FIRST RESIDENTS OF CAPE HENLOPEN
They called themselves ' Lenape ' , meaning common men
in the Algonkian language which they spoke. Later a tribe was
named for the river they lived around, The Delaware Indians. There
were more than 40 communities on both shores of the Delaware Bay &
River, it's tributaries, from the capes to the northeaster Pennsylvania
and New York stream headwaters. Estimates hold the total population
to be 12000 to 15000. Each village had a chief and great men who were
independent of one another, held responsible for government, religion,
welfare of it's families.
The one thing they held in common was their friendlyness to visitors,
sharing wigwams, meals, and such. There is documentation that notes
the Cape Henlopen village shared the favors of their women with early
settlers, therefore the name Whorekill. Their life was primitive, tools
were of wood, shells, stone or bone, no metal. No cloth, only animal
skins for clothing and weather protection. The lodges were made of grass matting and bark, dirt floors, no window's , only one door. Smoke from
the cook and heating fire escaped through a hole in the roof. Women made
cooking and eating utensils of clay. Lenape's were farmers, fishermen,
hunters and had no ambitions to take other tribes territory or means.
The forest nearby furnished wild fruits, nuts and berries, roots and herbs
as medications, the river and it's branches furnished fish, clams and
oysters . Each villager had his own garden plot for corn, beans, squash,
The Lewes area Indian village inhabitants were known as Siconese and
or Sickoneysinks. The creek, Lewes Creek, was the Sickoneysinck's
Kill, pronounced “ chick-hawness-sing “ meaning “place near the
great tidal waters “ .
Abstract: Lewes Historical Society 1978 seminar by C.A. Weslager &
' Touching Leaves ' of Oklahoma, a Lenape descendent.