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The Soldier and The Sachem: The Story of Mongockonone
By: Riley Wentzler & Felicia Barber
November is Native American Heritage Month, and so in honor of Native American Heritage month, we would like to pay tribute to the Native American tribes of Greenburgh. In the past, we have written two articles on this subject, A Thousand Words Which You Never Knew: The Forgotten Story of the Greenburgh Town Seal and The Original People and The Bark Kettle: Native American Tribes of Greenburgh. To recap, there were two tribes in Greenburgh, the Weekquaeskeek who ate : bread, venison, oysters, sieva beans, and corn (Greenburgh Bicentennial Commission, 1998, p. 1), whose name “Weekquaeskeek” means "place of the bark kettle” (https://www.nytimes.com/1991/04/28/realestate/if-you-re-thinking-of-living-in-hartsdale.html), and the Lenape whose name means “original people;” both tribes spoke the Algonquin Language(MICROSOFT ENCARTA, 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation). For an overview of those tribes, read those previous articles. This article focuses on one particular Weekquaeskeek Sachem (Algonquin for:”chief”) named Mongockonone (Cohen p. 13) He was the first such sachem the Dutch settlers encountered (Bolton Jr 1848 p. 165).
When Hendrick Hudson came to the area in 1609 to establish a Dutch settlement, the Weekquaeskeek People had already been living on the land for thousands of years. Rather than live in harmony with the natives, the Dutch saw them as a threat to their colonial ambitions and began killing them. In 1643, a group of Dutch soldiers led by Captain John Underhill ambushed most of the Weekquaeskeek Tribe while they were sleeping and be-headed them (http://theava.com/archives/35410). In 1643, shortly before Thanksgiving, the Dutch killed 500 more Weekquaeskeek (O’Callaghan 1848 p. 296).
In retaliation, the Weekquaeskeek killed 3 Dutch soldiers in January of 1644 (O’Callaghan 1848 p. 297) .Then in reprisal, the Dutch killed 18 more Weekquaeskeek later that month (O’Callaghan 1848 p. 298).
For most of their conflict with the Dutch the Weekquaeskeek were aligned with a larger and more war-like tribe called the”Haverstraw,” located in Ossining. The Haverstraw were led by their sachem, Pacham, who was fond of ending conflicts by severing the hands and feet of his adversaries (O’Callaghan 1848 p. 240). The Dutch Colonists did not actually know Pacham’s name they simply called him ,“The Murderer.” Through January and February the conflict steadily worsened.
By March 1 of 1644, both sides wanted an end to the fighting, however neither side trusted the other, so it took a while to arrange peace talks. Finally, on March 31 1644, Captain John Underhill met with Mongockonone, Sachem of the Weekquaeskeek.
Mongockonone requested that his people be allowed to farm and cultivate the land in peace, and for his part, Cap. Underhill requested that no further harm should come to Dutch cattle and villages. This agreement would have been enough for Cap. Underhill, but his boss, Director General Willem Kieft, had 1 demand, “You must surrender “The Murderer” (O’Callaghan 1848 p. 240). Mongockonone was reluctant to do this. He was a man of honor. Pacham had been a faithful ally and Mongockonone was no fool, he knew that if he surrendered his ally to the Dutch, Pacham would face execution.
So, the talks dragged on. On April 5th 1644, Underhill proposed that if Mongockonone surrendered, “The Murderer,” the Dutch would release all of their Weekquaeskeek prisoners. While Mongockonone was a man of honor and therefore would have liked to maintain his alliances, he knew that as sachem his first duty was to his people, the Weekquaeskeek, not his alliance with The Haverstraw, so he agreed to Underhill’s terms and the treaty was signed on April 6th 1644 (O’Callaghan 1848 p. 303).
In conclusion, November is Native American Heritage Month. There were two Native American tribes in Greenburgh, the Lenape and the Weekquaeskeek. Since the Weekquaeskeek were so influential that they were included in the Town Seal, we decided to shine a light on that tribe. Therefore, we have decided to honor Mongockonone, a Weekquaeskeek Sachem.
Previous Slices of History include:
About the Authors:
We are both Town Historians at Greenburgh Town Hall and we are engaged to be married and are currently looking for permanent employment.
I was born and raised in a small rural town in central Pennsylvania. In high school, I took every honors course available including four years of Spanish. I received A’s in all of them. I graduated third in my class of 146 students. This brought me to Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Once there, I continued my trend of academic excellence. I graduated summa cum laude in Political Science with a minor in Spanish and a Master’s in Communication Studies, with a G.P.A of 3.94. It was also there that I met my lovely fiancée, Felicia Barber. My Master’s in Communication has promoted public speaking, teamwork, and customer service. My Political Science degree has developed my research skills using computer-based tools and provided me with experience using the Microsoft Office products. My minor in Spanish has facilitated my bilingual capabilities. During my internship at Greenburgh, I created the petition for the State Roads project using website tools. My diverse education and areas of interest have provided me with a wide range of skills. I look forward to finding a career opportunity in business or government. To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com, or to help me find employment, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was born in New York City and raised in Hartsdale, New York. I graduated from Ardsley High School. I recently earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. It was here that I met my fiancé, Riley Wentzler. As a result of my academic excellence, I won a scholarship every year. I learned and applied many graphic design skills to projects during my summer internships and at school. I am proficient in using Adobe graphic design applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. For my Identity/branding course at Edinboro, I created logos to appear on the tee-shirts of Physical Education majors. For a veteran’s upcoming event, I used a typeface to focus the reader to the soldier in the poster. For the State Roads Legislative Campaign project, I created the embedded graphic-photo that accompanied the petition I am looking for a job to utilize my skills as a Graphic Designer in an agency, print shop, company or government To suggest a topic for next week’s article, you can contact me at email@example.com. To learn more about my artwork or to help me find employment you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Interviews with the authors:
Bolton, R. J. (1848).History of Westchester County from its First Settlement to the Present Time. New York: Alexander S. Gould.
Cohen, D. D. ((NOT GIVEN)). The Weckquaesqueeck. Ardsley, NY: Ardsley Historical Society.
Greenburgh Bicentennial Commission. (1998). Greenburgh: A Glimpse of Our Past. Greenburgh, New York: Greenburgh Bicentennial Commission.
Luiselli, V. (2014, September 28). Mendocino County Today. Retrieved from Aderson Valley Advertiser: http://theava.com/archives/35410
O'Callaghan, E. B. (1846-1848). History of New Netherland; or, New York under the Dutch. Philadelphia, New York: (NOT GIVEN).
Vizard, M. M. (1991, April 28). If You're Thinking of Living in Hartsdale. New York Times, p. 10010007.
Waldman, C. in Microsoft Encarta. (1993-2003, (Not Given) (Not Given)). Encarta Encyclopedia. Redmond, Washington, United States of America.