Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

17th Century Record Identifies One of the Native Americans Who Signed Pell's 1654 Deed as a Wiechquaeskeck, NOT a Siwanoy


Those who follow the Historic Pelham Blog (hi, Mom!) know that I long have been skeptical of the oft-repeated story that the Native Americans who sold their lands to Thomas Pell on June 27, 1654 were a group of Native Americans who should properly be known as "Siwanoys."  For example, see:  

Wed., Jan. 29, 2014:  There Were No Native Americans Known as Siwanoys.  

The evidence contained in 17th century records (rather than second-hand historical accounts and secondary sources) strongly suggests to me that the Native Americans who sold their lands to Pell were Wiechquaeskecks -- not Siwanoys.  

One Native American whose name appears on the copy of the Pell Deed believed to be in Thomas Pell's handwriting is "Shawanórõckquot" whose signature by his mark appears as the very first of the signatures of the "Saggamores" (i.e., sachems) on the deed.  (I have included an image of the deed and a transcription of its text at the end of this posting.)

I have located a 17th century record that identifies Shawanórõckquot as one of the "Wijckerscreeke" (i.e., Wiechquaeskeck) proprietors.  I have transcribed the record below in its entirety, followed by a citation to its source.  Thereafter I have included a brief commentary on the significance of this record.


"At a Councell &c:  Fort James.
ffebry. 24th. 1670.

Present
The Governor.
Mr Mayor.
Mr. Steenwijck
The Secretary.

The first Busynesse under Consideracon was the Indyans about Wijckerscreeke. . .

The Indyans desire that ye Governor. would bee well satisfyed, who are the reall Proprietotr. of Wijckerscreeke before hee buyes the Land; They say they are the Men, & will bee ready to sell the Land to the Governor.

[45] The Names of ye Proprietor. as they say, are -- present. -- Ramaque -- Janorockets Bro: by ye Mothrs. side.

Pewachtan          Cakensickten
Nondiackwhare  Pemeckenwerecak
Careckonde         Nemandamyn
Coharnes             Perawescamen
Kewechtahem    Shapham
Pethung              Quinonckak
Macmawito        Ermachorne
Amanequun        Peppham
10. Sackapreme. Mawohondt
___________      Tomeackak
                              Tawotene
                              Nanaquene
                      13.  Chusquchaw  [Footnote] 1

[Footnote 1 States as Follows:]  1  The great variation of Indian names in the records, due to phonetic representation, is often appalling.  For example, we find above in the minutes 'Janorocket;' in Deeds, vol. 3, p. 37. 'Jano Rockett;' an Indian deed to Edward Jessup and John Richardson, March 12, 1664/5, in Deeds, vol. 2, pp. 58-59, calls him 'Shawnerockett,' whilst Bolton, History of the County of Westchester (1881 edition), vol. 2, p. 361, names him Shanarocke or Shanrockwell, sagamore of Poningoe.  These are by no means the only forms given for this Indian.

N:  Bene.  Taponque an Indyan pret. saith hee hath Land between Neperan & Wickerscreeke.

They are to consult about ye price they demand altogether; It's in the Paper No. I.

The second to bee granted if consented unto by the major part of the Inhabitants, It being within the Limitts of the Towne.  {  An Ordr. . . . ."

Source:  Paltsits, Victor Hugo, ed., Minutes of the Executive Council of the Province of New York Administration of Francis Lovelace 1668-1673 Volume I Minutes - Collateral and Illustrative Documents I-XIX, pp. 70-72 (Albany, NY:  State of New York, 1910) (reported to the Legislature April 5th, 1909, May 2d, 1910).  

*          *          *          *          *

The above-quoted document reflects minutes of a meeting of the Executive Council of the Province of New York held with the proprietors of Wiechquaeskeck territory on February 24, 1670/1.  Among those present was a Native American named in the minutes as "Ramaque" who is a brother of "Janorockets" on the mother's side.  There is an editor's notation that there are many different spellings of this Native American's name including Janorocket, Jano Rockett, Shawnerockett, Shanarocke, and Shanrockwell.  I, in turn, have found countless other additional spellings of Shawanórõckquot's name in 17th century records.

Important here, however, is the fact that Shawanórõckquot is referenced in the minutes of this February 24, 1670/71 Executive Council meeting as related to the Wiechquaeskeck proprietors -- not "Siwanoy" proprietors.  I submit this as a further piece of evidence that the Native Americans who sold their lands to Thomas Pell on June 27, 1654 most likely were Wiechquaeskecks, not "Siwanoys."




Copy of Thomas Pell's June 27, 1654 Deed
Believed to Be in Thomas Pell's Handwriting.


TEXT OF THOMAS PELL’S DEED
“Know all men by this present yt we Shawanarockqúot: poquorum: Anhõõke: Wawhãmkus: Mehumõw: Beinge ye true owners & yeonly Lawffull Heyres & proprietors off a piece of land Bounded by ye Sea to ye South  wth yt  Tract off land Called by ye English Longe Island; to ye west & west & by South wth ye bay & River & River Diawockinge Acqueonunge (Chemaqūanaock to ye East) wth all ye Islands yt are in ye salt water to ye South South East & South West Against yt Tract off Land wch is Beffore expresd; wh all trees medowes & all Land wh in ye tract off Land wch is Beffore Expressed: doo sell & deliver to Thos Pell now inhabitinge in Fayrffield his heyres & assignse to hould injoy improove plant as hee shall see cause to his Best to be improved ffor & to him & his heyres fforever wh out any molestation on our pt And doo herby ingage our Selves to make good our selves against all Claymes intayled either by Dutch or Indyans wt ever & doo deliver it into ye posession off ye sayd Thos Pell & his Assignes: markinge ye  bounds to ye mayne Land wch is & shalbe ye present bounds to ye mayne Land: only Liberty is ffreely graunt ffor ffeedinge offe cattle & Cuttinge off timber beyound those Bounds; & wee doo Acknowledge to have Reseved in full for it ye trou valew & just Satisfaction Accordinge to our Estimate to wch we sett  our hands beffore these wittnesses off English & Indyans this twenty seaventh off June 1654.
English Wittnesses                                Saggamores (Markes)
     Richard Crabb Magistrate                  +Shawanórõckquot
     Thomas Lawrence                             +Poquõrúm
     John Ffinch                                       +Anhõõke
                                                            +Wawhamkus
                                                            +Mehúmõw
Articles of Agreement
We also as lovinge neighbours & ffriends doo mutually ingage our Selves to send too men off Each yr one Day in ye Springe every yeare to marke y  Bounds of ye Land yt a Right Knowledge may be kept wh out injury to Either side yt Mutuall peace & love may be mayntayned 2nd Wee  allso doo promise Each to other if any plotts on either Side yt may be to hurt off Either yt we Seasonably Discover ym as Lovinge Neighbours  & friends yt peace & love may be mutually preserved
Indyan Wittnesses
+Marke Cockho
+Mark Kamaque
+Marke Cockinsecawa
This wrightinge was signed & wittnessed Beffore A great multitude off Indyans & many English we who are under written do testify
mark
Henry + Accorly                   This is A True Coppy off ye
William Newman                  originall written Thos Pell”

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