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belong to the great
Algonquin family. Their oldest known home was in the
lower part of Pennsylvania and the adjacent parts of New Jersey, their
villages being on the waters of the Delaware River and its tributary
streams. The Delaware, or Lenni
Lenape, claimed to be the "parent" from which the numerous
descended -- the name Lenape signifying original man. Their claim to
superiority was recognized by the other tribes, who accorded to them the
title of "Grandfather."
The chiefs of this tribe were the principal parties to the
first treaty made with William Penn. They were conquered, and for many years
lived under the domination of the Iroquois, who bestowed upon them the
degrading appellation of "Women." They espoused the cause of France during
the the Old French War, and at the opening of the American Revolution,
declared independence on their own account -- ridding themselves of the
hated domination of the Iroquois, and the still more hated name that nation
had fastened upon them.
Delaware Indian Family
The first treaty made
by the United States with an Indian tribe was with the Delaware on September 17,
1778, at Fort Pitt. It was a treaty of peace and mutual protection, the sixth
article indicating that the United States contemplated the possible formation of
an Indian State, with the Delaware at its head.
By the treaty of
August 18, 1804, made at Vincennes by William Henry Harrison, then Governor of
Indiana territory, the Delaware relinquished their land in Indiana -- "all their
right and title to the tract of country which lies between the Ohio and Wabash
Rivers, and below the tract ceded by the treaty of Fort Wayne, and the road
leading from Vicennes to the falls of Ohio." The United States agreed to
"consider the Delaware as the rightful owners of all the country which is
bounded by the White River on the north, the Ohio on the south, the general
boundary line running from the mouth of the Kentucky River on the east, and the
tract ceded by this treaty and that ceded by the treaty of Fort Wayne on the
west and southwest."
The Delaware were
assigned lands in the State of
Missouri, and removed to their reservation, on
the James Fork of the White River, where they remained until a new treaty was
established on September 24, 1829, that relinquished the
Missouri land. They
were then granted lands in present-day
Kansas, thus described: "The
country in the fork of the
Rivers, extending up the Kansas River to the
Kansas line, and up the Missouri
Camp Leavenworth, and
then by a line drawn westerly, leaving a space ten miles wide, north of the Kanza's boundary line."
These lands were
surveyed by Isaac
McCoy, an Indian missionary the following year,
who was appointed by the Delaware accompanying the surveying party. By
arrangement made with the Delaware, the site of
Leavenworth was reserved to
the United States,
McCoy's instructions making no provisions for
such reservation. The Delaware Reserve was one of the most valuable in the
territory, and the eastern portion, from the junction of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers
north to Fort Leavenworth was afterward well cultivated by the
The United States erected grist and saw mills for them, fenced and plowed 105
acres of land, erected a schoolhouse and other buildings, and furnished them
cattle. Their farms and cabins were scattered along the military road which led
to Fort Leavenworth and though many subsisted by farming, the majority continued
to live as hunters.
A Methodist Mission,
under the direction of the
Missouri Conference, was founded in 1831 and in the
first four years, it had a church of 50 members, and a school which taught 25
students. Reverend E.T. Perry and wife were the first missionaries.
Briggsvale School on the Delaware Baptist Mission,
Wyandotte County, 1851.
A Baptist Mission was
established in 1832, under the superintendence of Dr. Johnston Lykins, the
missionaries residing at the Shawanoe Station. A school was started in April,
1833, with G.D. Blanchard being employed as teacher. The mission labored under
many disadvantages, but held its ground, and, after ten years' effort, was
reported prosperous. Three missionaries were then employed.
Mr. John G. Pratt, who
came to the Shawnee Mission in 1837 to take charge of the printing office, was
afterward Superintendent of the Delaware Mission. He learned the language, into
which he translated several books, and printed them for the use of the tribe. He
remained for many years in charge of the mission, and was one of the last agents
appointed for the tribe.
On December 14, 1843,
the Delaware sold to the
tribe, 23,040 acres of land, situated at the junction of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers,
which contract was ratified by act of Congress on July 25, 1848.
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