Lenni Lenaple (Delewares)

By Ralph and James Boggs (1953)

THE MOUND BUILDERS, or his Mongoloid ancestor found a rear entrance to the Ohio Country and wandered about the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys for perhaps ten centuries.

The Lenni Lenape (Delawares) lived many hundred years ago far to the westward. They left their old home and migrated toward the rising sun, and after a very long journey they arrived at the shores of the Na Maesi Sippu or Messussipu (Great River or River of Fish). Their journey was slow and many nights (years) were passed on, the way. The reconnoitering parties of the Lenni Lenape reported that in the country to the East were many large towns on the great rivers which flowed through the land. The people were tall and stout. They called themselves Tallegewi or Alligewi. As the Lerti Lenape pushed on some of the men of their Wetamowi (wise men) were attacked and killed and war resulted with the Titllegewi. This bloody strife continued for several generations. To the north were the Talamatan, who offered aid on the condition that they be in the division of the spoils. Great battles were fought. The Tallegewi fortified their towns and erected earthworks but many were slain and realizing that the contest would end in their annihilation, the remnant of the Tallegewi abandoned the country and fled to the southward. Scientists believe the Tallegewi or. Allegewi are the same as the Cherokee Indians but this has never been proven.

Indian artifacts can still be found in the area. (Photo from the Ed Wise collection taken by Ben Robinson).
Photo from the Ed Wise collection of Indian Artifacts. (Photo by Ben Robinson)

THE AMERICAN INDIANS are a member of the Aboriginal American race and are now regarded as constituting one of the three races comprised in the Mongoloid stock. They are believed to have entered America in small groups by way of the Aleutian Islands over a period of several thousand years, roughly with the end of the Paleolithic Period and the beginning of the Neolithic Period. There has never been any definite relationship established between these Indians and the Mound Builder Indians. Eventually the Indian triumphed and the mound people were killed, driven away or absorbed by the conquering tribes.

In the oldest authentic accounts of white explorers, this county, and in fact all the territory in this part of the state was occupied by a tribe, or a Confederacy of tribes known as the Miami Indians. Miami in the Indian language means “Mother”, so this name is very appropriate to this “Mother of Tribes”. The tribal totems of the Miamis were the Elk and Crane. There were several branches of this confederation occupying the greater part of Western Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and part of Michigan. One of these branch tribes, called “Twigtwees”, had their town three miles north of Piqua. This village was ruled by a chief called “Old Britain.” During the French and Indian War this section of Ohio seems to have been the dividing line between the contestants. Sometimes it was in the possession of the English, allied with the Sbawanoes (Shawnees), Cherokees, Delawares, Catawbas, Munseys and Senecas; and sometimes the French occupied it, having combined with the Miamis, Wyandots and Ottawas. This fighting, from 1752 until 1763, was kept up until the English and their allies were victorious. After this day the Shawanoes, with Black Hoof as chief, took possession of all the territory in the vicinity of Piqua.

There is no evidence tending, to show that Newberry Township was a resort of the Indians or of their occupancy. Since the advent of the whites, none but hunting parties and encampments have been recorded. There was an encampment of Delawares about three miles north of Covington in 1812. In only one instance is it known that they injured the whites of Newberry Township, which as the killing of some cattle.

About a mile south of Covington, on the east bank of the Stillwater River, is a vaulted cave, which was once the stronghold of the Arrow Maker, a Teller of Tales. He probably came into this area after the French and Indian War, having been from the Shawanoe tribe, which was an ally of the English. He was feared by many and understood by few. He was a giant in stature, and for many years was considered a myth, but records show that during the occupancy of Fort Rowdy he was killed by Trader Price. The Indians buried him at the cave, closing the entrance in Indian fashion, Doctors Coleman and Telford of Troy, Ohio; yearning of the giant’s burial place, in October 1812, together with the soldiers of Fort Buchanan, repaired to the cave, exhumed the body and took it to Troy for student medical study. So passed Amokee, a Teller of Tales and Shawanoe Arrow Maker.

Indian Artifacts. (Photo from the Ed Wise collection taken by Ben Robinson.)