The Perry Historians, a genealogical library located just northeast of New Bloomfield, Perry County, PA. is hosting another of their Special Presentations at their library in the Hoverter Archives building.

Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 2:00 p.m.

Special speaker, Mr. Andrew Wyatt is an archaeologist at the Harrisburg office of McCormick Taylor, Inc..  Since 1986, Mr. Wyatt has conducted fieldwork and analysis on Native American sites in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic regions.  He received a B.A. in Anthropology from the State University of New York, Albany and an M.A. in Anthropology from Temple University.

The title of Mr. Wyatt’s presentation is An Early Seventeenth Century Susquehannock Village in the Great Valley: The Lemoyne Borough Memorial Park Site. Mr. Wyatt will speak on the recent archaeological excavations in advance of rail line construction, which resulted in the discovery and partial excavation of a previously unknown Susquehannock village site dating to the early seventeenth century.  This presentation will feature the site, its artifacts, and its relationship to the more well-known Susquehannock villages in Lancaster and York counties.

This program is FREE to all and all are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served following the presentation. Directions: Located on right hand side of Route 34 North, 2 miles from the square of New Bloomfield, or left hand side of Route 34 South, 4 miles from Newport.

Saturday, October 17, 2009 Postponed: See Below

Klines Run Park, 3 miles south of Wrightsville, PA
on Long Level Rd. (Rt 624)
Opening Ceremony 10 a.m.

You are invited to join local Native Americans on Saturday, October 17, 2009, as they express their gratitude to the residents of York County for saving the last Susquehannock Indian village sites. A traditional gift-giving ceremony will open the event at 10 a.m. on the overlook area of Kline’s Run Park at Long Level, 3 miles south of Wrightsville, PA on Route 624 (Long Level Road).

From 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. the 3/4 mile walking trail across Native Lands County Park leading to the site of the last Susquehannock Village will be open for you to see and learn about the new park and the incredible history of the land and its peoples. Along the mowed trail that winds across the park’s meadow will be artifact displays, Native American craft demonstrations and dancing, and other displays relating to the rich story of the land.

Archaeologists will explain the site, and Native people will share children’s games and discuss life around the longhouse. You will be able to walk a Time Line of Man’s long presence on the site, watch a flint knapper making arrowheads, see actual artifacts from the area, and visit the adjacent  Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area’s Visions of the Susquehanna River art collection at the John & Kathryn Zimmerman Center for Heritage at Historic Pleasant Garden, as well as enjoy views of the park’s plants, birds, animals and the natural beauty of the area.

There will be no refreshments available, so you are invited to bring your own picnic lunch and beverages and enjoy the parks’ grounds and the beautiful views of the Susquehanna River. Hiking the trail is strongly encouraged, but a shuttle bus will be available to the center of the park and the Zimmerman Center for those unable to walk the entire trail.

The event has been organized by the Lancaster-York Native Heritage Advisory Council with the assistance of York County Department of Parks and Recreation, Safe Harbor Water Power Corporation, the Susquehanna Gateway Heritage Area as well many other groups and individuals.

Contact: paulnevin@aol.com, (717) 578-1358

We regret to report that this event has been postponed for inclement weather. See Comment 3 for details.

On April 29, 2009, York County designated 93 acres of its 187-acre parcel as Native Lands County Park, preserving site of the Last Susquehannock Village and surrounding the land for future generations.

A Brief Native Lands County Park Timeline:

  • 14,000 years to present – People have utilized and have been caretakers of the Native Lands property.
  • 1676 – 1680 – Native Lands was site of the last village where the Susquehannock Indians functioned as a Nation.
  • 1984 – The Byrd Leibhart Site, site of the last village of the Susquehannock Indians, was deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1990 – National Parks Service Study recommended that the site be nominated for National Historic Landmark status.
  • December, 2002 – Plans were submitted for more than 450 homes and townhouses on the 187-acre parcel where the site of the last Susquehannock village is located. Some 200 documented burials exist in cemeteries associated with the village.
  • February 26, 2003 – A hearing was held to address concerns about plans for the development. Nearly 250 members of the public attended, including many Native Americans who voiced their opposition to the plans. (By the time of the hearing, plans for townhouses on top of the village site had been eliminated.)
  • March 10, 2003 – The applicants indicated that 17 townhouse units still planned on the Susquehannock Village’s northwest cemetery would be eliminated. Summer, 2003 – The site was placed on Preservation Pennsylvania’s Annual listing of the Commonwealth’s Most Endangered Historic Properties “Pennsylvania at Risk, 2003″.
  • 2003 – 2008 – Hearings, condemnation, lawsuits, and negotiations, as well as sustained pressure from Native Americans and others concerned with the preservation of the endangered site ensued.
  • October 31, 2008 – The 187-acre parcel was acquired by York County for 16.6 million dollars.
  • January, 14, 2009 – The Byrd Leibhart Site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • January, 2009 – Nearby land containing the site of a previous Susquehannock Village (the Oscar Leibhart Site), already on the National Register of Historic Places, was purchased by the Farm & Natural Lands Trust of York County and the Archaeological Conservancy for preservation.
  • April 29, 2009 – York County designated 93 acres of its 187-acre parcel as Native Lands County Park, preserving site of the Last Susquehannock Village and surrounding the land for future generations.

October 17, 2009 – Native Lands Celebration – You are invited to this celebration and a giving of thanks by the Native American community in honor of the preservation of a special place (the Native American  Heritage Sites), sacred grounds (the Native and non-Native cemeteries), and of a beautiful and significant piece of our Mother Earth for future generations to enjoy and learn from.

The following text is an excerpt from Archaeological Studies of the Susquehannock Indians of Pennsylvania, Safe Harbor Report no. 2 by Donald A. Cadzow, Pennsylvania Historical Commission, Harrisburg, 1936, pp 15–17. The book is in the public domain, and the full text is available online.

Of all the native inhabitants of Pennsylvania the least known to the ethnographers is the southern division of the northern Iroquois. They were called Susquehannock by the Powhatan Indian tribes, later the English adopted the name and it was applied to them by the first known white man to meet them, Captain John Smith. The story of the Susquehannocks is a tragic one.

They appeared early on the historic stage along the Susquehanna watershed, played a leading role and declined into obscurity. Through the pages of history they are called a variety of names out of which the one applied by Powhatan and Captain John Smith seems to be the most appropriate. This name has been explained by various authorities as Algonkian and not Iroquoian as we might expect it to be. According to Brinton, “the terminal ‘K’ is the place sign, ‘hanna’ denotes a flowing stream, while the adjectival prefix has been identified by Heckwelder with ‘schachage,’ straight, from the direct course of the river near its mouth, and by Mr. Guss with ‘woski,’ new, which he thinks referred to fresh or spring water.” In the writings of McSherry we find the following Algonkian interpretation-”Saskwe-an-og-Sask means rubbing, sweeping, grating. ‘K’ is the sign of prolongation. ‘We’ in composition means the effect produced by waves. ‘Og’ is plural animate termination. Hence Sis-k-we-in-og means ‘those who live in a place where water is heard grating (beating) on the shore!”

Miss Gladys Tantaquidgeon interprets the name in Delaware as “sak a’n’ hanek, river full of islands or projections above the water,” from sak .i.xan, “something in plain sight projecting up,” and a’n'h a n.e k “running water or streams.” The people inhabiting the territory along the banks of the river would be called Sak.an han.eyok.” According to Dr. Frank G. Speck, the term saskewhan’ne “muddy river” appears in a study of the Nanticoke and Conoy Indians. This may also account for Hewetts’ interpretation of the name-”signify roiley river,” in his story of the Conestoga.

The Cree Indians of northwest Canada interpret the name as meaning “water rubbing hard upon something.” This interpretation agrees with McSherry’s and we are inclined to accept his translation and believe the name is of Algonkian origin as the Crees are among the few tribes left where the tongue still remains almost pure, and their translation of Susquehannock as meaning “people living where water rubs on the shore” would be appropriate for a group living along the rapids of what is now the Lower Susquehanna River.

The early Swedes and Dutch called the Susquehanna Iroquois “Minquas” from the Delaware name applied to all tribes of this group. These names are corruptions of the Algonquian mingwe meaning “stealthy, treacherous.” Minquas was also used extensively during the late colonial period to designate any detached body of Iroquois regardless of where they were from.

To the French and the Five Nations the Susquehanna Iroquoian groups were known as Andastes, Andastoghernons, Gandastogues, Conestogas, etc., etc. The Indians undoubtedly separated the upper and lower river tribes but the white man did not do so conclusively in his records of the period. In our histories the Iroquois of eastern Pennsylvania have been given a variety of misspelled and misinterpreted proper names. This jumble is very confusing to a student, and in this paper we will call the Susquehanna Iroquoian groups Carantouans to distinguish them from the Five Nations. We will also divide them into two main groups, the Andaste on the upper rivers, and the Susquehannock on the lower river.

For the lack of a better informed authority we will accept the interpretation of General John Clark, in his unpublished notes, for the meaning of Carantouan. He believed the term was derived from the Iroquois garonta and touan meaning “great tree.” In this translation he agrees with J. G. Shea of Elizabeth, N. J., a contemporary student of the Iroquois, especially through the Jesuit Relations. In his early detached notes Clark was inclined to believe the term might indicate “big horn eminent at the head.” In this belief he was first influenced by the “Capitanessis” shown on the Susquehanna in some of Champlain’s early maps. In his final analysis, however, he agrees with Shea.