday, December 8, 2013

Davis Flat, Delaware Co., New York

Here I put the articles in the natural progression of discovery, so readers  can experience the vicarious thrill that researchers enjoy.

7th Graders Visit Roxbury Lawyer
By Laura Cowan

Last Thursday morning the 50 members of the seventh grade went to Roxbury to visit Ralph Ives.  When he was eight year old, living in Margaretville, Mr. Ives found an Indian arrow head, which started his search for more things left by the Indians who once lived in this area.  He has found arrow heads, war clubs, pestles, long stones which were used to pound grain and decorated pieces of pottery. He showed us these and explained how you can learn about Indian life from them. Mr. Ives told us that one of the places where he has found Indian relics was the Davis farm here in Margaretville.  In fact, he said that this land is one of the most important sources of Indian relics in the country.  We have been studying about the Indians in New York as an important part of our state’s history.  We learned much from the trip and enjoyed Mr. Ives’ stories.  It is interesting to know that Indians really did fight, work and play as long as 5,000 years ago right in our own back yard.

Catskill Mountain News, 18 December 1953, p. 3, Margaretville, NY

The Davis Flat Was Indian Meeting Place

Ralph Ives of Roxbury, attorney and archeologist, talked to the Margaretville Rotary club at the weekly meeting at Kass inn Tuesday evening. Mr. Ives had made a lifetime hobby of finding and classifying Indian relics in this valley,
He has discovered there were four Indian periods here, the oldest running back some 5,000 years.  The best finds were on the Davis flat in the eastern end of the village.  Mr. Ives and companions at one time found a cache of 126 arrowheads underneath a rock near the home of Donald Ploutz. The specimens had been damaged by blasting on the part of modern road builders.  His findings have been unusual.  The Indians of old found Margaretville as lively a place as do moderns.  Arrowheads, however, are not used by present inhabitants. The Indian relics are near the conjunction of the Delaware and the Dry Brook stream which was known to the aborigines as Pakatakan or the meeting of the waters.

Catskill Mountain News, 3 August 1951, p. 1, Margaretville, NY
Old Indian Could Not Locate Pakatakan Wigwam

Pakatakan is one of the place names that are the heritage of the American Indian.  The site of this Indian encampment between the villages of Margaretville and Arkville was revisited by one of its former Indian occupants about fifty years after it had been abandoned in 1762. Desirous of seeing once more the scenes of his early life where he had hunted and fishd and followed the trail of deer and bear through the virgin forest, the old Indian  came with some of his companions and went over the site of the ancient Indian village of Pakatakan.  He was unable after careful research to locate the place where the wigwam stood in which he had spent much of his boyhood, so great had been the changes civilization and nature had wrought.  Frequent floods had cooperated with the white man’s axe to alter the appearance of the field that it was impossible to find where his wigwam stood.  Saddened by his visit, he left, never to return.  Judging by the relics of Indian usage that have been unearthed by Ralph Ives, Pakatakan must have been an Indian encampment of size and importance.  This year is the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the organization of Delaware county as a political unit.  Information of a historical nature will be especially welcomes by the historical society.

Catskill Mountain News, 25 April 1947, Margaretville, NY

Here is information on Pakatakan I found on Killing Their Own Side's Spy:

 "Between 1763 and 1778 at least forty families from Shandaken, Marbletown and the vicinity of Kingston had settled on the East Branch of the Delaware River in what is now Delaware County. These families came over Pine Hill by the route subsequently adopted for the old Sopus Turnpike. Their houses were scattered along the river southerly down as far as Downsville.... The first four came in 1763 and were the first white settlers on the soil of Delaware County. The name applied to the settlement made by them was 'Pakataghkan,' as it was written on Sauthier's map of 1779, or "Paghatakan,' as it was written on subsequent maps. The name of the Indian Village one-half mile below the mouth of the Bushkill, was written by Ebenezer Wooster in 1749 as 'Pawcawtocking.' Cockburn's map of 1765, which shows a road from Marbletown up Esopus Creek, over Pine Hill and down 'The Tweed,' gives the name of the settlement as 'Paughquataughcan,' and on the map of the Public Road of 1791 it is written 'Poughquataughkan.' The Indian village was an Esopus village, and various spellings and meanings have been suggested by the Bureau of Ethnology, the latest being 'Pachgandikan,' a Lenape or Delaware word now said to be confined to 'the flat piece of wood used in beating wash clothes.' Another possible and perhaps preferable derivation is 'Pawinquehikan,' to shell corn. The name is now written Pakatakan." CHAPTERS IN THE HISTORY OF DELAWARE COUNTY, NEW YORK, Delaware Co. Hist. Assn., 1949, by John Monroe.

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