Delaware Indians. The name is derived from that of Delaware River, which in turn, was named for Lord Delaware, second governor of Virginia. Also called:
Abnaki or Wabanaki, “Easterners,” from their position relative to many other Algonquian tribes. (See Abnaki under Maine, Wampanoag under Massachusetts, and Wappinger under New York.)
A-ko-tca-ka’nlsn, “One who stammers in his speech,” the Mohawk name.
The Oneida and Tuscarora names were similar.
Anakwaneki, Cherokee name, an attempt at Wabanaki.
Lenni Lenape (their own name), meaning “true men,” or “standard men.” Loup, “wolf,” so called by the French.
Mochomes, “grandfather,” name given by those Algonquian tribes which claimed descent from them.
Nar-wah-ro, Wichita name.
Renni Renape, a form of Lenni Lenape.
Tca-ka’nen, shortened form of Mohawk name given above. (The names
in the languages of the other four Iroquois tribes are about the same).
Enter a grandparent's name to get started.
Connections. The Delaware belonged to the Algonquian linguistic stock, their closest relatives being the Nanticoke, Conoy, and Powhatan Indians to the south and the Mahican, Wappinger, and southern New England Indians on the north. The dialect of the northernmost of their major divisions, the Munsee, differed considerably from that of the southern groups.
Location. The Delaware occupied all of the State of New Jersey, the western end of Long Island, all of Staten and Manhattan Islands and neighboring parts of the mainland, along with other portions of New York west of the Hudson, and parts of eastern Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware. (See also Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland and the District of Columbia, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and the Munsee under Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin.)
There were three major divisions or subtribes, the Munsee in northern New Jersey and adjacent portions of New York west of the Hudson, the Unalachtigo in northern Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey, and the Unami in the intermediate territory, extending to the western end of Long Island. Each comprised a great many minor divisions which it is not always easy to classify under the three main heads.
As Munsee may probably be reckoned the following:
Catskill, on Catskill Creek, Greene County, N. Y.
Mamekoting, in Mamakating Valley, west of the Shawangunk Mountains, N. Y. Minisink, on the headwaters of Delaware River in the southwestern part of Ulster
and Orange Counties, N. Y., and the adjacent parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Waranawonkong, in the country watered by the Esopus, Wallkill, and Shawangunk Creeks, mainly in Ulster County, N. Y.
Wawarsink, centered about the junction of Wawarsing and Rondout Creeks,
Ulster County, N. Y.
We may class as Unami the following:
Aquackanonk, on Passaic River, N. J., and lands back from it including the tract called Dundee in Passsaic.
Assunpink, on Stony Creek near Trenton.
Axion, on the eastern bank of Delaware River between Rancocas Creek and Trenton.
Calcefar, in the interior of New Jersey between Rancocas Creek and Trenton.
Canarsee, in Kings County, Long Island, on the southern end of Manhattan Island, and the eastern end of Staten Island, N. Y.
Gachwechnagechga, on Lehigh River, Pa.
Hackensack, in the valleys of Hackensack and Passaic Rivers.
Haverstraw, on the western bank of the lower Hudson, in Rockland County, N. Y.
Meletecunk, in Monmouth County.
Mosilian, on the eastern bank of Delaware River about Trenton.
Navasink, on the highlands of Navesink, claiming the land from Barnegat to the Raritan.
Pompton, on Pompton Creek.
Raritan, in the valley of Raritan River and on the left bank of Delaware River as far down as the falls at Trenton.
Beckgawawane, on the upper part of Manhattan Island and the adjacent mainland of New York west of the Bronx.
Tappan, on the western bank of Hudson River in Rockland County, N. Y., and Bergen County.
Waoranec, near Esopus Creek, Ulster County, N. Y.
The following may be considered as Unalachtigo, though I am in some doubt about the Neshamini:
Amimenipaty, at site of a large pigment plant of the Du Pont Company at Edgemoor, Del.
Asomoche, on the eastern bank of Delaware River between Salem and Camden. Chikohoki, at site of Crane Brook Church, on west side of Delaware River near its junction with the Christanna River.
Eriwonec, about Old Man’s Creek in Salem or Gloucester County. Hopokohacking, on site now occupied by Wilmington, Del. Kahansuk, about Low Creek, Cumberland County.
Manta, about Salem Creek.
Memankitonna, on the present site of Claymont, Del., on Naaman’s Creek. Nantuxet, in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Naraticon, in southern New Jersey, probably on Raccoon Creek. Neshamini, on Neshaminy Creek, Bucks County, Pa.
Okahoki, on Ridley and Crum Creeks, Delaware County, Pa.
Passayonk, on Schuylkill River, Pa., and along the western bank of Delaware River, perhaps extending into Delaware.
Shackamaxon, on the site of Kensington, Philadelphia, Pa.
Siconesse, on the eastern bank of Delaware River a short distance above Salem. Tirans, on the northern shore of Delaware Bay about Cape May or in Cumberland
Yacomanshaghking, on a small stream about the present Camden.
It will not be practicable to separate the villages belonging to the three great divisions in all cases. The following are entered in the Handbook of American Indians (Hodge, 1907, 1910)
Achsinnink, Unalachtigo village on Hocking River, Ohio, about 1770.
Ahasimus, probably Unami, in northern New Jersey.
Alamingo, a village, probably Delaware, on Susquehanna River.
Allaquippa, possible name of a settlement at the mouth of the Youghiogheny River, Pa., in 1755.
Anderson’s Town, on the south side of White River about Anderson, Ind.
Au Glaize, on a southeastern branch of Maumee River, Ohio.
Bald Eagle’s Nest, on the right bank of Bald Eagle Creek near Milesburg, Pa. Beaversville, near the junction of Buggy Creek and Canadian River, Okla. Beavertown, on the east side of the extreme eastern head branch of Hocking River near Beavertown, Ohio.
Black Hawk, probably Delaware, about Mount Auburn, Shelby County, Ind.
Black Leg’s Village, probably Delaware, on the north bank of Conemaugh River in the southeastern part of Armstrong County, Pa.
Buckstown, probably Delaware, on the southeast side of White River, about 3 miles east of Anderson, Ind.
Bulletta Town, probably Delaware, in Coshocton County, Ohio, on Muskingum River about halfway between Walhonding River and Tomstown.
Cashiehtunk, probably Munsee, on Delaware River near the point where it is met by the New Jersey State line.
Catawaweshink, probably Delaware, on or near Susquehanna River, near Big Island, Pa.
Chikohoki, a Manta village on the site of Burlington, Burlington County, N. J. Chilohocki, probably Delaware, on Miami River, Ohio.
Chinklacamoose, probably Delaware, on the site of Clearfield, Pa. Clistowacka, near Bethlehem, Pa.
Communipaw, village of the Hackensack, at Communipaw. Conemaugh, probably Delaware, about Conemaugh, Pa. Coshocton, on the site of Coshocton, Ohio.
Crossweeksung, in Burlington County, probably about Crosswicks.
Custaloga’s Town, Unalachtigo, two villages, one near French Creek, opposite Franklin, Pa., the other on Walhonding River, near Killbucks Creek in Coshocton County, Ohio.
Edgpiiliik, in western New Jersey.
Eriwonec, about Old Man’s Creek in Salem or Gloucester County.
Frankstown, probably Delaware, about Frankstown, Pa.
Friedenshütten, a Moravian mission town on Susquehanna River a few miles below Wyalusing, probably in Wyoming County, Pa.
Friedensstadt, in Beaver County, Pa., probably near Darlington.
Gekelemukpechuenk, in Ohio, and perhaps identical with White Eyes’ Town. Gnadenhütten, three Moravian Mission villages, one on the north side of Mahoning Creek near its junction with the Lehigh about the present Lehighton; a second on the site of Weissport, Carbon County, Pa.; and a third on the Muskingum River near the present Gnadenhutten, Ohio. (Brinton (1885) says there were two more towns of the same name.)
Goshgoshunk, with perhaps some Seneca, on Allegheny River about the upper part of Venango County, Pa.
Grapevine Town, perhaps Delaware, 8 miles up Captina River, Belmont County, Ohio.
Greentown, on the Black Fork of Mohican River near the boundary of Richland and Ashland Counties, Ohio.
Gweghkongh, probably Unami, in northern New Jersey, near Staten Island, or on the neighboring New York mainland.
Hespatingh, probably Unami, apparently in northern New Jersey, and perhaps near Bergen or Union Hill.
Hickorytown, probably about East Hickory or West Hickory, Pa. Hockhocken, on Hocking River, Ohio.
Hogstown, between Venango and Buffalo Creek, Pa., perhaps identical with Kuskuski.
Jacobs Cabins, probably Delaware, on Youghiogheny River, perhaps near Jacobs Creek, Fayette County, Pa.
Jeromestown, near Jeromesville, Ohio.
Kalbauvane, probably’ Delaware, on the headwaters of the west branch of Susquehanna River, Pa.
Kanestio, Delaware and other Indians, on the upper Susquehanna River, near Kanestio Creek in Steuben County, N. Y.
Kanhangton, about the mouth of Chemung River in the northern part of Bradford County, Pa.
Katamoonchink, perhaps the name of a Delaware village near West Whiteland, Chester County, Pa.
Kickenapawling, probably Delaware and Iroquois, at the junction of Stony Creek with Conemaugh River, approximately on the site of Johnstown, Pa.
Kiktheswemud, probably Delaware, near Anderson, Ind., perhaps identical with Buckstown or Little Munsee Town.
Killbuck’s Town, on the east side of Killbuck Creek, about 10 miles south of Wooster, Ohio.
Kishakoquilla, two towns successively occupied by a chief of the name, one about Kishacoquillas, Mifflin County, Pa., the other on French Creek about 7 miles below Meadville, Crawford County, Pa.
Kiskiminetas, on the south side of lower Kiskiminetas Creek, near its mouth, Westmoreland County, Pa.
Kiskominitoes, on the north bank of Ohio River between the Hocking and Scioto Rivers, Ohio.
Kittanning, divided into several settlements and mixed with Iroquois and Caughnawaga, near Kittanning on Allegheny River, Armstrong County, Pa.
Kohhokking, near “Painted Post” in Steuben County, N. Y., or Elmira, Chemung County, N. Y.
Kuskuski, with Iroquois, on Beaver Creek, near Newcastle, in Lawrence County, Pa.
Languntennenk, Moravian Delaware near Darlington, Beaver County, Pa. Lawunkhannek, Moravian Delaware on Allegheny River above Franklin, Venango County, Pa.
Lichtenau, Moravian Delaware on the east side of Muskingum River, 3 miles below Coshocton, Ohio.
Little Munsee Town, Munsee, a few miles east of Anderson, Ind.
Macharienkonck, Minisink, in the bend of Delaware River, Pike County, Pa., opposite Port Jervis.
Macocks, some distance north of Chikohoki, which was probably at Wilmington, Del., perhaps the village of the Okahoki in Pennsylvania.
Mahoning, on the west bank of Mahoning River, perhaps between Warren and Youngstown, Ohio.
Mechgachkamic, perhaps Unami, probably near Hackensack, N. J. Meggeckessou, on Delaware River at Trenton Falls, N. J. Meniolagomeka, on Aquanshicola Creek, Carbon County, Pa.
Meochkonck, Minisink, on the upper Delaware River in southeastern New York. Minisink, Minisink, in Sussex County, N. J., near where the State line crosses Delaware River.
Munceytown, Munsee, on Thames River northwest of Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Muskingum, probably Delaware, on the west bank of Muskingum River, Ohio.
Nain, Moravian Indians, principally Delaware, near Bethlehem, Pa.
Newcomerstown, village of Chief Newcomer, about the site of New Comerstown, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.
Newtown, the name of three towns probably of the Delaware and Iroquois, one on the north bank of Licking River, near the site of the present Zanesville, Ohio; a second about the site of Newtown, Ohio; and a third on the west side of Wills Creek near the site of Cambridge, Ohio.
Nyack, probably Canarsee, about the site of Fort Hamilton, Kings County, Long Island, afterward removed to Staten Island.
Nyack, Unami probably, on the west bank of Hudson River about the present Nyack, N. Y.
Ostonwackin, with Cayuga, Oneida, and other Indians, on the site of the present Montoursville, Pa.
Outaunink, Munsee, on the north bank of White River, opposite Muncie, Ind. Owl’s Town, probably Delaware, on Mohican River, Coshocton County, Ohio.
Pakadasank, probably Munsee, about the site of Crawford, Orange County, N. Y.
Papagonk, probably Munsee, in Ulster County, N. Y., also placed near Pepacton, Delaware County, N. Y.
Passycotcung, on Chemung River, N. Y.
Peckwes, Munsee or Shawnee, about 10 miles from Hackensack.
Pematuning, probably Delaware, near Shenango, Pa.
Pequottink, Moravian Delaware, on the east bank of Huron River, near Milan, Ohio.
Playwickey, probably Unalachtigo, in Bucks County, Pa.
Pohkopophunk, in eastern Pennsylvania, probably in Carbon County.
Queenashawakee, on the upper Susquehanna River, Pa.
Raincock, Rancocas, in Burlington County.
Remahenonc, perhaps Unami, near New York City.
Roymount, near Cape May.
Salem, Moravian Delaware, on the west bank of Tuscarawas River, 1½ miles southwest of Port Washington, Tuscarawas County, Ohio.
Salt Lick, probably Delaware, on Mahoning River near Warren, Ohio.
Sawcunk, with Shawnee and Mingo, near the mouth of Beaver Creek, about the site of the present Beaver, Pa.
Sawkin, on the east bank of Delaware River in New Jersey.
Schepinaikonck, Minisink, perhaps in Orange County, N. Y.
Schipston, probably Delaware, at the head of Juniata River, Pa.
Schoenbrunn, Moravian Munsee, about 2 miles below the site of New Philadelphia, Ohio.
Seven Houses, near the ford of Beaver Creek just above its mouth, Beaver County, Pa.
Shackamaxon, on the site of Kensington, Philadelphia, Pa.
Shamokin, with Shawnee, Iroquois, and Tutelo, on north sides of Susquehanna River including the island at the site of Sunbury, Pa.
Shannopin’s Town, on Allegheny River about 2 miles above its junction with the Monongahela.
Shenango, with other tribes, the name of several towns, one on the north bank of Ohio River a little below Economy, Pa.; one at the junction of Conewango and the Allegheny; and one some distance up Big Beaver, near Kuskuski (q. v.).
Sheshequin, with Iroquois, about 6 miles below Tioga Point, Bradford County, Pa. Soupnapka, on the east bank of Delaware River in New Jersey.
Three Legs Town, named from a chief, on the east bank of Muskingum River a few miles south of the mouth of the Tuscarawas, Coshocton County, Ohio.
Tioga, with Nanticoke, Mahican, Saponi, Tutelo, etc., on the site of Athens, Pa.
Tom’s Town, on Scioto River, a short distance below the present Chillicothe and near the mouth of Paint Creek, Ohio.
Tullihas, with Mahican and Caughnawaga, on the west branch of Muskingum River, Ohio, about 20 miles above the forks.
Tuscarawas, with Wyandot, on Tuscarawas River, Ohio, near the mouth of Big Sandy River.
Venango, with Seneca, Shawnee, Wyandot, Ottawa, etc., at the site of Franklin, Venango County, Pa.
Wechquetank, Moravian Delaware, about 8 miles beyond the Blue Ridge, northwest from Bethlehem, Pa., probably near the present Mauch Chunk.
Wekeeponall, on the west bank of the Susquehanna River, about the mouth of Loyalstock Creek in Lycoming County, Pa., probably identical with Queen Esther’s Town.
Walagamika, on the site of Nazareth, Lehigh County, Pa.
White-eyes Village, named from a chief, on the site of Duncan’s Falls, 9 miles below Zanesville, Ohio.
White Woman’s Town, near the junction of Walhonding and Killbuck Rivers, about 7 miles northwest of the forks of the Muskingum River, in Coshocton County, Ohio.
Will’s Town, on the east bank of Muskingum River at the mouth of Wills Creek,
Muskingum County, Ohio.
Woapikamikunk, in the valley of White River, Ind.
Wyalusing, Munsee and Iroquois, on the site of Wyalusing, Bradford County, Pa. Wyoming, with Iroquois, Shawnee, Mahican, and Nanticoke; later entirely Delaware and Munsee; principal settlement at the site of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
History. The traditional history of the Delaware set forth in the famous Walam Olum (see Brinton, 1882-85, vol. 5), gave them an origin somewhere northwest of their later habitat. They were found by the earliest white voyagers in the historic seats above given. The Dutch came into contact with the Unami and Munsee Delaware in 1609 and the Swedes with the Unalachtigo in 1637. Both were succeeded by the English in 1664, but the most notable event in Delaware history took place in 1682 when these Indians held their first council with William Penn at what is now Germantown, Philadelphia. About 1720 the Iroquois assumed dominion over them and they were gradually crowded west by the white colonists, reaching the Allegheny as early as 1724, and settling at Wyoming and other points on the Susquehanna about 1742. In 1751, by invitation of the Huron, they began to form villages in eastern Ohio, and soon the greater part of them were on the Muskingum and other Ohio streams. Backed by the French and by other western tribes, they now freed themselves from Iroquois control and opposed the English settlers steadily until the treaty of Greenville in 1795. Notable missionary work was done among them by the Moravians in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. About 1770 they received permission from the Miami and Piankashaw to settle between the Ohio and White Rivers, Ind. In 1789, by permission of the Spanish government, a part moved to Missouri and later to Arkansas, along with a band of Shawnee, and by 1820 they had found their way to Texas. By 1835 most of the bands had been gathered on a reservation in Kansas, but in 1867 the greater part of these removed to the present Oklahoma, where some of them occupied a corner of the Cherokee Nation. Others are with the Caddo and Wichita in southwestern Oklahoma, a few Munsee are with the Stockbridges in Wisconsin, and some are scattered in other parts of the United States.
In Ontario, Canada, are three bands, the Delawares of Grand River, near Hagersville; the Moravians of the Thames, near Bothwell; and the Munceys of the Thames, near Muncey nearly all of whom are of the Munsee division.
Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 8,000 Delaware in 1600 not including the Canarsee of Long Island; estimates made during the eighteenth century vary between 2,400 and 3,000; nineteenth-century estimates are much lower; and the United States Census of 1910 returned 914 Delawares and 71 Munsee, or a total of 985, to which must be added the bands in Canada, making perhaps 1,600 all together. 140 Delaware were reported on the Wichita Reservation, Okla., in 1937.
Connection in which they have become noted. The Delaware are noted as one of the very few tribes which have come to be known by an English term, and as one of the chief antagonists of the Whites while the latter were forcing their way westward, but in later years as furnishing the most reliable scouts in White employ. A different sort of fame has been attained by one of their early chiefs, Tamenend, whose name, in the form Tammany, was applied to a philanthropic society, a place of meeting, and a famous political organization. Delaware chiefs signed the famous treaty with Penn under the oak at Shackamaxon, and their tribes occupied Manhattan Island and the shores of New York Harbor at the arrival of the Dutch. The name Delaware has been used for postoffices in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and Oklahoma, besides the State of Delaware. Lenape is a post village in Leavenworth County, Kans., and Lenapah in Nowata County, Okla.