Delaware Indian Chiefs and Leaders


Allaquippa. A Delaware woman sachem of this name lived in 1755 near the mouth of Youghiogheny River, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and there may have been there a small Delaware settlement known by her name.


Buckongahelas (breaker in pieces) . A Delaware chief who lived during the Revolutionary period; born in the first half of the 18th century. He was the son of Wewandochwalend, apparently a chief of a Delaware band in Ohio. Buckongahelas became the head warrior of all the Delaware Indians then residing on Miami and White rs. Although he took part with the English against the colonists, he does not appear to have been cruel to non-combatants; and Drake 1 says he was not only a great, but a noble warrior, who took no delight in shedding blood. The conduct of the English at the battle of Presque Isle, Ohio, in 1794, so disgusted him that his sympathies were diverted to the United States. He was present at Ft McIntosh, where Beaver, Pennsylvania, now stands, when the treaty of 1785 was made, but his name is not among the signers. He was a signer, however, of the treaty of Greenville, Ohio, August 3, 1795; treaty of Ft. Wayne, Indana, June 7, 1803, and treaty of Vincennes, Ind., August 18, 1804. Soon after signing the last his death occurred, probably in the same year. His name appears in print in various forms.


Gelelemend (leader). A Delaware chief, born about 1722; known also as Killbuck, the name borne by his father, one of the best educated Indians of his time. He was chosen on the death of White Eyes, about 1778, to succeed him as acting chief of the nation during the minority of the hereditary sachem of the Turtle or Unami division, having in the council won a reputation for sagacity and discretion. Like his predecessor he strove to maintain friendship with the whites, and was encouraged in this by the Indian agents and military commandants at Pittsburg who promised the aid of the American Government in the uplifting and civilization of the Indians if lasting peace could be effected. The war party, led by Hopocan, prevailed, however, in the council. Gelelemend was therefore invited by the officer commanding the garrison to remove with others of the peace party to an island in Allegheny River, where they could be under the protection of the soldiery, but they were not protected from a party of murderous white men that fell upon them when returning from the massacre of nearly 100 Christian Delawares at Gnadenhuetten in 1782, when the young chief and all the others except a few were slain. Gelelemend made his escape by swimming, but the documents that William Penn had given to the Indians were destroyed. His services were of value in bringing about a general peace, but the Munsee held him responsible for the misfortunes that had befallen the Delawares, and to escape their vengeance he remained with his family at Pittsburg long after peace was proclaimed. He joined the Moravian Indians in the end and lived under the protection of the settlement, still sedulously avoiding his vindictive foes. He was baptized by the name of William Henry and lived till January, 1811.


Glikhikan. A Delaware warrior and orator was one of the chief captains of the Delawares, who, in an argument with the French priests in Canada had in the opinion of the Indians, refuted the Christian doctrine. Thinking to achieve a similar victory and win back paganism the Christian Delawares, he challenged the Moravian missionaries to a debate in 1769. To the dismay of his admirers he was himself converted to Christianity, and in the following year went to live with the United Brethren. In the Revolutionary war his diplomacy saved the Christian settlements from destruction at the hands of the Huron under Half-King in 1777, and when the latter, on Sept. 4, 1781, captured him and the German missionaries, their chief interfered to save Glikhikan from the wrath of his Munsee tribesmen who were with the Huron. Glikhikan was murdered and scalped at Gnaden-huetten on Mar. 8, 1782, by the white savages under Col. David Williamson.


Hopocan (‘tobacco’ pipe). A Delaware chief, known to the whites as Captain Pipe, and after 1763 among his people as Konieschguanokee (Maker of Daylight). An hereditary sachem of the Wolf division of the Delawares, he was war chief of the tribe. He was also prominent in council, having a reputation for wisdom and a remarkable gift of oratory. In the French war he fought against the English with courage and skill. He was present at the conference with Geo. Croghan at Ft Pitt in 1759, and in 1763 or 1764 tried to take the fort by stratagem, but failed, and was captured. After peace was concluded he settled with his clan on upper Muskingum River, Ohio, and in 1771 sent a “speech” to Gov. Penn. He attended the councils of the tribe at the Turtle village and at Ft Pitt until the Revolutionary war broke out, when he accepted British pay and fought the Americans and the friendly Indians, but told the British commander at Detroit that he would not act savagely toward the whites, having no interest in the quarrel, save to procure subsistence for his people, and expecting that when the English made peace with the colonists the Indians would be punished for any excesses that they committed. Col. William Crawford, however, in retaliation for the massacre of Moravian Indians by a party of white men, was put to torture when he fell into Captain Pipe s hands after the ignominious rout of his regiment of volunteers near the upper Sandusky in May, 1782. Pipe signed the treaty of Ft Pitt, Pennsylvania, September 17, 1778, the first treaty between the United States and the Indians; he was also a signer of the treaty of Ft McIntosh, Ohio, January 21, 1785, and treaty of Ft Harmar, Ohio, January 9, 1789. In 1780 he removed from his home on Walhonding Creek, at or near White Woman’s town, to old Upper Sandusky, or Cranestown, Ohio, thence to Captain Pipe’s village, about 10 miles southeast of Upper Sandusky, on land that was ceded to the United States in 1829. He died in 1794.

Consult Further:

  1. Drake, Hist. Ind., 534, 1880;
  2. Darlington, Jour, of Col. May, 94, 1873;
  3. Pennsylvania Archives, iv, 441, 1833.


Tammany (from Tamanend, ‘the affable.’  Heckewelder). The common form of the name of a noted ancient Delaware chief, written also Tamanee, Tamanen, Tamanend, Tamany, Tamened, Taming, Teinane. In the form of Tamanen his name appears as one of the signers of a deed to William Penn in 1683 for lands not far north from Philadelphia, within the present Bucks county, Pennsylvania

The missionary Heckewelder, writing, in 1817, describes him as the greatest and best chief known to Delaware tribal tradition. “The name of Tamanend is held in the highest veneration among the Indians of all the chiefs and great men which the Lenape nation ever had, he stands foremost on the list. But although many fabulous stories are circulated about him among the whites, but little of his real history is known. All we know, therefore, of Tamanend is that he was an ancient Delaware chief, who never had his equal. He was in the highest degree endowed with wisdom, virtue, prudence, charity, affability, meekness, hospitality, in short with every good and noble qualification that a human being may possess. He was supposed to have had an intercourse with the great and good Spirit, for he was a stranger to everything that was bad. The fame of this great man extended even among the whites, who fabricated numerous legends respecting him, which I never heard, however, from the mouth of an Indian, and therefore believe to be fabulous. In the Revolutionary war his enthusiastic admirers dubbed him a saint, and he was established under the name of St. Tammany, the Patron Saint of America. His name was inserted in some calendars, and his festival celebrated on the first day of May in every year.” Heckewelder goes on to describe the celebration, which was conducted on Indian lines, including the smoking of the calumet, and Indian dances in the open air, and says that similar “Tammany societies” were afterward organized in other cities. He states also that when Col. George Morgan, of Princeton, N. J., was sent by Congress about the year 1776 upon a special mission to the western tribes, the Delawares conferred upon him the name of Tamanend in remembrance of the ancient chief and as the greatest mark of respect that they could pay to Morgan. Haines, however 2, in his chapter on the Order of Red Men, quotes a contemporary document from which it appears that the Philadelphia society, which was probably the first bearing the name, and is claimed as the original of the Red Men secret order, was organized May 1, 1772, under the title of “Sons of King Tammany,” with strongly Loyalist tendency. It is probable that the “Saint Tammany” society was a later organization of Revolutionary sympathizers opposed to the kingly idea. Saint Tammany parish, La., preserves the memory.

Consult further:

  1. The Tammany Society

Black Beaver

Black Beaver. A Delaware guide, born at the present site of Belleville, Illinois, in 1806; died at Anadarko, Oklahoma, May 8, 1880. He was present as interpreter at the earliest conference with the Comanche, Kiowa, and Wichita tribes, held by Col. Richard Dodge on upper Red River in 1834, and from then until the close of his days his services were constantly required by the Government and were invaluable to military and scientific explorers of the plains and the Rocky Mountains. In nearly every one of the early transcontinental ex­peditions he was the most intelligent and most trusted guide and scout.


Lappawinze (‘getting provisions’). A Delaware chief-one of those who were induced to sign at Philadelphia the treaty of 1737, known as the “walking purchase,” confirming the treaty of 1686, which 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.

Consult further:

  1. Pennsylvania Archives, 1st ser., i, 541, 1852;
  2. Thompson, Inquiry into Alienation of Delaware and Shawnee Inds., 69, 1759.


Neswage. A Delaware chief who, commanding a band of 23 warriors, about 1841, was attacked by the Sioux at a point just north of the present Adel, Dallas County, Iowa, while on their way to visit the Sauk and Foxes, then holding a war dance within the limits of the site of Des Moines, The Delaware offered a brave defense, killing 26 of the Sioux before all but one of their own number fell. This survivor bore the news to the camp of the Sauk and Foxes, a short distance away, among whom were Keokuk and Pashapahs. With 600 warriors they followed the Sioux, inflicting on them severe punishment. Those who visited the scene of the attack on the Delaware found the body of Neswage lying by a tree, his tomahawk at his side and the bodies of four of his warriors immediately about him.


Netawatwees. A Delaware chief, born about 1677, died at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1776. Netawatwees was one of the signers of the treaty of Conestoga in 1718. As he belonged to the important Unami, or Turtle division of the tribe, he became chief of this division according to usage and in consequence thereof head chief of the tribe, To him were committed all the tokens of contracts, such a wampum belts, obligatory writings, with the sign manual of William Penn and others down to the time, that he and his people were forced to leave Pennsylvania and retire to Ohio, where they settled on Cayuga River. He failed to attend the treaty with Bouquet in 1763, and when this officer and Bradstreet with their troops approached his settlement he attempted to escape, but was captured and deposed from his chieftancy until the conclusion of peace, when he was reinstated by his tribe. He became a convert to Christianity in his later years and urged other leaders to follow his example. On his death he was succeeded by White Eyes.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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  1. Drake, Biog. and Hist. Inds., 63, 1837.[]
  2. Am. Inds., 658,1888[]

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