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Chief Tanawa

"The Great Chief of the Pale Faces came from the Great Water. We met in council. We had our talk. He gave us hunting ground. We exchanged wampums. We made a treaty. It is to last as long as the tree shall stand or the waters flow". - Chief Tanawa

     
 
belt
 
 
Wampum Belt given to William Penn at the "Great Treaty" in 1682.
 

In the spring of 1712, after their stay in New Paltz, New York, Marie Ferree and family traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to claim the land granted them by William Penn. The patent was confirmed on September 10, 1712. Joined by others, this band of Huguenots then traveled to the area now known as Paradise. Upon their arrival there they were greeted by friendly Indians who, in broken English, welcomed them and introduced them to their leader, Chief Tanawa.

Tanawa was the King of the Piquaw (or Piqua) Indians. The Piquaws, remnants of other tribes, are believed to have come into this area about 1630, established settlements, and united under Tanawa. Their homes were wigwams or quanset type huts scattered in groups along the banks of the Pequea. Each group was governed by a chief; each chief was under obedience to King Tanawa. It is believed Tanawa's wigwam was located in a meadow northeast of what is the present Leacock Presbyterian Church.

Tanawa was a good friend of William Penn. The King was a favorite of Penn. He was one of those who signed the "Great Treaty" and would remind the white settlers, when they intruded upon his rights, about William Penn's promise. Penn believed it only fair that he pay the Indians for their land, which he did, and promised to live justly and in peace with them as neighbors and friends. Tanawa also gave that pledge and never broke it.

 
pennandindians
"Penn's Treaty with the Indians" - Painted by Edward Hicks

The Piquaws were respectful and hospitable to the Huguenots. They shared their food and lodges until the settlers could build their own shelters. They hunted and fished together. This friendship between Indians and the Huguenots continued for many years, each helping the other in times of need.

Chief Tanawa died a few years after the Huguenots arrived. They attended his funeral. He was buried on what is now Lafayette Hill. A large pile of stones remained a long time to mark his grave, but are no longer there. Those grounds are now the location of the All Saints Episcopal Church.

The following was taken from "The History of the Ferree Family" by Emory Schuyler Ferree. A note reads that it was extracted from a lecture given at the Lyceum in Paradise, Pennsylvania, by Redmond Conyngham on July 4, 1842. It was given without title or credit but is probably his own composition.

THE PEQAWA KING
This wood that Indian hunter lov'd who went at break of day,
To track the wild deer or to tree the panther on his way;
Here the humble wigwam stood and oft the sunset threw
It's shadows o'er those Indian scenes, this forest only knew,
Here did the tribe still seek the shade, where not the sun peep'd through.
To rouse the Council Fire, that oft did light yon hill so blue.
Then draw the hickory bow, and make the whole welkin ring;
As with a bound an arrow springs, forcing the air to sing.
There stood his cabin, where spread the Sumach's foliage to the air,
In the dark hazel shade the children oft did love to nestle there.
Then would the skilfull Indian take his dart, and where yon ripples play,
Strike at the glistening trout, beneath the Alders banks of bright Pequea
Yon Western cloud that shakes the air with thunder, bodes the comming storm;
The lightning's flash, displays the sterner grandeur of his Indian farm.

"I welcome thee", he cries, "thou arm of fire, strike - how nobly thus to die -

Calm can I gaze on thee, howe'er sharpthy glance, thou shall not quail my eye."
And where is Tanawa, that noble Indian King?
His bones repose with those of his Fathers, in the Indian Field at Paradise.
Time shall roll on, and not a stone shall there remain to tell,
Of the grave of Tanawa or Wigwam of the dell.
The Elm's rich foliage, shall throw it's shadow upon a whiter face,
While near the spot that warrior rests, a holy church shall grace.
Then Tanawa, tradition keeps, there onest the searching eye,
To yon bright'ning grandeur of the western evening sky,
Shall wake the thought of what he was, the noble and the free
When first the white man crost his path, from land beyond the sea.
 

Sources: "The Story of the Ferree Family" by Emory Schuyler Ferree; "Paradise Our Heritage, Our Home" by Robert C. Denlinger; "Watson's Annals of Philadelphia" by John Fanning Watson; "Wikipedia".