The Lenni-Lenape, whose name means "Original People," were also known as the Delawares, but only accepted this name when they learned it was that of a great white chief, Lord de la Warr. William Penn has described them in a letter to the Free Society of Traders in 1683 thus:
"For their Persons, they are genera1ly tall, streight, well-built and of singular Proportion; they tread strong and clever, and mostly walk with a lofty Chin; of Complexion, Black, but by design, as the Gypsies in England: They grease themselves with Bears-fat clarified, and using no defence against Sun or Weather, their skins must needs be swarthy; Their Eye is little and black, not unlike a straight-look't Jew: The thick lip and flat Nose, so frequent with the East-Indians and Blacks, are not common to them; for I have seen as comely European-like faces among them of both, as on your side of the sea; and truly an Italian Complexion hath not much more of the White, and the Noses of several of them have as much of the Roman."
They were clean people - cleaner than most settlers of that time - but the smell of bear grease was offensive to the Europeans. Their villages were established and open, with about half a dozen long houses (in a village, sometimes clustered and sometimes scattered, where several families lived together in each house. Later, in the Eighteenth Century, individual families lived in small houses of logs chinked with earth and moss. They migrated to hunting lands in the Fall, but returned in the Spring to plant small fields that adjoined their villages. When these fields became exhausted, and firewood scarce, they moved on to new sites.
Legends taught them that the world was once only water until a great turtle arose from the sea. The first tree that took root after the waters fell from his back became man, while the second became woman. A great god or supreme force, Manito, loved them, and made the world, the sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and all living things. He had twelve gods of lesser importance who assisted him - Elder Brother, a mighty force who dwelt on the mountain (thunder); Snow Boy who controlled snow and Ice; and others. Religious ceremonies, particularly at harvest time, were vital.
One major Indian settlement, Minguannan, was located nearby at London Tract Church in London Britain Township. A camp site or small village was situated east of Toughkenamon on the hill overlooking the great valley that crossed the upper third of our Township. An Indian burial ground is said to exist near Sharp Road, but it has never been excavated. The number of arrow points and other artifacts that have been uncovered by local farmers as they cultivated their fields through the years would seem to indicate much activity of the Lenni-Lenape throughout the countryside - perhaps at hunting camps in the great forests of our land. Indian trails crossed and recrossed the area, and were the first "roads" used by early settlers.
The hill above Toughkenamon Valley was believed to have been the site of a conflict between Indians encamped there and a trespassing group. One legend says the intruders were driven away with firebrands, thus the origin of the name Toughkenamon, which means "fire-brand hill." Another claims the great hill was one from which signals were made to other encampments; while a third version states that the name "Dochcanamon" was written by a surveyor on a large rock, and that it was the name of the Indian tribe encamped there.
The name "Quaekels" was given to people that Indians loved and respected, and not applied exclusively to members of the Society of Friends, although their relationship was very good. Many Indians are believed buried at New Garden Meeting cemetery. Early settlers who lived side-by-side with the Lenni-Lenape no doubt learned the ways of their new homeland with Indian assistance and knowledge. They had to build fire-breaks around their properties, however, for campfires of the red man were often left unattended, and forest, field and home were threatened.