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Delaware Indian Chiefs

Delaware Indian Chiefs and Leaders


Chief Lapowinsa

Chief Lappawinze, Lapowinsa, Lapowinsa('means- getting provisions')Lapowinsa wasa Delaware Indian chief who signed the "walking purchase," treaty of 1737 at Philadelphia. The Walking Purchase Treaty granted to the whites land extending from Neshaming creek as far as a man could walk in a day and a half. When the survey was made under this stipulation the governor of Pennsylvania had a road built inland and employed a trained runner, a proceeding that the Delawares denounced as a fraud.

Chief Tammany


Chief Tammany 


Indian chief, who lived in the 17th century. He was chief of the Delawares. He was known by and called several names :Temane, Tamenand, Taminent, Tameny, and Tammany. According to one account, he was the first Indian to welcome William Penn to this country, and was a party to Penn's famous treaty.Tamanend was the sachem or trusted spokesman of his village.

TAMANEND was partner with William Penn in a boldly conceived agreement dated 1683 that Europeans and Indians would live together in peace as long as the creeks and rivers run and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.Tamanend trusted Penn and his lofty ideal of a commonwealth of freedom, peace, and tolerance for all inhabitants.

In 1862 William Penn arrived in America and got to know the Indians well. He learned to speak the Lenape language. The Indians called him Miquon, the word for quill in their language. Penn entered into cordial negotiations with more than twenty sachems because no other single leader could speak for the Lenape people.

1893: Tatamy Borough, in Eastern Pennsylvania was incorporated. It was named for "Moses" Tatamy, a Christianized Native American Indian Chief who lived in the area during early settlement.

Chief William Anderson


Anderson has long been proud of its Native American heritage and of its founder, Chief William Anderson. Anderson (or Kik-tha-we-nund, his Delaware name) was born in the 1740s in Anderson’s Ferry (now Marietta), Pennsylvania. His mother was a daughter of the Delaware Tribal Chief Netaawatwees and his father was a Swedish trader. Throughout his life, Anderson went by both his father’s and his Indian name. Not much is known about his early life, but he was much influenced by his grandfather with whom his spent much of his time.


Tribal strife during the Revolutionary war divided the Delaware. Anderson sided with Chief White Eyes, who was pro-American. After the war increasing white settlement in Pennsylvania drove the tribe west. The Delaware struck a bargain with the Miami to settle on some of their territory and Anderson (by then the head of the Turkey Clan of the Unami Delaware) and his tribe settled in several villages along the White River. Anderson himself settled in a small village located in what is now downtown Anderson. His personal residence (a two story log home) was probably located where the present-day city building is.

Kik-tha-we-nund was an influential leader who was able to suppress the liquor trade among the Delaware. During the uprising of Tecumseh and his brother the Prophet, he kept his tribe out of war. In 1818, he signed the Treaty of St. Mary’s for the Delaware and reluctantly prepared to be relocated. The tribe left Indiana and had a troubled journey to Kansas, where the settled briefly. He spent most of the rest of his life trying to negotiate a better settlement for his people.


Chief Anderson had four known sons and one daughter. His sons became famous scouts and guides for western-bound wagon trains. His daughter, Mekinges, married William Conner, a white trader, and had six children by him. When the Indians left Indiana, Conner decided that his wife and children should go to receive their land in the West, but that he would stay. He re-married (to a white woman) before Mekinges left Indiana, but was otherwise fair to her, giving her half his money and a large group of horses. He also bought the family’s Indiana lands and gave them a fair price for them.


A missionary who met Chief Anderson in 1823 described him as "a very dignified man in character and appearance, upward of six feet tall, well proportioned, a man of great benevolence and power, of excellent understanding, but not a public speaker." He was probably a shrewd businessman as well. When the Moravian missionaries living in the Anderson area left after a five year residence, the Chief charged them "one young ox, three hogs and a table made from the wood of this place" as rent before he would allow them to go.


Locally, romantic legends abound about Chief Anderson. It is told that he died here, by riding his Indian pony off a high bluff into the White River. Another story credits him with a second daughter who also married a trader and who stayed in Indiana when the tribe left. Chief Anderson is said to have returned to visit her and to have died during the visit. In the 1890's, when the Anderson Hotel was being built, a skeleton was found which many locals were convinced belonged to him. History (and the Delaware tribe) record that Anderson died in September 1831 in the tribe’s new home in Missouri.

If you are interested in reading more about Chief William Anderson and his family, two good books are KIK-THA-WE-NUND, THE DELAWARE CHIEF WILLIAM ANDERSON AND HIS DESCENDANTS by Ruby Cranor and THE LENNI LENAPE by historian Ray Davis.

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