Greylock - A Berkshire County
in Western Massachusets
Chief Greylock Adams, MA
Back to Surfwiz.com
The Legend of Chief Greylock
May 10 - 14,1990. Rain fell for four days and nights, then tons of rocks, earth and trees crashed down the side of Mount Greylock. In the morning a giant face appeared on the eastern slope overlooking the town of Adams Massachusetts in Berkshire County. Most people see the face of an old Indian Chief. They call him Chief Greylock.
Chief Graylock (this is the correct spelling in the 1700s) lived in a secret cave on the slopes of Mount Greylock, where he harassed the British settlers as they moved into his domain. While hunting, his foot was crushed in a bear trap. Half his foot had to be amputated, but it never slowed him down. On the Eastern slope of the mountain there was a landslide in 1901 that was over 1500 feet long from top to bottom, it was called the "Chief's Steps".
Chief Graylock was born around 1660 in a Waronoke village, which is now the town of Westfield, MA. His native name was Wawamolewat. The Waronokes were a part of the Pocumtuck Confederacy of Central Mass. They were great fur trappers and hunters, they traded with the British, but as the population increased, and game decreased, they no longer had a way of making a living. In 1674 they moved to the Berkshires, north of Stockbridge Mass, then wandered north near Adams Ma and on to Schaghticoke New York. They moved to their final destination in Canada, where Graylock met a Winooski woman. Together they settled down at Missisquoi Bay just north of the Vermont border. He built a huge fort there known as "Graylock's Castle". His tribesmen, now known as the Missisquoi, took in many refugees from the eastern wars, and at one point the population swelled to over 1,000. In 1723 war broke out between the British and the French, Graylock sided with the French and lead many daring raids against the British in the Connecticut River Valley.
At 63, he still retained all the energy and vitality of his youth. Accounts tell of Graylock attacking Northfield MA and the following day Rutland VT. When news of these attacks reached Boston, Governor Dummer dispatched troops to capture Graylock, but the mission failed just miles from Graylock's fort, due to a lack will and supplies. In 1725 John Lovewell got together groups of volunteers and made scalping raids on the Abenacki of Maine, killing many and driving them off their lands. Many moved to "Graylock's Castle". However, Graylock's warriors defeated Lovewell and his men. The British and the French offered big bounties for scalps, up to a years pay for a single scalp.
On August 20, 1746, the French General de Vaudreuil attacked Fort Massachusetts (North Adams) with a force of 900 men. Among them, 17 were Missisquoi (Graylock's tribesmen) and the St. Francis, Abenacki and many of Graylock's old allies.
Sergeant John Hawks and 22 brave men fought them off for 28 hours. With sick men and no ammunition, they had no choice but to surrender. They were taken captive to Canada, there, they were treated well, but many died of illness while in captivity. The fort was rebuilt in 1747.
Then on August 2, 1748, The French attacked Fort Massachusetts again with a force of 300 (with some of Graylocks warriors). Col. Efraim Williams (Williams College) defended the fort with 100 gallant men. The French and Indian Wars ended in 1759.
Many a British Governor ordered the capture of Graylock, but he was never caught or defeated.
He was often called the "frowning Chief of the Waronokes", he made quite an impact on the local history of Berkshire County. His name Wawamolewat means "Sacred Ground". Once again, he stands watch over it.
Copyright Rolf Hansen 2008 all rights reserved
More about Mount Greylock and Adam's Massachusetts
Color photos and magnets of Chief Greylock available at Surfwiz.com