Sunday, August 29, 2010

Van Gelder Relationships

I created this diagram to show my Mohican ancestor John Van Gelder's relationships to the Mohicans and Wappingers around him.  The arrows represent relationships, either biological or social.  In each box I give nationality, any special position the individual may have held and the band or location of where s/he lived.  Afterward I discovered that Nimham was married to Van Gelder's sister.  I haven't been able yet to figure out how to edit the diagram to present the new information.  It's fascinating to ponder, though.

Mohican Reserved Land

Occasionally I see a reference to the Mohican reservation in Berkshire County.  It perplexed me until I began my research.  The reservation was not as we know reservations today, poor land where Native Americans were forced by the United States government to live in poor housing with little food.  This reservation was only land reserved by the Mohican Nation for themselves.  There was a Mohican settlement nearby at one time in the vicinity of Big Springs, but not during the 1700s. 

On 20 October 1740 the Mohican Nation leased the northern half of the reserved land to Andrew Karner, Van Gelder's brother-in-law.  The  Mohicans deeded the southern half of the land to Van Gelder on 19 June 1744 and he deeded part  to his other brother-in-law Lodowick Karner 15 June 1745.    They all lived in the northern half of the land.  It is possible that this was part of a survival strategy by the nation, to make sure they had land they could move to if need be.  This practice was followed by their relatives in northwestern Connecticut.

In this map that I created, the extended family lived on the land between the purple dashed lines.  There was a  Mohican burial ground at the mouth of Guilder Hollow and it was probably used by my family.  It was dug up in the 1950s to be used as roadfill, even though there was a headstone and bones visible in the dirt.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mohican Seminar 3

Mohican Seminar 3: The Journey—An Algonquian Peoples Seminar, New York State Museum Bulletin 511, Shirley W. Dunn, editor. The University of the State of New York, the State Education Department, Albany, N.Y., 2009. ISBN: 1-55557-240-5

Papers Included:

  1. Lake, Tom R., “The Ancestral Lure of the Hudson Estuary.”
  2. Rugenstein, Ernest R., “Evidence for Settlements Along the Kinderhook.”
  3. Ives, Timothy H., “Expressions of Community: Reconstructing Native Identity in Seventeenth Century Central Connecticut Through Land Deed Analysis.”
  4. Smith, J. Michael, “The Seventeenth Century Sachems of the Wapping Country: Corporate Identity and Interaction in the Hudson Valley.”
  5. Horecky, Scott P., “Fort Kitchawanc Archaeological Preserve at Croton Point.”
  6. Dunn, Shirley W., “Indian Ownership in and around the Catskills.”
  7. Lee, Jennifer, “Historic Indian Clothing.”
  8. Keegan, Barry, “Algonquian and Iroquois Uses of Plants and Other Materials to Make Fire.”
  9. MacDougall, Hugh C., “James Fenimore Cooper and the Mohicans.”
  10. Winchell, Debra, “The Impact of John Van Gelder: Mohican, Husbandman, and Historic Figure.”
  11. Niemi, Richard, “The Interconnected Lives of Stockbridge Indians Mary (Peters) Doxtator and Peter Pohquonnoppeet.
  12. Lake, Tom R., “The Divinity of Eagles.”

Signature of John Van Gelder

John Van Gelder's tomahawk, photo by James N. Parrish.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mohican Seminar 2

Mohican Seminar 2: The Challenge—An Algonquian Peoples Seminar, New York State Museum Bulletin 506, Shirley W. Dunn, editor, The University of the State of New York, the State Education Department, Albany, N.Y., 2005. ISBN 1-55557-224-3

Papers included:

  1. Binzen, Timothy. “The River Beyond the Mountains: Native American Settlements of the Upper Housatonic during the Woodland Period.”
  2. Joseph, Stanley. “A Dutchman at Indiantown: A Perspective on the Stockbridge Mission.”
  3. Folts, James D. “The Westward Migration of the Munsee Indians in the Eighteenth Century.”
  4. Dunn, Shirley W. “The Mohican Presence on the Susquehanna River in New York.”
  5. Dixon, Heriberto. “Oral Historical Insights into Rogers’ Raid on the St. Francis Abenaki Village in 1759.”
  6. Oberly, James W. “When Congress Acted: The Mohican Reservation and the Act of 1871.
  7. McAllester, David P. “Mohican Music, Past and Present.” [A condescending, poorly researched and biased opinion piece.]
  8. Broderick ,Warren F. “New York State’s Mohicans in Literature."
The church at Odanak, where Rogers' Rangers attacked.  The Abenaki had been warned in advance by a  Mohican in-law.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mohican Seminar 1

The Native American Institute of the Hudson Valley, the New York State Museum and the State Education Department sponsored a series of seminars beginning in 1997.  The proceedings have been published in a series of three bulletins.  Unfortunately the State Museum's web site and Amazon do not list the individual papers.  Here I will.

Mohican Seminar 1: The Continuance–Al Algonquian Peoples Seminar, Selected Research Papers–2000, Shirley W. Dunn, editor. New York State Museum Bulletin 501, University of the State of New York, the State Education Department, Albany, N.Y., 2004. ISBN: 1-55557-145-X

Papers included:

  1. Curtin, Edward V., “The Ancient Mohicans in Time, Space and Prehistory.”
  2. Lavin, Lucianne, “Mohican/Algonquian Settlement Patterns.”
  3. Jacobs, Jaap. “Dutch Sources on Native American History.”
  4. Smith, J. Michael. “The Highland King Nimhammaw and the Native Indian Proprietors of Land in Dutchess County, N.Y.: 1712-1765.”
  5. Binzen, Timothy L. “Weataug and Wechquadnach: Native American Settlements of the Upper Housatonic.”
  6. Dunn, Shirley W. “Adapting a Culture: The Mohican Experience at Shekomeko.”
  7. Walling, Richard S. “Nimham’s Indian Company of 1778: The Events Leading Up to the Stockbridge Massacre of August 31, 1778.
  8. Broderick, Warren F. “Analysis of ‘Ben Pie:” A Native American Tale.
  9. Foley, Denis, “The Mohicans: Alcohol and the Fur Trade.”
Down this road is the site of the Moravian mission village of Shekomkeo.  I wish it could have been preserved as it was instead of turned into expensive country homes.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mohican References

Below is an updated list of published references on the Mohican Nation and its people.

Mohican Bibliography

Bradley, James W. (June 28, 2007). Before Albany: An Archaeology of Native-Dutch Relations in the Capital Region 1600-1664, New York State Museum, Albany, N.Y.

Brasser, Ted, "Mahican," Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 15: Northeast, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Calloway, Colin G. (1995). The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities. Cambridge Studies in North American Indian History. Cambridge University Press, New York, N.Y.

Calloway, Colin (1990). The Western Abenakis of Vermont, 1600-1800: War, Migration and the Survival of an Indian People. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Okla.

Carlson, Richard G., editor. (1987). Rooted Like the Ash Trees: New England Indians and the Land. Eagle Wing Press, Inc., Naugatuck, Conn.

Day, Gordon (1981). “The Identity of the St. Francis Indians,” Canadian Ethnology Service Paper No. 71. Ottawa, Ont., Canada.

Shirley W. Dunn (October 30, 2009). The River Indians: Mohicans Making History. Purple Mountain Press, Fleischmans, NY.

Shirley W. Dunn, editor (September 30, 2005) Mohican Seminar 2: The Challege An Algonquian Peoples Seminar, New York State Museum, Albany, N.Y.

Dunn, Shirley, editor (2004). Mohican Seminar 1, The Continuance-An Algonquian Peoples Seminar, Selected Research Papers - 2000. New York State Museum Bulletin 501 2004. University of the State of New York, The State Education Department, Albany, N.Y.

Dunn, Shirley (2002). The Mohican World. Purple Mountain Press, Fleischmans, NY.

Dunn, Shirley (1994). The Mohicans and Their Land. Purple Mountain Press, Fleischmans, NY.

Frazier, Patrick (1992). The Mohicans of Stockbridge. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Haefeli, Evan and Kevin Sweeney (1997). “Revisiting The Redeemed Captive: New Perspectives on the 1704 Attack on Deerfield,” in Colin Calloway, After King Philip’s War: Presence and Persistence in Indian New England. University Press of New England, Hanover, N.H.

Haviland, William A. and Marjory W. Power (1994). The Original Vermonters: Native Inhabitants, Past and Present. University Press of New England, Hanover, N.H.

Miles, Lion G. (2009). A Life of John Konkapot. New Marlborough, MA, Historical Society.

Miles, Lion G. (2008). "The Stockbridge Indians in New York, 1784-1829," Proceedings of the Northeastern Native Peoples & the American Revolutionary Era: 1760-1810 Symposium,  Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, , Mashantucket, CT, pp. 32-48.

Miles, Lion G. (March 1994). "The Red Man Dispossessed: The Williams Family and the Alienation of Indian Land in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, 1736-1818." The New England Quarterly, Vol. LXVII, No. 1, pp. 46-76. Also anthologized in Alden T. Vaughan, ed. (1999), New England Encounters, Northeastern University Press, Boston, Mass., pp. 276-302.

James W. Oberly (February 1, 2008). A Nation Of Statemen: The Political Culture of the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohicans, 1815-1972 (Civilization of the American Indian). University of Oklahoma Press.

Smith, J. Michael (Spring 2010). "Wappinger Kinship Associations: Daniel Nimham's Family Tree," The Hudson River Valley Review, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 69-98.

Rachel Wheeler (June 2008). To Live Upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-century Northeast. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, N.Y.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mohican Nation

Some of my ancestors were Mohican, an Algonkin nation that was once located in the upper Hudson River Valley and western Massachusetts.  I grew up in the original homeland of the Mohican Nation and feel a strong attachment to the land here.  Because the council fire of the Nation moved away, first to western New York, and then on through Indiana to Wisconsin, some people fail to recognize the Mohicans' connection to the area.  The Mohicans are also confused with the Mohawks, who were from a different language and cultural group.  They can also be referred to as Mahicans.  "Mahican" comes from the Dutch term "Mahikander."  I use the term the nation uses.  Mohican has also been confused with Mohegan, even by the Library of Congress.  The Mohegan Nation is centered in southern Connecticut and the two have been separate nations since at least the 1600s. 

I have collected some interesting links for the history and culture of the Mohican Nation and its people.

Mohican Links


Homepage of the Mohican Nation, Stockbridge-Munsee Band in Wisconsin
A Mahican history from
Mohican history from the Mohican Press
The Gnadenhutten Massacre
Native American Facts For Kids: Mohican Nation
Algonkin Church History
Contemporary history of the Mohicans in Wisconsin
Leeds Flat Victory
Native American Languages of the Americas: Mohican
Moravian Origins of J.F. Cooper's Mohicans
Stockbridge Students at Carlisle Indian School
National Portrait Gallery Portrait of Etow Oh Koam
Portrait of Austin Quinney

Mohican men fought with the British in the French & Indian War.

Rogers Island
Fort William Henry

The Mohicans were one of the few Native nations that fought on the Patriot side of the American Revolution.  The shrunken nation was dealt a terrible blow when they lost 17 warriors in an ambush on August 31, 1778.

Nimham's Indian Company Of 1778: the Events Leading Up To The Stockbridge Massacre
Death in the Bronx
Indian Field Today

Experience Mohican History and Culture

Mohican Nation Cultural Tour in Wisconsin
Mohican Nation Pow Wow
Muhheconneew Press
Mohican Trail Historial Driving Tour in New York (a partial tour only of the northern portion of the Mohican homeland)
The Stockbridge Mission House
Gnadenhutten Historical Park and Museum

Contemporary Mohican Artists

Bill Miller:  winner of 9 Native American Music Awards and 3 Grammy Awards
Brent Michael Davids, composer.  He has garnered awards from Ascap, Nea, Rockefeller Foundation, In-Vision,  Meet-The-Composer, Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, and Jerome Foundation, among others.
Sheila Tousey, Actor and Producer