When the work of creation was finally finished; when the land was dry and fertile; the seasons set in the slaw revolution of their courses, and The living creatures moving in their endless cycles of birth and death, then the earth must have been deemed ready for the coming of man.

The primitive creatures who followed the glaciers and dropped their crude pointed stones as they disappeared, were wanderers, and evidently made no attempt at settlement, but a few thousand years ago, a band of men of different thought appeared one day seeking new hunting grounds in the land of the Winaki. We know the land as the State of New Jersey.

Where did this new man come from?small in numbers, weak against the white man's civilization, yet strong enough to have impressed his ways and his strange language insistently upon our culture? It seems always to have been the pattern of life in these United States that no human life evolved here, but every man came from far away to find a home here. The Indian is now considered by many anthropologists to have been no exception to this rule. One of the few legends of his coming taken from his own history, was found in the 18th century by a French scientist, Constantine Samuel Rafinesque. The account was a pictograph, drawn on birch bark, and the Indians called it "Walam Olum." Its interpretation was first published by Rafinesque in "The American Nations Linapi Annals."

According to the Walam Olum, the Lenape Indians came here after a long journey taking many years, over a glassy sea, into the region of the Caves, across the land of the buffalo, to a great water where the tribe separated. One branch went north into Canada, the other turned southeast. The latter conquered the Snakes (the Iroquis); they crossed the Mississippi, moved through the grass lands of the valley, over hills, and finally to a Falls. Those who crossed the Falls entered the land of the Winaki.

The interpretation identifies the glassy sea as Bering Strait, the land of the caves as the Rocky Mountains, the great water as Lake Superior. After crossing the Mississippi they continued their journey until finally they reached the falls of the Delaware at the head of tide water near Trenton. The first emigrants had found a resting place at last.

To the first settlers in Millburn the Indian must have been an object of great interest. By 1709 not too many natives were left in this part of the State, and one can imagine that the few who passed along the Minisink Trail, which the settlers soon widened for their cart roads, were regarded with more curiosity than fear or suspicion. Occasionally they were annoying as they were evidently fascinated by the cultivated gardens of the colonists and could not always resist the temptation of stealing some of the ripening products.

However, long before the Denmans or Parsils or Parkhursts or others arrived here, the Millburn region belonged to the Indians and they knew it well. No record has as yet come to light of any permanent encampment here, but it was undoubtedly a fertile spot for fishing and hunting. The recent findings, in September, 1956, of a burial ground in East Hanover, near the Swinefield bridge, may change the historian's idea of Indian life in this vicinity.

Whether he had a village here or not, the land of the short hills was well known to him, as the great Minisink Trail, his principal highway, which criss-crossed Millburn in many places. The New Jersey Indians were the Lenapes of the Minsi tribe of the great Algonquin clan. The Minsi totem was the wolf. They had their tribal headquarters on Minisink Island, in the Delaware River, at the tip of northern New Jersey, about four miles south of Milford, Pennsylvania. In their journeys from Minisink Island to the salt water they beat into the earth the pathway which today forms the basis of many of our highways and railroad beds.

From an old map among the "Alexander" papers in the possession of the New York Historical Society, and reproduced many times in New Jersey history, the route of the path may be reconstructed. After leaving the Island the trail passed through Newton, crossed over to Iliff's Pond, then east of Long Pond and to Andover. From Andover the route came by Cranberry Lake and generally over the present highway to Stanhope, to Landing, Lake Hopatcong, and north of Rockaway to Denville. At Denville the trail is supposed to have divided, one branch going to Morristown, and the other to Parsippany, Black Meadows, Hanover, Livingston, and finally to Millburn, probably coming over White Oak Ridge Road to Parsonage Hill Road, to Old Short Hills Road, and the present center of Millburn.

The other branch from Morristown generally followed the present Morris Turnpike Road, forded the Passaic River at the spot long known as "Minisink Crossing" where John Day built a bridge in 1747. The site of Day's bridge is the present bridge over the river on the Morris Turnpike between Summit and Chatham, not far from Altman's store. After crossing the Passaic the Trail came into Millburn Center, roughly over Hobart Avenue or what was to become the roadbed of the Lackawanna Railroad, to join the other branch.

Millburn center was the crossroads of the primitive world. Indians always followed the easiest course. They never climbed a mountain if it were possible to skirt it, and while they followed a river, if the bank were high and dry, they avoided swampy ground. As a result, their roads were seldom straight, but sigzagged and curved to suit the terrain. They also laid out their walks to take advantage of fishing, hunting, and good food supplies along the way. In many places the edges of the terminal moraine formed an ideal gravel path for their purposes.

At Millburn center the two branches crossed, as mentioned, one continuing down main Street, following the west branch of the Rahway River, and then through the Rahway River valley, to the Minsi's territory in the Navesink region of the Atlantic shore. Each tribe was allocated its own portion of the shore for fishing and shellfish digging.

The other trail from Millburn turned east down (present) Millburn Avenue to the salt bays at Newark. These two branches formed the main trail, but other branches struck out in other directions. Notches in the mountains such as the present South Orange Avenue, Eagle Rock Avenue, Northfield Road, the Mount Pleasant Avenue were the Indian trails to other parts of the territory.

Besides the paths, the Indian used waterways to travel and in his canoe he was able to make swift and fairly easy voyages. It must be remembered that in general all water levels were much higher than they are now. The water table had not yet been seriously lowered by the demands of people for water. Then, too, even in our own community many streams have been drained or put underground in conduits or pipes. Canoe Brook, as we know it now, is a tiny rivulet, too small in most places to float a toy ship, but it is recorded that at one time Indians built canoes on its banks, using the fine supply of ash trees growing nearby. In the Spring when the floods or freshets came, the stream became broad and deep and the canoes were easily paddled to the Passaic River, then down to Little Falls, where they had to be carried around the Passaic Falls, and then continued their journey again by water to the sea. The sea was very important to the Indian. Not only was it a source of a wonderful food supply, but it furnished shell; first for decorations and later for wampum, and fish for fertilizing crops. The Lenapes were also compelled to make a yearly journey up the Hudson to Albany to deliver shellfish to the Mohawks as a tribute to maintain the peace.

It is unfortunate that we have no firsthand scientific study of the American Indian such as anthropologists have made of native people in the South Sea Islands and elsewhere, but the first colonists were too busy, understandably, with their own lives to spend time observing the natives, and few men equipped with knowledge for such a study knew of the existence of such a fertile field for the observation of a different race.

To most settlers, the Indian was a nuisance to be pushed out of the way so that the business of colonization could progress. However, enough men were superficially interested in the strange creatures to write letters or other accounts about them, so that we can form some picture of their appearance and ways. Several Dutch manuscripts, written by missionaries and traders, a few English letters, and William Penn's thirty page account, furnish glimpses into the customs of the first inhabitants. The information contained in the manuscripts has been made available to us in recent years chiefly through the painstaking work of two men, William Nelson, whose "The Indians of New Jersey" published in 1894, dips into these sources, and more recently Dr. Charles A. Philhower, Superintendent of Schools of Westfield, New Jersey, who has made the New Jersey Indian his life interest.

William Penn was positive he had discovered in the American Indian one of the ten lost tribes of Israel and attempted to fit the red man into the old Testament tradition.

Perhaps the earliest account of the New Jersey Indian is contained in a report made by John Verrazzano sailing a French ship which made a landing at some unidentified place along our coast in 1603. His party was greeted by a group of natives who impressed him Nary much with their friendliness and good looks. His report reads in part:

"...they came so neare us that we cast them certaine bels and glasses and many toyes which when they had received them they looked at them with laughing, and came without feare aboard our ship. There were amongst these people two kings of so goodly staturre and shape as is possible to declare..."

The report goes on to say they were friendly and kind and as handsome as many of the men of Europe.

From the earliest Dutch accounts, too, we learned that the men were fine looking fellows, darkeyed, broadshouldered, and fairly tall. They wore their hair long, although sometimes they wore only a scalp lock. Their faces were smooth, the beard being plucked rather than shaved. They tatooed their bodies with hideous representations of animals and imaginary creatures. They were modest, quick witted, loyal to their friends, but extremely treacherous to their enemies. Their clothing was scanty in summer, but they sometimes wore an apronlike garment about their loins. In winter they covered themselves with skins worn furside in, fashioned into long blanketlike robes which they wrapped around their bodies. They bound their feet in bear or elkskin.

The women dressed differently. Skirts of feathers, particularly turkey, were commonly worn. They wore their hair in long braids and often twined bands of deer hair, dyed a bright color around their heads. Shell pieces were worn about the neck, ears, arms, and ankles for decorations, and they painted their faces.

This habit of painted faces shocked some of the first white men. In his book, "The New and Unknown World" by Arnoldus Montanus, published in Amsterdam in 1671, Montanus writes,

"The women, not having the advantage of Christian training, and being very much less wise than their white sisters, were wont to paint their faces; and in general they adorned themselves more than did men, for a proud squaw would sometimes display her charms set off by a petticoat ornamented with beads to the value of one hundred dollars or more."

The latter, of course, is the white man's valuation. The women did the scanty housekeeping, ploughed the fields, planted the seed, cultivated the crops, gathered and carried the wood, did the cooking, and attended to the children. They bore their children easily. After birth they immediately wrapped them in a cloth and strapped them to a board slightly larger than the child's body. Board and child were then swaddled in more skins or cloth. The mothers carried them on their backs, or hung them on pegs or branches when working. In order to harden them, they frequently dipped them into cold water, no matter what the temperature. (William Penn, "Letter to Free Society of Traders," 1683.)

The house in this region was not a tepee, but was a shelter twice as long as it was wide. It was made by setting two rows of green sapling poles about six feet tall, in the ground. The rows were spaced 15 feet apart, and about 30 feet in length. The saplings were then bent to form an arched roof and fastened together and covered with bark, twigs, leaves, stalks, and even earth. A low doorway at one end was the only entrance. Inside in the middle was the fireplace with a hole in the roof above to let out the smoke. Along the sides of the house were long benchlike elevations on which the families sat or slept. In a typical village six to twelve of these huts, surrounded by a palisade fence, comprised the home of a clan. A major encampment, such as this, was located on Minisink Island. Several branches of one family might occupy each hut.

Two Dutch missionaries, Jasper Dankers and Peter Sluyter, in 1679/1680, made a journey across New Jersey, travelling on the Assumpink Trail which led from Trenton to the main Minisink Trail at or near Millburn, and wrote about the Indians with whom they spent their time,

"On the way," they wrote, "while we were in the house (an Indian house at Millstone (or wapawog), "a naked child fell from its mother's lap and received a cut on its head. Whereupon all who sat around the fire and belonged to the household, began to cry, husband, wife, young and old, and screamed more than the child, as if they themselves had broken their arms and legs. In another corner of the hut there sat around a fire another household whose faces were entirely blackened, who observed a gloomy silence, and looked very singular. They were in mourning for a deceased friend."

This glimpse gives a rather different picture than the unemotional, stoical Indian we have learned to accept. His stoicism was evidently a mask he wore toward his enemies.

Another account of the personal habits of the Indian is contained in "A Two Years Journey in New York" by Charles Wooley, published in London in 1701. Mr. Wooley described their huts, much as outlined above, and their ways of life. He says that they preserved their skins smooth by annointing them with the

"oyl of fishes, the fat of eagles, and the grease of rackoons, which they hold in the summer the best antidote to keep their skins from blistering by the scorching sun and their best armour against the musketto .. and stopper of the pores of their bodies against the winter's cold."

The Lenape's food consisted of meat, fish, corn, beans, squash, pumpkins, and melons, sometimes, when food was scarce, snakes, fox, skunks, and the like. Meat and fish were broiled or boiled. Corn was ground or pounded into meal. Oysters, clams, and other sea food were dried and smoked. Soup or porridge, which the settlers named "mush" was often served. Besides these foods, they also used roots of various kinds, such as bindweed, Indian turnips, ground nuts, sassafras, slippery elm, dock, and poke; mint, watercress, nuts, grapes, plums, apples, persimmons, and May apples.

Tobacco was used only in ceremonials, and pipes were made out of clay and corncobs. The first pipes had no bowls, but were tubes. The Indians had no alcoholic liquors, and no word to express drunkenness, as it was unknown to them.

Their pottery was fired, but not glazed. With the clay they often mixed flint, coal, shells, soapstone, or cedar chips. it was always decorated with various combinations of straight lines, no curves were used, and the bottoms were often eggshaped so that they could be set in the sand and fires built around them.

The Indians knew no God of love, but a great spirit, "Manit'to" who had to be constantly placated. Beyond the grave was a happy hunting ground. However, the Indians did not understand death. Health was the normal condition, and when one became ill or died it was because of an evil spirit. The doctor when sent for came dressed in bearskin, shaking a stone-filled gourd, howling, roaring, and crying. The more noise and more hideous faces he could make, the sooner the bad spirit would be frightened and leave the patient's body. If the doctor did not succeed, he did not consider he was to blame, but the patient was at fault. When all finally failed, and the man died, he was dressed in his best clothes, his face painted, and he was buried in a sitting position. His friends blackened their faces, but the chief mourners were the women of his family. A widow mourned a year, but the man did not mourn for his wife for any fixed period. However, if he wished to remarry he had to make an offering to the kindred of the deceased wife.

Boys and girls learned to count on their fingers, to hunt, swim, weave, and compute time. The old men chipped arrow heads, made wooden spoons, tools, traps, pikes, and mats.

Time was reckoned by distance, and the year was reckoned by seed time. The names of the month, starting with our January were, Squirrel Month, Frog Month, Shad Month, Spring Month, Summer Begins month, Summer Month, Hot Month, Deer Month, Fall 12.

Month, Vermin Month, Snow Month and Cold Month.

Values were figured in skins, feathers, and wampum. Wampum comes from the Algonquin word "Wampumpeak" a word for beads made of wood or shell. The Indians used it mostly for decoration, or as gifts in ceremonials. "Wampi" means white beads, "Ompeak", that which pays tribute. Both white and black beads of wood or shell, were used, the black being the more valuable. The colonists early appreciated the value the Indians placed on shell wampum and began at once to make a superior product of their own. The Indian was pleased with the white man's wampum and sought to exchange it for skins and other goods. The small polished pieces had holes drilled in the center and were strung on string about 12 inches in length. These were, in turn, tied in bundles or sheaves. Various values were placed on wampum and the market fluctuated much as the stock market does today. A one-foot string was at one time worth 12 cents. A fathom, 11 feet 3 inches long, was priced anywhere from $1.03 to $2.00. The value was more often reckoned in skins or commodities than in actual cash.

Dyes were discovered and used for their clothing and decorations. Hickory bark gave yellow; indigo, blue; brown from walnut; red from bloodroot or Oswego tea (beebalm); purple from Pokeberry.

The Indian disappeared rapidly when the colonists moved in. Disease, the white man's alcohol, against which the Indian had no immunity, and even starvation thinned his ranks. Fortunately for the colonists, the Lenape Indian was rather meek and minded his own business, and there are only a few stories of serious massacres by Indians in New Jersey, although it is sad to say the reverse situation was not unknown. In 1643 a senseless killing of about 80 Indian men, women, and children was perpetrated at Paulus Hook (Jersey City) by the Dutch and for many years thereafter no white man dared to venture alone into the interior. The Lenape, in the main, was not vicious, and had been many years before reduced to a subjective state by the constant beatings he took from the warlike Mohawks and Iroquois. Another theory, advanced by Professor Ellsworth Huntington, ("The Red Man's Continent," Yale University Press, 1919), is that a people which is sufficiently advanced in civilization to undertake agriculture, lose its fighting skills, and the Lenapes were good farmers. They had hoes made from conch shells and bones, and cleared the land by girdling, and then burning the trees. When the fields were finally exhausted they would move on to another site, and begin all over again.

Whatever the reason so few Indians remained here, that in 1758 an Indian reservation was set up in New Jersey in the place still called "Indian Mills". Most of the others who did not go to the Reservation moved to Ohio, and eventually journeyed on to Canada, Michigan, Oklahoma, and other parts of the West. "Indian Ann" was the last real Indian in New Jersey. Her father had returned from the West and settled near Mount Holly where he died. His daughter, Ann, died in 1894. Traceable descendants of the New Jersey Lenapes were located in Kansas not too many years ago.

Many Indian relics have been found in and near Millburn. Arrow heads are common and parts of tools and pottery are still being unearthed. The Indian's language has become so intermingled with our own that one must stop to remember which words have come through our Indian inheritance. A few of them are easily recognizable, if one gives thought to them ? sassafras, squaw, squash, succotash, toboggan, tomahawk, wampum, wigwam, moose, moccasin, papoose, powwow, quahog, sachem, sagamore, hub-bub, hominy, samp, and skunk, are only a few. So many of our towns, cities, and rivers have Indian names that a long list of familiar place names could be compiled. His trails are our superhighways and much of his peculiarly American food has become staples of our diet. The red man crosses Millburn center no more on his journeys to the sea, but his presence has become part of our own heritage and tradition. At least New Jersey does not have on its conscience a history of great brutality in its treatment of the native, but as we shall see in our next chapters, considering the times in which they lived, the first settlers of Elizabethtown and New Ark in which Millburn was then included, met them honestly and decently, and earned their gratitude.


In writing the foregoing articles the author acknowledges her debt to the following:

The Indians of New Jersey by William Nelson
Indian Paths in the Great Metropolis by Reginald Pelham Bolton
Indian Trails and City Streets by Edward S. Rankin, C.E.
Indian Lore of New Jersey by Charles A. Philhower
New Jersey Historical Society Proceedings, Vol. XII History of the Oranges by
Stephen Wickes, M.D.
New Jersey, a History, Irving S. Kull Editor-in-Chief
The Story of New Jersey by William S. Myers, Ed.
Indians of the Passaic Lands by Kate L. Roberts
The Walam Olum, translated by Historical Society of Indiana
The Red Man's Continent by Ellsworth Huntington.