Nanticoke Historical Society

Nanticoke Historical Society

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

John Haydock at the City of David Excavation in Jerusalem.

In 1981, John Haydock, former mayor of Nanticoke, was among 120 International volunteers chosen by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to attend an archeological dig in the City of David, the oldest Museum. Haydock’s passion for archeology was evident in the 1970’s as he unearthed many stone knives and tools on a one-acre site in Huntington Township. One discovery of a spear point dated from 9000 B.C. Haydock had an extensive collection of Indian arrowheads and artifacts from the Huntington Township site.
section of Jerusalem. During the excavation, workers unearthed remnants of King Solomon’s Temple. Also during Haydock’s three-week expedition he was credited with uncovering a 14 inch stone statue from the Iron Age Period, which is about 1,100 B.C.  While there, Haydock was filmed by Israeli television crew after the discovery. His find went on to be displayed at the Hebrew University

Haydock at the City of David Excavation in Jerusalem.

City of David

Discovery of an oil lamp from 1800 BC

Iron Age Pottery

Incredibly rough terrain

City of David dating back to 1000 BC

A four-room house City of David 1,000 BC

Submitted by Judy Minsavage for NHS
Photos courtesy of Sally Gorgas

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Nanticokes- Reprint From our newsletter Fall 2014

The Nanticokes

People of the Ocean

In 1747, a small segment of the Nanticoke Indian population of the Eastern Shore of Maryland took to their dug-out canoes and paddled up the Delaware River then on to the Susquehanna in search of a peaceful place to settle. Leaving the only home they'd ever known and weary of a century of conflict with the English colonists, one can imagine their fear but sense of hope for a better life as they stepped on to the shore of what is now the city of Nanticoke. Seeing the abundance of pristine fertile land to farm, mountains to hunt and rivers to fish, tribal leaders must have thought their decision to migrate north a good one. Under the invitation and protection of the Six-Nation Iroquois, tribesmen built their wigwams and at night watched the flickering campfires of their Indian brothers, the Shawnee, across the river. Their new home seemed safe and far away from the colonists and their intolerance of all things Indian.
Despite their determination to make this their new
home, the Nanticoke would find their peaceful
existence short lived.

Who were the Nanticokes

Much of what we know about the Indians that populated Eastern United States was garnered
from accounts, stories, and maps documented by Captain John Smith in the 1600's. Smith recorded
the Indian settlements, governing systems, ways of life and rules of behavior. Listing the tribes and
their names was a challenge, so the English spelled them phonetically, resulting in several different
names for the same tribe. Smith documented Nantiquack (some spellings list as Nantiquak); in
what is now Dorchester County on the Delmarva Pninsula of Maryland, as the area in which the
Nanticoke lived. According to William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, Volume 14,
Nantaquack translates to “a point of land on a tidal stream”. The Lenni-Lenape translate it as “people of the ocean.” The Nanticokes were also known as the Nantego, Unechtgo or Unalachtigo... The Nanticokes, a southern offshoot of the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) tribe, were farmers and traders. Nanticoke women harvested corn, squash and beans, which they called the "three sisters." The men hunted deer, elk, turkey, and small game, and fished in the ocean and inlets. As English colonists arrived and settled along the Eastern Shore in the 17th and 18h centuries, Indian tribes were squeezed out of their settlements. The Nanticokes primarily, a peace loving people, were caught in a struggle between maintaining their traditions and adhering to the English laws. A splintering of a tribe  During much of the 1600'S the Indian nations had to decide at what level they were willing to compromise to retain the land allotted them. At various times, while still in Maryland, the Nanticokes resorted to violence against the English. One final stand, in 1742, resulted in fierce reprimand of the tribe by the English after they were betrayed by a member of the Choptank tribe who informed the colonists of the planned uprising. Into the late 1600's and early 1700's the Nanticokes tried negotiating treaties with their adversaries, but the colonists found it hard to understand Indian traditions, resulting in missteps that again led to a series of conflicts.

The Nanticokes realized the colonists were determined to push them from their lands so the tribe
splintered. Some migrated north, others westward to Ohio, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Ontario, Canada.
Wanting to stay close to their homeland, a significant number of Nanticokes moved eastward into Delaware and settled in Indian River Hundred. A segment that traveled to Pennsylvania settled on the Susquehanna. There they stayed until conflicts between the Six Nation Iroquois and the English settlers threatened their peaceful existence. Avoiding conflict It is written, that by 1753, well before the French and Indian War of 1758 and the Revolutionary War of 1775 the Nanticokes left the Wyoming Valley migrating north to New York and Canada, in hopes of finding the life they once had before the arrival of the colonists. Only since an 1879 U.S. Federal Court decision, has the American Indian been considered "persons within the meaning of the law." It was not until 1924 that Congress recognized Native American people as citizens of the United State. It was not until 1978 that Congress signed into law the "American Indian Religious Freedom Act," giving the Native Americans the right to practice their religious beliefs. Today, according to the tribe's website, there are about 550 Nanticoke Indians in Sussex County Delaware and about 500 in other parts of the state. There are members living in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Canada. Though the Nanticoke did not find the peace they were looking for on the banks of the Susquehanna, they left a legacy along with their name, a hope for a better life. As we delve into the history of our city, we find that this area represented a chance for a better life not only to the Native Americans, but to many generations of people who emigrated to the United States in the 18 and 1900's. 

Quick action led to
first memorial.

It stopped raining shortly before noon that November day in Dallas, Texas in 1963. If not
for that simple fact, our country's history may have been very different. At 12:30 p.m.,
President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in
downtown Dallas, Texas. The sun appeared and a last minute decision was made not to attach the
limousine bubble top, which would have quite possibly protected he, the first lady, and Texas
governor and Mrs. John B. Connelly from an assassin's bullets. In Nanticoke, it was 1:30 p.m.
a 62 degree day and workers had just finished lunch and were back on the job constructing the
city's new $400,000 grade school on Kosciuszko Street. Word of the president's death must have
passed quickly among the workers and city residents. Suddenly time stopped. Our city, a
country and the world were in mourning. Four and a half hours later school board president
Leonard (Mack) Mackiewicz, board members and visitors met and stood for a moment of silent
prayer for the murdered president, after which a motion was made by Gelso Biscontini and
William Matikiewicz to name the new educational facility set to open in 1964, the John
F. Kennedy Memorial School. Mackiewicz and school board directors Biscontini, Matikiewicz,
Andrew Dorak, J. Novak, Mauro Nardozzo and John Shipp voted to pass the resolution. The
quick action possibly made the school the first in the nation to carry the president's name. A
resolution mourning the assassination was also adopted at the meeting and sent to the president's

Submitted by Judy Minsavage for HNS