Page images
PDF
EPUB

Sanhikans. These two tribes were subdivided into nu- CHAP. III. merous minor bands, each of which had a distinctive name.

1616. The tribes on the east side of the river were generally Mohegans; those on the west side, Mincees. They were hereditary enemies; and across the waters which formed the natural boundary between them, war-parties frequently passed, on expeditions of conquest and retribution. But however much the tribes of River Indians were at variance among themselves, they were sympathetic in their enmity against the powerful Iroquois, or the Five Confederated Nations, whose hunting-grounds extended over the magnificent regions, as yet unexplored by the Dutch, westward and northward from Fort Nassau.*

Long Island, or " Sewan-hacky," was occupied by the Long Islsavage tribe of " Metowacks," which was subdivided into dians. various clans, each having a separate appellation, and whose lodges extended from the Visscher's Hook," or Montauk Point, to “Ihpetonga,” or “the high sandy banks,” now known as Brooklyn Heights. Staten Island, on the opposite side of the bay, was inhabited by the Monatons, who named it Monacknong, or Eghquaous.t Inland, to the west, lived the Raritans and the Hackin- New Jersacks; while the regions in the vicinity of the well-known dians. “ Highlands," south of Sandy Hook, were inhabited by a band or sub-tribe called the Nevesincks, or Navisinks, whose name denotes their intermediate position between the Atlantic and the Raritan Bay. $ To the south and west, covering the centre of New Jersey, were the Aquamachukes and the Stankekans; while the valley of the Delaware, northward from the Schuylkill, was inhabited by various tribes of the Lenape race, who were collectively known to the Dutch as "the Minquas,” and by their hereditary northern foes, the Iroquois, were named “Ogehage.”

The 56 Island of the Manhattans" was so called " after Manhat

sey In

tans,

* Schoolcraft, in N. Y. II. S. Proc., 1844, 89-91.

+ Alb. Rec., viii., 161; Siitli's N. Y., i., 321 ; Clinton, in N. Y. II. S. Coll., ii., 41 ; Thompson's L. I., 1., 87-95.; Schoolcraft, 97, 98; ante, p. 57 ; post, p. 172. # Schoolcraft, 105, 106.

Figurative Map, see Appendix, notes G and I.

CHAP. Ill. the ancient name of the tribe of savages among whom the

Dutch first settled themselves.?** This tribe, which inhab1616.

ited the eastern shore, was always “very obstinate and un

friendly” toward the Hollanders. On the west side of the Sanhikans. bay, and of the river above Bergen Point, lived the Sanhi

kans, who were “the deadly enemies of the Manhattans, and a much better people.”+ North of the Sanhikans, on

the broad bay between the Palisadoes and Verdrietig Hook, Tappans. dwelt the tribe of Tappans,whose wigwams extended

back from Nyack toward the hilly regions of Rockland and Orange counties. This unexplored territory, the early imperfect maps of New Netherland transmitted to Holland, erroneously represented as an “effen veldt,” or a level, open country

The eastern bank of the river, north of Manhattan, and the valley of the Nepera or Saw-mill Creek, was possessed by the tribe of Weckquaesgeeks. The region above, as far

as the Croton, or Kitchawan, was inhabited by another Sint-Sings. band called the Sint-Sings, whose chief village was named

Ossin-Sing, or the Place of Stones;" and the famous marble quarries now worked near “Sing-Sing," while they commemorate the name, vindicate the judgment of the aborigines.

The Highlands above were occupied by a band called Pachami. the Pachami, beyond whom dwelt the Waoranacks. North

of these, and in what is now the county of Dutchess, lived Wappin- the tribe of Wappingers, whose name is still preserved in

that of the picturesque stream which empties into the river near New Hamburg. Their chief locality was the valley of the Fishkill, or " Matteawan" Creek, the aboriginal name of which, according to the popular traditions of the country, signified “good furs,” for which the stream was anciently celebrated. But modern etymology more accu

Weckquaes geeks.

gers.

* Alb. Rec., xviii., 348; N. Y. H. S. Coll., iii., 375; O'Call., i., 48. The Dutch themselves named the island after the Indian tribe of Manhattans." Heckewelder's traditionary account that the name of the island was derived from the “general intoxication" which is said to have occurred there, is considered in note A, Appendix.

+ De Laet, book iii., cap. ix. ; Figurative Map.

# According to Heckewelder, the name of Tappan is derived from “Tuphanne," a Delaware word, signifying “cold stream." _Moulton's N. Y., p. 227. Schoolcraft, 101.

rately deriving the term from "metai," a magician or Chap. III. medicine man, and “wian,” a skin, it would seem that

1616. the neighboring Indians esteemed the peltries of the Fishkill as "charmed” by the incantations of the aboriginal enchanters who dwelt along its banks; and the beautiful scenery in which these ancient priests of the wild men of the Highlands dwelt is thus invested with new poetical associations. A few miles north of the "Wahamanessing," or Wappinger's Creek, was a sheltered inlet at the mouth of the Fallkill, affording a safe harbor for canoes navigating the “Long Reach," between Pollepel's Island and Crom Elbow.* The aboriginal designation of this inlet was Apokeepsing," a place of shelter from storms;" and the memory of this once famous harbor for the canoes of the river tribes is perpetuated in the name of the flourishing city of Pokeepsie. Still further north, near Red Hook Pokeepsie. . landing, lived another clan of the Wappingers. Here tradition asserts a great battle was fought between the river Indians and the Iroquois confederates; and the bones. of the slain were said to be yet visible, when the Dutch first settled themselves on the spot. The wigwams of the Wappingers and their sub-tribes extended eastward to the range of the Tachkanic, or Taconick Mountains, which separate the valley of the North River from that of the Housatonic.i

On the west side of the river, northward from Verdrietig Hook and the Kumochenack, or Haverstraw Bay, the tribes were remarkably mixed and subdivided. Parts of the present county of Rockland, and nearly the whole of the county of Orange, were inhabited by the Waronawan-Waronuwe kongs, whose hunting-grounds extended along the Shawangunk mountain range. Further north, and occupying

[ocr errors]

ankongs.

* Pollepel's Island is the one in the middle of the river, just north of the Highlands. Its name is derived from its supposed resemblance to the convex side of a ladle, which in Dutch is " Pollepel.” The abrupt bend in the river, between Pokeepsie and Hyde Park, formerly called “Krom Elleboog," or crooked elbow, is now known as Crom Elbow.

† Schoolcraft, 101-103.

# These mountains are said to have obtained their 'name from the predominating white or gray color of their rocks; the word "Shawan-gunk" being explained by the Indians of the country to mean “white rocks.".See Mather's Geology of N. Y., 355. Schoolcraft,

wares.

Minnisincks.

dians.

pus Indians.

CHAP. III. the present counties of Ulster and Greene, were the Min

qua clans of Minnisincks, Nanticokes, Mincses, and Dela1616

These clans had pressed onward from the upper valley of the Delaware, which the Dutch expressively named "the Land of Baca,"* and, following the course of the Nevesinck River and the valley of the “Great Esopus

Creek,” had at length reached the tides of the North River. Esopus In- They were generally known among the Dutch as the Eso

The doubtful etymology of this name is traced to "Seepus," a river; and the Esopus Creek, having long been celebrated as the aboriginal channel of communication with the upper waters of the Delaware, it was probably called “the Seepus," or river, by way of eminence.t. The word was soon modified into “ Sopus," or Esopus, in which form it has ever since been in use. At

an early period, the Dutch are said to have erected a “RonRondouť duit," or small fort, near the mouth of the creek, which,

from this circumstance, obtained its present name, the “Rondout.” Part of the adjoining region was afterward named.“ Wiltwyck," or Indian village ; but the familiar term Esopus continued in popular use long aster the present legal designation of Kingston was adopted. I

The name of the Minnisinck tribe was derived from the island, or s Minnis,” in the upper waters of the Delaware, where the self-denying missionary Brainerd afterward endured so many trials. Their wigwams, with those of the other clans of Esopus Indians, extended over the area of the present counties of Ulster and Greene, along the banks of the river, and through the valley of the Catskill, to Coxackie, or Kuxakee. This word, in their dialect, signified “the place of the cut banks," where the current, deflected against the western shore, had gradually worn away the land. Beyond the Minnisincks and Esopus Indians, the west side of the river, near Castle Island, was

however (p. 108), seems to derive their name from their position to the south, or “Shawanong” of the Catskills.

* Visscher's and Van der Donck's Maps. † Schoolcraft, 108.

# Hol. Doc., xi., 86 ; see Appendix, note H. 0 This kill or creek, and the majestic mountain chain inland, were so narned from tho catamount or panther, which formerly abounded, and is now frequently found, in this wild and picturesque region.-Schoolcraft, 109, 110

The Mo

cans.

kans.

inhabited by the fierce Maquaas, or Mohawks, whose hunt- Chap. III. ing-grounds extended northward to the “ Lake of the Ir

1616. oquois," or Lake Champlain, westward through the valley of the Mohawk, and southward to the sources of the hawks. Susquehanna.

Above the Wappingers, on the east side of the river, the lodges of the Mahicans, or Mohegans, extended northward The Mahsand eastward from Roelof Jansen's Kill, and occupied the whole area of the present counties of Columbia and Rensselaer. The ancient seat of their council-fire was near Schodac; and opposite to the present city of Albany, they had early fortified a village against the dreaded attacks of their hereditary enemies, the Mohawks.* Beyond the Mahicans dwelt the tribe of Horikans, whose hunting- The Horigrounds appear to have extended from the waters of the Connecticut, across the Green Mountains, to the borders of that beautiful lake which might now well bear their sonorous name.*

From the time that Hudson first passed the Mahican The Dutch villages at Schodac and Castleton, and Block visited the terins with upper waters of the Connecticut, a friendly intercourse had dians. been maintained between the Dutch and the native tribes on the east side of the North River. With the fierce Mohawks on the west side, upon whose territory they had built Fort Nassau, they were careful to keep on the best terms; and from them the Dutch learned that the Canadian French were in the habit of coming in boats from Quebec, to trade in the upper part of their territories, adjoining the Lake of the Iroquois, or Lake Champlain. But the inland tribes, toward the south and west, had as yet been unvisited by Europeans; though Champlain had just carried death and

the In

* Wassenaar, xii., 38; Doc. Hist. N. Y., iii., 43.

+ De Laet, viii., ante, p. 56 ; Visscher's Map; Van der Donck's Map; Map in Montanus. This charming lake.--the Como of America-and which the French, in 1646, first called " Saint Sacrement," because they visited it on the festival of Corpus Christi, was pared oy Gencral (afterward Sir William) Johnson, in September, 1755, "LAKE GEORGE, not only in honor of his majesty, but to ascertain his undoubted dominio here." - London Documents, xxxii., 169. The reasons which, in 1755, prompted the British general to give a new name to the lake, should certainly not prevail at the present day; nor should they prevent the revival of the aboriginal term suggested by our own Cooper, " HORIKAN."

De Laet, ix.; Parchment Mar. See also note G, Appendix.

« PreviousContinue »