Skatekook

(Egremont and Sheffield, Massachusetts)

Main attributes of this Native American place: Native name; In Tribal history; In historic documents; Falsehood correction opportunity.

In 1724, white settlers and Mohican Native Americans executed a deed for land encompassing the Lower Housatonic township (now Sheffield and Great Barrington). At this time, an Indian Reservation known as Skatekook was also established for continued use by the tribe. It was a rectangular piece of land—several miles long and approximately five-eights of a mile wide—running from the confluence of the Green and Housatonic River (near Route 7) westward through present-day South Egremont to the New York border. Some historians believe that present-day Vosburg Hill just west of West Sheffield Road was the home of sachem Umpachene.

Skatekook has been incorrectly identified by numerous historical references as the “Shawenon land” or “Shawenon Purchase.” (Shawenon land pertained to North Egremont and Alford.)

Skatekook land was later granted to the Karner family by Mohican John Van Guider in a long-term lease. During the early 19th century, this lease was “forgotten” and the land sold off in parcels. Finally in the mid-1800s, the lease was rediscovered and legally rectified in favor of the white landowners.

Contributor: Gary Leveille

SOURCES

Correspondence with James Parrish, 2016 and Lion Miles, 2011.

Leveille, Gary Eye of Shawenon, pages 72, 94.

Records of Housatonic Proprietary, i. Charles Taylor, History of Great Barrington, 1882 edition, page 23.

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