In what's called the Clovis Culture period — around 10,500 BCE (before the common era) — Paleo-Indians lived in our area. Eugene Boesch details their history in Native Americans in Putnam County. Archeologists have discovered evidence that early Clovis people hunted mastodon in 9000 BCE in Hyde Park, New York, just north of Poughkeepsie, The closest surviving Paleo-Indian site near Putnam County is located at the Piping Rock site on the shoreline in Ossining.
The first known contact between New York Lenape and Europeans occurred on April 17, 1524, when explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano and his men arrived at what's now known as Staten Island. Unknowingly, Verrazzano and his crew brought diseases with them that the Lenape had never encountered -- and many Lenape died. The Lenape experienced at least 14 epidemics between 1633 and 1702, notes anthropologist and writer Robert Grumet. "Thus the Lenape people, who may have numbered 24,000 before the Europeans arrived, dwindled to probably fewer than 3,000 by the year 1700," Grumet writes
LENAPE IN THE GARRISON AREA
Edward M. Ruttenber explains that the Nochpeem people, one of the chieftancies of the Wappinger people, lived in our area. Writer Evan Pritchard says that Nochpeem means "a misty place." The Nochpeem occupied the eastern Hudson Highlands north of Anthony's Nose. Their villages included Keskistkonck, Pasquasheck, Nochpeem, and Canopus. "It was situated in what is now known as Canopus Hollow," Ruttenber wrote. Much of Canopus Hollow Road is in the Garrison School District.
A detailed portion of a 1656 Dutch map created by Nicholaes Visscher, left, shows the Nochpeem listed to the right of the eastern ridge of the Hudson Highlands, just under the word "Waoranecks." View the full map on the New York Public Library website. Visscher created this map using information about Native American tribes recorded by Adriaen van der Donck, who left the Netherlands in 1643 and set out to observe the New York countryside and the Native people. He returned to the Netherlands in 1652, and recorded his observations in A Description of New Netherland.
Native American burial remains were found south of the current site of the Garrison Metro-North station, explains Pritchard in Native New Yorkers: The Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York.
A planting field and a village site were found on the Garrison waterfront, too. The Mohican Trail, a Native American thoroughfare that extended from Manhattan to Montreal, followed what is now Old Albany Post Road in Garrison.
Mary Kaltrieder, a Marist College student, created the presentation Hudson River Native Americans as part of the Hudson Valley History course taught at Marist. She shows how Native Americans lived, detailing their agriculture, food, culture, and spirituality.
DANIEL NIMHAM'S QUEST TO RETAIN LENAPE LAND
In 1691, Jan Roelof Sybrandt and Lambert Dorlandt bought land from the Native people who lived in our area. It extended along the east shore of the Hudson River from Anthony's Nose northward to Pollepel Island. Sybrandt and Dorlandt sold this land to Adolph Philipse in 1697. Originally, the deed set an eastern border of the land parcel three miles from the Hudson River. This included what is now Philipstown. But Philipse extended his land parcel all the way to what is now the Putnam County border with Connecticut. Later, the Wappinger people tried to get this land back, because they felt the deed was fraudulent. Daniel Nimham, the sachem or chief of the Wappinger people, petitioned the New York Common Council and Colonial Courts in 1765, filing a claim against three Hudson Valley area land owners, Roger Morris, Beverley Robinson of Garrison, and Philip Philipse. Nimham hoped to recover 204,800 acres of land, formerly owned by the Native peoples.
After the New York Common Council dismissed the case, Nimham went to London to seek the assistance of the British government. While the Lords of Trade found that there was sufficient evidence to investigate Nimham's claim, nothing was done. The land was not returned to the Native people. Nimham fought alongside the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. He was killed in battle. Nimham Mountain in the town of Kent in Putnam County bears his name.
departure from the lenapehoking
But not all of the Native Americans left our area. The Penn Museum in Philadelphia notes that "some Lenape people remained here in secret. Children of the little known Lenape-European marriages of the 1700s stayed on the Lenape homelands (in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and southern New York) and continued to practice their traditions covertly. Hiding their heritage, they avoided discovery by both the government and their neighbors."
Native American culture remains in our area through place names. So many towns and places we're familiar with have names that originated with Native Americans who lived here. In Beyond Manhattan: A Gazetteer of Delaware Indian History Reflected in Modern-Day Place Names, Robert Grumet details the Native American origins of familiar place names such as Canopus, Chappaqua, Croton, Katonah, Mahopac, Manhattan, Manitou, Oscawana, Ossining, Poughkeepsie, Wappinger, and many others.
the lenape today
penn museum educators' guide
Grumet, Robert S. Beyond Manhattan: A Gazetteer of Delaware Indian History Reflected in Modern-Day Place Names. Albany, New York: New York State Education Department, 2014. Web. 24 March 2016.
Grumet, Robert S. First Manhattans: A History of the Indians of Greater New York. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 2009. Print.
Grumet, Robert S. The Lenapes. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1989. Print.
Kaltrieder, Mary. "Hudson River Native Americans." Student Works. Hudson River Valley Institute, n.d. Web. 24 March 2016. PDF.
Pritchard, Evan T. Native New Yorkers: The Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York. San Francisco: Council Oak Books, LLC, 2002.
Ruttenber, Edward Manning. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson’s River : their origin, manners and customs, tribal and sub-tribal organizations, wars, treaties, etc., etc. Albany, N.Y, 1872. Sabin Americana. Gale, Cengage Learning. Web. 24 March 2016.
Visscher, Nicholaes. "Novi Belgii, Novaeque Angliae nec non partis Virginae." Image. New York State Library. New York State Library, 13 April 2012. Web. 24 March 2016.