In the 17th century, they were primarily based in what is now Dutchess County, New York, and their territory included the east bank of the Hudson along both Putnam and Westchester counties all the way to Manhattan Island to the south, the Mahican territory bounded by the Roeliff-Jansen Kill to the north, and extended east into parts of Connecticut.
Wappinger territory (in centre, "Wappinges"), from a 1685 reprint of a 1656 map
|(Extinct as a tribe)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States ( New York)|
|Eastern Algonquian languages, probably Munsee|
|traditional tribal religion|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Algonquian peoples|
They were most closely related to the Lenape, both being members of the Eastern Algonquian-speaking subgroup of the Algonquian peoples. The Lenape and Wappinger spoke using very similar Delawarean language. They are close enough that a Wappinger speaking in the Munsee Delaware tongue and a Lenape would mostly understand each other.
Their nearest allies were the Mahicans to the north, the Montauketts to the south, and the remaining New England tribes to the east. Like the Lenape, the Wappinger were not organized into cohesive tribes for most of their history; instead, they formed approximately 18 loosely associated bands.
The total population of the Wappinger Confederacy has been estimated at about 13,200 individuals at the beginning of European contact. Their settlements included camps along the major rivers with larger villages located at the river mouths. Despite references to villages and other site types by early European explorers and settlers, few Contact period sites have been identified in southeastern New York (Funk 1976).
Robert Juet, an officer on the "Half Moon", provides an account in his journal of some of the lower Hudson Valley Native Americans. In his entries for September 4 and 5, 1609, he states:
"This day the people of the country came aboord of us, seeming very glad of our comming, and brought greene tobacco, and gave us of it for knives and beads. They goe in deere skins loose, well dressed. They have yellow copper. They desire cloathes, and are very civill. They have great store of maize or Indian wheate whereof they make good bread. The country is full of great and tall oakes. This day [September 5, 1609] many of the people came aboord, some in mantles of feathers, and some in skinnes of divers sorts of good furres. Some women also came to us with hempe. They had red copper tabacco pipes and other things of copper they did wear about their neckes. At night they went on land againe, so wee rode very quite, but durst not trust them" (Juet 1959:28).
David Pieterz De Vries recorded another description of the Wappinger who resided around Fort Amsterdam:
"The Indians about here are tolerably stout, have black hair with a long, lock which they let hang on one side of the head. Their hair is shorn on the top of the head like a cock's comb. Their clothing is a coat of beaver skins over the body, with the fur inside in winter and outside in summer; they have, also, sometimes a bear's hide, or a coat of the skins of wild cats, or hefspanen [probably raccoon], which is an animal most as hairy as a wild cat, and is also very good to eat. They also wear coats of turkey feathers, which they know how to put together. Their pride is to paint their faces strangely with red or black lead, so that they look like fiends. Some of the women are very well featured, having long countenances. Their hair hangs loose from their head; they are very foul and dirty; they sometimes paint their faces, and draw a black ring around their eyes."
As the Dutch began to settle in the area, they pressured the Connecticut Wappinger to sell their lands and seek refuge with other Algonquian-speaking tribes. The western bands, however, stood their ground amidst rising tensions.
During Kieft's War in 1643, the remaining Wappinger bands united against the Dutch, attacking settlements throughout New Netherland. Allied with their trading partners, the powerful Mohawk, the Dutch defeated the Wappinger by 1645. The Mohawk and Dutch killed more than 1500 Wappinger in the two years of the war. This was a devastating toll for the Wappinger, whose population in 1600 was estimated at 3,000.
The Wappinger faced the Dutch again in the 1655 Peach Tree War, a three-day engagement which left an estimated 100 settlers and 60 Wappinger dead, and strained relations further between the two groups. After the war, the confederation broke apart, and many of the surviving Wappinger left their native lands for the protection of neighboring tribes.
In 1765, the remaining Wappinger in Dutchess County sued the Philipse family for control of the land but lost. In the aftermath the Philipses raised rents on European-American tenant farmers, sparking riots across the region.
Nimham and some forty braves fell in the Battle of Kingsbridge fighting against the British on August 30, 1778. It proved an irrecoverable blow to the tribe.
From that time the Wappingers ceased to have a name in history. A few scattered remnants still remained, and as late as 1811, a small band had their dwelling place on a low tract of land by the side of a brook, under a high hill, in the northern part of the town of Kent."
Many Wappinger served in the Stockbridge Militia during the American Revolution. Following the war, most of the surviving Wappinger moved west to join the Algonquian Stockbridge-Munsee tribe in Ohio. Later they were removed to Wisconsin. Today, members of the federally recognized Stockbridge-Munsee Nation reside mostly in Wisconsin.
Following their service on behalf of the American cause in the Revolution, loss of their leader Daniel Nimham, and subsequent irrecoverable loss of their land, the tribe became scattered. A very few were still found in Kent as late as 1811.
The Wappinger are also known as the Wappink, Wappings, Wappingers, Wappingoes, Wawpings, Pomptons, Wapings, Opings, Opines, Massaco, Menunkatuck, Naugatuck, Nochpeem, Wangunk Wappans, Wappings, Wappinghs, Wapanoos, Wappanoos, Wappinoo, Wappenos, Wappinoes, Wappinex, Wappinx, Wapingeis, Wabinga, Wabingies, Wapingoes, Wapings, Wappinges, Wapinger and Wappenger.
The origins of the name Wappinger is debated. While the present-day spelling appeared as early as 1643, countless alternate phonetic spellings were also used by early European settlers well into the late 19th century. Anthropologist Ives Goddard suggests the Munsee language-word wápinkw, meaning "opossum", might be related. No evidence supports the folk etymology of the name coming from a word meaning "easterner," as suggested by Edward Manning Ruttenber in 1906. and John Reed Swanton in 1952.
The suggested bands, or sachemships of the Wappinger has been described as including:
The following content comes from: Freemasonry in the American Revolution, Sidney Morse, 1924, and contains numerous contentions, including the introduction of Brazilian Amazonian Indians into the Hudson Valley:
The 1685 Dutch map of New Netherland places the Wappani tribe as one of many family tribes of the Tawakoni (Taconic) that lived in the Fishkill highlands.
The Towakoni tribe of which the Wappani belonged was a larger family of the Lenape. The Woarani family held the highlands of Pawling NY, and Nochpeem held the highlands of Kent NY, just below the Wappani highlands of Fishkill (See: Map of Nava Belgii Nieuw)
In 1805, 200 years after the stated 3000 person population General Clinton and Sullivan of the British forces destroyed 40 Indian Towns, their crops, fruit trees, and burned over 100,000 bushels of corn from Elmira to Genesse valley New York. This places the Indian Population well above 3000 considering the work force to maintain 40 stationary farming towns, and the various fields that supplied the vegetables. The Wappani as one small band of the Towakani of Southern NY, NJ and PA. may have had 3000 members living upon one mountain top region of Fishkill, however The Towakani tribe had Family tribes upon every mountain throughout the region which is completely over looked. Further the Towakani adopted their Woarani neighbors who were relocated by the Dutch Privateer sailors into Pawling to run the iron furnaces. The Woarani (pronounced Gwuarani ) originated in the Brazil/Paraguay region of South America. The Towakoni tribe of the Lenape was known for teaching healers or medicine through spirituality.
Putnam County New York is known as the Stone chamber capital of the world and boasts over 300 known and intact stone chambers, massive effigies and man made lakes of the once vibrant Towakani tribes.
The Wappinger are the namesake of several areas in New York, including:
The 1987 Junior League World Series took place from August 17–22 in Taylor, Michigan, United States. Rowland Heights, California defeated Wappinger, New York twice in the championship game.Chapel of Sacred Mirrors
The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM) is a transdenominational church and 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the realization of a shared 1985 vision of the American artists Alex and Allyson Grey to build a contemporary public Chapel as 'a sanctuary for spiritual renewal through contemplation of transformative art' Conceived to house Alex Grey's Sacred Mirrors (a series of twenty-one art-works that examine the body, spirit, and mind in rich detail) along with other important works of visionary and contemporary spiritual art, CoSM's stated mission is "Building an enduring sanctuary of visionary art to inspire every pilgrim's creative path and embody the values of love and evolutionary wisdom".Chelsea, Dutchess County, New York
Chelsea is a hamlet of the Town of Wappinger in Dutchess County, New York, United States. It is located on the Hudson River in the southwestern corner of the town. It takes the ZIP Code 12512 and is in the 845 telephone area code, and has its own fire district.
It is a small community, primarily residential. A marina is located on the river. Just north of the hamlet is a large pumping station used by the New York City water supply system during droughts to take water directly from the river, since the hamlet is located around the point where the river water becomes fresh enough to drink even in the dryest of times.Daniel Nimham
Daniel Nimham (1726–1778) was the last sachem of the Wappinger. He was the most prominent Native American of his time in the lower Hudson Valley.Esopus Wars
The Esopus Wars were two localized conflicts between the indigenous Esopus tribe of Lenape Indians and colonialist New Netherlanders during the latter half of the 17th century in what is now Ulster County, New York. Like many other wars during the colonial period, they were rooted in competition between European and Indian cultures, aggravated by mutual misunderstanding and suspicion. The first battle was started by Dutch settlers; the second war was a continuation of grudge on the part of the Esopus tribe.The most lasting result of the wars was the display of power by the Esopus. These two wars coincided with the broadening of English interests in the Dutch territories of the New World. The Dutch difficulty in defeating the Esopus alerted the English to the power of these people.Hudson Valley Regional Airport
Hudson Valley Regional Airport (IATA: POU, ICAO: KPOU, FAA LID: POU), formerly known as the Dutchess County Airport, is a county-owned public-use airport located on State Route 376 in the Town of Wappinger, Dutchess County, New York, United States, four miles (6 km) south of the central business district of Poughkeepsie. It is sometimes called Poughkeepsie Airport, which gives it the code POU. The airport provides corporate and general aviation transportation services.Katonah (Native American leader)
Chief Katonah was a Lenape sachem who led both the Wiechquaeskeck band of Wappinger in the Greenwich, Stamford, and Bedford area, from whom the land of the town of Bedford, New York was purchased, and the Ramapo. The Ramapo Sachemdom was part of the Tankiteke Chieftaincy of the Wappinger League, of the Mohegan tribe of the Algonquians.Kieft's War
Kieft's War, also known as the Wappinger War, was a conflict (1643–1645) between settlers of the nascent colony of New Netherland and the native Lenape population in what would later become the New York metropolitan area of the United States. It is named for Director-General of New Netherland Willem Kieft, who had ordered an attack without approval of his advisory council and against the wishes of the colonists. Dutch soldiers attacked Lenape camps and massacred the native inhabitants, which encouraged unification among the regional Algonquian tribes against the Dutch, and precipitated waves of attacks on both sides. This was one of the earliest conflicts between Native Americans and European settlers. Displeased with Kieft, the Dutch West India Company recalled him and he died in a shipwreck while returning to the Netherlands. Peter Stuyvesant succeeded him in New Netherland. Because of the continuing threat by the Algonquians, numerous Dutch settlers returned to the Netherlands, and growth of the colony slowed.Mahican
The Mahican ( or Mohican ) are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe that was Algonquian-speaking. As part of the Algonquian family of tribes, they were related to the abutting Lenape, who occupied territory to the south as far as the Atlantic coast. The Mahican occupied the upper Hudson River Valley (around the confluence of the Mohawk River, where present-day Albany, New York developed) and into western New England centered on present-day Pittsfield, Massachusetts and lower Vermont. After 1680, due to conflicts with the Mohawk during the Beaver Wars, many were driven southeastward across the present-day Massachusetts western border and the Berkshires to Berkshire County around Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Since the forcible relocation of Native American populations to reservations in the American west during the 1830s, most descendants of the Mahican are located in Shawano County, Wisconsin. Decades later they eventually formed the federally recognized Stockbridge-Munsee Community with registered members of the Leni Lenape people and have a 22,000-acre (89 km2) reservation.
Following the disruption of the American Revolutionary War, most of the Mahican descendants first migrated westward to join the Iroquois Oneida on their reservation in central New York. The Oneida gave them about 22,000 acres for their use. After more than two decades, in the 1820s and 1830s, the Oneida and the Stockbridge moved again, pressured to relocate to northeastern Wisconsin under the federal Indian Removal program.The tribe identified by the place where they lived: "Muh-he-ka-neew" (or "People of the continually flowing waters.") The word Muh-he-kan refers to a great sea or body of water, and the Hudson River reminded them of their place of origin, so they named the Hudson River "Seepow Mahecaniittuck," or the river where there are people from the continually flowing waters. Therefore, they, along with other tribes living along the Hudson River (such as the Munsee, known by the dialect of Lenape that they spoke, and Wappinger), were called "the River Indians" by the Dutch and English. The Dutch heard and wrote the term for the people of the area variously as: Mahigan, Mahikander, Mahinganak, Maikan and Mawhickon, which the English simplified later to Mahican or Mohican, in a transliteration to their spelling system. The French, adopting names used by their Indian allies in Canada, knew the Mahican as the Loups (or wolves); similarly, they referred to the Iroquois as the "Snake People" (or "Five Nations"). Like the Munsee and Wappinger peoples, the Mahican were related distantly to the Lenape people, who occupied coastal areas from western Connecticut and western Long Island to the Delaware River valley to the south.
In the late twentieth century, the Mahican joined other former New York tribes and the Oneida in filing land claims against New York state for what were considered unconstitutional purchases after the Revolutionary War. In 2010, outgoing governor David Paterson announced a land exchange with the Stockbridge-Munsee that would enable them to build a large casino on 330 acres (130 ha) in Sullivan County in the Catskills, in exchange for dropping their larger claim in Madison County. The deal had many opponents.Myers Corner, New York
Myers Corner is a hamlet and census-designated place (CDP) in Dutchess County, New York, United States. The population was 6,790 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.
Myers Corner is in the town of Wappinger on County Route 93 and County Route 94. Myers Corners School is also located here.New Hamburg, New York
New Hamburg is a small hamlet along the Hudson River in Dutchess County, New York, best known as home of a popular marina and a busy Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line station. It is located in the southern corner of the Town Of Poughkeepsie.Peach Tree War
The Peach Tree War, also known as the Peach War, was a large-scale attack by the Susquehannock Nation and allied Native Americans on several New Netherland settlements along the Hudson River (then called the North River), centered on New Amsterdam and Pavonia on September 15, 1655.
The attack was motivated by the Dutch conquest of New Sweden, a close trading partner and protectorate of the Susquehannock. The attack was a decisive victory for the Native Americans, and many outlying Dutch settlements were forced to temporarily garrison in Fort Amsterdam. Some of these settlements, such as the Staten Island colony, were completely abandoned; while others were soon repopulated (and equipped with better defenses), as Director-General Stuyvesant shortly repurchased the rights to settle the west bank of the North River from the Native Americans.Roeliff Jansen Kill
The Roeliff Jansen Kill is a major tributary to the Hudson River. Roeliff Jansen Kill was the traditional boundary between the Native American Mahican and Wappinger tribes.Its source is in the town of Austerlitz, New York, and its mouth is at the Hudson River at Linlithgo in the town of Livingston. The stream flows for 56.2 miles (90.4 km) through Dutchess and Columbia counties before entering the Hudson River about 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Hudson.Most of the watershed lies in Columbia County, although parts of the northern Dutchess County towns of North East, Stanford, Pine Plains, Milan, and Red Hook are within the stream's watershed of approximately 212 square miles (550 km2). A major tributary is Shekomeko Creek.Siwanoy
The Native American Siwanoy or Sinawoy were a tribe of the Wappinger Confederacy, in what is now the New York City area. They spoke Delaware language of the Algonquian language family. By the mid-17th century, when their territory became hotly contested between Dutch and English colonial interests, the Siwanoy were settled along the East River and Long Island Sound between Hell Gate and Norwalk, Connecticut, a territory that included eastern parts of what became the Bronx and Westchester County in New York and southwestern Fairfield County in Connecticut.Thompson Pond
Thompson Pond in Pine Plains, New York is a 75-acre (30 ha) 15,000-year-old glacial kettle pond at the foot of 1,403-foot (428 m) Stissing Mountain. It is the source of Wappinger Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River that drains much of Dutchess County.
The pond and mountain are part of a 507-acre (205 ha) nature preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy. The pond was designated a National Natural Landmark in May 1973 for its calcareous bog, unlike the more common acidic bogs in the Northeast.Wappinger, New York
Wappinger is a town in Dutchess County, New York, United States. It is in the Hudson Valley region, 70 miles (110 km) north of New York City, on the eastern bank of the Hudson River. The population was 27,048 at the 2010 census. The name is derived from the Wappinger Indians who inhabited the area.Wappinger Creek
Wappinger Creek is a 41.7-mile-long (67.1 km) creek which runs from Thompson Pond to the Hudson River at New Hamburg in Dutchess County, New York, United States. It is the longest creek in Dutchess County, with the largest watershed in the county.Wappingers Falls, New York
Wappingers Falls is a village in Dutchess County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 5,522. The community was named for the cascade in Wappinger Creek. A portion of the village is in the town of Wappinger, and the other part is in the town of Poughkeepsie, with Wappinger Creek forming the dividing line between the towns.
Wappingers Falls holds claim to New York State's sixth oldest library, the Grinnell Library.Wheeler Hill Historic District
Wheeler Hill Historic District is a federally recognized historic district located at Wappinger in Dutchess County, New York. Along the eastern shore of the Hudson River, atop of the Van Wyck Ridge is the "estates region of the Town of Wappinger". A scenic location, with roads lined with stone walls, properties greeting guests with magnificent stone pillars and iron gates, it includes 49 contributing buildings, 15 contributing sites, and four contributing structures. It encompasses the estates of Obercreek, Elmhurst, Edge Hill, Henry Suydam, William Crosby, and Carnwath that were developed between 1740 and 1940. Also included are two 18th century riverfront commercial structures, the Lent / Waldron Store and Stone House at Farmer's Landing. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Today the historic district is mostly made up of residential houses, but Carnwath, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, and Obercreek are opened to the public.