The Pakatakan-St. Augustine connection

More on the Native American conversation:

Ethel Bussy, in her 1960 book History of Margaretville and Surrounding Area, noted that “In 1949, Willard Sanford (former Village Historian) took a piece of stone from the site of the ancient Indian village of Pakatakan near Arkville and it was sent by express to the Lightner Museum at St. Augustine, Florida. The stone was to be engraved with the name of the donor and the site from which it was taken and was to be inserted into a stone bridge being built near the museum. The bridge was to be made up of stones from each battlefield and historical site in the US.”

An inquiry sent to the Lightner Museum (www.lightnermuseum.org) yielded the following reply from Irene Lewis Lowrie, Registrar at the museum: “The good news is that we do have a list from 1948 showing that Willard F. Sanford of New York donated ‘a stone from the Pakatakan Indian village in the Western Catskill Mountains.’ Additionally, there are many small pencil drawings of the various rock columns showing numbers on various shaped rocks. The bad news is that here is no paper record indicating which number corresponds to which name. We can only assume Sanford’s rock is out there, somewhere on posts at the base of the bridge. . . . A photograph in Hobbies, July, 1948, p. 102 shows that the original four foot wide short block walls at both ends of the bridge were to be surfaced with historical rocks. Probably due to a lack of enough rocks, the block walls were greatly scaled down to be more column sized. They are covered with various rocks, stones and a few bricks.”

The bridge at Lightner Museum

The bridge at Lightner Museum, with Pakatakan rock embedded, somewhere.

Ms Lawrie passed along this photo of the bridge, with the Pakatakan rock embedded somewhere. The whole story of the Native American village – whether it was indeed a settlement, or a seasonal camp, and precisely where it was located — remains a topic for debate and wonder.

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