Sunday, October 23, 2016



Smithsonian Institute published this bulletin on the Nanticoke Indians which inhabited Talbot County along the Choptank River in the neighborhood of “The Wilderness” of the Speer Estate where have been found many relics of the Tribes.

This bulletin of the Smithsonian is interesting because it gives authoritatively the history of the Tribes.

Nanticoke, from Nentego, of Delaware Unechtgo, Unalashtgo, “ Tidewater People”, and important Algonquian Tribe who live on the Nanticoke River of Maryland's Eastern Shore. Here is where Captain Smith located their principal village in 1608.

Nanticoke were connected linguistically and ethnically with the Delaware Conoy Tribe. Traditional history is brief and affords but little aid in tracing their movements in prehistoric times.

Tenth Verse of the 5th Song of “The Walam Olum”, translated by Squier; “ The Nentego's and the Shawants wnet to the South Lands”. Here the Shawnee and the Nanticokes are brought together in this verse, it does not necessarily indicate that each separated from the main tribe at the same time and place. This separation appears to have occurred, according to verse 1 “Walam Olum” , in Talega Land, which was most likely now Ohio. Tradition indicates, by Beatty, location South is sme point below the latitude of Pittsburg. Pemmsylvania , but not south of the Kanawha. Another account , given to Heckewelder by old Chief White who said that they being better and great hunters. trappers and fishers, separated from the Delaware League when reaching the eastern seat, wandering on in search of better hunting grounds.

In 1660 the Conoy Tribe Chief informed the Maryland governor of a 'league that had existed for 13 generations with an emperor of Nanticoke lineage embracing all tribes of the province, also the Potomac and as they pretended, even the Iroquoian Conestoga. The Tocwogh and Doag were possibly identical with the Nanticoke.

The Maryland Colony Settlement found the Nanticokes a thorn in their side and were officially declared enemies as early as 1682 until a treaty was composed in 1678. After 1689 reservations were established for them and all was mostly peaceful. 1707 found at least seven villages 1722 the main village was Nanduge with some one hundred residents including the empress. She ruled over all neighboring Indians of near five hundred.

Soon the Nanticokes began moving north, stopping at the Susquehanna and Juniata , then about 1748 the greater part of the tribe moved on up the Susquehanna finally settling under Iroquois protection at Chenango, Chugum, and Owego on the east branch of the Susquehanna in southern New York state where they were about 500 in strength in 1765.

A few Nanticoke remained in Maryland where they lived until 1840, a tribe of 30 or so. Others went west , Ohio and Indiana , and the race disappeared as a distinct tribe. A few, mixed bloods, live on the Indian River in Delaware.

The Nanticoke were distinguished from neighboring tribes by a darker color and peculiar customs, were devoted to fishing and trapping as a means of subsistence . Traditions have it the Nanticoke Tribe invented poisonous substances, practiced witch craft.

The Nanticoke confederacy appears to have included , beside the Naticocks proper, the Arscek, Cuscarwaoe, Nause, Ozinies, and Sampinagh.

There were the following villages; Askimimkansen, Byengehten, Chenago, Conedogwinit, Locust, Necktown, Matchcouchtin, Matcheattochousie, Nanduge, Natahquois, Peixtan, Pekoinoke, Pohecommeati, Teahquois, Witichquasom.


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