Pennsylvania Indian Tribes

Delaware Indians. In early times this tribe occupied the eastern parts of Pennsylvania along Delaware River; later they were, for a time, on the Susquehanna and the headwaters of the Ohio. (See New Jersey Indian Tribes.)

Erie Indians. The Erie extended over the extreme northwestern corner of the State.

Honniasont Indians. An Iroquois term meaning “Wearing something round the neck.” Also called: Black Minqua, the word “black” said to refer to “a black badge on their breast,” while “Minqua” indicated their relationship to the White Minqua, or Susquehanna (q. v.).

Connections. The Honniasont belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic family.

Location. On the upper Ohio and its branches in western Pennsylvania and the neighboring parts of Wet Virginia and Ohio. (See also Ohio Indian Tribes.)

History. The Honniasont appear first as a tribe which assisted the Susquehanna in war and traded with the Dutch, but a little later fey are reported to have been destroyed by the Susquehanna and Seneca. The remnant seems to have settled among the Seneca, and a Minqua town, probably occupied by their descendants, is mentioned from time to time among the latter and in the neighborhood of their former country.

Population. This is unknown, but as late as 1662 the Honniasont must have been fairly numerous if the testimony of five Susquehanna chiefs taken in that year is to be relied upon, which was to the effect that they were then expecting 800 Honniasont warriors to join them.

Iroquois Indians. In very early times these Indians entered Pennsylvania only as hunters and warriors, but at a later period they made numerous settlements in the State. (See New York Indian Tribes.)

Saluda Indians. A band of “Saluda” Indians from South Carolina moved to Conestoga in the eighteenth century. They may have been Shawnee.

Saponi Indians. The majority of the Saponi lived at Shamokin for a few years some time after 1740 but then continued on to join the Iroquois.

Shawnee Indians. Bands of Shawnee were temporarily located at Conestoga, Sewickley, and other points in Pennsylvania.

Susquehanna Indians. A shortened form of Susquehannock, meaning unknown.

Villages

Akhrakouaehronon, given in Jesuit Relations, from a town name. See Atra’kwae’ronnons’ below.
Andaste or Conestoga, from Kanastoge, “at the place of the immersed pole.”
Atra’kwae’ronnons, from the name of a town, and probably signifying “at the place of the sun,” or “at the south.”
Minqua, from an Algonquian word meaning “stealthy,” “treacherous.”
White Minqua, to distinguish them from the Black Minqua. (See Honniasont above.)

Connections. The Susquehanna belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic stock.

Location. On the Susquehanna River in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

Subdivisions

Originally Susquehanna may have been the name of a confederacy of tribes rather than a single tribe. Hewitt (in Hodge, 1910) suggests that the Wyoming (in the territory about the present Wyoming) may have been such a subtribe. The barely mentioned Wysox, on a small creek flowing into the Susquehanna at the present Wysox, was perhaps another. Mention is made of the Turtle, Fox, and Wolf “families,” evidently clans, and of the Ohongeeoquena, Unquehiett, Kaiquariegahaga, Usququhaga, and Seconondihago “nations,” also perhaps clans.

Villages

Smith (1884) mentions several, but Hewitt (in Hodge, 1910) is of the opinion that the names really belong to independent tribes. Champlain says that there were more than 20 villages, though the only one named is Carantouan, thought to have been on the site of the present Waverly, N. Y.

History. When encountered by the English, French, and Dutch early in the seventeenth century, the Susquehanna were a numerous people, but even then they were at war with the Iroquois by whom they were conquered in 1676 and forced to settle near the Oneida in New York. Later they were allowed to return to the Susquehanna River and reoccupy their ancient country, but they wasted away steadily and in 1763 the remnant, consisting of 20 persons, was massacred by Whites inflamed with accounts of Indian atrocities on the far frontier.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that the Susquehanna numbered 5,000 in 1600. In 1648 they are said to have had 550 warriors.

Connection in which they have become noted. The name Susquehanna is perpetuated in that of the Susquehanna River and in the names of a county and a town. Conestoga is the designation of two places in Lancaster County, Pa., and one in Chester County, and was given to a widely used type of wagon.

Tuscarora Indians. These Indians on their way to join the Iroquois bands of New York stopped from time to time in the Susquehanna Valley.

Tutelo Indians. Most of these Indians lived at Shamokin with the Saponi and accompanied them to the Iroquois Nation.

Wenrohronon Indians. This tribe occupied some parts of the State along the northwestern border. (See New York Indian Tribes.)

 

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6 thoughts on “Pennsylvania Indian Tribes”

  1. my grandfather name was CHARLES HENRY DELLINGER SR BORN 1906 IN YORK PA married to FRANCES ALVERTA WILT SHE WAS BORN 1912 IN YORK PA HIS MOTHER WAS SADIE LEASE DELLINGER MARRIED TO MILTON HENRY DELLINGER THEY WERE BOTH FROM YORK PA MILTON MOTHER AND FATHER GEORGE DELLINGER AN D MaRY PLYMIRE AND SADIE LEASE MOTHER AN D FATHER HENRITTA LEASE AND SOLOMON LEASE FROM YORK PA I M TRYING TO FIND OUT CHARLES DELLINGER GREAT GRANDMA WHO WAS NATIVE AMERICAN AND WHAT TRIBE AND WHERE SHE IS BURIED WHAT WAS HER NAME THANKS FOR HELP PAT DELLINGER STROUSE

  2. If , i remember the tribe of northeast pa..was the ouiskassetteIr , think it is one of theirclans. . If so could you let me know. My address is LeRoy Tallada 1355Meadowlark Ln se RioRAncho NM87124 or LET me know on laptop

  3. I have a question that I need help answering. I recently found a Bible from my grandmother’s line that listed the Native American tribe of the owner as being the “Poketo” tribe of Middletown, Pennsylvania. Has anyone heard of this tribe or sub-tribe? Thanks so much for any help given.

  4. Hello my name is Patrice and I am from Reading Pa… I am looking to see more about my family and my culture, I would Love to find out more about myself my Grandfather has told me that my Great Great great Grandfather was in fact Native American but I do not know why tribe he was from… My family would be located in Central PA or even the Welsh Mountains… If you could help find out any info I would Greatly appreciate it, also my Family is the Spencer Family.

    1. Nina ReynolDs Boswell

      Hello Patrice, my name is Nina Reynolds Boswell. My father’s name is Stephen Edward Boswell, born in Washington D.C., to Eleanor and Ray Boswell. I think we may be related. My family has said we may be part Native American, but the tribe is not known. I am curious to know if you’ve found any information about your Native American ancestry. Please, feel free to write to me. I am also very enthusiastic about my ancestors.

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