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Delaware Indians,

An important family of the Algonquian nation, also called Lenni-Lenapes, or “men.” When the Europeans found them, they were dwelling in detached bands, under separate sachems on the Delaware River. The Dutch traded with them as early as 1613, and held friendly relations with them; but in 1632 the Dutch settlement of Swanendael was destroyed by them. The Swedes found them peaceful when they settled on the Delaware. This family claim to have come from the west with the Minquas, to whom they became vassals. They also claimed to be the source of all the Algonquians, and were styled “grandfathers.” The Delawares comprised three powerful families (Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf), and were known as Minseys, or Munsees, and Delawares proper. The former occupied the northern part of New Jersey and a portion of Pennsylvania, and the latter inhabited lower New Jersey, the banks of the Delaware below Trenton, and the whole valley of the Schuylkill. After the conquest of New Netherland, the English kept up trade with the Delawares, and William Penn and his followers bought large tracts of land from them. They were parties on the Indian side to the famous treaty with Penn. At that time the Indians within the limits of his domain were estimated at 6,000 in number.

William Penn purchasing land from the Delaware Indians.

[65] The five Nations (q. v.) conquered the Delawares, and called them “women” in contempt; and when, at the middle of the eighteenth century, the latter, dissatisfied with the interpretation of a treaty, refused to leave their land, the Five Nations haughtily ordered them to go.

Commingling with warlike tribes, the Delawares became warlike themselves, and developed great energy on the war-path. They fought the Cherokees, and in 1773 some of them went over the mountains and settled in Ohio. As early as 1741 the Moravians had begun missionary work among them on the Lehigh, near Bethlehem and Nazareth, and a little church was soon filled with Indian converts. At the beginning of the French and Indian War the Delawares were opposed to the English, excepting a portion who were led by the Moravians; but in treaties held at Easton, Pa., at different times, from 1756 until 1761, they made peace with the English, and redeemed themselves from their vassalage to the Six Nations (q. v.). They settled on the Susquehanna, the Christian Indians apart. Then another emigration over the mountains occurred, and they planted a settlement at Muskingum, O. These joined Pontiac, and besieged Fort Pitt and other frontier posts, but were defeated in August, 1763, by Colonel Bouquet, and their great chief, Teedyuscung, was killed. Their towns were ravaged, and the Moravian converts, who were innocent, fled for refuge to Philadelphia. These returned to the Susquehanna in 1764, and the Ohio portion made peace at Muskingum the same year, and at Fort Pitt in 1765. The remainder in Pennsylvania emigrated to Ohio, and in 1786 not a Delaware was left east of the Alleghany Mountains. Moravian missionaries went with their flocks, and the Christian Indians increased. The pagans kept upon the war-path until they were severely smitten in a drawn Battle at Point Pleasant, in 1774.

The Delawares joined the English when the Revolutionary War broke out, but made peace with the Americans in 1778, when a massacre of ninety of the Christian Indians in Ohio by the Americans aroused the fury of the tribe. Being almost powerless, they fled to the Huron liver and Canada. Under the provisions of a treaty in 1787, a small band of Delawares returned to the Muskingum, the remainder being hostile. These fought Wayne, and were parties to the treaty at Greenville in 1795. The scattered tribes in Ohio refused to join Tecumseh in the War of 1812, and in 1818 they ceded all their lands to the United States, and settled on the White River, in Illinois, to the number of 1,800, leaving a small remnant behind. They finally settled in Kansas, where missions were established among them, and they rapidly increased in the arts of civilized life. In the Civil War, the Delawares furnished 170 soldiers for the National army. Having acquired land from the Cherokees in the Indian Territory, they now occupy the Cooweescoowee and Delaware districts; numbered 754 in 1900; are considered the traders and business men of the North American Indians; and still keep up their totemic distinction of Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf families.

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