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Indian Characters

The real historical Native Americans who appear in the Northkill Amish Series.

Lenape wigewa


Custaloga. Also known as Packanke. A chief of the Delaware (Lenape) tribe in the mid-18th century and a member of the Wolf division through his mother. He built a sizeable village with his band at the confluence of French Creek and North Deer Creek (present-day town of Carlton) in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Known as Custaloga’s Town, this became his principal seat. He also established a village known as Cussewago along French Creek at the present site of Meadville in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Custaloga’s name first appeared in western Pennsylvania’s history in George Washington‘s  1753 Journal. When the 21 year-old Washington arrived at Fort Machault at Venango (now Franklin, Pennsylvania), Custaloga was the keeper of his nation's wampum under Chief Shingas. In 1763 Custaloga moved his band into the Ohio Territory. Despite professions of loyalty to the British, he became one of the prime conspirators in Pontiac's Rebellion. After 1778 there is little mention of him in contemporary records, and he may have died as early as 1775.

Killbuck. TO COME

Shingas (c. 1740–1764). A member of the Lenape Turkey division, or phratry, and leader of his people in the Ohio Country, Shingas was a noted American Indian warrior on the western frontier during the French and Indian War. Like most of the Lenape, he stayed neutral early in the conflict but as the conflict spread eventually took part in the brutal backcountry war with the British colonies, leading raids deep into the Pennsylvania and Virginia settlements. An implacable foe in battle, he became known as Shingas the Terrible even though he never treated prisoners with cruelty. When a peace faction led by his brother Tamaque began to gain influence, Shingas joined their efforts but remained in the background, fearing retribution because of his actions in the war. Like Tamaque, he came under the influence of Moravian missionaries such as Christian Frederick Post.

When the British built Fort Pitt on the ruins of Fort Du Quesne in violation of their promises, a coalition of tribes rebelled in 1763 in what became known as the Pontiac-Guyasuta War. It's uncertain whether Shingas participated in the renewed conflict. He and Tamaque tried to convince the British to withdraw from the Forks, but their efforts came to nothing when an expedition led by Colonel Henry Bouquet broke through the siege to relieve the fort. Both Shingas and Tamaque, who advocated for accommodation with the British, lost influence with their people with the rise of the Lenape Prophet Neolin, and around 1764 Shingas disappeared from the historical record.


Tamaque. Also known as Beaver or King Beaver. A member of the Turkey division and a nephew of the great Lenape leader Sassoonan. When Sassoonan died in 1747, Tamaque and his two brothers, Pisquetomen and Shingas, assumed important leadership roles. While Shingas earned a reputation as a fearsome war captain, Tamaqua became equally influential as a diplomat among the Lenape and became known as an advocate for peace. Tthere is little evidence that he took part in the Indian raids that devastated Pennsylvania during the French and Indian War. His and Shingas's brother Pisquetomen was responsible for Christian Frederick Post on his peace mission to the Lenape for Governor Denney and brought him to Tamaque at Kuskuskies in the summer of 1758. He and Tamaque helped to negotiate the Treaty of Easton, which effectively ended the war for the Lenape and enabled British General John Forbes to capture Fort Du Quesne without interference from local Indians.


During Pontiac’s Uprising Tamaque worked to restore peace by urging the tribes to give up their prisoners, and in the following years his name appears many times in documents relating to treaties and conferences between the British and the Indians. He came under the influence of Moravians missionaries such as Christian Frederick Post and invited them to establish missions among the Lenape in eastern Ohio. He converted to Christianity shortly before his death in 1771.

Teedyuscung. A member of the Turtle division born at Trenton, NJ, about 1705, the son of a Lenape sachem called Captain John Harris.  He moved to the Forks of the Delaware about 1730 and eventually settled at Wyoming. He was never a sachem, but because of his unusual abilities and influence among the Indians in the Susquehanna Valley, the English considered him to be a king of the Lenape. Consequently he was involved in many negotiations, conferences, and treaties between the tribes and the English and worked to establish peace. He became attracted to the Moravian missionaries, and his wife was baptized and joined their community. He finally also converted and was baptized, but after a time he left the community.  Tragically, he died on April 16,1763, when his house was set on fire by some of his enemies while he lay drunk inside.

White Eyes. A member of the Turtle division. He served as a Lenape captain during the French and Indian War and the Revolution. He was a personal friend of George Washington and in 1778 received the rank of colonel in the American army. He died in Pittsburg.

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