ePub 版



The Indian tribes who dwelt among the primitive forests of Pennsylvania,—as well as those of Delaware, New Jersey, and a part of Maryland, -called themselves the Lenni Lenapé, or the original people. This general name comprehended numerous distinct tribes, all speaking dialects of a common language, (the Algonquin,) and uniting around the same great council-fire. Their grand council-house, to use their own expressive figure, extended from the eastern bank of the Hudson on the northeast, to the Potomac on the southwest. Many of the tribes were directly descended from the common stock; others, having sought their sympathy and protection, had been allotted a section of their territory. The surrounding tribes, not of this confederacy, nor acknowledging allegiance to it, agreed in awarding to them the honor of being the grandfathers—that is, the oldest residents in this region. There was an obscure tradition among the Lenni Lenapé, that in ages past their ancestors had emigrated eastward from the Mississippi, conquering or expelling, on their route, that great and apparently more civilized nation, whose monuments, in the shape of mounds, are so profusely scattered over the great western valley, and of which several also remain in Pennsylvania, along the western slope of the Allegheny Mountains.

The Lenni Lenapé nation was divided into three principal divisionsthe Unamis, or Turtle tribes, the Unalachtgos, or Turkeys, and the Monseys or Wolf tribes. The two former occupied the country along the coast, between the sea and the Kittatinny or Blue mountain, their settlements extending as far east as the Hudson and as far west as the Potomac. These were generally known among the whites as the Delaware Indians. The Monseys or Wolf tribes, the most active and warlike of the whole, occupied the mountainous country between the Kittatinny Mountain and the sources of the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers, kindling their council-fire at the Minisink flats on the Delaware above the water

A part of the tribe also dwelt on the Susquehanna, and they had also a village, and a peach orchard, in the Forks of the Delaware,* where Nazareth is now situated. These three principal divisions were divided into various subordinate clans, who assumed names suited to their character or situation.

gap. A

* This term, the Forks, in the early colonial annals, refers not only to the point at the imme. diate confluence of two rivers, but to the territory included between the two streams for some miles above. Thus “the Forks of the Delaware” comprises nearly the whole of the present county of Northampton ; the Forks of the Susquehanna comprises the tract for some distance above Northumberland ; and in like manner the Forks of Yough', or of the Youghiogheny, and the Forks of the Ohio, refer to similar tongues of land, extending ten or fifteen miles above the confluence.

The Shawanos, or Shawanees, a restless and ferocious tribe, having been threatened with extermination by a more powerful tribe at the South, sought protection among the friendly nations of the North, whose language was observed to bear a remarkable affinity with their own. А majority of them settled along the Ohio, from the Wabash to near Pittsburg. A portion was received under the protection of the Lenni Lenapes, and permitted to settle near the Forks of the Delaware, and on the flats below Philadelphia. But they soon became troublesome neighbors, and were removed by the Delawares (or possibly by the Six Nations) to the Susquehanna valley, where they had a village at the Shawnee flats, below Wilkesbarre, on the west side of the river. During the revolution, and the war of 1812, their name became conspicuous in the history of the northern frontier.

The Lenni Lenapé tribes consisted, at the first settlement of Pennsylvania, of the Assunpink, or Stony Creek Indians; the Rankokas, (Lamikas or Chichequaas ;) Andastakas, at Christina Creek, near Wilmington; Neshaminies, in Bucks co. ; Shackamaxons, about Kensington ; Mantas, or Frogs, near Burlington ; the Tuteloes, and the Nanticokes, in Maryland and Virginia ; (the latter afterwards removed up the Susquehanna ;) the Monseys, or Minisinks, near the Forks of the Delaware; the Mandes, and the Narriticongs, near the Raritan ; the Capitanasses, the Gacheos, the Monseys, and the Pomptons, in New Jersey. A few scattered clans, or warlike hordes, of the Mingoes, were living here and there among the Lenapes.

Another great Indian confederacy claims attention, whose acts have an important bearing upon the history of Pennsylvania. This confederacy was originally known in the annals of New York as the Five Nations ; and subsequently, after they had been joined by the Tuscaroras, as the Six Nations. As confederates, they called themselves Aquanuschioni, or United People ; by the Lenapes they were called Mengue, or Mingoes, and by the French, the Iroquois. The original Five Nations were the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Oneidas, the Senecas, and the Mohawks. In 1712 the Tuscaroras, being expelled from the interior of North Caro lina and Virginia, were adopted as a sixth tribe. The language of all the tribes of the confederacy, except the Tuscaroras, was radically the same, and different from that of the Lenni Lenapé. Their domain stretched from the borders of Vermont to Lake Erie, and from Lake Ontario to the head waters of the Allegheny, Susquehanna, and Delaware rivers. This territory they styled their long house. The grand council-fire was held in the Onondaga valley. The Senecas guarded the western door of the house, the Mohawks the eastern, and the Cayugas the southern, or that which opened upon the Susquehanna. The Mohawk nation was the first in rank, and to it appertained the office of principal war chief; to the Onondagas, who guarded the grand council-fire, appertained in like manner the office of principal civil chief, or chief sachem. The Senecas, in numbers and military energy, were the most powerful.

The peculiar location of the Iroquois gave them an immense advantage. On the great channels of water conveyance to which their territories were contiguous, they were enabled in all directions to carry war and devastation to the neighboring or to the more distant nations.

Nature had endowed them with a height, strength, and symmetry of

person which distinguished them, at a glance, among the individuals of other tribes. They were as brave as they were strong; but ferocious and cruel when excited in savage warfare; crafty, treacherous, and overreaching, when these qualities best suited their purposes. The proceedings of their grand council were marked with great decorum and solemnity. In eloquence, in dignity, and profound policy, their speakers might well bear comparison with the statesmen of civilized assemblies. By an early alliance with the Dutch on the Hudson, they secured the use of firearms, and were thus enabled, not only to repel the encroachments of the French, but also to exterminate, or reduce to a state of vassalage, many Indian nations. From these they exacted an annual tribute, or acknowledgment of fealty; permitting them, however, on that condition, to occupy their former hunting-grounds. “The humiliation of tributary nations was, however, tempered with a paternal regard for their interests in all negotiations with the whites, and care was taken that no trespasses should be committed on their rights, and that they should be justly dealt with.” To this condition of vassalage the Lenni Lenapé, or Delaware nation, had been reduced by the Iroquois, as the latter asserted, by conquest. The Lenapes, however, smarting under the humiliation, invented for the whites a cunning tale in explanation, which they succeeded in imposing upon the worthy and venerable Mr. Heckewelder, the Moravian missionary. Their story was, that by treaty, and by voluntary consent, they had agreed to act as mediators and peacemakers among the other great nations, and to this end they had consented to lay aside entirely the implements of war, and to hold and to keep bright the chain of peace. This, among individual tribes, was the usual province of women. The Delawares, therefore, alleged that they were figuratively termed women on this account; but the Iroquois evidently called them women in quite another sense. * They always alleged that the Delawares were conquered by their arms, and were compelled to this humiliating concession as the only means of arerting impending destruction."* In the course of time, however, the Delawares were enabled to throw off the galling yoke, and at Tioga, in the year 1756, Teedyuscung extorted from the Iroquois chiefs an acknowledgment of their independence.

This peculiar relation between the Indian nation that occupied, and that which claimed a paramount jurisdiction over, the soil of Pennsylvania, tended greatly to embarrass and complicate the negotiations of the proprietary government for the purchase of lands; and its influence was seen and felt both in the civil and military history of Pennsylvania until

*" But even if Mr. Heckewelder had succeeded in making his readers believe that the Dela. wares, when they submitted to the degradation proposed to them by their enemies, were influenced, not by fear, but by the benevolent desire to put a stop to the calamities of war, he has established for them the reputation of being the most egregious dupes and fools that the world has ever seen. This is not often the case with Indian sachems. They are rarely cowards, but still more rarely are they deficient in sagacity or discernment to detect any attempt to impose upon them. I sincerely wish I could unite with the worthy German in removing this stigma upon the Delawares. A long and intimate knowledge of them in peace and war, as enemies and friends, has left upon my mind the most favorable impressions of their character for bravery, generosity, and fidelity to their engagements.”Discourse of Gen. Wm. Henry Harrison on the Aborigines of the Valley of the Ohio.

† See " Inquiry into the causes of the alienation of the Delaware and Shawaneese Indians from the British interest,” &c., page 91 : written in Pennsylvania, and published in London in 1759.

after the close of the revolution. As the details are fully given in the subsequent pages, it is not necessary to enlarge upon the subject here.

The term savage, applied to the aborigines, is naturally associated with the ideas of barbarism and cruelty—to some extent perhaps justly; yet a closer acquaintance often discloses in them traits that exalt the human character and claim the admiration or sympathy of civilized man. The Indian considers himself created by an almighty, wise, and benevolent Spirit, to whom he looks for guidance and protection ; whom he believes it to be his duty to adore and worship, and whose overruling providence he acknowledges in all his actions. Many Indians were in the habit of seeking out some high mountain from whose lonely summit they might commune with the “Great Spirit," and pray to him. But while they worshipped the Creator, they were not unmindful of their duties to their fellow-creatures. They looked upon the good things of the earth as a common stock, bestowed by the Great Spirit for the benefit of all. They held that the game of the forest, the fish of the rivers, and the grass or other articles of spontaneous growth, were free to all who chose to take them. They ridiculed the idea of fencing in a meadow or a pasture. This principle repressed selfishness and fostered generosity. Their hospitality was proverbial. The Indian considers it a duty to share his last morsel with a stranger.

When the early settlers of Pennsylvania first landed, the Indians received them with open-hearted kindness, cheerfully supplied their wants, and shared with them the comforts of their rude and humble dwellings. They considered the persons of their new guests as sacred, and readily opened with them a traffic for useful or ornamental articles in exchange for land and furs. Wm. Penn says of them, in his letter to the Society of Free Traders, “ In liberality they excel; nothing is too good for their friend: give them a fine gun, coat, or other thing, it may pass twenty hands before it sticks: light of heart, strong affections, but soon spent. The most merry creatures that live, feast and dance perpetually; they never have much, nor want much; wealth circulateth like the blood; all parts partake; and though none shall want what another hath, yet exact observers of property. Some kings have sold, others presented me with several parcels of land; the pay, or presents I made them, were not hoarded by the particular owners; but the neighboring kings and their clans being present when the goods were brought out, the parties chiefly concerned consulted what, and to whom, they should give them. To every king then, by the hands of a person for that work appointed, is a proportion sent, so sorted and folded, and with that gravity, that is admirable. Then that king subdivideth it, in like manner, among his dependants, they hardly leaving themselves an equal share with one of their subjects: and be it on such occasions as festivals, or at their common meals, the kings distribute, and to themselves last. They care for little, because they want but little ; and the reason is, a little contents them. In this they are sufficiently revenged on us; if they are ignorant of our pleasures, they are also free from our pains. They are not disquieted with bills of lading and exchange, nor perplexed with chancery suits and exchequer reckonings. We sweat and toil to live; their pleasure feeds them; I mean their hunting, fishing, and fowling; and this table is spread everywhere. They eat twice a day, morning and evening; their seats

and table are the ground. Since the Europeans came into these parts, they are grown great lovers of strong liquors, rum especially, and for it exchange the richest of their skins and furs. If they are heated with liquors, they are restless till they have enough to sleep; that is their cry, some more, and I will go to sleep; but, when drunk, one of the most wretched spectacles in the world.


SEVERAL colonies had already been planted by Europeans on the North American coast, before any permanent settlement was made on the shores of the Delaware.* In the year 1609, Capt. Henry Hudson, then under the patronage of the Dutch East India Company, touched at the mouth of what is now known as Delaware bay; but finding shoal water, and suspecting danger, he retired and a few days after entered the bay of New York, and gave name to its noble river. Availing themselves of his discoveries, the Dutch renewed their voyages, and kept up a small tradingpost on Manhattan island for several years, until the year 1621, when a Îarger company was formed, with great privileges and comprehensive powers, called the West India Company of the United Netherlands. This company, in 1623, took possession of the country discovered by Hudson, including the South or Delaware river, and named it New Netherlands; built the city of New Amsterdam, and despatched Capt. Cornelius Jacobus May, with a number of adventurers, to the South River, to colonize and make further discoveries. This commander gave to Cape May the name it still bears, and to the southern cape that of Cornelius, by which it was known during the dynasty of the Dutch. He erected Fort Nassau, near where Gloucester, N. J., now stands, a few miles below Philadelphia. This was the first European settlement on the shores of the bay, but was not permanent, being only used as an occasional tradingpost by the Dutch. In 1631, Capt. David Pietersen De Vries arrived in the Delaware, with two ships and about thirty colonists. He was associated with Godyn, Bloemart, and Van Rensselaer, wealthy Dutch patroons, in the enterprise of establishing a colony on South River, for the purpose of cultivating tobacco and grain, and prosecuting the whale and seal fishery, in or near the bay. He built Fort Oplandt, near where Lewistown, Del., now stands, about three miles within Cape Cornelius; and extended around it his little settlement of Swanendael, or Valley of Swans. The fisheries were unsuccessful. De Vries returned to Holland, leaving his colony in charge of Gillis Osset. He returned again in 1632, and found the fields of his new colony strewed with the bones of his countrymen. The arms of Holland, emblazoned upon a piece of glittering tin, had been elevated upon a pillar. An Indian stole it, to make a tobacco-box.

The com

* The name of this bay was given in honor of Lord Delaware, who was governor of the Vir. ginia colony about the years 1610 to 1618. The Indian name of the river was Mack-er-isk. iskan; and it was also called Lenape-Wihittuck, or river of the Lenapes. The Dutch and Swedes knew it only as South River, in contradistinction to the North River of New York.

« 上一頁繼續 »