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The whales were so many,
upon this early beach, that fed my tribe
through winters of raw blubber and lean fear;
and though the pale strangers did inscribe
within their deed, that we may yet possess,
for all time, the great fishes that shall land,
dried and gasping, they never thought to guess
the meaning for my weak and thinning band.
And so, upon the page, my
mark was set,
but not for gain… though our Forefathers may
stir my dark and restless nights with dread, yet
I sold our ancient lands across the bay.
The bartered pride of noble men runs sad,
And in the end, was all we ever had.
Richard G. Beyer (formerly
of Bellport and Brookhaven)
Presented with the permission of the author (01-09-2003)
This poem won First Place,
the Gertrude Saucier Historical Award, presented by The National Federation
of State Poetry Societies, Inc. and was originally published in their Prize
Winning Poems in 1971.
Wyandance To Lion Gardener
Deed of Beach
Be it knowne
unto all men, by this present writing, that this Indenture, covenant, or
Agreement, was made the tenth of Iune, in the yeare of our Lord, 1658,
between Wyandance, Sachem of Pawmanack, with his son Wiacombone, and their
Associates, that in Sasagataco, Checanon & mamaneto, on ye other side
Lion Gardiner, for himself, his heirs, executors and assigns, that is to
say, that the foresaid Sachem, Wiandance, hath sould for a considerable
sum of money and goods, a certaine tract of beach land, with all ye rest
of ye grass that joynes to it, not seperated from it by water, which beach
begins Eastward at the west end of Southampton bounds, and westward where
it is separated by ye waters of ye sea, coming in out of the Ocean Sea,
being bounded Southwards with the great sea, Northwards with the inland
water; this land and the grass thereof for a range, or run, for to feed
horses or cattle on, I say, I have sold to the aforesaid Lion Gardiner,
his heirs, executor and assigns forever, for the sum aforesaid, and a yearly
rent of twenty-five shillings a year, which yearly rent is to be paid to
the foresaid Sachem, his heirs, executors and assigns for ever, in the
eight month, called October, then to be demanded, but the whales that shall
be cast upon this beach shall belong to me, and the rest of the Indians
in their bounds, as they have beene anciently granted to them formerly
by my forefathers.
AND also liberty to cut, in the summer time, flags, bulrushes, and such things as they make their mats of, provided they doe noe hurt to the horses that is thereon. And that this writing is to be understood according to the letter, without any reservation or further Interpretations on it, we have both of us, Interchangeably set to our hands and seales.
Signed, Sealed and
delivered in the The Sachem X mark,
presence of us The mark of X his sons WIACOMBONE,
SASAGATACO X mark,
DAVID GARDINER, CHECANOE X mark,
IEREMIAH CONKLING, MAMANETTE X mark.
I, Ione Cooper, do accept this writing and promise for myself, my heir, executors and assigns, to performe the payment which is above specified. Witness my hand, this 23 day of December, 1658. In presence of ye underwritten witness.
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